A flavour of the Far East comes to Surrey on Wednesday afternoon when much-travelled French jockey Olivier Placais flies in from Singapore to take his first British ride in division two of the EBF/ Ladbrokes Fillies’ Novice Stakes (12.40).
The 34-year-old, who is known as ‘The Conductor’ in Singapore racing circles, is set to partner newcomer Mrs Meader for Seamus Mullins in the 7f contest.
The Placais connection comes about as the daughter of Cityscape is part-owned by Singapore race-caller Nick Child, who has an interesting backstory himself as he once was the groom of Kauto Star.
To say Placais is a journeyman jockey is something of an understatement, for as well as Singapore he has ridden in France, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, America, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Corsica, Slovakia, Tunisia, Martinique, Barbados, Malaysia and Mauritius.
A Group-level winner in his native France in his early days, Placais has been champion jockey in Switzerland eight times and won the Singapore Derby on Jupiter Gold in July.
Child said of the connection: “There is no racing in Singapore at present so I asked Olivier if he would like to come over to ride our filly at Lingfield. He’s just finished a three-year stint out there so he’s looking out for other opportunities and we’ll see how he gets on.
“He’s known as ‘The Conductor’ out there for his unique whip action which is rather like an exaggerated Luke Morris and quite rhythmical.”
Child himself has a busy CV which started out in various racing stables before winding up with Paul Nicholls, where he looked after Kauto Star for a spell.
He said: “I was one of three to look after Kauto through his career and I did him when he won the Gold Cup in 2009 as well as for five other Grade 1 wins.
“During that time I used to commentate at point-to-points, and then I got an offer to go to Malaysia, and now Singapore.”
Nick Child (right) with Kauto Star after the 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup
Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
As to the chances of Mrs Meader, he added: “We hope she runs creditably but we see her more of a three-year-old type. She’s done a bit of work at Richard Hannon’s and was not disgraced, so we’re looking forward to it.”
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