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Gai gives Johan Victoire the nod for Epsom

Gai Waterhouse is pinning her hopes of an eighth Epsom Handicap win on French lightweight Johan Victoire in his first Australian Group One race.

The Frenchman will launch his Australian Group One career on Saturday in the $1 million Epsom Handicap riding five-year-old gelding Fabrizio.

But regardless of the result he is already eyeing a longer stay in Australia, he told AAP.

“Everyone here is very passionate about the horses and I am very, very happy with that and will enjoy my time here,” Victoire said.

The decision to move to Australia was driven by a competitive European industry and an offer from Waterhouse who is now training in partnership with Adrian Bott.

“All the other jockeys have to fight every day to catch a race because the big ones have a contract,” Victoire said.

“Given that I have the opportunity to work with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, who can refuse?”

His move has already been rewarded three wins from nine mounts for Tulloch Lodge.

Bott said the jockey was making a good impression around the stable.

“He’s a lovely gentleman, Johan. He is a very hard worker, he’s in six, seven mornings a week,” Bott said.

Victoire is also a natural light weight, able to ride at 50kg with little effort which is a real asset for the stable, Bott said.

Fabrizio will jump from barrier six in a field of 13 on Saturday and the horse had been performing well, Victoire said.

“The horse looks very strong and I am very excited and very confident for Saturday,” he said.

Victoire has also picked up the ride on the Tony Gollan-trained Amexed in the Group One Metropolitan Handicap (2400m).

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