Ricou to join Mullins' team for winter stint of riding out
Leading French jockey Jacques Ricou will arrive in Ireland for the first time later this week after signing up for a winter stint riding out for Willie Mullins.
A multiple champion jockey in his homeland, Ricou is perhaps best known to British and Irish racegoers as the rider of the ill-fated Jair Du Cochet, which won a number of big prizes before suffering a fatal injury when being prepared for the 2004 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
In the subsequent decade, Ricou has continued to ply his trade at the highest level, adding to his Grade One tally in 2015 aboard Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris winner Milord Thomas and top-class filly Kotkikova.
The French ace, who rode his first winner for Mullins aboard Gitane Du Berlais in the Prix Juigne at Auteuil in March, is relishing the prospect of working under the all-conquering champion trainer in the coming weeks.
Ricou said: "It's very exciting. I'm very happy to go and work for Mr Mullins. For me, he is the best trainer in Europe. I have ridden for Mr (Guillaume) Macaire and some of the best trainers in France, so I wanted to work for the best trainer in Ireland and I think I am a very lucky man."
Meanwhile, Brendan Powell is looking forward to a second winter campaign in Dubai with Dark Emerald after his admirable grey was among the acceptors for the Meydan season.
Dark Emerald was a revelation for the Hungerford trainer in the previous campaign, winning two and finishing second in his first four starts before being unplaced in the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night in March.
Powell is planning a similar programme for Dark Emerald beginning in early January after the horse signed off the domestic season with victory at Hamilton in September. "We just got chinned in the Zabeel Mile last year, so we'll probably aim him towards that and just see how he goes."