'War horse' will overcome setback: Cruz

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2012, 12:00am


Trainer Derek Cruz remains unperturbed by a foot injury to his 'war horse' Joy And Fun, as both of Hong Kong's Royal Ascot representatives battle slight setbacks ahead of the King's Stand Stakes in just under two weeks.

Cruz laughed when asked if a bruised heel on his rising nine-year-old was a concern; after all, his horse has bounced back from two injuries considered career-ending on most occasions - a fractured wither as a young horse and then a broken cannon bone suffered in the 2010 King's Stand.

'He is a trojan - with all the major injuries he has had - a fractured wither, shoulder problems, a broken cannon bone, what else can you throw at him? He is a war horse,' said Cruz.

'His foot injury is settling down, it is coming along nicely and he is moving a lot better in the mornings now. He is right up to the mark and he produced two very good pieces of work before he left.'

Cruz's son, Trevor, left with Joy And Fun just over a week ago, and the trainer will join them on Monday at the stables of Jane Chapple-Hyam.

'I'll ride the horse when I get there and get a better feel on whether he is feeling good,' said Cruz, who also will consider running Joy And Fun in the July Cup at Newmarket on July 14. 'If he is a happy horse, then he will run a happy race. He left here in good nick, and I thought his third in Dubai was great. He is going in first-up after that and should sprint well fresh,' Cruz said.

Trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing played down rumours of a virus hampering preparations of fellow traveller Little Bridge, who departed on the same day as Joy And Fun, but is stabled at Newmarket.

Shum joins his horse on Thursday and said yesterday: 'There's no virus, he is absolutely fine. He just had minor fever when he arrived in England because of the travel, but the next day he was back to normal and everything is fine.'

Little Bridge left having won his last two starts, including a half-length victory over Captain Sweet in the Group Two Sprint Cup on April 29 and Shum said his horse was in forward condition and won't require much fine-tuning.

'He is almost ready, I might give him one gallop,' he said.

Shum had originally proposed an ambitious overseas tour, leaving five weeks before Ascot and coming home via Japan for the Sprinters Stakes. The trainer has revised his schedule though and will now 'come straight home' after the Group One, forgoing the Diamond Jubilee four days later and the July Cup. 'We'll still go to Japan in October,' Shum said.