Business as usual at Sha Tin for feuding Cruz siblings
THE brothers Cruz got on with their separate racing careers yesterday at trackwork as the news of their shock split buzzed round the Sha Tin complex.
Local hero and former multiple champion jockey Tony Cruz rode work for Peter Ng Bik-kuen, chatted with Ivan Allan over the back paddock rails and then walked out to watch trackwork from the higher reaches of the Sha Tin trainers' stand.
Championship-chasing trainer Derek Cruz adopted a hands-on approach, reaching for his riding boots and skull cap to partner many of his horses' work himself.
He then returned to take up his customary position slightly away from the rest of the trainers, pursuing his usual low-key but determined and diligent approach to training.
There was a decided pathos about the all-too-evident lack of communication between the two and both brothers freely admit the split has caused them and the closely-knit Cruz clan a good deal of anguish.
But as Derek Cruz said: ''Business is business.'' There were also a couple of bright spots on the horizon. Tony Cruz, out on a limb at this afternoon's traditional Happy Valley fixture with a single mount from eight races, has wasted no time in picking up three rides for Wednesday's equitrack meeting at Happy Valley with another waiting to be confirmed.
He has the mounts on Intermac Supreme for Peter Ng, Natural Heritage for Allan and Welsh Star for Kenny Kam.
And to show his determination he spent yesterday afternoon sweating off the pounds in the sauna to make sure he does the minimum 116 pounds on Patrick Biancone's outsider, Hung Hing, his only ride today.
Speaking from the sauna, he said: ''It is a bit too early to go out hunting for rides as I still feel a bit up in the air about the situation with Derek.
''I daren't really make too much of a move yet but I did talk to a few trainers this morning and have managed to pick up three rides for next Wednesday night's meeting with another to be confirmed.'' For Derek Cruz the highlight of the morning was the brilliant work of his stable star Concert King.
He partnered the International Bowl favourite in a scintillating piece of work and much of the talk at the track was about who will replace Tony Cruz on Concert King.
Yesterday, Derek would not be drawn on the subject of jockeys for the horse but he knows he will have to make his mind up pretty soon as he intends to run the son of Noalcoholic in the St Andrew's Challenge Quaich which is now a dash down the straight 1,000 metres at Sha Tin a fortnight tomorrow.
Derek Cruz said: ''I spoke to the owner yesterday and have his confidence. We will be talking again in the near future to discuss riding plans for this horse.
''All I can say is that he is really well in himself. I'm waiting to see what kind of weight he will get though there is no way I would put an apprentice up on him.
''I want to run him as I think he will love this kind of sprint. It will do him the world of good.'' It is understood that Derek Cruz also spent part of the afternoon chatting to visiting riding star Alan Munro about his forthcoming runners, indicating that this is no simple family feud that will be over in five minutes.