Cruz brothers friendship faltered over Our Pal - Tony
DEREK Cruz yesterday issued a carefully-worded statement to quell the public wrangling with his family which culminated with his brother, riding legend Tony Cruz, appearing on Chinese television on Thursday night.
Derek Cruz, second in the trainer standings, publicly split with Tony Cruz 10 days ago. He has since refused to give him any rides and blamed the split on pressure from the Chinese press.
But the real reason behind the split was over riding tactics for the heavily-backed Our Pal, plus the brothers Cruz inability to establish a good working relationship.
This became evident during a television interview with the brothers when Tony revealed that a good part of the dust up was over his riding of Our Pal.
He was narrowly beaten three times on the private purchase griffin who has subsequently scooted home under Declan Murphy.
But yesterday Derek said: ''I believe now is the time to cool it.'' He then issued the following statement: ''I wish to thank all my friends for their concern regarding my widely-publicised 'split' with my brother Tony.
''What really happened was merely a difference of opinion over riding tactics between two head-strong professionals and my subsequent decision to cool off our working relationship for a short period of time.
''I can assure all my friends that Tony and I come from a close-knit family and it should not be surprising if Tony and I were seen working together again in the future.'' Tony, desperate for another jockeys' title, has always maintained he wants to ride for Derek again but neither is likely to pursue such a close relationship as before.
Derek said: ''I can't say when it will happen that Tony gets back on a horse I train.'' Tony said: ''I had my blinkers on when I came back from England to ride for Derek. I thought only of winning races for us and riding his horses.
''It undermined my relationship with a number of the other local trainers, especially Wong Tang-ping.
''I will now be picking up rides from him as well as from Peter Ng Bik-kuen, Chris Cheung, Kenny Kam, Ivan Allan and the occasional one from Patrick Biancone.
''Of course I want to ride for Derek - he's a top trainer in the making and he is my brother. But I will have to pay much more notice to my other commitments.'' Meanwhile, Alan Munro has switched to Derek Cruz's promising French import Group Leader following Biancone's withdrawal of Derby prospect Charming Talker from tomorrow's feature San Miguel Silver Tankard.
Biancone has withdrawn Charming Talker in favour of running him in the Derby Trial on February 13 and then going straight to the Derby on March 7.
''I want to take as much care of my young horses as possible,'' explained Biancone.
''He could go up to much in the weights if he ran well on Sunday.'' Walter Swinburn has picked up the spare ride on Gary Ng Ting-keung's E Treasure in the San Mig as well as Lucky Record for his old mate Bruce Hutchison in an earlier contest.