Cruz-prepared Deauville looks tough enough
There were even fewer top riders in action at yesterday's trackwork session than the day before and meaningful work was thin on the ground, too.
There was one intriguing piece involving the now Tony Cruz-trained Deauville who, for some inexplicable reason, joined the burgeoning Cruz team from Patrick Biancone.
The master French mentor had done a superb job with Deauville who, but for the presence of a certain Privilege, would have won just about every top staying event over the past 12 months.
But there's nowt as queer as folk and Deauville left Biancone's care shortly before Christmas to join Cruz who has moved to 20 winners and is having a brilliant first season as a trainer and is already being spoken about as a future champion.
There aren't too many jockeys who make the transition from riding to training with such consummate ease as Cruz about whom the ace French pilot Eric Saint-Martin said recently: 'I don't know whether I can ride but Tony (Cruz) can certainly train.' So what can Cruz do with Deauville? Following Biancone is an exceptionally hard act but all should be revealed a week on Sunday when Deauville once again clashes with Privilege in the Centenary Vase.
This is a 2,200-metre handicap in which Deauville is set to receive a very handy 11 pounds from Privilege who is due to carry the topweight of 137 pounds, should he run.
Yesterday Deauville certainly looked on excellent terms with himself as he came through a solid 1,200-metre hitout under Saint-Martin in one minute 16.6 with a fluent last quarter in 23.3 seconds.
A feature of Cruz's training has been the condition horses put on after joining him.
They bulk up, but don't look fat, no matter from which trainer they departed.
Deauville has not put on as much as some but he appears to have added some weight and just the way he looks in himself points to a good run and an enthralling struggle with the tough-as-teak Privilege.
Philip Robinson has remained in the territory to ride work for retaining trainer David Hill, just as he did over the Christmas break.
'I've only just returned to the territory so I can hardly start going away on holiday,' is the Robinson creed.
Yesterday he put Seasons Wind through 1,200 metres in 1:20.4 seconds and while he is probably better than the form he has shown so far, stablemates Win Happiness and Toy Symphony looked the two to follow from this gallop.
In other work, Andy Leung seems to be nursing Equine Supremo back to peak form while David Hayes' impressive first-up winner Smashing Pumpkin has come out of his race in good shape. Light And Bright, from the Peter Ng Bik-kuen stable, continues to go really well in his work and can surely do something in a Class Five event sooner rather than later.
And down in Class Six, there looks to be a win in Tony P. H. Chan's Second To None who galloped yesterday in 1:15.5 under Saint-Martin.