Cruz brothers fire on all cylinders
After a highly successful first season as a trainer, there were many questioning Tony Cruz's ability to figure in this season's premiership equation.
But with a third of the year gone, the former champion rider sits in fourth position on the standings and with all indications that a lot more wins are in store.
And trackwork yesterday at Sha Tin confirmed the well-being of a number of his stable.
Cruz has a large number of griffins in his care and the American-bred Primo looks to be one of his best at this stage.
Sent over 1,200 metres with Perfect Star, the son of Ogygian finished off his work very fluently and looks sure to go well when first produced.
The colt recently trialled impressively and has been given a solid education by his conditioner.
Perfect Star was one of the better griffins from last term and he is making good progress for his seasonal debut.
At his last start he beat home Engineman and Victory Mount and his reappearance should create plenty of interest. In light of the achievements of those behind him, he should be able to handle his assessment in Class Two.
Another to impress was the promising Full Metal Jacket, who has come on in leaps and bounds from his debut second to Grand Start.
He floated through 1,200 metres in 1:23.5 seconds and looked a lot more mature for the experience of race day - he should not be long in winning his way out of Class Four.
Cruz's Medic Pearl is another who looks right at the top of his form and his work suggested that he may be up to the hefty penalty incurred when running away from a handy Class Three field at his last outing.
The youngster was not out to make time in the company of Perfect Smile, but he did pick up strongly in the final 400 and has a touch of quality about him.
While Tony has been capturing most of the spotlight, brother Derek has shown he has the ability to get the best out of his charges and he has had a most encouraging start to the season.
His Skase Race has put together two wins on the trot, resulting in a steep climb up the ratings but he looks capable of playing a part in Wednesday night's Classes One and Two event over 1,650 metres.
With Steven King on top he appeared to have plenty in hand over Leprechaun as they dashed over a solid 1,200 metres, with both horses picking up speed over the last half mile.
Derek has been able to acquire some good gallopers from New Zealand over the years and in Habanero and Sweetheart he seems to have made a couple of astute purchases.
Both three-year-olds have had plenty of preparation in readiness for their local debuts, and Habanero looked the part as he worked with recent winner Fun And Smile, dashing home with plenty in reserve. Sweetheart had an easier time but there is no doubt he is high quality.