Cruz and Munro conquer Valley
Local trainer Derek Cruz and Club Jockey Alan Munro stole the show at last night's Happy Valley meeting with an opening-race, 108-1 double.
They combined to score with Sincerely Yours in the first and Arrectis Auribus in the second, leaving Cruz on the 13-winner mark.
He beamed: 'I was quietly confident of a good run from Sincerely Yours as we took him to the trials the other day and he pleased us. It left him spot on for tonight and maybe some will say that Alan [Munro] stole it by setting a slow tempo but why should we care? 'A winner is a winner as far as I'm concerned.' Munro excelled on Sincerely Yours, dictating the pace and keeping enough up his sleeve to repel the challenges of Crown Regent and Diamond King by three-quarters of a length and a head.
If anything, Munro did even better on Arrectis Auribus in the second to take his tally to eight in what has been a truncated campaign.
He gave him the perfect rails trail from barrier two as Knight Commander and City Fortune took them along at what appeared to be a solid clip.
Munro switched Arrectis Auribus off the rails in the straight and it was hard to believe the six-year-old son of Stylish Century was registering his first win from 29 starts in Hong Kong as he battled for all he was worth to overhaul Air Force One and then hold Golden Bullet's late's flourish by a head.
Cruz has rarely been happier after a winner.
'They've been great owners. This horse has been with me for four seasons. He's gone close on plenty of occasions. He'd been in the first three nine times but hadn't quite managed to get his head in front,' he said.
'But they've been really loyal and deserved this.' The master improver, Lawrie Fownes, thought he had the featured 1,000-metre Yan Chai Trophy won with his early season acquisition Ovation only to be knocked off on the line by Andy Leung Ting-wah's improving Loyal Devotion.
'The very last stride,' lamented Fownes.
'I had him ready to go close first up but he punctured his foot when he spread a plate beforehand and he's taken a while to get fit since.
'He's come right now but it would have been so much better to have won.' Fownes and stable jockey Wendyll Woods gained compensation two races later when their well-backed and progressive son of Zabeel, Born Dragon, defeated Kowloon's Blessing by three-quarters of a length.
The Tony Millard bandwagon continues to roll. This time it propelled by Invincible General, who hasn't just grown one leg but two since joining the Derby-winning trainer.
Invincible General battled away to win the fifth under champion jockey elect Robbie Fradd who had earlier initiated a double when successful on Peter Ng Bik-kuen's Be My Heart in the third.