All Fit set to deliver magic 300th for Cruz

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 September, 2004, 12:00am

Popular Derek Cruz has had his patience tested since his last winner in early June but All Fit can land the trainer his 300th career winner at Sha Tin's opening day.

Cruz has been sitting on 299 since Money Strong won at Happy Valley on June 2, and racked up three seconds and four thirds as he waited in vain for the landmark victory to arrive before the end of the old season.

That should be remedied this afternoon. Cruz has a history of producing a winner on the first day of the season, and saddles up seven runners today, including a number of excellent winning chances during the second half of the card in Sir Humour, My Choice, Green Treasure and Bobo Win.

But four-year-old All Fit might be the one to reach the milestone. He is no superstar in the making but Cruz described him as 'a horse with a future' after the gelding won his second race start up the Sha Tin straight last May.

All Fit's two subsequent defeats were in finishing a half-length behind promising Add The Fun up the straight again in late May, then a photo-finish into third at the final meeting behind dead-heaters Maranello and Majestic Feeling over 1,200 metres.

Yet to run anything but a good race in his brief career, All Fit gives the impression he has some upside which probably puts him in a higher category than many of those he faces today who have toiled and disappointed too many times.

All Fit has possibly not had as much work in the current season as some of his rivals and has not trialled, but he did race right up until the final day last term and that little touch of freshness shouldn't harm his prospects.

Cruz did forecast that the gelding's perfect trip ultimately would be a little further than 1,000m, so keeping him on the fresh side for today should ensure All Fit has the necessary zip for the straight course.

From gate three on the A course, which generally favours lower draws up the straight, Glyn Schofield should have him in touch with the lead all the way then the genuine determination of All Fit should take him past more reluctant opposition.

His main dangers look to be Super Prince and Keep On Easy, who have also raced well up the Sha Tin 1,000m despite limited opportunities, while Ever More has been a fresh-up specialist over the same trip, winning two of his three first-up runs for the season and narrowly losing to Hidden Dragon at his other attempt.

If All Fit does the right thing, Cruz could well have a double celebration as ultra-consistent My Choice (Anton Marcus) looks one of the hardest to beat in the eighth event, a Class Two race over his pet distance of 1,400 metres.

My Choice, a New Zealand-bred son of that country's leading sire Volksraad, has raced just 11 times but has finished in the quinella in nine of them - four wins and five seconds.

The handsome bay has done some attractive work in recent weeks, none more so than his dash down the outside of the back straight on Thursday morning when he clocked a swift 21.9 seconds for his final 400 metres.