Cruz in position to beat Moore's mark

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 June, 2005, 12:00am

Is today the day Tony Cruz claims the last remaining Hong Kong training record that's not already his - George Moore's 25-year-old benchmark of 87 winners? The weight of overnight opinion of tote players says unequivocally, yes it is.

Cruz has runners in each of the last four races this afternoon, starting off with Sanbenito $44 second favourite in the seventh and then three straight favourites - California Heart ($37), Regency Horse ($23) and leaving the bet till last, unbeaten Shiny Ribbon ($20).

Cruz has been inspirational the way he hit the ground running this season and has never relented. He and stable rider Felix Coetzee have been racking up winner after winner, and toppling record after record.

Moore's benchmark was always considered the one 'unbreakable' record in Hong Kong racing, because it was set in the era before the Jockey Club set a ceiling of 60 on the number of horses a trainer could prepare.

Since the club made that change, in 1990, the most any trainer has prepared was the 73 winners John Size racked up last year in winning his third trainers' championship.

Cruz goes into today's Sha Tin fixture with the excellent stats of 86 winners, 60 seconds and 45 third from 431 runners, for record prizemoney of $111,394,645. So he needs one winner to equal Moore and two to break the record.

Amazingly, Cruz's strike rate of 20 per cent winners to runners has remained much the same throughout the season despite the fact that nearly all his horses have taken steep climbs up the ratings.