Cruz hopes to turn the tables on Macau's Lau

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2007, 12:00am

Trainer banks on Supreme Class to deliver his fourth interport trophy

Top Sha Tin trainer Tony Cruz is comfortable with his role as the only Hong Kong trainer to have won an interport event to date and is ready to keep his record intact in the Hong Kong-Macau Trophy (1,400m) on Sunday.

The race has fallen to an extraordinarily thin band of trainers in the seven cross-delta runnings, with Cruz and Macau's Joe Lau having won the races three times each and only Taipa's Kim Cheong upsetting the pattern when he took the Macau leg in 2006 with Redwood Falls.

Cruz has Supreme Class (Felix Coetzee) and Survey Survey (Olivier Doleuze) in Sunday's renewal of a Macau-Hong Kong rivalry which has proved so even.

'They're both very well, very fit and they have drawn next to each other right in the middle of the draw, so I couldn't be happier,' Cruz said. 'But I do have a leaning to Supreme Class over the other horse as my best chance, simply because of the distance.

'Survey Survey is more of a miler so this is on the sharp side for him, but the Sha Tin 1,400m is really Supreme Class's pet distance.'

The four-year-old has won four of his nine starts at 1,400m and will relish the return to a sprint trip after being tried in the longer classic events without success.

The popularity of the Macau-based jockey Stanley Chin Kin-ming has again been made clear at the interport meeting, too, with Chin clearing almost a full book for the day.

Chin, 33, the former Hong Kong product who has resurrected his career in Europe and Macau since serving three years in jail over a 1990s race fixing scandal, has mounts in 10 of the 11 races - one more than champion rider Douglas Whyte - and will pilot the Lau-trained Crown's Master in the feature.

The strong demand from a wide range of Hong Kong owners and trainers for Chin's talents will again awaken the question of whether Chin should be relicensed to ride here at some stage, as it did when he made his return to Hong Kong almost three years ago to the day.

Chin's first return to Hong Kong after serving his penalty was when he rode Scott's View into third place in the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup in 2004, and his popularity then was a talking point, too, as Chin secured rides in eight of the 10 races.