Cruz praises 'world class' veterinary team after Smart Currency's feat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 May, 2009, 12:00am

Tony Cruz laid all credit for yesterday's win by Smart Currency with the Jockey Club's veterinary team, who helped the four-year-old overcome an extremely rare condition to regain his soundness and top form.

When Smart Currency won first-up down the Sha Tin straight track on October 1, he looked like a useful sprinter who might be going places. Unfortunately, the only place he ended up going was to the veterinary hospital to have a strange growth surgically removed from one sesamoid.

'He had the surgery on his front fetlock,' Cruz said. 'It was a boney growth, almost like a tumour, growing on the outside of the sesamoid bone. It just kept enlarging.

'The veterinary team at the Jockey Club is world class, I must say. They knew it was a very rare condition, but they did their homework and took the best possible outside advice before deciding to operate.

'All credit to them. The horse has taken one run to get properly fit and now he's on. But the outlook for his future is still guarded.

'He's a big horse, around 1,300 pounds, and he has big flat feet. I'm going to keep him racing down the straight course because I'm concerned he might injure himself or have some other problems on the turns' he added.

Smart Currency, ridden by Marco Chui Kwan-lai, was one of the leaders throughout and was never in serious danger over the final 400m, ultimately scoring by 11/4 lengths from topweight Extra Special (Jeff Lloyd). Cruz had two other placings, with previously unbeaten griffin California Moon finishing third to Elite Sixty-Six in the Wong Cup and Rocket Power charging home late for second to short-priced favourite Big Profit in the last.

'Rocket Power is an even more amazing story than Smart Currency,' Cruz said. 'He had laminitis, and the veterinarians recommended his retirement. We really thought it was all over for him and the prognosis was basically hopeless.

'Then suddenly, for no apparently reason, his condition started to improve. I don't understand it and the vets don't either, but all of a sudden he's shaken it off and it looks like he's getting back to form. That was a very pleasing run today, and he was a bit unlucky, too.'

Cruz's winner took him to 41 for the season, consolidating fourth position on the trainers' standings, but he's only five winners behind second-placed John Size and four off Caspar Fownes.