Cruz attracted to Ladies' Purse as Beauty Flash keeps unbeaten record
Trainer Tony Cruz will return to familiar territory with exciting four-year-old Beauty Flash next start after the Derby aspirant kept his unbeaten Hong Kong record intact in the Guangzhou Handicap (1,400m) yesterday.
Owned by Sa Sa chairman and chief executive Simon Kwok Siu-ming, Beauty Flash gave Matthew Chadwick few concerns in completing a double for the star apprentice and will now be aimed at the day sponsored by Kwok and the Sa Sa Ladies' Purse (1,800m) on October 11.
'The owner sponsors that day and so it's a race that he loves to see his horses run in and I think it's a good race for Beauty Flash's programme, so we'll head there,' said Cruz after Beauty Flash led throughout.
'I've been pretty lucky with the Ladies' Purse and I seem to have the right kinds of horses for it most of the time.'
In fact, Cruz produced three winners of the race in a row after the distance was changed to 1,800m in 2004 - with Russian Pearl, Willie Detroy and the Kwok-owned Hello Pretty all taking it out first-up, so Beauty Flash will have an advantage on any of them going into the race second-up.
The gelding showed his versatility again in leading comfortably after coming from well back in his 1,200m debut win last season, then sitting outside the lead at his second run.
'I said to Matthew that there were a few speedy ones in the race but to jump him out and be in front if it worked out that way or third or fourth if he had to,' Cruz said. 'This horse has the speed to do it so why not let him do what he can do? You ride horses according to how they can perform, not according to somebody's idea of where they should be. Beauty Flash is quite versatile.'
Chadwick said he hadn't gone out specifically to lead but to obey Cruz's instructions to have the odds-on favourite travelling where he was comfortable.
'He jumped very fast, so he was able to lead,' he said.
'His condition ran out in the last part of the race because he has a lot of improvement in his fitness yet.'
It was the second leg of a double for Cruz and Chadwick, who have begun the season brilliantly, and three-year-old Penglai Xianzi showed the benefit of his break and a lift in distance to win the fourth event impressively.
'Last season, he ran well his first start over 1,000m and I thought he looked above average,' Cruz said.
'But each run he seemed to be losing his speed for 1,000m or 1,200m and I realised he was going to want further.
'I just said to Matthew to just wait on him, not push him early, and the way he's finished his race, he's a different horse,' the trainer added.
Chadwick said the Encosta de Lago colt had welcomed the waiting role and was physically much better than as a juvenile as well.
'He's a bit light-mouthed so you can't really push him too much early but you can see a big difference in him after his spell,' he said.
'A lot bigger and stronger than he was last season and it showed today.'