Cruz signing an important guide
By DECLAN MURPHY
TRAINER Geoff Lane and jockey Tony Cruz have proved to be a very profitable combination to follow this season. They can be backed with confidence again this evening as Nickels King (Nap) is strongly fancied to take the opening equitrack event at Happy Valley. Having spent my last season riding in Hong Kong for the Lane stable, it is easy to see why he's successful. He's not only a hard worker, he also has a keen eye for a jockey that fits his horses.
Let's not forget that Geoff was himself a master jockey so he doesn't look for excuses, concentrating instead on results and improvement. An example of this is the engagement of Tony Cruz for Nickels King. The enigmatic seven-year-old was previously ridden to perfection by the maestro of them all, Lester Piggott. With Lester's great hands and superb balance, Nickels King gave all he had to give on each of his last two starts for two good placed efforts.
Knowing how well he went for a jockey of such balance and responsive hands, Lane has opted for a similar rider in Cruz who, like Piggott, brings his horses into a race with perfect timing. Cruz has been round the Valley so many times that he could probably do so blindfolded. So while Nickels King has not tasted victory for a considerable time, he has the recent form, a trainer in form and the quality of rider necessary to propel him to success.
He could find that Speedy Winner and Love Match give him most to think about.
Speedy Winner has dropped to an attractive mark and should be all the better for a recent pipe-opener, having been off the track for sometime before that. Love Match hinted at a return to his best last time out and loves the equitrack.