Insults fill air as Cruz and Doleuze clash on sacking
Another sacking for Olivier Doleuze as the rider of Good Ba Ba yesterday descended into a public slanging match between the angry Frenchman and the champion miler's equally fired-up trainer, Derek Cruz.
Brett Doyle will partner Good Ba Ba for the first time in the Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup on Sunday week, while Christophe Soumillon last night replaced Doyle on Thumbs Up.
The latest, and apparently final, chapter in Doleuze's partnership with Good Ba Ba ends a story that saw them win five Group Ones, including the 2007 Hong Kong Mile as part of a clean sweep of the big miles that season.
Controversially dumped before the gelding's second Hong Kong Mile win in 2008, Doleuze returned this term to win a history-making third Hong Kong Mile, but only after receiving specific undertakings.
Yesterday, Doleuze criticised Cruz and owner John Yuen Se-kit, saying: 'They have no honour. This is bull****. When I agreed to ride the horse again, the only condition was that I ride him for the full season. Of course, there was nothing signed - men keep their promises, but these guys are not men,' raged Doleuze.
'I was unhappy the first time I was sacked by [previous trainer Andreas] Schutz but I'm more upset now. I thought Derek was a straight guy, but he has done the same - I was the last one to know again. And I've already called the owner to tell him what I think of him.'
However, if Doleuze was angry, Cruz was as ready to back his sacking over tactics when third to Fellowship in the Stewards' Cup.
'Olivier isn't the only one p***ed off - I am, too. Horses like Good Ba Ba make jockeys, not the other way around. He should remember that. I feel sorry for him but c'est la vie!' Cruz returned. 'Any jockey could have ridden Good Ba Ba better than Olivier this season. I said I wanted him closer, but Olivier wanted to ride him how he wanted - who does he think he is? This is a champion, a public favourite, and what must people betting on him think when he is being put in impossible positions?
'Olivier says the horse is older and doesn't have the same turn of foot now - well, more reason why he should be ridden closer.'
Doleuze defended his Stewards' Cup ride, when the eight-year-old had limited options from an outside draw. 'What could I do from barrier 12? I had to go back and the horses in the finish all came from the back with me anyway,' he said. 'Hong Kong can be cruel. I'm having a quiet season and Good Ba Ba was my only sunshine - now I have only have this bad memory.'
The public falling out is a far cry from 2001-02, when Doleuze debuted with 26 winners from just 141 rides, mostly for Cruz, who enjoyed his best season and finished fourth on the trainers' table with 44 wins.
'When Olivier came here I was his only supporter, but he doesn't remember that now. I will never put him on my horses again,' Cruz said.