Ba Ba eyes Dubai trip while Collection waits
A trip to the Dubai World Cup meeting for Collection will depend on his performance in tomorrow's Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup, but trainer Derek Cruz has already booked a spot to the Middle East for Good Ba Ba.
The Dubai Duty Free, to be run on the March 27 World Cup night programme, was discussed publicly after Good Ba Ba's historic third straight Hong Kong Mile win in December, but connections had appeared to have cooled on the idea.
However, Cruz said yesterday that both Good Ba Ba and his top sprinter Joy And Fun would be going to Dubai in his first foreign foray as a trainer.
'It's very exciting to be taking away horses to such a big meeting and I'm looking forward to it,' Cruz said. 'Good Ba Ba's trip doesn't really depend on his Gold Cup run - unless he was to run very badly and I'm not expecting that.'
Cruz said that the march of time had finally influenced owner John Yuen Se-kit to make the trip, the third in the horse's career after two previous unsuccessful tilts at the Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo.
'I said to his owner that this is his chance to go,' Cruz said. 'The horse will be nine years old next January and you wouldn't want to be taking him away then. At the moment, Good Ba Ba is still red hot, still fit and happy. He'll do all his work here, and the track and the distance look very good for him.'
The 1,800m Duty Free is one of the world's richest turf races, worth US$5 million, while Joy And Fun will run in the US$1 million Alquoz Sprint on the turf course.
'I think the straight 1,200m course will really suit Joy And Fun and he has already shown he is right up with the top sprinters around with his performances here,' Cruz said.
'He wasn't getting a lot of room at the end of the race behind Sacred Kingdom last week and he ran very well.'
Trainer John Moore remains keen to tackle the World Cup with Collection, but the gelding's Stewards' Cup flop led racing authorities in Dubai to reserve any invitation until after tomorrow's Group One Gold Cup.
With Moore already targeting the Golden Shaheen all-weather sprint with One World, Hong Kong could have up to four runners in Dubai in as many races.