Softer conditions secure overdue win for Great Guy
The going might not altogether have been to his liking, but at least the moisture about Happy Valley in the past few days was enough to see Great Guy scrape home for an overdue win in the Tung Lung Chau Handicap (1,650m).
Pressing on for the front from a wide gate, Great Guy (Matthew Chadwick) was able to hold on to the lead long enough to beat Hurricane Dash on what was otherwise a quiet afternoon for Tony Cruz and his former apprentice Chadwick.
Great Guy had won two races in 2007, but connections had endured a barren time since, with only three minor placings and a handful of lesser prize cheques to sustain them.
The gelding's first win, almost three years ago, had come on soft going at Sha Tin and Cruz said that those were the conditions Great Guy really needed.
'That means he's not ideal for Hong Kong because we just don't get those kinds of conditions often enough,' he said. 'He had a foot problem since his last run when the farrier was shoeing him and the nail went off line and pricked the horse's hoof, but he got over it quite well. Great Guy is limited, but he was fit and healthy and able to get to the front, and the softer track definitely helped.'
The six-year-old's recent form had been encouraging, including form on the harder surface at Sha Tin so, while Cruz was not confident this time, he certainly was not surprised by the win and neither was Chadwick.
'Actually he's been working OK and has been knocking on the door with some of his runs. With better luck, he might have already won this season and it was a good tough win, but he might find it hard if he goes up a grade for this,' Chadwick said.
The win briefly saw Cruz move closer to leader John Size in the trainer's championship, but Caspar Fownes joined Cruz on equal second with 45 wins just half an hour later, before Size replied with Sapelli in the final race.