Cruz hopeful Joy And Fun can claim another big upset
Patrick Allen in Singapore
Joy And Fun, like his trainer Derek Cruz, has rarely grabbed the headlines in Hong Kong - but that will certainly change if the quiet achievers combine for an upset win in the S$1 million (about HK$5.6 million) KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji racecourse tomorrow night.
The underrated duo grabbed the international spotlight when they toppled their more favoured counterparts to claim the Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) in Dubai on March 27 and notch up Cruz's first international success.
Joy And Fun, despite winning nearly HK$15 million in prize money, has always lived in the shadows of Sacred Kingdom over the sprint distances at home, but with his arch-nemesis on the sidelines for the remainder of the season, Cruz's galloper has the chance to shine.
Cruz's big problem this week, however, is figuring out how to beat rising Singapore star Rocket Man in his own backyard.
'From gate four perhaps we will land in behind Rocket Man in the run, and while it will be tough to come from behind with the short run into the straight, I think that is our best chance,' Cruz said. 'Rocket Man is going to be the hardest to beat but, you know, John Moore's horse Happy Zero looks very well, too.'
Cruz has been back and forth to Singapore all week, and was in the irons at Kranji yesterday to give his international winner his final serious workout. 'Joy And Fun gave me a nice feel on the track this morning, but he's always a very relaxed horse anyway and he wasn't asked to do too much,' he said. 'We just quickened up the last 200 metres to the post, and that will have him ready for Sunday.
'Everything is going OK, and obviously we were very pleased to draw barrier four. I think he can be positioned in the leading pack; he is in good form after his win in Dubai and I'm hoping for another big run.'
It will take a big run from all three Hong Kong gallopers to upstage Rocket Man on his home track - with trainer Patrick Shaw delighted with his star's final workout yesterday.
'It was just what he needed, he had a nice blowout and his work is now done,' Shaw said. 'He has drawn a good gate, Robbie can decide whether to lead or sit outside Gold Trail, who looks like he will be pushing the early pace.
'We'll go into the race with a plan A, B and C, but at the end of the day all we want is a clear run.'
Rocket Man has been installed a $1.70 favourite in overseas fixed odds markets, with Happy Zero $3.50 second elect. Joy And Fun is listed around the $10 mark with the Caspar Fownes-trained Green Birdie at $12.