California Memory will be even better over the longer trip, insists Cruz
You didn't need the 3D goggles being demonstrated by the sponsors to see California Memory was going to win the feature Panasonic Cup (1,400m) for trainer Tony Cruz and jockey Matthew Chadwick.
The French import loomed ominously at the 200m mark, before over-powering the brave leader Aashiq to claim his biggest Hong Kong win at his fourth start.
California Memory has now scooped more than HK$1.7 million in prize money for his two owners, and Cruz is itching to get his flying grey up to a mile - where he believes his horse will prove even better.
'I'll definitely try and find a race over a mile for him next time, I believe he'll be even better over the longer trip, because he will be able to travel more comfortably in the run,' Cruz said.
'He's run up to expectations today, he had a light weight with 111 pounds, drew a fantastic alley and I expected him to accelerate the way he did over the final stages.
'He's been able to run down a very good 1,400m horse today, but he'll be better suited over further. I'm so happy for the owners because they really look to have a decent horse.'
Chadwick gave the four-year-old a charmed ride along the rails, extricating his horse at the top of the straight to mow down the Paul O'Sullivan-trained pair of Aashiq and Berio in the final 100m.
O'Sullivan is yet to chalk a winner on the board this term, but this feature may prove to be the writing on the wall that the quiet achiever from New Zealand is ready to step onto centre stage.
Chadwick was also of the opinion that California Memory would be suited over further, purely for the slightly slower early tempo.
'In 1,400m races they travel a bit too fast for him to be truly comfortable,' Chadwick said. 'It's not that he can't keep up early, it's more probably that he's around his limit for racing on the bit.
'Over 1,600m he'll just travel sweetly with the slower tempo and today he's shown he can handle any ground. Today was almost like a sand track, there was a lot of kickback and not much grass cover.'
Earlier in the day, Chadwick pleaded guilty to a charge of careless riding on Redoute Star in finishing second behind Liberator in race five.
The two-day suspension he incurred slightly soured his cup winning afternoon, but the young rider was quick to accept responsibility for his mistake.
'It was a pretty black and white case, I went for a run on the inside as my horse was building revs, then that closed and I had to come back to the outside,' Chadwick said.
Chadwick's suspension will be tacked onto the end of a prior time-out due to start today, and he will not be winning any races until after November 22.
With two wins on the board, California Memory has already racked up this amount: HK$1.7m