All systems go for Dubai raid in a Flash
Beauty Flash threw down the gauntlet for the Dubai Duty Free and even Horse of the Year honours yesterday as he again defied the expectations of many to claim a third successive Group One - and this time he did it the tough way.
Unable to get closer than three wide from the outside gate, Gerald Mosse paid tribute to the Tony Cruz-trained five-year-old's courage after he held off Sunny King (Olivier Doleuze) to win the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m) and prove himself worthy for a trip to Meydan.
'The question mark today was coming back in distance from the mile to 1,400m because it is a different race, a different kind of speed,' Mosse said. 'He has natural speed at 1,600m and he gets the front easily, but today they were a little bit fast for him early and he didn't get the lead. But I just respected the horse and went with him where he could be comfortable in the pace and that put me in a perfect place to increase my speed. I gradually picked up and when I ask him to give, he always answers. When he changed legs, he was ready to fight anyone.'
Odds-on favourite Lucky Nine (Brett Prebble) had all the advantages, racing immediately inside Beauty Flash and with cover, but he simply didn't kick, despite holding on for third.
'He's the best horse in Hong Kong, but he's feeling something - he didn't give me a kick at all,' said Prebble. 'That just isn't him.'
Cruz said it was all systems go for Dubai and the US$5 million Duty Free (1,800m) on March 26 now.
'The way I visualised this race today, everything turned out as I expected,' he said.
'The left handed way of going in Dubai won't be a problem - as a young horse in New Zealand, he raced well that way. He has grown out of any internal bleeding problems and is just racing so well. The way he's going, I think he has to be favourite to be Horse of the Year doesn't he? He's the only one to win three Group Ones for the season.'
Cruz has had several runners in the Duty Free in the past without success and the rest of them were Bullish Luck, fifth in 2006, and Floral Pegasus, seventh in 2008.
'I think Beauty Flash is a better horse than Floral Pegasus - he is much more relaxed, while Floral Pegasus had a mind of his own,' Cruz said.
'That is going to help him going into a race like that. He has the speed to take a position, especially at 1,800m, and fights hard.'
John Moore came up empty with his three runners in the Group One, but is eyeing off a possible late move for Dubai with the eight-year-old Sunny King.
The gelding has chased home Beauty Flash twice lately, on either side of his win in Class One last start, and Moore is thinking to strike while he is in such great form and join stablemate Dim Sum in the Golden Shaheen (1,200m).
'A race like the Golden Shaheen might suit him - back to 1,200m but with speed on,' Moore said.
'He's going so well, this is the chance to take a crack at something overseas.'
A late entry for the race today would cost connections US$20,000.
Moore's other pair, One World (Darren Beadman, fourth) and Let Me Fight (Douglas Whyte, eighth) never really looked like threatening.
'I thought Let Me Fight might get a soft lead and that didn't really eventuate with Chater Way going forward outside him and Darren said he had no option but to take off early on One World on the turn when Good Ba Ba came around him,' Moore said. 'That's not really the sort of scenario that suits him as he likes to be held up.'
Total prize money for the Dubai Duty Free - the world's richest turf race: US$5m