Cruz hopes Beauty Flash can turn tables with gun draw in Duty Free
Alan Aitken in Dubai
If the barrier draw for tomorrow night's US$5 million Dubai Duty Free is any guide, then the tide is swinging back around to Hong Kong trainer Tony Cruz.
The Cruz-trained Beauty Flash came up with a perfect barrier two draw for the 1,800m race and that is a nice contrast with most of Cruz's past experience in the desert centre, where he finished third with Bullish Luck in the World Cup in 2007 - but his best Duty Free effort was fifth with the same horse the year before.
Beauty Flash has risen sharply in Cruz's estimation, to the point where he is even comparing him with his former champion miler Bullish Luck, and the Duty Free holds out the chance to take that mantle altogether.
'Most of the time, I've had bad draws in this race. Bullish Luck came a couple of times and always drew wide - I think one year I had both him and Russian Pearl in the Duty Free and they drew 15 and 16,' Cruz recalled. 'But Beauty Flash has the right draw and I think that you have to think of him as being as good as Bullish Luck. Not many horses ever win three Group Ones in a row, and one of them an international race.'
That year with the two outside gates was also the year that the track played strongly to leaders on World Cup night and the two Cruz runners were backmarkers, to add insult to injury, but there is a growing view this time not only will Beauty Flash be suited by the low draw but that on the pace might be the place to be in a field filled with run-ons.
'Beauty Flash will be doing his usual thing and saying catch me if you can. The tempo should suit - he'll be up there on the pace straight away from two and then we know how hard he is to get past,' Cruz said. 'He is a real professional, better than he was before when he travelled overseas to Japan and he couldn't be in any better form.'
Cruz admits the step to 1,800m was not a successful one when Beauty Flash was a four-year-old, but he doesn't expect it to be too high a hurdle for the chestnut now.
'I suppose if he gets beaten, then maybe it would be because he is stretching out to 1,800m after winning at a mile and 1,400m, but he is stronger this year, very relaxed, and he is by Golan, who finished second at 2,400m in the best of class behind Galileo,' Cruz said. 'I expect him to run the distance out.'
Cruz said the timing of the Dubai meeting was ideal for Beauty Flash, who has a clear path laid out ahead of him for the remainder of the season.
'It all just falls into line. The Champions Mile will be his next race and then I want to go back to the Yasuda Kinen in Japan with him,' he said.
Reports also continue to be bullish from the John Moore yard with respect to Golden Shaheen runner, Sunny King. The eight-year-old would be the first of that age group to win the race if he is successful and Darren Beadman, who rides stablemate Dim Sum, was positive after working Sunny King yesterday.
'The way he feels in his work, I'd have to say I think he's a better horse going the left-handed direction here than he is going right-handed in Hong Kong,' he added.