Cruz has what it takes to secure title: Mosse
French ace Gerald Mosse kissed Hong Kong goodbye for another season, leaving unbeaten sprinter California Choice with a huge wrap and the prediction that his trainer Tony Cruz will be the champion horseman at the end of the season.
The Mosse and Cruz combination dominated in the final fortnight of the rider's contract, racking up seven victories from four meetings, and boosting Cruz to within one of title-leading trainer John Moore.
A double took Moore to 50 wins and helped him maintain his narrow premiership advantage over Cruz, who continues to breathe fire down his neck on 49 victories after wins from California Choice and Space Race.
'I really hope I have helped Tony in his quest to be champion trainer, and I believe he is going to do it,' Mosse said.
'His stable is in form, his horses are all looking very good, and Tony does a great job. We have been friends for over 20 years, ever since he rode as an apprentice in France and I was very pleased to share such great success with Tony.'
Mosse's licence was extended slightly to allow him to fill a void created through Cruz's regular rider Matthew Chadwick's suspension, and the Frenchman made the most of his opportunity, to snaring 31 season wins, seven of which came in the final four meetings.
The biggest impression, however, was left by his last winner.
'California Choice really impressed me, he felt like a superstar horse, a very, very nice horse,' Mosse said.
'He has so much class, with really good mentality, good ability, and felt like a real professional who was just waiting for runner-up Shining Victory, and he still had something inside.
'In my opinion, he's a pure sprinter, and of course, he will most likely get 1,200 metres. At the moment, I really would not try to make him run a turn or extend him in trip, but definitely he will be able to do that.'
Cruz could only smile as California Choice dominated his opposition for the fourth consecutive time - powering past Shining Victory to record a three-quarter-length win, with 21/2 lengths back to third.
'That's probably one of the best rides California Choice has ever had, and I think he has serious ability and is a Group horse at this distance for sure,' Cruz said.
'As we all know, he has those breathing problems, but he's run good time again today, almost a second inside standard, and has shown he loves the straight.
'I don't dare to go any further with him at the moment because he is so brilliant over the 1,000 metres, so we'll find another race for him down the straight next month and keep him moving upwards.
'I won't back him up next week in the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy, but I do think he will measure up to that standard in the future.'