Ice-cool Chadwick gets the job done on Happy Forever for nervous Cruz
Happy Forever broke a sweat and trainer Tony Cruz was pulling at his collar, but jockey Matthew Chadwick stayed ice-cool on the three-year-old as he piloted the favourite between runners for a last-to-first win.
Cruz admitted he thought Chadwick had blown his chances by waiting so long to make his move, but the jockey had it all under control and he guided his well-supported mount to a convincing 1 1/4-length win over Tout Va Bien after coming from last on the turn.
'Happy Forever has been a big improver recently, and I told Matthew that you've just got to ride him like Greg Cheyne rode him last time, but Matthew rode him so cool that he was sitting last, and I started sweating a bit,' Cruz said.
'On the turn I was thinking, Matthew, you better give the horse a smack around the backside now, or I'm going to give you a smack around the ass when you get beat.
'Anyway, Matthew knew what he was doing, he came right through and pierced the field, and I was very happy with the horse's performance.'
As Cruz mopped his brow in relief, the trainer was equally happy to see his gelding sweating freely - a sign that all is well with the horse, who had previously been dry-coated and prone to overheating.
'This horse is the only horse in my stable who has had a high temperature twice this season, he was dry coated and couldn't sweat. He also had mucus troubles, and was just a weak individual,' Cruz said. 'But, he seems to have grown out of it now, he has a strong immune system, he's looking better and he's performing great.
'The owners are fantastic owners to train for, and the time was good for a Class Four, so there is some more races in store for them yet.'
More races from improving youngsters like Happy Forever is just what Cruz needs, and yesterday's win formed the first leg of a double which pulled the trainers' premiership arm-wrestle with John Moore back to his favour.
Cruz now leads Moore by one victory and the battle looks set to go right to the wire with just 17 meetings to run until the end of the season - a statistic that has even the ice-cold Chadwick feeling the heat.
'All the pressure is on us now to keep performing,' Chadwick said after combining with Cruz for a double, which included the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup on Super Pistachio.
'I rode Happy Forever quiet, we jumped out a bit tardy, so we just pulled back and waited. I knew at the top of the straight I was going to catch them, he's come on a lot this season and hopefully he can put another one away before the end of the term. He's just a better horse now, the race was still only Class Four, and the pace suited us a treat.'