CRUZ LIKES SOUND OF GOOD WORDS
Tony Cruz extended his lead in the trainer's championship as Good Words claimed the feature Japan Racing Association Trophy last night and he predicted a future in Group racing for the four-year-old.
'I'm very happy with this horse: he's won four races for the season and tonight he really just lived up to his form from the last time he won,' Cruz said after the gelding led throughout under Matthew Chadwick to score by almost two lengths and take his rating into triple figures and Cruz to a six-win lead in the title race. 'He's improving and we will see where he can take himself. I doubt that he has Group One ability but I'd say he's a chance to win a Group Three.'
Birthday boy Vincent Ho Chak-yiu turned 21 yesterday and celebrated with a winning double, on Best Win for his boss Caspar Fownes, and later the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Amityship.
Best Win was making his first appearance since October after suffering quarter crack issues and Fownes said he was not at his top for the modest Class Three last night but squeezed out a win after Ho made the decision to go forward early.
'That's not really the way we are going to see the best of him, I think he'll be better held up, but Vincent did the right thing - they were walking, he made the choice to lead and it was the right one,' Fownes said. 'I think Best Win is pretty smart but the problem with his leg has held him back. He wasn't fit tonight and will improve a lot for it but when I look at the programme there isn't a lot left for him.'
Fownes made it a double when Tye Angland summed up the pace on Private Road to sit outside the lead and the five-year-old repaid the move with a win at surprising 31-1 odds. 'I was amazed, after he's been one of the favourites most of his races all season and then he was long odds tonight,' Fownes said. 'Tye handled it well, the on-pace runners have done well all night and the horse is limited but two wins and some placings, he's paid his way.'
Yiu also had a winning double with his earlier success, Superior Warrior giving Alex Lai Hoi-wing an uncomfortable ride in the lead after the saddle shifted forward in the early stages. 'I think it happened on the first turn and Alex had to sit on the horse's neck most of the way - nine times out of 10 they get beaten when that happens,' Yiu said. 'When Alex came back, the first thing he looked at after the winning post was to make sure the lead bag was still there.'
Andreas Schutz will get to train Sonofthewest (Mark Du Plessis) for another season after his breakthrough win in the Class Five opener.
'He had a light weight in the weakest class and only won narrowly but he has been quite immature and I think he can improve next season,' the trainer said. 'He has definitely shown more ability in the mornings than in his races. With that in mind, there's every reason to think he can win a couple more as a five-year-old.'
Honest sprinter Master Rio got everything in his favour to win again on a night when gate one was gold, at least in the first half of the card when races two, three and four were won from their. 'He is honest: gate one, some cut in the ground and a good pace and he had everything he needed to win one,' said jockey Olivier Doleuze.