Confident Cruz's timely double repels Size charge
A late double to leading trainer Tony Cruz helped him keep the end of season charge of John Size at bay for another meeting as Helene Witty and Pure Champion fought back in the closing events to halt Size's earlier treble.
Size's winners took him to within seven of the trainers' premiership leader, but Cruz pulled a couple of late tricks from his own sleeve to repel the surge and keep a comfortable buffer of nine wins between himself and last season's champion trainer.
'I think as long as my horses continue to race well, it will be very hard for either John Moore or John Size to catch up now with only five meetings left,' Cruz said.
'Pure Champion has been due to win for a long time now and finally got some luck, while Helene Witty should never have been the odds he was, as I expected him again to run very strongly.'
Helene Witty was expertly rated by Matthew Chadwick, as he set about making the Audemars Piguet Handicap (1800m) a procession of follow the leader with some soft early sectional times. 'I must have been the only one expecting Helene Witty to win again, I was very surprised by his odds,' Cruz said. 'Matthew went to the front from gate seven, he dictated, and he won. I expected that would happen and the plan went perfectly.'
Cruz called on the man of the minute, Douglas Whyte, to reverse some luckless rides on Pure Champion, who finally saluted to claim his first win and help Cruz score his 800th career win. 'I was expecting Pure Champion to win the previous two starts, in one [Weichong] Marwing missed his opportunity, and last time with Matthew [Chadwick] the door shut in his face and they ran into trouble,' Cruz said.
'The handicappers actually put him up five points for running fifth that day, why crucify a horse for running fifth? You rarely get five points for running second.
'Anyway, we were expecting this horse to win today regardless, and he was overdue for a change of luck.'
Whyte was happy to play the role of 'Johnny on the spot' and gladly took the ride from barrier one, box seating behind the leaders and making sure of a 1 1/2-length win to cap his day.