Regency aces bring Cruz double joy
On a night when the skill of jockeys was celebrated, it was former champion hoop Tony Cruz who stole some of the limelight as a trainer with a 'Regency double' at Happy Valley.
And the six-time Hong Kong jockeys' premiership-winning Cruz was taking at least some of the credit for the winning rides aboard Regency Luck and Regency Winner, as they saluted in contrasting styles.
Matthew Chadwick, who snared a double of his own when he booted home Osvaldo in the last, was directed to surge forward from barrier nine on Regency Luck and 'serve it up' odds-on favourite Elusive Prince in the Europe Handicap (1,200m).
Cruz's former apprentice Chadwick produced a typically aggressive ride and did just that, propelling the tough five-year-old into Class Two and taking his record to two wins from seven starts.
'This horse had minor mucous issues last start, but he is over them now,' Cruz said. 'That's exactly how I wanted the horse ridden because I knew he was fit enough and I believe in him.'
Frankie Dettori then produced a masterful ride on Regency Winner to claim the International Jockeys' Championship and made sure it was a memorable night for the 'Regency' owners Wong Shun Yuen and Wong Shing Ngai.
On a front-runners track, Dettori found himself well back but wove a dramatic passage from the rear to win a Class Three Handicap (1,650m).
'I told Frankie that this horse hasn't got much speed, ride a patient race, get back on the inside and then wait for the straight,' Cruz said.
The most progressive-looking winner of the night looked to be Gamekeepers, which continued the unstoppable trainer-jockey combination of John Size and Douglas Whyte.
An athletic three-year-old Private Purchase Griffin, Gamekeepers made it back-to-back wins with a wire-to-wire effort in a Class Four Handicap (1,200m).
'He's making good progress,' said an impressed Size. 'He got an easy lead but he finished off nicely. I think he'll handle the jump to Class Two alright ... there's still a lot of improvement in him.'
The Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Travel Guide was one horse who benefited from the influx of riding talent for the International Jockeys' Championship by drawing the legendary Dettori.
Travel Guide has lived up to his name so far this season, with his jockeys giving him thorough tours of the wide reaches of tracks.
Dettori let the seven-year-old got straight to the front from gate six and then rated the horse perfectly as he ran away for a dominant Class Four (1,650m) win, which is just his fourth success in 47 starts - all of the victories having come at this course and distance.Kiwi apprentice James MacDonald had to resort to 'plan B' on the John Moore-trained Sunny More, but came away looking like a Hong Kong veteran with his calm come-form-behind ride in a Class Four Handicap (1,650m).
'Plan A was to go forward, but that didn't work out, so we went to plan B and went back,' he said.
Sunny More ended up three back the fence, peeled at just the right time and got the most out of the four-year-old who did well to round up long-priced leader Bumper Strike.