Patience finally pays off
Tony Cruz was relieved to see the long winless streak of Perfect Fit end with a Class Four victory, declaring the horse wasn't just a dirt tracker as it formed the first half of a double for the trainer.
Perfect Fit won three straight on Sha Tin's all-weather course in 2009-10, but hadn't saluted since.
The horse has now won four from 33, but as Cruz pointed out: 'The owners have been waiting for a long time - for nearly two years in fact, with the last victory in February 2010.'
After 16 starts last term and another six without victory this season, Cruz admits connections were beginning to get restless.
But with Vincent Ho Chak-yiu replacing the suspended Matthew Chadwick and barrier one, the five-year-old was able to score a three-quarter length win, his first on the turf.
'He is not just a dirt horse,' Cruz said. 'Everybody was surprised, but he can run on the turf.'
After the initial success, Cruz said the horse had simply found himself out of his grade.
'He just wasn't good enough anymore,' he said. 'But back in Class Four, he is on his home ground and his last run was good - he was fifth but only beaten two lengths.'
Cruz pointed to the horse's successful Australian sire Commands and that horse's ability to produce adaptable progeny who can run on all surfaces.
It was just the fourth time Cruz and Ho had combined and their first win together.
Cruz's second win of the day was with All Victory, who scored as a well-found $2.9 favourite in a Class Four (1,200m).
Gerald Mosse dictated proceedings after jumping from gate three, leading all the way on the four-year-old, who now has a record of three wins from 11 starts.
'That was an easy win, he was on automatic,' Mosse said. 'In the straight they pushed me but he fought back and responded. He is very honest.'
Cruz said he was forgiving of the horse's last-start fourth at his first try on the dirt.
'He didn't accept the kick-back, but once he got the clear run, he was coming home very strongly,' the trainer said. 'I think it was just his inexperienced on the dirt, that was all. Today he was back to the 1,200m and he was brilliant.
'I had been trying him over 1,400m but it might have been too far, I think 1,200 metres is his pet distance.
Cruz maintained clear second in the trainers' title, the two wins taking him to 24, within seven of leader John Size (31).