Cruz sees positives despite loss as Memory eyes Gold Cup defence
Ambitious Dragon's rivals will have no option but to take him on again in the Gold Cup next month, but California Memory's trainer Tony Cruz said he will be more positive looking to defend the grey's crown in that race after a flashing third yesterday.
'Going into the race, it was hard to be too confident - California Memory just hasn't got the early speed for 1,600m. I was very happy with his run,' Cruz (pictured) said after the Stewards' Cup. 'I was sure he'd be in the finish this time but he's better suited by 2,000m in the Gold Cup.' Jockey Matthew Chadwick said California Memory was outsped early, even without a red-hot pace on, and he had to give away too much start easing his way to the outside.
'He couldn't go with them early and was back last. With hindsight, runs did open up near the inside but I was sitting behind a 100-1 chance, Handsome Zulu, if I did stay there and rode for luck and I thought the better idea was to make sure I got into clear room on the outside,' Chadwick said.
'I think his sectionals would have been sensational after standing them up so much start and he's run fantastic. He just wants further.'
John Moore lined up five of the opposition runners against Ambitious Dragon in the Stewards' Cup and had to settle for second with Xtension, but he was happy with the efforts of most of his runners.
'I thought Xtension did well. He had a slight setback after his trial so finishing second was a good effort and we'll take the winner on again,' Moore said.
'When he is on song, Ambitious Dragon does look like he's too good for everyone at the moment but you have to take them on.'
Moore's Destined For Glory pulled up with blood in his trachea, while Hong Kong Mile winner, Able One, was disappointing but the trainer said he will be scoped and vetted to see if there was any issue.
'Irian had a very tough run from the wide draw and had Outdoor Pegasus bumping into him along the way so I think we can overlook that and I thought Mighty High was OK,' Moore said.
'He was caught wide and he didn't do a bad job running seventh. We know that the mile is too short for him and he's going to be better in the Gold Cup, and even the Champions & Chater later in the season, but that was all right today and he looks like he is on the way back to top form.'
Caspar Fownes said fourth-placed Thumbs Up had run up to expectations and sixth-placed Let Me Handle It had run a 'blinder'.
'I know there is more to come with Let Me Handle It, he is a better horse than we've seen yet, so I wanted to just throw him into one of these where he is a little out of his depth on face value and see how he did and he ran terrific. There is a really good race in him,' Fownes said.
'Thumbs Up ran great again. I expected him to be around the placings and he didn't let anyone down.'