My stayer deserves to be in classic field: Cruz
Trainer Derek Cruz will plead his case to handicapper Nigel Gray this morning to see how improving four-year-old stayer Wrath Of Fire can find his way into the Derby after the gelding won again.
Wrath Of Fire (Gerald Mosse) was listed as the first reserve for the Group One Classic Cup 30 minutes later, but had to make do with the third win from his past four starts in a Class Three over the same course and distance.
Rated off 73, he would have been 40 pounds out of the handicaps in the main event but Cruz was ruing missing a start.
'I really wanted to get a run in the Group One race to prove that this horse will perform against the Derby horses - he is a real stayer and, as we are seeing now, there are some horses with bigger ratings who aren't going to stay the Derby distance. My horse will,' said Cruz after a tough effort by Wrath Of Fire to stave off late closers Same World and Jamesina at the end of the 1,800m.
'Wrath Of Fire has run a faster time than the Group One race today and I believe that if he'd had 2,000m to run in, he would have bolted in, no matter what was in it.
'He is flying and I'll be on the phone to the handicapper on Monday to see what we can do.'
With so many ratings points to find, Cruz's best option will be to plead his case for a seven-point rating rise that would allow Wrath Of Fire to run against quite a few other Derby hopefuls on March 4 in the 105-80 Class One designed as a lead-up to the classic on March 18, where a good showing might persuade club officials to overlook the shortfall in figures.
The win was certainly worth more than the head margin at the finish, with Wrath Of Fire ridden closer by the senior jockey Mosse than in recent starts with Keith Yeung Ming-lun.
'Keith won twice on him and he did nothing wrong, but I told the owners we needed a stronger jockey to have the horse closer than last time when getting too far back cost him the win,' Cruz said. 'Gerald had him much handier and I think he was in exactly the right place today. He idled a bit when he was in front and he's probably better with something to chase. I really hope we can get him to the Derby. He's like a Super Satin kind of Derby horse, winning his way through the classes instead of coming through the Group Ones but I have no doubt he is up to that level.'