Memory's desert raid still on cards

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2012, 12:00am


Tony Cruz will forge ahead with his Dubai plans for California Memory, despite the gallant grey pulling up sore after a disappointing third in Sunday's Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup.

California Memory loomed behind Ambitious Dragon, but didn't produce his usual sprint when running home, and yesterday morning's routine check-up by Cruz revealed why.

Cruz said the six-year-old had 'sore joints and back problems', but was relieved there was an excuse for the uncharacteristic performance under the guidance of Matthew Chadwick.

'He didn't pull up so well, so at least there was a reason to the way he ran,' Cruz said. 'He didn't come home like he should. I knew there was something amiss with him after he couldn't hold on to second place. He went past Xtension and that horse came back on him.

'I'm sure of his problems and next time he runs he will be free from it.'

The trainer is determined to push on to the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free (1,800m) at Meydan on March 31, a target that looks slightly more alluring now that his nemesis, Ambitious Dragon, appears unlikely to head abroad.

'It is easy to see the issues and we can easily fix him up. He is still heading to Dubai,' Cruz said. 'I think the 1,800m on the turf will suit him perfectly. We'll give him a few days off first, and then we'll look at the problems.'

A trip to the desert showpiece, where he would likely face John Moore's Xtension, would mark California Memory's second overseas foray after he was eighth in last year's Singapore Airlines International Cup. The gelding collected his biggest victory when he won the Hong Kong Cup at the end of last year.