Happy Index delivers double for Cruz
Tony Cruz was buzzing after the performance of exciting prospect Happy Index, after the three-year-old completed the second-half of a double for the trainer at last night's all-dirt meeting at Sha Tin.
After Regency Luck scored his third success of the season, Happy Index led all the way in the Manawatu Racing Club Challenge Trophy (1,200m).
Cruz said Regency Luck, who scraped into the 85-60 Class Three as top weight, would be limited off his new mark, but Happy Index was full of potential.
'He has still got a lot of improvement left, he is still young and is going to get better and better,' Cruz said.
From five starts, Happy Index has now won three, all of them on the all-weather track, and he has shown an ability to take a position with speed early and then kick again late.
Matthew Chadwick rode both of Cruz's winners and backed the trainer's opinion of Happy Index.
'He is still pretty green and is going to get a lot stronger,' Chadwick said.
Douglas Whyte has set a record-breaking pace at the head of the Jockeys' Championship, but had yet to ride a winner on the dirt this season, something he remedied with a double on the John Size-trained I Smell Money and Michael Chang Chun-wai's Flashing Aura.
Trainer Andreas Schutz and jockey Andreas Suborics combined with Suisse D'Or, who claimed his third win this season under a clever ride by the Austrian.
Suborics got going early on the six-year-old after handing up the lead in the middle stages.
'He is a one-paced horse and we both thought that those tactics would be his best chance, and Andreas carried out the plan to perfection,' Schutz said.
Turin Champion is just another Richard Gibson-trained horse to have been turned around by the rookie trainer, who now has 26 wins this term.
The four-year-old was in a ratings freefall when he arrived at Gibson's yard in October, however, he has since won three races, all of them on the inner-track.
Olivier Doleuze produced a similar weaving ride than his last-start win on the gelding when he pushed through a gap late in the Lantau Island Handicap.
'These are the sort of horses that can make your season,' Gibson said.
'He is a very brave horse, he's only small, but each time he has won he has come through a tight gap.'
A strong dirt trial had Manfred Man Ka-leung convinced All Friends would revel on the track, and he was proven right when the grey broke through for his first local win at his eighth start, helped by Brett Prebble's nice ride.
'This horse came here in Class Three and it has taken a drop in grade and a switch to this track to get a win,' Man said.
Tye Angland opened the night with a front-running display on David Hall's Easy Job, who held on at big odds.
Stewards fined Jacky Tong Chi-kit HK$20,000 for dropping his hands on Slick Bullet, who finished sixth in the Lamma Island Handicap.
In other news, the registration of the controversial Double Up Syndicate, who raced the Andy Leung Ting-wah-trained China Good, has been cancelled after a long-running dispute, with stewards ruling that the horse be sold.
Leung was fined HK$250,000 for an improper act in January after stewards found he participated in a vote by the syndicate, which constituted a conflict of interest.
The vote was to decide on the possible transfer of China Good to another stable. Trainers may not participate in such votes. China Good had also been banned from racing until an ownership row had been resolved.
Doleuze was suspended for two meetings for his ride on Jolly Wongchoy and fined HK$40,000.
Umberto Rispoli was also suspended two days for careless riding on Telecom Gogo in the first race.