Jockey Matthew Chadwick pointed to California Memory as he crossed the finishing line in today’s Longines HK$22 million Hong Kong Cup, giving the horse all the credit as he scored back-to-back wins in the world’s richest 2,000m turf race.
Chadwick and California Memory made brilliant use of gate one – in a carbon copy of last year – to box seat and then blow his rivals away in the straight. His margin over Giofra flattered the French filly, while Australian Alcopop grabbed third.
“A great little horse,” Chadwick said as he basked in the victory. “It’s all about him. He’s been great to me.
“He put them to bed in three or four strides. It’s unbelievable – the best feeling in the world.”
Trainer Tony Cruz was arguably the proudest person among the 64,000 plus crowd, winning the biggest race on a day dubbed the “turf world championship” by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“It’s a great honour, a privilege to win this race. It’s the biggest race in Hong Kong and the biggest raceday.”
Cruz was super confident after the little grey wonder drew the same ace barrier and told Chadwick to “stay cool and be patient”.
”Last year he tried to come out on the turn and they banged him back in.”
Despite dealing a hiding to some of the best middle-distance horses in the world, Cruz said he would resist travelling the six-year-old overseas again.
“He gets injuries easily and gets sore. That’s why we have to medicate him all the time. We have solved the problems and that’s why he is performing so well this year.
“It’s doubtful I will take him places. He performs better in Hong Kong and we have a sure thing going on here,” Cruz said.