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  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 4:16am
SportRacing

Fast-learner Chadwick gets top marks from Cruz

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 December, 2012, 2:44am

Former champion jockey turned top-class trainer Tony Cruz remembers the time Matthew Chadwick turned up at his yard as a trainee apprentice, even before he went to Australia to be taught the fundamentals of race riding.

Cruz was once first rider for the Aga Khan in France and is acknowledged as far and away the greatest riding talent Hong Kong has produced, but his former apprentice, Chadwick, has been forced to carry the heavy banner of potentially the next best since he began riding in Hong Kong.

"He couldn't ride. He couldn't ride at all when he was my trainee," Cruz said. "So I had to teach him whatever I could before he headed to Australia and what I drummed into him was professionalism. Because I had lived my life as a jockey, dedicated to being a jockey, I told him what his life as a jockey was going to be - he couldn't have a normal young person's life of partying and late nights and drinking.

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise. But one thing about Matthew - you tell him something once and he remembers."

After Chadwick's copybook display to take the Hong Kong Cup for the second year running on California Memory, the trainer paid the young jockey credit and said he had let no one down so far, but the best was still to come.

"I think the first day he came back to me and rode here, he won a double," Cruz said. "He outrode his apprenticeship faster than anyone had, so there have been big expectations on Matthew by other people - he's not a boaster or a show-off. He's still only a young jockey, only 22, and like all of us he is learning every day, but he's learning fast because he's so professional."

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