Bullish Friend 'not ready to take on big boys yet'
Whether up-and-coming sprinter Bullish Friend takes on "the big boys" - as his trainer Tony Cruz calls them - next start in the Group Three Sha Tin Vase is in the hands of the handicapper after the tough three-year-old made it three wins in a row.
This morning's re-assessment of Bullish Friend's rating by Nigel Grey's team could decide what his next start is, after he won by a neck off a mark of 89. Six more ratings points would throw the youngster into the 95+ Group Three in three weeks' time - and looking a live threat down on the limit - while five points would have the gelding remaining in Class Two for now - either way it seemed like Cruz would be happy.
"He is only a three-year-old and I'm not sure he is ready to take on the big boys yet, but let's wait and see what he gets," said Cruz, who had a double on the day to give him 50 wins for the season.
Bullish Friend was still spotting runaway leader Shahjee at least three lengths with 200m to go, but pinned his ears back in the style typical of most of his wins for another gutsy victory - the gelding's sixth in 11 starts.
"I knew I had the leader covered and just took my time," said jockey Matthew Chadwick, who sat one-off trailing in third as apprentice Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin scooted off in front.
"I had to work a bit to get across to there from gate 13 too, so it was a good win all round. It's going to be interesting to see what he gets. If he does get into the Group Three, the weight suits, let's see who could be there. He would be up against some pretty good opposition. If it is a fast run race and he draws a gate, you never know."
Trailing behind Bullish Friend was a strong field, but one which contained a host of disappointments, most notably one-time boom horse Amber Sky. He travelled nicely at his first try around a bend, but when the heat came on in the contest he faded to finish 11th and scoped with blood in his trachea.
Cruz's other winner was Winnie's Horse, a former Darley-trained import who had won two from six in Australia, and took nine starts and a drop of five points to win for his new trainer.
Gerald Mosse went forward from gate 14 on the three-year-old son of Commands and the luck went his way as he ended up in a one off spot, outside the lead and running at a moderate tempo - with the first three horses rounding the bend taking advantage to finish one, two and three.
"It was a perfect ride," Cruz said.
Jockey Richard Fourie was suspended for two days and fined $35,000 for careless riding on King Tai Sing.