Dual feature wins and a career-best five-timer made it a day to remember for Tony Cruz yesterday but it was all about the future when raw talent Fionesay did everything wrong but still scored in Class Three.
As well as Blazing Speed’s Group One success and Peniaphobia’s return to form when winning a Group Three, Cruz produced a form turnaround with Beauty Love and even bagged a stable quinella when Full Glory beat General Sherman over 1,800m.
Jockey Neil Callan was then forced to earn every cent of his riding fee on Fionesay as the three-year-old seemed intent on throwing away victory in a race named after Cruz’s former champion California Memory.
“I had to work overtime to get him around the turn and then keep him going,” Callan said of the monster gelding.
Fionesay, who was listed as weighing a whopping 1,243 pounds for yesterday’s race, had competed four times on right-handed tracks in Australia and started twice for Cruz, but clearly still has plenty to learn.
“He is a big baby, just really dopey,” said Callan, who was forced to slap the son of Rothesay on the shoulder around the bend to stop him from hanging. “Then when he straightened he changed his legs and lost his balance. Once he got going again he was fine – he just doesn’t know how to race.”
“Given all of that, you would think he would be a nice horse next season, once he works out where to put his feet. He has done that on raw ability and there is plenty of scope there.”
A 19-pound weight pull edged the fast-finishing Full Glory past race favourite General Sherman in the sixth, a Class Three over 1,800m, with winning jockey Alvin Ng Ka-chun relishing the chance to put one over Joao Moreira on the runner-up.
Ng wasn’t gloating post-race though, and pointed to a solid tempo as the reason for the French import’s first win in 13 local starts.
“They did go a good pace, which the horse enjoyed and because they ran along and he was able to finish the race off well. It was a great day for the stable,” Ng said.
Vincent Ho Chak-yiu was having his first race ride on Beauty Love as the three-year-old came off an inexplicably bad performance when last at Happy Valley.
“He was so relaxed today,” Ho said. I was worried that he might pull coming back to 1,600m but I was able to use the long run down the back straight to take him to the front slowly.”