Perfect timing for title-chasing Cruz to claim honours

Robin Parke

THE perfect timing of Tony Cruz is not confined to race-riding - he also knows exactly when to get aboard a horse that's ready to win.

And that is definitely the case with equitrack star House Honour who has been running above himself on the turf and looks to have the fourth event at Happy Valley tomorrow night almost at his mercy.

House Honour has probably exceeded expectations with his recent performances where he ran two very gutsy placings over 1,400 metres and 1,650 metres, the latter run a one-and-a-quarter-length runner-up to Golden Emperor a week ago.

In a controversial finish, House Honour was the subject of an unsuccessful objection by Alan Munro, rider of third-placed Silver Arrow. In fact, Vicki Choi, apprentice rider of House Honour, had kept a straight course and Silver Arrow had been inconvenienced by unplaced Purple Gold coming out underneath him.

House Honour, however, duly confirmed that he is in great racing heart at the moment and the switch to the equitrack mile is ideal.

He has a great record on the surface, winning at the very first time of asking over the less than suitable short sprint, and following that up last season with two successes from as many starts over tomorrow night's 1,600-metre trip.

Cruz, hunting for the title, is riding in top form at the moment and it will be a surprise if he doesn't get this fellow home. As far as Double Trio punters are concerned, House Honour looks a banker for the first leg of the exotic bet.

There are others involved in this 10-runner event who also have equitrack credentials, with Lucky Knight, Be Glorious and Let It Ride all having demonstrated ability on it.

Be Glorious and Let It Ride may be tested by the trip, although it is worth noting that the former did run second over a mile in his native New Zealand and ran extremely well over 1,400 metres on the surface last time.

Let It Ride never got into a longer sprint on the grass last time out but did win for Danny Brereton over 1,400 metres on equitrack late last season.

Classic Warrior and Swordford have not struck the surface before so there must be reservations about their chances.

Trainer Geoff Lane and stable rider Declan Murphy have had a quietly successful season and their top-weighted Rose Garden must come into the second leg of the DT with very real claims.

The nine-year-old did extremely well to win over a mile on the synthetic surface two starts back before predictably failing over a Sha Tin mile on the grass.

He is at his most effective over as long a trip as possible on the local calendar but will run well here if there is a good fast pace which could be set by Crescendo.

Stayer Fantastic View strikes the surface for the first time but should be taken as a DT leg in the hope that he adjusts to it, while Simple Mind is worth including.

This is a predictably weak Classes Five and Six affair and nothing from the lower grade impresses.