TOP jockey Tony Cruz yesterday attacked the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club's policy towards local riders. ''No one gives a damn about us,'' he complained shortly after returning from a successful summer's riding in Europe and North America. Despite the introduction of a local riders' scheme last season, bonus payments and trips abroad, particularly for the apprentices, Cruz said: ''The Club has been very hard on us. ''We get nothing in terms of benefits whereas the foreign riders are either all on contracts or are well looked after as Club jockeys. ''When I was riding in Canada this summer, the American and Canadian jockeys kept coming up and asking me what it was like to ride in Hong Kong as the Jockey Club has actively been out chasing after riders. ''Some may say that it is good for the gambling side of things. But tell me this: which other country in the racing world has this kind of policy? ''What Hong Kong is doing is putting its foot on the head of its local riders.'' Cruz, who narrowly failed to win his sixth riders title when caught close to the end of campaign by Basil Marcus in an epic duel last season, claimed it would be impossible to become champion this time round. ''I've no chance whatsoever,'' he said, shortly after passing his medical. ''It has never been an easy job and the Club is doing none of us any favours with all these outside riders. ''I've no chance of being champion so long as the Club keeps looking for so many good jockeys around the world.'' However, Major General Guy Watkins, the chief executive, responded by highlighting their Club's endeavours on behalf of the home-grown riders, none of whom have ever applied for a retainer. He said: ''The Club has got the interests of local jockeys at heart and does sympathise with any local jockey who wants to get to the top of his profession. ''For this reason we have the conditions races for the local riders. ''There is also a bonus scheme which allows local jockeys to earn extra based on their performance and we do our best to find riding opportunities abroad for them. ''To this extent we even leased horses in England the summer before last to find them more rides. ''Nor has there been any change over the years in the balance between the number of overseas and local riders. The Major added that racing in Hong Kong is an entertainment industry with tens of thousands paying to watch and gamble their hard-earned money. He said: ''To this extent they have some kind of right to top-class riders from overseas as well as to the local jockeys.'' Cruz himself spent the summer riding Group winners in France, Italy and Canada, enjoying 14 wins during the break in racing in the territory. He will ride trackwork today and expects to be riding for most of the local trainers that do not have retained riders.