Hong Kong-trained horses dominate short event, filling first five placings If the visitors thought they were in for the spoils in a Silent Witness-free Hong Kong Sprint, their illusions were mercilessly dashed as local horses dominated the $10 million event as never before, headed by former Macau speed demon Natural Blitz. Hong Kong-trained horses filled the first five placings in the Sprint with Natural Blitz's dazzling display of sustained speed giving Derek Cruz his finest training triumph and his first Group One success. 'It's a great feeling, and yes, it's quite emotional for me. To my father [Johnny Cruz], my brother [Tony] and the whole family, thank you. These Group Ones are very hard to win and I've finally won one,' Cruz said. Natural Blitz, ridden by South African Glyn Schofield, jumped straight to the lead and was never seriously challenged, going on to win in brilliant fashion from Planet Ruler, Able Prince, Country Music and Cape Of Good Hope. It was the five-year-old's second attempt at the event after running a gallant third to Silent Witness last year when prepared by Macau trainer Malcolm Thwaites. Following that effort, owner Danny Lam Yin-kee decided to keep Natural Blitz in Hong Kong and, after a stint with Danny Shum Chap-shing, joined the Cruz stable during the summer break. 'When he first came to me, he had a number of problems, particularly with his feet. And there were shoeing problems as well. Once we got that right, he started to improve,' Cruz explained. Natural Blitz convinced Cruz he was coming back to form with a sound third to Planet Ruler in the Sprint Trial three weeks ago and a minor change in riding instructions to Schofield brought the desired result. 'In the International Sprint Trial, he kept to the inside and I felt the ground next to the rail might have been a bit slower,' Cruz said. 'I said to Glyn, today, to let him drift away from the rail, more to the centre of the track. It's all worked out perfectly.' It was Schofield's second international success following the victory of River Dancer in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup last year and the South African said landing this victory was a lot easier work. 'The surprise of the race was that there was no real pressure in the early stages, unlike the International Sprint Trial when Billet Express went very hard at his first start in blinkers,' he said. 'Today, I left him drift a bit toward the centre of the track, as Derek and I had agreed, and they left him alone. They were probably all waiting for Natural Blitz to take them into the race, and I was holding on to him for as long as I could because he's not that strong in the last 100m. 'In the end, they left me with a tank full of petrol and he was just too good for them.' The beaten brigade where left without excuses with Able Prince's trainer John Moore happy with the gelding's effort under Douglas Whyte. 'I'm very pleased with his performance, being placed in a Hong Kong Sprint is a great effort from the horse. There are no excuses, all credit to Natural Blitz and Derek Cruz. But that placing is about as good as my horse is,' he said. Although a beaten favourite at his fourth attempt at the race, Cape Of Good Hope again ran courageously with trainer David Oughton believing the seven-year-old needs a shade longer to be winning at the elite level. 'He's just that bit older and it seems that, at this stage of his career, 1,000 metres is just a bit too sharp for him. He really wants 1,200 metres to be truly effective,' he said.