Cruz hails apprentice as Floral Pegasus graduates to Class One company Tony Cruz unveiled his third December strike weapon, to join the elite ranks of Bullish Luck and Silent Witness, when progressive four-year-old Floral Pegasus stylishly fulfilled his prophecy, graduating to Class One company in the Agate Handicap. Cruz, who was six-times champion jockey during his glory days in the saddle, also affirmed his commitment to boosting the careers of the apprentice jockeys after a perfect display from 23-year-old claimer Jacky Tong Chi-kit on the winner. Floral Pegasus, a handsome chestnut colt by the 2000 Kentucky Derby hero Fusaichi Pegasus, enjoyed the run of the race in third place before challenging at the 300 metres and setting up a winning break. Tong resisted the temptation to go for the whip but kept Floral Pegasus going by some cross reining and changes of his hands - just as Cruz has taught him - and the late rush of runner-up Firm Offer came much too late to be of concern. 'I've always had a good opinion of this horse, and from his earliest races I always believed he would make a Class One horse,' Cruz said. 'Today, Jacky has handled him very well and it just goes to show what these apprentices can do when given the opportunity. The most important thing is that they ride the horses the way I want them ridden. If they'll do that, especially given their weight allowances, they can beat the more experienced senior jockeys.' Cruz said although this was the most important test to date for Floral Pegasus, he never considered taking the seven-pound claimer off and replacing him with a senior jockey. 'Jacky won on the horse for me at Happy Valley first-up this season, and he did exactly as I asked of him there,' Cruz said. 'For that reason, it was absolutely the right thing to do to stick with him, and I had every confidence he would get the job done again today.' For Tong, who turns 24 on November 17, winning the Class One race was not only a dream come true, but a bigger relief than many might have imagined. 'It may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I hadn't won a race on the turf at Sha Tin for well over a year,' he said. 'I remember the horse - it was Toffee for the boss [Caspar Fownes] in May last year. 'I have to thank Mr Cruz so much for the opportunities he is giving me and the other apprentices. It's just wonderful going out to ride a good horse like this and knowing you are on one that can really win the race.' Cruz explained that confidence is the 'X-factor' in his current run of success with the junior riders. 'Once they start riding with confidence, it becomes a whole new ball game,' he added. Firm Offer (Anthony Delpech) staged an enormous performance to get second prize off leader Tchaikovsky, while still 11/2 lengths in arrears of Floral Pegasus when the judge called a halt in the fast time of 1:21.3.