Now that's the start for a better year, beams trainer Derek Cruz and Weichong Marwing opened the new year with a bang as Joy And Fun grabbed the big race reward he has long deserved in yesterday's Chinese Club Challenge Cup (1,400m) to put icing on the New Year cake for trainer and jockey. Cruz had registered five wins in total for the season and Marwing only a single victory, but the pair combined with Joy And Fun to take the feature as part of a big afternoon, Marwing back with a double and the Jockey Challenge, while Cruz was landing his first treble in over five years in Joy And Fun, Ocean Prince (Marwing) and Kildare (Howard Cheng Yue-tin). Coincidentally, Cruz's last treble on May 1, 2003, also came courtesy of wins by Marwing and Cheng. 'Now that's the start for a better year,' laughed Cruz as the ever-consistent Joy And Fun won his fifth race over the Sha Tin 1,400m and his eight overall from 26 starts in taking the traditional year-opening trophy. 'You know, coming back from the Hong Kong Mile at Group One level to this, I was confident that Joy And Fun had to be competitive again. He's the best horse in the yard and has always been one of my favourites, so this is fantastic. Probably 1,400m is his best distance, but the big races are mostly at the mile so he has to run in those races and will go to the Stewards' Cup again next time. 'I've been quite happy with how the yard is coming along with some young horses coming through and hopefully we can keep the ball rolling,' he added. Cruz tweaked the screws on Joy And Fun by reapplying side winkers and it proved a key move. 'At 1,600m he would get a bit keen with the side winkers, but coming back to 1,400m they just sharpen him up to be able to go the speed of the race,' he said. Cruz has his sights set on features with Kildare, too, after the New Zealand import won again in scintillating style on his return to the straight 1,000m course. 'He won well here, then was just beaten a nose with a big weight and this seems his trip for now,' Cruz said. 'He looks like he should run 1,200m or 1,400m but when you run him there, he sprints and goes whoosh to put himself in the race but doesn't finish it off.' The win by almost three lengths off a rating of 81 will have caught the attention of the handicapper, but Cruz won't be too concerned as he intends to take Kildare to good class company in the Bauhinia Sprint (1,000m) next start on January 10. 'I will see what the handicapper does with him tomorrow, but the Bauhinia is a 90-plus race and it looks like the target if I want to keep him at this distance and I do,' Cruz said. For Marwing, the successful day - which included several placings on rides replacing the injured Darren Beadman - came at an ideal time to back up his application for a club jockey licence after his retainership with Ricky Yiu Poon-fie ended in recent days and, to rub salt into the wounds, Ocean Prince nosed out the Yiu-trained Fishking Excellent to win the fifth. 'His two runs at Happy Valley were good and I felt he was ready to come here,' said Cruz. 'I agonised over whether to run at 1,200m or 1,400m and I'm glad I went the right way. The horse is a big strider and I think he'll stay all day later and he needed every inch of the 1,400m to get to the front. 'If he'd run at 1,200m, he would have been beaten. Weichong said Ocean Prince is still green and looking around at everything so there's plenty of improvement there.'