Cruising was narrowly beaten in his Hong Kong debut, but he showed it won’t be long until he lands a first win in his new home.
The Benno Yung Tin-pang-trained three-year-old won two starts in Australia before making the move north and he took out two trials in the build-up to Sunday’s contest at Sha Tin.
That is not an extensive preparation and some astute observers thought Cruising would need the run after seeing him in the parade ring ahead of the Class Three Members Cup (1,200m).
The son of Danerich had shown pace in both of his barrier trials and jockey Umberto Rispoli settled him second behind Prince Harmony in transit.
Cruising hit the front at the top of the straight and was joined by the favourite Alcari with the two of them settling down to battle out the race.
They each took turns hitting the front and the other one responded, with Alcari eventually prevailing by a nose, but it was a terrific effort from Cruising and he will take plenty of benefit out of it.
“He will be a nice horse, he will have a good career in Hong Kong,” Rispoli said. “First time out in Class Three is tough – his inexperience cost him.”
Another to impress in their Hong Kong debut was the Tony Cruz-trained Stimulation, who came second in the Class Two Happy Valley Clubhouse Handicap.
The four-year-old son of Deep Impact was a Group Three winner over 1,600m in France as a two-year-old before taking out 2,400m Listed contest at three.
Stimulation had only competed in three 1,200m trials before making his debut, so he faced a solid test stepping out over 1,800m for his first race at Sha Tin.
Pikachu takes his earnings to HK$9.4m with a strong win under apprentice Victor Wong in the fourth. The first son of Deep Impact in training in Hong Kong, Stimulation, was second at his local debut #HKRacing pic.twitter.com/ueWAteM5Er— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) June 10, 2018
He settled towards the tail of the field while stablemate Jolly Gene set a solid pace, before letting down strongly in the straight, just feeling the pinch late to finish three-quarters of a length behind Pikachu.
Stimulation looks to have plenty of upside and he will come on for the run.
There is a lack of depth towards the top of the ratings at this time of the season and there is a 2,000m Class Two at Sha Tin next month that might have his name written all over it.