Legendary trainer Tony Cruz has quietly slipped into second place on the championship table after rattling off eight winners from the past seven meetings and he looks set to extend that terrific run at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The 64-year-old now has 18 winners for the campaign to sit six behind runaway leader Frankie Lor Fu-chuen, another handler in exceptional form after collecting 10 victories for the month.
In fact, four of Sha Tin’s big guns separated themselves from the pack in November with John Size (11 winners), Lor and Cruz (eight) and Francis Lui Kin-wai (seven) all enjoying fruitful runs to put themselves in the hunt for the title.
They were clearly the best performed trainers, with Size, Lor and Cruz enjoying at least twice as many winners for the month as any of the other 18 on the roster. Manfred Man Ka-leung, Danny Shum Chap-shing and David Hall were next best with four each.
Top debut! Unbeaten prior to import from Australia, You'remyeverything kicks off his Hong Kong career in similar fashion, impressing with a strong win under @AlexisBadel. #HappyWednesday #HKracing pic.twitter.com/ewjftsvfSI— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 10, 2021
Seven of Cruz’s eight victories over that period have come in Class Three and he’s trying to strike in that grade again on Wednesday with the exciting You’remyeverything in the Tern Handicap (1,200m).
The Irish-bred four-year-old unleashed a blistering turn of foot to salute in his Hong Kong debut, coming from ninth on the turn to rattle over the top of his rivals.
The son of Holy Roman Emperor is now undefeated from three lifetime starts after winning two outings in Australia when known as Biggus and trained by former star jockey Patrick Payne.
Those wins came over 1,415m and 1,600m, so You’remyeverything should be even better over further, but Cruz has elected not to break a winning formula and return him to the same course and distance of that effort three weeks ago.
Matthew Chadwick takes over from the suspended Alexis Badel and is likely to go back from barrier 10 as he tries to replicate the winning pattern.
You’remyeverything beat Diamond Brilliant by a length on that occasion but he meets the Benno Yung Tin-pang-trained seven-year-old six pounds worse off this time around.
Zac Purton retains the ride on Diamond Brilliant and will do his best to take full advantage of the inside alley.
Rock Ya Heart is the other serious hope in the race, with Lui’s four-year-old to have his first run at the iconic city circuit after six starts at Sha Tin.
The son of I Am Invincible defeated the progressive California Spangle two starts back before finishing a narrow third behind some more talented types in The Golden Scenery and Packing Victory earlier this month.
Rock Ya Heart has drawn perfectly in barrier four with Vincent Ho Chak-yiu set to give him the gun run close to the speed.
The leading local jockey comes into the meeting with plenty of confidence after collecting a double for Cruz at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The two will also combine earlier on the card with another intriguing runner in Singapore Spirit.
The three-year-old son of Vancouver makes his debut in the Class Four Albatross Handicap (1,200m) after catching the eye in his three barrier trials.
Singapore Spirit has drawn well in gate five, should get a nice run in transit and looks capable of being in the finish in a moderate contest.
Cruz’s other runners on the card are Wah May Luck, Flying Genius and Beauty Spirit.