Tony Cruz hopes swapping a master for his apprentice will enable Whizz Kid to win Sunday’s feature race at Sha Tin, the Class Two Fife Handicap (1,000m).
Two-time Hong Kong champion trainer Cruz has booked Angus Chung Yik-lai, who is yet to win on Hong Kong soil, to partner Whizz Kid in the four-year-old sprinter’s first appearance in Class Two company.
Triumphant in his past two starts under four-time Hong Kong title-winning rider Joao Moreira, and never ridden in a race by anyone other than the Magic Man or Karis Teetan, Whizz Kid could provide Chung with the most lucrative victory of his young career.
Chung, who is set to steer seven gallopers at Sha Tin on Sunday, teamed up with Whizz Kid in his recent trial down the 1,000m straight, a preparatory exercise in which the son of Shalaa placed third behind two of his weekend adversaries, the David Hayes-prepared Lucky With You and Atomic Force, who hails from the Caspar Fownes yard.
Cruz says Chung’s claim may be sufficient for Happy Valley specialist Whizz Kid – he is three from three at the city circuit – to score what would be only his second success in nine Sha Tin starts.
“It’s going to be a very close fight. He’s a very honest horse, but he seems to be a Happy Valley horse. He doesn’t seem to be a Sha Tin kind of horse. I think he’s better off at Happy Valley,” Cruz said about Whizz Kid, who will reappear as a gelding following his castration in May.
“There’s no Valley races for him. That’s why we have to run him at Sha Tin. There’s no choice, there’s no option about where to go. We can only go where the programme is and that means running at Sha Tin.
“However, he did win well down the straight in Class Four and he’s got a 10-pound claimer on his back this weekend, so let’s see what happens.”
Chung’s allowance means Whizz Kid will carry just 116 pounds, one pound less than when he ran out of petrol late under Moreira in February’s Class Three Good Fortune Handicap (1,000m), weakening in the final furlong to finish third behind Cordyceps Six and Alcari.
While Chung is yet to get off the mark in Hong Kong, Cruz posted his first victory this term when Beauty Glory won Wednesday night’s Class Three Shek O Handicap (1,200m) at Happy Valley in tandem with Zac Purton.
A five-and-a-half-length winner over a mile as a three-year-old in Ireland, Beauty Glory raced over as far as 1,800m in his first Hong Kong season, something Cruz admits may have been the wrong course of action with the five-year-old Toronado gelding.
“He was knocking on the door over 1,400m and more but maybe he’s nothing but a sprinter. I believe he still can come on and improve,” Cruz said.