Tony Cruz closes in on Ricky Yiu with treble
Hong Kong's "living legend" Tony Cruz has his eyes fixed on long-time trainers' premiership leader Ricky Yiu, following a treble that took him to 51 wins for the term, just six off the top spot.
"I think I'd better give it a go," said last Sunday's Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup-winning trainer with a chuckle.
There are 13 race meetings left in the season, which ends on July 15.
The two-time champion had not had a single win on the dirt track this term, but Beauty Loyal broke that cold snap in section one of the Class 3 Flamingo Handicap over 1,200m at Sha Tin on Wednesday night.
Party Everyday made it a quick brace in the next for the trainer in the Class 4 Spoonbill Handicap over 1,650m, before California Concord turned that into a treble in section two of the Flamingo Handicap over 1,200m.
Jockey Karis Teetan was aboard on all three wins, as he took his season's tally to 72, with 19 of those achieved aboard Cruz-trained gallopers.
"It's nice to get a treble for Tony and he hadn't had a win on the dirt track this season, so it's nice to break that for him. He and his owners have given me good support and I'm grateful for that," said the Mauritian.
After Beauty Loyal's neck score at 9-1, the Hong Kong International Sale graduate Party Everyday broke his maiden, at the 12th attempt, as the 3.6 second pick in the market.
"Last time, he was pulling and hanging out. We know his problem and the race just needs to happen for him," said Teetan.
"Today, with the perfect draw (2), he just had that seat behind the cover and he switched off nicely.
"He waited a little and, when he moved up, he didn't give up. It was a nice win. I just hope he gets rid of his bad habits and he'll be okay."
California Concord earned a first win at his second start in Hong Kong, having won two from nine in Australia.
"I trialled him when he was up in Conghua and he really gave me a good feel," said Teetan.
"It's all about quality with him, he's got some potential, he was professional out of the gate and he focused nicely but he's a next season horse."