Wide draw no concern for Tony Cruz as Outgate chases a final Happy Valley win for the season

Wide draw no concern for Tony Cruz as Outgate chases a final Happy Valley win for the season Angus Chung and Tony Cruz celebrate Outgate's most recent triumph at the Valley.
  • Legendary trainer backs consistent galloper to overcome barrier 10 at final city circuit meeting of the term

Tony Cruz believes a wide draw won't stop Outgate capping his improved campaign on a high in Wednesday night's Class Two Sun Jewellery Handicap (1,650m) at Happy Valley.

A four-time British winner pre-import, Outgate has struck top form in his second Hong Kong season with three wins and four seconds from 13 starts.

The city circuit has been a happy hunting ground for the grey, with two of his victories at the course and distance of his final assignment of the season.

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An impressive winner against similar opposition last start, Outgate has copped the widest draw in the field of 10 at Happy Valley's season finale.

"He's got gate 10 but I think he's got a chance," Cruz said.

"Obviously he seems to like Happy Valley. I'm very happy with him, I'm happy with his condition right now. Early days, he always had a lot of sickness but he's a much better horse right now."

Angus Chung Yik-lai has ridden Outgate in all but two of his starts this season and will again team up with the five-year-old on Wednesday night.

After Chung's three-pound claim, Outgate rises 11 pounds on his narrow victory over Yellowfin in the Class Two EWO Challenge Trophy (1,650m) last start.

Francis Lui Kin-wai's Yellowfin has the advantage of a four-pound swing on Outgate, but he has also drawn wide in barrier eight.

Cruz also has Berlin Tango in the strongest race on the Valley card, with the dirt specialist returning to the turf for the first time since a fast-finishing second to Flamingo Trillion at Happy Valley in April.

"He likes the all-weather track, but where else can you run?," Cruz said.

"There's no options, but he's won at Happy Valley so we'll give it another crack. I'm happy with his condition, too. He's a very honest horse and tries his best."

Brenton Avdulla will ride Berlin Tango, who jumps from gate seven.

Cruz expects Prime Mortar to figure prominently in the first section of the Class Four Fast Most Furious Handicap (1,200m) after he drew the inside gate.

The son of Winning Rupert was successful in his stable debut at the course and distance in May and ran second to impressive debutant, Packing Hermod, last start.

"I'm very happy with the draw," Cruz said.

"I think he likes the Valley a lot. I made a big mistake running him on the dirt at Sha Tin [on May 29]. I think he's better off sticking to what he's good at and he's good at Happy Valley."

Chung will also ride Prime Mortar. Philos, Ninja Derby and Atomic Beauty are the other Valley runners for Cruz, who sits fourth in the trainers' championship with 54 victories this season.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2024. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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