TONY Cruz is the trainer to follow when racing gets underway with a nine-race programme at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
Two-time Hong Kong Champion Trainer Cruz has his stable firing on all cylinders at present.
He has saddled nine winners at the last 10 race meetings and picked up a winning double at Sha Tin last Saturday.
The 64-year-old sends four raiders to the inner-city track and all have leading chances.
His best hopes include course and distance specialist SUNSHINE WARRIOR who looks like he has been earmarked for the feature race of the day, The Japan Racing Association Trophy Handicap (1.45pm), over the extended mile.
This three-time track and trip winner caught only a distant view of rival Telecom Fighters when chasing home Zac Purton’s mount over the extended mile last month, but he did have some excuses with an interrupted passage when making his move before the home straight.
A nine-pound turnaround in the weights gives him ample opportunity to run down Telecom Fighters this time and a subsequent eye-catching effort when seventh over an inadequate seven-furlong journey at Sha Tin should have brought him to his peak.
This is not a two-horse race, though, with the likes of fast improving Kilindini, hat-trick seeking all-weather specialist Chancheng Prince and dangerous bottom-weight Sunny Star in opposition.
Sunshine Warrior, however, has proved in the past he can win from near his present rating and with his weight close to his last victory, he looks an attractive proposition.
Cruz could be on the mark again half-an-hour later when he saddles lightly raced but potentially smart speedster CALIFORNIA CIBLE in the Nakayama Handicap (2.15pm) over six furlongs.
This former two-time winner from Australia was just touched off on the line when making his debut at Sha Tin in September, and then found an outside draw against him behind useful Excellent Daddy the following month.
Making his first start at Happy Valley over two weeks ago, the son of I Am Invincible produced a performance fully of merit, being posted three or four wide from an outside draw but staying on strongly in the closing stages to chase home Jolly Good Heart, with rivals Classic Posh and Hong Kong Bet behind.
This time with draw four presenting him with an ideal opportunity to be up with the pace from the off, and Joao Moreira seizing the chance to take the ride on the four-year-old, he will take some catching.
Finally, keep an eye on the Cruz-trained Mercurial in the Tokyo Handicap (2.50pm) over the extended mile.
This unpredictable but talented galloper didn’t see out the extended mile trip on his seasonal run earlier this month but there was plenty of money for him on the odds-board, and, with an inside draw in his favour, he is likely to improve.
Sunshine Warrior (e/w) 1.45pm Happy Valley
California Cible 2.15pm Happy Valley