Racing

Beauty Smile still a ‘work in progress’

Trainer Tony Cruz maintains Beauty Smile is still a work in progress, after his Irish import's dominant performance at Sha Tin on Sunday.

His four-year-old impressively eclipsed older and more accomplished opposition in the Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap over 1,400m.

Contesting only his ninth start in Hong Kong, the chestnut was given a superb ride by Cruz's former apprentice, Matthew Chadwick, to effortlessly bridge the rise from Class 2 company and extend his winning streak to two.

A Listed winner over 1,400m as a two-year-old, when he raced as Justifier for Ger Lyons in Ireland, Beauty Smile took seven starts to break through in Hong Kong.

But, after a sizzling Class 2 win over 1,400m at Sha Tin on Jan 31, Cruz was full of optimism pre-race.

"We came with a lot of confidence, just stepping up (in class) and all that," he said.

Cruz, who remains in contention for the trainers' championship after moving to equal fourth with his 34th winner behind Caspar Fownes (43), had a simple explanation for Beauty Smile's emphatic success.

"He's in good form. His run last time, he ran 1:21.09 (for 1,400m). He's going well," he said.

"There's another race in March over 1,400m. He's eligible for that. I think I might go that way."

The former champion jockey praised Chadwick's measured ride.

"He rode a perfect race, he's riding with confidence now, especially on this horse now," said Cruz, who won the Chinese New Year Cup with Penglai Xianzi in 2013.

Chadwick completed a double with Trust Me in the Class 3 Good Fortune Handicap over 1,200m for trainer Dennis Yip. - HKJC

HORSE RACING