Racing

Delightful Laos is HK Derby prospect

Cruz-trained star will first eye the HK Classic Cup

Trainer Tony Cruz will aim to add to his extraordinary BMW Hong Kong Derby record, after Delightful Laos emerged as a potential classic contender with victory in the Class 2 Chater Handicap over 1,650m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

Crowning a dominant night for the top trainer, former Irish galloper Delightful Laos will now be set for the Hong Kong Classic Cup over 1,800m - the second leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series - at Sha Tin on Feb 21.

With four Derby triumphs as a jockey with Co-Tack (1983), Tea For Two II (1987), Clear City (1987) and Makarpura Star (1995) and two more as a trainer with Lucky Owners (2004) and Helene Mascot (2008), Cruz knows what it takes to win Hong Kong's premier staying test for four-year-olds.

"We'll try for the Classic Cup with Delightful Laos and we'll see from there," he said.

"Then enter him for the Derby as well. Hopefully, now he has won, he showed a lot of promise and I'm sure the handicapper will consider him to be in the race.

"I believe this horse really wants 2,000m. He likes the fast ground, he's a big horse but, if he can get into the race, I would love to run him there."

Cruz boosted his 2020/21 winning tally to 31 with a treble after California Legend (Christophe Soumillon) and Dream Warriors (Karis Teetan) preceded Derek Leung and Delightful Laos into the winner's circle. - HKJC

HORSE RACING