Legendary trainer Tony Cruz says he was expecting the HK$100,000 fine he received for working 15 horses on the all-weather track at Sha Tin on Sunday, declaring there was “no way out of it” a week from one of Hong Kong’s biggest meetings.
The South China Morning Post reports that a directive was issued by the Jockey Club that “restricted the number any one trainer can work on the all-weather track to three horses due to the inclement weather to allow adequate preparation” of the surface for Sunday’s meeting, which featured four dirt contests.
Cruz disregarded the directive, with his two Champions Day runners – Champions Mile entrants California Spangle and Beauty Joy – among the horses he worked on Sunday morning.
“The horses that galloped today were the horses that are running on Wednesday and Sunday. There was no way out of it. I had to gallop them,” Cruz said.
“Horses like Beauty Joy and California Spangle have to do this work. It was horses who cannot miss this gallop. I was expecting this fine. I’m going to risk everything for my horses’ performance. It’s something I have to sacrifice.”
Cruz pleaded guilty to what Jockey Club stewards determined was an “intentional breach”.
“Mr Cruz pleaded guilty to a charge of having failed to fulfil his responsibilities in compliance with a proper direction issued by the club in that he worked twelve additional horses on the large all-weather track at this morning’s track work session. After considering matters in respect of penalty, including this was Mr Cruz’s second offence this season and the intentional breach of the direction by Mr Cruz, he was fined the sum of HK$100,000,” read the stewards’ report.
The FWD Champions Day will be held at Sha Tin on Sunday 30 April and features a world-class trio of Group 1 races, the HK$25 million FWD QEII Cup (2000m), HK$20 million FWD Champions Mile (1600m) and HK$20 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).
- www.scmp.com – additional reporting by SP editorial staff