Boxing Day special for Cruz family

Mark Du Plessis getting the best out of Heart Beat for a special win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Mark Du Plessis getting the best out of Heart Beat for a special win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Cambridge-based brothers Martin and Trevor Cruz narrowly missed out on a double over the last couple of days, but they still had plenty to celebrate on Boxing Day.

The pair, who train in partnership, were successful with Heart Beat at Ellerslie yesterday and watched as stablemate Red Raven lost out in a photo-finish to fellow Cambridge galloper Highly Excessive (prepared by Stephen Marsh) in the Burton Construction 1560 at Rotorua today.

Red Raven started a warm favourite on the strength of a couple of placings in as many starts this campaign and he looked set to break through for his first win in nine starts when staging a strong finish down the outside.

However, in a three-way finish to the Rotorua event he lost the nod to Highly Excessive by a mere nose, while there was the same margin back to third-placegetter Danger Dee.

It was also a close call with Heart Beat in yesterday’s Carter Bloodstock Rising Romance Mile with the five-year-old son of Alamosa getting home by a head from Arraignment with the Ross McCarroll—trained Calligraphy putting up a big effort from her outside draw to finish third.

Heart Beat cleared maiden ranks over 1200 metres at Matamata 11 months ago and had run improver’s races in his two outings this season leading up to yesterday’s Ellerslie assignment. He was fifth fresh-up at Te Rapa then third at Matamata, with both races also being over 1600 metres.

Mark Du Plessis climbed aboard Heart Beat for the first time yesterday and had him midfield on the inner on settling. Heart Beat then had a half-dozen horses behind him with 600 metres to run and he burst through along the inner to grab victory.

Making the win even more special for the Cruz brothers was the presence on course of his family, including his father Derek and mother, Angel, who races Heart Beat.

“The family came out here (from Hong Kong) for Christmas so it’s lovely to train a winner for her,” said Trevor Cruz.”

“All we’ve been waiting for is this (the Good3 track). He likes it like concrete, the faster the better.”

Though Heart Beat won his first race at 1200 metres, he has shown a liking for 1600, having not finished further back than fifth in five starts at the trip.

“The mile seems to be his go,” said Cruz. “As long as there is a fast track he will be thereabouts.”