Cruz brothers welcome better tracks

Elusive Meteor (Mark Du Plessis) racing away to a strong win at Te Rapa, the scene of tomorrow's important assignment.

Elusive Meteor (Mark Du Plessis) racing away to a strong win at Te Rapa, the scene of tomorrow’s important assignment, the Inglis Sales Cambridge Breeders Stakes.

Cambridge trainer Trevor Cruz is hardly daring to think that fitness, weather and the right races could all align for his three runners tomorrow.

Cruz has been one of many trainers frustrated by a wet late summer and autumn and, without trying to goad Mother Nature, he is aiming to capitalise on the current dead track conditions at Te Rapa and Hastings.

“My team has been out of sync with the weather,” he said. “The two cyclones passing through have changed things a bit and I’ve had horses ready to go on a good track, but they just haven’t been around.

“I wasn’t even sure I could get another run out of some of my team, but I’ve kept them in work, the weather has turned and the tracks are quite good for this weekend. They are all working well enough to be competitive.”

Cruz and his brother Martin will produce Elusive Meteor in the Gr.3 Inglis Sales Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa and Packing Tycoon and Heart Beat at Hastings.

Northern Meteor filly Elusive Meteor has yet to finish worse than fourth in four starts and lowered the colours of Andado, who has since won three consecutive races, to clinch her maiden win.

“It’s a very tough field,” said Cruz. “You’ve got Hall Of Fame and his form is great and there a lot of good three-year-olds coming in with good form.

“My horse is well though and if she can run a placing we’d be pleased. If the conditions stay the same, I think she can be competitive.”

Cruz said Elusive Meteor was a work in progress, but she had plenty of potential.

“She’s learnt a lot from her last two runs,” he said. “Early on she would go a bit hard, but she’s now shown she can settle off the speed and run on better.

“There should be plenty of speed in this race so if she can sit off them so that should be an advantage.

“She’s a big horse and she’s only just starting to fill out her body. She’ll go for a break after Saturday and we’ll take her through the grades in the spring.”

TAB bookmakers have made Elusive Meteor a $28 outsider for the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes in a market headed by Gr.1 Levin Classic winner Hall Of Fame at $2.40.

Cruz is happy with both his Hastings runners and said Heart Beat could earn himself a start in next month’s Gr.3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup (2200m) with a bold showing in the Vertigo [email protected] HB Racing 2100.

“He’s very sensitive to any change in the ground, but if he gets a dead track he should run well,” he said. “We could consider the Rotorua Cup if the track comes back there.”

Cruz also has high hopes for Packing Tycoon in the Livamol Autumn Stakes (1400m).

“Packing Tycoon handles a changing track a lot better,” he said. “I’m just hoping he’ll run in the top three. He’s campaigned well over 1400 metres and he was only beaten two lengths in the Gr.1 NRM Sprint at Te Rapa.

“It’s just a six-horse field and it shouldn’t be too hard for him to get on speed. He’s such an honest horse. He puts in 100 per cent every time. I would love for him to get another win.”

– NZ Racing Desk.