Cruz breaks through for first training success

After studying as a scientist, Trevor Cruz discovered the pull of racing was too much and at Te Rapa yesterday he was rewarded for his change in profession.

Cruz, who is based at Cambridge, was credited with his first training success when Packing Tycoon raced away with the Sails Motor Inn 1400 in the hands of Opie Bosson, scoring by a length and a quarter from Biddable, who was chasing her third win in succession.

Cruz (31) is the son of former successful jockey and leading Hong Kong trainer Derek Cruz and nephew of Tony Cruz, who has also followed the same path in racing. But his father discouraged him from getting straight into racing.

Cruz came to New Zealand as a 13-year-old and was educated at King’s College in Auckland before heading to the Imperial College in Hong Kong, where he gained a PHD in science.

“It was Joy And Fun (trained by his father) which got me keen on racing,” said Cruz. “I had learnt a lot from my father then I went to England and worked for William Haggas for a year and a half to get a different trainers’ perspective on training. It was an opportunity to work with the vets as well.”

Joy And Fun has been a great ambassador for Derek Cruz’s Hong Kong stable, winning 12 races and also campaigning in Singapore, England and Dubai. He trekked to Dubai to win the 2010  Al Quoz Sprint and was third in the feature two years later.

Trevor Cruz decided to use New Zealand to establish himself as a trainer last year but it is only within the last couple of weeks that he has had raceday performers. “I’d had five to the trials for two winners and this is my third (raceday) starter,” he said.

Aberdeen was Cruz’s first starter when finishing third at Te Rapa on January and the rider was Anna Jones, the Matamata apprentice who worked with him at William Haggis’ stable at Newmarket. Cruz also picked up a placing with his other starter, Cashfield, who finished second four days later at Ellerslie.

Packing Tycoon made his New Zealand debut yesterday but there was some confidence in the camp he would perform well.

The son of Danehill Dancer began his career in Ireland from the stable of Aidan O’Brien and won three races, including a Group Three at The Curragh, before joining Tony Cruz’ team in Hong Kong. Though unable to win in Hong Kong, he did pick up a couple of placings.

“He was retired in Hong Kong after various injuries and I got him and have just given him time to nurse him back,” said Cruz. “It’s great to see him win and nice to get my first winner.”

Packing Tycoon had hinted he was back on the right track when second then first in two trials for Cruz and the young trainer got a confidence-booster last week when his father was in New Zealand for the National Yearling Sales. “He rode him in trackwork and was happy with the way he was going,” said Cruz.