Buddies (So You Think) winning the Gr.3 Celebration Cup at Sha Tin

So You Think's Buddies Wins G3 Celebration Cup

Talented gelding Buddies (6g So You Think x Gladwell, by Anabaa) had not been in the winner’s list in Hong Kong since November last year, but he burst back to top form on Sunday with a bold front running win in the Group III Celebration Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin.

Trained by Tony Cruz and ridden by Matthew Chadwick, Buddies controlled the race from the outset and scored a three-quarter length victory, his first in a Black Type race.

The tactics, hatched by Cruz and Chadwick, delivered a triumph which surprised punters– but neither trainer nor jockey.

“Not really a surprise because I expected to be up the front,” Cruz said. “I expected him to lead this race and, on this track today, I think it was an advantage to lead. He had a light weight (113lb), so I got the right jockey on him.

“He’s a good front rider, Matthew Chadwick. It was not a big surprise to win it. I expected him to run in the first four. Last season, he ran fifth (in the same race behind Golden Sixty) and this year he is much fitter for the race.

“This horse has won by leading before, he’s an honest horse but I know he is at his peak today.”

Cruz will next target the Group II Premier Bowl Handicap (1200m), but feels the shorter trip is less than ideal.

“A mile is too long for him, 1200 metres is too short for him. But I don’t have an option at 1400 (metres), so I’ll go to the 1200 (metres) race on 17 October,” he said. “Seven furlongs is his best distance but I don’t have any races for him.”

A $320,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the Yarraman Park draft for George Moore Bloodstock, Buddies started his career in the John Moore stable before switching to Cruz last year and has the overall record of eight wins and seven placings from 30 starts.

Bred by Yarraman Park in partnership, Buddies is a half-brother to stakes-placed Relentless and is from Group III placed Anabaa mare Gladwell.

Gladwell has a yearling full brother to Buddies that is sure to be popular at the sales next year.

Buddies is the 35th stakes-winner for So You Think and is his first in Hong Kong. The champion son of High Chaparral (IRE) stands this spring at a fee of $77,000.