Family willingness to wait earns Group 1 tilt

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Patience has been the key to the development of Elusive Treasure (Northern Meteor) and the Cruz family’s waiting tactics have now put them in the hunt for a Group 1 pot of gold.

Time has been the towering 6-year-old’s best friend and a long range plan to have him ready for New Zealand’s richest weight-for-age race has come together off the back of a strong last-start win.

That was in open handicap company over a mile at Te Rapa before Christmas and he returns on Saturday to the Hamilton course for a crack at the NZ$400,000 G1 Herbie Dyke S.

“He’s been set for the race for a while.” – Martin Cruz.

Elusive Treasure will step out over a middle distance for the first time and trainer Martin Cruz’s confidence in the gelding's ability to see out the trip was boosted by the barrier draw,

Elusive Treasure

“He’s been set for the race for a while. He’s got a nice gate so he should get a good run and we’ll see how it pans out,” said Cruz, whose mother Angel races the horse.

“He did well at Te Rapa last time, but he is up against some very classy horses.”

A son of former successful Hong Kong trainer Derek, Cruz said Elusive Treasure showed little as a younger horse but their patience with him was now paying off.

“He’s a really big horse so it’s been a very long wait with him. He was supposed to go up to Hong Kong, but as a 2 and 3-year-old he was quite slow and he’s just taken time.”

“He’s a really big horse so it’s been a very long wait with him.” – Martin Cruz.

Elusive Treasure was purchased at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale for $80,000 and is out of Ana’s Mail (Anabaa {USA}), who won on three occasions. She is a half-sister to the G3 Wellington S. winner Shanzero (Danzero) and the Listed Doveton S. winner What’s The Mail (Flying Spur).

Elusive Treasure as a yearling

The family also includes the G1 Brisbane Cup winner Danestorm (Danehill {USA}), the G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup winner Blizzard (Starcraft {NZ}) and Furore (Pierro). He placed in the G1 Rosehill Guineas before relocating to Hong Kong where he was successful in the Listed Classic Mile.

Elusive Treasure has been lightly-raced due to his backwardness in his younger days and he’s now compiled a tidy record of four wins and nine placings, including a third in the G3 Concorde H., from 18 appearances.

“He comes and rides trackwork for us and he knows the horse well.” – Martin Cruz.

Darren Danis gave a faultless display aboard Elusive Treasure last time out and Cruz has remained loyal to the apprentice on Saturday.

“We’ve given him his chance in a big race,” he said. “He comes and rides trackwork for us and he knows the horse well.”

Cruz is in his fifth season of training out of his Cambridge base where he runs a boutique stable.

“I’m mainly doing family horses and getting them prepped and ready to go up to Hong Kong,” he said.