where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2019-05-26 19:30:13  
Exultant's just Champion as Purton hits six

Exultant battled to victory in the HK$10 million Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin this afternoon (26 May) as man-of-the-moment Zac Purton notched a record seventh Group 1 win in a Hong Kong season, one more than the six Joao Moreira achieved in 2014/15.

The star stayer’s success was Purton’s fourth in a sparkling six-timer today that included both Group race features – his G1 score followed a triumph on the David Hall-trained Little Giant in the G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m). And it could have been a magnificent Purton seven had Fast Most Furious not failed by a nose in the finale.

“It’s been a nice day, I can't complain!” Hong Kong’s champion said.

The Australian ace landed back in Hong Kong early this morning after coasting to victory atop Southern Legend in Singapore’s SIN G1 Kranji Mile last night.

Exultant’s win – an equal blend of guts and class from the Tony Cruz-trained gelding– took Purton’s season’s tally in Hong Kong to 130. He ended proceedings on 132, just four shy of his all-time best.

“Exultant was all heart today,” the rider said. “He pulled in the run, which he hasn’t done for quite some time and he was gone at the 600 (metres) but his big heart just continued to carry him to the finish line. It was a good, tough, strong effort from a horse that hasn’t let us down, he’s been great all season. That’s credit to the horse and Tony.”

The 1.5 favourite settled fourth of nine behind front-running stablemate Time Warp and was under the pump on the final turn. Purton shifted his mount to a four-wide track at the top of the home straight as last year’s winner Pakistan Star edged out and quickened past to a narrow lead.

But Exultant dug deep for his rider and when Pakistan Star hit his limit inside the 200m mark, the Irish import just kept on galloping to register his third G1 score this term, all but bagging the end-of-season Champion Stayer title.

“He’s our best stayer and he showed that again today,” Purton said.

Pakistan Star faded to fourth as the Caspar Fownes-trained Rise High ran a career best second and the Frankie Lor-trained Dark Dream chased from deep to claim third.

Cruz, who began training in 1996, had to wait until 2013 to saddle a Champions & Chater Cup winner; today’s success was his sixth in the historic race.

Trainer, jockey and owners Eddie Wong and Wong Leung Sau-hing had been keen to travel to Japan for the five-year-old’s proposed next start in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen at the end of June.

“He wasn't very comfortable on the going, I think he’s better on good to firm, and he was running a bit freely today,” Cruz said before revealing that, “the owners, myself and the jockey, we all decided just now not to go to Japan. It’s a short run-in at Hanshin and the going is almost always on a soft track, so with those things in mind we’ll give him a break.

“Next season, maybe the trip is Dubai, that’s the race we have in our calendar if we do decide to travel him.”

Email link to a friend | Printable Version
  • Hong Kong
    Displaying 10 ResultsSee All
    exultant dominates jockey club cup8 hours ago

    Exultant was at his dominant best in Sunday’s (17 November) G2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sh...

    View | Add Comment
    star quality about aethero, teetan gushes 9 hours ago

    Aethero lived up to his billing as Hong Kong’s next big thing with a scintillating front-runni...

    View | Add Comment
    waikuku hands another defeat to beauty generation9 hours ago

    Waikuku shifted out of Beauty Generation’s shadow with a decisive rail-side burst that has him...

    View | Add Comment
    exultant’s tuned and ready to face jockey club cup challengers3 days ago

    Tony Cruz is resolute in his expectation that Exultant can confirm his status as Hong Kong’s p...

    View | Add Comment
    beauty generation primed to bounce back as gallop impresses moore3 days ago

     John Moore declared Beauty Generation “ready to win again” after watching the Hong...

    View | Add Comment
    cancellation of happy valley race meeting on 13 november4 days ago

    The Hong Kong Jockey Club today (13 November) announced that the race meeting at Happy Valley Race...

    View | Add Comment
    millard hopes elusive state can turf out beauty generation5 days ago

    Tony Millard is returning dirt specialist Elusive State to the turf for an assault on Sunday&rsquo...

    View | Add Comment
    update hong kong : club jockey aldo domeyer2019-10-21

    Management has agreed to a request submitted by Club Jockey Aldo Domeyer for leave of absence from H...

    View | Add Comment
    patience pays for seasons bloom in premier bowl thriller2019-10-20

     Danny Shum is counting down the days to the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint on 8 December after S...

    View | Add Comment
    beauty generation thrives ahead of sunday’s test2019-10-17

    Beauty Generation is “raring to go” as he bids to extend his unbeaten sequence to 11 in ...

    View | Add Comment