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Exultant shines in the HK Jockey Club Cup

Steve Bennett in News 18 Nov 2019
  • Exultant wraps up another Group race
Exultant adds another Group victory to his collection

The six-year-old Exultant has stamped himself as the best stayer to come out of the Tony Cruz stables according to the trainer himself.

The multiple Group One winner sat behind a cracking pace in the 2000 metre event on Sunday and with Zac Purton aboard, timed his run to perfection and went on to what can only be described as a very comfortable victory.

After finishing second in the event last year, the bay gelding certainly showed why he is now being described at the ‘pin-up’ stayer in Hong Kong.

Brothers by birth, Glorious Forever and Time Warp hit the ground running at barrier rise and battled for the lead with older brother Time Warp finally gaining supremacy. 

Setting a cracking pace, the field was strung out like Brown’s cows up the back with eight lengths covering the first five runners who were travelling in Indian file for a while. 
But again, it was the experience of Purton that shone through as he waited for the right moment to pull Exultant off the fence and make his move.

Straightening for the run home and Purton had hit the front and set sail for the line with Hugh Bowman getting clear on the Hong Kong Derby winner, Furore who momentarily appeared as a real threat.

But Purton gave the Teofilo gelding half a dozen slaps with the persuader and away he went.

Trainer Tony Cruz was elated with the performance and is looking forward to a shot at defending his title in the Hong Kong Vase, where he beat home Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux. 

“He is the best stayer I have ever trained and the best part about him is that he is always improving, that is what I like about him,” Cruz said. 
“Everything has gone very smoothly with him this season, I am very happy with his condition, he seems to be a better horse this year.
“We will go back to the same distance in the Vase, we won it last year. Obviously, Exultant is the one [to beat].”

Exultant's trainer - Tony Cruz

Purton was full of praise for the horse’s efforts but remains wary of what lies ahead for the six-year-old.

“We went very hard through the first half of the race so I was surprised when Joao [Moreira] still then tried to take off, but that flushed me out and made me have to go,” he said.
“I know my horse is capable of doing that so it wasn’t the end of the world for me but I just hope that this has not been a gut-buster before his grand final.  
“Tony assures me the horse will be fine on grand final day.”

With a trip to Dubai on the agenda next year, a win in next month’s Hong Kong Vase would all but book him a plane ticket.

The Group Three Sa Sa Purse winner Southern Legend didn’t escape the eye either.

The Caspar Fownes-trained seven-year-old made up good ground along the fence in the final 200 metres to grab third prize, topping off his preparations for next month’s big race.

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Exultant shines in the HK Jockey Club Cup

The six-year-old Exultant has stamped himself as the best stayer to come out of the Tony Cruz stables according to the trainer himself.

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