Exultant showed a hint of peculiar dash to win the G3 Centenary Vase Handicap (1800m) and hand trainer Tony Cruz a 1200th Hong Kong win at Sha Tin this afternoon, Sunday, 27 January.
“He’s just a stayer,” jockey Zac Purton said of Exultant post-race, adding, “but he’s a stayer with class – and he’s continued to get better.”
The fact that Exultant could step back three furlongs from last month’s triumph in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m), and win in a time of 1m 45.68s – only 0.27s off the track record – had Cruz brimming with enthusiasm about future pursuits, while victory fingers were raised at a landmark reached.
“It’s always good to get a big number like this,” he said. “Exultant will go for the Hong Kong Gold Cup next month. He’s entered for Dubai – whether or not he goes there is up to the owner but to win like that at a distance short of his best only gives me more confidence in the horse.
“Through the mid-section they rolled along and the pace stayed on,” Purton said. “From where I was, that bump at the start didn’t become too much of a negative and I kept him rolling and he kept coming into it. He’s a stayer but he’s got quality.”