Tony Cruz expects an Exultant victory in the HK$25 million G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (26 April) but the veteran handler knows only too well that in horseracing the unexpected can occur at any time.
Hong Kong’s champion stayer was a short-odds favourite to win the G1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) last time out but found trouble in running from an awkward gate and could manage no more than a late-rattling second to his front-running stablemate Time Warp.
“I’m very pleased with him, I think he should win this race on Sunday,” Cruz said. “It’s a smaller field this time so Exultant will be closer in the run. He was too far back last time and got into trouble, that cost him and he just couldn’t catch Time Warp – I’m still disappointed with how that worked out for Exultant, I think he should have won that race.”
Exultant is drawn five of the seven runners. One berth inside him is his unpredictable stablemate and fellow three-time G1 winner Time Warp, an enigma hot or cold but rarely lukewarm in his performances.
“Time Warp will probably lead the race again,” Cruz said. “Joao Moreira is important for Time Warp and he seems to me to have kept his form; he’s doing what I expect of him in his work, so I expect him to run his race but he’s an old horse so we don’t know if he can do that again. But he’ll get out in front and the rest of the field will just follow him.”