Racing

Exultant looks poised to take the HK Horse of the Year title

Exultant has become the favourite for the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award, following his victory in Sunday's Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup over 2,400m.

It came fresh after his Group 1 FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup success over 2,000m last month.

It was the tough staying kingpin's second straight Champions & Chater Cup win. He beat Chefano to give trainer Tony Cruz a seventh victory in the race as a trainer - all from the last eight renewals.

Cruz rates Exultant the best of a bunch that includes California Memory, Blazing Speed and Pakistan Star, at least when it comes to ability over 2,400m, a distance contested only three times a season in Hong Kong.

"He's the best stayer of all of them - he has no speed but he has a great attitude," said Cruz.

Winning jockey Zac Purton asserted his view that "there's no doubt he's the best stayer I've ridden in Hong Kong" after driving his mount to a length verdict in 2min 26.01sec.

Exultant's second Group 1 win of the season has pushed him squarely into the reckoning for the Horse of the Year title, with star four-year-old Golden Sixty as the likely sole threat. Golden Sixty is unbeaten in seven starts this season.

"He can't really do any more than he's done, he's been great all season, as he has been for the past few seasons," said Purton.

"He does deserve it. Everyone wants to talk about Golden Sixty but he only did it in the four-year-old series.

"He didn't come out and do it against the older horses and I think it's important that is taken into consideration. That might be the telling factor."

HORSE RACING