Exultant Can Punch Dubai Ticket in Hong Kong Gold Cup


Champion Hong Kong stayer Exultant (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) can earn a long-awaited trip overseas with a strong performance in Sunday's G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin Racecourse, with the US$6-million G1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m) on the horizon.

Winner of the 2018 G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m), the horse formerly trained by Mick Halford as Irishcorrespondent landed this event, but focused on a domestic campaign that saw him close the season victoriously in the G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m). Third from a high draw in defence of his Vase title this past December, Exultant gave Glorious Dragon (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) 20 pounds and a 1 1/2-length beating as the 3-2 choice in the Jan. 27 G3 Centenary Vase H. It's level weights Sunday and all systems go for the 6-year-old.

“He came out of his last run very good, he pulled up fine, he hardly lost any weight–he feels much stronger than last year,” trainer Tony Cruz told the HKJC's Declan Schuster, before adding, “hopefully we can go places with him because he's invited to go to Dubai.”

Sunday's co-featured G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) has attracted the ascendant Beat the Clock (Aus) (Hinchinbrook {Aus}) who takes on two-time defending QSJC winner and Horse of the Year Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock {Aus}). The former is in flying form heading into Sunday's tilt, having won the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint and G1 Centenary Sprint Cup in his two most recent appearances. Beat the Clock finished runner-up to Beauty Generation in 2018 and 2019 and can finally get the upper hand, but the champion-though he has dropped four in a row-showed renewed signs of life when second to Waikuku (Ire) (Harbour Watch {Ire}) in the G1 Stewards' Cup last month and the 1400m could level the playing field Sunday.

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