Exultant Named Hong Kong Horse of the Year

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Exultant (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) was named 2019/2020 Horse of the Year in Hong Kong Thursday in a virtual ceremony, as stricter social distancing protocols within the context of a third wave of coronavirus in the region put pay to the scheduled live proceedings.

Bred by Ballygallon Stud, Exultant won four of his seven trips to the post during the season, calling on all his class and stamina for victories in the G1 FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) and a successful defence of his title in the G1 Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup (2400m) (see below). The Tony Cruz-trainee carried 133 pounds in annexing the G3 Centenary Vase H. (1800m), was victorious in the G2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) and was a gallant third when trying for the repeat in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December. In addition to Horse of the Year, the son of Contrary (Ire) (Mark of Esteem {Ire}) was also recognized as champion middle distance horse and champion stayer for the second year in a row. Exultant is the first Horse of the Year trained by someone other than John Moore since the 2011-2012 season.

Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) became just the second to sweep the 4YO Classics in Hong Kong, winning the Classic Mile and Classic Cup before a stirring success in the BMW Hong Kong Derby. While it wasn't quite enough to topple the exploits of Exultant, he was the easy winner of the newly instituted 4-Year-Old Champion award. Golden Sixty was a perfect seven-from-seven during the campaign, earning a first group-stakes badge in the G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup H. (1400m) on New Year's Day. Trained by Francis Lui and ridden by Tony Cruz Award recipient Vincent Ho, Golden Sixty climbed 37 points in the ratings, from a beginning mark of 75 to his current 112. He was also named most popular horse.

Two-time Horse of the Year Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock {Aus}) may have lost a step at age seven, but he was accomplished enough to be named champion miler for a remarkable third year on the bounce. Third in search of three straight in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile in December, he was second in the G1 Stewards' Cup, but displayed his zest for racing

by completing the hat trick in the G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) before adding the G2 Chairman's Trophy (1600m). A near-miss second in the G1 Champions Mile in April, Beauty Generation trains on at eight with David Hayes.

The consistent Beat the Clock (Aus) (Hinchinbrook {Aus}) annexed the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint and G1 Centenary Sprint Cup en route to being named champion sprinter for the second year in a row. He has been out of the top three just once in his 25 career appearances.

Among the other non-equine categories, Ricky Yiu won his first trainers' premiership on 67 victories, while Zac Purton outdistanced Joao Moreira to retain his jockeys' title. John Moore, who saddled his final horses as a licenced trainer in Hong Kong Wednesday, was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

WATCH: Exultant puts them back-to-back in the Champions and Chater Cup

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