Eziyra bags Hong Kong Vase third as Exultant triumphs at Sha Tin

Dermot Weld’s runner placed as Tony Cruz-trained gelding takes Group One prize

  • Sunday 09 December
  • News
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Eziyra fared best of the European contingent as she finished third behind Exultant in the Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

No less than eight runners from Britain, Ireland and France went to post in the 12-furlong contest with Andre Fabre’s Waldgeist and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Mirage Dancer among the leading contenders.

The early gallop was set by Crocosmia and turning for home, Eziyra appeared to be perfectly positioned under Christophe Lemaire as Rostropovich briefly tried to challenge down the outside of the track.

However, it turned into a head-to-head between the Tony Cruz-trained Exultant and Lys Gracieux, with the first named prevailing in a tight finish in the hands of Zac Purton.

Exultant previously raced as Irishcorrespondent for Michael Halford in Ireland, finishing third in last year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas, before being sold to continue his career in Hong Kong.

While he was placed in Group One company earlier in the year, this is the Teofilo gelding’s first victory at the highest level.

Cruz said: “This season he is a much stronger and better horse and has more experience. Obviously it was the perfectly run race for him and Zac rode the perfect race.”

Eziyra now has three Group One placings to her name and Mark Weld, assistant trainer to his father Dermot, was thrilled with her performance.

He said: “Christophe Lemaire gave her an amazing ride, she was in a great position all the way round. She has run a fantastic, fantastic race – I think she was the first European runner home in what is arguably the toughest contest on the day.

“It was a fantastic performance and she is going to make the most amazing broodmare for her owner (the Aga Khan).”

Waldgeist eventually finished fifth, two places ahead of Rostropovich with Prince Of Arran emerging the best of the British-trained runners in eighth, despite breaking slowly and hanging right through the early exchanges.

Fellowes said: “He fell out and veered off right. He sat last and ran an unbelievable race to finish where he has. We knew when we got the draw he was in trouble.

“He will have a little break and before going off to Dubai where he will be seen on Super Saturday.”

Salouen finished ninth, with trainer Sylvester Kirk believing his charge had simply fallen short on the big day.

Kirk said: “He just didn’t have the pace he wanted and he was not in a good position early on. The ground was a bit on the quick side and he got stuck three wide all the way around.

“At the end of the day he was not good enough, but it was disappointing not to get in the money as it would have been nice to pick up something at the end.”

Joseph O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Latrobe came home 11th, with the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Verdon 13th.

Dunlop said: “He travelled well then the favourite nearly knocked him over and that was the end of that.”

Mirage Dancer finished last of the 14 runners under Ryan Moore and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, was at a loss to explain his effort.

Grimthorpe said: “It is disappointing. Ryan was happy with him until he came under pressure and found absolutely nothing.

“We are going to have him checked out. He looked sound but we will see if anything appears. It was below form and expectations and it was a bit of a mystery.”

Eziyra bags Hong Kong Vase third as Exultant triumphs at Sha Tin
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