Silvestre de Sousa claims Glorious Hong Kong Cup success

British champion makes all aboard local runner in Sha Tin prize

  • Sunday 09 December
  • News
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Silvestre de Sousa executed a perfect front-running ride to land the Longines Hong Kong Cup aboard Glorious Forever at Sha Tin.

The British champion jockey teamed up with local trainer Frankie Lor in the Group One heat, with Glorious Forever promptly away and soon taking on his full brother, Time Warp, for the early lead.

Time Warp’s rider Zac Purton was happy to let De Sousa kick on in front and he was still well in control turning for home, with Glorious Forever finding plenty as the race began in earnest with a couple of furlongs to run.

The siblings were still battling it out inside the distance, but while Glorious Forever sealed victory, Time Warp was pipped for the runner-up spot by the fast-finishing Japanese raider Deirdre.

De Sousa said: “I won the battle for the first 300 metres and after that he was in the money.

“It was great. I’ve had a few rides out here today and it was nice to get a Group One. The others ran well, but I’m pleased and very happy to get the Group One.

“I wanted to get to the front as I didn’t want a messy race and I was quite happy they left me alone in front. He just kept quickening. I was confident from the 800 metre mark as he was going so well and when I intended to let him down, he quickened on the bridle.

“It was a nice way to do it as all he had to do was lengthen and he did. I knew they were coming near the end, but he managed to do it the hard way from the front.

“Frankie said the horse felt very well and last time he finished in front of Time Warp. I think this race was a bit more smooth (than last time) and it went his way.

“When you look back, it has gone from strength to strength out here and I’ve been getting plenty of support with the rides.

“It is nice to have a Group One winner on the big stage, as the world has stopped to watch the racing today. It is nice to have another Group One under your belt.”

Lor, who also claimed the Longines Hong Kong Cup Sprint with Mr Stunning, added: “It’s amazing. For me I think this is my dream. I talked to Silvestre yesterday and I said if he jumped well, get the lead.”

Ed Walker, who previously trained the winner in Britain, fielded Stormy Antarctic but he failed to feature in the shake-up and finished eighth of nine runners.

Walker said: “He relaxed great. They just had a nice scrap for the lead for about five seconds.

“Silvestre absolutely nailed it (on the winner). They left him alone and everyone went to sleep in behind like they were going to do another lap.

“He made up a huge amount of ground and ran well. He was not beaten far. There are no excuses really it was just a funny race.

“If it is very soft, he runs over a mile and if it is better over a mile and a quarter. He is very versatile.”

Eziyra fared best of the European contingent as she finished third behind Exultant in the Longines Hong Kong Vase.

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.

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.”

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