Exultant returned to his best to take top honours in the FWD QEII Cup at Sha Tin.
Beaten by Time Warp when long odds-on in the Hong Kong Gold Cup in February, the six-year-old turned the form around with his stablemate as he got the better of a duel from some way out before holding another Tony Cruz runner, Furore, by three-quarters of a length.
A model of consistency since moving to Hong Kong and second in this race 12 months ago, the winner was known as Irishcorrespondent when trained in Ireland by Mick Halford, finishing third to Churchill and Thunder Snow in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
It was also a victory of note for Zac Purton, who was narrowly beaten on Beauty Generation in the preceding race on the card and had also suffered disappointment in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Purton said: “It means a lot to now be the only jockey to have won every Group One race in Hong Kong.
“It’s not an easy thing to do and it’s an achievement I’m very proud of – a Group One race is hard to win, as I’ve found, but that’s why they’re Group One, they’re not easy and they should never be easy.
“The competition is tough so to go home and have finally won this race today, I’m still going to go home a little bit flat but I’ll go home very thankful that this trophy is now on the mantelpiece.”
Cruz said: “I expected Exultant to win but if he didn’t perform, Furore was always going to run a good race too and I’m very happy with his run.
“Exultant will go the same route as last year. He’ll go to the Champions & Chater Cup next month, that’s the only race left. Furore will go there too.”