Big-race jockey Zac Purton is full of hope Exultant can regain his Longines Hong Kong Vase title at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Known as Irishcorrespondent in his days with Mick Halford, for whom he was third to Churchill and Thunder Snow in the Irish 2,000 Guineas of 2017, the Tony Cruz-trained six-year-old has become one of the best stayers to ever grace the Hong Kong scene
And Purton is going into the weekend confident that another consistent effort from a horse that last finished outside of the top three over 700 days ago will see him challenge for a sixth top-level success.
Purton said: “You always go to the races with a great deal of confidence with Exultant – he’s never let me down, so let’s just hope that he can continue to give us his best.
“He means a lot to me – stayers in Hong Kong are rare and hard to come by and he’s certainly been our best stayer the last few years – I’ve had a good association with him and I’ve won some big races on him.”
The chief threat to Exultant emulating his 2018 success appears to be the Aidan O’Brien-trained Mogul, who was last seen finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.
Purton added: “Mogul looks hard to beat, so let’s just hope I can get a good gate – this horse for whatever reason always seems to draw a bad gate, he’s certainly due to draw a good gate and hopefully he just gets a nice run.”