Exultant in great shape working towards Sha Tin showpiece

Cruz ace firmly on course for QEII Cup.

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Tony Cruz is happy to chart a direct route to the Group One FWD QEII Cup at Sha Tin on April 26 with Exultant.

The six-year-old, who was known as Irishcorrespondent when trained by Michael Halford, has developed into one of Hong Kong’s top horses, with three Group one wins to his name.

He had subsequent Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux and last year’s Arc hero Waldgeist behind him when winning the 2018 Hong Kong Vase, before adding wins in the Hong Kong Cup and Champions & Chater Cup last year.

Exultant has had just five runs this campaign, most recently suffering a surprise defeat in defence of his Hong Kong Cup title in February.

However, Cruz was satisfied with his charge after watching him cruise around in a six-furlong barrier trial at Sha Tin on Thursday.

“I’m happy with Exultant,” Cruz said.

“His trials just keep him ticking over, you don’t see anything in those 1200-metre trials, it’s too short and he’s not much of a dirt horse either.

“If you were to go two laps, then you’d see him first to the winning post.”

He added: “He’ll go straight into the QEII without a run – he’ll have just one more barrier trial.

“It’s a long wait between races but that’s the programme, it’s very fixed, and after the QEII he’ll run in the Champions & Chater Cup.”

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