Glorious Forever gallops to victory in Hong Kong Cup

Image Bruno Cannatelli
Beauty Generation heads the Hong Kong Mile Field

Image Bruno Cannatelli Beauty Generation heads the Hong Kong Mile Field

Hong Kong runners had won three of the four International Group 1 events at a single HKIR five times, the last being past year with Mr Stunning in the 1,200m Hong Kong Sprint, Beauty Generation in the Hong Kong Mile and Time Warp in the 2,000m Hong Kong Cup. Exultant took the 2,400m Hong Kong Vase.

Formerly trained in Ireland when known as Irishcorrespondent, Exultant went for home at the top of the straight and Purton just had enough to repel his old foe Joao Moreira in the closing stages to win by a neck. And while the event's overseas raiders have wooed the press pack at large, Cruz is content with what Pakistan Star has shown him ahead of Sunday's (9 December) G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).

Beauty Generation is the reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year. "He had the momentum", said Purton.

Mauritian rider Karis Teetan emerged victorious in the 1,200-metre Hong Kong Sprint with six-year-old gelding Mr Stunning, earning his second consecutive win and defeating stablemate D B Pin who also finished second last year. After rounding the turn, the victor glided away from his rivals to win comfortably by three lengths.

Trained by expatriate Australian John Moore, Beauty Generation annihilated rivals to underline his ranking as the world's top miler, with plans now to campaign the superstar overseas.

"He was strong at the finish in the July Cup and if he reproduces that form it gives us a good chance".

Time Warp was courageous in third given he was unable to take up his favoured front-running role: Trainer Tony Cruz said: "The other horse was really shoving up to get the lead and Zac (Purton) said he couldn't beat him for speed so sat second. We tried to go to the front but when he couldn't there was no point pushing him".

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After three Hong Kong victories, it looked like it would take a lot of luck to beat two of the three Japanese horses - Sungrazer, the favourite, and Deirdre - in the HK$28 million Cup.

David Elsworth expects Sir Dancealot to make his presence felt in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday if he runs to the best of his ability. It was gate 1 for Glorious Forever at the draw, at least opening the door for a revisiting of the game planning, and so it proved, as Longines International Jockeys' Championship victor Silvestre de Sousa pinged the barriers and led every step of the way for a near carbon copy of last year's win by Time Warp.

Glorious Forever kicked to a two-length lead over defending champion Time Warp and the rest followed.

The leader was rated so beautifully that his rivals were left flat-footed. Deirdre came home well under Christophe Lemaire but the bird had flown. Glorious Forever had a length to spare on the line.

The spotlight has shone on Pakistan Star ever since his Internet-rocking debut two and a half years ago, but this week, the biggest of all in Hong Kong's horse racing year, the mercurial one has been unusually peripheral.

"I didn't want to overdo it in front but to make sure Time Warp didn't come around, I had to make sure we were going a true gallop", de Sousa said after the race.

"We thought he went into his first race a bit underdone and in his second race we thought he had a ways to go and he keeps proving us wrong every time". "I won the battle for the first 300 meters and I was going so well at the 800 (meters), I thought to myself they would have to be very good to pick him up; it would have to be one of the Europeans because I didn't think Time Warp would come again".

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