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|#||Horse & Post Position||Odds||Jockey||Trainer|
|1||EXULTANT (5)||3/5||Z Purton||A S Cruz|
|2||TIME WARP (4)||3/1||J Moreira||A S Cruz|
|3||FURORE (1)||5/1||K Teetan||A S Cruz|
|4||EAGLE WAY (3)||15/1||N Callan||J Moore|
|5||ELUSIVE STATE (6)||30/1||V Borges||A T Millard|
|6||PLAYA DEL PUENTE (7)||20/1||B Shinn||C S Shum|
|7||GLORIOUS DRAGON (2)||30/1||C Schofield||A T Millard|
What: The FWD QEII Cup (G1)
Where: Sha Tin Racecourse
When: Sunday, April 26 — 4:40 pm Hong Kong time / 4:40 am U.S. Eastern time
Prize Money:HK$25 million
How to Watch: TVG
Sunday’s FWD QEII Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse is the highest-ranked race in Hong Kong, as well as the richest event among the three Group 1 features of FWD Champions Day, with a purse of HK$25 million.
Over the past decade, the 2,000-meter turf contest has proven to be a key indicator in the race for Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year title.
Beginning with the fan-favorite Ambitious Dragon back in 2011, and closely followed by Military Attack (2013), Designs On Rome (2014) and Werther (2016), four winners of the FWD QEII Cup have gone on to take home the top honor in Hong Kong racing.
This year’s seven horse-field is led by last year’s Champion Stayer and Champion Middle-Distance Horse Exultant, who will be out to strengthen his bid for an outright Horse of the Year title.
A strong runner-up last year, there is every reason to believe the 6-year-old gelding can do one better this time around.
Proven to be one of Hong Kong’s best over the last few years, he has been a regular key participant in many of their biggest races.
The Irish-bred son of Teofilo, who once finished third in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1), has been as consistent as can be since making Hong Kong his home base better than two years ago. Piloted by his regular rider, Zac Purton, it may just be a matter of whether or not he gets a good trip to add another feather to his cap.
The three-time Group 1 winner was a wide and fast-finishing second to Japan’s Win Bright in last year’s running of the FWD QEII Cup.
Also trained by Tony Cruz, the son of Archipenko could do no better than 11th in this same race last year, but looks to be coming up to this edition with a return to top form.
A champion middle-distance horse himself a few years ago in Hong Kong, which included a stellar victory in the 2017 Hong Kong Cup, the 7-year-old chestnut was able to surprise his heavily favored stablemate last time with a measured, front-running score in the Hong Kong Gold Cup.
He’ll look to use the same tactics in search of another upset.
The third of the formidable trio for trainer Tony Cruz, this New Zealand-bred found plenty of early success in Hong Kong after coming over from Australia.
Wins in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and the BMW Hong Kong Derby early in 2019 pointed him out as one of the top 4-year-olds going. Since then, he has failed to find the winner’s circle in eight subsequent starts, running against strictly the best older horses in the area. Despite the winless streak, he should be respected on his best, and on the company he’s kept.
Another who began his career in Australia, this veteran 8-year-old was the winner of the Queensland Derby (G1) in his native land back in 2016. Since being imported to Hong Kong his overall record has been a bit spotty, but also with enough good overall performances to consider in this important race.
He’s familiar with Exultant, having rallied to finish a good 4th behind him and ahead of Waldegeist in the 2018 Hong Kong Vase, and finishing a close-up fifth behind Time Warp and Exultant in February’s Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Best known for his prowess on dirt, this 6-year-old Australian-bred would seem to have his work cut out for him against some of the very best horses in Hong Kong.
The youngest member of this field, as well as the least experienced, he made an explosive move to zoom from last to first and actually open up a sizable lead early in the stretch of the BMW Hong Kong Derby, only to see his upset bid thwarted in the final jumps by a flying Golden Sixty.
It only gets tougher against this strong field of older horses, but at the very least, the Irish import is coming into this test in sharp form.
An improving gray son of Teofilo, he ran a career-best to finish a fast-closing second to Exultant three starts back in the Centenary Vase.
Since then the British import has not had much luck, breaking very poorly behind a slow pace in the Hong Kong Gold Cup, and then lacking racing room in his latest.
With a little more luck, he could do much better than his rating here. At the odds, he is the top longshot in the race.
$6 Exacta Box – Exultant, Glorious Dragon and Time Warp = $36
$4 Exacta Box – Exultant, Glorious Dragon and Eagle Way = $24
If you’re playing only to win, try to beat the favorite with my longshot play, Glorious Dragon.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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