Australian jockey Zac Purton, seen in a file picture, piloted Exultant to the prestigeous race in Hong Kong. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Exultant, who was third in the 2017 Irish Guineas (G1) when previously trained in Ireland, continued his strong Hong Kong form when landing the HK$20m Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Group 1) at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday.

The race commemorates a visit to Hong Kong by Queen Elizabeth II.

A beaten odds-on favourite in the Hong Kong Gold Cup in February, the six-year-old son of Teofil who is trained by Tony Cruz, held off stable companion Furore to score by three-quarters of a length.

Racing continue to take place at Hong Kong, albeit strictly behind closed doors, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Formerly known as the Irishcorrespondent when trained in Ireland by Mick Halford, Exultant finished third to Churchill and two-time Dubai World Cup-winner Thunder Snow in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

The winner, who was ridden by Australian jockey Zac Purton, who has been based in Hong Kong since 2007, was compensating for a second place effort in the QEII Cup 12 months ago.

The race has been won by some of the world’s top turf horses including Silvano (2001), Viva Partaca (2007)m Archipeno (2008), Presvis (2009), and Military Attack (2013).

The Dubai-owned Godolphin stable won the race with Red Bishop in 1995. He was ridden by Mick Kinane for Emirati trainer Hilal Ibrahim.

Sunday’s big-race meeting also featured two other Group 1 contests, the Champion Mile won by Souther Legend and Sprint Cup - which went to Mr. Stunning.