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Joao Moreira gives Glory Vase a kiss after winning the Hong Kong Vase
Kicking off the Longines Hong Kong International Races for 2019 was the HK$18 million (US$2.3 million) Longines Hong Kong Vase (G1), a 2400 meter (about 1 1/2 mile) trip for older horses over the right-handed turf course at Sha Tin. Defending champion Exultant was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the full field of 14 off his win in the Jockey Club Cup (G2), the main local prep for both the Vase and the Cup. In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Anthony Van Dyck, 3rd in both the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) and the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), and 7-1 third choice Glory Vase, 6th in the Kyoto Daishoten (G2) after finishing a close second in the Tenno Sho Spring (G1).
Jockey Zac Purton sent favorite Exultant to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 24.87, 47.93, 1:13.02, 1:37.70, and 2:01.74 while pressed by Anthony Vamn Dyck and stalked by 27-1 Southern Legend. Turning for home, Exultant continued to lead but Glory Vase, 7th early under Joao Moreira, rallied to win going way by 3 1/2 lengths over late-running 9-1 fourth choice Lucky Lilac in 2:24.77. It was another 1/4 length back to pacesetting favorite Exultant third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place 2 Glory Vase Moreira 16.40 4.00 11 Lucky Lilac Soumillon 5.00 1 Exultant Purton 2.20 Winning Time: 2:24.77 $1 Quinella 2-11 33.60 $1 Trifecta 2-11-1 166.60Results Chart from HKJC with video replay
Left: Glory Vase in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Tomohito Ozeki said, "I'm overwhelmed. Moreira did an amazing job riding the horse. We had a meeting together yesterday and felt good about our chances. The plan was to come here, we've been targeting this race because we felt the track would suit him and the owner was happy to come. Winning international races like this, this is my job as a trainer, this is the best."
Right: Glory Vase heads back to the barn in his winner's blanket.
Left: Glory Vase heads out for the post parade. Jockey Joao Moreira said, "I was quite blessed to get in two off the fence, get cover and get him to relax," the rider said. "I had horses on top of me at the 800 metres but good horses, if they face a tough situation, they just go through with it and he wasn't any different. He just kept himself in the gap and just before we turned for home I was kind of trapped and had to ride for luck. I sneaked on the inside and hoped the gap would come. Fortunately it did. When I got the gap he just dashed from the 350 (metres) and I knew I was the winner because I had plenty of horse underneath me and he was just attacking the line as a really good horse would."
Right: All the connections and officials pose with their Longines watches and trophies after the trophy presentation for the Hong Kong Vase.
Left: Second place finisher Lucky Lilac heads out to the track from the paddock. Jockey Christophe Soumillon said, "She ran a very good race but was beaten by a better horse."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Exultant heads out to the track. Jockey Zac Purton said, "The barrier (post 14) was always going to make it difficult, so it was what it was. He tried his best and ran well."
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