Aidan O’Brien was hoping to pull a rabbit out of the hat, when he sent the Derby Anthony Van Dyck winner into the Longines Hong Kong Vase. But to his chargain, Tomohito Ozeki trained, son of Deep Impact walked away with both the glory and the Vase.
This was Ozeki’s first Hong Kong win.
Glory Vase under Joao Moreira led home a 1-2-4 for the Japanese. Christophe Soumillon drove the filly Lucky Lilacto second, with the popular mare Deirdre, under Oisin Murphy, fourth. Exultant in third prevented a Japanese whitewash.
“She was beaten by a better horse,” Soumillon said.
Purton felt the wide draw was too much for Exultant.
“The barrier (14) was always going to make it difficult, so it was what it was. He tried his best and ran well,” he said.
Glory Vase is the third Japanese horse to win the Vase following Stay Gold (2001) and Satono Crown (2016).
Anthony Van Dyck was the first Derby winner to travel to Hong Kong, but the fitting of blinkers for the first time failed to have the desired effect as he faded into 12th under Ryan Moore.
“He ran amazing; the emotion is getting the better of me but that’s what it’s about, winning big races, and today we’ve got another one. To come back and win on a Japanese horse, it makes it all worth it,” said Moreira, who left Hong Kong for Japan for a short while before returning full-time to his adopted home city this time last year.
Moreira had a HKIR double previously in 2014 when Able Friend won the Mile and Designs On Rome took the Cup.