EXULTANT showed all his class to dig deep and defend his crown in the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup at Sha Tin.
Known as Irishcorrespondent when with Michael Halford in Ireland, the Tony Cruz-trained six-year-old finished second in the 12-furlong feature in 2018, but went one place better last year when beating Rise High by a length and a quarter.
The Teofilo gelding – who had most recently held Furore in last month’s QEII Cup – was quickly on the heels of stablemate Time Warp in the final Group 1 of the Hong Kong season.
Zac Purton’s mount was going best turning for home and had a clear advantage two furlongs out, but it was becoming hard work for the red-hot favourite with just over a furlong to go and inside the last he looked like he might be swamped.
But while Chefano and Furore threw everything at him, Exultant would not be denied a fifth top-level triumph of his career.