Ambitious Dragon pulling clear in The Queen's Silver Jubilee CupPICTURE: Hong Kong Jockey Club
Ambitious Dragon back to form in Silver Jubilee
Report: Hong Kong, Sunday
Sha Tin: The Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (Group 1) 7f, turf, 3yo+
ON A day when the Derby took centre stage, Ambitious Dragon (Tony Millard/Zac Purton), winner of the Classic two years ago, offered a timely reminder that he remains Hong Kong's best horse and will take some shifting from that position.
A seventh victory at the highest level could hardly have come much easier for the champion six-year-old.
Patiently ridden as usual, jockey Purton was able to glide past the opposition on Ambitious Dragon before hitting the front at the furlong marker and scoring by two and a half lengths from Time After Time.
Glorious Days finished another length adrift in third having raced wide and without cover throughout. Lucky Nine was found to have pulled up lame after placing fourth.
Ambitious Dragon's latest victory came two months after he disappointed in the Stewards' Cup when fourth behind Glorious days. The score in the private battle between the pair this season now reads three-two in favour of Ambitious Dragon.
The brilliance of the success was also confimed on the clock. On a good to firm track, the race time was 1 min 20.63 sec, just two tenths of a second outside the course record that may well have fallen had the winner been exerted more.
"When Ambitious Dragon is on song and right he's unbeatable. We don't know which one we're going to get until we get to the 200m [furlong marker] but when he's right he's unbelievable," Purton enthused.
Trainer Tony Millard said the dual Horse of the Year will next step up to 1m2f at the end of April against international opposition in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup, a race he won two years ago.
"As long as I can keep him fresh and train him as I would like, he'll run a big race in the QEII," the South African said.
"You can disregard his last race, he got a bash around the turn and when he came out of that he didn't want to run. Today he got the ideal run, the pace was on and he showed us what a champion he is."