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Exultant won last year’s Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup and Hong Kong’s champion stayer is one of seven entries for the 2,400m feature on 24 May – @HKJC_Racing

The entries are out for Sunday week’s Champions & Chater Cup and they are bad. Very bad.

Just seven horses are there – Tony Cruz’s trio of Exultant, Time Warp and Furore stand out – while John Moore has entered four horses – Eagle Way, Chefano, Helene Charisma and Savvy Nine – for the final Group One of his final season in Hong Kong. The latter three all have ratings below 100.

Just two of Sha Tin’s 22 trainers will be represented in the race. Cruz and Moore have won the past seven editions of the race between them and will make it an eighth. The HK$10 million race is basically the Exultant benefit.

Zac Purton and Tony Cruz enjoy Exultant’s win last year.

The entries bring back memories of the 2018 contest where there were just five runners – three from Cruz, one from Moore while Ralph Beckett made the trip from England with Chemical Charge (he finished last, eight and a half lengths behind Pakistan Star).

There is no depth at the top level of Hong Kong’s staying ranks, which is highlighted across the jurisdiction’s three 2,400m contests.

There were just four local competitors in December’s Hong Kong Vase, five in last month’s Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup and now seven nominated for the Champions & Chater Cup (just four with ratings above 100).

Exultant ‘all heart’ in grinding Champions Chater Cup win but Japan is off the agenda

It makes no sense that two of Hong Kong’s 12 Group Ones are held at a distance that is raced at just three times a season.

There either needs to be a proper programme for stayers to encourage owners to buy horses for the trip or get rid of these races entirely and replace them with something better suited to the horse population.

A change in mindset is required given the current formula is clearly not working.

[Six up] dividend was delayed today because one of the [commingling partners] could not confirm the result – @nyracing91

If you were one of the punters lucky enough to land the six up on Saturday, you had to wait a little longer for your dividend than usual.

There was an issue with the commingling protocols – specifically from Woodbine and the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation – that meant the Jockey Club couldn’t verify the winning information.

After much commotion behind the scenes, the dividends were finally paid out more than two hours late after finally getting the details required.

There was plenty of interest in the six up too, with more than HK$12.3 million in the pool thanks to a HK$2.2 million jackpot.

Antoine Hamelin guides Assimilate to victory in the last race on Saturday.

The six win bonus returned HK$89,350 for a HK$10 unit, while the six up (first or second in the last six races on the card) was worth HK$12,218

“In accordance with its established protocol, the club is required to verify the winning information of six up from its overseas commingling partners before making payouts,” the Jockey Club said in a statement.

“During the race meeting, the club has received the necessary information from all overseas partners except Sky (Woodbine and GCGC) as scheduled, causing a delay of the six up payout.

“The club has now received the information from Sky (Woodbine and GCGC) and has started making payouts manually after verifying the relevant information.

“The information on the website has also been updated. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

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