Moore expects as Beauty Generation impresses ahead of return
Everything about Beauty Generation this morning signalled that Hong Kong’s superstar will once again be the horse to beat when he kicks off his campaign in next week’s G3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m).
The brilliant miler strode out through a 1000m barrier trial shortly after dawn at Sha Tin (Tuesday, 24 September). The bay travelled close to the inner guide markers under Zac Purton, galloped by the winning post a length and a quarter fifth behind young gun sprinter Aethero (clocked at 57.82s), and advanced after the line to lead the pack of seven off towards home and the rising sun.
“I’m very pleased,” trainer John Moore said of the seven-year-old. “He’ll go into the race slightly underdone, which is taken for granted at this stage of his prep, but Zac wasn’t concerned that the horse’s age had caught up with him or anything like that.”
Beauty Generation is on an uninterrupted nine-win streak and has won the past two editions of the Celebration Cup. Like last year, he will shoulder top-weight of 133lb. This time, rated a mighty 137, his next best rivals could be weighted 20lb inferior.
“It wouldn't be a disaster if he did get beat,” Moore admitted, before adding, “I don't think he will.” There was a firm emphasis on the latter part.
“The important thing is getting him prepared for the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile in December but if he has continued in the same vein as last season it would be great to win next week,” he continued.
“This is all part and parcel of his prep, and, giving so much weight away, we know all champions can get beat. But we’re not using that as an excuse going in because I believe he will win.”
Owner Patrick Kwok wishes to see his champion put together “the same season as last year”, which would mean equalling Good Ba Ba’s record of three wins in the G1 Hong Kong Mile. But, knowing how difficult it is to achieve a perfect campaign, he has one over-riding ambition for Beauty Generation.
“The thing I want see most is him winning abroad,” he said. “I’m not sure if it will happen because he’s not getting any younger, so we have to factor that, but it would be a sweet thing to see him winning abroad, especially a race like in Dubai.”
Fresh for the fray
Hong Kong’s two-time Horse of the Year had the demeanour of a fresh young buck before today’s trial, perhaps sensing that his first race since April’s Champions Mile is not far off. Groom Lau Wai-kit a couple of times had to take a strong grip leading him around the sand yard pre-trial, and when Purton climbed aboard, the gelding’s ‘spring’ coiled.
“He was a bit fresh in the gate too,” the champion jockey said. “He was happy to be back out there in a competitive environment and he wanted to bounce around a bit. He actually tried to jump at the front of the gate and I was lucky the gate opened otherwise he would have knocked his head. Now that he’s got that freshness out of him I think he should be ok on race day.
“He showed good speed early, he travelled along really, really well and I just let him do a little bit through the line,” Purton continued. “He feels good and we know he goes well fresh. He’s where he needs to be.”
Beauty Generation has enjoyed a long, relaxing summer without a hint of anything unusual. And the foot issues that caused some concern last term have not arisen.
“Everything has been perfect, no setbacks whatsoever,” Moore said. “He’s very durable, he’s the iron horse. He’s had shoeing issues before but he’s already been reshod: we shoe him 10 days out to make sure he fits into those shoes. We don't do it close to the race because there’s always a chance of soreness.
“All in all, we’re really pleased,” he added.
Aethero heads into his second season unbeaten in three starts and showing signs that he might just live up to the hype that is building around him.
“I guarantee you, he’s a superstar in the making,” Moore said after the chestnut led Beauty Generation through the line in the 1000m heat.
“How far he’ll go, we'll wait and see,” he added.
For now, the exciting sprinter has to raise his rating from a current mark of 89. Moore has a plan to do that, which he hopes will carry the Australian-bred three-year-old to this December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m).
“I’d like to think the ideal programme would be the Class 2 on 1 October, the Group 2, Premier Bowl with Aldo Domeyer on board, and then we’ll wait and see about the Jockey Club Sprint in November. We just have to make sure we’ve got the rating points to be chosen,” Moore said.
“If something went wrong and he got beat first-up, there’s another Class 2 at the beginning of November. We’ve got different ways we can go.”
With regular rider Purton required for Beauty Generation, Domeyer partnered Aethero through this morning’s trial, leading home established high-class gallopers like Rattan, Wishful Thinker and Rise High, as well as the best of them all.
“You could see, when they came on him he was off again,” Moore enthused. “I couldn't be happier with him either. They’re all older horses and he’s just barely turned three.
“I don't think there’s been much change to him. He doesn't carry much middle, he’s a very good eater and from that point of view he’s the complete racehorse. When he was racing as a two-year-old he didn't look a two-year-old, that’s just what he looks like today.”
And, on Domeyer getting the ride, Moore revealed that he had discussed the matter with his chief work rider.
“I discussed it with Romain (Clavreul); we got head-to-head and talked about jockeys and which would suit. His name came to the fore.”