'He's a lovely type, bred to be a Derby horse and keeps making progress, whether things are right for him or not' Royally bred Beethoven will continue his drive towards the Hong Kong Derby with a pit-stop that trainer David Hayes expects will fine-tune the stayer's engine to Group One pitch after the gelding won again at Sha Tin yesterday. Forced into the role of pacemaker early in the 2,000-metre Class Two feature event, Beethoven (Gerald Mosse) was aided by the sharp move around the field by Jazz Beat (Glyn Schofield) before the home turn, and relished the fleeting chance to chase another runner as he fought his way doggedly to his fourth win. The warm favourite tackled Jazz Beat quickly after straightening, then brushed off Flying Bishop inside the 200 metres when he looked a threat momentarily, drawing clear in a very solid display. 'Once again that wasn't really what he wanted, but he won the race,' said Hayes. 'A better tempo and you will see a better horse, but he's a lovely type, bred to be a Derby horse and he keeps making progress each run, whether things are right for him or not. 'Not too many horses go in just a few months from their 52 rating starting off in Class Four to a rating which will be close to 100 now.' Hayes said Beethoven had now done enough to feel secure about gaining a place in the Derby field and would take a brief break. 'I had expected I would be giving him a break before this, but because he didn't win a couple of those previous races when he was unlucky, he didn't have enough points in the ratings to make sure he would be qualified for the Derby,' Hayes explained. 'He has won on 89 today and will probably go to 96 or 97 for that, and I think that is probably going to be enough. 'Now I'm not worried about qualifying, so we can give him an easy time, slow him down. He is still a big baby, and he really needs a break now to let him grow a bit physically and mentally,' Hayes said. 'And I think when he comes back from this little layoff, he'll have made a lot more improvement and be ready to take the step up that I think he is going to take.' A son of champion New Zealand-based stallion Zabeel, Beethoven is from the best family in the Australasian studbook, being closely related to a host of top Group One performers, including champions Octagonal and Danewin. It would certainly be nothing new for the family to produce a Derby winner and Hayes has been touting Beethoven as a Derby contender from the day he stepped out for his debut - it's a claim he has no intention of shrinking from at this stage. 'I'm sure he'll be one of the leading chances in the Derby when they line up, even though it looks as if it's going to be a very strong race this year. Beethoven will be right there,' he said. 'I'm only planning to give him one more prep race after this and then into the Derby. 'The Classic Mile against the other four-year-olds is an obvious option in about six weeks' time or there is a Class One over 1,800 metres which has been a good lead-up to the Derby in the past couple of years. 'While Beethoven's still down in the ratings, a Class One at handicaps is certainly a tempting proposition over 1,800 metres. But anyway we don't have to make any decisions yet, we'll take our time and see what he needs when the time comes.' Mosse, who won his third Hong Kong Derby aboard the Hayes-trained Elegant Fashion last year, is also a fan of Beethoven. 'He is a lovely horse. Today, leading in a slow pace was not really what I wanted. I slowed them down and down, hoping someone would come around - I couldn't go any slower,' Mosse said. 'When Jazz Beat came around, my horse had something to chase, which he prefers, but he only had it for a few hundred metres,' Mosse explained. 'Beethoven will be better when he has a truer speed, can sit behind and chase another horse. But what I did like about him today was he relaxed beautifully, even with the slow pace. I liked that.' While Hayes buys most of his horses and places them with owners, Beethoven was a rarity as he was purchased as a yearling by his owner, Sidney Chiu Yung-sit, who then offered him to Hayes.