Just when it seemed Beauty Generation’s BMW Hong Kong Derby hopes were in tatters an encouraging trial has kept the “dream” alive, according to jockey Zac Purton.
Even if Beauty Generation had some excuses in the Hong Kong Classic Cup last start, the Australian import was entitled to finish more strongly and it seemed a form turnaround in time for the big race on March 19 was unlikely.
A nice closing effort in a 1,000m turf trial at Sha Tin, 12 days out from the HK$18 million race, was just what Purton and trainer John Moore wanted to see.
“It was good to see him go out and trial like that today, obviously it was concerning the way he ran last time,” Purton said. “He seemed to relax a little bit better today and the last 100 metres he picked up and ran through the line nicely. He seemed to pull up well, so the dream is still there.”
Moore was far more forgiving of Beauty Generation’s last start display, blaming tactics that saw the horse pushed into a forward spot and then having his energy sapped by some fast early sectionals.
“It was the connections’ idea to have him up so close and it turned into a speed duel. That saw the undoing of him,” Moore said. “Just forget that, the owners wanted him ridden that way. We were very happy with the trial and everything went to plan.”
Moore could have as many as five runners in the Derby when the field is announced on Wednesday and all trialled on Tuesday morning, with the quintet to have final hit-outs in grass gallops on the Thursday before the race.
Likely race favourite Rapper Dragon has won the first two legs of the four-year-old series and simply cruised around in the same heat as Beauty Generation, while Rodrico (Sam Clipperton) again struggled at the back and remains on the borderline for selection.
A 1,600m turf trial later in the morning saw Moore’s Derby duo Helene Charisma (Douglas Whyte) and Eagle Way (Clipperton) square off against possible rivals My Darling (Karis Teetan), Gold Land (Matthew Chadwick), Seasons Bloom (Nash Rawiller), Dee Dee D’Or (Umberto Rispoli) and Dinozzo (Keith Yeung Ming-lun).
Moore sent Booming Delight to the dirt for his trial, with Teetan enlisted to keep the saddle warm for Ryan Moore.
Booming Delight has already won at 2,000m but travelled surprisingly strongly in the 1,200m heat and zipped home with a short but sharp late burst.
“I’m really pleased with how Booming Delight is going and he goes very well on the dirt,” Moore said.