The 2017 BMW Hong Kong Derby form gets its first real test on Sunday at Sha Tin and Beauty Generation can stamp himself as the standout of an exciting group of new stayers in the Jinbao Street Handicap.
John Moore’s Australian import was third behind Rapper Dragon and Pakistan Star in the Derby and now lines up in a fascinating 2,200m Class Two containing four other Derby rivals, with all of them headed towards the end of season staying features.
Beauty Generation is a cracking type that brought both solid form credentials and some upside out of Sydney, where he raced as Montaigne in seven starts for Anthony Cummings.
The four-year-old confirmed his class early, winning a strong Class Two at a mile second-up, and has missed a place just once, when ridden upside down in the Hong Kong Classic Cup over 1,800m.
Reverting back to his normal pattern and given a chance to settle in the Derby, Beauty Generation worked home nicely behind two potential superstars.
Beauty Generation remains on a mark of 100, which seems generous, especially given his form around open-age Group One company in Australia more than a year ago.
Also on watch out of the Derby are Beauty Generation’s stablemates Eagle Way (Joao Moreira) and Helene Charisma (Douglas Whyte), both of whom ran on nicely at 2,000m and have previous form over further.
Others looking out-and-out stayers are the John Size-trained pair of Prawn Baba (Neil Callan) and Dinozzo (Chad Schofield).
Derek Leung Ka-chun is making a strong run at this season’s Tony Cruz Award and he can add another win to his tally when Dashing Dart chases three wins in a row in the Jianguomen Handicap.
Last season was a personal best for Leung but his 33 winners wasn’t enough to catch star apprentice Kei Chiong Ka-kei as her late push saw her secure the inaugural award for leading local rider with 37 wins.
It seems Chiong is again Leung’s chief rival but a solid month of March, where he had six winners, helped the 28-year-old edge ahead.
Leung has 20 wins and is ninth in the jockeys’ championship, one win ahead of Chiong and seven ahead of Vincent Ho Chak-yiu.
When Dashing Dart only just scraped home in Class Five two starts back it wasn’t exactly the sign of a horse with a lot of ratings points to spare.
Yet the slowly maturing son of Pins was more impressive with a lightweight and Leung aboard up in Class Four last start.
On both of those occasions, Dashing Dart had the benefit of a low draw and the challenge for Leung this time is finding the right type of race position from gate 10 with the rail out in the C position.
Getting a better draw is Imperial Seal and that, along with the Moreira-factor, is probably enough to propel the Caspar Fownes-trainee into favouritism.
It wasn’t that long ago that Imperial Seal was in Class Five as well – which speaks to the lack of quality in this race.
Unlike last start, when Imperial Seal was forced to work hard through the first half of the race from barrier 10, gate one should give Moreira an ideal sit behind the leaders.
A lack of speed in the race brings Argentum (Ben So Tik-hung) into reckoning and will make it more difficult for some back-markers, Dashing Dart being one of them.
Daring Heart (Karis Teetan) and Blazing Pass (Brett Prebble) fit into that category of requiring some tempo to show their best, but both loom as knockout hopes in an open race.
Moreira was also the beneficiary of a better barrier in the Dongzhimen Handicap, where front-runner Beauty Love also drops into gate one after a string of terrible draws.
Beauty Love has drawn 13, 12 and 13 at his last three starts, but this time the draw gives the Tony Cruz-trained four-year-old the chance of a more comfortable run.
Not so lucky was Benno Yung Tin-pang’s three-year-old Lucky Power (Purton), who came up with barrier 10. The big-striding type is still finding his feet and has obvious scope for improvement, but will have to be pushed to find a forward position from barrier 10.