Recent history says the handicaps play a big part in the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup but jockey Zac Purton seems to think Beauty Generation is capable of lumping top weight in a fascinating renewal on Sunday.
Beauty Generation scraped home by a narrow margin last start over 2,200m, beating stablemate Eagle Way (Joao Moreira), and now carries 133 pounds against a classy field.
Not only does the John Moore-trained import face a rematch with Eagle Way, but also the trainer’s fellow four-year-old Helene Charisma (Douglas Whyte) and four other runners from what looks a strong 2017 BMW Hong Kong Derby.
Beauty Generation was third in the Derby before toughing out his last start result in a race where Eagle Way had a few notable factors against him, but Purton is banking on some upside from his horse and another soft run from a low barrier.
What Purton admits is a challenge is giving weight away to his 13 rivals in a race where eight of the last 11 winners have carried 122 pounds or less.
“It’s never easy in these Group Three races when you have to carry 133 pounds, we’ve seen it time and time again, but over the 2,400m, I think the horses that can run the trip should be able to stand out from the ones that can’t,” Purton said.
“We know that he can run it. So even though he’s got top weight and it’s going to be a very difficult task, I still think he’s going to be a very competitive runner.”
This isn’t the first time Beauty Generation has contested a 2,400m race, with the gelding’s last start in Australia for trainer Anthony Cummings a fourth against older horses in the Group One BMW.
In what can also be an incredibly tactical race, Purton is also happy with his horse again drawing low.
“I’m sure the extra distance is going to be no problem, we’ll just see how the race is being run,” he said. “He’s going to be in the right spot anyway so whether they go fast or slow, he’s going to give himself every chance.”
The Australian jockey, who won the race in 2013 with Dominant when the stallion carried 131 pounds, maintained Beauty Generation still had some development left after the last start win and said a strong gallop this week backed that up.
“He’s going well, I worked him this morning, he’s going through his paces like he normally does,” Purton said after Beauty Generation followed a strong Monday turf gallop with another maintenance piece on Friday.
“He’s never a flash worker but he just gets his work done. It’s like his races – it’s been a characteristic of his that where he is at the furlong is what he does at the finish. He doesn’t seem to attack the line, but he just seems to keep grinding away. The way the race was run last time, it turned into a grind at the end and he just kept whacking away.”
As far as Moore is concerned, it is still Eagle Way who gives him the best chance of a fourth win in the race.
“Last start, Joao had to make use of Eagle Way from the wide gate and that probably cost him the race,” Moore said on Friday.
“Take nothing away from Beauty Generation, he did everything he had to, but I think Eagle Way can turn the tables. He worked the place down this morning. Joao was very positive in respect to his gallop, he said he had trouble pulling him up, I think he nearly got around to the half-mile before he stopped.”