Beauty Generation started this season way down the pecking order in his own stable, let alone overall, but now sits in the box seat for Horse of the Year honours after a third top-level victory of the term.
Yet another tough on-pace display from the robust gelding in the Group One Champions Mile was probably enough to seal the award after Group One wins in the Hong Kong Mile and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.
If Beauty Generation does win, it would mean trainer John Moore has trained the last six awardees, after Military Attack, Designs On Rome, Able Friend, Werther and Rapper Dragon.
History is certainly on Beauty Generation’s side, with only three horses taking the Hong Kong Mile-Champions Mile double previously; Good Ba Ba, Maurice and Able Friend.
Beauty Generation and @zpurton recovered from a slow start and was not for catching in the G1 Champions Mile, joining Maurice, Able Friend and Good Ba Ba as horses to land the HK Mile/Champions Mile double #HKChampionsDay pic.twitter.com/36pznwyOTe— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 29, 2018
Moore said Beauty Generation’s name might not fit alongside those champions in terms of class but the horse had still earned a place in his heart.
“He isn’t in the same category as those horses but if he can get his own way in front and is still a grinder at the very top level – what more can he do than win races? I don’t want to call him a champion, but he is our champion,” said Moore, who has endured a tough campaign by his standards, with Beauty Generation his shining light.
“He is the iron horse of racing. Had I been training him in Australia he would have been out in the paddock, then brought back for a race like this.”
It was the first leg of a Group One double for jockey Zac Purton who said the early stages, where he held off a challenge for the lead from Pingwu Spark, were pivotal.
“Pingwu Spark came out with enough speed to cross me and I was worried for a few strides, but he must have spotted something because all of a sudden he ran off the track and lost his momentum,” he said.
“If you make one mistake in any race here in Hong Kong it makes it very hard to win. My horse kept the lead and he loves being in that position. He just bowls along. I gave him a bit of rein coming into the straight, I let him slip away a little bit and hoped they wouldn’t catch him.
“I was a bit worried they would because he was out on his feet. But he is tough, he has been the most consistent horse in Hong Kong all season and he showed that again today.”
Moore indicated Beauty Generation was likely to sit out the rest of this season, but second, third and fourth in the race could all be headed abroad.
Trainer John Size said runner-up Western Express would be aimed at the Yasuda Kinen in Japan.
“I’ll try to make a case to the owner,” Size said.
Western Express could be joined in Tokyo by the Tony Cruz-trained Beauty Only, who was unplaced in the race last year but has regained form at his last two starts.
Caspar Fownes’ Southern Legend confirmed his status as a horse to watch for next season with a third that could put him on a plane to Singapore for the Kranji Mile on May 26.