Three Group One wins were enough to earn Beauty Generation the 2017-18 Horse of the Year title ahead of Pakistan Star at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Champion Awards on Friday night.
The five-year-old was recognised for his sensational season, winning the Longines Hong Kong Cup, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup and the Champions Mile at the top level while also collecting the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy and the Group Three Celebration Cup on his way to being named Champion Miler.
It gives trainer John Moore an astonishing eight Horse of the Year gongs and just as amazingly he has won the past six but with a different horse each time – Military Attack, Designs On Rome, Able Friend, Werther, Rapper Dragon and now Beauty Generation.
“It’s a big relief, there was a lot of competition coming from Pakistan Star, but he put the writing on the wall with his achievements through the season,” Moore said.
“When he wins, it’s not always exciting, he just gets out in front or on the speed and wins the big ones.
“I brought him back from what we thought was a 2,000m horse and made him a miler and here we are enjoying the fruits of all his successes on the stage of Horse of the Year – it’s amazing.
“It gives me incredible satisfaction that this is my sixth in succession, we’re buying the right horses and in turn the stable is doing the right thing and winning the big ones.”
While the sentimental pick would have been Pakistan Star given his cult following and all the trials and tribulations he went through during the season, the judges ultimately decided Beauty Generation was the better performed horse on the track.
After finishing third to stablemate Rapper Dragon in last year’s BMW Hong Kong Derby, the son of Road To Rock went to the next level this season with Moore finding his niche as a front-running miler.
He was incredibly consistent, winning five of his eight starts, finishing third a length behind Seasons Bloom in the Group Two Jockey Club Mile, while being beaten just a length-and-three-quarters in both the Group One Stewards’ Cup and the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy.
The Tony Cruz-trained Pakistan Star was the stand-out as Most Popular Horse, while he was also named Champion Stayer for his dominant victory in the Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup in May.
Stablemate Time Warp was honoured for his two Group One wins as Champion Middle-Distance horse after claiming the Hong Kong Cup (in what was then a track record time for Sha Tin’s 2,000m circuit) and the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup thanks to terrific front-running rides from Zac Purton.
One of John Size’s speedsters was going to be named Champion Sprinter after Mr Stunning (Hong Kong Sprint), D B Pin (Centenary Sprint Cup) and Ivictory (Chairman’s Sprint Prize) split the three 1,200m Group Ones in Hong Kong and it was the latter who prevailed thanks to his remarkable rise.
Ivictory was undefeated in four starts this term, climbing from a rating of 75 to 128, joining his stablemates as the joint top-rated horses in Hong Kong while he also smashed the 1,200m track record at Happy Valley that stood for over 10 years.
Danny Shum Chap-shing’s dirt specialist Pick Number One took out the Champion Griffin award after five wins and a second from his seven starts this season.
Champion Griffin – Pick Number One
Most Popular Horse – Pakistan Star
Champion Stayer – Pakistan Star
Champion Sprinter – Ivictory
Champion Miler – Beauty Generation
Champion Middle-Distance – Time Warp
Horse of the Year – Beauty Generation