It’s a different Beauty Generation that steps out in Monday’s Celebration Cup (1,400m) to the one who saluted in the Group Three race last year – not only because he’s carrying the “grandstand” this time out but also the weight that comes with being the reigning Horse of the Year.
John Moore’s star six-year-old was still finding his way when he won as the bottom weight on National Day last year, but three Group One wins later – including the Hong Kong Mile – and this time the path to December’s International Races is well and truly set.
“If you look at last season, it was exactly the same plan, but of course he’s carrying the grandstand this time and we know the top horses can always be beaten in handicap races,” Moore said of his charge’s 133-pound impost.
“He’s done everything right, he hasn’t been put to the grind because we know our target is December, where last season it was a matter of coming to grips with what his target was.
“We had him running in the Derby and winning over ground but we managed to reboot him and got him up to being a very good miler.”
While Beauty Generation may have his work cut out first-up on Monday, Moore says he couldn’t be happier with a horse he says is “not as flashy as Able Friend, but gets the job done all the time”.
Hong Kong jockey Derek Leung scores a memorable @LONGINES Hong Kong Mile win aboard Beauty Generation, a first G1 for both horse and rider. It's the third Mile win for trainer John Moore, after Able One (2011) and Able Friend (2014) #HKIR pic.twitter.com/6Et8jBZUGr— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) December 10, 2017
Zac Purton takes the ride after he was aboard for the horse’s most recent victory in April’s Champions Mile and partnered Beauty Generation when he ran second in a trial last week.
“His trial was good and Zac is happy with the level of fitness he’s at now, but we’ve always got in the back of minds that December is the grand final,” Moore said.
The Australian trainer also has Eagle Way in the race, a horse who has long battled foot problems and was hampered by a chest infection and leg issues last term.
Moore says the six-year-old is in good order at the moment, however, and will plot a course towards another tilt at the Hong Kong Vase, a race he finished eighth in last year.
“He’s always had hiccups. He can be off, but there’s no issues at the moment. The 1,400m is a start and then he’ll just work his way up the scale to a mile and then 1,800m and then the 2,000m trial. He’s on target,” Moore said.
Moore is also looking forward to seeing Not Listenin’tome hit the track in the Group Three National Day Cup (1,000m), saying the eight-year-old is fresh after a stint in Conghua and ready to take it up to the likes of Ivictory and Hot King Prawn.
“He’s been in China, we just tried to put some new life into his legs over there. It’s a fabulous environment and I think for the older brigade like him, it wasn’t a freshen up, it was just a change in environment,” Moore said.
“I’m expecting him to run a very big race because he only just got beaten last year in the same race by Dashing Fellow and you had Mr Stunning and all those horses in the race.
“From the good gate – he’s drawn gate seven of seven – he’s going to get the gun run from that point of view and carrying no weight on his back so he’ll be right there.
“His trial he won easy, he was in a different league. He’s right on winning weight and we know he runs well fresh.”