Trainer John Moore thinks reigning Horse of the Year Beauty Generation could be “even better” this season after his emphatic victory in the Group Three Celebration Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin on Monday.
Moore did not have high expectations of Beauty Generation making it back-to-back wins in the race but was blown away after the six-year-old blitzed a crack field.
“That was emphatic, he won by two-and-three-quarter [lengths] and we were going in thinking that he just might have been a little bit on the big side and in need of the run,” Moore said.
“But the way he won, I think if Zac [Purton] gave him a few around the backside he probably would have broken the track record. So we might even have a better horse on our hands this season.
“As the owner [Patrick Kwok Ho-chuen] said to me, ‘I think he’s better than last season’ and I said ‘if that’s the case then we are in with a big chance in December’.”
Moore said Beauty Generation will run in the Sha Tin Trophy and the Jockey Club Cup on his way to the defending his Hong Kong Mile title, admitting jockey Zac Purton was also surprised with how forward the horse is.
“I think he went into the race thinking the horse was probably going to be in need of it and carrying the top weight would be another negative factor,” Moore said of Purton’s expectations.
“I said to Zac ‘just give me an extra week with this horse and I’ll just see what I can do’. In other words, just really trimming him up a bit and we managed to do it.
Horse of the Year Beauty Generation oozes class, scoring his second consecutive win in the G3 Celebration Cup (1400m) for @zpurton and John Moore. Derby winner Ping Hai Star flashed home for second #HKRacing #HKIR pic.twitter.com/fH0ofuAhyB— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 1, 2018
“If he’s run that sort of time I don’t need to do much more for the next run, that is for sure.”
When asked if he thinks his superstar is still underrated, Moore admitted his racing style is not as eye-catching as some of racing’s fan favourites.
“As a racegoer you like to see something close really quickly, like Able Friend used to or like Winx,” he said.
“He just gets up there, goes in front and wins. He’s not flashy, he just gets the job done. The way he did it today in 1:20.62, that’s pretty good.”
The beaten riders from the G3 Celebration Cup (1400m) spoke with @edward_sadler in the moments after the feature, won by Beauty Generation, beginning with Grant Van Niekerk about ninth-placed Fifty Fifty #HKRacing #HKIR pic.twitter.com/Zp89eyDkl6— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 1, 2018
Beauty Generation took the lead at the top of the straight and was dominant over the final 400m, putting away his rivals in a flash.
Eagle Way, Moore’s other runner, finished back in the field but did enough to suggest he is on track for December’s Hong Kong Vase.
“Jockey [Umberto Rispoli] was very pleased with the run, he got to the line strong,” Moore said.
Hong Kong Derby winner Ping Hai Star produced a barnstorming finish to grab second, monstering the line and showing he will be a force to be reckoned with over the longer trip, with the Hong Kong Cup his ultimate target.
“It was a great run, he ran to expectations,” jockey Sam Clipperton said. “He’s a star horse so you would want him to be running well in a race like that first-up.
“It’s business as usual as now and John [Size] will just tick him over to get him to those bigger races. He’s shown his quality and he needs no introduction, so he’ll make his presence felt [on international day] for sure.”