Beauty Generation is seven weeks from his Longines Hong Kong International Races grand final but John Moore cannot hide his excitement, saying his superstar is “the horse to beat” in Sunday’s Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy.
Reigning Horse of the Year Beauty Generation stunned Moore with a dominant victory first-up three weeks ago and the veteran trainer expects the six-year-old to be better again this weekend.
“It was a little bit of a surprise, the facile win it was, but he’s come through the race really well,” Moore said.
“He hasn’t had much leading into this race with respect to workload because you cannot do any better than what he did first-up. It is a handicap and you have to take that into consideration, but I still think he’s the horse to beat even though he’s giving away a lot of weight.”
Beauty Generation’s ultimate goal is the defence of his Hong Kong Mile crown and his lead-up is taking identical shape to last time, with the gelding winning this race last year before a third in the Jockey Club Mile.
Moore’s challenge is to keep the three-time Group One winner at the top of his game until the second Sunday of December and he is confident there is still more improvement to come.
“From my point of view he’s even fitter than he was the other day and Zac Purton also considers that he is a fitter horse,” Moore said.
Beauty Generation is one of a three-pronged Moore attack on the race, with Werther lining up for the first time since his second in the Takarazuka Kinen in Japan in June and Eagle Way continuing his path to the Hong Kong Vase.
“I would have loved to have got a run into him at 1,400m but we had a slight setback, we’ve righted the ship now,” Moore said of Werther.
“He’s going into the race slightly underdone but I still think he’ll run a big race. He’s done everything right, he’s a healthy horse and all he can do is improve. If he can run four, five or six on the weekend I would be a very happy trainer.”
Young South African Callan Murray takes the ride on Werther for the first time after Moore’s preferred jockey Douglas Whyte was booked for Southern Legend, who has since been scratched.
“Callan Murray rides him, he did trial him and as long as he gets around safely I’ll be happy,” Moore said.
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
Eagle Way resumed in the same race as Beauty Generation and Moore was happy with the run despite the six-year-old finishing six lengths off the pace in 11th.
“His last run with good, he goes to the mile now and then the Sa Sa [Ladies’ Purse] and the [Jockey Club Cup], I’ll get plenty of mileage into his legs,” Moore said. “I’m hoping he can run a big race by the time December comes along, the grand final over 2,400m.”
Moore saddles up Not Listenin’tome in the day’s other Group Two event, the Premier Bowl (1,200m), against star sprinters Ivictory, Mr Stunning and Hot King Prawn.
The in-form Vincent Ho Chak-yiu keeps the ride on the eight-year-old, who is looking to build on a sixth-placed finish first-up in the National Day Cup (1,000m)