John Moore does not think Beauty Generation’s dominance will scare off any prospective overseas challengers from making the trip to December’s Longines Hong Kong International Races.
The reigning Horse of the Year has been sublime in his two runs back this campaign – winning both the Group Three Celebration Cup and Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy – while giving weight to all of rivals.
Zac Purton, who is one of three jockeys to win all of the four HKIR features, described Beauty Generation’s effort on Sunday as “phenomenal” and said “he goes very close [to winning the Hong Kong Mile] with a performance like that”.
Given he won last year’s Hong Kong Mile and is an even better horse this time around, he looks incredibly hard to beat, even seven weeks out from the big day.
Last year's HK Horse of the Year stakes his claim to be the world's highest-rated miler in the Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy: Beauty Generation refuses to yield as Singapore Sling challenges to record one of the best HK handicap performances of the modern era. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/y1GG7zpdf5— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 21, 2018
But if Moore was training a rival and eyeing off the Mile, what would he do?
“It’s a free trip isn’t it? I’d be on the plane if I got the invite,” the big-race trainer said. “Everybody I speak to, they compare it with all the other jurisdictions and they love this trip.
“So it won’t be a scare off thing, I think it will be ‘we’ll take our chances’. It’s the best venue for international races so they’ll be here.”
While Beauty Generation reiterated his class in the Sha Tin Trophy, Tony Millard’s Singapore Sling stamped himself as a genuine HKIR contender with an eye-catching second.
Hot favourite Ivictory disappoints but stablemate Hot King Prawn sizzles under a rejuvenated Sam Clipperton in the Premier Bowl, showing brazen speed throughout to beat Fifty Fifty and Mr Stunning in style. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/Vx64XxZWfn— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 21, 2018
“I’m very happy, that’s a fantastic effort first-up,” Millard said, confirming Singapore Sling will go to the Jockey Club Mile next.
Eagle Way put in a strong finishing burst to grab third while fan favourite Pakistan Star loomed up but just peaked on his run to hold fourth.
“He can only get better from here, he felt so strong and so healthy underneath me, I am really happy with the way he ran,” jockey Karis Teetan said.
“His trials were so good so he gives so much expectation for people but also they must know, it is a short distance for him and he hasn’t run for long.”
Time Warp's brother Glorious Forever continues to do a striking impression of his older sibling and destroys a smart field in R4 from a mark of 96 under @zpurton. Frankie Lor pinpoints the Sa Sa Ladies' Purse as a springboard to the LONGINES HKIR. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/K9bbrMGGZU— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 21, 2018
On the other side of the coin, connections of sprinter Ivictory were left scratching their heads after he flopped as even-money favourite in the Group Two Premier Bowl.
Trainer John Size said the horse trotted up fine after the race, a veterinary inspection could not find anything wrong and neither could the jockey.
“I can’t work it out – that’s not him, we’ll just see how he pulls up,” Purton said. “He travelled well in the run, he gave me every indication he was going to be a player until I put him under pressure and there was just no response.”
Boom sprinter Hot King Prawn took his record to eight wins and a second from nine starts in saluting, establishing himself as a genuine top-liner, while Fifty Fifty and Mr Stunning both impressed with their placings.