Star jockey Zac Purton has thrown down the gauntlet to his rival jockeys, warning they will come unstuck if they go out purely to try and disrupt Beauty Generation’s dominant front-running racing pattern.
Rated the best mile racehorse in the world, the John Moore-trained six-year-old has taken all before him this season and will line up on Sunday in the Group Two Jockey Club Mile (1,600m).
With just three weeks until the Longines Hong Kong Mile, Purton said his horse was “at the mark” he needed to be to retain his crown in the HK$25 million showcase event.
In his two starts this season, rival jockeys have tried to attack Beauty Generation early in an attempt wear him down, but none have succeeded.
“No doubt the other seven pests in the race are going to try and make it hard for me, so I’ll just let him do his thing. He is an on-speed runner so I’ll let him show his speed and see what happens,” Purton said.
“They’ve [jockeys] got to be careful as well because it’s one thing going out there and making another horse work and it’s another thing because it can be detrimental to your own chances as well.
“They’ve got to be sensible about it and ride their horse in a manner that it’s going to be given a chance to run a decent race.
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
“I can’t control what they’re going to do but you’d like to think they’ve got their heads screwed on properly.”
While Beauty Generation will only line up against seven competitors, he is unlikely to get it all his own way after drawing the widest barrier in the field.
The Golden Age, trained by Tony Cruz, has drawn barrier seven and appears likely to roll forward with Beauty Generation, as well as potentially Pingwu Spark from barrier six.
Going into his third run this preparation after carrying the top weight of 133 pounds in consecutive starts, Purton said he was not concerned about a potential “burn out”.
Following the exact same preparation as last season, Beauty Generation ran third in the Jockey Club Mile after winning both the Celebration Cup (1,400m) and Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m).
“He doesn’t have to improve at all, he just has to stay at the level he is at,” he said. “He’s just been ticking over like he has all season, [Moore] is not in any hurry, more so about keeping him happy and letting him go through the motions.”
Caspar Fownes’ Southern Legend could also pose a threat to Purton as he returns from a successful Kranji Mile raid in Singapore earlier this year.
After disappointing in his two starts this season, Fownes has maintained his six-year-old gelding will be peaking at the business end of the season come HKIR.
With a five-pound weight advantage on Beauty Generation on Sunday, Fownes said he expected a good showing from his gelding after winning a star-studded barrier trial last week.
“He looks a treat now and gets his chance at the mile. We’ll have him there on Sunday in great order with just a hint of improvement left for the big day,” he said.
The Tony Millard-trained Singapore Sling will also return after running second to Beauty Generation first up last month.
Despite running second in the Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) last season, Millard has committed to running his star galloper over the mile.
While he produced a fast-finishing second behind Beauty Generation first-up, Singapore Sling will be 11 pounds worse off this time around under set weights.