There is now no doubt, Beauty Generation is one of the best horses on the planet.
With the eyes of the world watching, John Moore’s superstar produced the performance of the day, running his Longines Hong Kong Mile rivals ragged to cement his status as the territory’s finest – and the trainer is hoping he can now showcase him across the globe.
Beauty Generation jumped a $1.5 favourite, but carrying the weight of expectation proved not to be an issue, with top jockey Zac Purton remaining calm under early pressure before coming away to win untouched.
Starting from barrier 12, the six-year-old worked forward but a host of challengers pushed up underneath him early, forcing him to do some extra work to find the lead just before the turn.
But once he got there, the reigning Horse of the Year did what he does best, kicking clear at the top of the straight and breaking his rivals’ hearts.
When it became clear nothing would get near Beauty Generation, the packed crowd unleashed a massive roar and Purton enjoyed the moment, easing down the last 50 metres and giving the horse a big pat.
Japanese raider Vivlos, having her final start before heading to the breeding barn, was the best of the rest finishing three lengths away, while Caspar Fownes’ Southern Legend held on for third.
But the margins were irrelevant – it was the manner of the victory that left Sha Tin buzzing.
“That’s what we all hoped we would see today,” Purton said.
“I’m just happy for the horse that he’s come out and produced it on a big stage. He showed everyone how brutally good he can be.
“He’s got a really high cruising speed – he’s very comfortable rolling along at that speed and then he can kick off it.
“So for the horses back in the field, they are already struggling to go with the pace and then they’ve got to try to reel him in – it’s not an easy thing to do.”
There had been whispers about Beauty Generation’s condition earlier in the week, but Purton revealed a final piece of work on Saturday morning put his mind at ease.
“John asked me to specifically come in [Saturday] morning and give him a canter on the big track and when I got off him I thought ‘they’re not going to beat him’, so I slept pretty well,” he said.
Moore has built a reputation as the best big-race trainer in Hong Kong and even he was caught up in the moment.
“That’s the most impressive [winner I’ve had in Hong Kong] – by far,” he said.
“What he did today, he was taken on inside – he had to do it the hard way as far as I was concerned. He wasn’t even hit – he did it facile.
“He’s just lived up to expectations. There were a lot detractors out there saying he’s this and he’s that, but now those detractors have to say he’s a champion.
“I need to be pinched I think, to take in what’s happened.”
Beauty Generation holds the title – undisputed – as the best horse in the Hong Kong and now Moore wants to take on the world.
“He needs to go away to make him a global great, so from that point of view I will be speaking to the [owners] about going to Dubai. That would be my preference,” he said.
“If we are going to prove him, we have to do it on the world stage. We have done it here on the home ground.”
Of the others, 2016 champion Beauty Only put in an eye-catching run to finish fourth after blowing the start, while second favourite, Yasutoshi Ikee’s Persian Knight, came fifth.
But the Group One will only ever be remembered for Beauty Generation’s performance – one that goes down among the best in Hong Kong International Races history.