Beauty Generation has a clear path to the perfect Hong Kong season after scaring off any international raiders for the Group One FWD Champions Mile.
John Moore’s superstar will face just six rivals in the HK$18 million feature – all locals who he has comfortably accounted for in the past – meaning history beckons on April 28.
With victory in the Champions Mile, Beauty Generation will become the first horse to win eight races in a Hong Kong season, as well as breaking Viva Pataca’s all-time prize money record of HK$83,197,500 (he will go to HK$84,770,000). It has been 12 months since he last lost a race.
While Beauty Generation is the headline act for Champions Day, the race itself looks to be no contest, but the two other Group Ones on the card do boast an international flavour and should be more competitive.
Five overseas visitors will line up in the QE II Cup (2,000m) – three from Japan, one from Australia and one from Britain.
The Japanese have won the race on four previous occasions and their contingent is led by Longines Hong Kong Cup runner-up Deirdre and Hong Kong Vase second placegetter Lys Gracieux, alongside Win Bright, who won Group Two Nakayama Kinen last start.
Two-time Australian Cup winner Harlem, prepared by former Hong Kong trainer David Hayes, is also making the trip after interim quarantine measures were put in place, as is Sir Mark Todd’s globetrotter Eminent, who ran second in the Group One Ranvet Stakes in Sydney last start.
From a Hong Kong perspective, Frankie Lor Fu-chuen has the strongest hand with Hong Kong Cup champion Glorious Forever alongside his star four-year-olds – the Derby hero Furore and rising star Dark Dream.
Tony Cruz will saddle up a pair of dual Group One winners in Exultant and Time Warp, the popular Pakistan Star is there for Paul O’Sullivan, as is Eagle Way (John Moore), Southern Legend (Caspar Fownes) and Waikuku (John Size).
The strength in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) comes from Australia, which last won the race with Chautauqua in 2016, with the country’s best short-course horse Santa Ana Lane making the trip after winning the T J Smith Stakes, while two-time Group One winner Viddora is also flying the flag after running fourth in the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai.
Leading New Zealand sprinter Enzo’s Lad (Michael Pitman) adds another layer to the race after landing back-to-back victories in the Group One Telegraph in January while Japanese mare Nac Venus won the Group Three Keeneland Cup in August.
For the home side, the top two hopes remain Lor’s Mr Stunning and Size’s Beat The Clock, despite being upset by the Richard Gibson-trained Rattan in Sunday’s Group Two Sprint Cup.
“The line-up of 34 horses across the three races this time includes a total of 17 individual Group One winners, including those from Japan, Australia, Britain and New Zealand. It is a pleasure to welcome our Australian friends back to Sha Tin and the sprinters, in particular, will be a force in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize,” Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding said.
“From a Hong Kong perspective, the day will hold added significance if our incredible champion Beauty Generation can set a new all-time record for career prize money.”
HK$24 million QE II Cup (2,000m):
EXULTANT (IRE) Tony Cruz
TIME WARP (GB) Tony Cruz
GLORIOUS FOREVER (GB) Frankie Lor
WIN BRIGHT (JPN) Yoshihiro Hatakeyama
HARLEM (GB) David Hayes
PAKISTAN STAR (GER) Paul O’Sullivan
SOUTHERN LEGEND (AUS) Caspar Fownes
EAGLE WAY (AUS) John Moore
EMINENT (IRE) Sir Mark Todd
FURORE (NZ) Frankie Lor
DARK DREAM (AUS) Frankie Lor
WAIKUKU (IRE) John Size
LYS GRACIEUX (JPN) Yoshito Yahagi
DEIRDRE (JPN) Mitsuru Hashida
HK$18 million Champions Mile (1,600m):
BEAUTY GENERATION (NZ) John Moore
CONTE (AUS) John Size
SEASONS BLOOM (AUS) Danny Shum
SIMPLY BRILLIANT (GB) Frankie Lor
SINGAPORE SLING (SAF) Tony Millard
RISE HIGH (FR) Caspar Fownes
ROMANTIC TOUCH (AUS) Tony Cruz
HK$16 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m):
SANTA ANA LANE (AUS) Anthony Freedman
MR STUNNING (AUS) Frankie Lor
BEAT THE CLOCK (AUS) John Size
LITTLE GIANT (NZ) David Hall
RATTAN (NZ) Richard Gibson
FIFTY FIFTY (NZ) Peter Ho
ENZO’S LAD (AUS) Michael Pitman
WINNER’S WAY (AUS) Tony Cruz
WISHFUL THINKER (AUS) Richard Gibson
PINGWU SPARK (NZ) Benno Yung
GUNNISON (AUS) John Size
VIDDORA (AUS) Lloyd Kennewell
NAC VENUS (JPN) Hiroaki Sugiura