Champion jockey Zac Purton expects Hong Kong superstar Beauty Generation to collect his 11th straight victory in Sunday’s Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m) with the weight differential to a couple of up-and-comers the only minor concern.
John Moore’s two-time Horse of the Year showed fans he’s still at the top of his game with a stunning performance first-up over 1,400m in the Group Three Celebration Cup and Purton thinks he can do it again stepping up to his preferred distance.
“He couldn’t have done any more than what he did,” the jockey said.
“He carried the grandstand. He was carrying more weight physically than he ever has coming into a race. He gave 20 pounds away to most of the field and he ran a track record. He can’t go any faster or any better.
“He’s just the same horse that he was. Obviously he’s a little bit older but I still believe he’s got another good season left in him and I think he showed that first-up. There’s no reason why he can’t continue on his way.”
Beauty Generation faces a similar scenario again in this contest – another under handicap conditions – and given his standing as the equal highest-rated horse in Hong Kong racing history (alongside Able Friend), he’s giving his rivals plenty of weight.
The seven-year-old carries 133 pounds with Rise High the next in line lumping 119 pounds while six are on the minimum of 113.
Beauty Generation still ‘one of the best in the world’ after making it 10 in a row with Sha Tin romp
Two of those horses with the feather weight pose the only real challenge according to Purton – Waikuku and Ka Ying Star – with both finishing in the placings behind Beauty Generation first-up.
They are making the transition to Group racing after competing in last season’s four-year-old series and still potentially have some upside, while Beauty Generation has already shown he’s got the others covered.
“[The weight] is always a concern because we’ve always got nice young horses coming through every season,” Purton said.
“You don’t know how much horses are going to improve with the benefit of the off-season and getting in with such a light weight, if they’re talented horses, they’re always hard to hold out.
“But my bloke is an iron horse, he’s worked well since, he’s really good. He’s drawn a nice gate, he should get a nice run.”
Beauty Generation has the versatility to control the race from the front or take a sit, so if someone does want to take up the running, Purton can adjust however it unfolds.
“Like I always say, the more pressure the better. The old horses can’t absorb or handle that pressure and he eats it up,” he said.
“A nice, genuinely run race is what we’re looking for and I’m sure he’s going to go out there and give us his best again.”
Beauty Generation is chasing his third straight victory in the Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy and will start a long odds-on favourite again.