John Moore would return to the heady days of last season in a heartbeat but if there’s a positive about Beauty Generation’s decline, it’s that he is now far more relaxed when he takes the champion miler to the races.
While any trainer would kill to have a horse like Beauty Generation, preparing Hong Kong’s best galloper comes with a certain level of expectation and Moore declared during the seven-year-old’s all-conquering winning streak that ‘if I said I was stress-free that would be B.S’.
But that pressure is gone now and the 69-year-old is at ease ahead of the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, a race he hopes will act as the perfect stepping stone to the Group One Dubai Turf (1,800m) at Meydan next month.
“The pressure is on Beat The Clock, we’re the underdog and that doesn’t put so much pressure on,” Moore said.
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“I definitely go to the races more relaxed now. I’m waiting for Dubai, I’ve just got to get that green light [from the owners].”
Beat The Clock is at the top of his game after two recent Group One wins but John Size’s star sprinter has never won over 1,400m at the top level – he finished a length and three quarters behind Beauty Generation in this race 12 months ago and a head adrift of the champion in 2018.
It's a magnificent seven Group race wins in a row for master miler Beauty Generation, who steps back to 1400m and beats Beat The Clock with much more authority than last year in the G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/Rili9412Nu— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 17, 2019
Whether Beat The Clock’s unwavering consistency – he hasn’t missed a place in 24 starts – will now be good enough to topple an ageing Beauty Generation remains to be seen, and Moore certainly isn’t writing off his charge as he looks to win the race for the third year running.
“He’s done everything right. I didn’t want to trial him, I wanted to keep him on the fresh side,” Moore said of Beauty Generation.
“His weight’s right on song. I’ve watched him really closely and I can’t see any fault in him, I think he’s going to run a big one again.
“Going into the race without a trial, I’m really happy. Why? To come back from a mile to 1,400m against a horse that’s sharp over 1,200m, you’ve got to have freshness on your side.”
Moore believes a top-two finish will be the perfect preparation for Dubai and is comfortable stepping back to 1,400m before potentially tackling 1,800m overseas, despite initially suggesting he would have preferred to go straight to 1,800m.
“It doesn’t change anything, this is a nice lead in to Dubai. It’s a good lead-up race for 1,800m and I’m happy,” Moore said.
Moore also saddles up Thanks Forever in the race and believes the four-year-old can be the “dark horse” of the seven-strong field after his eye-catching second behind Beat The Clock in last month’s Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m).
“Thanks Forever was a big surprise the other day. He didn’t have the easiest of runs – it was a bit stop-start in the beginning – but he continued to hit the line,” Moore said.
“It’s got to be clear that he’s a late-maturing horse. He’s now comfortable in among horses and he knows what he’s got to do now. He’ll be the dark horse.
“I hope he can get the soft run. I’m going to put him in behind, I don’t want him outside the leader. I’d rather just drop him back in behind the speed. I think he’s comfortable there now and that being the case, I don’t think 1,400m will be a problem.”
Thanks Forever holds an entry for the Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) on Dubai World Cup night but Moore said he is still waiting to see whether the horse will receive an invite.