John Moore says he is heading towards next month’s FWD Champions Day “with very high hopes” after his big guns Aethero and Beauty Generation impressed at the trials on Tuesday morning.
Moore would dearly love to go out with a bang at his last major Hong Kong race day before being forced into retirement by the Jockey Club and his hopes of doing so hang largely on the star pair.
“I am going to leave the track today with very high hopes. I’m really happy with the trails of the two big boys this morning,” Moore said.
Aethero has been sidelined since suffering a fever after his third in December’s Hong Kong Sprint and didn’t set the world on fire when he trialled last month, prompting connections to abort a trip to the Dubai World Cup.
Moore conceded then that the three-year-old needed more time to work his way back to fitness and the Australian trainer was thrilled with his effort on Tuesday.
“He’s in great shape and [jockey] Zac [Purton] mentioned from the last trial to this trial, there’s been quite an improvement,” Moore said.
"Moreira takes the Sprint and the Vase!"— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) December 8, 2019
Joao Moreira secures a G1 double as Beat The Clock bursts through to win the @LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint ahead of Hot King Prawn and Aethero! #HKIR #HKracing pic.twitter.com/9jukFCaS1g
Aethero moved nicely on his way to victory over 1,000m on the Sha Tin turf and will head straight to the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m) on April 5 before tackling the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) on April 26.
“He is very good and he is in great nick,” Moore said with a smile, adding an emphatic “yes” when asked if the son of Sebring can salute at the top level this season.
Beauty Generation returned to the mile on Tuesday morning after winning the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m) last month, sticking on solidly to salute.
“It was positive, it was probably a little bit harder trial than we anticipated but he had a good blow and trialling him over a mile was definitely the right way to go,” Moore said.
“There are no soundness issues, he just gets a bit fresh and needs a good hit out and that trial did just what we wanted.”
The seven-year-old’s road to the Group One Champions Mile will run through the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) and Moore is confident he can again reign supreme over eight furlongs after failing to win at the distance from four attempts this season.
“I think he can [show his best at a mile again], there’s no reason why not,” he said. “Zac got off him and just said he’s a lot more laid-back these days as against a season ago but all signs are very positive and I think he’ll be right there when the whips are cracking again.”
Beauty Generation’s owners, the Kwok family, have indicated they will consider the Group One Yasuda Kinen (1,600m) in Tokyo on June 7 as a possible farewell race for their champion galloper.