Champion trainer John Size is dropping Beauty Legacy back in distance as he tries to get the best out of the highly touted import after bombing out of his Derby preparation.
Formerly Hawkshot in Australia, Beauty Legacy was all the rage after his debut Hong Kong win in January over 1,400m but went on to be his own worst enemy in both the Classic Mile and Classic Cup (1,800m) where he fought jockey Joao Moreira fiercely and was unable to finish off his races.
After a short break, Size has elected to return the four-year-old to where he is comfortable in the Class Two Austin Handicap (1,400m).
“He seems all right, we have brought him back to the sprints to see if he likes that better, take the pressure off him,” he said.
Renowned as a free-rolling horse in Australia, Beauty Legacy was restrained in all of his Hong Kong runs in an attempt to teach him to run over further distance but resented it badly when the speed fell out of the race.
Pressed on his plans this time out, Size said he was happy for Beauty Legacy to settle wherever he was comfortable under Moreira again.
“It will all depend on how he jumps, you can’t really start him up out of the gates so we will just let him come out of the machine and wherever he lands, he lands so we will just leave him there,” he said.
Beauty Legacy led from wire-to-wire in a recent barrier trial but Size warned against using that as a reference as to his future plans with the horse.
“He led the trial, I don’t think they were high-class horses, he was the better class in that trial and nothing wanted to lead so he was just happy to bowl along but nothing upset him either,” he said.
“[Moreira] said he was manageable but it wasn’t a difficult assignment for him as it turned out, the horse landed in a position where he was happy and comfortable and nothing annoyed him but we know he’s not going to get that race day, something will try to upset him.”
While he is dropping back in trip on Sunday, Size is unsure what the future holds for Beauty Legacy, who races off an awkward mark of 100.
Should he perform strongly on Sunday and his rating improve past 100, races will dry up for the four-year-old.
“He has raced over 1,200m but we will take it one step at a time, we will see how he likes this,” he said.
“The tempo of the races at 1,400m or less, I wouldn’t expect that to be too much of a problem for him.
“It wasn’t a long campaign that he had so he is all right after all of that. He has always had a pretty good constitution so he seems pretty tough.”
In what is the strongest race of the day, Beauty Legacy will line up against Decrypt who also drops in distance after running seventh in the Derby last month.
He also faces other well-performed gallopers such as General’s Delight, Invincible Missile, Perfect Match and All In Mind.