John Moore walked away from Thursday morning’s FWD Champions Day barrier draw confident that everything is in place for Beauty Generation’s tilt at a historic third straight Group One Champions Mile.
The trainer was more than satisfied when the eight-time Group One winner drew barrier five, and equally pleased to see Ka Ying Star handed gate one.
“I’m really happy with the gate. I’ve got the major pace influence inside us, it gives us a chance to get off and gives [jockey] Zac [Purton] time to position himself where he’s comfortable,” Moore said.
Front-runner Ka Ying Star has proven a thorn in Beauty Generation’s side at times this season, going forward and not allowing the dual Horse of the Year to dictate races like he did so often at his peak.
It was Ka Ying Star who rolled across to lead from gate eight and leave Beauty Generation boxed in from gate two when the champ’s 10-strong winning streak ended in October, and the same horse pestering Beauty Generation for the lead when he also went under at his following start.
Of course, there was more to Beauty Generation’s run of outs than just one horse – his trademark spark deserted him for a while there.
But when he won over a mile for the first time in nearly a year earlier this month, he was drawn outside Ka Ying Star and Purton was able to sit just off the lead and run his own race, something Moore hopes will transpire again on Sunday.
“Leading into the race he’s done everything right and I couldn’t be happier. I think he’s going to run a very big one on the weekend,” Moore said.
While Ka Ying Star has the potential to make Beauty Generation’s life hard, it is John Size’s Waikuku who is most likely to spoil his party altogether after having the seven-year-old’s measure on four occasions this season.
Beauty Generation turned the tables last time out, winning the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) while Waikuku laboured into sixth, but Size is confident his charge can hit back from gate nine.
“I think [gate nine] will be OK, he’ll probably go back in the field a little bit and race similarly to how he did in the international mile,” Size said.
“I don’t think anything went wrong for him [in the Chairman’s Trophy], he’d had two very strong races in the international mile and then the Stewards’ Cup and he might have felt that. He had a break after that and maybe just needed a race to bring him back into form.”
Moore also landed gate five for Aethero in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) and hopes a quick getaway will help the three-year-old return to his best after he was last out and never got comfortable in his most recent run.
“We’ve done a bit of gate work with him to make sure he does jump away on the weekend,” Moore said.
Here's the barrier draw for Sunday's HK$25 million G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m).— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 23, 2020
2️⃣ Glorious Dragon
3️⃣ Eagle Way
4️⃣ Time Warp
6️⃣ Elusive State
7️⃣ Playa Del Puente #HKracing pic.twitter.com/GSy28qWyt5
“We’re really happy with his lead-up work and his gallop [on Thursday] morning was exceptional. We’re going in with all guns blazing.”
Exultant completed the set of Group One favourites to draw barrier five and Tony Cruz is confident his star six-year-old can deliver in the QE II Cup (2,000m).
“We’ve been waiting for nine weeks for this race so we’re prepared for it. He’s in excellent condition,” Cruz said of Exultant, who finished second to Japan’s Win Bright in this race last year.