It says a lot about the expectation among the family that Patrick Kwok Ho-chuen admits “it feels like it’s been a while” since Beauty Generation was the dominant force in Hong Kong racing during 2018 and 2019.
Among Hong Kong’s biggest owners, the Kwoks pour a seemingly endless stream of money into their pursuit of finding the next champion and on Sunday afternoon, they are heavily favoured to taste BMW Hong Kong Derby success for the first time with Beauty Eternal.
“I’m excited, worried and stressed,” Kwok said ahead of the race that all Hong Kong owners want to win.
“Will he be a superstar? Obviously, it’s too early to say – he’s only won a Class Two – but the confidence he gives me, the confidence he has in himself and what Zac [Purton] has said about him, I think there’s certainly potential. We’ll soon find out.”
If Beauty Eternal is in fact Hong Kong’s next big thing, he will join the likes of Beauty Only and Beauty Generation as elite-level gallopers to have raced under Patrick’s name.
But it is very much a family affair driven by patriarch Simon – chairman and chief executive of cosmetics giant Sa Sa – and Patrick counts himself very lucky to be have been brought along for the ride.
“It’s under my name, but it’s my Dad and I’s hobby – there’s no talk of whose horse it is,” he said.
“It’s a family thing, but my dad and I are most involved in buying the horses, and we’re happy to have the good horses keep coming up. I feel very blessed some of the good horses are in my name.”
He is a STAR! 💫 Beauty Eternal hardly breaks sweat under @zpurton to win his Class 2 debut with ease... @BMW Hong Kong Derby favourite!? | #4YOSeries pic.twitter.com/zzQ6zTHb4A— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 26, 2023
Beauty Generation went on to be an eight-time Group One winner, but he could only manage third in a race that has so far eluded a family that begins every new season with a single goal in mind.
“Every year, we buy four to five horses and we aim at the Derby – it’s the race every owner wants to win the most. I don’t think we’ve ever placed besides Beauty Generation,” Kwok said.
“It’s not just that we haven’t won it. It’s just hard to have a runner in it, which is why it’d be huge to win it.”
While Beauty Eternal is expected to start a hot favourite, the Kwoks also have outsider Beautyverse in the 14-horse Derby field.
Beautyverse has taken the traditional Classic Series path – finishing eighth in the Classic Mile and 14th in the Classic Cup – but it certainly has not been plain sailing for Beauty Eternal in his debut campaign.
Beauty Generation’s owner Patrick Kwok on the ride of his life
Before his hat-trick of wins that culminated in a Class Two success over a mile, Beauty Eternal missed two intended runs – the first when scratched on race-day morning with lameness, the second when he dislodged Purton on the way to the gates.
“He’s actually very quiet in the stable. He’s like a cute pet. He’s very nice, he doesn’t bite and he loves a little touch and a cuddle. But as soon as he walks out, he’s like a warrior, he just wants to get a bit naughty and he’s very playful,” Kwok said.