Beauty Generation’s winning streak was ended on Sunday by Rise High. Photo by HKJC.

Michael Cox’s HK Six-Up: Do you forgive Beauty?

Michael Cox

Michael Cox

For hutchishonkers.com

22/10/19

 

Now we have had time to digest – and the vets have given the all-clear – what do we make of Beauty Generation’s defeat?

John Moore is adamant that Beauty Generation “pulled-up fine” and vets have given the two-time horse of the year the all-clear after a shock defeat in the Sha Tin Trophy, but does that mean we should be more worried about the champ? After all, if he was beaten without a sick note to blame it on, it means the two-time horse of the year isn’t as indestructible as we thought.

Beauty Generation went into Sunday’s race with an air of invincibility – ten straight wins will do that – but now rival trainers and jockeys can sense a chink in the armour.

The weakness that was exposed was that when Beauty Generation is denied the lead he isn’t the same dominant force.

Despite that one flaw, Clint Hutchison believes the run was a “complete forgive” and that Beauty Generation will bounce back to his best in the upcoming G2 Jockey Club Mile and G1 Hong Kong Mile, run under much more favourable conditions.

“On Sunday when Beauty Generation couldn’t lead, he wasn’t able to use his greatest strength,” Hutchison told Six-Up.

” He usually rolls along and starts to put the hurt locker on them from the midway point over a mile, and when he can’t do that and build from the 800m, it takes away his best attribute.”

Adding a degree of difficulty was the top weight of 133-pounds, giving 14-pounds to winner Rise High and giving at least 18-pounds to all but one other.

“When he shouldered clear before turning he had to pick up and sprint with that big weight much earlier than he normally would,” Hutchison said. “They were dictating to him and when he was snookered – when he was unable to do what he wanted to do – it gave the others a chance.”

“It’s all about controlling the race though, and when he gets back to making the running we will see the real Beauty Generation again.”

 

Bowman back with Lor on Mr Stunning 

Trainer Frankie Lor confirmed that Hugh Bowman will ride Mr Stunning in next month’s Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint after the back-to-back Hong Kong Sprint winner put in an encouraging trial on Tuesday morning at Sha Tin.

Mr Stunning hasn’t raced since early April after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in the lead-up to the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in April.

 

Keith Yeung stepped in as test pilot for Mr Stunning’s first trial since then and the now-seven-year-old moved beautifully in a 1050m heat on the dirt.

Bowman will also reunite with Furore in the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup but Karis Teetan will ride the horse in the Group 3 Sasa Ladies’ Purse in November, where the five-year-old will carry bottom weight of 113-pounds if, as expected, 2018 Group 1 Hong Kong Vase winner Exultant resumes in the race.

“We are happy to have Karis on in that race with the light weight and then Furore will head two weeks later to the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup and then the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup,” Lor said.

 

Ho says Rise High the real deal

Rise High vaulted into Hong Kong Cup contention with his big win on Sunday but jockey Vincent Ho knows the true test of the horse’s International Day credentials will come next start.

Beauty Generation will meet Rise High nine-pounds better for last Sunday’s defeat but Ho is high on the horse’s chances.

“Since the end of last season he has really fulfilled his potential, I think whatever weight he has won’t matter, he is among that top category now,” Ho said, going as far to say that he “would have beaten Beauty Generation at level weights anyway.”

That is a big call, but it speaks to the idea earlier in the column that rival jockeys can smell some blood in the water and will be riding to win, not place, when they race against Beauty Generation in future races.

Rise High under Vincent Ho won the Sha Tin Trophy beating Waikuku and Beauty Generation. Photo by HKJC.

 

Ho’s equine education 

Vincent Ho has established himself as the dominant local rider with two straight Tony Cruz Awards but his thirst for self-improvement hasn’t been quenched and the 29-year-old will this week attend a course in California with legendary “horse whisperer” Monty Roberts.

Ho is sidelined through suspension for the next two meetings but rather than laze on a beach in Thailand and bask in the glory of last Sunday’s three-timer, as many jockeys might do during a week-long break, the hard-working rider has flown to California to further his equine knowledge.

It is no surprise for a jockey who has previously spent off-seasons in France, and for the last two years, ridden extensively in England, and it will fascinating to see what insight Ho gleans from Roberts.

Trainer Douglas Whyte is an unabashed fan of Roberts, as is former jockey and now apprentice school coach Felix Coetzee.

 

Back to the psychologist for Pakistan Star

Paul O’Sullivan will consider a gear change but will stick to sprinting with Pakistan Star after Hong Kong racing’s great enigma produced another performance that left connections scratching their heads.

Backed into $3 second favourite, Pakistan Star loomed at the top of the straight like he would win but again gave in under pressure to finish fourth in the Group 2 Premier Bowl.

“That’s four runs for me and every time he has cantered up at the 300m and every time, under pressure, he has not gone on with it,” O’Sullivan said.

 

Pakistan Star ran fifth in the Premier Bowl, but his sprinting days aren’t over. Photo by HKJC.

A thorough vet check including a post-race scope failed to find anything amiss leaving us to wonder what is going on inside Pakistan Star’s head.

O’Sullivan is considering visors – which are blinkers with a slit cut in them to allow some vision – for Pakistan Star ahead of his next start in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint.

“We will keep him over the short trip, he was travelling with them, it’s not the distance that is the problem,” he said.

“I don’t think stepping up to a mile against Beauty Generation is going to solve anything.”

 

Got questions? We will try and get answers

Six-Up welcomes questions from readers regarding Hong Kong racing, particularly queries for jockeys, trainers or even officials that we have access to.

This week Sohil Patel (@SohilRacequant), a racing analyst based out of San Francisco, asked whether or not Best Smile would still have been declared a runner had the horse have won or placed last Wednesday at Happy Valley in race 98 of the season.

When Best Smile broke considerably faster than rivals in the Plover Clove Handicap over 1000m, it appeared on first glance that the gelding might have gained an unfair advantage.

But stewards deemed that replays, particularly the front on patrol footage, revealed that Best Smile’s stall did not open earlier than any of his rivals and thus he was not deemed to have been given an unfair advantage.

The fact Best Smile finished out of the placings in sixth position meant the decision not to disqualify wasn’t put under scrutiny, but even if the horse had won, chief steward Kim Kelly maintained he would have made the same ruling.

That is a rather straight forward, and expected answer, but the second part of our reader’s question is more interesting.

Late last season Kasi Farasi was deemed to have been disadvantaged at the start and declared a non-runner after crossing the line ninth.

But what if Kasi Farasi had won? Would he still have been declared a non-runner? Now that is a decision that would have the Happy Valley faithful howling. The answer is no, had Kasi Farasi crossed the line first after an “unfair start”, he keeps the win, owners collect their prizemoney and punters collect their cash.

It’s not that stewards would rule on the fairness of the start any differently; it is that there is a rule that means they don’t have to adjudicate on the start because Kasi Farasi crossed the line in the first-four runners.

Jockey Club chief steward Kim Kelly pointed to rule 20 (19) that states that horses finishing in the top-four of races cannot be declared a non-runner.

The can of worms would be reopened though for people who had backed Kasi Farasi on a win line, if he hypothetically finished second, third or fourth in such a race.

If you have a question about Hong Kong racing send them to [email protected] and we will put them to the relevant people.

 

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