Hong Kong Champions Beauty Generation and Zac Purton reunited in a barrier trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday. Photo by HKJC.


Michael Cox’s HK Six-up: Dubai the long-range target for Beauty Generation

By Michael Cox  @KemblaCoxy

For www.hutchishonkers.com



John Moore says the Dubai Turf is a long-range target with Beauty Generation after Hong Kong’s undisputed champ made his first public appearance of the season in a barrier trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday.

Beauty Generation has become unbeatable at home, stringing together nine straight victories, including eight last term, on his way to back-to-back Horse of the Year titles.

Yet despite the dominance at home, and like all horses that dominate their own jurisdiction, a sequence of wins like the one Beauty Generation has compiled, all of them on the same flat track, leaves the argument open that the horse is, quite literally in this case, a flat track bully.

Beauty Generation’s winning margins and times make a mockery of those who suggest he isn’t world class, but a win away from home is the only way to silence the doubters and enhance the horse’s legacy.

Owner Patrick Kwok decided against a trip to Tokyo in June with the now seven-year-old, but after a campaign that runs through next week’s Celebration Cup and what would be a third straight Hong Kong Mile in December, Moore wants to send his star to Meydan.

“That is what I will be suggesting,” Moore said. “Of course it will be left with the owners but I would love to see him over there over 1,800m, I think it will be perfect for him.”


First trial for Beauty as Aethero takes lead

On Beauty Generation’s trial, both Moore and jockey Zac Purton were pleased with the gelding’s robust condition – it won’t be a surprise to see the horse tip the scales a touch heavier first-up – especially given the workload ahead.

“Sure, he is carrying a bit of condition, but it’s a long season and he has proven he goes really well first-up,” Purton said.

“He is fresh in the mornings and enjoying himself. The signs were good in his trial, I just wanted to feel the things I am familiar with, that he is moving well and he is mentally there and all the signs were there that he is ready to compete.”

Moore was more succinct in his assessment, “He is ready to kick arse,” the trainer said after the 1,000m trial in which Purton allowed Beauty Generation to coast just behind the leaders.

One of those leaders was Moore’s rising star and Able Friend-clone Aethero, a winner of two-from-two at two and resuming in a Class Two over 1200m next week.

Aldo Domeyer was keeping the saddle warm for Purton, who said he kept a close eye on the youngster throughout.

“He was right there next and in front of me so I could see him,” Purton said. “He wanted to run about a bit but it was a good trial.”

Aethero is being aimed at the Hong Kong Sprint and Purton believes the now three-year-old retains the sharpness required to compete in the high-pressure sprints and won’t be stretched out to a mile this campaign – something that could bring about a clash with Beauty Generation.

“He looks sharp enough for me,” Purton said. “He is a decent sprinter right now and that is what his program is set around this season.”


Fownes sweating on another Legend

Caspar Fownes has Southern Legend set to clash with Beauty Generation first-up in the Celebration Cup but the trainer is licking his lips in anticipation of owner-mate Classique Legend entering his stable after the Australian spring.

The “big four” big-race trainers of John Size, John Moore, Tony Cruz and Fownes has started to look more like a big three in recent seasons but a ready-made star like Classique Legend would put the popular trainer back in the Group 1 frame.

Classique Legend’s owner Boniface Ho purchased a 2019 Everest slot and his horse’s stout second to Pierata in the G2 Shorts at Randwick on Saturday showed it was a shrewd acquisition.

After the Everest on October 14, Classique Legend will tackle the inaugural $7.5million Golden Eagle over 1,500m, a race that will tell Fownes what type of horse he is inheriting; a sprinter or a miler.

If Classique Legend is able to run well in the Golden Eagle then it is possible he would run in the 2020 Classic Mile, a race Fownes won with superstar Lucky Nine in 2010.

“It’s very exciting and we can’t lose really, if he runs the trip in the Golden Eagle, that really shows he can compete in a Classic Mile but he has already showed he is a very good sprinter and if he can win or go close in the Everest then you know he is world class at the shorter trips,” Fownes said.

As far as Southern Legend is concerned, Fownes said the honest miler’s best chance of an upset against Beauty Generation won’t be Tuesday’s 1400m clash.

“There would be nothing better than beating Beauty Generation but that looks nigh on impossible, and the only chance is second up,” Fownes said.

“My horse will be better for this first-up run but second-up and getting 14 pounds off him at a mile gives us a shot.”


Next level for Karis

Entering his seventh season in Hong Kong, approaching 30-years-of-age, with 300 winners and place in the upper echelon of the jockeys’ championship seemingly intact, the next step for Karis Teetan is to start securing – and keeping – top chances in Group 1 races.

Easier said than done when the two jockeys ahead of you in pecking order are Joao Moreira and Zac Purton, but Teetan’s five-timer on Saturday was a reminder that the Mauritian Magician still has some tricks up his sleeve.

For all of Teetan’s success, he has just two top-level wins to his name in Hong Kong; Mr Stunning in last year’s Hong Kong Sprint and an upset win aboard Thunder Fantasy in the 2015 Classic Cup (a Hong Kong Group 1).



“I’ve been here a while, last season I was right behind Zac and Joao,” he said. “They dominate in those Group 1s as well and it would be nice to get on some better chances in the big races.”



It isn’t as if Teetan hasn’t been on Group 1 calibre horses, his winners have included Able Friend and Designs On Rome, it has been keeping the rides for the big ones that has been the challenge.

Even last season Purton replaced Teetan on Ricky Yiu’s exciting sprinter Voyage Warrior after he was beaten on the youngster.

“This season it’s about finding a nice horse and keeping it,” said Teetan, who rides Ka Ying Star for Tony Cruz in the Group 3 Celebration Cup.


Lor’s Stunning plan

Mr Stunning’s second gallop since returning from a set-back has trainer Frankie Lor hopeful that his horse on track for a shot at a record-breaking third straight Hong Kong Sprint in December.

The 7-year-old didn’t do anything flash on the dirt on Tuesday, moving through his last 400m in a tick over 30 seconds, but it was enough to suggest a return for the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint in November could be on the cards.

“He seems to be progressing well,” Lor said of the gelding, who was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his front right leg after missing the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

“I think a barrier trial in October is realistic and then a start in the November race. It would be nice to go to the Hong Kong Sprint second-up.”


Protesters are punters too

The civil unrest in Hong Kong, and more pertinently the possible presence of widely despised lawmaker and owner Junius Ho, may have caused last week’s Happy Valley meeting to be called off but not all within the Hong Kong protest movement were happy about missing the midweek fixture.

Online forum LIHKG is a platform where protesters discuss ideas relating to the protests, some reactions to the shock announcement were quite humorous and showed a surprising passion for the sport.

“You (Ho) cost me $28 million, I was going to get the Triple Trio tonight,” read one post in line with the prevailing sentiment that it was Ho, not the Hong Kong Jockey Club itself, that had earned the ire of protesters.



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