Leading Hong Kong performer Beauty Generation will bid for an unprecedented third straight success in the Group 1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday.
It would be a fitting victory as Beauty Generation’s trainer John Moore steps ever closer to retiring from more than 35 years of training in the nation to comply with the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s compulsory retirement policy.
Under the rules, trainers are to retire at the age of 65 but Moore was granted a five-year extension to his licence.
With eight Group 1s to his name, Beauty Generation ranks high alongside the likes of champion miler Able Friend, Able One and Viva Pataca that Moore has trained throughout his career.
Moore, speaking to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “I live in the present. Here’s Beauty Generation and he’s an iron horse. Able Friend broke down and this horse hasn’t, and you take that into consideration, the way he keeps going. He’s now getting close to being my favourite – you just look at that he’s put together.
“He keeps doing it! Look at what he can do, racing time and time again on firm tracks, the wins he’s had, the records he’s broken. And they’re all gunning for him.
“He gets out in front and he gets shot at from every angle but at his best he was so impressive that they were scared to take him on – he’s capable of running sectionals that other horses can’t live with at a mile.”
“I’ve done everything I had to do in Hong Kong”
In July, Moore will embark on his new adventure with his brother Gary in Rosehill with whom he plans to train with in Australia and said: “If we can win two of them with Beauty Generation and Aethero, or even Thanks Forever, it would be a great ending to Hong Kong but more so the ending of one chapter and the opening of a new chapter in Australia.
“I want to go and complete the bucket list by training that elusive Group 1 winner in Australia, so Champions Day is really a lead-in to that move. That’s what makes it a bit more exciting perhaps – I’ve done everything I had to do in Hong Kong, and I want to take that impetus into Australia.”
The biggest danger to Beauty Generation’s hat-trick will come from the John Size-trained Waikuku, who finished ahead of the seven-year-old in the Group 1 Stewards’ Cup in January.
Waikuku will have to bounce back from a disappointing sixth in the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy earlier this month and jockey Joao Moreira is hopeful of the Irish import doing so.
He told the Hong Kong Jockey Club: “He’s a very good horse and he has done well already this season so there’s no doubt he’s a winning chance. I hope he can bounce back.
“My conversation with John Size lately has been that usually when good horses do what he has done, they eventually come to a flat spot and it could be the reason for his poor run last start.”
Champions Day at Sha Tin will also feature the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint where Moore will be represented by Aethero, who will bid to become the first three-year-old to land the contest since Fairy King Prawn in 1999.
“There’s no doubt he’s a winning chance”
In the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, the fielded is headed by the Tony Cruz-trained Exultant who before being sold to Hong Kong, he finished third behind Thunder Snow and Churchill in the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2017 when known as Irishcorrespondent and trained by Mick Halford.
Exultant was last seen finishing second behind Time Warp in the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup in February when he met with trouble in running.
Cruz, speaking to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “I’m very pleased with him, I think he should win this race on Sunday. It’s a smaller field this time so Exultant will be closer in the run.
“He was too far back last time and got into trouble, that cost him, and he just couldn’t catch Time Warp – I’m still disappointed with how that worked out for Exultant, I think he should have won that race.”