Leung’s belief in Beauty ahead of Sha Tin Trophy
Jockey Derek Leung believes shock first-up winner Beauty Generation is capable of adding the G2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) to his record on Sunday as the galloper continues his march towards December’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.
Leung, a three-time G3 winner, is aiming to score his first G2 success aboard John Moore-trained Beauty Generation after producing a well-judged front-running ride to take the G3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m) aboard the five-year-old on 1 October. It was the first time that Beauty Generation had led, a plan that Leung says was devised by his handler on raceday.
“The track was a bit wet, so Mr. Moore changed the plan in the parade ring,” the rider recalled on Thursday (19 October). “He liked wet tracks in Australia and on his pedigree, we knew he should like it a bit rain-affected like it was that day. He had a light weight and he has stamina so we decided to go forward and it worked perfectly!”
“I think he should still have more improvement from that race. That’s the only time I’ve sat on him, so I haven’t ridden him in track work, but being from the John Moore stable you’d expect him to come on for that first run.”
Beauty Generation arrived from Australia with high expectations, with top three-year-old form against the likes of Press Statement, Le Romain, Tarzino and Jameka – all multiple Group 1 winners.
However, the Road To Rock gelding – formerly named Montaigne – had only won a pair of Class 2 contests by a head and a short head in his first season, finishing third in both the Hong Kong Classic Mile and the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m). Still, Leung believes Beauty Generation is on an upward spiral in his sophomore term.
“It’s only his second season in Hong Kong so he will still be improving,” Leung said. “He’s a nice horse, he’s well-balanced and there’s a lot to like about him. He’s won over a lot farther, so we know the mile will be no problem for him.”
Beauty Generation makes all to win the G3 Celebration Cup last start, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Beauty Generation (118lb), who will jump from gate three, is one of six runners for Moore in Sunday’s mile feature. Not having the same luck at the draw was another of this year’s Derby runners, Booming Delight (113lb), who came up with the outside gate in the field of 13.
Jockey Karis Teetan, fresh off a treble at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, will have his first raceday ride aboard Booming Delight, having partnered the horse in two trials in December and March.
“He’s a totally different horse now to when I rode him before,” Teetan said. “He’s more mature, both physically and mentally, and he’s definitely developed into a quality horse. I know he has other races to aim for beyond this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was in the finish on Sunday.”
Booming Delight finished seventh to Beauty Generation in the Celebration Cup and is another who should be suited with the step up to a mile.
“He’s going really well, I galloped him on the grass this morning (Thursday) alongside Helene Paragon and I was really happy with how he finished off,” Teetan said. “I think John has him spot on now – he’s healthy, he’s fit and he’s ready. His first-up run behind Beauty Generation was good, he was caught wide and they went slow but he still finished off, so I’m confident he will run a good race.”
Moore also saddles up 2015/16 Horse of the Year Werther (132lb), multiple G1 winner Helene Paragon (133lb) and G1-placed Joyful Trinity (130lb), while Harbour Master (113lb) completes the sextet.
The G2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) is scheduled as the eighth of 10 races and will jump at 4.40pm, with the day’s other feature, the G2 Premier Bowl Handicap (1200m), set to break at 4.10pm.