Beauty Generation appeared to be in fine fettle at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning galloping with his usual impressive rhythm through a 1000-metre barrier trial.
“He’s doing it all so easily at the moment and he’s enjoying what he’s doing,” jockey Zac Purton said.
“This trial was better than his last trial before his previous race. He’d had a few runs and done a fair bit of work going into the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup, so that load was starting to take its toll, but he’s had a nice freshen up.”
The six-year-old is the co-highest rated horse in the world for the year so far thanks to impressive wins in the G1 Stewards’ Cup and last month’s G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup. And the Road To Rock gelding, rolling on a seven-win streak, was all class and power as he passed the post ahead of five fellow triallists in a time of 59.41s.
“He just did what he needed to do and had his usual good blow,” trainer John Moore said.
The turf track hit-out was the Hong Kong champion’s first serious marker in his preparation towards the G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) on FWD Champions Day (28 April).
That route to a hoped-for second success in the HK$18 million contest will feature a lead-up race in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m) - the last race in which Beauty Generation was defeated - in less than three weeks.
“I thought he went nicely,” Purton continued. “He’s learnt to play the game well: if he sees another horse coming up to him he gets competitive and wants to race it, then as soon as he drops it off he just floats along. Once he heard them coming, towards the line, he picked it back up a little bit again.”
Beauty Generation and Zac Purton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
The New Zealand-bred star enjoyed the company of stablemate Eagle Way as he ran through the line, and, in the midst of a seven-week break between races, Moore was pleased to see the ‘Master Miler’ have a horse to spar with.
“Thank goodness we had Eagle Way to push him along a little bit because we wanted him to go beyond the 1000 metres for the fitness work,” he said.
“Zac was happy and we’re happy. We’re not going to squeeze him too hard into the Group 2; we’re not taking it cheaply, we still want to win this race but it’s not the Grand Final, it’s to keep him ticking over.”
Legend ready for Dubai
Southern Legend is booked on a flight early Wednesday (20 March) morning bound for Dubai and trainer Caspar Fownes’ talented galloper warmed up with a smooth trial over 1200m on the all-weather track.
Purton was happy to let G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) victor Glorious Forever storm ahead down the straight as he eased his relaxed mount past the post in second place, off a wide trip.
“He just went through the motions,” the jockey said. “It was nothing flash but he never does anything flash. He rolled around nicely and he seems in good order.”
Southern Legend is slated to take on Japan’s super filly Almond Eye in the G1 Dubai Turf (1800m) at Meydan on 30 March.
“He was having an easy trial and I’m very happy with him,” Fownes said. “It’s going to be exciting going across for the big race; it’s going to be tough against some serious horses, especially Almond Eye from Japan, but again, we’ll go there and try our best.
“It’s a US$6 million race and that’s what we’re here for, to get these horses up to a level where we can go overseas and compete and hopefully bring back some glory for Hong Kong.”
And Fownes is buoyed by the fact that Southern Legend’s previous overseas test resulted in Kranji Mile success in Singapore last year.
“He loves to get out of here,” he said, “he travels well, and 1800 metres looks to be a spot-on distance for him after his eye-catching run in the Gold Cup (2000m) last start, he really charged to the line. We know Hong Kong horses are ve