Beauty Generation and Helene Paragon strode across the Sha Tin Racecourse turf on Thursday morning ahead of their assignment in the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on Sunday.
The stablemates have experienced differing fortunes this term. Beauty Generation has been a revelation since trainer John Moore took the decision to drop the gelding back to 1400m and a mile: Helene Paragon has struggled to rediscover the impetus that carried him to G1 wins in this race and the Stewards’ Cup (1600m) in 2017.
Both need to bounce back from moderate runs last time out, with Moore looking to exit a tough spell that has left him with only 15 wins for the season.
“I’ve trained Beauty Generation for this race and brought him back. And he’s really fresh - he came off the track this morning kicking his brand off. He’s in a good frame of mind and I think he’ll run a big race,” Moore said after watching his charge work 800m in 55.5s (28.7, 26.8).
“He worked down the back straight this morning. He did his thing and Zac (Purton) was happy enough.”
Purton was ever-present on the Kwok family-owned gelding through last season’s four-year-old campaign. This term, he has watched Derek Leung guide the Australian import to three wins from five starts, including the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile. The former champion jockey is back aboard following Beauty Generation’s plain seventh in last month’s Stewards’ Cup, with Leung booked for Pingwu Spark.
Zac Purton is back on Beauty Generation for the first time this season, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Moore is hoping Beauty Generation can repeat the kind of run that caused a surprise first-up this season, when he returned the 17/1 winner of the G3 Celebration Cup Handicap at the course distance. The Road To Rock five-year-old’s final three runs last term had been from 2000m to 2400m, including a 2200m Class 2 score.
“A lot of people wondered about us bringing him back in trip at the start of this season but he’s shown that he’s very effective,” Moore said.
“There was a thought about going back up to 2000 metres after that last run but I didn't want to take on Werther and those horses because he’s more dour at 2000, whereas at the mile he’s got a kick and I’m expecting the same sort of thing at the 1400 this weekend.”
Helene Paragon prepared for Sunday with a jump-out from the starting gate under big-race partner Tommy Berry, working 800m in 54.0s (28.7, 25.3). His trainer hopes that a return to form is imminent.
“Helene Paragon jumped out of the machine and Tommy was happy with that. Everything’s gone to plan since his last run,” Moore said.
The Polan entire has not won since he saluted in this race last year, a run of eight losses that has featured solid third-place finishes in the G1 Champions Mile and G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile. The latter run suggested a return to form but that notion was dashed when Helene Paragon was a drab eighth in the Stewards’ Cup last time.
“Maybe last start he was just feeling out of sorts and it flattened him,” Moore said. “The stable’s been in the doldrums a bit and I think the reason for him not hitting the line in the Stewards’ Cup as strongly as we’d have expected is all to do with what’s going around the stables – a few of mine were under the weather and maybe he was affected by that.
“There’s no sign of that now, though. I think my stable’s over it,” he added.
And Moore believes that Helene Paragon is also over the niggles that affected him earlier this campaign.
“He’s only been below his best this season because he had a setback with a hind quarter injury,” Moore said. “The physio worked on him really hard and we’ve got it right. We’re convinced there’s no issue there now but with a tissue injury like that, you’ve got to always try and keep on top of it.
“If Tommy can get him to settle up just a little more handily, I’m sure he’ll be able to finish of strongly, and, if he does, he’ll have to be reckoned with.”
The exciting field of 11 also features the rising stars Fifty Fifty, Pingwu Spark, Beat The Clock, Western Express and Southern Legend, G1 winners Beauty Only, Peniaphobia and Giant Treasure, and last year’s Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup third Joyful Trinity.