MOORE FULL OF CONFIDENCE AS "EXEMPLARY" BEAUTY BIDS TO BOUNCE BACK
Sifting through jockey and trainer quotes is a skill in itself when approaching the big race before an even bigger race and this weekend's excellent Sha Tin card provides a perfect example of how important it can be to read between the lines.
John Moore's glass is never less than half full and Hong Kong's most charismatic handler has no doubt that his master miler Beauty Generation is ready to atone for a recent shock defeat when he lines up under Zac Purton for the Jockey Club Mile at 6.45am.
“We’re going into the race with very high hopes that he’ll be winning,” he said. “He’s done everything right, his weight’s spot on and his work has been exemplary.”
SILVESTRE BACK IN TOWN CHASING ELUSIVE SUCCESS
Moore’s rival handler Tony Millard is well aware of the task he faces in trying to take down Beauty Generation with his vastly-improved All-Weather winner Elusive State but is mindful of the fact that previous Hong Kong champions have proved vulnerable once a long winning streak comes to an end.
Whether his view that “champions can turn into has-beens overnight” proves accurate on this occasion remains to be seen but Millard is pleased to have Silvestre de Sousa aboard on the first day of his latest winter local stint.
“Silvestre has done well in Hong Kong, he knows the place and he has a good attitude,” he said. “A lot of jockeys have the ability but they have a bad attitude, he is going to really help.”
Fellow trainers clearly share Millard's views on de Sousa. The Brazilian has secured a full book of ten rides for his first day back - one more than even Zac Purton and Joao Moreira - as he looks to build on the 44 winners he recorded at Sha Tin and Happy Valley last winter.
CASPAR HOPING "HONG KONG'S NEXT BIG THING" CAN SHINE AGAIN
Sunday’s Jockey Club Cup (7.15am) features six Group 1 winners and the duel for the lead between two of them – battling brothers Time Warp and Glorious Forever – should play to the strengths of two high-class hold-up horses.
Exultant is Hong Kong’s Champion Middle-Distance horse and Champion Stayer after winning three Group 1’s last season and trainer Tony Cruz feels he is “tuned up” and stronger than last season” after a highly encouraging reappearance.
After toppling Beauty Generation, Caspar Fownes’ Rise High faces Exultant in Sunday’s Jockey Club Cup. He talks to SCMP Racing about his chances. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/OmbdUspLly
— HK Racing – SCMP (@SCMPRacingPost) November 15, 2019
But Exultant has to concede 5lb to fellow Irish import Rise High and, having taken down Beauty Generation in the Sha Tin Trophy last month, Caspar Fownes is hoping the horse he describes as “Hong Kong’s next big thing” can repeat the dose.
“When I see Exultant walk past my yard every day, he looks the part, so getting 5lb off him, this is our chance to see where we’re at,” he said. "We'll just go back and rely on the speed that looks to be there on paper. There are a couple of natural leaders, so we'll let them do their thing and we'll hit the line hard."
ACID TEST FOR AETHERO IN JC SPRINT
Aethero has been one of the most talked about horses in town for months now and Moore has done little to quell the buzz by referring to the three-year-old as "a potential superstar."
The powerful chestnut steps out of Class 2 company for the first time in the Jockey Club Sprint (7.50am) but he faces a string of high-class rivals including dual Hong Kong Sprint hero Mr Stunning and five potentially dangerous John Size runners.
Champion Sprinter Beat The Clock hasn't impressed everyone in recent trials and has a Group 1 penalty after a lengthy break, whileFull Of Beauty has a tough draw in stall 14 and dual Hong Kong Sprint runner-up D B Pin and last year's JC Sprint winner are also returning from long breaks.
By contrast, Little Giant enjoyed a full campaign last term and signed off with an emphatic Group 3 success. A fair effort over an inadequate five furlongs should have David Hall's gelding spot on for Sunday's showdown and he looks a live longshot with French rider Alexis Badel in the irons for the first time.