Master Miler ready to meet his latest challenge
How do you improve on a flawless campaign?
That is the problem faced by Beauty Generation this season but Hong Kong's dual Horse of the Year is ready to return after easing his way through a barrier trial on Tuesday morning.
John Moore's seven-year-old, who became the first horse in HK history to win eight races in a single season last term, will bid to win the Celebration Cup for the third year running on a big holiday card at Sha Tin next Tuesday.
He's back! Beauty Generation returned in a trial this morning alongside stablemate Aethero... 👀 #TheBoss #HKracing pic.twitter.com/YgQOJZUFUg
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) September 24, 2019
Moore said: "He'll go into the race slightly underdone, which is taken for granted at this stage of his prep. It wouldn't be a disaster if he did get beat," he added. "But I don't think he will."
The latter view is bound to be reflected in the market for next week's 1400m contest - as Beauty Generation was sent off at increasingly prohibitive odds as his winning streak grew last season - but his regular rider Zac Purton is acutely aware that good horses will be receiving a great deal of weight.
Take Singapore Sling, for example. Tony Millard's gelding saw the master miler's backside no fewer than five times last season but he goes very well fresh and gets 20lb from the master miler after a smooth trial success at Happy Valley last Friday.
Teetan goes nap with Sha Tin five timer
So much for the notion that Karis Teetan might get somewhat lost in the ever-changing HK jockey shuffle this season.
The theory looked sound enough, with Joao Moreira resuming freelance status and Blake Shinn arriving from Australia as a proven G1 rider.
However, no-one had told the relentlessly positive Teetan that he was up against it and the Mauritian Magician took Saturday's Sha Tin Card by storm with a superb 53,000/1 five timer that included wins aboard British imports More Than This and King Of Hearts.
“I had a beautiful day, I came here with a clean mind and everything fell right,” said Teetan.
"As soon as I got back this season I thought this could be the toughest one yet, jockey wise, and I think it is. It's very hard to get good rides but I can go to the next meeting feeling good and ready to rock again."
Fahey import takes first step on Derby trail
Richard Fahey thought a great deal of More Than This, who won three out of three when trained at Musley Bank last year, and the Dutch Art gelding landed his second race in HK to form the third leg of Teetan's five timer.
That's a treble for @KarisTeetan as Four-Year-Old Classic Series aspirant More Than This scores first-up over the mile!
That's a treble for @KarisTeetan as Four-Year-Old Classic Series aspirant More Than This scores first-up over the mile! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/xttcNUGqVVWinning trainer Francis Lui, continuing his fast start to the new season, feels More Than This is still green and open to more improvement.
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) September 21, 2019
Next year's Hong Kong Derby is his long-term ambition but More Than This is currently rated 83 and any horse with Derby aspirations needs to head into the race rated at least 100 to have viable hopes of making a notable impact.
Free-to-roam Moreira on the march againMoreira had to settle for one Sha Tin winner as Teetan took control but the Brazilian insists that he "couldn't be any happier" with freelance life after spending most of last season as retained rider to champion trainer John Size.
"Obviously, it's more competitive than it's ever been in the past," he told the South China Morning Post. "There are a lot of new jockeys and some really good ones but it's nice to be back in the game."
Moreira is confident that he can regain the title he lost to Zac Purton two years ago and is clearly in high demand, with his latest full book at Happy Valley on Wednesday meaning that his record of having been active in every HK race of the season so far remains intact.
Keen observers of jockey bookings will note that the Brazilian appears to have deserted recent course winner Green Luck for Mr So And So in the opener at 11.45. And, in a small field with very few proven front runners, the Size-trained gelding has to be high on any short list.