Hong Kong Diary

The poster boy of Hong Kong racing is back in action at Sha Tin on Tuesday. Master Miler Beauty Generation bids to win the Celebration Cup for the third year running at Sha Tin and all the action from a ten-race card will be live on Sky Sports Racing from 6am onwards.

  • Monday 30 September
  • Blog
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BEAUTY BACK FOR THIRD CELEBRATION CUP BID

The world’s highest rated turf miler returns to action at Sha Tin on Tuesday chasing ten wins in a row as he bids for a third consecutive success in the Celebration Cup.

Hong Kong hero Beauty Generation has just turned seven and races from a local mark of 137, fully 31lb higher than when winning the G3 handicap in 2017 and 11lb higher than when following up on this day last year.

However, John Moore’s gelding will start at heavy odds on as usual in front of a huge National Day crowd who consider him nigh-on invincible nowadays.

Moore puts the fact that Beauty Generation has weighed in heavier than ever before – at 1161lb – down to his advancing years rather than lack of fitness after a five-month break.

“Like last season, he’s a little bit on the big side but it’s a starting point and he’s very healthy. When they get older they do carry a bit more condition so we’re not worried about that,” the trainer said.

LOR LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENT FROM FURORE

The fact that Beauty Generation must concede 20lb to several elite members of last season’s Classic crop could be more problematic and Frankie Lor feels Tuesday’s G3 contest will tell him what he needs to know about his Hong Kong Derby hero Furore.

“It’s a handicap race and he has a light weight against Beauty Generation, so this will give us an idea of how good my horse is,” said Lor.

“We’ll try to beat him, of course, but it depends on how improved Furore is. I believe he’s a better horse than last season but we need to race him to see if that’s the case.”

 MASTER MILER A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

Beauty Generation’s Kiwi breeders marked the occasion of his seventh birthday last Friday with a neat Tweet which provided insight into how he came into the world.

Libby and Sam Bleakley of Highden Park Stud published a picture of Beauty Generation as a foal along with his dam Stylish Bel’s breeding card featuring several pithy remarks.

In among the general observations that he was a “good foal” and a “nice bay colt” was the rather plaintive comment that the labour itself “took ages.”

Perhaps it did, but two Horse of the Year titles and over £8m in prize money later, this was clearly a foal that was well worth waiting for.

MOREIRA ON THE MARCH AGAIN

Five weeks into a new season and we finally have a Hong Kong race in which Joao Moreira doesn’t have a ride.

The Brazilian has been in high demand in his new role as a freelance rider but, having ridden in every race during the first six meetings, he will be watching from the weighing room for the second race on National Day.

However, Moreira sits on top of the jockeys’ table after completing a treble aboard the improving Le Terroir at Happy Valley last Wednesday and his nine rides on Tuesday’s holiday programme feature several interesting horses towards the end of the card.

Waikuku was very well regarded during his days with John Oxx and looks one of the more plausible dangers to Beauty Generation as he bids to make it four out of four over Sha Tin’s turning 1400m track in the Celebration Cup.

SUPER STAR TO SHINE AGAIN


Super Star made excellent progress during his first season in Hong Kong – winning three from six then looking unlucky not to score again on his final start – and will have Moreira’s services for the first time in the Tianjin Handicap at 10.20.

And the Moreira-first-time angle also comes into play for Fat Turtle in the closing Beijing Handicap at 10.55.

Beauty Generation’s stablemate Aethero will be all the rage here after Moore labelled him a potential superstar and three facile all-the-way wins suggest that this powerful youngster is potentially way better than a mark of 89 suggests.

However, it’s also worth noting that Aethero steps up in class in a race featuring a number of fellow front runners.

Class 2 sprinting in Hong Kong can be a tough school for youngsters and Fat Turtle – who went down fighting in a similar event over course and distance recently – will have more in his favour than the market suggests, especially if Moreira protects him from the testing early fractions.

GIBSON TWO HANDED IN NATIONAL DAY CUP PUZZLE

It isn’t often that you witness a Group race over 5f in which three leading fancies are all racing for the first time of the minimum trip but that’s the case in the National Day Cup.   

Little Giant and Rattan are close behind the very best sprinters with HK ratings of 124 and 123 but, along with John Size’s five-time winner Full Of Beauty, this will be the first time they have ever hurtled down Sha Tin’s straight five-furlong track under racing conditions.

All in all, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this G3 handicap is a springboard to other big targets back over 6f but English handler Richard Gibson is hoping he has two strong contenders in Rattan and Wishful Thinker.

“I’ve been really pleased with Rattan,” Gibson said. “We trialled against good horses the other day and he’s just had a light prep, but he’s very good physically and always runs well fresh.”

Wishful Thinker heads into Tuesday’s contest with race fitness on his side and Gibson believes he can improve on his fifth behind fast-improving Regency Legend over 6f.

“He was too keen,” Gibson observed. “We know he likes trailing and he was ridden up on the speed, so we can forgive him for that. He had a fantastic year last year; he also likes the straight 5f so I think he also has a competitive chance in the race.”

Hong Kong Diary
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