Rematch beckons as ratings gap closes
Round one went to the young challenger in clear-cut style but round two could be closer after the HK handicappers had their say on the Celebration Cup clash between Golden Sixty and Beauty Generation.
Golden Sixty is up to a mark of 120 after Sunday's striking success, while Beauty Generation remains on 130, meaning the latter will concede 10lb rather than 17lb if they meet again over a mile in the Celebration Cup on October 18th.
Zac Purton feels David Hayes is intent on getting Beauty Generation to peak for the Hong Kong Mile in December and suggested the veteran could benefit from having blinkers refitted. And, for all that Beauty Generation clearly isn't the dominating presence of old, the Timeform rating he ran to (126) was very close to his best. "We don't have to panic and change things," said Hayes. "I think he has a big race in him for sure."
Surging Sixty passes time test yet again
Golden Sixty! 🤩
Last season's Derby hero takes the first step toward December glory, securing the G3 Celebration Cup for @Vincenthocy & Francis Lui. 💥 #HKracing pic.twitter.com/x7RldZLdhr
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) September 27, 2020
Official ratings seldom tell the full tale when it comes to assessing the potential of a fast-improving horse but HK's detailed sectional timing system adds an important extra dimension to the Golden Sixty story.
And the tale is of a horse with a rare ability to quicken. Golden Sixty has broken 22.5s for the final 400m in all his ten wins; he has broken 22s for his final 400m three times, including for his last-gasp Derby success, and recorded the fastest closing split of the day five times in all.
Small wonder Vincent Ho's confidence in him is growing by the win. "My job is to get him to break well and then to settle," he said. "If he does those things then I'm always confident that he can run the leaders down."
Fownes and Moreira reach for the Sky again
Two top trainers are closing in on significant landmarks ahead of Thursday's Sha Tin card, with Tony Cruz needing just two winners to reach 1300 in HK and Caspar Fownes needing a double to hit 900.
The colourful Fownes - currently top of the trainers' table with ten winners from seven meetings - broke into dance mode after Sky Field bolted up at Sha Tin recently and may well do so again if the highly promising chestnut stages a repeat under Moreira in the Shanghai Handicap at 8.00.
All the signs suggest Sky Field will go off at heavy odds on but Fownes is conscious of the challenge of a small field. "You still respect your opponents as someone can get a soft sectional or you can get caught up in traffic," he said. "But he is a horse with a lot of upside and he's one of the few horses that really excites me."
Patch has Cup covered as Cruz chases 1300
Big Party is a high-class sprinter when on song and bolted up at this level on his sole run over the minimum trip last season. A slightly chequered overall profile is the sole concern, but Computer Patch has been highly consistent and progressive during his first year in HK and he gives Cruz a very solid chance of inching nearer to that 1300 mark with Moreira back aboard.
Giant faces tricky draw on reappearance
Thursday's card closes with a couple of valuable handicaps featuring some interesting Euro imports and a lightly-raced improver who was progressing fast when last seen in the spring. Former Beverley winner Uncle Steve hasn't been the most consistent in HK but he's a dual Sha Tin winner who ran very well in a strong race on his reappearance and a repeat of that form will take him close in the Tianjin Handicap at 10.10.
Mighty Giant's consistency can't be faulted ahead of the concluding Beijing Handicap at 10.45. Ricky Yiu's powerful chestnut rattled through Class 4 and Class 3 with four course and distance wins last season. The champion trainer feels a rating of 100 plus is achievable this term but Mighty Giant has stall 13 to contend with from a mark of 87 under Purton and the consistent Ballistic King is one of several viable options at much longer odds.