A new name was etched on the Longines Hong Kong Mile trophy at Sha Tin, as Admire Mars struck another notable blow for Japan.
Much attention surrounded Beauty Generation, the winner for the last two years, and his supporters had reason to be happy as he tracked Ka Ying Star and still looked full of running two furlongs out.
However, the warning signs quickly appeared with a furlong and a half to go and he was unable to resist the charge of Admire Mars and Christophe Soumillon, who in turn just had enough to hold Joao Moreira and Waikuku, with Beauty Generation having to settle for third.
Soumillon said: “To be honest the first hint I had that we could win this was when I saw Beauty Generation didn’t have the same magic he had last year, so I knew he was beatable.
“My horse was a top two-year-old in Japan last year, he has good gate speed and he enjoyed the ground. I rode my race as if I was the favourite and it paid off.
“I felt Joao coming on the outside, but my horse gave everything. He’s another example that the good breeding programme in Japan is working and their ability to when Group One races all over the world.
“I must also pay my respects to his owner Riichi Kondo who passed away three weeks ago, and I’m proud I took his colours so high today.”
Winning trainer Yasuo Tomomichi said: “I did think this was going to be a difficult race for a three-year-old to win, but when I saw how he had settled here earlier this week, I thought that he looked really well.
“Christophe Soumillon had asked to ride the horse, and he gave him a very good ride.”
Moore said of Beauty Generation: “He was gallant in defeat. In his last two runs he hasn’t been hitting the line as we’d expect. That’s what Zac (Purton) said and he confirmed that.
“He’s just not going through the gears when he gets into the straight and he did it again today. The Stewards’ Cup will be his next Group One race and we’ll take it race by race from there.”