By David Morgan – Hong Kong Jockey Club
Beauty Generation strode out down the back-side at Sha Tin this morning (Thursday, 4 April) in a workout that pleased trainer John Moore ahead of Sunday’s (7 April) Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m).
“He’s done everything he had to do this morning,” Moore said as he watched the powerful bay exit towards his stable after breezing an easy 800m clocked at 59 seconds.
“Everything’s gone to plan,” he added. “There have been no glitches.”
The champion has not had a race-day glitch in seven starts; not since he ran a close-up fifth in last year’s edition of this weekend’s feature. That reversal came at a time when the Road To Rock gelding was still establishing a foothold at the top level, with Moore using the race as a warm-up to a subsequent G1 Champions Mile triumph.
A second FWD Champions Mile (28 April) is on the agenda but first Moore wants to see his star maintain his winning sequence with a first Chairman’s Trophy score. In preparation, and off a seven-week break since his last run, the six-time G1 winner sported white cheek-pieces this morning.
“He had cheek-pieces on for his last gallop, on the Saturday, and this morning I put them on again,” Moore said. “I did that instead of the blinkers because I didn’t want to switch him on and have him do too much: the blinkers weren’t necessary today because he just knows exactly what he’s got to do and he runs at a good rhythm. I’d rather the blinkers just go on for the race.”
The desire to keep a lid on Beauty Generation was also behind the decision to have work rider Romain Clavreul in the saddle for this workout, rather than race day jockey Zac Purton.
Beauty Generation caught out Clavreul during track work earlier this week with a mischievous change of direction, dumping the Frenchman to the ground. There were no antics today though as the rider reported a horse itching to get on and race.
“He came into the straight and Romain said he just wanted to go and he had to say ‘no’ to him. He just trotted him down the home straight and back around,” Moore said.
Conte opposes again
Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year is set to face eight opponents in the Chairman’s Trophy and he must concede a 5lb G1 penalty to all bar Pakistan Star. But, with an international rating 7lb and more clear of the field, Beauty Generation still appears to have the edge.
The John Size-trained Conte has placed behind the champ in each of his last two races: second in the G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) and third in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m). The talented bay is rated 11 points inferior to the ‘Master Miler’.
“Conte has run good races – he’s against a champion who dominates, which can happen in Hong Kong, and there’s not much you can do about it,” Size said.
“We just hope he can earn some prize money.”
Jockey Joao Moreira is looking for another honest run from the high-class galloper.
“Over the 1400 metres last time when Ryan (Moore) rode him, he was really making ground and showing that he is probably ready to run a very good, strong mile this time. I think he’s looking good going into this race,” the Brazilian ace said.
Clock faces small field
Sunday’s card has two headline features and in the other G2 contest Size will saddle Beat The Clock in what appears to be a head-to-head with fellow G1 scorer Mr Stunning. The champion trainer is wary of the small field, with only six runners set to go to post.
“Smaller fields are always very dangerous: you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s the vagary of that – the small field can always throw up a result so we’ve got to be careful of that,” he said.
Beat The Clock steps back to 1200m after running a fine second to Beauty Generation in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m).
“My horse seems fine,” Size said. “He ran well behind Beauty Generation, as he’s done before, so he seems healthy and fit and everything is in order with him.”