Placed in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and BMW Hong Kong Derby last season, Beauty Generation (118lb) was sent out a 9.5 seventh pick in an open race on the back of his shock win in the G3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m) on 1 October.
The Road To Rock gelding enjoyed a perfect trail behind Winner’s Way, who set a strong tempo early before rider Matthew Chadwick slackened the speed on the bend. When the field sprinted upon straightening, it was a race dominated from the front with few horses able to make ground.
At the line, Beauty Generation held off stablemate Booming Delight (113lb) by a head. The lightly-weighted horses had the feature at their mercy, with Jolly Banner (115lb) and Winner’s Way (117lb) completing the first four, a half-length behind the victor. The final time was 1m 33.56s.
“On a handicap basis, you looked upon those horses being right there, Beauty Generation and Booming Delight,” said Moore, who won his seventh Sha Tin Trophy. “The winner is a model of consistency, he had a perfect draw today. We were hoping to lead but when Winner’s Way pressed on, Derek went for Plan B – drop back and sit outside the leader. He’s hit the line well and just prevailed.”
For Leung, Sunday’s Group 2 represents the 29-year-old’s biggest success after three Group 3 wins.
“It’s great to score my first G2 victory, and it is very special to do it for Mr. Moore,” Leung said. “He gave me my first Group win on Inspiration in the Premier Bowl on this day eight years ago, so it means a lot to me – I am really on top of the world! I think Beauty Generation is still improving so I hope he can be competitive in all of these mile races.”
And Moore said that Leung would keep the ride on Beauty Generation through to December’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.
“How can you take Derek off after he’s won two Group races on him?” Moore said. “The owner has agreed so he will stick with Beauty Generation. We were originally thinking of the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse with the horse, but now we will keep him for the Jockey Club Mile and then he can go to the internationals.”
The G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile (1600m) will be run on 19 November, with the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile one of four headline acts at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 10 December.
While Moore was pleased with the victory of Beauty Generation, he was even more enthused by the second-up performance of runner-up Booming Delight, who is likely to join stablemates Eagle Way and Helene Charisma in the G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1800m) on 5 November.
“He ran in stages in the straight – if he had knuckled down and hit the line, he would have won the race, but he just hit a flat spot in the final stages,” Moore said, with jockey Karis Teetan adding: “I thought he was going to win at one stage, but the horse touched him on the outside and he just lost his action before he got going again. It was a great effort.”
Moore also had sixth-placed Werther (132lb), seventh Helene Paragon (133lb), 11th Joyful Trinity (130lb) and 12th Harbour Master (113lb) in the feature.
“Helene Paragon needed the run, while Werther was closing at the end,” Moore said. “He hit a bit of a flat spot at the top of the straight, that’s to be expected. I think they are both right on target for December.”
Beauty Generation’s owner Patrick Kwok also races the contest’s 3.8 favourite Beauty Only, in partnership with his mother Eleanor. The Tony Cruz-trained galloper could only finish ninth, four and a quarter lengths from the winner, but rider Zac Purton was pleased post-race with the effort.
Last year’s LONGINES Hong Kong Mile winner was more than a dozen lengths off the lead approaching the turn and closed off his race with a blistering last sectional, clocking 21.94 seconds for the final 400m – the second-fastest final split on the day.
In the afternoon’s other feature, the G2 Premier Bowl Handicap, Nash Rawiller took honours by steering John Size-trained topweight Mr Stunning to victory in the 1200m contest.
Hong Kong racing resumes at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (25 October).