Horse Racing
Same path, different method as Beauty Generation steps out in G3 Celebration Cup

By David Morgan
27/09/2018 15:25

Beauty Generation seeks back-to-back Celebration Cup triumphs.
Beauty Generation seeks back-to-back Celebration Cup triumphs.

Beauty Generation will step out for his first run of the campaign in the G3 Celebration Cup Handicap on Monday, 1 October, with trainer John Moore pointing his stable star along the same route that led to last season’s Horse of the Year title.

That path included a first-up victory in this 1400-metre contest and the crack miler warmed up for an attempt at a repeat win with a piece of work on the turf at Sha Tin this morning, Thursday, 27 September.

“He’s pulled up good, hasn’t he? He’s recovered very quickly,” Moore said as he observed the circling six-year-old in the sand yard post-gallop.

“He went down the back from the 1800-metre start and he’s coming along nicely. Judging by the way he almost ran the mafoo through the fence before his work just now, he looks like he just wants to get off the mark already.”

That said, Moore was quick to stress that his method at this time of year is to draw gradual improvement from his top gallopers; building them up through a three-race preparation into December’s Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.

John Moore-trained Beauty Generation makes all to win the Celebration Cup last season.

That approach reaped a rich return last term when Beauty Generation followed his Celebration Cup score with success in the G2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (1600m); a solid placed effort in the G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Mile (1600m) proved to be a perfect step-up to a triumph in “the big one,” the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile.

“He’ll go 1400 (metres), 1600 (metres), 1600 (metres) and then the Hong Kong Mile again,” Moore confirmed. “It’s the same path as last season but we can now prep him in such a way that he can peak on 9 December, whereas last year it was trial and error, trying to find out whether my plan to make him into a top miler would pay off. And it did – he was Horse of the Year!”

Beauty Generation rounded off last season with a win in the G1 Champions Mile at the course and distance. But with 133lb top-weight to shoulder on Monday and barrier 11 of 14 to contend with, the handler is not expecting fireworks from his star.

“It’s not as if we’re having him primed to win first-up, although he might still be capable of that, he’s very genuine,” he said. “The target is for a repeat win in December, so if he comes online for the trial, the Jockey Club Mile in November, then good. It’s all about targeting.”

Purton’s view

Champion Jockey Zac Purton is pleased with Beauty Generation ahead of the Celebration Cup.
Champion Jockey Zac Purton is pleased with Beauty Generation ahead of the Celebration Cup.

Regular rider Zac Purton was in the plate this morning. He was also up top for the gelding’s most recent barrier trial, a satisfactory effort on the dirt track last Friday. “He went ok,” was the rider’s immediate reaction that morning and today he was similarly cautious in his appraisal.

“He’s well in himself but he’s not as forward as he was this time last season,” the champion jockey said. “It was steady work. John asked me to go a little bit steadier than I thought he would – I thought he’d want me to blow the cobwebs out a little bit more but I suppose he’s saving that.

“He feels a bit chubby; he had a good blow walking back, so I feel he’ll just continue to improve as he goes along. Hopefully he’ll be peaking at the right times.”

But Purton, like Moore, is not ruling out a bold showing in what will be the second Group race of Hong Kong’s current campaign.

Horse of the Year Beauty Generation passes the post second in his recent trial.

“He’s a very honest horse, he just gets out there, gives his best, and I’m sure he’ll still run very well – if he can get some type of breather somewhere, he’ll be right there,” the rider said.

The top-class Celebration Cup field features last season’s G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) winner Seasons Bloom (133lb) and the G1-placed Fifty Fifty (130lb), as well as the 2018 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) hero Ping Hai Star (123lb); also in the mix are the former Hong Kong Champion Miler Beauty Only (130lb), Hong Kong Classic Mile winner Nothingilikemore (119lb) and SIN G1 Kranji Mile (1600m) victor Southern Legend (130lb).

Monday’s contest is one of two Group 3 races on the afternoon’s 10-race card, which celebrates China’s National Day with the G3 National Day Cup. That 1000m dash will see last season’s champion sprinter Ivictory (133lb) go head-to-head with his up-and-coming stablemate Hot King Prawn (117lb).