Horse Racing
Tempo crucial to Beauty Joy’s G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap prospects

By Leo Schlink
30/12/2022 15:13

Hugh Bowman hopes for a solidly-run race.
Hugh Bowman hopes for a solidly-run race.

Hugh Bowman believes tactics will play a decisive role in Beauty Joy’s G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) fate at Sha Tin on Sunday (1 January) when Tony Cruz’s mercurial galloper bids to return to the winner’s list.

Twice a winner over the course and distance, Beauty Joy finished fourth behind California Spangle, Golden Sixty and Laws Of Indices in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) on 11 December but, off-setting a drop in grade, Bowman is concerned by the small field in the HK$3.9 million feature.

“If I had to be brutally honest, I think he would be more suited to a bigger field. But the fact that he’s back to 1400m might ensure that there’s a pace that’s suitable to him,” Bowman said.

“Barrier one, I don’t quite know what to think of that but if there’s an even pace, I think the race will really suit him – but that’s going to be the key to him, just a consistent gallop.

“No doubt, his talent is there for everyone to see. I thought he was very courageous when I rode him the other day (11 December). When the pace slackened and I sort of made that mid-race move, he was still in the hunt until the 200m mark and then he’d had enough.

“It’s a totally different arrangement this weekend and I think he’s got a good grounding for it.”

Beauty Joy crowned last season with an astonishing victory in the G3 Premier Cup Handicap (1400m) under Zac Purton, who teams with Lucky Sweynesse as one of Beauty Joy’s main rivals in the Chinese Club Challenge Cup this weekend.

Zac Purton has 70 wins for the season.
Zac Purton has 70 wins for the season.

Leading the 2022/23 Hong Kong jockeys’ championship by 40 wins with 70 victories already logged, Purton rides newcomer Straight Arron for David Hayes in the Class 3 Flame Tree Handicap (1400m).

Hayes is hopeful the import, who won the G3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) for Chris Waller at Randwick Racecourse in April, 2022, can display as much quality as last Saturday’s (24 December) debut winner Flagship Warrior and another Four-Year-Old Classic Series contender Bon’s A Pearla.

“I think this horse is in their mould and should run well,” Hayes. “Zac has probably got 20 horses to choose from towards the Hong Kong Classic Mile and hopefully this horse can put his hand up.

“It’s one thing being a good horse overseas and it’s another thing being a good horse here – and they have to show it.  He had a hairline fracture of his cannon bone after he arrived – he never went sore, but because he’s such a promising horse, we backed off for six weeks.

“We’ve given him easy trials, we haven’t put him under pressure, but I like the way he moves and the professional way about him and it wouldn’t surprise me if he won at the weekend but, clearly, he’s got a lot bigger fish to fry later in the season.”

Purton also partners John Size-trained Beauty Eternal in the Class 3 Cotton Tree Handicap (1200m), confident the talented Starspangledbanner gelding is ready to rebound after his luckless last-start third after a solid recent trial.

“It was a good trial and, with his class, he was travelling to the line nicely and I’m looking forward to getting back out there and I’m looking forward to riding him again,” Purton said. “He’s still learning his trade, so we’ll just see how he begins.

“Hopefully we can navigate his way to give him his chance to show his best.”

Jerry Chau believes Mark The Moment is well suited.
Jerry Chau believes Mark The Moment is well suited.

Jerry Chau teams with Pierre Ng’s Mark The Moment in the Class 3 Chinese Banyan Handicap (1000m) and is optimistic the gelding can build on his debut runner-up performance over 1200m on Sha Tin’s dirt on 18 December.

“His start, he got a good barrier and he performed well,” Chau said. “He’s a very honest horse, he’s got early speed and he’s got a good gate again this weekend and I think he’s got his chance.”

Sunday’s (1 January) 11-race card at Sha Tin starts with the second section of the Class 5 Yew Handicap (1400m) at 12.30pm.