STRENIOUS it was not; the irrepressible Beauty Generation required nothing more arduous than the equivalent of a morning workout to repeat last year’s success in Sha Tin’s 1600m Group 1 Champions Mile. And, when coming home a length and a half clear of Singapore Sling, he in the process secured Hong Kong records for the highest career prize money, and the biggest winning sequence in a season. Starting a nine race winning run in the same race 12 months earlier, he claimed his eighth success this season under Zac Perton, which took him ahead of Entrapment and Ambitious Dragon, while the HK$10.26m first prize took his total earnings to HK$84.76m, beyond the previous record of almost HK$83.2m set by Viva Pataca seven years ago.
Trainer John Moore, winning the race for the eighth time, said: “It’s every trainer’s dream to have a horse like him. Breaking the records is definitely an amazing achievement, especially for the stable and my staff to keep him at his fitness level. The whole world knows we have a hell of miler in Hong Kong.” Beauty Generation is rated the best horse on active service in the latest IFHA rankings, but anyone looking for him to be stretched in order to increase his official mark was in for a disappointment. Purton, who was content to let him bowl along in front unhurried from start to finish, said: “My job was just to keep him rolling, and he did what we expected him to do. I’d like to think there was more in the tank.”
The writing was on the wall for his rivals on the final turn and Purton had no cause for concern as Singapore Sling and Oisin Murphy’s mount Simply Brilliant, who was beaten two lengths into third place, mounted their unavailing challenges. With few further opportunities for Beauty Generation in Hong Kong this season, the Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo on June 2 is an option and Moore reaffirmed that he would like to travel the 6yo overseas. The prospect of Beauty Generation being sent to Japan was given a further boost when Purton, on social media, added: “After tonight’s Beauty Generation ‘team’ meeting, the odds have shortened dramatically for a trip to the Yasuda Kinen in Japan. If a few minor details can be arranged, it’s going to happen.
The fans want it, the owner wants it, racing wants it.” On the same card, and not for the fist time, Beat The Clock did just that to, on his occasion, land the 1200m Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize, chased home by a pair of ‘locals’ to record a second Group One win, his eighth in all, every time with former Champion Jockey Joao Moreira in the saddle. The John Size-trained winner broke into the top tier for the first time in January’s Centenary Sprint Cup, where he had a neck to spare over Mr Stunning. With the latter a late withdrawal through lameness this year, Beat The Clock had a clear chance of reversing his subsequent second placing to Rattan on revised weight terms, and did so by half a length.
Rattan stayed on stoutly after making the running and although he had no answer to a surge that took Beat The Clock to the front 50m out, he held Little Giant to claim an honourable second place for trainer Richard Gibson. Moreira, who was winning the race for the first time, praised the trainer and his team, saying: “They have done a great job with him, and he’s never run a bad race.” Win Bright, the least fancied of three Japanese runners, landed a maiden Group One success as a first runner in Hong Kong for trainer Yoshihiro Hatakeyama and jockey Masami Matsuoka when scooping the 2000m Queen Elizabeth II Cup. Always travelling handily on the inside as the brothers Glorious Forever and Time Warp made the running, Win Bright was taken four wide in the straight to cut down last year’s winner Pakistan Star with 50m to run and held the late efforts of Exultant and Lys Gracieux in a course record time.
Glorious Forever stayed on for fourth place as Pakistan Star weakened, but Deirdre, who ran creditably for Japan when fourth in Almond Eye’s Dubai Turf in March, never threatened in fifth spot. Although Win Bright, a 5yo son of Stay Gold, had not previously claimed victory in the highest grade, the outsider was unbeaten in two previous races this season and had five Group One winners behind him in his previous outing.