John Moore has already produced one star miler to grace the highest reaches of the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings in Able Friend but the trainer was left with no hesitation in proclaiming Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock) superior, after Zac Purton steered him to an imperious three-length success.
Japanese-trained mare Vivlos ended her career with a sterling effort when running down the outside to claim second from Southern Legend but by that stage, Purton was already savouring certain victory, easing Beauty Generation down at the end of a brutal demonstration.
Not that the early portents were good as Purton was held three wide going down the back straight from his outside stall in 12.
But riding with supreme confidence, he eased last year’s Mile hero past Comin’ Through and Southern Legend and was able to slot over to the rail before the 800m.
The sight of the reigning Hong Kong champion jockey sitting high in the saddle at the 400-metre mark told his pursuers Purton still had plenty of horse under him, and, under a hand ride, Beauty Generation streaked away for one of the easiest victories in recent LONGINES Hong Kong International Races history.
“That’s what we all hoped we’d see today, I’m just happy for the horse that he’s come out and produced it on a big stage,” said Purton, who was making it HKIR win number eight following his Vase triumph with Exultant earlier. “He has shown everyone how brutally good he can be.”
Purton had been cautious in his pre-race assessments but said his confidence had increased as the race approached.
The winning rider added: “Obviously he had a little bit of a setback and had the feet issues going into his last run, when he ran off the track.
“You never want those things going into a Grand Final or a Group 1 race so they do play on your mind a little bit. But I worked him late this week and he felt good in his work. John Moore asked me to come in yesterday morning to give him a canter on the big track. When I got off him I felt pretty relaxed and I slept pretty well last night.”
Derek Leung was aboard for Beauty Generation’s breakthrough Group 1 success in this race 12 months ago but, after completing a perfect fifth win from five starts in tandem, Purton has a pretty good handle on what makes him so hard to beat.
“His best attribute is he has got a very high cruising speed, he’s very comfortable rolling along at that speed and he can kick off it,” said Purton. “For the horses back in the field they’re already struggling to go the pace and when you’ve got to try and reel him in, it’s not an easy thing to do.”
For Moore it was also win number eight in the big four Group 1s at this showpiece meeting and the Hong Kong legend was in no doubt that he and we had witnessed the best of the lot.
As a man whose formative years were spent travelling the world with his globetrotting father George, Moore is keen to show Beauty Generation’s brilliance away from Sha Tin and will be doing his best to convince his owner, Patrick Kwok, that this is a horse that needs to light up the biggest meetings around the world, with the G1 Dubai Turf next March the preferred jumping-off point.
“The owner and his father are of the opinion that they don’t come back the same horse when they travel but I’m trying to convince them that that’s not the case with the way that I travel my horses. There’s a few little tricks there to make sure.
“If we’re going to prove him we’re going to have to do it on the world stage: We’ve done it here; home ground; that’s the advantage; he’s done it easily.
“I’d love to travel him, to take him to Dubai where everyone says right, here’s the top three in the world. I’ve won the Shaheen and had a few placings over there.
“I know the venue very well and I believe he could travel. If everything goes to plan he could win there.”
Vivlos has been first and third in the last two editions of the Dubai Turf and again produced a fine effort in running down Southern Legend to grab second under William Buick.
“Mr (Yasuo) Tomomichi had her in great shape,” said Buick. “She ran a really good race and was comfortable through the run, but was beaten by one of the best of the best milers in the world.”
The five-year-old daughter of Deep Impact also left Tomomichi glowing with pride on her career swansong before heading to Northern Farm.
Tomomichi said: “She settled really well here, the same as she has done in Dubai. She seems to really like it abroad.
“She had a good position and at the far turn I thought she might have a chance to win it but the winner proved to be far too good. She really tried her best.”
Southern Legend was three lengths back when Beauty Generation set the track record here last month and was only a neck worse here in third for trainer Caspar Fownes.
It will be up to the international handicappers currently gathered in Hong Kong to decide whether Beauty Generation’s official mark of 126 can edge up again to close the year.
In 2019 wider horizons will give him every chance of soaring to new heights.