Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road To Rock) is seeking a second win in the weekend feature, the Gr.2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m), having captured the prize last year. The crack miler faced the same scenario earlier this month when he stepped out with an impressive win under top-weight in the Gr.3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m), another race he had won 12 months prior.
But the gelding has since gone up six points in the ratings, ensuring that his 133lb impost will be that much more burdensome this time around.
“It’s a very tough ask,” Purton said. “He has to give a lot of weight away, not just against the proven horses but also to some of those up-and-comers down the bottom that haven’t reached their marks - we don’t know how good they could be.
“He’s a very honest horse, though,” he added, “and I’m sure he’s going to go out and give us his best.”
Beauty Generation galloped on a dampened turf track at Sha Tin on Thursday morning and relished every step taken.
He stretched out around Sha Tin’s floodlit circuit pre-dawn with Purton in the saddle. The powerful bay entered the track at about the 1800m mark, wound up off the turn and quickened to a cruising gallop down the home straight to clock 25.9s for the final 400m.
“Zac was really happy with the work,” Moore said as he sheltered under a stable-liveried maroon and white umbrella. “He went through his paces really well and enjoyed the bit of cut in the ground this morning. I’m really pleased with the work and we’re going in with high hopes again.”
The champion jockey, meanwhile, was satisfied with his mount’s wellbeing.
“He recovered quite quickly when we pulled him up, so fitness-wise he’s where we want him, and his last run told us that. If he can just keep turning out in that shape every start that’s all we need, really.”
And with the conditions set to favour a light-weighted rising talent, and the prime target being a second victory in December’s Gr.1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile, neither Purton nor Moore will be dismayed if Beauty Generation tastes defeat in the Sha Tin Trophy.
“If he runs well and gets beat there’s no shame in that at all, not at the weights,” Purton said. “After this it’s a set weights and penalty race (Gr.2 Jockey Club Mile) and the start after that it’s the set weights (Gr.1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile). Because of where he’s at in the handicap, this is going to be his toughest assignment and afterwards, hopefully, it’ll get easier.”
Such was the quality of Beauty Generation’s Celebration Cup win last time that the New Zealand-bred was raised to an international rating of 123, making him the world’s equal-best active miler. Another smart success under a high weight could well see him climb higher.
“If he can win - and it is an ‘if’ - then his rating is going to go up into Able Friend territory. I hate to run second but, all things being normal, if he was to be defeated this time it would be down to the handicap and in that scenario we certainly wouldn’t come away being upset.” -HKJC