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‘Beauty’ Draws a ‘Mile’ Off the Inside


Martin Siu selects gate seven for Time Warp in Sunday’s Hong Kong Cup | HKJC photo

By Alan Carasso

HONG KONG–During a Thursday morning press conference, about one hour prior to the barrier draw for Sunday’s Longines Hong Kong International Races, trainer John Moore explained how reigning Horse of the Year Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock {Aus}), once pigeon-holed as a one-dimensional, need-the-lead type galloper, had matured into a more versatile sort. After landing gate 12 in a field of 14 for the G1 Hong Kong Mile, Zac Purton may just have to resort to plans B or perhaps even C from that wide alley.

During that presser, Moore had some very enlightening comments about Beauty Generation’s feet and a potentially alarming penchant to drift in his races. The gelding was the easy winner of the G2 BOCHK WM Jockey Club Mile three weeks back, even as he was finishing off near the outside rail.

“I think the horse is getting into a little bit of a habit–he has a tendency to get his head on the side on the right and tends to hang out that bit,” Moore said. “When [jockey] Zac [Purton] rode him [Thursday] morning, he fanned on the corner and it appeared he was hanging out that little bit. But afterwards we went through with a fine-toothed comb–with the vet and the farriers–and as far as we’re concerned he’s sound.”

Beauty Generation is one of three Hong Kong horses back to defend titles in their respective races. Mr Stunning (Aus) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) proved narrowly best from gate four in last year’s G1 Hong Kong Sprint, but is drawn further out in nine this time around. Now trained by Frankie Lor, the 6-year-old will have to contend with four former John Size stablemates, including Hot King Prawn (Aus) (Denman {Aus}), who will have to go from barrier 11 for Joao Moreira.

“It’s always a concern with the draw, especially for the sprinters,” said trainer John Size, shortly after being handed the wide berth for Hot King Prawn. “But he’s got some speed so he can overcome most things with his natural pace. I haven’t looked closely at the foreign horses, but normally you’ve got plenty of speed and normally he can go from the gate. He’s been in that predicament and I think that with the pace that he’s got he might begin smartly.”

Time Warp (GB) (Archipenko) looks to put them back-to-back in the G1 Hong Kong Cup and will most certainly go forward from the seven hole beneath Purton. His year-younger full-brother Glorious Forever (GB) effectively dueled Time Warp into submission when the pair finished well down the field in the G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup Nov. 18, and there were intimations that there would be no such suicidal tactics in the Cup.

“We won’t be going head-to-head with Time Warp,” Lor insisted.

That plan could now be out the window, given that Glorious Forever was handed the inside box in the field, reduced to nine by the scratching of last year’s runner-up Werther (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) with a tendon issue. If the pace is on, that could set things up nicely for the Moreira-ridden Sungrazer (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}, gate six) or his compatriot Deirdre (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}, gate two).

With the better part of 500 metres to the first turn, the draw for the G1 Hong Kong Vase is perhaps somewhat less consequential, but trainer Charlie Fellowes was not especially pleased with having drawn 14 of 14 for his stayer Prince of Arran (GB) (Shirocco {Ger}).

“The one job I’ve had to do since I arrived and I’ve messed it up,” mused Fellowes.

The race’s highest-rated runner, Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), secured a good spot in barrier four, while his protagonists Eagle Way (Aus) (More Than Ready), Exultant (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) and Mirage Dancer (GB) (Frankel {GB}) were assigned gates nine, 10 and 13, respectively. TDN Rising Star‘ Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal) should get a cushy run from gate two beneath William Buick.

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