Fork In the Road Straight Ahead for Beauty Generation

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Beauty Generation | Horsephotos

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For as dominant an animal as he was over the course of 18 months from April 2018 through October 2019, Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock {Aus}) has come back to the pack over his last three appearances and he faces something of a reckoning when he heads to the post in defence of his title in Sunday's G1 Stewards' Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse. A win–or even a race that remotely approximates his prior form–and it could be on to sexier ports of call. A fourth straight defeat would put pay to those plans in favor of races over 1400-1600 metres at home. For their part, trainer John Moore and jockey Zac Purton continue to see the glass as half-full as it pertains to the immediate task at hand.

“He's jumping out of his skin at the present moment so that's a good sign,” the trainer told the Hong Kong Jockey Club's David Morgan. “We've changed a few things–work patterns and the like–so taking into consideration the barrier trial last week and the feedback after the trial from Zac, we're pleased.”

The 7-year-old has had only one trial since his third-place effort to Admire Mars (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}) and the re-opposing Waikuku (Ire) (Harbour Watch {Ire}), and it resulted in a third-place effort to G1 Centenary Sprint Cup hopeful Wishful Thinker (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) (video) Jan. 10. Notably, Beauty Generation went round without blinkers and with cheekpieces added, and those gear changes will be in effect on raceday. Moore and Purton report that he seems to be holding his form.

“The feedback is positive,” Moore said. “Purton's never been that complimentary and this is actually the first time he has been complimentary, so I'm taking that positively. The horse was sweating up a little bit this morning, which is a good sign, so I'm happy with him. If he could just have that easy lead!

He continued, “This morning he went down the back on the grass under Romain (Clavreul) and walked back on the dirt track, none of this coming round and trotting back in front of the stands–just to start to get him to think about it all. He pulled up brilliantly.

Added Purton: “He has to find that spark and the hunger to want to just get the job done–it's not going to take much. I thought his last trial, maybe mentally he was in a bit of a better place and we go to the races hoping he's going to bounce back.”

And if he does? The G1 Dubai Turf is on the horizon, said Moore.

“The 1800 metres in Dubai is perfect,” he said of the gelding, who holds the Sha Tin course record for 2200 metres. “If he runs a big race at the weekend, going 1800 metres on the other leg–counter-clockwise–that would be better. We know he goes over further, he was bought as a Derby horse and that would be the right way to go.”

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