It's not often the highest praise for a major race winner comes from the trainer of the runner-up. But that was the case after Beauty Generation's course record breaking win in the G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile at Sha Tin, with Caspar Fownes describing the winner as becoming “Winx-like.”
Mind you, winning trainer John Moore wasn't short of glowing endorsements either and without reservation mentioned Beauty Generation in the same breath as his former champion Able Friend, the 2014/15 Hong Kong Horse of the Year – a title Beauty Generation claimed last season.
“He was like Able Friend. He reminded me of Able Friend, making the big run and scooting clear from the turn. He's proved he's a champion. He had to make two runs out there after it was like the charge of the Light Brigade early and people around the world now will stand up and take notice that there is a very good miler here in Hong Kong,” Moore said.
Fownes, whose charge Southern Legend was beaten three lengths into second, is all but conceding December's G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile to last year's winner and the world's highest rated specialist miler who well and truly ratified that lofty international rating of 126 as he bettered Good Ba Ba's near ten-year-old track record (running a blistering 1m 32.64s).
“The winner is absolutely incredible,” said Fownes, “to shatter a record like that – and to do it the way he did, drifting out like that. He did it the hard way. He's becoming Winx-like and in a different league to these horses he's beaten today.”
Beauty Generation hasn't quite matched the 29 straight wins of Australian champion Winx but is now looking almost as invincible with eight wins from his past 11 starts, this season and last, and now four on the trot.
“His ratings go through the roof each time he steps out,” Fownes said of Beauty Generation who sustained a three-length margin despite laying out badly in the straight.
So, if Moore's rival trainer is already despairing about his or anybody else's hope of usurping the Patrick Kwok-owned gelding in December's LONGINES Hong Kong Mile then the news only gets worse. “He had a few shoeing issues coming into this race,” Moore said, “but we have three weeks to sort them out, which we will.”
Winning jockey Zac Purton, who was entitled to a few plaudits of his own for a clever tactical ride, was also effusive in his praise for the winner. “He's obviously a very good horse who continues to turn out in better and better shape every time,” he said.
Purton elected to ease out of the early speed battle on a horse who generally goes forward. “They ran the first half mile (800 metres) ridiculously fast and I was happy to let them burn themselves out and then to roll forward around them when they backed it off,” he said.
The beaten jockeys, aboard key rivals, unsurprisingly could offer no excuses. Douglas Whyte, on Southern Legend, said: “my horse has run very, very well.” Neil Callan said Beauty Only ran a “good honest race” while Chad Schofield felt that Singapore Sling “boxed on well”.
Fownes, of course, is still looking forward to December. “I've planned my guy to peak at the right time and he's shown us that today. He's still run very well in pinching second place. He'll improve going into the big day but right now it looks a race for second place and I'll take second place for that prize money. He's getting better, I've saved some improvement into the big day but he's going to need it because that winner is something else.”
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