May 30, 2023

Beauty Generation comes of age in Hong Kong Mile

Beauty Generation, Group 1-placed when known as Montaigne in Australia, wired the Hong Kong Mile (Photo courtesy Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Allowed to control the pace through moderate fractions, the 7-1 Beauty Generation reached a new career high in Sunday’s $3 million Hong Kong Mile (G1). Jockey Derek Leung turned in a masterclass aboard the John Moore trainee, who spearheaded a clean sweep of the superfecta for the locals at Sha Tin.

It was a local triumph in more ways than one. Leung became the second alum of Hong Kong’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School to snare a Hong Kong International Race, after the trailblazing Matthew Chadwick aboard California Memory in the 2011-12 runnings of the Hong Kong Cup (G1).

Beauty Generation was also giving owner Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen his second straight Mile. He co-owns last year’s winner, Beauty Only, who was seventh in his title defense.

Although lesser fancied than last-out Jockey Club Mile (G2) winner Seasons Bloom, the 8-5 favorite; Beauty Only; and stablemate Helene Paragon, the 2016 Mile runner-up, Beauty Generation had been competing well since his arrival from Australia. Previously third to ill-fated Horse of the Year Rapper Dragon in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Derby, he captured two of this fall’s stepping stones to the Mile – the October 1 Celebration Cup (G3) and the October 22 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (G2). Both scores came at generous odds, and lighter weights, and his progress was seemingly halted when third to Seasons Bloom and Helene Paragon in their latest.

But Sunday’s Mile unfolded as if made to order for Beauty Generation. Full of momentum following his easy time of it early, he stretched clear to complete the metric mile in 1:33.72. The 35-1 Western Express ran the race of his life to finish a length back in second, while Helene Paragon and Seasons Bloom came from the clouds for third and fourth, respectively. Seasons Bloom was later found to have bled.

Derek Leung, an alum of Hong Kong’s jockey school, celebrates his biggest win (Photo courtesy Hong Kong Jockey Club)

“I’m very, very happy,” Leung exulted. “I want to thank everyone for their support, especially to the owner and to trainer John Moore. I was given an opportunity and I took advantage of it. I am always trying to prove myself and I am hoping there will be more international winners in the future.

“The plan was always to go forward, be in the first two and lead if that’s how it turned out. Everything did go very smoothly with a soft lead and I pressed the button at the 450 (meters) because I knew he would not stop and he didn’t. I had no worries to kick for home early and the horse ran so well.”

“He’s done everything right from day one, this horse,” commented Moore, who found the breakthrough win as “no surprise” for the New Zealand-bred. “We saw he was a little hampered in the run last time but today he had the gun run and was able to dictate the terms of the race which always looked a possibility.

“We tried him over more ground last season and he ran well, but he starts to grind a bit at the longer trips. We put some speed into him and he has a turn-of-foot at the mile. He’s run so well today.”

The best finish by an international runner was the fifth turned in by Aidan O’Brien’s Lancaster Bomber, ever-reliable when he gets quick ground. Next came Horse of Fortune, Beauty Only, Sichuan Dar, Joyful Trinity (also trained by Moore), Lightning Spear, Satono Aladdin (who bled), Contentment, Karar, and a wide-trip Roly Poly.

Beauty Generation was formerly known as Montaigne in his Australian racing days. Then in the care of Anthony Cummings, he showed Group 1 quality when runner-up in the 2016 Rosehill Guineas (G1) (splitting Tarzino and Jameka). He was also third in the Hobartville (G2), fourth versus elders in The BMW (G1), and fifth in the Randwick Guineas (G1).

By the Encosta de Lago stallion Road to Rock, Beauty Generation is out of Stylish Bel, a daughter of Black Caviar’s sire Bel Esprit. The bay gelding improved his resume to 18-7-3-4.