Third Horse of the Year title beckons for Beauty Generation
Beauty Generation is facing a strong challenge for the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award, but a record third straight victory in Sunday's HK$20 million (S$3.7 million) Group 1 FWD Champions Mile could see the crown on his head again.
"If Beauty Generation doesn't win the Champions Mile, I'd think it might swing Golden Sixty's way," said the superstar's trainer, John Moore.
Golden Sixty is unbeaten in seven starts this term, including all three legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series. The Francis Lui-trained rising star has been withdrawn from Sunday's HK$25 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup to prepare for next season.
Also in the running for the coveted title is Champion Stayer and Champion Middle-Distance Horse Exultant, the favourite in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup over 2,000m.
But Moore is optimistic of his world champion miler Beauty Generation.
"I think he's in with a serious chance of winning the Champions Mile and getting Horse of the Year for a third time," he said.
"He's the old boy on the block, so when it's a tight call, he just might get the vote because, allied to his achievements, he's a public favourite and there's that admiration for him."
The Horse of the Year is a big deal in Hong Kong - as coveted as an Eclipse Award in North America, more highly prized than a Cartier in Europe.
The accolade is handed out at a glitz and flashbulb ceremony at the end of each season. It's how important saddling an outright champion can be to the winning connections' business in such a famously competitive environment.
No horse has won it three times in a row. River Verdon's three titles spanned four seasons in the 1990s, as did Silver Lining's in the 1970s.
But Moore has an incredible record as a trainer. His stable stars have collected nine outright titles in all, including an unbroken streak in the last seven seasons.
His big-name Horse of the Year victors include Viva Pataca, Able Friend and Designs On Rome.
"If we can win the Champions Mile on Sunday, he'd have to be a serious chance of being Horse of the Year again," concluded Moore.
Beauty Generation, who was crowned top horse in 2018 and last year, is in top form. He bounced back from a short lapse to win his last two starts.