Welcome back, Beauty
A different approach brought a familiar result as Beauty Generation returned to the winner's arch with a tough victory in the Group 1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Trainer John Moore's "tweaks" saw Hong Kong's champion battle to a history-making third victory in the 1,400m feature in as many years and put behind him four successive defeats.
"The defeats have been disappointing but they hadn't been by any great margin," said Moore, after collecting the trophy for the fourth time in a row and 11th in his career.
"I said to the staff that we just had to try a few things a little bit different, just to tweak his mind and get him thinking that he can win races. We managed to do that by taking off the blinkers, putting on the side winkers and the bit-lifter.
"I jumped him out of the gate on Thursday morning. I did a lot of things with him trying to not stick to the same pattern as we'd had in the lead-up to the big races in the past. It was quite a different prep."
Beauty Generation's astute partner, reigning champion Zac Purton, had hoped to lead the seven-runner affair but that plan was scotched when Hot King Prawn outpaced him under Karis Teetan.
Purton opted instead to settle the seven-year-old in fourth, biding his time until the champ rolled up strongly at the turn into the straight. The Australian shook the reins and Beauty Generation drew level with the leader at the 300m point. From there, he ground out the win.
Hot King Prawn faded to third as Beauty Generation held off Ka Ying Star by half a length in 1min 21.64sec.
But, while Beauty Generation proved that he still is a force at the highest level, the manner of victory - albeit into a headwind - lacked the imperious power that saw the Patrick Kwok-owned bay stand out as the world's best miler.
"I don't think we're going to see him as good as he was last season, but he's very close to that and that's good enough to win some races," said Purton.
Moore is looking to Meydan now and the Group 1 Dubai Turf over 1,800m at the end of next month, but that possible assignment is still at the discussion stage.
"I've just got to put it to Patrick and I hope he'll give me the green light because I think he'll be very competitive. I think he could do a great job in Dubai over 1,800 metres." said Moore. - HKJC