Hong Kong’s reigning horse of the year has bounced back from a five-race losing streak to take out his third Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.
It all came about by accident as the champion miler was beaten for early speed in the 1400m event, with Hot Kong Prawn taking up the front running along with Ka Ying Star, leaving Zac Purton no choice but to take a sit behind the pair.
Racing in unchartered territory turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the aging seven-year-old as he pulled out all stops in the run home to finish best out wide to grab his third Silver Jubilee Cup.
Trainer John Moore was over the moon with the gelding’s effort and did say he had the horse trying different things in trackwork.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Purton agreed it wasn’t what was planned pre-race but was still pleased with the local champion’s effort.
“It probably didn’t go to script really – we thought we might be able to lead this race but Hot King Prawn, as we know, can lead 1000-metre races and had too much speed for us early. I couldn’t take the position, so I had to ride him where I was and had belief in the horse,” Purton said.
“The stable said they thought they had him back to where we need him to be and as always John was right.”
Beauty Generation!Hong Kong’s all-time prize money earner bounces back to win his third consecutive G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup with @zpurton. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/oCWb9c9uVE— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 16, 2020
Hong Kong’s all-time prize money earner bounces back to win his third consecutive G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup with @zpurton. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/oCWb9c9uVE
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 16, 2020
Moore is still keen on tackling the Group One Dubai Turf (1800m) at Meydan as the gelding’s next assignment.
“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 1800 metres,” Moore said.
Owner Patrick Kwok has come out and hinted that a trip to Dubai is now more likely after Sunday’s win but he won’t make a decision until discussing it with jockey Zac Purton.
“We will talk to Zac. I feel like now he is a bit older 1,400m is his best distance – he has had seven races over 1,400m and had six wins,” he said.
“Dubai is obviously 1,800m so we will talk to Zac and see how we feel about it. I think there is a better than 80 per cent chance that this is going to be his last season so we may as well try and have a look [at Dubai], let’s see how he goes.”
The big disappointment in the race was with the John Size-trained Beat The Clock who was under extreme pressure on the tun and failed to run on.
Coming off a strong win in the Group One Centenary Cup, he was slow to begin and trailed Beauty Generation but showed none of that late dash he displayed in his previous two starts.
He finished in fifth place, beaten almost four lengths in the run home and even jockey Joao Moreira was at a loss to explain the poor performance.
“Today he wasn’t able to bring his best,” jockey Joao Moreira said.
“This is the very first time I’ve had to talk about his non-performance.
“He didn’t break as well as usual, he was in a position where I wouldn’t like to see him and when I pulled him out in the straight he just didn’t quicken as he would have done in the past.
“It was disappointing but I still love this horse, he has a place in my heart and let’s look for the next one – 1400 metres is stretching him to his limit.”
Beat The Clock opened in early markets at $2.40 but drifted to start a $3.10 second favourite on the day.
For Beauty Generation, it was Group One victory number eight and Sunday’s win took his career earnings to HK$98 million and puts him on the brink of becoming the first horse to break the HK$100 million mark.
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