RACING returns to Hong Kong tomorrow and those attending Sha Tin are in for a treat as the racecourse hosts a star-studded card to celebrate the 70th National Day.
All eyes will be on Beauty Generation, the world’s highest-rated mile horse, when he steps out onto the turf for the Group Three Celebration Cup Handicap (9.10am) over seven furlongs.
The seven-time Group One winner and two-time local Horse of the Year is seeking to produce the ‘perfect ten’ consecutive victories, but this is when he will be at his most vulnerable.
He may have won this corresponding contest last season, but his rating has risen a further 11lbs and he now has to give his nearest rival in the handicap Southern Legend, a last-start winner of a Group One in Singapore, 14lbs and last season’s HK Derby one-two, Furore and Waikuku, 20lbs.
He trialed okay recently as his prep for this race and no doubt the local racing fans and bettors will be falling over themselves to bet on a horse who has dominated the domestic scene for the last two seasons.
But, is he a betting proposition? Personally no. With the seven-furlong trip short of his best, he is going to have to work hard from the off and then fend off a host of lightly weighted challengers down the home straight.
They could be headed by HK Derby hero Furore, who looked fresh and eye-catching in a recent high-profile trial and is capable of producing impressive closing sectional times, when at his best.
While John Moore’s superstar will be taking centre-stage, waiting in the wings will be his stable companion Aethero who lines-up in the Class 2 Bejing Handicap (10.55am) over six furlongs.
Superlatives came thick and fast about the flashy Australian-bred three-year-old last season, with a perfect three-from-three record.
In his final race over course and distance in July, the race commentator was heard to say “[Zac]Purton is easing up with 100m to go. That’s the easiest winner I have ever seen.”
His trainer has no doubt this son of Sebring will be the next local sprinting sensation and will be ear-marked for the International HK Sprint in December.
His jockey Zac Purton is far more guarded, saying he hasn’t beaten anything of note yet, is still inexperienced, and has plenty to learn, with regards to racing manners.
Bearing those comments in mind, and his odds likely to be very cramped against some battle-hardened rivals led by Fat Turtle, he is probably best watched with the future in mind.
A more attractive betting proposition could be SUPER ELEGANCE who takes his chance in the Chongqing Handicap (8.40am).
Jimmy Ting’s lightly-raced five-year-old has a big chance on the form-book against main rivals Splendour and Gold, Vigor Fame, and I Do on last season’s form, and has an appealing draw in stall three which should allow him to sit closer to the pace this time.
His preparation has gone well with this race in mind and he looks to have improved, judged on his track-work and trial form.
With the front-running Vigor Fame likely to set a genuine speed tempo from the off, Super Elegance is going be hard to keep out of the frame.
Super Elegance 8.40am Sha Tin