By Jon Lees
Hong Kong: Superstar miler Beauty Generation is set to carry on racing in Hong Kong next season, when he will be trained by David Hayes as the leading Australian trainer returns for a second stint in the territory.
The decision announced on Thursday by owner Patrick Kwok dashes the hopes of current handler John Moore that he could take the dual Horse of the Year with him when he leaves Hong Kong to start another chapter of his remarkable career back home in his native Australia with brother Gary.
At his peak Beauty Generation was the world’s leading miler with a rating of 127. The region’s highest-profile horse, he is the all-time leading money-earner in Hong Kong with winnings of more than HK$100 million ($10m).
Despite not being same force this season, the seven-year-old will be a headline horse for Hayes when he returns to Hong Kong for a second stint, having trained there for nine seasons from 1996, winning two trainers’ titles.
Moore is being forced into a compulsory retirement by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which does not allow trainers over the age of 70. He had hoped to take both Beauty Generation and star sprinter Aethero with him as he goes home to Australia but now neither is set to leave Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Moore sent out one winner on a Happy Valley card on Wednesday dominated by Beauty Generation’s jockey Zac Purton.
Purton pressed his claim for a fourth champion jockey title by riding a dazzling five-timer.
The Australian blitzed a hat-trick of wins through the first three of nine contests, met with frustration in races four, five and six, but charged through the final third of the card with two more scores, capped by a victory of some aplomb aboard Dances With Dragon in the finale.
That all propelled him to a four-win lead in what continues to be a relentless two-way tussle with Joao Moreira for the crown that each has worn three times.
“It’s been a bit of a grind, so hopefully I’ve now got a few more like this ahead of me,” Purton said after sealing his first five-win haul of the campaign.
Dances With Dragon’s success in the Class 2 Camellia Handicap ensured he made the 20km journey home to Sha Tin with a lead of 114 to 110 over his Brazilian rival.