Beauty Generation dazzled, Win Bright shone and Beat The Clock scorched the turf on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday.
A crowd of 44,564 – the second-highest in the past decade – enjoyed the thrill of three Gr1 contests, with Hong Kong champion Beauty Generation receiving a rapturous reception after cruising to an imperious win in the HK$18 million FWD Champions Mile.
Turnover of HK$1.449 billion was marginally down on Champions Day 2018 but was still the second-highest ever.
Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today was the second edition of Champions Day and the name lived up to all the expectation. We have seen real champions today at a wonderful sporting event.”
Beauty Generation set a new record for most wins in a Hong Kong season with his eighth success this term and also surpassed Viva Pataca’s all-time prize money record, taking his earnings to HK$84.77 million.
Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges noted the athletic brilliance of Hong Kong’s world-acclaimed champion.
“If you see a real champion, it is something special,” he said. “Beauty Generation dominated that race and the sections he ran were fantastic: he ran, practically unextended, the last section in 22.36 seconds, which is amazing.”
The Club’s CEO was “extremely happy” with the afternoon’s sport which he said was “a platform which we can build on.”
He continued: “We are aiming to make this race day a similar flagship to the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races in December. We know that the timing is more challenging, especially as the European season is just starting, but if you look at today’s races, we are very satisfied with the quality of the horses we saw competing here. We had 15 international Group 1 winners including the world’s best miler and co-top rated horse Beauty Generation, and the world’s highest-rated sprinter Santa Ana Lane.
“The (HK$16 million) Chairman’s Sprint Prize was a fantastic race. It was not run to suit Santa Ana Lane but it was a terrific winning performance from Beat The Clock.
“We saw a lot of depth in the (HK$24 million) FWD QEII Cup and Win Bright put in an extraordinary performance for Japan. It’s important we have overseas horses coming and winning and we are very happy to have seen some exceptional performances today.”
Win Bright conquered Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, 28 April), powering home in the HK$24 million FWD QEII Cup and lowering the 2000-metre track record.
The grey became the first horse to dip below 1m 59.00s, stopping the clock at 1m 58.81s as he earned a first top level win. Yoshihiro Hatakeyama’s five-year-old became the latest Japanese raider to make the QEII Cup honour roll, following Eishin Preston (2002 & 2003), Rulership (2012) and Neorealism (2017).
The first eight horses dipped below two minutes, just 14 months after Time Warp – 11th today after attempting to make all – became the first to break that mark.
Records aplenty fell as Hong Kong’s current racing sensation and the world’s highest rated active racehorse Beauty Generation literally ambled his way to victory in Sunday’s HK$18 million Gr1 FWD Champions Mile at Sha Tin.
Jockey Zac Purton barely moved a muscle on the six-year-old superstar who led throughout in an eased down length and a half win which trainer John Moore accurately described as ‘facile’.
It was a ninth straight win for this remarkable racehorse and an eighth victory this season bettering the previous best one season tally of seven shared by Entrapment and Ambitious Dragon.
The home team was one down, with Mr Stunning’s late enforced absence, but it mattered not as the ever competitive Beat The Clock led home a Hong Kong one-two-three in today’s (28 April) HK$16 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin.
The John Size-trained sprinter, third last year and remarkably never outside the first three in 21 career starts, beat fellow locals Rattan and Little Giant in a Hong Kong trifecta which relegated the world’s highest-rated sprinter, Australian visitor Santa Ana Lane, into fourth place.
It was a first Chairman’s Sprint Prize win for jockey Joao Moreira (who had been placed the two previous years) and a second straight for Size who not only won last year’s edition with Ivictory but saddled the first three home as Mr Stunning, whom he then trained, split the winner and Beat The Clock.