Beauty Generation claimed the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award at a sparkling ceremony held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel tonight, Friday, 13 July. A three-time Group One victor this term, Hong Kong’s standout five-year-old was also named Champion Miler.
John Moore’s stable star had an outstanding sophomore Hong Kong campaign with five wins from eight starts. The gelding, raced by Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen, improved further this term after placing in two of the three Four-Year-Old Classic Series races last season. Victorious on his seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Celebration Cup (1400m), Beauty Generation soon added a win in the Group 2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (1600m), before achieving a career peak – at that point – by taking the Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile in December. All three of those triumphs were with Derek Leung in the saddle.
Beauty Generation kept on improving in 2018, scoring his second Group 1 success in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) before the Road To Rock gelding rounded off his season in style by winning the Group 1 Champions Mile at the inaugural Champions Day meeting. His season also earned him the Champion Miler title.
The Tony Cruz-trained Time Warp was named the Champion Middle-Distance Horse, based on his brilliant performances in the Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m). In the latter, the Archipenko gelding staved off 2015/16 Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther, and clocked a sensational new track record time of 1m 59.97s to become the first horse to break two minutes for 2000m at Sha Tin.
The Champion Stayer award went to the Tony Cruz-trained Pakistan Star, who scored a comfortable win in the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) after landing an authoritative victory in the Group 1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m) on Champions Day.
The Hong Kong International Sale graduate resumed this season in the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup in February with a creditable fourth, and after two further fourths in a Class One event and the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m), he restored his reputation with his Group 1 brace. Now, the sky’s the limit for this Shamardal gelding.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Star also secured the bulk of the public vote to claim the Most Popular Horse title.
Ivictory was named the season’s Champion Sprinter. The John Size-trained four-year-old won four from four this term, including the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize at his maiden stakes attempt on Champions Day. The Mossman gelding improved race by race since making his seasonal reappearance in February, and after scoring a hat-trick of wins in restricted handicaps, he achieved his career highlight to date in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Ivictory also received recognition as the season’s Most Improved Horse. He started the campaign on a rating of 75, but his unbeaten run – including the victory in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize – saw him rocket 53 points up the rankings to end the term on a mark of 128.
Pick Number One, a three-year-old from the Danny Shum stable, claimed the Champion Griffin Award after scoring five times from seven attempts. All five wins were scored on the Sha Tin all-weather track.
Size sealed the Champion Trainer title for a 10th time, while Joao Moreira was recognised as the season’s Most Popular Jockey following a public vote.
The season’s Champion Jockey and the winner of the Tony Cruz Award will be revealed during racing at Sunday’s (15 July) season finale at Sha Tin.