Hong Kong charge fails to impress in Group 1 Yasuda Kinen

Beauty Only
Beauty Only (second from left) is unable to match the speed of Satono Aladdin in Sunday’s Group 1 Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo. Photo: HKJC

THE dual Hong Kong charge of Beauty Only and Contentment has failed to fire in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen in Japan on Sunday night.

Both thoroughbreds couldn’t match the sprint of Satono Aladdin, which came with a big run down the outside of runners to down last year’s winner Logotype in the run to the line.

After getting a good run in transit, Beauty Only loomed into the race around the home turn, but it wasn’t able to find its customary sprint after getting into a bumping dual with Contentment, but neither horse was travelling well enough to win.

“I think the occasion had him a little bit worried,” Zac Purton said about Beauty Only, which Purton thought had a winning chance as they approached the turn. “I thought I was going to be the winner.”

Trainer Tony Cruz was disappointed with the effort, but suggested running left handed could have been the major problem.

“Beauty Only didn’t kick home strongly, he ran a bit flat in the straight,” Cruz said. “He was leaning a bit to the left and I could see he was on his near-fore lead in the stretch but he didn’t change gear. It was his first time left-handed so I think the experience will have been good for him.”

Beauty Only had got the better of Satono Aladdin in the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile last December, but the change of conditions proved enough to see the tables turned.

“Normally in Hong Kong, going right-handed, he changes gear on his near-fore kick and then he has more power. He wasn’t his usual, he just didn’t accelerate,” Cruz said. “Maybe it was the left-handed track, maybe it was because it’s the end of the season.”


Purton agreed with the summation that the left-handed track and the big build up to the Yasuda Kinen – which hosted 57,000 race goers on track – didn’t help Beauty Only’s chances of winning.

“He seemed a little bit nervous going to the gates, he was jig-jogging a lot and sweating up a lot – behind the gates he was quite agitated,” Purton said.

“Saying that, he jumped out well, he had a nice spot and travelled good. He just had a tendency of wanting to hang in a little bit – he was a little bit lost first time going left-handed.

“I thought it was a solid effort and I think the experience will benefit him for next season if he was to come back.”

Beauty Only did receive a troubled run close to the line, but Purton admitted his horse was beaten by that stage.

“I was a beaten horse at the time and my horse was as much to blame as the horse on the inside shifting out a little bit, so it didn’t cost me any ground,” he said.

Contentment had the services of champion jockey Joao Moreira, but it mattered for nothing as the Champions Mile winner finished 10th of the 18 runners.

Moreira stated that his runner did suffer some in-race discrepancies, but it wouldn’t have mattered to the result and Contentment tried its hardest.

“He didn’t disappoint me, to be honest,” Moreira said. “The horse himself, he was trying his very best. Unfortunately he had some small issues which I don’t think changed the result of the race – I think he would have finished in the same position but I think he would have finished a little bit closer.

“The horse was trying his best; I got a clear run in the straight; he was just not good enough as those other horses went past him. Some really good horses beat us and I’m not very disappointed.”

Trainer John Size said prior to the race that there was no doubting Contentment’s heart, but it has been unable to perform in two starts in the Yasuda Kinen.

“It seems the first half of the race everything was perfect,” Size said. “When he straightened up he got pressure from the outside and then a little bit from the inside and had some interruption but he (Joao) thought that he was wasn’t strong enough anyway. But he probably should have finished maybe a length closer.”

Moreira scored his first ever win at Tokyo aboard Data Value and did the job the very next race on Satono Titan. All of Moreira’s previous Japanese wins had come at Sapporo.

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