Hong Kong pair prepare for Group 1 Yasuda Kinen in Japan

Beauty Only
Beauty Only prepares for the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen. One of two Hong Kong runners in the Japanese feature. Photo: HKJC

BEAUTY Only and Contentment will represent Hong Kong in Sunday’s Group 1 Yasuda Kinen in Japan.

The quality pair continued their preparations on Thursday with solid track work and Tony Cruz, trainer of Beauty Only, was pleased to see his charge have a full hit out.

“That was a serious gallop he had this morning,” the trainer said. “He jumped out and the plan was to go seven furlongs but the last two he was just relaxed.

“The most important was the 500m hit out down the back, he needed that good blow out because he’s a pretty lazy type of horse and to get him to top condition this is what he needs to do.

“He was blowing a bit and he should come on very strongly from this gallop.”

The Group 1 Hong Kong Mile winner has yet to run counter-clockwise, but Cruz believes his runner will handle the left-handed track.

“I’ve never thought that he’d be worried by the left-handed turn but that’s one of the reasons we did the hit-out this morning,” Cruz said.

“When he hit that turn he was on his near fore, he changed leads very well, so I’m very happy with that.”

Cruz is no stranger to racing in Japan – winning the Yasuda Kinen with Bullish Luck in 2006. There was concern that Beauty Only ($8.50 with Bet365) had lost some weight from the travel, but all is well since settling in.


“He lost weight in transit but now he’s settling – he’s eating and drinking really well,” Cruz revealed. “The journey across was very good, he’s a much more professional horse these days, he’s a quick learner and I believe he’s putting that weight back on.

“He’s a pretty relaxed type of horse now.”

John Size has shown similar satisfaction about Contentment heading into this weekend’s feature.

The current Hong Kong champion trainer is hoping the experience of running 12th in this race last year will help Contentment this time around.

“Because he came last year he’s benefited from that experience and seems to have settled into quarantine a lot quicker. When he came to Fuchu he also settled in a little bit better and was a little more relaxed,” Size said.

Like Beauty Only, Contentment had lost weight since departing Hong Kong, but Size isn’t showing any concern.

“He’s still maintained his strength, he looks strong,” Size said. “He’s lost a similar amount of weight to last year through transport and he probably won’t put that back on.

“But even with that he still looks OK. He might carry a little bit more condition at home but the weight that he’s lost in transit is only water and it shouldn’t worry him – his muscles still look strong.”

The $21 chance at Bet365.com was given light work on Thursday and Size is expected a more improved result from last year.

“He seems OK for him – he’s probably a little bit stronger this time,” Size said. “I thought he moved very well and showed plenty of strength.

“It’s a normal progression – the experience and the fact that he’s a little bit older and stronger, just through maturity. He generally should be in better condition than last year and it appears that he is. Whether he can put that on the race track of course is a different matter.”

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