As time runs down for Moore, Beauty Gen­er­a­tion of­fers a lift

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Mar­cus Hersh Fol­low Mar­cus Hersh on Twit­ter @DRFHersh

HONG KONG – The name suits him – Beauty Gen­er­a­tion.

Not that the geld­ing, bred in New Zealand and cam­paigned in Aus­tralia be­fore be­ing pur­chased and sent here to Hong Kong, ra­di­ates beauty.

“Tough as nails,” trainer John Moore said. “He’s a big boy. Look up close and you’ll see how big he is. Heavy. Very sound. Not much pedi­gree, but they breed them tough over there in that great vol­canic coun­try.”

Beauty Gen­er­a­tion was named Mon­taigne be­fore Pa­trick Kwok Ho Chuen bought him and brought him to Hong Kong. Ho Chuen is a sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion Hong Kong owner: His fa­ther is Kwok Siu-Ming, founder of SaSa Cos­met­ics, a pow­er­house re­tail chain that spawned the “Beauty” at­tached to the names of their rac­ing stock.

“Gen­er­a­tion” – that fits the horse. This is a gen­er­a­tional ta­lent whose lo­cal rat­ing, 137, is the high­est ever achieved in this ju­ris­dic­tion. In­ter­na­tion­ally, the Nov. 4 up­date of the World Thor­ough­bred Rank­ings had Beauty Gen­er­a­tion tied for sixth, rated 126. Beauty Gen­er­a­tion is Hong Kong’s reign­ing Horse of the Year, and this sea­son he’s al­ready notched three strong wins and will be heav­ily fa­vored Sun­day at Sha Tin to land his sec­ond straight Group 1, $3.2 mil­lion Hong Kong Mile.

John Moore also is a sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion Hong Kong horse­man. Moore’s fa­ther, Ge­orge, helped launch the mod­ern era of Hong Kong rac­ing when he ar­rived here in 1971 fol­low­ing a long, suc­cess­ful rid­ing ca­reer. John took over the re­gion’s lead­ing sta­ble in 1985. John’s brother Gary, now a trainer in Aus­tralia, for years was the main sta­ble rider for Ge­orge Moore. John rode work and filled in on race day when Gary couldn’t ride. But the gen­er­a­tions of Moores train­ing in Hong Kong soon will end. John Moore is 68 and his Hong Kong train­ing ca­reer was sup­posed to stop three years ago.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club man­ages rac­ing at the gran­u­lar level and un­til re­cently stip­u­lated com­pul­sory re­tire­ment for train­ers at age 65. Moore was set to pur­sue an­other path when the Club cre­ated an ex­cep­tion for 64-year-old train­ers who, at sea­son’s end, ei­ther fin­ished among the top five in wins or had sta­ble earn­ings of $50 mil­lion Hong Kong dol­lars. Moore got a five-year ex­ten­sion.

“They call it the John Moore rule, but I didn’t come up with it,” Moore said. “I’ve al­ready been ad­vised next sea­son will be my last. So, of course I’m go­ing out with guns fir­ing.”

Moore’s son, also named Gary, bi­cy­cles around Sha Tin with his fa­ther, watch­ing track work. Gary, 36, is the blood­stock agent for Moore and oth­ers here in Hong Kong. He en­gi­neered the pur­chase of the $7 mil­lion earner Able Friend and was point man for the ac­qui­si­tion of Beauty Gen­er­a­tion. But Gary won’t be a Hong Kong trainer. When Gary de­cided he wanted out of a bank­ing job and into a rac­ing job, the ex­i­gen­cies of the lo­cal sys­tem would’ve forced him to the lad­der’s low­est rung. It would’ve taken 10 years to even have a chance at a train­ing li­cense.

Moore’s end is nigh, but for now, there’s Beauty Gen­er­a­tion, at worst the sec­ond-best horse be­hind Able Friend that Moore has trained. Able Friend was bought at an Aus­tralian year­ling sale, raced twice in Aus­tralia, and then came to Hong Kong, where Moore de­vel­oped him from a Class 3 hand­i­cap­per to be­come Hong Kong’s best horse. For a few months in 2015, Able Friend was the high­es­trated horse in the world.

Beauty Gen­er­a­tion came pack­aged and ready to en­joy when he ar­rived in Hong Kong from Aus­tralia, where he’d started seven times and was Group 1-placed, yet no one seemed to know ex­actly what Beauty Gen­er­a­tion wanted to do with his rac­ing life. He had run well at seven fur­longs and run equally well at 1 3/8 miles, but dur­ing his first sea­son here, to his trainer he “ap­peared use­ful but no su­per­star.” As the 2017-18 sea­son ap­proached, Moore took stock of the brute in his barn.

“I thought, ‘This does not look like a horse that should be go­ing over [a dis­tance of] ground,” Moore said. “He’s too ro­bust, a big, broad fel­low. I told the owner I’m go­ing to make a good miler out of him.”

And the rest, you might say, is his­tory – though you’d be wrong. In­deed, Beauty Gen­er­a­tion won the Hong Kong Mile a year ago, and went on to cap­ture two more Group 1’s and be­come Hong Kong Horse of the Year. But pun­dits and lo­cal ob­servers – there are plenty here – saw a flawed cham­pion.

“He ap­peared to be a onet­rick pony in that he had to get his own way in front or right on the speed,” Moore said. “There were a lot of scribes out there say­ing if he doesn’t get his own way, he’ll be beat ev­ery time.”

They were say­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent after Beauty Gen­er­a­tion rated in sixth and breezed past the pace­set­ters win­ing his Hong Kong Mile prep last month in a course-record 1:32.64 for 1,600 me­ters. That came de­spite Beauty Gen­er­a­tion rac­ing on feet still sore after he was im­prop­erly reshod.

“Now peo­ple are ask­ing me, ‘What did you do to change him?’ ” Moore said. “I didn’t do any­thing! The horse just ma­tured. He just set­tled into this en­vi­ron­ment.”

If he wins Sun­day and the own­ers are amenable, Beauty Gen­er­a­tion will get a look at the wider world. Moore wants to take him to the Dubai Turf in late March or the Queen Anne at Royal As­cot. “That’d be the ic­ing,” he said.

What comes after the ic­ing? What’s cer­tain is 2019-20 will be Moore’s last sea­son train­ing in Hong Kong. He fig­ures his sta­ble will sim­ply be dis­persed to other train­ers. Maybe he’ll try train­ing in an­other part of the world. Be­fore get­ting his Hong Kong li­cense he worked for Char­lie Whit­ting­ham in Cal­i­for­nia and train­ers in Aus­tralia, Ire­land, France.

“I know I can train in Europe,” he said. “Just give me a field.”

Moore has the horse of a life­time and is set for life, yet he doesn’t know what life will bring. It’s one thing to go out on top, an­other to be forced out.

“I’ve al­ready been ad­vised next sea­son will be my last. So, of course I’m go­ing out with guns fir­ing.”

– trainer John Moore

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