Sha Tin Sunday Tips and preview

Beauty Generation
Image: Beauty Generation

Neil Morrice previews the three Group Ones on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Hong Kong race fans are probably the most enthusiastic punters in the world, but as well as the massive betting handle that Sunday's excellent 10-race card at Sha Tin will generate, there's an even bigger focus of attention in reigning Horse of the Year Beauty Generation.

The John Moore-trained gelding has dominated the mile division over the past two years and bids to become the only horse in the country's racing history to win the FWD Champions Mile three years in succession.

If doing so, he will cement his champion accolade for another year and provide his trainer with an unprecedented ninth triumph in the Group One contest, before he relocates to his native Australia.

To clinch a memorable hat-trick in the contest, Beauty Generation must confirm his recent superiority over Waikuku, who has finished in front of him in four of the occasions they have crossed swords this season.

However, in landing two of those races, namely the Stewards' Cup and Jockey Club Mile, trainer John Size felt Waikuku had expended a tremendous amount of energy that completely sapped his strength.

Beauty Generation has since proved he is back to his best in landing the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup and Chairman's Trophy on his last two outings, with the seven-year-old brushing aside his old adversary with consummate ease on that latest run.

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It might be the evening of a distinguished career for the gelding, but Beauty Generation is back where he belongs at the top of the pecking order and it could be left to the ultra consistent Ka Ying Star to cause him more problems.

While many British racegoers will always think of Tony Cruz as the jockey of Triptych, the trainer's place in Hong Kong folklore is, like Moore's, wholly guaranteed.

The veteran handler must always be feared with his runners in Group Ones and from his trio of hopefuls for the FWD QEII Cup, it is hard to think he will not take the spoils with one of his formidable trio of Furore, Time Warp and Exultant.

While Furore is stepping up the class ladder and would be a shock winner, Time Warp and Exultant will likely engage in a rematch of their memorable duel in the Hong Kong Gold Cup.

On that occasion Joao Moreira appeared to steal the race on Time Warp, who enjoyed a dream run off an uncontested lead while Exultant met traffic problems and arrived too late under Zac Purton.

Cruz has a fierce loyalty to Time Warp, but is encouraged by how much Exultant has sharpened up after a recent barrier trial and unless there is another disaster leaving the gate, Exultant can underline his status as the champion middle-distance horse and stayer in Hong Kong by picking off his foes one by one.

If there is a joker in the pack then, the name to watch for is Playa Del Puente, who was a 250-1 shot when coming within a couple of feet of denying rising star Golden Sixty in the Hong Kong Derby.

He needs to show that was no fluke, but even if doing so, he should find Exultant too hot to handle.

Since he burst onto the scene here over a year ago, Aethero has been the talking horse of Sha Tin. He promised to set the sprint scene on fire, but has endured training issues and when contesting the Group Two Sprint Cup earlier in the month, he blew the start and was never happy racing keenly behind rivals.

In the Chairman's Sprint Prize, Purton's mount needs to get onto the lead straight away. If he fails to achieve that, he might well hand the prize on a plate to the likes of rising star Voyage Warrior or the ultra-consistent Hot King Prawn.

Victorious in that Sprint Cup was Voyage Warrior, who had enjoyed a perfect preparation at the Conghua training complex and benefited from an enterprising ride by Vincent Ho.

He saw off the late thrust of Moreira on Hot King Prawn, who was incredibly making it a 16th top three finish from just 17 career starts.

It is hard not to go with Hot King Prawn as the percentage call, taking into account that his trainer bagged this race in 2018 and 2019 with Ivictory and Beat The Clock and would like nothing more than to seal the hat-trick.

SELECTIONS

Chairman's Sprint Prize (7.50am BST)

1st Hot King Prawn

2nd Mr Stunning

3rd Aethero

Champions Mile (9.00)

1st Beauty Generation

2nd Ka Ying Star

3rd Waikuku

QEII Cup (9.40)

1st Exultant

2nd Time Warp

3rd Playa Del Puente

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