Beauty Generation's final fast work before Sunday's Gr.1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) was not quite as billed after trainer John Moore changed his plan following a phone conversation with big-race jockey Zac Purton.
"It was a little different to the work I had in mind earlier in the week but that's because, on reflection, we had some little concerns about jumping out of the gate," Moore said.
The handler said earlier this week that he intended to have the world's co-top rated thoroughbred break from the starting stall to "switch him on". Instead, the powerful bay broke from a standing start, a couple of beats behind a work mate.
"He jumps quickly from the barrier, and, after talking with Zac (Purton), there was a worry that we'd run the risk of him doing something to his hind quarters," Moore said.
Beauty Generation breezed past a larger-than-usual gathering of photographers - bussed in especially for the champ's 7am workout. The Road To Rock gelding, sporting cheek-pieces and under work rider Romain Clavreul, moved easily behind his companion as they galloped 800m down the back straight in 54s (30.1, 23.9).
"He was always going to go with a workmate - it's good to chase, it gets them more focused," Moore said. "We sent him with the old Group Three winner, Harbour Master - he's retired now but he's a good workmate. Beauty Generation enjoyed it, the work mate's rider pulled up and Beauty just went on straight past him. I'm happy with that."
Both horses continued around and cantered slowly down the home straight before easing to a walk. And that gaggle of media snappers was there, waiting for the star draw. Moore told Clavreul to circle for a few moments as shutters rattled 10 to the dozen.
"He had a good blow," Moore observed. "He enjoyed the work but he needed that little bit of a blow-out because he's a brute of thing - that was work that was needed. He was relaxed when he came back, so that was good too. Romain said everything was fine."
Beauty Generation will face only six opponents in the HK$18 million contest and is rated 11lb superior to the next best in the field, Conte, a horse he has beaten with ease in each of his last three races.
"It's a shame we haven't got anything from overseas to challenge him because it just lacks a really top rival," Moore said. "But we've got a world champion here and people can pay 10 or 20 (Hong Kong) dollars to get in and watch him.
"It's cheaper than going to an Andy Lau concert!" he concluded, referencing a popular Hong Kong pop icon. -HKJC