Beauty Generation’s dominance of Hong Kong’s mile division has generated an acute sense of realism in those closest to his main rivals but Regan Bayliss is looking forward to taking a crack at the master miler when the Caspar Fownes-trained Rise High moves up in class for the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m) at Sha Tin on 7 April.
Rise High failed to fire when well behind Beauty Generation on his first start this season but recorded a career best effort when landing a Class 1 handicap over 1600m at Sha Tin recently and is ready for a rematch with Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year after coming home powerfully to finish on the heels of the leaders in a 1200m dirt trial at Sha Tin this morning (Friday, 26 March).
“Rise High felt terrific,” Bayliss said. “He’s come on physically since his win and did it all so easily, switching off then running home strongly under his own steam right through the line.
“He’s coming up against the king next week and I don’t think we’ll see the very best of Rise High until he gets up over 2000m, but we saw last season that the further this horse gets into his preparation the better he gets.
“I think he can run well at a mile and once he gets up over further he can be a force to be reckoned with.”
Conte has had two cracks at Beauty Generation this year, beaten three lengths and two lengths when placed behind the Horse of the Year in the G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) and G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m).
Umberto Rispoli reported that John Size’s powerful gelding felt “very smart as usual” as he eased through an earlier trial, while stablemate Beat The Clock was given a similarly easy time under Bayliss ahead of the latest round of his long-running battle with Mr Stunning in next week’s G2 Sprint Cup (1200m).
Exultant and Time Warp will not be in action at Sha Tin next week but trainer Tony Cruz took the opportunity to keep his stars ticking over and was content with what he saw as he continues to build towards the FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup on 28 April.
Dual G1 winner Time Warp has been below his best this season but showed some of his old zest in leading his 1200m trial under Karis Teetan, while G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup hero Exultant ran on late from off the pace under Vincent Ho in the same workout.
“It’s 10 weeks between the Hong Kong Gold Cup and the QEII so I wanted to give them something,” said Cruz. “Time Warp went nicely and Exultant was just normal for him but they seem fine and will both trial again before Champions Day.”
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club