His charge Waikuku may have had his measure recently, but champion trainer John Size believes Beauty Generation still rules the roost in Hong Kong.
The pair will clash for the sixth time this season in Sunday’s Group Two Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) with Waikuku having the upper hand in the past four battles.
Despite the impressive record, you won’t see Size writing off the two-time Horse of the Year any time soon.
“Beauty Generation is the best miler we’ve got, his record is superior so while he is around, he is going to be the best horse here,” he said.
“He is always going to be hard to beat in whatever he contests and we are faced with the same problem again here.”
Size has opted to keep Waikuku mostly at the mile this season after dodging the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee (1,400m) in February to freshen up for the back-end of the season.
Despite a fast-finishing second in last season’s Derby, Size has also avoided stepping up further in trip, declaring 1,600m his pet distance.
With his last run coming on January 19 in the Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m), which he won, Size has given Waikuku two barrier trials as he prepares for the Group One Champions Mile later this month.
“He had a couple of weeks of easy exercise and then we put him back into work, he’s had a couple of trials, he seems in good shape,” Size said.
“I think he’s got enough fitness to run well, I think he can win the race, he’s fit enough for that so hopefully he runs a nice race and he can improve for the Group One later.”
Size will also saddle up Hot King Prawn in the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m) as he looks to prime him for a maiden Group One victory in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize later this month.
The five-year-old missed most of last season after having emergency colic surgery but has returned in top fashion, never running worse than third in his five starts, including a last-start victory in Class One company.
“He is in good shape and he is finally showing his maturity and development,” Size said.
“He is at the right age for these good sprint races and he’s had no interruptions from the beginning of the season.
“You have to think about their problems and the injuries they’ve had but he hasn’t seemed to have missed a beat, he’s been strong all the way through.”
Size will also be represented by Full Of Beauty and D B Pin in the race as he looks to tackle what he describes as an “outstanding prospect” in Aethero.
Full Of Beauty has rocketed through the ratings after starting at 52 last season to now sit at 122.
After running second in Group Two company earlier this season, the five-year-old has struggled to match it at the top level.
“He has been in the Group One races for his last couple so there is nowhere else for him to go,” Size said.
“He went up in grade pretty quickly and when he got there, he reached his mark and he is racing well but he’s going to find the Group One races a bit difficult.”