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John Size ‘just trying to win a race’ as one-time Derby hopeful Beauty Legacy tackles dirt

He arrived from Australia carrying big expectations and was supposed to be a leading Derby contender, but seven months after missing Hong Kong’s most prestigious race Beauty Legacy will try his luck on the dirt.

A Group Two winner pre-import when racing as Hawkshot, Beauty Legacy was also runner-up in a Group One in Australia before saluting in Class Two in his Hong Kong debut.

Things haven’t exactly gone to plan since then, however, with Beauty Legacy not making it to the Derby after racing ungenerously in the lead-up, while the five-year-old has been disappointing in his three starts this season.

“I’m just trying to win a race,” Size said ahead of his charge’s all-weather debut in the Class Two Hebe Hill Handicap (1,650m) at Sha Tin.

“He doesn’t have any advantage on the turf so I’m just trying to get a win. His trials have always been OK on the dirt so it’s worth trying.

“Lately his manners at the races have been pretty good and he’s been running up on the pace a little bit, so I think it’s worth a throw of the dice.”

Beauty Legacy travelled nicely when saluting in his most recent all-weather track trial in September and he will attempt to replicate that under race conditions from gate six with Chad Schofield aboard.

He meets a strong field at the first all-dirt meeting of the season, with surface specialists Elusive State and Kings Shield headlining the challengers.

Kings Shield returns to the course and distance of his two Hong Kong victories and trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen knows he will have to broaden his horizons if the five-year-old wins and pushes his rating – which sits on 98 – past 100.

“In Hong Kong there are not many dirt races for the better horses so this is the target race for him. He looks good, in the morning he looks fit so it is only gate 10 [that is tricky]. But I think the horse is fast enough [to get a good position],” Lor said.

“The next target may have to be overseas, maybe Dubai, but we don’t know what that will look like with the virus.

“So after this race we just need to keep him fit and see what his options are. I don’t mind if we race him on the turf even though it’s not really good for him.”

Kings Shield has led throughout in both his wins and jockey Zac Purton will be looking to obtain a forward position.

“The track and distance suits, it’s a little bit of an awkward gate but if he can get out and into a nice spot we can take it from there,” Purton said.

“[The track] can throw up a different bias so I’m not going to go there thinking it’s going to be a leaders’ track, it can certainly sometimes be a swoopers’ track and suit horses down the middle of the track so we’ll just see how things are going on the night. But his pattern is to jump well and race forward so that’s where we’ll be.”

Lor also saddles up Glorious Artist in the race, who returns to his favourite surface in search of his first win since December.

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