HONG KONG • With the curtains down, the roll of honour is up for the equine stars of the 2017/2018 Hong Kong racing season, which concluded with much fanfare last Sunday.
The biggest winner was the standout five-year-old Beauty Generation, who claimed the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award, as well as the Champion Miler category.
A three-time Group 1 victor for the term, trainer John Moore's stable star had an outstanding sophomore Hong Kong campaign with five wins from eight starts.
The gelding, raced by Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen, improved further after placing in two of the three Four-Year-Old Classic Series races the previous season.
Victorious on his seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Celebration Cup (1,400m), Beauty Generation soon added a win in the Group 2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m), before achieving a career peak - at that point - by taking the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile in December.
All three of those triumphs were with Derek Leung in the saddle.
Beauty Generation kept on improving in 2018, scoring his second Group 1 success in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m) before the Road To Rock gelding rounded off his season in style by winning the Group 1 Champions Mile at the inaugural Champions Day meeting. His season also earned him the Champion Miler title.
HONG KONG ROLL OF HONOUR
Horse of the Year
Champion Middle-Distance Horse
Pick Number One
Most Popular Horse
Most Popular Jockey
The Tony Cruz-trained Time Warp was named the Champion Middle-Distance Horse, based on his brilliant performances in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) and the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m).
In the latter, the Archipenko gelding staved off 2015/16 Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther, and clocked a sensational new track record time of 1min 59.97sec to become the first horse to break two minutes for 2,000m at Sha Tin.
The Champion Stayer award went to the Cruz-trained Pakistan Star, who scored a comfortable win in the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) after landing an authoritative victory in the G1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2,000m) on Champions Day.
The Hong Kong International Sale graduate resumed this season in the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup in February with a creditable fourth. After two further fourths in a Class 1 event and the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy (1,600m), he restored his reputation with his Group 1 brace. Now, the sky's the limit for this Shamardal gelding.
Pakistan Star also secured the bulk of the public vote to claim the Most Popular Horse title.
Ivictory was named the season's Champion Sprinter. The John Size-trained four-year-old won four from four for the term, including the Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize at his maiden stakes attempt on Champions Day.
The Mossman gelding improved race by race since making his seasonal reappearance in February. After scoring a hat-trick of wins in restricted handicaps, he achieved his career highlight to date in the Chairman's Sprint Prize.
Ivictory also received recognition as the season's Most Improved Horse. He started the campaign on a rating of 75, but his unbeaten run - including the victory in the Chairman's Sprint Prize - saw him rocket 53 points up the rankings to end the term on a mark of 128.
Pick Number One, a three-year-old from the Danny Shum stable, claimed the Champion Griffin Award after scoring five times from seven attempts. All five wins were on the Sha Tin all-weather track.
Joao Moreira, who finished second to Zac Purton One after one of the fiercest Champion Jockey battles in recent memory, was recognised as the season's Most Popular Jockey following a public vote. The Brazilian has left for Japan.
The 2018/2019 Hong Kong racing season will start on Sept 2.