HK Star excels again but foreign travel off the agenda
This is an important week in world racing, both on the track and off.
Reputations established in the past 12 months will be confirmed or discredited, at separate events in Britain and the United States, generating huge interest and much debate.
And, there is also the not insignificant matter of the third running of The Pegasus at Gulfstream Park, Florida, a money-laden event that has expanded from the $9m Invitational on dirt to include a $7m Turf Invitational.
Clearly, it is not a week for relaxing.
The annual Longines World’s Best Racehorse Awards, where rankings for racing’s global elite are revealed, take place in London on Wednesday, 23 January, while the 48th annual Eclipse Awards are scheduled for Hallandale, Florida, just 24 hours later.
It is a reasonable assumption that we should have established a pecking order for the world’s best by the weekend, at least.
One division that sparks argument in certain quarters is the Turf Mile category, for which Hong Kong has become a regular supplier of contenders in recent years.
Beauty Generation, their latest, has been leading the progress standings most of the past year, and although his easy win in Sunday’s G1 Stewards’ Cup at Sha Tin will not count towards his final rating for 2018, it will be a surprise if he does not come out top on official figures.
What has come as a disappointment from a global perspective is that the gelding’s owners have let it be known that he will not be travelling abroad for races in Dubai and at Royal Ascot in the immediate future.
If there is to be a foreign target this year it is likely to be the Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo in June.
Beauty Generation toyed with his rivals on Sunday, his dominance clear throughout, and although he defeated a collection of worthy opponents, an accurate true rating cannot be established until he meets stronger opposition.