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By Hong Kong Jockey Club (Steve Moran) | Sunday, December 10, 2017

The story might have been about the horse, the owner or the trainer but the tale of the HK$23 million LONGINES Hong Kong Mile is rightly all about one man – winning jockey Derek Leung.

The 29-year-old claimed his first Group 1 win and became just the second home-grown graduate of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Apprentice Jockeys’ School, after Matthew Chadwick, to win an international race at the Club’s flagship December meeting (Sunday, 10 December).

He ably guided the John Moore-trained and Patrick Kwok-owned Beauty Generation to an all-the-way one-length victory in the day’s third feature.

And rarely has a win been so well-received. Such is the popularity of the man who could boast just two G3 successes before this season but whose talent always promised more.

The crowd cheered wildly for Leung, whose wife Kit is expecting their first child within a month. The weighing room staff stood and applauded as he returned to the scales. Fellow jockeys congratulated him. A warm embrace from rival and colleague Olivier Doleuze said it all.

“I’m very, very happy,” said Leung before re-mounting his horse, with arms raised to the sky, for the official presentation. That was plain for all to see and he needn’t have said any more but, of course, he did.

“I want to thank everyone for their support, especially to the owner (Patrick Kwok) and to trainer John Moore. I was given an opportunity and I took advantage of it. I am always trying to prove myself and I am hoping there will be more international winners in the future.

“The plan was always to go forward, be in the first two and lead if that’s how it turned out. Everything did go very smoothly with a soft lead and I pressed the button at the 450 (metres) because I knew he would not stop and he didn’t. I had no worries to kick for home early and the horse ran so well,” Leung said.

Leung, who sits fifth on the jockeys’ premiership table in his most prominent season to date, had every confidence in the five-year-old son of Road To Rock, returned an 8.4 chance. “We began the season winning a Group 3 (Celebration Cup) and I knew he was a Group 1 horse and today we did it, he proved it,” he said.

The win was trainer Moore’s seventh Hong Kong International Races win and his third in the Mile. It was a second successive win in the race for owner Patrick Kwok after last year’s win with Beauty Only, whom he races with his mother Eleanor Kwok. Beauty Only was seventh today.

It was Hong Kong’s 11th win in the 12 years since 2006 and the 10th winner, in that period, to progress from the Jockey Club Mile. Beauty Generation is the 14th Hong Kong-trained winner since the race was accorded Group 1 status in 2000.

Moore said the win was “no surprise” to the stable. “He’s done everything right from day one, this horse. We saw he was a little hampered in the run last time but today he had the gun run and was able to dictate the terms of the race which always looked a possibility.

“We tried him over more ground last season and he ran well but he starts to grind a bit at the longer trips. We put some speed into him and he has a turn-of-foot at the mile (1600 metres). He’s run so well today,” Moore said.

In an all-Hong Kong finish, John Size and Sam Clipperton combined to finish second with Western Express while Moore’s Helene Paragon finished third, following on from his second placing last year.


1st – BEAUTY GENERATION – Derek Leung

“This was a great opportunity and I took advantage. He never stops and we dictated the pace early on, so at the 450 metres I pressed the button a bit earlier because I knew he wouldn’t stop. He stayed on very well.”

2nd – WESTERN EXPRESS – Sam Clipperton

“A gallant effort. He jumped really well today which was the key and I was able to get a good position. He fought hard to the line – the winner is in great form – and I am very proud of my horse. Well done to Derek Leung.”

3rd – HELENE PARAGON – Tommy Berry

“He jumped better today but I would still have liked to be a bit closer. But he just does not have the speed to put himself there – the winner got a bit of an easy time around the corner which did not help my cause but he has run out of his skin again.”

4th – SEASONS BLOOM – Joao Moreira

“No complaints – it was a good run. Maybe he needs a little more distance of ground.”

5th – LANCASTER BOMBER – Ryan Moore

“He ran a good race. It’s been hard to make up ground today and he just ran soft time in front and my horse has run well.”

6th – HORSE OF FORTUNE – Umberto Rispoli

“I was very happy with his run. He tries hard every time and he gives you 100 per cent. Beauty Generation was too good for everyone today. The pace was not fast but my horse enjoyed a good run and was where he should have been.”

7th – BEAUTY ONLY – Zac Purton

“He was disappointing, but he shortened in the straight so there might be something amiss.”

8th – SICHUAN DAR – Nash Rawiller

“He was able to finish off the race very well.”

9th – JOYFUL TRINITY – Gerald Mosse

“It was a big improvement from last time and I am very pleased with him. He gave me a good run, coming through from the outside, a bit far back. This was promising for the future.”

10th – LIGHTNING SPEAR – Oisin Murphy

“He had a lovely pitch but he is not used to racing around a turn and I got lost in the stretch. I am delighted for Derek Leung.”

11th – SATONO ALADDIN – Hugh Bowman

“Our plan was to get moving early since he is not a sit and sprint type and with the slow pace I was hoping to get within striking distance but I just felt that maybe his best are days are gone.

12th – CONTENTMENT – Brett Prebble

“It did not work out. I got caught three deep, but he did not have the power to take me forward when I wanted him to and sit in the position I wanted him to. He is just not 100 per cent.”

13th – KARAR – Pierre-Charles Boudot

“Normally he gives everything but when we turned in he had no gas – it was just an off day.

14th – ROLY POLY – Seamus Heffernan

“I had a terrible draw and after going two furlongs the pace was steadied and I was four wide. It didn’t ride as a nice race for me.”

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Photos: Graham Potter

Photos: Graham Potter
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