NZ Briefs for 2nd October 2018

Kiwis quinella Hong Kong feature; Botti wins Australian debut;Little Giant scores after long break;Turnbull assignment next for Grunt
Kiwis quinella Hong Kong feature
Quality New Zealand-bred gallopers Beauty Generation and Ping Hai Star picked up where they left off last season when they quinellaed the Gr.3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Monday.
Beauty Generation, last year’s Hong Kong Horse of the Year, sat on the speed throughout before he distanced his rivals in the home straight to win by two and a quarter lengths over his fast-finishing compatriot.
The three-time Group One-winner will now be set to defend his title in the Gr.1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) in December.
“He’s getting better,” trainer John Moore said. “If that’s the case we’re going into the Hong Kong Mile in December with a big chance again.
“He’ll go to the Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (1600m) at the end of the month, then into the mile trial (Jockey Club Mile) before the December race.”
Meanwhile, the connections of fellow Highden Park graduate and last season’s Hong Kong Derby (2000m) hero Ping Hai Star were delighted with his runner-up performance.
“It was a great return, he ran a cracker, he did everything perfectly – he left the gate well and he relaxed for me,” jockey Sam Clipperton said.
“It was a really nice pipe-opener for him. He was storming home again and I was struggling to pull him up.”
Botti wins Australian debut
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Botti is one step closer to the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m) after winning at Geelong over 1 1⁄16 m on Monday.
The son of ill-fated stallion Jakkalberry is a close relation to the Baker-trained 2010 Gr.1 Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer and his trainers are attempting to replicate that result this year with Botti.
Baker was pleased to see Botti win his Australian debut at his third career start as he said he needs to boost his prize money to try to get into better races later in the spring.
"He hit the line well," Baker told "He's a staying horse so we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Jockey Damian Lane said Botti had the right attributes heading towards a Derby.
"He's got a good attitude. He relaxes and he's going to get over further," Lane said.
"I guess the next couple of starts will tell when he steps up in grade."
Little Giant scores after long break
After 12 months on the sidelines, former Kiwi galloper Little Giant made a long awaited return to the track at Sha Tin on Monday, cruising to victory over 6 f.
The Swiss Ace gelding has suffered foot issues and had only raced in Hong Kong on three prior occasions for two wins.
However, the he patience shown by his connections paid off on Monday.
“When [Little Giant] came and delivered first time out like he did and with [Humidor] doing what he’s done, he’s had a lot of hype about him,” trainer David Hall told the SCMP.
“Hopefully the foot problems are behind him now and we’ll have a serious think about what we can
“I’m still not sure what his peak distance will obviously he can sprint like that over 6 f and I’m sure he can get to 7 f and he might have a mile distance in him.
“Where we go from here I don’t know, we had to get him back to the track.
“With 12 months off it’s hard to get them to go and win first time, especially like that, but he progressed with each trial and we knew he had the talent but you’ve got to go do it I suppose after such a long time off.”
Little Giant raced as Blackcrown in New Zealand when trained by Lisa Latta and boasts a win over subsequent multiple Group One winner Humidor in a Tauherenikau maiden.
Turnbull assignment next for Grunt
Dual Group One winner Grunt will meet Winx in Saturday’s Gr.1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in what will be a rehearsal for their next meeting, the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Caulfield trainer Mick Price has chosen to enter the O’Reilly four-year-old for Saturday’s 1 1⁄4 m feature after his disappointing performance when sixth in the Gr.1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
“His form at Caulfield is woeful with the worst three runs of his life at the track," Price told
"On the other hand his best three runs (and wins) have been at Flemington so we're looking forward to getting him back there even if it means we'll run into Winx.
"We have now had to cancel out going to Caulfield but we're still intent on going to the Cox Plate and if I don't run on Saturday, you are forced to run again at Caulfield."

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