He came, he saw and he silenced doubters with an unanswerable burst of speed.
Golden Sixty flattened rivals at Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, April 3) with a familiar display of sheer dominance to recapture his winning groove in the HKD$4.75 million Group 2 Chairman's Trophy (1600m) for jockey Vincent Ho and trainer Francis Lui.
“You can see his form – he's my champion,” Lui declared post-race.
Banishing memories of successive defeats – the first of which halted his unbeaten run at 16 – Golden Sixty enhanced his earnings to a mouthwatering HKD$102,000,600 with victory to become only the second horse in Hong Kong racing history behind Beauty Generation to earn over HKD$100 million in stakes.
Switching things up to settle fourth in the run from barrier one, Golden Sixty rolled comfortably under a confident Ho before peeling out to hit the front with 300m still to play and when the rider popped the question, the six-year-old responded for a two length crushing with Russian Emperor and Savvy Nine filling second and third, respectively.
“The last two runs, he was just too far behind and Vincent had to come to the outside. This time, we drew barrier one – we had no choice,” Lui said. “He's an honest horse, he can jump fast and you can put him into any position and you have to relax him.”
Next up for Golden Sixty is the chance to nail a Group 1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) repeat, with Ho sounding an ominous warning to potential opponents ahead of the HKD$65 million FWD Champions Day later this month on Sunday, April 24.
“He's not at his top (form) yet, because he had some time off, I would say he was only 70 to 80 percent today, although he had a great turn of foot but he still has something to improve which is ideal heading into the target at the end of this month (FWD Champions Mile) – this race will bring him on for sure,” Ho said.
On his way to winning, Golden Sixty – in the silks of Stanley Chan Ka Leung – clocked 1m 32.96s (24.87, 22.13, 23.09, 22.87).
“It was only supposed to be the last race when he got beaten, the one before, of course, I made a mistake and this time we drew (barrier) one, we had a perfect run and always he has a great turn of foot – it's hard for horses behind to catch him,” Ho said.
“I think the main target is the 24th of April and we will see after the race what we can do after that,” Lui said.
With victory, Golden Sixty becomes the first 20-time winner in Hong Kong – a record that boasts five Group 1s, four Group 2s, two Group 3s and a clean-sweep of the 2020 Four-Year-Old Classic Series which culminated with BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) glory.
“Golden Sixty, he has so many fans – thank you to everyone who supports him and to Golden Sixty of course,” Ho said.
In the race – Champion's Way finished fourth, Excellent Proposal fifth and More Than This was sixth, while Waikuku was last across the line.