Not even a slipped saddle and muddling tempo were enough to halt Golden Sixty’s burgeoning winning streak as the Hong Kong superstar posted a dramatic 12th successive victory after scrambling to narrow triumph in the Group 1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m).
Undefeated since 7 July 2019, Golden Sixty responded doggedly to Vincent Ho’s desperate urgings to deny veteran Southern Legend (Karis Teetan) by a mere head with Ka Ying Star (Zac Purton) three quarters of a length further back in third.
“They went pretty slow all the way, actually, so he was a little keen and he was pulling a little bit and then everyone sprint home,” Ho said.
“I knew I would still get there, but it was quite close.”
Ho said he was inconvenienced in the straight after his saddle shifted.
“The saddle slipped back a little bit at the 300m but it was still OK but it was not as comfortable for me and Golden Sixty, of course,” Ho said.
“But top athletes, top horses need to overcome all kind of different circumstances. Something you can’t predict but you have to ready for that.”
Edging closer to Silent Witness’ Hong Kong record of 17 consecutive wins, Golden Sixty never caused any doubts in Ho’s mind despite the slender margin over the admirable Southern Legend, a tigerish eight-year-old who rarely under-performs.
“Happy with this performance, of course,” Ho said. “Thank you to Francis (Lui) and all his team for all the hard work.
“Without them, this does not happen.”
Lui admitted he was concerned as Golden Sixty worked through his gears, clocking 21.80s for the final 400m as Southern Legend shaped to post a huge upset.
“I was a bit worried,” he said. “The pace was a bit slow.
“I feel OK now after the race.”
Lui said the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) – the second leg of the Triple Crown – was likely to be Golden Sixty’s next competitive outing.
“We’ll just see how he recovers,” Lui said, politely rejecting suggestions the best galloper in Hong Kong’s winning streak was building pressure.
“Not really, Golden Sixty brings a lot of joy,” he said.
Silent Witness, Hong Kong’s greatest sprinter, notched 17 wins between 2002 and 2005, when he was finally beaten by Bullish Luck in the 2005 HK Group 1 Champions’ Mile.