Vincent Ho is one of Hong Kong's biggest stars. On Sunday, he will partner one of the best horses his hometown has ever seen in a HK$30 million race and his image is emblazoned on most of the skyscrapers on the island.
However, anyone expecting a typical poster boy would be mistaken. There is no ego or desire to indulge in the glossy showbusiness the city supports so well, only a quiet confidence and inner steel which has seen him carve out a successful career in one of the most demanding racing jurisdictions in the world.
“Being a local boy here is quite tough,” he says. “We often get taken off horses when they drop in class and connections want to use a foreign jockey so they take our rides. We know if a horse runs well but doesn't win, we will get taken off so every time we have to ride perfectly.
“When I was young, I was a bit aggressive and angry but now I'm a lot calmer and I try to enjoy every race. If you don't enjoy it, that energy will transfer to the horse and they won't perform. It takes time to mature as a rider and a person.”
Golden Sixty has proved Ho's ticket to the big time. He has partnered the striking gelding to all of his 25 starts, racking up 22 wins and receiving the Horse of the Year award twice. His rider is confident he can snare a third consecutive Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) on Sunday.
Watch Golden Sixty Win The 2021 Hong Kong Mile
He says: “He works amazingly and, of course, he's the king, he knows what he's doing so we're doing our best just to look after him and concentrate on ourselves.
“I don't feel as much pressure because Golden Sixty gives me a lot of confidence. We're not looking for records, we're just trying to do our best each race.”