Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year Golden Sixty blitzed to a repeat victory in Sunday’s $3.3 million Hong Kong Mile (G1), establishing a new local record of 19 career wins.
Now that he’s broken the old mark of 18 held by Hong Kong legends Silent Witness and Beauty Generation, the Medaglia d’Oro gelding will set his sights on surpassing their other records. Golden Sixty’s 16-race winning streak puts him on the threshold of Silent Witness’s 17-race spree, and his career earnings of HK$95.453 million are within hailing distance of Beauty Generation’s record of HK$106.233 million.
The 3-10 favorite in an international cast, the Francis Lui trainee simply needed the gaps to deploy his blistering acceleration. Regular pilot Vincent Ho provided the expert steering job from post 2, and Golden Sixty did the rest.
Near the rear when Salios grabbed the lead through the opening quarter, Golden Sixty smoothly improved to midpack on the inside, and threaded his way into the clear in the stretch. The race was over as soon as the superstar engaged top gear. He blasted home by 1 3/4 lengths, in hand, in 1:33.86 on Sha Tin’s good course. Golden Sixty posted a final quarter in :22.43, including the time spent finding room.
More Than This, a 43-1 shot, rallied to snatch second by a neck from Salios. Mother Earth rocketed from last, out wide, in a commendable fourth. Finishing as fast as More Than This, in :22.44, Mother Earth was just another half-length back. She separated Salios from his Japanese compatriots, Indy Champ and Vin de Garde, who were nearby in fifth and sixth, respectively. Rounding out the order of finish were Waikuku; Japan’s Danon Kingly, the 7-1 second choice who briefly emerged on the inside before flattening; Sky Darci; Excellent Proposal; and early pace factor Lucky Express.
Stanley Chan Ka Leung’s Golden Sixty has now compiled a glittering 19-for-20 scorecard. The Australian-bred suffered his lone loss in the summer of 2019, when racing more prominently than ideal. Ever since sticking to his closing style, Golden Sixty has been unbeatable over a range of distances. He swept Hong Kong’s Four-Year-Old Series in 2020 – the Classic Mile, Classic Cup, and Hong Kong Derby – and reverted in trip last fall en route to a five-length rout of the Hong Kong Mile.
Golden Sixty won the first two jewels of Hong Kong’s Triple for older horses, the Jan. 24 Stewards Cup (G1) at a metric mile and Feb. 21 Hong Kong Gold Cup (G1) over the Derby’s about 1 1/4-mile trip. But instead of stretching out further, he cut back for the Apr. 25 Champions Mile (G1). His only subsequent start came in the Nov. 21 Jockey Club Mile (G2), where he overcame a dawdling pace as the defending champion.
“I knew he was at his best,” Ho said after Sunday’s successful title defense. “Gate 2 was a little bit tricky. I didn’t want to be stuck on the inside but eventually the race panned out well and the pace was genuine.
“It was much better today because the pace was on. He actually relaxed very well and as a six-year-old he’s more mature, so it’s even better.
“He’s such an aggressive horse so he doesn’t mind going through horses.”
Ho spoke graciously of Lui’s staff, as well as the cheering fans, who didn’t have the chance to be on scene for the 2020 Hong Kong International Races due to COVID restrictions.
“It’s all about teamwork as well. Without anyone from the stable, we couldn’t do this,” the jockey said.
“Last year it wasn’t like this. I got to enjoy it with the crowd and it’s such a great atmosphere. I just hope the other guys are OK (riders involved in the tragic Hong Kong Sprint [G1] spill). It’s hard to enjoy it completely.”
Golden Sixty’s accomplishment elicited comment from Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges:
“Golden Sixty is an incredible horse, and he again showed today what a phenomenal horse he is. Francis Lui and Vincent Ho have done an incredible job, and now he has bettered the record he shared with Beauty Generation and Silent Witness.”
The question is whether Golden Sixty will seek new worlds to conquer. Japan’s prestigious Yasuda Kinen (G1), around a metric mile at Tokyo, has been mentioned as a potential target in June 2022.
Bred on a cross similar to Rachel Alexandra and Songbird – likewise by Medaglia d’Oro and out of Forty Niner-line mares – Golden Sixty was produced by Irish Group 2 winner Gaudeamus, a daughter of Distorted Humor from the superb family of Bosra Sham.