Hong Kong Derby hero Golden Sixty will dodge Beauty Generation and Waikuku on Champions Day and instead tackle star stayer Exultant in the Group One QE II Cup (2,000m), should he make it to the marquee race day at all.
Francis Lui Kin-wai confirmed he will wait until next week to make the final decision on whether his superstar four-year-old steps up to Group One level later this month, but said if he does it will be over 2,000m rather than a mile.
Many expected Golden Sixty to run in the Champions Mile, however Lui is keen to stay at the same distance as the gelding’s last-gasp Derby victory on March 22.
“I’ll make a decision after this weekend whether he will race, if he runs he will run in the 2,000m,” Lui said.
“Because he can win a Derby I don’t want to step back in distance. Tony Cruz’s horse [Exultant] will be hard to beat, but you never know – it’s racing. We’ll see how he recovers [before we decide if he runs] but he seems OK at the moment.”
Golden Sixty has answered every challenge thrown at him so far this season, winning seven races in a row to take his career record to 10 wins from 11 attempts.
After winning over 1,400m at Group Three level in January, the son of Medaglia d’Oro handled each step up in trip with aplomb on his way to sweeping the four-year-old series.
Lui’s other gun four-year-old More Than This will make the step back to the eight furlongs of the Champions Mile, however, despite the popular notion that he is the better stayer of the two.
“I discussed our next move with the owner and he won three times over a mile so the owner wanted to try the mile,” Lui said. “[Stepping back in trip] may be difficult but his form shows he can win at a mile.”
More Than This placed in every leg of the Classic Series and while Zac Purton was in the saddle for the last two of those efforts, the star Australian will ride Beauty Generation in the Champions Mile and Karis Teetan will partner More Than This in his absence.
Teetan was in the saddle for More Than This’ three wins over a mile, which came in succession to start this season – a Class Three win in September and Class Two victories in November and on international day in December, which was More Than This’ final run before the Classic Mile in January.