Pin-up boy Golden Sixty is building a record that looks more like a picket fence but his handler Francis Lui Kin-wai can’t bring himself to think about what might be as he guns for 10 wins on the trot.
Last season’s Derby hero has looked invincible since returning this term, and is likely to start at a prohibitive odds-on quote in Sunday’s Group Two Jockey Club Mile where he will face just six rivals, but Lui is well aware anything can happen once the gates open.
While most are stoked to draw the inside alley, it is the one thing his handler thinks could bring Golden Sixty undone with the tempo of the contest set to play a huge role.
“Anything can happen in the races now,” Lui said. “He has the good draw but that all depends on the pace of the race, we are maybe a little bit worried about getting stuck on the inside.
“We will race him the same way we always have, we just hope we can get out.”
Golden Sixty is looking to become just the fourth horse to win 10 consecutive races in Hong Kong, joining the great Silent Witness, Beauty Generation and Co-Tack.
Ironically, Lui was in the saddle for Co-Tack’s debut in 1982, where the horse only managed third before going on to win his next 10 starts.
Lui is well aware that his five-year-old now carries the weight of expectation as the next big thing out of Hong Kong, but the softly spoken handler prefers taking a low-key approach.
“I have to take it easy when I go to the races with him, I can’t afford to get stressed or nervous,” he said.
“At the moment he is the best horse I have ever trained. I think he’s improved his condition since his last start and also his mind, which is important. We galloped him on the grass [on Thursday] and he was more relaxed, you could tell that.”
Golden Sixty has trialled once since his last-start win in the Group Two Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m) and Lui could not be happier with his charge.
While he will continue to be guided by jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, Lui said it was likely he would keep Golden Sixty to 1,600m going forward.
“He has been OK, he is still in good form. I am happy with him,” he said. “I think we will keep him at 1,600m, we are happy with him there. His future all depends on how he goes on Sunday but we like the mile for him.”
With Beauty Generation watching on from the sidelines as he readies for a last hurrah next month, Golden Sixty faces off against Southern Legend, Ka Ying Star, Simply Brilliant, Harmony Victory, Champion’s Way and Mighty Giant.
While he is the highest-rated horse in the race, Golden Sixty will enjoy a five-pound weight advantage over Southern Legend as Caspar Fownes’ galloper is the only horse in the field to have won an international Group One race in the past 12 months.