Top jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu likens him to a Formula 1 car and Hong Kong’s best milers clearly can’t keep up, which means the international raiders are the only ones who can stop superstar Golden Sixty from taking out next month’s Group One Hong Kong Mile.
The outstanding five-year-old extended his winning streak to 10 in Sunday’s Group Two Jockey Club Mile – joining Silent Witness, Beauty Generation and Co-Tack as the only horses to achieve that feat in Hong Kong racing history.
Punters had little doubt Golden Sixty would do it – he jumped at $1.15, the shortest price of the season – and when Ho asked for an effort at the top of the Sha Tin straight, he swooped past his rivals to secure the 13th victory of his 14-start career.
It looked easy but the time of 1.32.91 says it was exceptional – just 0.27 outside Beauty Generation’s track record, which was set in the same race two years ago.
He's a star!— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 22, 2020
Golden Sixty joins Silent Witness, Beauty Generation & Co-Tack as the fourth horse to win 10 consecutive races in Hong Kong. Next stop... the @LONGINES Hong Kong Mile. #HKIR #HKracing pic.twitter.com/vOWQXQlIwE
After sweeping the Classic Series last season, the only thing missing from Golden Sixty’s resume is a Group One victory and he has the chance to address that at the Longines Hong Kong International Races.
Trainer Francis Lui Kin-wai acknowledges his star has the locals covered but is wary of the firepower among the potential visitors.
“In Hong Kong he looks like a champion but I don’t know about the Japanese or European horses – what quality they are,” Lui said.
The 61-year-old always maintains a calm exterior around the racetrack, but much like a duck on the water, there is plenty happening beneath the surface.
“I was nervous before the race but once we passed the winning post everything was all right,” Lui said. “I feel really happy the horse could perform so well.”
Pre-race there was a concern that Golden Sixty could get caught up in traffic after drawing barrier one, but Ho was quick to get off the rail and ensure there was no “headache”.
The jockey has never been on a horse with better acceleration – the stand-out attribute of Golden Sixty’s make-up.
“I’ve never been in a Formula 1 car but I feel like riding him is probably similar,” Ho said. “He felt really good today – he sprinted home really well. The main goal is the same as normal, to relax him and hit the line well.
“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse. A lot of jockeys dream of having a horse like this and I’m extremely grateful to [connections] for supporting me and putting me on him. The whole team feels really lucky to have him.”
The win caps off a perfect preparation for next month’s HK$25 million feature after also capturing the Group Three Celebration Cup and the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy.
“These three races have been a really good prep for him, he hasn’t been carrying heavy weights and he’s been able to mature and get stronger,” Ho said. “I’m really happy with how those races have panned out for him.
“He’s one of the best horses in Hong Kong for sure. He’ll compete in a Group One next month and hopefully he’ll be winning – that’s our main goal.”
The Tony Cruz-trained Ka Ying Star was honest as usual, finishing second after taking up the early running, and he presses on to the Mile.
“Another really good run,” jockey Chad Schofield said. “We dictated and he kicked well but the winner is just in a different league.”
Caspar Fownes’ Southern Legend had to give five pounds to the other runners as the only horse to have won a Group One in the previous 12 months and he fought on well for third.
“He always puts in an honest run – he had his chance and he wasn’t far from the good horse,” Karis Teetan said. “He won’t have the penalty next time and that will help.”
Two-time Horse of the Year Beauty Generation missed Sunday’s event to freshen-up for his likely swansong in the Hong Kong Mile.