You didn’t have to actually be watching to know Golden Sixty had hit the lead in Sunday’s HK$26 million Longines Hong Kong Mile. The roar from the grandstand gave it all away.

With 200m left to go, Vincent Ho Chak-yiu put paid to his rivals – and then to the previous record for the most wins by a horse in Hong Kong – and the noise from those gathered echoed out into the hills. Post-race, Ho summed up the mood being felt at Sha Tin, as much as in his own heart, after Golden Sixty had captured his second straight Hong Kong Mile.

“It means the world to me,” said Ho. “Without him I would not be here.”

Around 19,000 gathered on course and they seemed liberated. After all the pandemic-enforced restrictions of the past two years, they were finally able to turn out, en masse, and they were finally able to cheer their hero home.

Asked how hearing the noise had felt, trainer Francis Kin-wai was succinct. “Proud. Very, very proud.”

The 19th win of this champion’s career cleared him out on his own in terms of the most victories registered by a Hong Kong-trained horse, in front of past heroes Beauty Generation, Silent Witness and Super Win on 18 apiece. The winning margin was officially one and three-quarters ahead of the Danny Shum Chap-shing-prepared More Than This (Derek Leung Ka-chun) with Japan’s Salios (Damian Lane) two lengths behind the winner. But in reality it could have been anything the horse and jockey fancied.

Ho had Golden Sixty back and on the fence in the early sections, as Salios hunted up and kept the pace solid. He peeled out shortly after the turn for home. And he drove his horse through when he saw daylight ahead.

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“I know he was at his best but still there was so much uncertainty in the race,” said Ho. “Gate two was a little bit tricky because he doesn’t want to be stuck on the inside but eventually the race panned out good.

“Then pace was on and he actually relaxes very well these days. He’s six years old and he’s mentally more mature so he’s even better. Well 19 [wins] is quite a lot but every race starts from zero so the next race is another uncertain race. When everything is over we’ll see how great he is.”

Golden Sixty’s hit parade now includes five Group Ones and the horse has tucked away around HK$95 million for his owner Stanley Chan Ka-leung, after Liu picked him up for NZ$300,000 (HK$1.58 million) at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale in 2017.

On Sunday, the champion went out at $1.30 and the latest challenge to his throne was supposed to come from Japan’s Danon Kingly. Like the rest, he was simply run into the ground.

Golden Sixty kicks clear of his rivals in the Hong Kong Mile.

Last time out – in last month’s Jockey Club Mile – a pedestrian pace had been set in an effort to throw Golden Sixty off his game and connections were worried coming into Sunday that they might try the same trick. But a check of the tape would have reminded them how easily Golden Sixty dealt with his rivals then. And he did so yet again.

“I feel very happy,” said Liu. “He is my champion. I have to say thank you to my team and to Vincent. Before the race, even Vincent said he was a little bit worried because of last time he ran and they slowed down the pace. But he decided to relax him, same as last time. And he made me very happy.

“The next plan is the Stewards’ Cup [1,600m] in January. What happens after that we will discuss later. He’s a sound horse, a healthy horse that’s easy to work. I hope he can break more records. I am proud of the horse and I am proud of Vincent.”