After coming unstuck from barrier one in last month’s Stewards’ Cup, Golden Sixty will be met with a different scenario altogether after drawing the outside gate for Sunday’s Group One Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m).

Jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu took the blame for Golden Sixty’s shock defeat last month – the galloper’s first since July 2019 – admitting he was concerned about being caught in a pocket on the rail had he ridden the reigning Horse of the Year for luck from the inside gate.

Instead Ho allowed Golden Sixty to be shuffled back to last turning for home and took him around the field, leaving the galloper too much work to do in a race run at a pedestrian tempo.

This time Ho must negotiate barrier 11 aboard Golden Sixty, only the second time the six-year-old has had to contend with a double-digit alley in his career and a gate wider than anything he encountered during his sparkling 16-race winning streak.

Vincent Ho shoulders the blame for Golden Sixty’s shock defeat: ‘I was too far back’

The tricky Sha Tin 2,000m start gives runners little time to take a position before the first bend and the last galloper to take out the Gold Cup from a double-digit alley was California Memory from gate 12 in 2011.

Since the start of the 2019-20 season there have been 18 races on the “A” course over the Sha Tin 2,000m and of the 13 gallopers who have jumped from barrier 11, none of them have won.

In all 49 races over the Sha Tin 2,000m in that time, only one winner has jumped from gate 11.

The main thing working in Ho’s favour is that none of those gallopers were Golden Sixty, but the leading local jockey is going to have to be on his game all the same as his charge looks to remain unbeaten over 10 furlongs.

The widest barrier Golden Sixty jumped from during his winning streak was gate nine and that happened to come over 2,000m in the Hong Kong Derby, with Ho at one stage travelling last before launching a run that saw the champ grab Playa Del Puente in the last couple of strides.

While Golden Sixty could well end up last again on Sunday, Ho shouldn’t have to worry about being cramped for room like he was in the Stewards’ Cup and provided he stays within striking distance in a race that could be run at a muddling tempo, the galloper will have every chance to reel in his rivals and atone for last start.

About time for Yiu

No one has had more seconds than Ricky Yiu Poon-fai so far this season and there was relief in the veteran’s voice after he landed a treble for the first time since his championship season at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

The last time Yiu snared three winners at the same meeting he was building an unassailable lead in the trainers’ premiership at the penultimate fixture of the 2019-20 season, while this time it was simply about squaring a ledger that has become decidedly skewed.

“It’s about time,” Yiu laughed. “The team is doing well, the horses are running well.”

Yiu’s 38 seconds are matched only by Frankie Lor Fu-chuen and he has 16 more runner-up finishes than victories – the biggest gap of any trainer by some margin.

His 30 thirds are also the second-most, with only Lor ahead of him on 32.

And things were looking even worse for the 64-year-old before he reeled off five wins in the space of eight days, landing a Valley double on February 9 and backing that up with the successes of Villa Fionn, Bulletproof and Soulmate on Wednesday night.

Before his little run, Yiu had endured 14 placings without a winner since Darci Joy’s victory in January, with 10 of them seconds.

Yiu has seven runners at Sha Tin on Sunday as he looks to continue his march and while he will not be reaching the rare air of 2019-20 when he landed 67 winners, his 22 victories so far this season puts him two-thirds of the way to what he achieved last season after just 46 of the 88 meetings.