Vincent Ho Chak-yiu is hopeful Golden Sixty “should still be at his top” this season after getting a feel for the reigning Horse of the Year – and the Sha Tin turf – on Tuesday morning.
After winning his first trial of the campaign, Golden Sixty got a fright at a breezy Sha Tin shortly after dawn and sent his partner in crime tumbling to the turf.
“It was just too windy. He whipped around at the turn, almost at the back straight, but it was no problem,” Ho said, confirming he walked away from the mishap unscathed.
“He trialled well. It was a nice stretch out, so I’m happy. He still wants to do it, which is very nice, and he should still be at his top. He still feels very good, so I’m looking forward to this season.”
Golden Sixty will have one more trial before resuming in the Group Two Jockey Club Mile on November 20, in which he will meet the exciting California Spangle, before targeting a record-equalling third consecutive victory in December’s Group One Hong Kong Mile.
“I think he’s kept his form, and he’s healthy,” trainer Francis Lui Kin-wai said. “Vincent was happy. Everything looks right besides the fact he fell off. He jumped out nicely and easily followed the other horse. He was relaxed, and when he took him out, he progressed nicely.
“I know everyone talks about Tony Cruz’s horse [California Spangle]. He’s an up-and-coming young horse, so it’s hard to say what’ll happen. He’s had a run and my horse is first up. I’ll be happy to see them race.”
Another of Hong Kong’s big guns also had his first trial hit-out of the 2022-23 season, with Romantic Warrior putting three lengths on his nearest rival under Zac Purton.
After struggling with lameness in August, Romantic Warrior looked in fine fettle on his way to victory over 1,600m on the turf.
“It was a small field with no speed in it, so it was just a bit of a track gallop for him,” said Purton, who is warming the saddle for sidelined jockey Karis Teetan.
“He enjoyed it, and he pulled up well. He’s very clean in the wind for a horse who hasn’t raced yet this season, so I think fitness wise he’s going to be all right. Of course, he’ll be improved with racing, but his lungs are pretty good.”
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Durston wins the 2022 Caulfield Cup 🏆 pic.twitter.com/DZoj9zhHNv
Romantic Warrior, who snared the Classic Mile, the Hong Kong Derby and the Group One QE II Cup last season, will also resume in next month’s Jockey Club Mile.
Meanwhile, Purton confirmed he is keen to travel to Australia to ride Caulfield Cup winner Durston in the Melbourne Cup on November 1.
“I’m still not exactly sure what’s going on. They’re talking to my manager, but nothing’s locked in yet. If I could ride him, I’d go for sure, but it’s up to them,” Purton told the Post.