Vincent Ho Chak-yiu said Golden Sixty “looked after himself” in his final trial ahead of what is shaping up as a Group Two BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1,600m) match race between the Horse of the Year and California Spangle on November 20.
On a sloppy Sha Tin all-weather track, Golden Sixty – whose connections withdrew him from the same post-Tropical Storm Nalgae trial as California Spangle because of Friday’s wet conditions – finished last in a preparatory heat for only the second time.
That the first time was 10 days before Golden Sixty beat Beauty Generation and Champion’s Way to win the 2020 Group Three Celebration Cup (1,400m), combined with the good feel he gave Ho in his delayed final hit-out, means there is no cause for concern in the resuming six-time Group One winner’s camp.
“Golden Sixty is a smart horse,” said Ho, who has ridden the superstar galloper in each of his 24 races and all bar one of his 22 trials.
“In these conditions, he wouldn’t give me everything. When I wanted him to quicken a little bit more, he said, ‘no, no, not today, mate’.
“He looks after himself very well. He knows when is the time to go and not to go. He’s perfect.”
Ho, who expressed frustration Golden Sixty was not allowed to make a late switch from his 1,200m dirt trial to the 1,600m turf heat that featured the likes of Panfield, Romantic Warrior and Tourbillon Diamond, said the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained horse would likely have a grass gallop before his return.
“I wanted to change to the turf 16, which some horses did before when [John] Moore was around, but today it wasn’t allowed, so I had to stick to the dirt. We’ll do some more work, probably on the turf, next week, and then he should be ready,” Ho said.
Golden Sixty is one of just eight Jockey Club Mile entries and two of them – Beauty Joy and Turin Redsun – have the option of contesting the Group Two BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2,000m) on the same card.
With the Longines Hong Kong International Races looming on the horizon, the big names were out in force at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning, including a couple of the most interesting gallopers in David Hayes’ stable, Bon’s A Pearla and Lord Thunder.
Stronger and Super Wealthy hit the line! 💥— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 8, 2022
Both sprinters tuned up smartly ahead of the G2 Jockey Club Sprint on Sunday week (20 Nov), while Russian Emperor does his best work late over an unsuitable trip. @Vincenthocy | #HKIR | #HKracing pic.twitter.com/Cfb9Vktz2z
One of only three female horses in training in Hong Kong, Bon’s A Pearla was a Group Two winner and Group One placegetter from her 11 starts in Australia, while Lord Thunder won two Sha Tin sprints before recovering from his tendon injury.
“We gave Bon’s A Pearla a very easy trial because it was her first trial in Hong Kong. We gave her a look down the straight. She’ll probably have another trial in a couple of weeks, and we’re looking to kick her off on international day,” Hayes said.
“We never let Lord Thunder go. We used the ear muffs to keep him at a steady pace. They really worked.”
At Happy Valley on Wednesday night, Whizz Kid will attempt to make it four wins from four starts at the city circuit and Lucky Diamond will try to win his third race in a row, while California Deeply, Dragon Admiral and Yeaboi will make their Hong Kong debuts.