By David Morgan, Hong Kong Jockey Club
Golden Sixty made a big statement with an impressive win in the G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin this afternoon (Wednesday, 1 January).
The exciting rising star dominated the New Year’s Day feature to cement his status as a chief protagonist for this season’s three-race Four-Year-old Classic Series. The first test, the Hong Kong Classic Mile, is less than four weeks away.
Hong Kong Classic Mile?
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“The mile will definitely be in his scope, he’s ready,” jockey Vincent Ho said after his mount drew two lengths clear of seven smart rivals to take the spoils in a time of 1m 20.70s.
“He travelled beautifully, he wasn’t pulling – he was genuine. When I pulled him out he showed a great turn-of-foot and won easily. He tries extremely hard, it’s been a case of getting his mind right; he’s still a bit hot, a bit toey, but he’s more relaxed in his races now.”
Golden Sixty (116lb) not only took his career haul to seven wins from eight starts – all at 1200m and 1400m – but also became the first horse in Hong Kong to win four races this term.
Trainer Francis Lui has two of the top candidates for Hong Kong Classic Mile glory with Golden Sixty’s stablemate More Than This unbeaten in three runs this campaign.
“Both horses will go to the Classic Mile and More Than this will also go to the Hong Kong Derby,” Lui confirmed. “I have no preference for one over the other; I think they can both go to the Classic Mile without any problem.”
Lui did not rule out a BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) tilt in March for Golden Sixty either, although he was more reserved on that front.
“I’ll have to see how he goes in the Classic Mile. The four-year-olds aim to the Derby but I have to look at the Classic Mile first,” he said of his Medaglia D’Oro gelding.
“Last run he was already relaxed so I think he can handle the mile no problem. I just need the horse relaxed, you can see in his trackwork he already just wants to go but now, in his races, you can see he’s relaxing very well.
“I’m happy to see him run like that. Every time he runs he has a very good fighting heart, he tries his best.”
Golden Sixty defeated the year-older runner-up Fat Turtle (117lb) and fellow four-year-old leading light Champion’s Way (120lb).
The latter, already a G3 winner and rated 108 at the end of last term, improved on two below-par efforts this season with a solid third, conceding 4lb to the winner.