Golden Sixty sets Hong Kong earnings record, Yasuda Kinen on the table
Golden Sixty (Medaglia D’Oro) last night stood alone as the highest prize-money earner in Hong Kong racing history after the faultless defence of his Champions Mile (Gr 1, 1600m) crown at Sha Tin yesterday.
Sealing his sixth Group 1 in the process for jockey Vincent Ho and trainer Francis Lui, Golden Sixty enhanced his all-time bank to HK$113,400,600 (approx. AU$20.1 million), surpassing the mantle previously held by Beauty Generation (Road To Rock).
Ho described Golden Sixty eloquently post-race: “He’s one in a lifetime.”
Following yesterday’s effort, a campaign to Japan is an option for Hong Kong’s champion with Lui confirming his entry for the Yasuda Kinen (Gr 1, 1600m) at Tokyo on June 5.
“Yes, he is entered already but of course, we have to see how he recovers and we also need to see the quarantine, whether we can go and how the arrangements work.
“If everything is easy, we will go,” Lui said.
Fairy King Prawn (Danehill) in 2000 and Bullish Luck (Royal Academy) in 2006 are the only two Hong Kong-trained horses to have won the Yasuda Kinen.
Ho, 31, relished his third consecutive Champions Mile triumph after previously succeeding aboard Southern Legend (Not A Single Doubt) in 2020 and Golden Sixty last year.
Stepping away cleanly from gate two, Golden Sixty settled in fourth spot on the rail as California Spangle (Starspangledbanner) led the field under Zac Purton.
In the straight, Ho pulled the six-year-old out and in the blink of an eye he had the race shot to bits as California Spangle battled bravely for second, beaten by only two lengths, while Excellent Proposal (Exceed And Excel) filled third.
“He did well. He travelled comfortably and actually when Zac steadied the pace a little bit he started to travel a bit keen but he is strong enough and brave enough to push through that gap and run them down easily,” Ho said.
Yesterday’s victory marked Golden Sixty’s 21st, achieved across 24 starts in Hong Kong.
“He still wanted to slow down a bit the last couple of strides but he did amazing,” Ho said.
Golden Sixty – in the silks of owner Stanley Chan – clocked a winning time of 1m 32.81s (24.79, 22.16, 23.31, 22.55), much to the pleasure of Lui.
“He did his job, like last time. Last time he had a good draw and he followed the pace and this time he just did the same.
“He can really follow the pace now, not like before when he needed to sit behind to start and sometimes he got too far behind. He’s really stepping up.
“It’s not easy to have a horse who wins so many races. We are very happy, we all feel glory about this horse,” Lui said.
Only Bullish Luck in 2005 and 2006, Xtension (Xaar) in 2011 and 2012 and Beauty Generation in 2018 and 2019 had defended their titles in the Champions Mile prior to yesterday.