Breaking records seems to come quite easily for Golden Sixty – Hong Kong’s superstar racehorse who has already gone where no other has been before.
The Pride of Hong Kong, Golden Sixty, is the city’s all-time leading earner (HK$147.93 million), only three-straight Hong Kong Horse of the Year (2020/21, 2021/22 & 2022/23) recipient and only nine-time Group 1 winner.
Across 29 starts, Golden Sixty has won 25 times, remarkably ranging from 1200m to 2000m, which includes a Four-Year-Old Classic Series sweep in 2020 and two conquests over Romantic Warrior – recent victor of the G1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) in Australia.
Once again though, Golden Sixty has the chance to rewrite history in the HK$32 million Gr.1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m), by doing so after a record number of days between runs – 224 – since his most recent outing on FWD Champions Day last April.
Glorious Days won the 2013 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile after a 189-day break, the current record, while the next closest since the race was extended from 1400m to a mile in 1999 is Firebreak, who prevailed after 57 days in 2004.
Even before 1999, no horse won what was then known as the Hong Kong International Bowl (1400m) – which was first run in 1991 – with more than 100 days between runs. Outside of Glorious Days in 2013, Admire Mars is the only horse since Firebreak to win the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile with 50 or more days between runs.
Ahead of his highly anticipated return, Francis Lui’s charge trialled over a mile on the turf at Sha Tin this morning (Tuesday, 28 November) under jockey Vincent Ho, who has been ever-present throughout Golden Sixty’s storied racing career, which features a pair of LONGINES Hong Kong Mile crowns in 2020 and 2021.
“It’s exciting. It’s a privilege to be on Golden Sixty. To have such a connection with an animal like him is very special. It’s hard to explain – I’m proud,” Ho said.
The upcoming HK$118 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 10 December at Sha Tin will be Golden Sixty’s fourth in succession but first fresh, after crossing the line third today in 1m 37.15s behind Romantic Warrior and Helene Feeling, respectively.
“It looked good. They went slow at the corner and someone jumped a cone, we were at the back and then in the straight I just let him build up slowly and he came along nicely,” Ho said.
“I wish the pace was faster but it was good. He knows what I want – if I don’t move he comes back and relaxes but he knows when I just ask him even a little bit for an effort, he gives it to me straight away – I was happy.”
Golden Sixty is five out of five when resuming but he is yet to restart against international competition. An armada of race-fit overseas challengers await, comprising five Japanese runners, led by Namur – last-start winner of the G1 Mile Championship (1600m) on 19 November at Kyoto, as well as Soul Rush – second in that race.
“It looks challenging, the overseas horses and Hong Kong’s horses. There’s a couple of good ones in there but it’ll be fun. He is always good when he runs fresh. We needed this trial just to let him have a nice blow,” Ho said.
Serifos, Danon The Kid and Divina also feature for Japan, while last year’s winner California Spangle shoots for another upset victory and the emerging Beauty Eternal seeks a first top-level win at his initial attempt.
Victory would see Golden Sixty join Good Ba Ba (2007, 2008 & 2009) as the only three-time winners of the race.
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club