By Declan Schuster/Hong Kong Jockey Club
Sha Tin (Feb 21): Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup HK$12m (£1.28m) 1m2f, turf, 4yo+
Golden Sixty (Francis Lui/Vincent Ho)
Hong Kong superstar Golden Sixty extended his unbeaten run to 13 straight wins in the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup – but it was only after a battle royal that the territory’s top horse prevailed in a thrilling contest.
Stepping up in trip to 2,000 metres (1m2f) for the first time since his HK Derby win 11 months ago, Golden Sixty was forced to spare no effort as he scrambled to add a third consecutive G1 to his glittering record, which now stands at 16 wins from 17 starts, four shy of Silent Witness’ record 17 consecutive wins.
Dropped out to his customary position at the rear of the field, the Medaglia D’Oro gelding began his surge in the straight but the challenge from Furore on the inside required jockey Vincent Ho to call on everything that Golden Sixty could give. It proved just enough – by a short head, the smallest margin of any of his wins.
After his success in the G1 Stewards’ Cup, Golden Sixty has now won the first two legs of the HK Triple Crown, completed only once before, by River Verdon in 1993-94. The third leg is the G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) on May 23.
Shall we talk about it?
Vincent Ho (Golden Sixty’s jockey): “I was quite confident that I would stay ahead of them but we fought hard – it wasn’t easy, it was a bit unexpected to be that close. I was just worried about the horse to the inside of him because Golden Sixty laid in a bit and he would have won easier if he didn’t do that. Once he went past Exultant he wanted to lay in – it made it difficult for me but it’s still a victory.”
Francis Lui (Golden Sixty’s trainer): “I think you can’t really change the horse’s character – when he passed the third horse [Exultant], Golden Sixty thinks he has finished the job, but there’s another horse on the inside. I will think about the third leg of the Triple Crown, we also have a race in April in mind.”
• More about racing in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Jockey Club website