Some of the circumstances were different in the HK$20m Group One FWD Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, but superstar Karaka graduate Golden Sixty (Medaglia d’Oro) ensured that the result was exactly the same.
Bought for $300,000 from Riversley Park at the 2017 Ready to Run Sale, Golden Sixty has now had 18 starts for 17 wins. He has put together an incredible 14 consecutive victories, the last four of them at Group One level. The fabulous five-year-old has earned HK$77.9m, which is the equivalent of NZ$13.96m – more than 46 times his purchase price.
Most of his victories have been in front of empty Sha Tin stands because of Covid-19, and in most of those races Golden Sixty has charged home from off the pace and had the final say with a magnificent finishing burst. Neither of those things happened on Sunday.
This time there was a crowd at Sha Tin to cheer for their champion, and this time regular rider Vincent Ho had to try different tactics.
Golden Sixty again dropped back near the tail of the field in the early stages, but the pace was slow and the six-horse race turned into a tactical cat-and-mouse affair.
Ho was forced to take off much earlier than usual, creeping forward out wide as the field approached the home turn. At the top of the straight, Golden Sixty swooped around the outside and hit the lead.
The crowd roared when Golden Sixty kicked clear with 300 metres to run, but then they went quiet as stablemate More Than This (Dutch Art) produced a huge late run that looked likely to carry him to victory.
Golden Sixty refused to let that happen, rising to meet his stablemate’s challenge. Showing all of his champion qualities, Golden Sixty held on and prevailed by a head. The rest of the field finished more than three lengths behind the first pair.
“That was exciting,” Ho said. “We learned something new again today – he’s never been chased before.
“Joao (Moreira, riding More Than This) came up on his outside really quickly, but he fought back. When he saw him, he took off again, so I’m very happy. The pace was quite slow, but yeah, he’s a superstar.”
Golden Sixty is trained by Francis Lui and raced by Stanley Chan Ka Leung.
Mr F Lui (Hong Kong)
Medaglia d’Oro – Gaudeamus
Lot 136, 2017 Ready to Run Sale, $300,000