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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Golden Sixty in unique hat-trick bid

Golden Sixty in unique hat-trick bid

FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on Sunday will bring together the very best of Hong Kong’s elite gallopers and top-line horses from Great Britain, Japan, Australia and New Zealand across three Group 1 races worth HK$65 million.
Golden Sixty has torn down the record books in Hong Kong and the city’s champion – with staggering career earnings of HK$136.53 million – will look to become the first three-time winner of the HK$20 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) after victories in 2021 and 2022 for trainer Francis Lui.

Ahead of Golden Sixty’s bid to capture a unique hat-trick, he left Lui and jockey Vincent Ho satisfied following his effort in a barrier trial on April 11.

Successful in the 2021 and 2022 editions of the HK$20 million race under Ho, Hong Kong’s champion coasted around the 1200m Sha Tin dirt course in 1m 10.42s at the tail of the field in sixth position, while Voyage Bubble edged out Drombeg Banner to lead the eight-runner group home in 1m 09.93s.

“Same as usual, we’re happy and even Vincent said he was also happy with the trial,” Lui said.

No horse has won the FWD Champions Mile three times, while Ho is the only jockey with three wins in the race along with Brett Prebble after also partnering Southern Legend when he sensationally denied Beauty Generation’s hat-trick bid in 2020.

“I hope so (to winning the FWD Champions Mile three times), at the moment I am just trying to pick the race for him,” Lui said. “He’s seven years old, so we just pick the right races for him – he’s not a young man.”

Lui originally planned to trial Golden Sixty on 4 April, however, constant rain and a sloppy dirt course prompted the handler to place his star galloper on turf that morning.

“We were going to trial (earlier) but the weather and the track was terrible, so we cancelled it,” Lui said.

Golden Sixty is expected to face eight opponents this year, led by his leading antagonist California Spangle – winner of the 2022 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) – as well as Waikuku, Voyage Bubble, Beauty Joy, Glorious Dragon and Healthy Happy.

The Southern Hemisphere will have two participants in the form of last-start G1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) second My Oberon trekking up for Annabel Neasham alongside New Zealand’s Aegon – a Group 1 winner as a three-year-old in 2020. Joao Moreira rides My Oberon, Aegon pairs with James McDonald.

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