FWD Champions Mile (Group 1)

HONG Kong star Golden Sixty became the highest prize money earner in Hong Kong racing history after he won the HK$20 million Group 1 FWD Champions Mile for a second year in a row at Sha Tin last Sunday.

It was his sixth Group 1 for jockey Vincent Ho and trainer Francis Lui and Golden Sixty brought his all-time prize money to HK$113,400,600 surpassing the HK$106,233,750 previously held by Beauty Generation.

On day when owners were allowed back at the track after a long period of Covid restrictions trainer Francis Lui said afterwards: “I’m so pleased they are here to share such a great horse.”

From gate two, Golden Sixty settled in fourth on the rail as California Spangle led the field under Zac Purton.

In his recent races he has raced closer to the pace and in the straight, off the bend, Ho pulled the six-year-old out and he quickly had the race in his grasp as California Spangle battled for second, beaten two lengths.

Ho described Golden Sixty post-race: “He’s one in a lifetime. 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.”

Golden Sixty, owned by Stanley Chan, clocked a time of 1m 32.81s off splits of 24.79, 22.16, 23.31 and 22.55secs for his 21st win in 24 starts in Hong Kong

“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.

A trip to Japan is a possible option for Hong Kong’s champion with Lui confirming his entry for the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen over a mile at Tokyo to be run on June 5th.

Warrior continues

his winning ways

FWD QEII Cup (Group 1)

ROMANTIC Warrior moved up from lowly company to Group 1 stardom for Danny Shum and Karis Teetan when continuing his rise in the HK$25 million Group 1 FWD QEII Cup.

Romantic Warrior has graduated from Class 4 company at Happy Valley in October to Group 1 success in the BMW Hong Kong Derby in March.

Bred by Corduff Stud & T J Rooney and selected by former Irish champion jockey Michael Kinane from the 2019 Tattersalls Sale at Newmarket on behalf of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Romantic Warrior was purchased by owner Peter Lau for HK$4.8 million last year at the 2021 Hong Kong International Sale.

With his seventh victory, the son of Acclamation boosted his prize money earnings to a HK$39.96 million, with an impressive two-length success over Tourbillon Diamond and Panfield. Racing in fourth place to the three furlong mark, Romantic Warrior moved into clear running room in the straight and powered over the final two furlongs in 22.62s to seal a great season.

“The Derby was very special for all of us. This race we thought was a good plan with no international horses coming but we had in mind that he’s a bit younger than the other horses - but he’s better than all of them so he proved what kind of horse he is today,” Karis Teetan said.

Trainer Danny Shum added: “I feel great and happy to see the horse steadily improve and I’ve always loved his manner, but his manner is getting better and better. He’s a superstar.”

Wellington too fast

The five-year-old Australian-bred sprinter Wellington joined one of the most select clubs in Hong Kong when running out a dominant winner of the other Group 1, the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, under Alexis Badel.

The Richard Gibson-trained gelding, took the six-furlong contest, won before by Silent Witness, Sacred Kingdom and Lucky Nine, for the second year in a row.

“He really is one of the top sprinters in the world. It’s difficult to win these big Group 1 races back-to-back. He’s done it. It’s a great achievement,” said Gibson.

Favourite after winning the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup and the Group 2 Sprint Cup, Wellington stormed through to win by a length and a quarter.