Golden Sixty Maintains Supremacy in Jockey Club Mile
21 November 2022
Hong Kong Champion Golden Sixty (Medaglia d’Oro) stared down a pretender to his throne at Sha Tin on Sunday and came out on top, capturing the HK$5m Group Two BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m) for the third time in his incomparable career.
Already entrenched in the history books as Hong Kong’s all-time highest prizemoney earner, Golden Sixty has now banked over HK$116m. He was a $300,000 purchase from the 2017 Ready to Run Sale at Karaka, and he has earned 80 times that purchase price with 22 wins from 25 starts.
While Golden Sixty’s supremacy over Hong Kong’s milers has been unquestioned for two years, he faced a well-credentialled young challenger on Sunday in the form of California Spangle (Starspangledbanner). The star four-year-old came into the race as the winner of eight of his 12 starts including the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), the Group Three Celebration Cup (1400m) and last month’s Group Two Sha Tin Trophy (1600m).
Everything appeared to be falling in favour of California Spangle in the running, as he enjoyed an effortless stroll around Sha Tin setting a sedate speed. Golden Sixty sat back in second-last, giving his main danger a significant head start coming around the home turn.
Zac Purton asked California Spangle to sprint at the top of the straight and the response was immediate and electric, powering clear and throwing down the gauntlet to the champion in no uncertain terms.
But Golden Sixty responded in kind, slowly but surely wearing him down and thrusting his head in front in the final 50 metres to score by a neck in the hands of Vincent Ho.
“I knew Golden Sixty would have the heart to run him down, but he’s only 80% fit, so the last bit is his mental toughness,” Ho said. “All credit to him and the team. We’re looking forward to the Hong Kong Mile (Group One, 1600m) in December now.
“The pace was crawling at first and I knew, around the 600-metre mark, that Zac (Purton) will pick up the pace for sure. I was just keeping an eye on what he was doing and I had to come out and make my move earlier.”
Golden Sixty is trained by Francis Lui, who selected the superstar from Riversley Park’s draft at Karaka five years ago.
“Like before, he has a very good fighting heart,” Lui said. “When he came close to the front-runner, he really wanted to pass him.
“Zac Purton is a good jockey and he knows how to manage the pace, but I think Vincent also knows Golden Sixty very well. He knows how to ride this horse.
“We’re all happy to see him come back and win a race first-up. Golden Sixty has brought us a lot of fun.”
Sunday’s win was Golden Sixty’s fifth at Group Two level, sitting alongside his six Group One triumphs.
He will have the opportunity to add to that Group One tally in next month’s HK$30m Hong Kong Mile, which he has won in each of the last two years.
|Mr F Lui (Hong Kong)
|Medaglia d’Oro – Gaudeamus
|Lot 136, 2017 Ready to Run Sale, $300,000
|Asco International, Qld