Golden Sixty Prevails in All-Karaka Thriller

Monday, February 22, 2021

He needed to summon all of his champion qualities to beat fellow Karaka graduate Furore (NZ) (Pierro), but Golden Sixty (Medaglia d’Oro) prevailed in a pulsating HK$12m Group One Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, extending his winning streak to 13.

Bought by trainer Francis Lui for $300,000 from Riversley Park’s draft at the 2017 Ready to Run Sale, Hong Kong’s standout galloper has now won 16 of his 17 starts and HK$66.5m in stakes – the equivalent of NZ$11.75m, which is 39 times his purchase price. Golden Sixty has won three consecutive Group Ones, having previously captured the Hong Kong Mile (1600m) and Stewards’ Cup (1600m).

Golden Sixty has been an unstoppable force throughout an incredible winning sequence that began in July 2019, and Sunday’s Gold Cup was expected to be yet another one-act affair.

But Furore had other ideas. Bought for $210,000 from the 2016 Premier Sale, Furore looked Golden Sixty in the eye and matched him when the favourite surged to the lead in the straight.

The race developed into a desperate, all-Karaka battle between two high-class gallopers. Golden Sixty returned everything Furore threw at him and ultimately prevailed by a short head – the smallest winning margin of his career. The time was a slick 2:00.25.

“I was quite confident that I would stay ahead of them, but we fought hard,” Ho said. “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 – he would have won easier if he didn’t do that. It made it difficult for me, but it’s still a victory.”

Trained by Lui for owner Stanley Chan Ka Leung, Golden Sixty is now closing in on the all-time Hong Kong record of 17 consecutive wins by legendary sprinter Silent Witness (El Moxie).

Golden Sixty has also now won two of the three legs of Hong Kong’s Triple Crown, starting with last month’s Stewards’ Cup. The final leg is the Group One Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) on May 23, where Golden Sixty could attempt to become only the second Triple Crown winner in Hong Kong racing history.

“I will think about the third leg of the Triple Crown, we also have a race in April in mind,” Lui said.

Furore lost little in defeat on Sunday, producing a performance that ranks among the finest of his career. The 2019 Hong Kong Derby winner has now had 28 starts for eight wins and eight placings, with four of those placings coming at Group One level. He has earned more than HK$37.1 million, which is the equivalent of NZ$6.56 million – 31 times his purchase price at Karaka.

Vendor

Riversley Park Ltd

Purchaser

Mr F Lui (Hong Kong)

Breeding

Medaglia d’Oro – Gaudeamus

Sale

Lot 136, 2017 Ready to Run Sale, $300,000

Bred by

Asco International Pty Ltd, Qld