Horse Racing
Golden Sixty sets Hong Kong earnings record, Yasuda Kinen on the table

By Declan Schuster
24/04/2022 20:29

Golden Sixty wins the 2022 G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m).
Golden Sixty wins the 2022 G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m).

Golden Sixty stands alone as the highest prize money earner in Hong Kong racing history after the faultless defence of his HK$20 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) crown at Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, 24 April).

Sealing his sixth Group 1 in the process for jockey Vincent Ho and trainer Francis Lui, Golden Sixty enhanced his all-time bank to HK$113,400,600 with HK$11.4 million for first place today, surpassing the mantle of HK$106,233,750 previously held by Beauty Generation.

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

Following today’s effort, a campaign to Japan is an option for Hong Kong’s champion with Lui confirming his entry for the G1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) at Tokyo on 5 June.

“Yes, he is entered already but of course, we have to see how he recovers and we also need to see the quarantine, whether we can go and how the arrangements work.

“If everything is easy, we will go,” Lui said.

Fairy King Prawn (2000) and Bullish Luck (2006) are the only two Hong Kong-trained horses to have won the Yasuda Kinen.

Ho, 31, relished his third consecutive FWD Champions Mile triumph after previously succeeding aboard Southern Legend (2020) and Golden Sixty (2021).

Golden Sixty is a superstar in Hong Kong.
Golden Sixty is a superstar in Hong Kong.

Stepping away cleanly from gate two, Golden Sixty settled in fourth spot on the rail as California Spangle led the field under Zac Purton.

In the straight, Ho pulled the six-year-old out and in the blink of an eye he had the race shot to bits as California Spangle battled bravely for second, beaten by only two lengths while Excellent Proposal filled third.

“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,” Ho said.

Today’s victory marks Golden Sixty’s 21st, achieved across 24 starts in Hong Kong.

“He still wanted to slow down a bit the last couple of strides but he did amazing,” Ho said. 

Golden Sixty stretches clear to win the FWD Champions Mile.

Golden Sixty – in the silks of owner Stanley Chan – clocked a winning time of 1m 32.81s (24.79, 22.16, 23.31, 22.55), much to the pleasure of Lui.

“He did his job, like last time. Last time he had a good draw and he followed the pace and this time he just did the same.

“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.

Only Bullish Luck (2005 & 2006), Xtension (2011 & 2012), Beauty Generation (2018 & 2019) and now Golden Sixty have defended their titles in the FWD Champions Mile.

Hong Kong racing continues this Wednesday (27 April) at Happy Valley.