They came, they saw, they tried to blunt his dash, but they failed to conquer New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale graduate Golden Sixty (Medaglia D’Oro): Hong Kong’s burgeoning hometown hero who dismantled his international rivals in the HK$25 million Gr.1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin with an exquisite performance.
“He’s amazing, isn’t he?” jockey Vincent Ho said, moments after the brilliant five-year-old unleashed an unanswerable burst of speed that carried him to a dazzling two-length victory.
For Ho and trainer Francis Lui, Golden Sixty’s success is a first at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.
Lui was delighted and relieved to see his standout galloper seal a 14th win from 15 starts and surpass the great Beauty Generation’s (NZ) (Ready To Rock) 10 wins in a row with his 11th-straight triumph – in Hong Kong, only the near-immortal Silent Witness (El Moxie) has won more races on the bounce.
“I can have a good sleep tonight!” Lui declared. “I’m very happy – at the moment, I don’t know what to say, (my heart) is still pumping. As a jockey, as a trainer, as an owner, you’re dreaming of this.
“I was worried about the horses from Japan and Ireland but now, after this race, he has shown me that he’s a champion.”
Lui’s pre-race concerns were natural with Japan’s 2019 victor Admire Mars (Daiwa Major) in the line-up along with last-start Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia (Australia), from Ireland’s powerful Aidan O’Brien stable. But his anxiety proved needless, the invaders were no match for last season’s BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner, who races in the silks of Stanley Chan Ka-Leung.
With speed enough to have posted nine wins at 1200m and 1400m, and the fortitude to last the local Derby’s 10 furlongs, the Medaglia d’Oro gelding seems to have it all.
“They went a little bit hard early and I was quite far back, so I just let him slide through from the 600m and it only took him a few strides to almost get to them,” Ho said.
“I tried to save him until I let him down and when I asked for him, he did it really well, he gave me a really big effort.”
Golden Sixty cruised around the field turning for home; the Australian-bred bounded rapidly through his gears and when he hit top speed, his stride was a blur of quickening power.
“When I hit the top of the straight, I knew,” Ho said. “I was just cruising and I didn’t think anyone could beat him in that sort of sprint.
“He’s a horse that really wants to compete, he’s the best horse in Hong Kong at the moment. Today is all about him.”
Golden Sixty’s winning time was 1m 33.45s; his closing 400m spilt, a strong 22.05s.
Connections announced shortly after the race that eight-year-old Beauty Generation will race no more. Hong Kong’s highest-rated galloper of all time – rated the equal of another great miler, Able Friend – bowed out with a meritorious fifth place and a Hong Kong career tally of 18 wins from 34 starts, as well as the local all-time record prize money haul of HK$106,233,750.
At his peak, Beauty Generation was an incredible force around Sha Tin, claiming two editions of the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile among his eight Group One wins for trainer John Moore – his last three races came under the care of trainer David Hayes.