Racing

Golden Sixty delivers

Rising champion on track for December's Hong Kong International Races

Golden Sixty took the first step toward the 2020 Longines Hong Kong International Races with an impressive win in the Celebration Cup Handicap over 1,400m at Sha Tin on Sunday, thwarting Beauty Generation's tilt at a fourth straight triumph in the Group 3 race.

Hong Kong's first pattern race this season was billed as the clash between Beauty Generation and Golden Sixty.

It did not disappoint, with Golden Sixty reigning supreme for trainer Francis Lui and jockey Vincent Ho.

"I think at the moment he is the best horse that I have trained. He'll step up in distance to 1,600 metres now and then of course the target is the Hong Kong International Races," Lui said.

The Medaglia d'Oro gelding made the most of the 17lb (7.7kg) he received off the two-time Horse of the Year, Beauty Generation (133lb), who dead-heated for second with Champion's Way. They were 13/4 lengths behind the winner.

"It's very exciting to be back on him. He felt great and fresh today. Once I got a clear run, I knew he'd run them down," said winning jockey Ho. "I think he is one of the best horses in Hong Kong at the moment."

With his devastating turn-of-foot on display again, the newly turned five-year-old made it eight wins in a row, following his Four-Year-Old Classic Series clean sweep, which culminated with the Derby.

After breaking cleanly, Golden Sixty was snagged back to settle worse than midfield. Beauty Generation, under the guidance of Zac Purton, stalked the leading duo on the rails.

As the field turned for home, Golden Sixty quickened when asked. Beauty Generation hit traffic and had to bulldoze his way clear to share second prize.

"He pulled up well. It was a good blow for him. He needed that, I think he was around 70 to 75 per cent fit before this run and after this he should go up even more, of course with the aim of December," Ho said. - HKJC

HORSE RACING