Bobby Zen

When Stanley Chan’s Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d’Oro) faces the starter as the favorite in Sunday’s G1 FWD Champions Mile at Sha Tin Racecourse–a race he has made his own over the last three seasons–there is a very real chance that he will be doing so for the final time in his career.

And what an illustrious one it has been. The 8-year-old enters Sunday’s contest with 26 victories from 30 start since first going to the races as a late-season Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old in March 2019. His earnings of HK$165.8 million (US$21.2 million) make him easily the biggest money spinner in the history of the Hong Kong turf. His 10 Group 1 tallies make him the king of that particular hill as well.

On top of all that, he’s been as sound as a well-tried racehorse could be, and he’s overcome a minor January setback to be the center of attention this weekend–at least one more time.

Here is a look at five of Golden Sixty’s top efforts in the estimation of the author:

#5–Career debut, March 31, 2019

Put into serious training in late 2018, Golden Sixty trialed three times, nothing too flashy, but he showed enough ability to be made the 17-10 favorite over 1200 meters. Showing decent debut speed to sit in the first third of the field, he came with a wide run that would become his trademark and did his best work through the line to graduate by 1 1/2 lengths (video). “He’s got a decent engine, this fellow,” said racecaller Brett Davis. Yup, pretty decent.

4–Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup-G1, Feb. 21, 2021

Trying the metric mile and a quarter for just the second time in his career, Golden Sixty was given a supremely confident ride by the only jockey he’d ever known–Vincent Ho–but it almost proved too confident. Having conceded plenty of ground on the turn, he loomed in the straight, but Furore (NZ) had slipped through inside following a rail-skimming trip. Golden Sixty kicked hard, but so did Furore–perfectly ridden by Joao Moreira–and there wasn’t much between the two in a pulsating battle to the wire.

 

 

#3–Stewards Cup-G1, Jan. 29, 2023

Having had his 16-race winning streak snapped in this contest the year prior and having been thwarted in looking for a third straight win in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile a few weeks earlier, the 2023 Stewards Cup featured a rare clash of Hong Kong’s three top-rated gallopers with California Spangle (Ire)–all-the-way winner of the Mile–and Romantic Warrior (Ire), down in trip after pummeling his rivals in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup in December. Perfectly positioned right on the back of California Spangle with Romantic Warrior one spot ahead, Golden Sixty was momentarily short of room in the straight, but he was sensationally roused to the lead 100 meters from home and proved best in what commentator Mark McNamara called the ‘race of the decade.’

 

 

2–Longines Hong Kong Mile-G1, Dec. 10, 2023

Sidelined since winning his third G1 FWD Champions Mile in April, Golden Sixty resumed in the Hong Kong Mile, an absence stretching back 224 days. When he drew the riverside barrier, that was the final nail in his coffin, many–including this writer– reasoned. It was just too much to overcome, wasn’t it? But if any horse could deal with a situation as complex and adverse as this one, surely it was Golden Sixty, and those that kept the faith got 13-10; he was never longer than 1-2 in his three previous tries in the Mile. He jumped away beautifully and that enabled Ho to get into the three-wide trail with cover ahead of midfield for the opening 1200 meters. When he was pulled out to come after them at the top of the straight, Golden Sixty put the race to bed in a handful of strides in front of an adoring racing public (video). “That’s not a whip, it’s a wand,” proclaimed McNamara. It was a magical moment for sure.

 

 

1–BMW Hong Kong Derby, Mar. 22, 2020

After winning the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) with relative ease–if not by big margins–Golden Sixty was 70 cents on the dollar to become just the second horse to sweep the 4-year-old Classics. Away without incident, Golden Sixty raced in the latter third of the field and they were in no hurry up front, with the opening 800 meters covered in :49.16. If anything, the pace dropped further still over the next couple of furlongs, and Blake Shinn shook things up with a middle move aboard 289-1 Playa del Puente (Ire), passing rivals one by one to lead passing the 600-meter pole before opening an imposing advantage. In the meantime, Golden Sixty remained in the latter half of the field and was no better than five wide into the straight, with a good seven lengths to find. It looked like a lost cause as Playa del Puente led clear into the final 200 meters, but Golden Sixty took ground off him readily managed to sprint his final quarter-mile in an other-worldly :21.83 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (video). Sadly, there were almost no fans on hand as Hong Kong, like the rest of the world, was trying to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

The post Golden Sixty: Top Five Greatest Hits appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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