Golden Sixty has become the second horse to complete Hong Kong’s four-year-old triple crown, nabbing Playa Del Puente on the line in the Derby.
Racing has continued in Hong Kong throughout the coronavirus pandemic but with the traditional large crowds locked out.
The Derby meeting on Sunday is one of the most prestigious in the racing powerhouse and local jockey Vincent Ho got the spoils on Golden Sixty.
Trainer Francis Lui and owner Stanley Chan completed the first native Hong Kong success in the professional era which began in 1971.
“I think I can sleep well tonight. All the pressure on my shoulders has just gone,” Ho told the HK Jockey Club.
The pressure was on Ho with Golden Sixty having to make up six lengths on outsider Playa Del Puente after Blake Shinn almost stole the 2000m-race on the 289/1 shot.
Golden Sixty ran his final 400m in 21.83s.
Lui admitted to being “excited and panicked” when Ho angled Golden Sixty out in the straight.
“Round the bend, they slowed down the pace and that’s why the other horse was able to run away but Golden Sixty showed excellent acceleration. I was worried but I could see Golden Sixty was trying very hard,” Lui said.
Rapper Dragon in 2017 is the only other horse to win all three legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series which also comprises the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m).
“It’s an amazing feeling to win all the four-year-old classics and he’s a superstar for sure,” Ho said.
The win also makes Ho one of only four Hong Kong-born jockeys to win the Derby in the past 50 years, and the first since Tony Cruz scored on Makarpura Star in 1995.