Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior Stretch Out At Sha Tin

Barrier trial session success!

Golden Sixty and Romantic Warrior passed their first auditions with flying colours ahead of their respective returns by serving up a pair of head-turning efforts at yesterday morning’s (Tuesday, 18 October) barrier trial session at Sha Tin.

Golden Sixty is chasing a third consecutive G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) crown (Pic – HKJC)

Golden Sixty is gearing up to contest the Gr2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m) on 20 November, a race that will also feature California Spangle, Sunday’s (16 October) runaway victor of the Gr2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m).

Romantic Warrior is also readying for 20 November’s Bank Of China (Hong Kong) Race Day but trainer Danny Shum is yet to decide which race his charge will tackle and that the option remains for a tilt at the Gr2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m).

Both horses – trialling on turf – passed the post first under strong winds and challenging conditions this morning. Golden Sixty was first to appear in batch one, crossing the line in 59.76s for 1000m under Vincent Ho before unexpectedly dislodging his jockey as he returned.

“I’m happy with him, even if he’s still fresh enough to drop me. He’s still like when he was three or four years old – he looks at everything and he reacts really quickly, not many horses till his age can do that and he’s still very fast,” Ho said.

Golden Sixty quickly looped in a small circle before slowly returning to Ho who then walked him back to his mafoo (groom).

“I’m glad he came back to me, I knew he would come back – he’s a smart horse and luckily I walk him enough (in the stables) because I called him and he sort of went ‘ok I’ll come back’,” Ho said.

Renowned for his headstrong and at times fiery nature, Golden Sixty is Hong Kong’s all-time leading prize money earner with HK$113,400,600 banked.

“We’ve done enough gallops and a couple of grass gallops, he has some sort of fitness so there was no harm to ask a bit this morning. He stretched out nicely, he’s slowly getting there,” Ho said.

This will be Golden Sixty’s fifth season of racing in Hong Kong as he shoots for a hat-trick of Gr1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) wins in December.

“First trial back, I’m happy and Vincent is happy also. Just when he came back it was windy and he fought (the rider) a little bit, so Vincent dropped off but he was happy with the trial – it’s very windy,” trainer Francis Lui said.

The 131-rater is a 21-time winner in Hong Kong, including six times at Group 1 level.

“He broke smoothly under Vincent and he relaxed behind the other horses and then he took him out, he asked him and he just went go – everything’s fine and he’s healthy,” Lui said.

Lui indicated that Golden Sixty will trial once more over 1200m on dirt as he prepares for his return.

“They’re very good horses – California Spangle has won well twice and Romantic Warrior has a good turn of foot but we like new challenges and we’re looking forward to everything, he loves competing and we’ll do our best, for sure,” Ho said.

Romantic Warrior featured later under Zac Purton, working home for first position in 1m 36.78s over 1600m. Karis Teetan rode the Acclamation gelding to victory in the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) and Gr1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m) last season, however, is unable to take the reins at present due to illness.

“He trialled good, Zac Purton trialled him and he reported to me that he was sound. He’s very professional and he is always like this,” Shum said. “He’s good, he twisted his leg two months ago so I gave him a long time off so he could fully recover, he’s sound now and he’ll return in November.”

Setbacks caused Romantic Warrior’s preparation to slow and subsequently last season’s Hong Kong Champion Four-Year-Old, Hong Kong Champion Middle-Distance Horse and Most Improved Horse will only have one lead-up race before December’s HK$110 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.

“We’ll see, it could be either race (on 20 November). We have not made a decision yet but he’ll have one more trial on the dirt and then we’ll see how he comes back and make a decision on the mile or the cup,” Shum said.

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