G60 Scores Four at Longines HKIR Barrier Draw

Owner Stanley Chan selects gate four for Golden Sixty in Sunday's G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile | HKJC photo

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Two-time reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) was allotted barrier four in a field of 10 mile specialists from Japan and Australia in addition to the locals as he shoots to equal the record of Good Ba Ba (Lear Fan) with a third consecutive victory in Sunday's G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Winner under a five-pound penalty of the G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Mile when making his seasonal debut three weeks ago, the 7-year-old has won 22 of his 25 starts to date for record Hong Kong earnings of over HK$116 million. With his chief rival California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) expected to make the running from gate two and with a pair of get-back runners in Schnell Meister (Ger) (Kingman {GB}) and 2021 runner-up More Than This (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) drawn one and three, respectively, Vincent Ho should be able to pick his spot and let Golden Sixty do the talking late.

“I got what I wanted,” trainer Francis Lui told South China Morning Post. “He can sit midfield and stay out of trouble. [Golden Sixty] is ready.”

On an afternoon where some HK$110 million is on offer, the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup over the metric mile and a quarter is the day's richest at HK$34 million, not to mention the most interesting from a tactical standpoint. Panthalassa (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) is one of four in the race for Japan and landed the eight hole, with trainer Yoshito Yahagi assuring that the dead-heat winner of this year's G1 Dubai Turf will not be difficult to find.

“I don't care about the barrier draw because I know one thing–he will go to the front,” the colourful Yahagi, conditioner of last year's Cup heroine Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), told the Post.

 

 

 

His compatriot Jack d'Or (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}), whose sire won both a Hong Kong Mile (2015) and Hong Kong Cup (2016), could make things at least a bit tricky, as he may be ridden for speed by Yutaka Take from his low draw in two. The once-beaten Hong Kong rising star Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) and James McDonald leave from barrier seven in what is clearly his toughest task to date.

For obvious reasons, double-digit alleys are not preferred in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint, and gate 10 is not ideal for reigning champion sprinter Wellington (Aus) (All Too Hard {Aus}), though trainer Richard Gibson was taking it in his stride.

“Wellington, I'm pretty relaxed. He'll be finishing off from that draw, and that's maybe his forte. We're short of options. I haven't even spoken to Ryan [Moore], but at first glance, that's what we'll be doing,” he told SCMP.

Ryan Moore, who subs for the injured Alexis Badel, won the 2020 Sprint from the riverside draw aboard Danon Smash (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}). Conversely, the up-and-coming Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse {Aus}) saw his already-strong hand fortified when landing a cosy slot in three.

Half of the field of 10 signed on for the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase has shipped in from Europe, led by recent GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Stone Age (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Half of an Aidan O'Brien-trained duo, the 3-year-old breaks from the inside stall and he should find himself in a race that is often times run at a crawl. Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) carries Yutaka Take from gate six, while Mendocino (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}, gate 7) and Bubble Gift (Fr) (Nathaniel {Ire}, gate 6) and Godolphin's Botanik (Ire) (Golden Horn {GB}, gate 5) have earned their right to tackle the race. Glory Vase (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) tries to make some history of his own as he goes for a third Vase in four years and second in a row and carries Joao Moreira from the four.

 

 

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