Thanks Forever has the profile of a talented rising star and another three-year-old with upward potential is the Francis Lui-trained Golden Sixty, unbeaten in two and aiming for a hat-trick in the last race, the Class 3 Pok Fu Lam Country Park Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (8 June).
“I picked this horse for the owner because many of the horses from the same sire have performed well in Hong Kong,” Lui said of the Medaglia D’Oro gelding, a NZ$300,000 purchase out of the November 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale.
“All along, he has done nothing wrong – we saw that last time when he had to race outside from a wide draw and it was not easy for him to score but he did. This time, with a better draw (3), I am quietly confident that he could land a hat-trick.”
Lui, who enjoyed Group 1 success with star sprinter Lucky Bubbles, believes Golden Sixty will mature into a better horse next season.
“He has kept on improving but he is not fully matured and I believe he could handle farther when he reaches four next term. But this season I’m happy to concentrate at 1200 metres.”
Lui has enjoyed a fruitful association this term with jockey Vincent Ho who goes into Saturday one win shy of a half-century for the season. The rider’s best previous haul in a season was 39 when he claimed the champion apprentice crown in 2010/11.
Ho was in the saddle for a recent trial, on a ‘wet slow’ dirt track, during which the rider kept his mount wide and allowed him to travel home without pressure.
“I am pleased with his recent trial and Vincent knows the horse well,” Lui said. “He has deserved to have a good season and he has shown that he has made improvement as a jockey. It is not easy for him to have such an achievement when Zac and Joao (Moreira) dominate the Hong Kong racing circle.”