Golden Sixty ready to rumble, Panfield draws gate one for Hong Kong Cup

Golden Sixty
Golden Sixty is bidding for 16-straight wins.

Gearing up for his toughest test to date and the chance to create history, Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year Golden Sixty will step away from barrier two in Sunday’s (12 December) HKD$26 million Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m), much to the satisfaction of trainer Francis Lui at Thursday morning’s (9 December) barrier draw at Sha Tin.

“He is all ready and we’re hoping that luck will come to my team and my owner – and to me too,” Lui said. “Barrier two is ok – we’ll just relax him and wait for the straight, and then we can just let him go.”

This weekend, the six-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro will bid to extend his winning thread to 16 and his overall tally to 19 wins – a new local record in Hong Kong.

“We are very happy with him, he came out of that first run very well – in that race over the first 800 (metres) the pace was very slow, that gave the other horses a little trouble but Golden Sixty, he just has a very good turn of foot now – he knows where the finish is.

“Honestly, the trials he’s had didn’t show much. I think he hadn’t run for a few months’ time and when it came time to run that first time he showed he is more mature, more relaxed and more comfortable,” Lui said.

Golden Sixty shares the current mantle of 18 wins in town with Silent Witness and Beauty Generation. And Lui describes the quirky but incredibly talented gelding as the horse of a lifetime.

“In all of a lifetime I think you can’t find this kind of horse. I’m lucky and Hong Kong is lucky to have him too,” he said.

Panfield wins the 2021 Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m).

Panfield draws gate one for Hong Kong Cup

Gearing up to lead the home team’s defence of the HKD$30 million Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), Panfield will break from gate one against 11 rivals from Japan, Great Britain, Ireland and Hong Kong as he looks to bounce back from an unexpected form blip last month.

Speaking at Thursday’s barrier draw at Sha Tin, trainer Tony Millard walked away pleased as he eyes Hong Kong’s most lucrative race.

“It’s a lovely draw, it gives you options and we’re certainly very happy with it, there’s a lot worse draws than that – I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Bred in Chile and raced there to a hat-trick of Group 1 scores, Panfield added to his burgeoning record with victory in last season’s Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m).

And upon resumption this campaign, Millard wound the son of Lookin At Lucky up masterfully to win the Group 2 Oriental Watch 60th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) – his first start after scoring over 2400m at the top level last term.

Last start, Panfield faded to the tail in the Group 2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m).

“He’s been good since that last run, frankly speaking that last run, it was one of those races that you want to forget and we’re just looking forward.

“He’s come through his preparation well, he had a nice gallop the other day and this morning he sprinted up well, he’s a fresh horse, so it’s going to be a question of whether he is good enough,” Millard said.

Tony Millard
Tony Millard was twice crowned champion trainer of South Africa.

A dual-Derby winning handler, Millard will look to capture his second crown at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races after the brilliant Ambitious Dragon prevailed in the 2012 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile.

“The Japanese – they’re just outstanding horses and they’ve travelled around the world, so it’s going to be a good yardstick for us to see where we are but I’m certainly happy with my horse – he’s done everything that I have wanted,” he said.

Panfield will face Ka Ying Star, Glorious Dragon, Hishi Iguazu, Russian Emperor, Tourbillon Diamond, Berlin Tango, Dubai Honour, Mac Swiney, Bolshoi Ballet, Lei Papale and Loves Only You.

Earlier, Millard had considered testing the mettle of Hong Kong’s reigning Champion Stayer in the Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).

“Basically he was the best horse in Hong Kong over 2000 (metres) last season, similar to Golden Sixty who was the best horse over a mile yet he won over 2000 too but they didn’t pick to run the 2000, instead they picked the mile.

“So, it’s the same scenario with Panfield, he was the best horse in the race when he won the 2400 (Champions & Chater Cup) but we decided to go for the race that is best suited for him,” Millard outlined.

Nearing the 700-win mark in Hong Kong, Tony Millard has enjoyed a fine career in the Far East since his arrival from South Africa over 20 years ago.

“You have to take into account that when you go for the 2400 metres, you’re going into the area of the Galileos and the like and they are proper 2400 metre horses, they’re not the best horses in the field – they’re the best horses in the world,” he said.

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