Australian-bred Golden Sixty has overcome a health scare to win the Hong Kong Classic Cup at Sha Tin on his way to the Derby.
Golden Sixty has now won the first two of the three legs in the four-year-old triple crown, the Classic Mile and Sunday’s Classic Cup at Sha Tin.
In between the two races, the Francis Lui-trained gelding was the subject of concern with an elevated temperature.
His jockey Vincent Ho said Golden Sixty was still not at his best and had improvement to come.
“He’s not 100 per cent, that’s for sure,” Ho told the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“He’s about 75 or 80 per cent. He won this race because he has a really good fighting heart.”
Golden Sixty beat Champion’s Way and More Than This. Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman made a flying visit to Hong Kong to ride Enjoying who ran fourth.
Lui was both relieved and delighted.
“Everybody knew he had a temperature two weeks ago,” he said.
“I was very worried he would miss this race. I tried everything to work it out and finally we got it and he still performed today.”
Golden Sixty now has the chance to emulate Rapper Dragon, the only horse to have won all three legs of the Classic Series which culminates in the Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin on March 22.
Racing is continuing in Hong Kong with a lack of spectators because of restrictions imposed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only necessary personnel are allowed on course along with owners of runners.
The restrictions are in place until at least March 4 with off-track betting shops also closed and wagering conducted through internet services.