GOLDEN Sixty and Vincent Ho announced themselves as one of world racing’s most influential new power couples with a stunning success in the BMW Hong Kong Derby on Sunday.
Hong Kong’s most famous race was played out to deserted Sha Tin grandstands as fears about a second wave of COVID-19 infections reduced the Sha Tin crowd to under 1000 rather than the normal 60,000 plus.
But the betting public gathered behind Hong Kong’s brightest new star in their droves, sending Francis Lui’s gelding off at 1.7 in a maximum field of 14, and Golden Sixty justified their faith with a withering straight run to beat the ex-Irish 289-1 shot Playa Del Puente by a neck to become only the second horse to capture all three legs of Hong Kong’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series.
“I think I can sleep well tonight,” joked the 29-year-old Ho. “There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders but it’s such an amazing feeling to win my first Derby on a horse who I love so much.”
Ho had long stressed that he needed to capture a major in order to confirm the striking progress he has made at home and abroad in the last two years and victory made him the first homegrown Hong Kong rider to land the Derby since local legend Tony Cruz in 1995. – extracts from Sporting Life.