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Golden Sixty and Russian Emperor please connections in tune up for rematch

Golden Sixty and Russian Emperor impressed connections in a Sha Tin trial on Tuesday morning ahead of their rematch in the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) on April 3.

Golden Sixty clocked 59.2 seconds to hit the line first over the straight 1,000m, while Russian Emperor coasted home at the back of the field.

Golden Sixty had his colours lowered by Russian Emperor in last month’s Group One Gold Cup (2,000m), but the reigning Horse of the Year steps back to his favourite trip as he looks to return to his brilliant best.

“[Jockey] Vincent [Ho Chak-yiu] was happy and I’m happy. After the trial he blew a little bit, this season he has only had four runs – maybe he needs more runs. He needed that today,” trainer Francis Lui Kin-wai said.

It will be Golden Sixty’s first appearance in the Chairman’s Trophy after connections opted to skip the race last year and only his fifth start of the season, after Lui kicked him off later than usual in the hope of making it to Japan for June’s Group One Yasuda Kinen (1,600m).

With a trip abroad unlikely to occur, Golden Sixty’s sixth and final start of 2021-22 could come on Champions Day on April 24, but Lui will wait until after the six-year-old’s next run before making a definite decision on whether to tackle the Champions Mile or the QE II Cup (2,000m).

“At the moment we will go to the Champions Mile but it all depends, we will see how he runs on April 3 first,” the trainer said.

Blake Shinn was in the saddle for Russian Emperor’s breakthrough Group One victory in the

Gold Cup and is happy with how the son of Galileo is tracking, as he plots a course towards the QE II Cup.

“He went well, he just ticked over nicely and today’s trial was just a maintenance trial, tick him over for his next run,” Shinn said.

“It was a slowly run trial early and then they sprinted from the 500m, which is obviously not his style, and it’s a distance well below his best trip but the main thing is he felt good and he pulled up well.”

Shinn also partnered the Caspar Fownes-trained Sky Field in a hit-out on Tuesday morning and was pleased with how he went, but a final decision on whether the Hong Kong Sprint champion will take his place in the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m) early next month will be made later this week.

“He went well and hit the line great,” Shinn said, before adding that he likes the chances of a

couple of his rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

“Zone D is going well and I think Triple Triple will run well, he’s drawn nicely and I think that’s key.”

The entries for the Group Two contests on April 3 were released on Monday and the Chairman’s Trophy has attracted a full field, with the likes of Waikuku, Tourbillon Diamond, More Than This, Healthy Happy and Ka Ying Star joining Golden Sixty and Russian Emperor.

The Sprint Cup has a field of 11 as it stands, which includes Group One winners Wellington, Hot King Prawn and Stronger.

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