Golden Sixty will be Hong Kong’s 2020-21 champion miler after the four-time Group One winner was the only galloper nominated for the gong.
The superstar five-year-old features heavily in the Champion Awards final nominees, announced by the Jockey Club on Friday, after a dominant season that saw the son of Medaglia d’Oro win all seven of his races to extend his winning streak to 14.
Certain to be named Horse of the Year – which will be chosen by the judging panel from the winners of the respective categories – last year’s champion four-year-old Golden Sixty is also in the running for the champion middle-distance horse (1,800m to below 2,200m).
To go with his top-level wins over 1,600m in the Hong Kong Mile, the Stewards’ Cup and the Champions Mile, the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained Golden Sixty took out February’s Group One Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m).
The only other nominee is Sky Darci, who took out the Hong Kong Derby (2,000m). The only other Group Ones that fall into the distance range were taken out by Japanese raiders, with Normcore winning the Hong Kong Cup and Loves Only You saluting in the QE II Cup.
Sky Darci is also in contention for the champion four-year-old award but again faces stiff opposition, coming up against Group One winners Wellington (Chairman’s Sprint Prize) and Panfield (Champions & Chater Cup).
Panfield and reigning Horse of the Year Exultant will duke it out to be named champion stayer (2,200m and over), with Panfield’s Group One win seemingly placing him in the box seat ahead of Exultant’s two top-level placings over 2,400m.
Wellington, fellow Group One winner Hot King Prawn (Centenary Sprint Cup) and undefeated rising star Courier Wonder are in the running to be named champion sprinter (below 1,400m), with Hot King Prawn also boasting a Group Two win at a sprinting trip that could tip the scales in his favour.
The judging panel is made up of three members of the Jockey Club and three from the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists.
The Jockey Club votes are made by the chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, director of racing business and operations Bill Nader and head of handicapping, race planning and international racing Nigel Gray.
Winners of the Champion Awards will be announced on July 13, with the presentation ceremony to be broadcast live online by the Jockey Club.