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Stewards’ Cup winner Golden Sixty trials ahead of Gold Cup rematch with Romantic Warrior

Golden Sixty limbered up for his Triple Crown series rematch with Romantic Warrior in this month’s Group One Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m) with one of his typically low-key trial runs on Tuesday morning.

Rarely out of first gear in his trial appearances – he has won only six of his 24 uncompetitive starts – Golden Sixty finished fifth in a high-quality 1,200m heat that also featured the likes of Classic Series hopes Beautyverse, Bon’s A Pearla, Flagship Warrior, Sweet Encounter and Tuchel.

Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) winner Golden Sixty is one of the eight entries for the Gold Cup over Romantic Warrior’s pet distance on February 26, with Glorious Dragon, Ka Ying Star, Money Catcher, Panfield, Savvy Nine and Tourbillon Diamond rounding out the elite field for the 10-furlong event that boasts HK$12 million in prize money.

Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, the ever-present jockey for Golden Sixty’s 27 races and 23 wins, liked how his favourite galloper trialled but acknowledged the challenge they will face together as a partnership in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

“It was just to stretch his legs and have a normal gallop at some sort of pace,” Ho said of Golden Sixty’s trial effort. “Everything went well. He’s been very well. He felt normal. We’ll probably have one more grass gallop next week and that’ll be it.

“Romantic Warrior is a good horse, and he’s proven over 2,000 metres. The time he ran [in the Hong Kong Cup] was exceptional. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll do our best and let’s see.”

Golden Sixty has raced over 2,000m three times for two wins – the 2020 Hong Kong Derby and the 2021 Gold Cup – and one third placing, which occurred when Russian Emperor and Savvy Nine beat the city’s champion in last year’s Gold Cup that took place on a sodden surface in torrential rain.

“Hopefully, it’s a normal Sha Tin track, which will help him,” Ho said of Golden Sixty’s preference for good ground. “He’s mentally more mature [than last year], which is a great thing, so physically there’s not much disadvantage, but mentally we gain a lot. We just have to do our best and see which horse comes out better. Romantic Warrior is probably better than Golden Sixty over 2,000m.”

A galloper younger than Golden Sixty who caught the eye during Tuesday morning’s trial was Classic Series contender Super Sunny Sing, who also made late ground under Ho in a heat on the dirt track.

Absent from last month’s Classic Mile because his rating was insufficiently high to get into the field, Super Sunny Sing’s three-and-a-half-length win in Class Three grade on January 24 resulted in his mark skyrocketing from 73 to 84.

In descending order of their ratings, the entries for the Classic Cup (1,800m) on February 26 are: Keefy (100); Voyage Bubble (93); Beautyverse (88); Tuchel (88); Sweet Encounter (86); Flagship Warrior (84); Galaxy Witness (84); Super Sunny Sing (84); Sword Point (84); Encountered (83); Bon’s A Pearla (80); La City Blanche (80); Majestic Colour (80); Sinba (79); Woodfire Bro (77); Find My Love (76); Perfect Team (76); and Happy Together (72).

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