IN Racing
Richardson continues Golden run with Hong Kong
Golden Sixty won his second Gr.1 Hong Kong International Mile (1600m) on Sunday
NZ Racing Desk | December 13, 2021
Photo: HKJC

If Matamata trainer Graham Richardson is sent a horse by Hong Kong agent Willie Leung he knows there’s a better chance than usual that it will be good – as current Hong Kong champion Golden Sixty has proven.

Golden Sixty, who won his second Gr.1 Hong Kong International Mile (1600m) on Sunday, was bought by Hong Kong trainer Francis Lui at the behest of Leung for $300,000 out of Riversley Park’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale draft.

And as with many horses Leung has been involved in buying, he was sent to Richardson for his early education.

“Willie is an extremely good judge of a horse,” Richardson said.

“Before Golden Sixty he selected Mr Stunning, who we also trained early on, and he won the Hong Kong Sprint (Gr.1, 1200m) twice. He also gave us Sky Darci, who won the Hong Kong Derby (2000m) earlier this year.

“It’s been great to play a part in educating these horses and then watch them run so well in Hong Kong.”

Richardson prepared Golden Sixty for three trials, and he won the third of them, at Te Teko in 2018, in very easy fashion for jockey Cameron Lammas.

“From very early on we knew he could gallop. He was a very good horse, very easy to train,” Richardson said.

“When Cameron got off him after the trial he won he told us he could be a serious racehorse,” Richardson said.

“We actually tried to convince the owners to keep him in New Zealand, but they wanted him in Hong Kong and it’s fantastic what he’s achieved up there. It’s been great to watch how good he’s become.”

Golden Sixty’s Hong Kong Mile victory was his second in the race, his 16th win on end, and his 19th win overall, breaking the record for most victories by a Hong Kong-trained horse. He is trained in Hong Kong by Lui for owner Stanley Chan Ka Leung.

Richardson, who trains in partnership with Rogan Norvall, may have had to settle for reflected glory in Golden Sixty’s record-breaking triumph but he got some good reward in his own right on Saturday when his eight-year-old warhorse Tiptronic finished third in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa.

It was just his second run this campaign and puts him on a good path toward the summer weight-for-age features.

“He’s a cool horse who’s part of the family and I was thrilled with the run, and Ashvin (Goindasamy, jockey) gave him a great ride. If he’d got clear a little earlier, I don’t know that he would have won but he would have been a lot closer.”

Tiptronic is likely to head next to the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, and then either the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham on January 29 or the Collinson Forex Karaka Cup (2200m), a race he won last year, on January 22.

His major aim is the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 12. It’s a race in which he was runner-up in 2019, victorious in 2020, and sixth earlier this year.

Meanwhile, stablemate Bonny Lass, winner of the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) last term, has recovered from a twinged muscle which paused her spring campaign and looked good when finishing second in a trial at Rotorua on Monday to top mare Levante.

Richardson said he still needed to work through plans with the filly with her owners but he was considering an entry for the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day in the hope that she may get a start.

“It was a nice run at the trials. In time I think 1400m is probably her best distance,” he said.

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