Golden Sixty’s record-breaking performance during the 2022/23 racing season saw Hong Kong’s champion earn the Horse of the Year title for a third consecutive year at a special presentation in Hong Kong on Friday night.
As such, the Karaka graduate becomes the first horse in the history of Hong Kong racing to annex three consecutive Horse of the Year crowns.
The Francis Lui-trained seven-year-old’s efforts this season also secured a third straight Champion Miler title with his string of outstanding performances in Group One mile events.
Golden Sixty had five starts this season, suffering the only defeat in the campaign when beaten by California Spangle in the Gr.1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
The son of Medaglia d’Oro then scored a hat-trick of top-level wins, landing the Stewards’ Cup (1600m), Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) and FWD Champions Mile (1600m), taking his overall record to 25 wins and three placings from 29 starts and extending his record prize money to HK$147.93 million.
He stands alone as Hong Kong’s most prolific Group One winner, eclipsing the feats of Beauty Generation by tallying an unmatched nine Group One wins after sealing a third FWD Champions Mile win in succession last April.
Golden Sixty’s impressive feats this year were reflected in the first edition of the 2023 LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, in which he topped the list with an international rating of 125 after scoring a Group One double in the Stewards Cup and Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Currently, Golden Sixty and Lucky Sweynesse sit joint-third behind Equinox and Mostahdaf on an international rating of 125.
Both Golden Sixty and Lucky Sweynesse are graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready To Run Sale.
Golden Sixty was sold by Riversley Park at the 2017 Ready To Run Sale for $300,000 to trainer Francis Lui. He then went under the early care of Matamata trainer Graham Richardson where he had three educational trials, winning the last of those at Te Teko in August 2018, before being sent up to Hong Kong.
Lucky Sweynesse was sold at the 2020 Ready To Run Sale through Woburn Farm’s draft for $90,000 to Joe Barnes’ J & I Bloodstock. The gelding was a six length trial winner at Ellerslie out of Shelley Hale’s Cambridge stable before transferring to Hong Kong.
The Manfred Man-trained Lucky Sweynesse was named this season’s Champion Sprinter and Champion Four-Year-Old. The emerging youngster continued his advance from his 98 rating to becoming a three-time Group One winner this term, claiming each leg of Hong Kong’s HK$5 million Speed Series: Gr.1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m), Gr.1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) and Gr.1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).
The Sweynesse gelding matched Beauty Generation’s record for the most wins in a single season when he ended the term on a high note by scoring for the eighth time in the Gr.3 Sha Tin Vase (1200m).
Currently rated 131 locally, Lucky Sweynesse is the highest-rated four-year-old in Hong Kong.
The Danny Shum-trained Romantic Warrior was crowned this season’s Champion Middle-Distance Horse for the second consecutive year by winning the two prominent 10 furlong features in Hong Kong, namely the Gr.1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and Gr.1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m), beating overseas rivals on both occasions.
John Size was honoured with a record 12th Hong Kong Champion Trainer title. The battle for the championship was settled before the season finale, as Size successfully repelled a strong challenge from Francis Lui and Frankie Lor throughout the season to recapture the crown.
Zac Purton is now a six-time Hong Kong Champion Jockey. The Australian rider enjoyed another remarkable season of dominance, including breaking Joao Moreira’s single-season record of 170 wins. He also reached 1,600 career wins in Hong Kong. Purton and Douglas Whyte are the only jockeys in the history of Hong Kong racing to reach 1,600 wins.
Vincent Ho won the Tony Cruz Award as the season’s leading homegrown rider with a personal best 94 wins (to date).
This season’s Most Popular Jockey and Most Popular Horse will be presented at the conclusion of Sunday’s 88th and final fixture this season at Sha Tin.