The Hong Kong horses dominated Champions Day at Sha Tin on Sunday, sweeping the three Group One contests as Golden Sixty became racing’s all-time highest prize money earner.

By winning the Champions Mile for the third straight year, Golden Sixty took his earnings to almost HK$148 million (US$18.9 million) and overtook superstar Australian mare Winx in stakes money.

Golden Sixty
Golden Sixty trained by Francis Liu and ridden by Vincent Ho wins the Group 1 The Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong on April 30, 2023. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP.

“He’s going as well as ever. There’s no sign of him dropping in performance,” said jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, after saluting aboard the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained horse.

Golden Sixty has now won 25 times from 29 starts, including nine times at Group One level.

“I told myself before this race to try and enjoy every moment with Golden Sixty because he’s seven now and we don’t know when he’s going to retire, but the best way is to enjoy every single step with him,” said Ho.

Earlier on the card, Lucky Sweynesse cemented his position as Hong Kong’s premier speedster with his third Group One victory of the season in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m).

The four-year-old demolished his rivals as the $1.2 favourite under Hong Kong’s reigning champion jockey Zac Purton.

By adding the HK$20 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize to his recent wins in the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m) and Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m), the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Lucky Sweynesse swept the Hong Kong Speed Series and secured the HK$5 million bonus for his owners.

Shatin Racecourse
Shatin Racecourse. File photo: Wikicommons.

“That’s what we were hoping to see today,” Purton said of a horse connections are considering targeting at races like the Group One Yasuda Kinen (1,600m) in Japan in June and The Everest (1,200m) in Australia in October.

“This horse just continues to get better and I feel like we’re going to see a better horse again next season. The sky is the limit for him at the moment.”

The Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained Romantic Warrior completed the home team’s dominant afternoon with a second successive victory in the Group One QE II Cup (2,000m).

“He’s such a beautiful horse. He can position himself, he’s electric out of the gates and he’s just got such a fantastic will to win,” said New Zealander James McDonald after winning aboard the horse for a third time in as many attempts.

Eight international gallopers descended on Sha Tin in their search for a share in the HK$65 million on offer at the city’s second-biggest meeting of the season.

The QE II Cup was the only race where they had an impact, with Japan’s Prognosis running second and British champion Dubai Honour third.

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