Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior Clash In HK Gold Cup

It was a battle royale in last month’s G1 Stewards’ Cup, as Hong Kong’s three top-rated gallopers–two emerging from victories at the Longines Hong Kong International Races meeting in December–faced off. At the end of 1600 thrilling metres and having delivered excellent theatre as advertised, two-time reigning Horse of the Year Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d’Oro) showed there was still a fair bit of life left in the tyres when defeating G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup hero Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) and G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile victor California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}). While the latter awaits next month’s G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup, Romantic Warrior is likely to go favoured while stepping back out to his best gig in Sunday’s 2000-metre G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup.

While Golden Sixty is a two-time winner going 10 furlongs, including this event in 2021–albeit by the skin of his teeth–Romantic Warrior is the jurisdiction’s best over the trip, having won the BMW Hong Kong Derby and G1 FWD QE II Cup last preparation before adding the Hong Kong Cup at the end of December.

“He’s [Romantic Warrior] good, he’s happy–there’s been no problems,” said trainer Danny Shum. “It all depends on the draw, but he should be able to sit third, fourth or fifth [in the run].”

Romantic Warrior has gate six in a field of seven.

As for Golden Sixty, his jockey Vincent Ho is actually of the opinion that the 7-year-old is just now close to being a furnished product.

“He’s really matured mentally and he doesn’t fight any more,” said Ho. “He used to fight a lot, but not anymore and when I ask him for the effort, he will give it to me straight away. He’s been really good this season.

“Romantic Warrior obviously has proven very, very good at 2000 metres and he will be very hard to beat. He’s one of the best horses in Hong Kong.”

Golden Sixty departs from the four hole Sunday.

The afternoon’s co-featured event is the second leg of the local 4-year-old series, the Hong Kong Classic Cup over the 1800 metres.

Jamie Kah jets back in to renew her partnership with Voyage Bubble (Aus) (Deep Field {Aus}), who she rode a treat from the front to take out the Hong Kong Classic Mile Jan. 29. The Ricky Yiu trainee could be the speed of the speed again, but should get at least some pressure from the likes of Happy Valley specialist Encountered (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}). That could help set things up a bit for Tuchel (NZ) (Redwood {GB}), the ride of Zac Purton, who was inconvenienced by the lack of pace when runner-up in the Classic Mile, while Super Sunny Sing (Aus) (Nicconi {Aus}) looms a threat with further improvement for Ho. He rides a three-race winning streak into the Classic Cup, including a convincing success going a mile in Class 3 Jan. 24.

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