Trainer keeps all guessing, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Trainer keeps all guessing

A final decision is yet to be made on Golden Sixty's participation in the $4.5 million QEII Cup

Will he or won't he?

This is the question racegoers, including those from Singapore, are asking about Hong Kong's latest sensation Golden Sixty's participation in Sunday week's HK$25 million (S$4.5 million) Group 1 FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup (QEII Cup) over 2,000m at Sha Tin.

The four-year-old Australian-bred has been a revelation - unbeaten in 10 starts since his unplaced debut.

But his trainer, Francis Lui, is still in two minds on running Golden Sixty, even though he is pleased with his star gelding, following his sparkling BMW Hong Kong Derby success last month.

"He seems good, he looks fine, everything is fine and his trackwork hasn't shown anything wrong. It's just I don't want to push him," said Lui.

Regular rider Vincent Ho partnered Golden Sixty in a gallop yesterday morning and hopped off satisfied. He, too, was non-committal.

"We're still discussing it, there's no rush," he said.

"I galloped him this morning and he still feels good."

Golden Sixty completed a Classic Series sweep with his Derby win. He has won seven on the bounce this season, including the Group 3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap over 1,400m, in which he defeated the multiple Group 1-placed Ka Ying Star.

"It's a big break in between seasons, so that's why I have to consider the QEII Cup. We will keep him working as normal," said Lui.

While Lui contemplates whether to press ahead with the QEII Cup, the form out of this year's 2,000m Hong Kong Derby will be put to the test at Happy Valley tonight, when Reliable Team, Amazing Beats and Private Secretary contest the finale - the Class 2 Cedar Handicap over 1,800m.

Happy with their runs, their connections expect them to do well.

There is plenty of interest for this race, but there will be much more in the battle for this season's Hong Kong riding supremacy which has gripped the local and foreign racing fraternity, Singapore's included.

The two champions - Joao Moreira and Zac Purton - have been providing the fun all season. Moreira had led but was overtaken by Purton, albeit only briefly. Last Sunday, the duo even took their intense battle to the stewards' room.

After Moreira won in a head-bobber aboard Leading Fortune over Purton's Party Genius, the Australian filed an objection for alleged interference.

Leading Fortune repeatedly lugged into Party Genius in the straight, buffeting his opponent despite Moreira's attempts to correct while maintaining forceful momentum.

But the stewards ruled in Moreira's favour, throwing out the objection and denying Purton a first win for his former arch riding rival Douglas Whyte.

"The horse made it so tough for me - he was just not doing things correctly. Unfortunately, we had to decide it in the stewards' room, but I think the decision to keep it how we finished was the right one," said Moreira.

That win moved the three-time champion to 99 wins for the term. He became the first jockey this season to hit the century mark on Enzemble, before making it a treble with winner No. 101 aboard the aptly named Fantastic Show.

The Moreira-Purton score now stands at 101-97.

Both riders have a full book of nine rides tonight.