The huge crowd at Sha Tin came to see one horse and see if could overcome the outside stall, first-up after a break since April and now an eight-year-old, Golden Sixty delivered on all three counts and more winning the Longines Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
Winner of 26 of his 29 starts and ten Group 1's, Golden Sixty received a standing ovation from Hong Kong racing fans as jockey Vincent Ho took the horse to the top of the massive grandstand to give everyone an opportunity to give the horse the winning ovation he richly deserved.
Unbeaten first-up after a break in every campaign, Golden Sixty was given a perfect ride by Vincent Ho, who also won the International Jockey's Championship at Happy Vally on Wednesday.
Ho said: "He's a monster. When I asked him for an effort, he lengthened like I can't believe - he's still got that turn of foot. It's crazy. It's amazing. Perfectly, I got the three-wide cover where I wanted to be, and he knows his racing now. He never travelled keen with me, he was relaxed all of the way and then when I asked him for an effort, he just gave me 100 percent."
Trained by Francis Lui, Golden Sixty joins Good Ba Ba as the race's second three-time winner, following his victories in 2020 and 2021.
The son of Medaglia d'Oro looks set to retire following his next two runs in 2024.
Ho continued: "The whole team did a massive job. For me, of course, the next race is the Stewards' Cup (G1, 1600m) and then the Champions Mile (G1, 1600m). They are talking about retiring the horse. Of course, it looks like the right thing to do – he has achieved so much – but if he is still performing like this and he loves his racing so much, is it the right thing to take away what he loves?
"We will of course have to think about that as well. He's a horse who loves racing – he enjoys it, he enjoys the crowd and as long as he is healthy and competitive, we are happy.
"A lot of people were saying the age of eight is a concern, but to be honest I never doubted him. We've looked after him, we're not running him with top weight in handicaps, and this year he's only going to race in three races. He's so amazing when he runs fresh. He's just an amazing horse,"
"He is my champion. I think he enjoyed the race – he knew what to do. I was happy with how he improved in every barrier trial. He showed good fighting heart," Lui said.
"Our team did a good job, they looked after the horse very well. I have to say thank you to my team."