Golden Sixty was made to pull out all the stops to notch a fourth successive Group One triumph in the FWD Champions Mile at Sha Tin.
Hong Kong’s latest superstar was chasing a 17th victory overall for trainer Francis Lui and jockey Vincent Ho, but his two most recent wins had not been completely straightforward.
The five-year-old’s saddle slipped when holding on by a head to win the Stewards Cup in January, while he just prevailed by a short-head from Furore on his most recent appearance in the 10-furlong Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Returning to a mile, Golden Sixty was a hot favourite to extend his winning streak – and looked set to score decisively after sweeping to the front early in the home straight.
However, More Than This built up a head of steam in the final furlong and in the end there was just a head between the pair at the line.
Ho completed a big-race double in the following FWD QEII Cup aboard Loves Only You.
Yoshito Yahagi’s mare led home a Japanese one-two-three-four in the Group One contest, with Glory Vase finishing second, Daring Tact third and Kiseki fourth.
Daring Tact – winner of the Fillies’ Triple Crown in her homeland in 2020 – was a hot favourite, but had to make do with minor honours behind Loves Only You, who was last seen finishing third to John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff in the Dubai Sheema Classic.
The other Group One prize on the card, the Chairman’s Sprint, went to Richard Gibson’s Wellington, with Alexis Badel the winning rider.
A total of 5,179 people were in attendance at Sha Tin, and Gibson was thrilled to see his charge triumph in front of a crowd.
He said: “It’s fantastic to see the fans back today and I’m just delighted for the owners. They were one of the first owners in my stable when I came here. They’ve been very loyal and supportive and it’s a great satisfaction to source and deliver such a great horse.”