The best racer in Hong Kong is the Australian-bred Golden Sixty, who won the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile, his 15th race in a row, on Nov. 21 at Sha Tin. A multiple Group 1 winner, Golden Sixty, by the measure of consecutive races won, stands even with Bayardo, Buckpasser, Carbine, and Pretty Polly. He is one victory away from the 16-race plateau of such champions as Ribot, Citation, and Cigar.
If he reaches 17 victories in a row, then Golden Sixty would match the winning streak of fellow Aussie racer Silent Witness, a legend in Hong Kong racing.
The 2020 Hong Kong Horse of the Year, Golden Sixty also was named the top miler and middle distance performer in Hong Kong last year, when he won all eight starts, including the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile. In 2021, the bay gelding has won his four starts, including the G1 Champions Mile, Stewards’ Cup, and Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Unbeaten since July 2019, Golden Sixty has now won 18 of 19 lifetime starts, earning HK$80.6 million, about $9.8 million.
One of 26 G1 winners by Medaglia d’Oro around the globe, Golden Sixty comes from a highly distinguished family, and one that has some intriguingly old connections close up. His third dam is Konafa (Damascus), a foal of 1973 who finished second to Flying Water (Habitat) in the 1976 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Bloodstock legend E.P. Taylor bred much of this family at his Windfields Farms in Canada or Maryland and had purchased Konafa’s second dam, Queen’s Statute (Le Lavandou), out of the yearling sales at Newmarket. Unraced, Queen’s Statute bred a half-dozen stakes winners for Windfields, including Canadian champion Dance Act (Northern Dancer), as well as his maiden-winning full sister Royal Statute.
Royal Statute followed suit as a producer with three stakes winners, including G1 Yorkshire Oaks winner Awaasif (Snow Knight), Akureyri (Buckpasser; G3 Fountain of Youth, second in G1 Florida Derby, first in G1 Remsen but disqualified to third), and Royal Lorna (Val de l’Orne; G3 Premio Bagutta).
Winner of a maiden, Royal Statute was bred to Horse of the Year Damascus (Sword Dancer) when she was a three-year-old and produced Konafa as her first foal. Taylor, through his Windfields Farm consignment, sold Konafa for $57,000 at the 1974 Saratoga select yearling auction.
And Konafa and her close relatives found a home in the select yearling sales that lasted for decades. After retirement, Konafa was sold in foal to leading sire Mr. Prospector for $625,000 at the 1980 Keeneland November breeding stock sale to BBA (England), acting for Stavros Niarchos.
The foal that Konafa was carrying turned out to be Proskona, who became the highweight 3-year-old filly in Italy, with a victory in the G2 Premio Umbria, among others. Konafa subsequently foaled Keos (Riverman; highweight older horse in Germany), the listed stakes winner Carnet Solaire (Sharpen Up), and Korveya, also by Riverman, a winner of the G3 Prix Chloe, and the dam of three classic winners.
These were Hector Protector (Woodman; highweight 2-year-old in France, won the French Guineas, Poule d’Essai des Poulains, and nine of 10 starts), Shanghai (Procida; French Guineas), and Bosra Sham (Woodman), who was highweight 3-year-old filly and highweight older filly. She won seven of 10 starts, including the Fillies Mile at two, then the 1996 English 1,000 Guineas and Champion Stakes. Although Bosra Sham’s career was troubled with foot problems, trainer Henry Cecil called her the best horse he had ever trained, and he had already trained multiple classic winners. (Frankel came much later.)
Korveya’s classic produce represented a high point in the success and reputation of this family. The mare’s other daughters included Gioconda (Nijinsky), who produced Ciro (Woodman). A top juvenile when he won the G1 Grand Criterium at Longchamp, Ciro progressed sufficiently to win the G1 Prix Lupin and Secretariat Stakes at 3. Another daughter of Korveya, Tapatina (Seeking the Gold), became the dam of Internallyflawless (Giant’s Causeway), winner of the G1 Del Mar Oaks.
Although Korveya was the star producer from her dam, another of Konafa’s daughters, Leo’s Lucky Lady (Seattle Slew) ran second in a minor stakes at the Meadowlands and produced seven winners, including G2 winner Gaudeamus (Distorted Humor), who is the dam of Golden Sixty.
Winner of the G2 Debutante Stakes at two in Ireland for Jim Bolger, Gaudeamus was sold privately as a broodmare for the Southern Hemisphere, where Golden Sixty is her third black-type performer and first major winner.
Her son Golden Sixty is carrying the torch for family with his domination of racing in Hong Kong, but in addition, this year’s Breeders’ Cup juvenile turf winners both descend from Royal Statute. Modern Games descends from Konafa through Proskona, and Pizza Bianca comes from Royal Statute’s daughter Victoress (a $1.1 million Keeneland July yearling by Conquistador Cielo) through the Irish-bred Gwynn (Darshaan) and White Hot (Galileo), who is the dam of Pizza Bianca.