Gold for Soumillon in BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint
Gold-Fun displayed both his class and his quirks in an emphatic G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) success at Sha Tin Racecourse this afternoon, Saturday 21 November.
The six-year-old was the form standout. This time last year the talented chestnut was mixing it with Able Friend, running second to Hong Kong’s crack miler in the G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile and then filling the same berth next start in the 2014 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile.
Now, with last season’s HKG1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize already in the bag, the Richard Gibson trainee is establishing his reputation in the speed ranks. Gold-Fun heads into the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 13 December as Hong Kong’s number one contender for the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) after this afternoon’s comfortable length and a quarter win under Christophe Soumillon.
“He won by a good margin and Richard said he was unfit today, so I reckon he will be better next time,” said the Belgian ace.
Soumillon had Gold-Fun mid-rank in the 11-runner field as Peniaphobia and Super Jockey took each other on for the lead. Turning in, Gold-Fun edged out, and, seeing daylight at the 300m mark, made a race-winning advance that took him past third-placed Not Listenin’tome and runner-up Peniaphobia to lead 150m out. The winner often has his own way of doing things, and, throughout that drive to the wire, Soumillon used all of his skills to keep the gelding focused on the task at hand.
“You can see he was stopping a bit, looking around and hanging right, so I had to try to get him to concentrate at the end,” he said of the Le Vie Dei Colori gelding.
“He didn’t jump fast in the first two strides and then I was trying to get a better position in the beginning but the outside horses went quite fast, so I didn’t have the choice to wait in fourth or fifth position. Then on the turn I was going quite freely and this horse is quite funny, you cannot take the lead too early on him, so it was not easy when I saw the horses in front were five or six lengths ahead of me. I did not want to let them run away so I had to come out and he gave me a very good turn-of-foot. I hit the front too early.
“Today the track is riding a bit funny, there are not many horses coming from the back. It’s a good effort today and I’m very happy with him. It’s a good sign for three weeks’ time.”
Gibson said: “It’s a team effort. Huge credit to the vets here, this horse had surgery last season and it’s a huge credit to get the horse back on track. We were very happy with his first run this year and we knew he would improve on it. It was a masterful ride from Christophe.
“We left as much on Gold-Fun as we could, that weight on him was intentional – we tried to keep as much on him as possible and the big objective is in three weeks’ time.”
Lucky Nine, the 2011 Hong Kong Sprint winner and twice Hong Kong’s Champion Sprinter ran on to finish fourth, a length and a quarter behind the winner. Super Jockey, meanwhile, faded out to finish more than six lengths 10th.