Gold-Fun wins 2014 Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup
Gold-Fun stamped his class on the HKG1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin racecourse this afternoon, Sunday, 16 March, with a commanding half-length victory over the consistently gallant Dan Excel.
“He’s improved mentally and physically – he’s a proper Group 1 horse now,” said jockey Douglas Whyte, after guiding the Richard Gibson-trained five-year-old to a classy success in the third and final leg of the Hong Kong Speed Series.
Whyte settled the race favourite three-wide with cover in a handy sixth as Smart Volatility, stalked closely by the John Moore-trained pair of Flagship Shine and Dan Excel, led the field of 11. And as the Moore duo vied for supremacy past the wilting leader at the top of the stretch, Whyte began a smooth move down the outside.
Dan Excel, already twice runner-up in local G1 contests this term, edged the lead under Neil Callan with around 200m to race, but just as last season’s G1 Champions Mile hero made his move, Gold-Fun’s class came to the fore. The Irish import, sporting blinkers for the first time since his previous course and distance win in October’s HKG3 National Day Cup, put the race to bed as the line approached and sealed victory in a time of 1m 21.85s
“He’s very versatile and we just needed him to sharpen up coming back in trip, and he’s certainly done that,” said Whyte, in reference to the application of blinkers for last year’s BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) third.
“He travelled very kindly throughout the race and he got there with a bit of purpose, and a bit easy. From where he’s come to where he is now, it’s amazing. Richard’s done a very good job with him, especially winning at 1400m, keeping him fresh but getting enough work into him in order to take on the big boys today. He’s come through with flying colours and all credit to the horse.”
Gibson was full of praise for the chestnut gelding, which he saddled to three straight wins to start the campaign. Gold-Fun’s winning streak ended with a brave second to Glorious Days in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile and this win represented a return to form following a below-par sixth in January’s HKG1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m).
“He had a great beginning to the season and we’ve targeted this race with him,” said Gibson, who now plans to aim his charge at the G1 Champions Mile. “It’s great to nail it, it was beautifully executed by Douglas and he beat some really champion horses today. It was a great run – I thought he won very convincingly. He’s the most consistent Group 1 horse in Hong Kong, he’s a candidate for Horse of the Year and I’m very lucky to have him in my stable.”