Gold for JJ Gordon in 2013 Group 1 Classic Mile

Gold-Fun narrowly took the spoils in a thrilling climax to the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin today, Sunday 20 January, to give trainer Richard Gibson a first top-flight success since his move to Hong Kong.

The chestnut gelding took the first leg of the Hong Kong Four-Year-Old Series by a diminishing neck under Douglas Whyte, in a quick time of 1m 34.27s.

“It’s a huge moment in my career,” said the Englishman, now in his second Hong Kong season. “It’s very rare in any trainer’s career to win a Group 1 with an improving horse and this horse can only get better.”

Gold-Fun was forced to post three wide and mid rank in the run after jumping from gate eight as Wah May Star set a searching pace on the front end. As the field of 14 turned for home, Gold-Fun loomed large and when the pace-setter folded at the 200m mark, Whyte’s mount found himself with only daylight and the winning post ahead.

“He just wasn’t happy to lay up on the speed and obviously we were running too quick, so I’ve just dropped back a length or two and he’s got comfortable,” said Whyte.

“When I’ve swung into the straight and there were three or four in front of me still going forward, I’ve pressed the button thinking I’ll get to them gradually by the 150m or 200m and I think I was going by them at the 200m and was in front already.”

“He’s got a phenomenal turn-of-foot and what I’ve really liked about him today is he dug down, his effort was for the full 400m, which you don’t find often, so he was tough, thorough; it wasn’t a big margin, but that doesn’t matter, he still came home first and he did a great job,” added the jockey, who won the race previously atop Tiber in 2004.

Gibson hailed Whyte’s tactical nous and indicated that the winner could head to the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup next time on 17 February, where he could meet stable mate Akeed Mofeed.

“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Douglas because it wasn’t the race we envisaged. I thought it was quite a messy race – we certainly didn’t envisage hitting the front that soon and that was one of our only concerns; but Douglas, being the top international jockey he is, adapted accordingly and I think the horse will be better over a longer distance as well.

“We’re very lucky – we’ve got a few options but this horse has got to run, he’s got to learn, and it’s very likely that he’ll run in a month’s time (in the Hong Kong Classic Cup).”




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