Gold-Fun among Hong Kong horses nominated for Royal Ascot meeting

Richard Gibson’s miler-turned Group One-winning sprinter Gold-Fun was among the Hong Kong nominations for the Royal Ascot meeting yesterday and the trainer said it was “probable” the six-year-old would head overseas after contesting The Sprint Cup on Sunday at Sha Tin.

Gold-Fun is nominated for the King’s Stand Stakes (1,000m) and Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1,200m). He was among three Hong Kong-trained entries for the five-day fixture in June, along with John Moore-trained Able Friend and his stablemate Not Listenin’tome.

Group One winner Peniaphobia was a notable absentee from the list, with trainer Tony Cruz saying his sprinter’s season will finish with Sunday’s Group Two. Gibson entered Gold-Fun for Royal Ascot last year and did not follow through with an overseas trip, but he said a run was far more likely this time around, regardless of the result on Sunday.

“It isn’t necessarily dependent on the race result on the weekend, as these decisions are taken by the owner [Pan Sutong],” Gibson said. “It is more likely than it was 12 months ago, as the owner loves going to Royal Ascot and it would give him a huge amount of pleasure to have a runner there.”

With Gold-Fun’s regular pilot Douglas Whyte opting to ride Peniaphobia on Sunday, Gibson has jumped at the chance to enlist Olivier Peslier after the Frenchman was flown in by connections of Packing Llaregyb for the Group One Audemars Piguet QEII Cup.

Gold-Fun is the reigning champion miler of the season, but has been reinvented as a sprint star by Gibson, notching a narrow win over Aerovelocity in February’s Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize when dropped back below 1,400m for the first time.

“Gold-Fun is one of those horses, he is a natural athlete, he is one of the most consistent in Hong Kong and one of the best here,” Gibson said. “But we have such a fantastic bunch of highly respected, international class horses here that any time you step out against this level of opposition it is a tough ask.”

Gold-Fun’s stablemate Dundonnell will also contest the Group Two Sprint Cup, with another visiting Frenchmen, Stephane Pasquier, to ride.



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