Gold-Fun ready for Deauville test

Gold-Fun will swipe a cut at a slice of history on Sunday (7 August) when he takes his European campaign to Deauville for the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest (1300m). No Hong Kong-trained horse has ever prevailed on French soil, but since the gelding’s brave second at Royal Ascot back in June trainer Richard Gibson has been preparing his charge from an establishment renowned for its standout triumphs with sprinters.

“He’s been stabled with Robert Cowell in Newmarket, whose team have done a great job looking after him,” said Gibson. The chestnut had been stabled at the town’s Abington Place Stables for his Ascot preparation.

“Post-Ascot he had a 10-day break at a speller’s and then he’s been in training at Rob’s for six weeks. Rob has a whole multitude of Group race sprinters in his barn now, he’s a specialist sprint trainer, and after being there the past few weeks we’re happy with Gold-Fun’s condition,” Gibson continued.

Gold-Fun, winner of the HKG1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in 2015 and four times runner-up at international G1 level, has been keeping good company at Bottisham Heath Stud. The Cowell string includes last season’s G1 King’s Stand Stakes and Prix de l’Abbaye victor Goldream, recent Royal Ascot winners Outback Traveller and Prince Of Lir, and the veteran speedster Kingsgate Native.

“He did his last piece of work yesterday(Tuesday) and I’m very happy with the way he has recovered from his race at Ascot,” said Gibson, who is hoping the seven-year-old can finish one place better than when a late-closing neck second to Twilight Son in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) last time. France’s champion jockey Christophe Soumillon will once again take the reins.

“The horse will arrive at Deauville the day before the race and weather conditions are expected to be good, so we’re expecting a good track. Christophe Soumillon will be playing at home for once aboard Gold-Fun, so we’ll be hoping he can give us some home jockey advantage.”

A former Champion Miler in Hong Kong, Gold-Fun was doing his best work at the end of Ascot’s 1200m straight last start, and with an extra 100m to race down the Deauville straight course, Sunday’s contest looks tailor-made. But Gibson is keeping a lid on bubbling expectations.

“I’ve had a look at the opposition and it’s a tough European Group 1 sprint. These aren’t easy races to win and it’s likely we’ll have quite a big field, so draw is going to come into play as well.”

The field of 19 is set to include recent G2 Lennox Stakes (1400m) winner Dutch Connection, G1 July Cup (1200m) second Suedois – close-up behind Gold-Fun in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – the Aidan O’Brien-trained Air Force Blue, and Gordon Lord Byron.


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