Gold-Fun surges to HKG3 Celebration Cup triumph

Gold-Fun delivered a devastating final late burst to claim a breathtaking success in the inaugural running of the HKG3 Celebration Cup (Handicap) at Sha Tin racecourse this afternoon, Sunday 5 October.

“He’s some machine,” declared trainer Richard Gibson, after Hong Kong’s Champion Miler had defied a 130lbs burden and a troubled stretch run to land the spoils in the 1400m contest from a star-studded field of rivals. The Irish-bred gelding emulated the winning start he made to last season when he won the equivalent HKG3 1400m contest, staged then as the National Day Cup.

“We’re looking forward to a good season with this horse,” continued the trainer. “He’s made physical improvement and we’re expecting another big year from Gold-Fun. I’ve always said 1400m is his best distance and I think he would have won by farther if he’d got the break earlier – he’s got a lot of class.”

Gold-Fun, first-up for the season, burst sharply from gate 12 and found himself to the outside of a line of three that vied for the early lead. Douglas Whyte quickly opted to take a tug and slotted the powerful five-year-old to the rail in third spot as Helene Spirit (127lbs) set a strong tempo ahead of bottom-weight Super Lifeline (113lbs).

Gold-Fun, runner-up in last year’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile, was pulling double as the field of 12 turned for home but found his passage blocked. Super Lifeline drew upsides the leader and just as Whyte looked to shift his mount away from the fence, Flagship Shine quickened to his outer, followed rapidly by Secret Sham.

With the field hurtling towards the winning post, Whyte’s prayers were answered with 150m to spare as an opening appeared ahead. The former champion jockey pointed his mount toward it and the response was emphatic. Gold-Fun shifted gears in an instant, surged to the lead with 50m to spare and crossed the line a cosy three quarters of a length to the good. The winning time was 1m 21.44s.

“I was very pleased with the way he finished,” said Whyte. “His work indicated he was flying and he loves the 1400m. It was just fantastic to feel a horse with a finishing burst like that – to know that you’ve got something to work with going forward.”



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