Gold Mount has Melbourne Cup on agenda after returning in style at York
Gold Mount, who won at Royal Ascot as Primitivo in 2016, made a winning start for Ian Williams in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup at York.
Trained by Alan King before heading out to the riches of Hong Kong, where he was renamed, the six-year-old has the Melbourne Cup as a long-term aim.
Having competed with credit at the highest level in the Far East for Tony Cruz, he slightly lost his way for Richard Gibson, who advised sending him to his good friend Williams after a fourth-placed finish in the Dubai Gold Cup behind Cross Counter.
Dropped out into the rear by Andrea Atzeni as the favourite Mekong put the pace to the race, the winner moved up to challenge stylishly.
As Mekong and Austrian School dropped away, it was between Raheen House, having his first start for William Haggas, and Gold Mount, who powered away to win by two and a quarter lengths at 16-1.
The race guaranteed him a spot in the Ebor, for which the sponsors quoted him at 14-1 – but Williams sounded lukewarm.
“He came from my very good friend Richard Gibson and after he ran so well in Hong Kong, they (owners) decided they’d like to aim at the Melbourne Cup,” said Williams.
“This was the start of his journey there and he couldn’t have done any more. He’s beat a fairly decent field very well and I’m delighted with his performance.
“He’s enjoyed that ground so we’ll have to be careful where we send him from here on in, but he’s tough – not big, but hardy.
“He’s performed well at Group One level over 10 furlongs in Hong Kong so as a stayer we don’t know what he can do.
“In terms of the Ebor I think the handicapper will give him plenty of weight. He’s a small horse, a big weight in a top handicap might be tough for him.
“He’s been sent to me to be prepared for the Melbourne Cup, so we’ll work back from there.”