Hong Kong handler Richard Gibson sweats on Gold-Fun’s barrier draw in the Sprint

Richard Gibson is confident Gold-Fun can overcome his international day hoodoo, but the trainer won’t get too excited until he sees which barrier the reinvented star comes up with in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint.

Gibson was in a buoyant mood after Gold-Fun laid down an impressive final piece of work yesterday morning, but said the shortest of the international day features was also the most “draw-dependent”.

“It has been a very straight forward, uncomplicated preparation for Gold-Fun, which is what you want going into a race like this,” Gibson said.

“I’m confident but I’m also biting my lip a little bit. I don’t want to speak too soon as this race is so draw-dependent, and a bad barrier is the only thing that could bring the whole preparation undone.

“So I’m off to the temple to pray today, and the next day, and we will see what gate we come up with on Thursday.”

Gold-Fun has been second in the last two runnings of the Hong Kong Mile – first to Glorious Days in 2013, and then to an unstoppable Able Friend last year – and the losses have left Gibson feeling hollow.

“Both of his runs on international day have been very brave. He was mightily unlucky to be beaten by Glorious Days. He booted three or four clear in the straight, so to be nailed right on the line, we were gutted, it was a massive blow.

“Then we got slam-dunked by Able Friend.”

It was another three runs behind Able Friend at the start of this year that prompted Gibson to bring Gold-Fun back to 1,200 metres for the first time in his career and it paid immediate dividends with a win over Aerovelocity in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

Even off-season joint surgery hasn’t seemed to slow the six-year-old, with a second to Able Friend in the Premier Bowl first-up followed by his convincing win in the local lead-up race.

“It’s remarkable for a horse to be so versatile and to come back in such good nick and give himself a chance in the sprint,” Gibson said.

“He has won a Group One race in every year since he has been in Hong Kong, which is a pretty rare feat.

“He hasn’t been able to do it on international day yet, but this could be his best chance.”

Gold-Fun worked down the back straight with stablemate Obliterator aboard, coasting from the 400m to the 800m in 28 seconds and zipping home the last 400m in 22.12.

“He was just asked to quicken up on the bridle and we were really pleased with the pipe-opener ahead of Sunday,” Gibson said.



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