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Gold-Fun surges to HKG3 Celebration Cup triumph

05/10/2014

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.”

Super Lifeline held on for second by a nose from the fast-finishing Horse of the Year, Designs On Rome, who closed off from deep under top-weight of 133lbs. Two-time LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) hero California Memory (126lbs) ran on from the rear to finish seventh, two lengths behind the winner.

Whyte followed up in the next (Race 8) to collect a rapid-fire double. The South African, a 13-time Champion Jockey in Hong Kong, got the better of a three-way photo to win the Cheer Handicap (1200m) by a short-head and a nose from the Joao Moreira-ridden Precision King and Berlinski, the mount of reigning Champion Jockey Zac Purton.

Moreira, the current premiership leader, notched a four-timer on the day thanks to wins atop Supreme Profit (R2), Multi-Win General (R4), a dead-heat verdict on Celestial Smile (R6) and Supreme Falcon (R9).

Photo 1, 2, 3:<br>
Richard Gibson-trained Gold-Fun (No.2, in red/yellow cap), with Douglas Whyte on board, powers home to win the HKG3 Celebration Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin racecourse today.
Photo 1:
Photo 1, 2, 3:
Richard Gibson-trained Gold-Fun (No.2, in red/yellow cap), with Douglas Whyte on board, powers home to win the HKG3 Celebration Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin racecourse today.


Photo 2


Photo 3

Winning connections of Gold-Fun celebrate their victory after the race.
Photo 4:
Winning connections of Gold-Fun celebrate their victory after the race.

Photo 5, 6, 7:<br>
The Hon Martin Liao, Steward of the Club, presents the winning trophy and silver dishes to Owner Mr Pan Sutong, trainer Richard Gibson and jockey Douglas Whyte of Celebration Cup winner Gold-Fun.
Photo 5:
Photo 5, 6, 7:
The Hon Martin Liao, Steward of the Club, presents the winning trophy and silver dishes to Owner Mr Pan Sutong, trainer Richard Gibson and jockey Douglas Whyte of Celebration Cup winner Gold-Fun.


Photo 6


Photo 7

Club Chairman Dr Simon Ip (back row, 1st from right), Stewards of the Club and connections of Celebration Cup winner Gold-Fun, smile for cameras in the trophy presentation ceremony.
Photo 8:
Club Chairman Dr Simon Ip (back row, 1st from right), Stewards of the Club and connections of Celebration Cup winner Gold-Fun, smile for cameras in the trophy presentation ceremony.

 

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