Racing News  

Gold and Treasure in the hunt for Sunday��s G1 riches


Pan Sutong’s red-spotted gold silks have become a familiar fixture in Hong Kong’s major races in recent times and the owner has a leading candidate for each of Sunday’s two Group 1 features in Gold-Fun and Giant Treasure.

Gold-Fun heads into the HK$10 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) seeking to reassfert as Hong Kong’s top 1400m runner - the seven-year-old won the prize two seasons back but had to settle for third behind the now sidelined Able Friend 12 months ago. Giant Treasure came of age last start with a G1 breakthrough in the Stewards’ Cup (1600m) and will attempt to prove his mettle over 2000m in the HK$10 million G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup.

Trainer Richard Gibson, responsible for both of Pan’s current G1 flag-bearers, is looking forward to the challenge and has booked Christophe Soumillon to ride the duo. The Belgian has collected plenty of air-miles on the Paris to Hong Kong route in the past year, flying in primarily to partner the gold and red gallopers.  

“Christophe’s one of the world’s very best; and that’s quite a statement to say someone’s one of the world’s best jockeys. He’s got vision and strength and balance, and he really seems to get 100 percent out of each horse in these big races,” said Gibson of Soumillon, who conjured a winning run from Giant Treasure last start and has a record of two wins and three places from only five starts atop Gold-Fun. 

It would be hard to name a more consistent high-grader anywhere than Gold-Fun over the past four seasons. The gelding has 10 wins from 26 races in that time and a further 10 placed finishes. Sunday’s G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) will be his 24th consecutive outing in Pattern grade and follows on from a smart second to Hong Kong’s Champion Sprinter, Aerovelocity, in January’s Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m).

“This is the race we’ve been looking forward to all year,” said Gibson, who has often stated his belief that 1400m is Gold-Fun’s optimum distance. “He’s had another fantastic season - he’s raced against some of the best sprinters in the world, so we’re in good shape again for the race and we’re looking forward to it.

“The key with Gold-Fun is that he runs very well fresh, so that would place a slight question mark going into the fourth run of the season but I think his coat is better than last time - we’ve just trained him lightly since that race (Centenary Sprint Cup) and tried to keep as much freshness on him as possible.”

Giant Treasure’s Stewards’ Cup win means the Mizzen Mast grey is the only horse in with a shot at the Hong Kong Triple Crown this year, and the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup is the second leg. Gibson is pleased with how the grey has progressed from last season, when he was ranked amongst the best of Hong Kong’s four-year-old crop, to emerge as a G1 winner this time around.

“Giant Treasure’s in good nick,” said Gibson. “He’s matured well this year so he’s taking his racing well and we’ve got him in good shape for Sunday.”

The five-year-old, third in the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile and the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) in 2015, is stepping up to 2000m for only the second time in his career, having passed the post three and a quarter lengths fifth in last year’s HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby at the course and distance.

“He’s certainly got the stamina to handle it,” said Gibson, “but I’m slightly concerned about tempo - they go quickly into that first turn and then they tend to slow up, so we’ll have to rely on the genius of Soumillon once again. We need some pace in the race, there’s no question about it. We’ll have to go forward and see if we can find a hole somewhere.”

Giant Treasure holds an entry in the G1 Dubai World Cup (2000m), a route Gibson took with the Pan-owned Akeed Mofeed in 2014. Akeed Mofeed finished fifth in Meydan’s dirt track showcase so will Giant Treasure aim to better that this year? 

“I think Dubai is quite a slim chance,” said Gibson. “He’s had a good season already and there are races at the end of the season for us, so I’d say it’s unlikely at the moment.”

The Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup has attracted a stellar field of 11 that also features international G1 winners Blazing Speed, Designs On Rome, Dan Excel, Dominant, Military Attack and Helene Super Star, as well as Helene Happy Star, Secret Weapon, Mr Gnocchi and Flame Hero.

A field of 9 is set to line up for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup, with Beauty Flame, Contentment, Beauty Only and Dundonnell amongst them.

Sunday’s 10-race card commences at 1pm with the Citigold Private Client Handicap (1200m). The Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup is race six on the card, due off at 3.30pm, while the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup is race eight, start time 4.35pm.

Gold-Fun cruises to victory in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint earlier this season.
Photo 1:
Gold-Fun cruises to victory in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint earlier this season.

Giant Treasure (No.8) lands the Stewards�� Cup with Christophe Soumillon on board.
Photo 2:
Giant Treasure (No.8) lands the Stewards�� Cup with Christophe Soumillon on board.


Related Website�G

Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup

Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup


Copyright © 2000-2024 The Hong Kong Jockey Club. All rights reserved.