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Rain clouds are making Gibson nervy


Talking about the weather is an English past-time – an obsession, no less – and there has been plenty of obsessing around Ascot racecourse this week as British Summertime has beguiled racing folk with torrential downpours and intermittent rays of golden light. The rain has won that contest, sunshine running a moderate second, which is not the best scenario for Hong Kong’s Gold-Fun.

Richard Gibson’s gelding has enjoyed a smooth preparation into Saturday’s (18 June) G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) but that good work could come to nought if heavy rain hits Royal Ascot on race day. Unusually for the meeting, the ground has remained soft throughout the first three days and more heavy showers have been for forecast today (Friday).

“It’s a nervy time because the ground is very border-line and you can get a big shower at any time, so it’s in the hands of the gods” Gibson said. “We couldn’t be happier with the horse but we’re looking to the skies every two seconds.”

But the outlook is not all rain and gloom. The meteorologists are predicting, tentatively, a cloudy but dry Saturday, and the race itself has drawn only 10 runners, Gold-Fun being the highest-rated of the bunch.

The seven-year-old will line up in Royal Ascot’s G1 finale with an official international rating of 119. Last year’s winner, the US raider Undrafted, is rated 118, while the best of the younger guns, Britain’s Twilight Son and Australia’s Holler, are currently rated 117. Magical Memory, a leading fancy locally, is on a mark of 114. If the weather co-operates, the race promises to be a closely-fought contest.

“It’s encouraging that he’s the highest rated horse in the race,” Gibson said of the Pan Sutong-owned sprinter, who travelled well from Hong Kong last Saturday and has appeared to be happy and healthy during his short stay at Abington Place stables in Newmarket.

And any trepidation about the threatening rain clouds is not overshadowing Gibson’s enthusiasm for the challenge of running one of Hong Kong’s most consistent and able leading lights in Royal Ascot’s straight 1200m showcase. 

“We feel that he’ll be well suited to this race’s profile and we’re all keen for him to put in a huge performance for Hong Kong.”

A win for Gold-Fun would be Hong Kong’s third at Royal Ascot. Cape Of Good Hope won the same contest in 2005 when the race was staged at York, and Little Bridge won the G1 King’s Stand Stakes at Ascot in 2012.

Gold-Fun lands the G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint in style earlier this season with Christophe Soumillon on board.
Photo 1:
Gold-Fun lands the G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint in style earlier this season with Christophe Soumillon on board.


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