Sheikh to fulfil his promise to Gibson

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am


The Melbourne Cup is coming to Hong Kong - at least the silverware is - with the winning owner of yesterday's French-trained winner Dunaden declaring post-race that he would keep his promise to the horse's former trainer, Richard Gibson.

Gibson moved quite a number of horses from his yard to that of cup-winning trainer Mikel Delzangles earlier this year as he wound up his Chantilly stables in preparation for his new career in Hong Kong.

Dunaden was one of the horses that Gibson himself took over from another stable.

He improved the horse considerably to raise him to Group-winning level and the Englishman has kept close tabs on Dunaden's subsequent career.

'They promised me, if they won, they would bring the cup over here so I could see it and hold it. I've just spoken to the owner and he told me the cup is on its way,' a delighted Gibson said yesterday after the last-gasp victory by Dunaden at Flemington.

It was the biggest win for Dunaden's owner, Qatari royal Sheikh Fahad al-Thani, who had offered to fly Gibson to Melbourne to be part of the day.

'It was a very generous offer but my priorities are here with my team at Sha Tin now,' Gibson said. 'So I watched it on television but I'm delighted for everyone concerned and it's fantastic for French racing.

'The sheikh is the biggest new owner to emerge in European racing in the last 10 years, so I'm taking a lot of personal satisfaction from having found him the horse that gave him his first international Group One.'

At Flemington, Delzangles didn't forget to credit Gibson with his part of the story in his post-race comments.

'Richard left France for Hong Kong earlier this year, but we trained at the same place, and the horses didn't actually move, they stayed in the same yard,' Delzangles said.

'We are good friends, Richard and I. He talked to me about all of the horses - including, of course, Dunaden - and he has been very helpful with everything.'