Gibson making the most of it
Richard Gibson's former horse Dunaden may have won the world's richest handicap during the week, but the English trainer is adamant he isn't looking back.
Gibson left behind a quality team of horses in France, including what turned out to be a future Melbourne Cup winner, but his fledgling career in Hong Kong continues to go from strength to strength.
A Class Five staying race is about as far from Flemington's Group One showpiece as you can get, but Gibson's training effort to produce Easy Gold to his third straight victory in the grade speaks volumes of his ability as a horseman.
The win is typical of the way he has taken largely cast-offs in his first few months as a Hong Kong trainer and turned them into competitive, consistent horses in quick time.
He has four winners and owners are paying attention - Gibson's numbers have exploded from 15 to 50 already. All of Gibson's wins have come in the lower tiers - Class Four and Five - but the trainer is making the most of what he has got. With his burgeoning success and friendly attitude with owners, he is sure to start attracting better horses, types he has already shown he knows what to do with.
The 42-year-old is happy to find his niche in getting the most out of lower rated and tried horses.
'I don't mind being called the Class Five specialist, I'd be delighted to be called the specialist of something,' he laughed. 'The horses have been running well so long may it continue.'
To win three races on end in Class Five, as Easy Gold has, is no mean feat. The last horse to do it was the Tony Cruz-trained galloper Zero Gravity, who grabbed three-straight at Happy Valley in early 2009.
Zero Gravity never won again, but Easy Gold - who has won off marks of 23, 29 and 36 - has only had nine starts and looks to have scope to go further.
'He is one of those exciting types that is probably still ahead of the handicapper,' Gibson said. 'He is a good-looking fit horse and it wouldn't surprise me if there is more to come.'
It was Gibson's first win at Sha Tin for the term, but certainly not his first at the course. Sha Tin was the scene of two of his greatest triumphs as a trainer. He won the Hong Kong Vase with Doctor Dino in 2007 and 2008.
'It's been a long time and it's about time we won here again,' he said.
Olivier Doleuze was stuck wide on the five-year-old yesterday, after jumping from barrier 11, but had a nice trail. The Frenchman added that when the rail was in the 'C+3' position, being toward the centre of the track wasn't a huge disadvantage.
'When the rail is there it's OK,' said Doleuze. 'Maybe I didn't want to be that wide. But I didn't want to get squeezed inside horses. I felt like I went a touch to soon but the horse just put himself there.'
Doleuze, who rode for Gibson in France, wasn't surprised at what the trainer had managed with Easy Gold.
'The horse just keeps on improving and has done well in the mornings,' he said. 'He is doing his job and that was a very good win again. It's a very rare thing to get three wins in a row Class Five.'
The number of horses that are now in Richard Gibson's yard, from just 15 recently