Doleuze steps aside for Ho to take one for team
Teamwork has been a term often uttered post-win by Richard Gibson, and it was that spirit of co-operation on display again as the Englishmen landed a dirt-track double and revealed a Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby hopeful at Sha Tin.
After all of Gibson's 13 wins, he has deflected praise on to others, whether it's jockeys, trackwork riders or ground staff.
Yesterday it was Gibson's regular work-out rider and race-day jockey Olivier Doleuze granted credit, after the Frenchman selflessly gave up the ride on Turin Champion so that the trainer could utilise Vincent Ho Chak-yiu's five-pound claim.
Doleuze, who finished fourth in the same race on Winner Smart, explained why he suggested Ho be engaged.
'He is only a small horse and last time I rode him at Happy Valley and he was struggling in the last 100m with the big weight, so I suggested the five-pound claim,' he said. 'I don't think if I had ridden him he would have won. We work as a team, of course I want to win, but when Richard wins I am happy.'
Turin Champion's Class Five breakthrough, his first win in 18 starts, was followed by a dominant all-weather track display by Quantum Power, before Gibson's highly-rated import Beauty Lead was running-on late in his Hong Kong debut.
It was Quantum Power's first run on the dirt, but US-breeding and a strong trial showing on the surface had Gibson confident he would win.
'He is by Fusaichi Pegasus, so we knew he would handle the surface and it was no surprise to see him win with ease,' said Gibson, who took over training the four-year-old in November after he had won two from eight for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.
Since then the horse has seemed to settle better in races, and according to winning jockey Gerald Mosse, has gradually taken on a more robust appearance.
'More weight and in better shape,' is how Mosse described the change. 'He presents better now and looks good in his coat, there's more weight on his back. Richard has done a good job with this horse, to make him more relaxed and feel better in his mind.'
Beauty Lead was hand-picked by Gibson after an eight-start career in France, which garnered two wins, one a Group Three over a mile.
He described the colt's seventh, beaten 21/2 lengths by Business As Usual as a 'sound Hong Kong debut'.
Rated on 95 before yesterday, Gibson has options as he moves to the Group One Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby in March, but one of them won't be the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile in nine days' time.
'Even if we had won we would not have gone there and we'll perhaps look for further,' he said.