Whyte picks Gold-Fun for Classic Mile
Champion jockey Douglas Whyte has jumped off Happy Era to stick with the Richard Gibson-trained Gold-Fun in the Group One Classic Mile on Sunday week.
Whyte has been the regular rider of the John Size-trained Happy Era but the star rider had a choice to make for the first of the four-year-old classics after being on board Gold-Fun in his past two wins.
The first sign Whyte would stay with Gold-Fun came on Tuesday when Gerald Mosse climbed aboard Happy Era in a barrier trial, with Whyte on a runner for Danny Shum Chap-shing, and Whyte confirmed his move yesterday.
"It was a tough decision as both horses are heading up the ladder to something better, but when I look at what Gold-Fun has done, winning two of his three runs here, you don't see many Private Purchase imports do that and he gives me the feel of a nice horse," said Whyte, adding that distance considerations entered into his thinking as he seeks a second win in the Classic Mile.
His previous success came nine years ago for John Moore when Tiber upset the long odds-on favourite, Lucky Owners.
Happy Era has yet to race beyond 1,400 metres, while Gold-Fun has already proven himself over the Sha Tin 1,600m in his past two performances.
"That was part of it. I think Happy Era will get a mile, especially against his own age group like this, but it could be a telling factor," the rider said.
"On the other hand, Gold-Fun will certainly go further than a mile later and he will be very strong at this distance now."
Gibson has yet to make any final decision on whether tackling the Classic Mile will be on the schedule of last weekend's smart first-up winner, Mizani.
"We're in no hurry with him. Mizani's priority is going to be the longer races but we'll see how he is next week and make a decision on the Classic Mile then," Gibson said yesterday, ahead of the first racetrack appearance tomorrow of his highly touted Irish import, Akeed Mofeed.
"It's an exciting time for the stable, we have some really nice ones coming out," Gibson said. "Akeed Mofeed has done everything right, I've been pleased with his preparation and his trials, but he's in a quite a competitive event for a first start and, like Gold-Fun, he hasn't been wound right up for his debut.
"The objective is for him to have a good race and to be running home strongly. I won't be disappointed if he is beaten, I just want to see him race well. He has a lot of class and ability - two nice attributes in a horse."