Quieter ride brings out the best in Gold-Fun
Racing followers were spoilt for some horses to black book at the top end after Tuesday's National Day Cup, with Gold-Fun returning a career best on his resumption but stablemate Akeed Mofeed had a flashing red light on him back in the field.
Gold-Fun spent most of his first campaign being pushed forward in his races, and his major efforts to win the Classic Mile and run third in the Derby showed excellent courage and character rather than returning brilliant performance figures. Used up to a significant extent early, he was dogged rather than dashing at the business end of his races but that left the suspicion that he had another upward step in him when the day came that he could be ridden more quietly.
That day was Tuesday. Gold-Fun struck trouble early, forcing a quieter ride and he showed the turn of foot that has previously been well camouflaged, in a performance that elevated him from an open Group One hopeful to a contender.
If Gold-Fun's victory made a positive statement about last season's four-year-olds, the Caspar Fownes-trained Rainbow Chic seconded the motion finishing fourth without much luck, and further back the Derby winner Akeed Mofeed was particularly hard to miss despite his ninth placing.
Just as in his early runs last season, the colt was fresh, hard to handle and unco-operative and then wanted to go sideways under Douglas Whyte in the straight. The champion jockey treated him with kid gloves and the stewards took him to task over his lack of vigour early in the straight but the Derby winner was running on to heels at the finish when he finally did get some forward momentum going.
In the support races, Bundle Of Joy stood out despite his defeat at an odds-on quote. The horses who finished with him in the three-way photo, Ensemble and Roman Legend, had both had a race this season and the key for Bundle Of Joy was that a win required him, first time out, to post a new career best. He did so and was touched off but that carries the expectation Bundle Of Joy will springboard off that to higher next time.