Gold-Fun has all the right tools
Gold-Fun will have to turn history on its head today to win it, but the four-year-old has everything made to order for him to step further out from the shadow of Akeed Mofeed and take the Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m).
The cheaper of Richard Gibson's two purchases for owner Pan Sutong going towards last season's classics, Gold-Fun (Olivier Doleuze) was always seen as the lesser horse, despite winning the Classic Mile, while Akeed Mofeed marched to the Derby.
But he established himself along the way as a no nonsense, tough and willing gelding with a future of his own, even if he lacked the charisma of his handsome stablemate.
And Gold-Fun's brilliant return in the National Day Cup on October 1 confirmed that future, throwing his cards on the table for the Longines Hong Kong Mile even before injury to Ambitious Dragon and a setback for Glorious Days.
He was to meet them in the race, perhaps as an underdog, but will surely be favourite in their absence and heavy is the head that carries that crown. Not since Quicken Away won the Sha Tin Trophy in 1991 for Nigel Tiley and Peter Ng Bik-kuen has the outright favourite saluted, and along the trail of broken favourites have lain superstars and Horses of the Year and the full gamut of Group One winners.
By comparison with some of those, Gold-Fun has a humble, if improving, record but he has the tools to win. Primary among them are his tactical ability, attitude and a relatively light weight, as well as the benefit of a run, while Military Attack, California Memory and Dan Excel concede him both weight and fitness.
Although an awkward start saw him ridden back in a National Day Cup where the leaders ran along, Doleuze said later the plan had been to race handier and there will be no reason to have a different plan today. Gold-Fun, Dan Excel, Helene Spirit, Xtension and possibly Real Specialist (Tye Angland) look the first five in running and whoever wants the front will probably have it unpressured.
Gold-Fun should take a position trailing whatever the speed may be, and ready to turn on that nice switch of gears he showed first-up.
Rainbow Chic (Karis Teetan) also possesses a good acceleration and never got to use it behind Gold-Fun last time when blocked. He may find this a different style of race but, with clear running, can give Gold-Fun a real run for his money.