Gold rush continues for Gibson and Whyte after Fun's second Group One success
In this part of the world, the race programme tends to dictate when horses race next, but Richard Gibson proved with Gold-Fun's Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup win that there is still scope within the calendar for a perfectly planned preparation.
As a relieved Gibson reflected on a dominant Group One victory that shed the gelding's bridesmaid tag and set up a tantalising Champions Mile clash with his Hong Kong Mile conqueror Glorious Days and Derby runner-up Able Friend, winning jockey Douglas Whyte praised the Englishman for producing Gold-Fun first-up for nearly two months.
"Everything fell into place, it needs to win a Group One, but it's easy to say that afterwards - that was a great training performance," Whyte said. "To have him fresh, but with enough fitness to be able to execute in a finish like that was well done."
Gibson had freshened Gold-Fun after a sixth in the Stewards' Cup, applying blinkers and keeping the five-year-old ticking over with two barrier trials in between.
"When a horse is off for two months like that you have to get everything right," Gibson said. "The trials were spot on and good horses respond to good quality work."
While Gold-Fun had won the 2013 Classic Mile against his own age group, he was then third to fellow Pan Sutong-owned star Akeed Mofeed in last year's Derby and a heartbreaking second to Glorious Days on international day.
December's unlucky big race effort was preceded by three early season wins at Group level and Whyte said the tag Group One winner now sat comfortably next to Gold-Fun's name.
"He deserves that Group One more than most - he has found one too good for him a few times, but Glorious Days was a bridesmaid a few times, too," Whyte said. "This win will give him a bit more confidence. And while he is still going to have a tough time when he lines up against the best of them, he is certainly improving every race."
John Moore managed to secure second through fourth in the race with Dan Excel, Charles The Great and Frederick Engels.
Runner-up Dan Excel produced a remarkable effort dropping back in trip from 2,000m to what seemed an unsuitable 1,400m, offering his usual stiff resistance, and jockey Neil Callan stunned at the game effort.
"He is so tough and honest - he was parked three-wide with no cover and to still fight on like he did was amazing," Callan said.
Fifth-placed Lucky Nine was one of a few fancied runners to put in a flat performance, along with Flagship Shine in sixth.