Royal Ascot runner-up Gold-Fun will continue his overseas campaign and trainer Richard Gibson has pinpointed a 1,300m Group One in France he believes will be perfect for the battle-hardened sprinter.
Gold-Fun will contest the Prix Maurice de Gheest on August 7 at Deauville after a brave performance in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 18.
In the moments after Gold-Fun’s second to Twilight Son, Gibson ruled out a run in the July Cup at Newmarket but was already thinking of extending the seven-year-old’s preparation to France, where the English trainer was based before moving to Hong Kong.
“This horse always runs well fresh, so we were never going to run in the July Cup, but I know the French programme well and it’s a very unique distance running 1,300m down a straight. After finishing off so strongly over 1,200m at Royal Ascot, I think that extra 100m will suit him,” Gibson said.
The Prix Maurice de Gheest can attract some of the best sprinters in Europe, with French trainer Freddy Head dominating the event over the last decade with six wins – three of them with champion mare Moonlight Cloud between 2011 and 2013.
Last year, Charlie Hills’ star three-year-old Muhaarar won the race against the older horses after winning the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and then the July Cup, and subsequently returned to England and captured champion European sprinter honours with victory in the British Champions Sprint Stakes.
“It’s a high quality race and the top European sprinters will be there without a doubt, but we have shown that we are up there with them,” Gibson said. “The Prix Maurice de Gheest is a race that has been won by some very nice horses previously, not just Muhaarar and Moonlight Cloud, but Freddy Head’s sprinter Marchand d’Or was an exceptional talent.”
Gold-Fun will remain based at Mike de Kock’s Abington Place stables in Newmarket in the lead-up to his next race.
“He has just been jogging since the Diamond Jubilee and we will resume full work this week,” Gibson said.
Even though Gold-Fun has collected more than HK$47 million in Hong Kong and has continued to race well this season, never finishing worse than fourth while racing exclusively at either Group One or Group Two level, Gibson suggested the horse’s future plans may be built around foreign races.
“The feeling is that there aren’t many options in Hong Kong for him anymore, it’s a little sharp for him over 1,200m at Sha Tin, but the variations in Europe are well suited for him,” he said.