The red and gold colours that adorned Akeed Mofeed in his Hong Kong Derby win four years ago will get another airing in the 2017 edition on a live chance after a big debut win by the Tony Cruz-trained Gold Mount in the final race at Sha Tin.
It’s no mean feat to win on debut in Class Two but Gold Mount stormed home up the inside rail to score impressively and ensure himself a place in the Derby for owner Pan Sutong.
It was the first winner for Pan in combination with Cruz, after a very public shift of the billionaire businessman’s horses from Richard Gibson’s yard in late December.
Cruz attempted to bring Christophe Soumillon – Pan’s first preference jockey – to ride Giant Treasure and Gold Mount on Sunday but the Belgian was unable to organise appropriate flights and French ace Gerald Mosse, here for Joyful Trinity in the Group One, proved an able substitute on the latter.
“I think Gold Mount has big potential,” Mosse said, clearly impressed. “I had never seen him before in my life and, as a type of horse, he is not outstanding but he has a big heart. Tony said to me before the race he is like a Mini Cooper with a Porsche engine. And the way that he answered and quickened in the last 400m really pleased me and I’m sure everyone will be happy with that result.”
Formerly raced as Primitivo in England, Gold Mount topped a run of four straight wins in mid-2016 with the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot over 2,400m.
“He will be much better suited in a Derby than the 1,600m today. At 2,000m or 2,400m he will be better I’m sure,” Mosse said. “There is no question he is up to the class on his form overseas and even today, to win like that in Class Two against some horses who were looking at the Derby or close to it.
“Tony has done a great job with this horse, getting him ready to race and win like that, with so little time since he came to his stable but we know Tony is a very good trainer. If they want me to come back for the Derby, I would be more than happy to ride this one.”