Richard Gibson is expecting a “huge” performance from his former galloper Gold Mount when the seven-year-old steps out in Saturday’s Group One Caulfield Cup (2,400m) in Melbourne.
After starting his career in England, Gold Mount raced in Hong Kong for two years – first under the care of Tony Cruz until switching to Gibson – before connections decided to send the horse back to the United Kingdom after his fourth in the Group Two Dubai Gold Cup (3,200m) at Meydan in March.
A genuine stayer, there were not enough suitable races in Hong Kong for Gold Mount and the horse has thrived since being transferred to Ian Williams.
After winning the Race to the Ebor Grand Cup, Gold Mount ran second in the Group Three Silver Cup, with both races run over 2,816m at York.
Gibson expects the 2,400m at Caulfield to suit Gold Mount and is confident the trip to Australia will present no hassles for a horse that also has the Melbourne Cup on his radar and sits 28th in the order of entry for that race.
“I’m in touch with the trainer every day, I know Ian is very happy with the horse,” Gibson said. “We’ve got the ground to suit, he’s drawn well and we’re expecting a good performance.”
The Hong Kong connection runs deep in this year’s edition of the Caulfield Cup, with Ronald Arculli’s Red Verdon also lining up in the race.
It is the second time the former Hong Kong Jockey Club chairman has taken Red Verdon to the race after the seven-year-old finished 11th behind Best Solution with Zac Purton in the saddle last year.
The horse went on to finish 13th behind Exultant in the Group One Hong Kong Vase (2,400m) at Sha Tin and enters this year’s Caulfield Cup on the back of patchy form.
He defeated Gold Mount to win the Silver Cup in July before finishing 14th in the Ebor in August behind another horse that steps out on Saturday at Caulfield in Mustajeer.
Mirage Dancer is also sure to be familiar to Hong Kong fans after he was the only horse to finish behind Red Verdon in last year’s Vase at Sha Tin.
While 18 horses are fighting out for the A$5 million (HK$26.6 million) purse at Caulfield, some of the northern hemisphere’s best gallopers will be preparing to light up Ascot during British Champions Day.
On an afternoon that boasts four Group Ones, 2018 Hong Kong Cup runner-up Deirdre will be looking to fly the flag for Japan in the Champion Stakes (1,993m).
Deirdre has a victory in the Group One Nassau Stakes to show for an impressive three-start campaign in England and Ireland and Oisin Murphy will again be aboard as the five-year-old chases more silverware.
Deirdre will have to overcome a heavy Ascot track and Aidan O’Brien’s fancied runner Magical, while the William Haggas-trained Addeybb is also attracting plenty of attention from punters.