Gold-Fun: one of three Richard Gibson runners in Hong Kong Derby
Gibson holds the aces for Hong Kong Derby
Preview: Hong Kong, Sunday
Sha Tin: BMW Hong Kong Derby (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 4yo
RICHARD GIBSON holds the strongest hand for Sunday's BMW Hong Kong Derby with the English trainer fielding three solid chances in the £1.36 million showpiece, including probable favourite Akeed Mofeed.
Formerly trained by John Oxx, Akeed Mofeed switched to Hong Kong in a big money deal after winning the Platinum Stakes at Cork last August by five lengths.
The Dubawi entire, also the highest-rated member of the field, prepared ideally for his long-term objective with an impressive breakthrough victory two weeks ago under perennial champion jockey Douglas Whyte, who retains the ride and is seeking a third Derby victory in four years. Their chances have been assisted by a draw near the inside rail.
Gibson will also send out two more Irish imports in the form of Gold-Fun (Olivier Doleuze), winner of the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile in January, and Mizani (Umberto Rispoli), unbeaten in both his local starts.
"Akeed Mofeed won well last time but I don't think the focus is just on him. There are some very good horses in the race and some of them have got a lot better European form than we have," said Gibson who is now in his second season in Hong Kong since leaving his previous base at Chantilly.
"I've got my horses in good condition. They're in great shape for the race and full marks to anyone who can beat them. It's up to the jockeys to do their jobs now. I just hope the race is truly run. Our main competitor might be a lack of pace."
Nine of the 14 runners previously raced in Europe with others to note Ashkiyr (John Moore/Weichong Marwing) and Rainbow Chic (Caspar Fownes/Brett Prebble) from France and the German import Autumn Gold with Ryan Moore riding for Sean Woods.
Reigning champion trainer John Size, who won the race last year for the first time with Fay Fay, is represented by It Has To Be You (Tim Clark), shock winner of the Hong Kong Classic Cup last month over 1m1f at odds of 125-1, and British import Endowing.
Also on Sunday
The Derby will take centre stage, but there is no question where the real quality will rest with three of Hong Kong's very best horses clashing in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup over 7f.
Ambitious Dragon (Tony Millard/Zac Purton), the dual Horse of the Year, returns from a below-par fourth takes on regular rival Glorious Days (John Size/Douglas Whyte).
Lucky Nine, winner of this race a year ago from Glorious Days, resumes having won a Group 1 over 6f most recently and will also prove hard to beat at his preferred distance.