Richard Gibson hopes it will be a case of history repeats in the HK$24 million G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday after his mercurial speedster Wellington drew gate 11 in a field of 12.
Pitting his stable flagbearer against elite Japanese talents Pixie Knight, Resistencia and last year’s winner Danon Smash – as well as the best Hong Kong can muster – Gibson was hoping for a softer draw.
The Englishman was fatalistic after the barrier draw ceremony before quickly reflecting on Danon Smash’s triumph under Ryan Moore last season from barrier 14.
“In the Sprint you want some draw assistance and we didn’t get the draw assistance, but last year’s winner was drawn 14 and if he (Wellington) is good enough, that’s where he comes from,” Gibson said.
“I think he’s sharper than he was in race one (the G2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint, 1200m on 21 November) and he trialled really well the other day, so he’s in good shape.”
Much responsibility will now fall upon Frenchman Alexis Badel’s shoulders to plot a winning path on the All Too Hard gelding, who has six wins from eight starts on Sha Tin’s 1200m course.
Winner of the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) on 25 April, Wellington has had an interrupted preparation ahead of Sunday’s test but, at his best, the five-year-old remains a formidable force.
Story from Hong Kong Jockey Club