Wellington joined one of the most select clubs in Hong Kong racing’s fabled speed division on a glorious FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, 24 April) when running out a dominant winner of the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) under Alexis Badel.
Richard Gibson’s powerful gelding, who captured the coveted prize with a striking turn of foot in 2021, was bidding to join Mr Vitality, Fairy King Prawn, Silent Witness, Sacred Kingdom, Dim Sum and Lucky Nine as a dual winner of Hong Kong’s final G1 dash of the season in recent years.
Only Mr Vitality, Silent Witness and Lucky Nine had landed the prize in successive years since 1995 but Wellington emulated them with a clinical performance which left Badel beaming and Gibson hailing “equine brilliance” as Hong Kong racing took a significant step towards pre-pandemic normality with owners back at the races for the first time since 12 January.
“What a wonderful day that the owners are here,” he said. “I’m so pleased they are here to share such a great horse. I’m just delighted that the Club made all the efforts to make sure that the owners were here today and the crowd that are here appreciated equine brilliance because that’s what it is.
“He really is one of the top sprinters in the world. It’s difficult to win these big Group 1 races back-to-back. He’s done it and it’s a great achievement.”
Gibson’s sure touch with elite horses is firmly established thanks to the dual G1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) winner Doctor Dino and Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner Akeed Mofeed, while Gold-Fun was a fixture in Hong Kong’s top races for several seasons and came out best in an epic battle with Aerovelocity, Lucky Nine and Peniaphobia for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize in 2015.