HONG Kong-based trainer Richard Gibson has declared “it’s all systems go” for Wellington to embark on a Royal Ascot tilt next week after Hong Kong’s reigning Champion Sprinter cruised through a five-furlong turf trial at Sha Tin this morning.
Preparing for the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes on 24 June, Wellington finished half a length behind Beauty Charge in third place while clocking 57.94s under jockey Alexis Badel, who kept the four-time Group 1 winner under restraint throughout.
The performance delighted Gibson, who hopes Wellington can become Hong Kong’s first Royal Ascot winner since the Danny Shum-trained Little Bridge won the G1 King’s Stand Stakes in 2012.
“There’s no greater judge than Alexis to base his (Wellington’s) form and condition on and we’re really satisfied with the trial,” Gibson said.
Explaining the understated nature of the trial, Gibson said: “It’s hot and we’ve got to travel in a few days. He did everything perfectly today. He’s on the plane on Saturday and we’re looking forward to it. It was a good boost to see him work so well this morning.”
Gibson, who is set to finish training in Hong Kong this season after 11 years in the territory, will return to Royal Ascot hoping Wellington can go one better than his former stable star Gold-Fun, who finished second in 2016 when beaten a neck by Twilight Son in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Acclaimed as Hong Kong’s Champion Sprinter for the past two seasons, Wellington added another Group 1 title to his imposing portfolio of achievements with victory last December in the 2022 G1 Hong Kong Sprint under Ryan Moore, who is set to reunite with the gelding at Royal Ascot next week.
Since winning the Hong Kong Sprint, Wellington has recorded four successive placings – including three at G1 level – behind the world’s top-rated sprinter Lucky Sweynesse.
Watch Wellington’s Sha Tin trial here.