David Morgan

Chief Journalist


Departing Gibson books Ryan Moore for Royal Ascot raid

Richard Gibson is looking forward to a European relocation before deciding on his next career move, but first he is heading to Royal Ascot with a serious chance of enhancing his Group 1 record.

Richard Gibson has announced that he will depart Hong Kong at the end of the season after 12 years in the city, but before the international movers arrive with their boxes and packing tape, the Englishman’s focus is firmly on Wellington’s upcoming G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes raid when Ryan Moore will take the reins.

“Ryan Moore has confirmed he’ll ride the horse at Royal Ascot,” Gibson revealed to Asian Racing Report. “There is no better jockey at the moment so it’s a great jockey booking to get, and if Ryan is riding him that supports our case in going; it shows that he is one of the good chances of the race.”

Moore has ridden the star sprinter twice before, notably when successful in last December’s G1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin. That victory enhanced Gibson’s already impressive record at the Hong Kong International Races, at which he has notched four wins.

The handler has attempted Royal Ascot success from his Hong Kong base previously: in 2016 he campaigned his crack sprinter-miler Gold-Fun to finish a close second in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee when it was known as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

“I’m looking forward to this Ascot challenge,” Gibson continued. “Plans are pretty much set in stone, the horse is going to Brian Meehan’s yard at Manton for his Ascot preparation and he’ll be accompanied by his lead horse that trains with him every day, a retiree called Kwaichung Brothers.

“From experience, I was very keen to stay on the Manton side this time, rather than at Newmarket, I think it’s more practical. You arrive at Heathrow on that side, and then the travel to Ascot is very simple, so it makes a lot of sense and it is very kind of Brian to look after us so well.”


Wellington will arrive in England at dawn on Sunday, June 18, but on the Tuesday before that he will have “a nice easy trial” at Sha Tin.

Those trial mornings, watching his horses from the balcony of the Sha Tin trainers’ stand, will be a thing of the past for Gibson after mid-July when the current Hong Kong season ends.  

“It’s just the right time to move back to Europe with the family,” he said. “The Hong Kong Jockey Club have been great: we’ve had a good time here and it’s been great representing as the only European trainer here.

“I definitely want to do a lot of travelling when I get back and see the new stud operations that I haven’t seen for a few years, and training centres, and I’ll make plans thereafter.”

Gibson, 53, arrived to train full-time in Hong Kong ahead of the 2011-12 season as one of Europe’s brightest young trainers, thanks to the Group 1-winning exploits of Lady Of Chad, and more notably Man O’ War Stakes winner Doctor Dino, who also achieved back-to-back successes in the Hong Kong Vase.

Akeed Mofeed wins the 2013 Hong Kong Cup. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

Richard Gibson's time training in Hong Kong is drawing to a close. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

His time in Hong Kong has seen impressive highs, thanks to Hong Kong Derby and Hong Kong Cup winner Akeed Mofeed, and that colt’s fellow Group 1 winners from the stable, Gold-Fun, Giant Treasure and Wellington; but, despite Gibson’s top-level successes, numbers dwindled in recent seasons to just 27 horses at present.

“I’m proud that since I’ve been here, we’ve finished third in the list of Group 1-winning trainers and that would probably be my best achievement here,” he said, reflecting on his time in one of the world’s most competitive racing jurisdictions.

“The biggest race in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Cup, when you win the Cup you’re the king of the castle, so to win the Hong Kong Cup with Akeed Mofeed has to be the standout because it’s Hong Kong’s best race. We’re very proud of our Hong Kong International Races stats. I think I’m the joint-record holder for most wins on the list of European trainers, and we’ve had those second places on that day that were painful losses: Gold-Fun was second two years in a row and you remember those ones too.

“I’m genuinely grateful to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for their help and support, and for being a fantastic operation. There is no doubt about it, I’ll be leaving Hong Kong a much more accomplished horseman than when I arrived. It has been really interesting learning the techniques of training here and the profile of horse required to be successful here.” 

Win or lose with Wellington, Gibson said he is thankful for his Hong Kong experience, and he is upbeat about the opportunities that might lie ahead.

“I’m looking forward to going back and exploring new projects abroad,” he added. “I’m very relaxed and excited about the future.”




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