Michael Cox



Richards gets Wellington boost

Hong Kong's former champion sprinter Wellington will join Jamie Richards' Olympic Stables from the departing Richard Gibson.

Trainer Jamie Richards will head into his second Hong Kong season with a banner horse after it was revealed star sprinter Wellington will be transferred to him from the departing Richard Gibson. 

Richards calls his first Hong Kong racing season ‘character building’ but after showing he can cut it with a respectable return of 34 wins, he will start next season with a Group 1 winner in his stable. 

“It is a privilege to be able to train a horse of his quality,” Richards told Asian Racing Report in-between races at Happy Valley after news broke that he would take over Wellington from Englishman Gibson, who is leaving the city after 12 seasons.

“We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, we will just be trying to maintain the same form that has made him one of the best sprinters in Hong Kong. I am really grateful to get this type of support from the owners and I want to repay the faith they have put in me.” 


Wellington’s four Group 1 wins include a decisive performance in the 2022 Hong Kong Sprint. Since then though, the six-year-old has been stuck behind new sensation Lucky Sweynesse – four times – and was then unplaced in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee stakes at Royal Ascot last month. 

“We will give him a bit of time to get over his trip and build him back up towards December,” Richards said of the gelding, who has returned from England but is still in quarantine at Sha Tin until the end of the season. 

“When he comes into the stable he can have a little break before we play around with him and get to know him.” 

Richards’ assistant trainer Jones Ma was formerly with Gibson and played a key role in attracting the blue chip transfer. The AT’s experience with a horse that isn’t straightforward could prove invaluable. 

“We need to get to know those idiosyncrasies, he is a quirky horse at times,” RIchards said. “We are going to get his mafoo to come and settle into the stable with him.” 

First season Hong Kong trainer Jamie Richards. (Photo by HKJC)

Wellington was well beaten at Royal Ascot but before the race Gibson was pleased with the way his veteran responded to the idyllic surrounds at Manton. 

“Hopefully it has been good for him,” Richards said. “We will certainly be giving him all the time he needs and building up slowly for another shot at the Hong Kong sprint.” 

When asked how he would rate his first season Richards pointed to a slow start that saw him take one month to win a race, and another flat spot as the season winds down, but his tally of more than 30 wins is a solid return and he is one of only seven trainers with a strike rate of 10 per cent or more.   

“I didn’t really know what I was doing at first, so we had to wait for the horses to come along,” he said. “When we did take them to the races they were too fat and were blowing up at the furlong. It has been a character building year.”

“It has taken me a bit to get used to but I have my head around it now and hopefully I will be a better trainer than I was this season.” 




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