With less than a fortnight to go until the 2008 Korean Oaks, there are fourteen entries for the fillies classic which this year will be held at Busan Race Park for the first time. So far, only two Seoul based horses are slated to make the trip south for the third classic of the year, with both the KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby having been dominated by Busan horses.
Jeolho Chance (10 runs/5wins), third in the Cup Mile, and Gaya Gongju (10/4) are the top rated entries. Jeolho Chance went off second favourite in the Korean Derby in May and despite finishing well back, recovered to take a 2000 metre category 1 handicap back on home ground at Busan last month. Gaya Gongju most recently finished second over the distance in a category 2 handicap. Also in the field is Useung Party (4/3), a horse who comfortably won her first three races before failing to stay 1600 metres last time.
Seoul’s two entries are the improving Gate Way (13/3) and Baram Queen (11/2) who ran third in the Sports Seoul Cup last time out. Seoul’s poor performance so far this year has been subject to various theories. These have included the Busan track being tougher and therefore providing a better training ground, the unfamiliarity of Seoul jockeys with Busan in the Cup Mile (Busan runners in the Derby were ridden by Seoul jockeys) and simply Busan owners having bought more wisely. Either way, it is hard to see the domination being broken just yet.
The Oaks is race 5 of a 6 race card on Sunday August 10 and is off at 15:35. It is over 1800 metres with first place prize money of KRW 228Million, an increase of nearly KRW 100 Million from last year when Baekpa scored a five length win. We’ll have a full preview and detailed run down of the field next Wednesday.