The Group 1 Grand Prix race which traditionally acts as a season finale will be run at Seoul Race Park on Sunday. Although the race is by no means the most valuable on the calender it is arguably the most prestigious as it pits domestic and overseas bred horses against each other, which is rare in Korea. The overseas bred horses are generally faster, but the Koreans will carry less weight. However, with only Seoul based horses competing, it means that none of this year’s Classic winners, who are all based at Busan, will be taking part. Nevertheless, a strong and an intriguing line up will assemble for race 10 at 16:35 on Sunday:
Grand Prix (G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – Dec 21, 2008
1. Myeongmun Gamun (KOR) – G 7 (28/16/3) -54kg- Cho Kyoung Ho
This year’s top Seoul based horse in terms of prize money won, the seven year old finished second in last year’s race and, having behaved himself at the gate of late, won the President’s Cup last time out. Only beaten once in 2008, by Baekpa in the SBS Cup
2. Baekpa (KOR) – F 4 (20/8/4) -51kg- Moon Jung Kyun
Myeongmun Gamun’s conqueror in the SBS Cup, last year’s Oaks winner left it too late in the President’s Cup. The filly will have plenty of supporters but will need to produce the race of her life to challenge here
3. Fly Queen (USA) – M 5 (28/7/5) -55kg- Kim Hyo Seob
Fourth last year, the mare had an indifferent start to 2008 in handicaps before landing the G3 KRA Cup Classic in September ahead of top Point and Galsaem. A stayer, she went on to win over 2300 metres a month later.
4. Bally Brae (USA) – G 6 (24/13/7) -58kg- Moon Se Young
Last year’s winner began 2008 tidily winning some big handicaps before suffering an unexpected reverse and then a dismal showing in the Owner’s Association Trophy in June finishing out of the money for only the second time in his career – the other being in the corresponding race in 2007. Having a torrid time at the hands of the handicapper Bally Brae has since finished second in both his recent outings.
5. Top Point (KOR) – F 4 (16/1/1) -51kg- Shim Seung Tae
A prolific winner, her defeat by Fly Queen in the KRA Cup Classic broke a winning streak of six, however, she was quickly back to form the following month.
6. Secret Weapon (KOR) – H 5 (28/16/6) -54kg- Park Tae Jong
Dominant in 2008, Secret Weapon is on a run of five straight wins and carrying much less weight than he does in handicaps, a big run will be expected.
7. Galsaem (KOR) – M 6 (35/17/9) -51kg- Ikuyasu Kurakane
The mare has carried big weights in 2008 but finally got her first win of the year in November.
8. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) – C 3 (14/7/4) -55kg- Choi Beom Hyun
The second best three year old imported colt this year, he finished third in the Owner’s Association Trophy and hasn’t been out of the money in fourteen starts.
9. Seongpacheonha (AUS) – G 4 (18/4/2/4) -58kg- Lee Sang Hyuk
The least well known of all entrants, Seongpacheonha is yet to win at category 1 level. Apprentice jockey Lee Sang Hyuk gets his first big race ride.
10. Vicar Love (USA) – C 3 (10/7/1) -55kg- Yang Hee Jin
Impressive winner of the YTN Cup and in formidable form, the three year old colt could be the one to beat. Only one outing at 2000 metres but this finished in a comfortable win.