Choi Beom Hyun does it again / Vicar Love stalls in the straight
After running close in both the Minister’s and President’s Cups last Autumn, Triple Seven made it into the Winner’s Circle in the New Year Commemorative Race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Sent off favourite at 2.6, Choi Beom Hyun brought the four year old through with a late outside run to snatch a length and a half win from Wangson.
As the full field of fourteen broke, it was Rich Family, under Lee Jun Cheol who darted across from the outside stall to take the rail going into the first corner. The pack were content to let him lead through the back straight and turning for home he had four lengths on his nearest challenger. Inevitably he couldn’t maintain it and with a furlong to go, Best Fusion took things up with the three year old gelding Tu Won, of whom big things are expected this year, also well placed. However, neither were prepared for Choi’s late run on Triple Seven. For Choi, it was a case of starting the New Year as he finished the old one with a similar late run on Dongbanui Gangja in the Grand Prix still fresh in the memory.
Seoul’s first day of racing in 2009 started off with a shock as Love For Ever, sent off at 1.1, could only manage fourth in race 1. Most punters continued to take a hammering as favourite after favourite went down. There was a notable performance by the the Boo Min Ho ridden Gangho in race 4, taking a seven length win on his racecourse debut with hot favourite Necromancer never involved. Indeed it took until Triple Seven in race 10 for a favourite to be successful.
Making a quick return following his disappointing showing in the Grand Prix, Vicar Love was sent off favourite in a competitive handicap over 2000 metres in race 11. He led early and looked to have the race won heading into the final furlong but it was not to be as he began to tie up allowing Seoul Teukgeup to swoop and take his second consecutive class 1 victory with Baekjeonmupae grabbing second ahead of a clearly tired Vicar Love.
While Kim Cheol Ho had the honour of taking victory in the year’s opener, Park Byoung Yun and Moon Jung Kyun both managed to secure two wins to lead an early jockey’s championship. Champion Moon Se Young was winless.
While temperatures at Seoul may never have made it above -6, there was at least bright sunshine throughout. Down on Jeju Island, overnight snow was added to by constant flurries throughout the day. In Jeju’s New Year race, second favourite Hanramyeongseng started quickly and was never in any danger of being caught as he sprinted to a two length win.
Tomorrow Seoul comes under orders at 11:10 for the first of eleven races. Busan and Jeju both get underway at 12:30 with six and nine races respectively.
New Year’s Race – Seoul Race Park – Jan 10, 2009 – 1800M
1. Triple Seven (KOR) [The Groom is Red – Impudence (Grand Lodge)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 2.6
2. Wangson (KOR) [Distilled – Eastern Tide (Far Out East)] – Kim Young Jin – 20.0
3. Tu Won (KOR) [Orientate – Sharp Eyed (Danzero)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 5.2
Distances: 1.25 lengths/0.5 lengths – 14 ran