Nice Choice steps up / Free Woody drifts to victory
Gaeseon Janggun went a long way to showing that his dismal performance in December’s Owner’s Cup was a one off by beginning his four year old season in style at Busan Race Park this afternoon. Last year’s champion three year old who followed up close seconds in the KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby by taking the final Triple Crown race, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in October was sent off at surprisingly generous odds and made his usual come from behind charge as the field entered the home straight, going away from the field to win by five lengths.
Second favourite Yeongung Manse, who was among six horses who finished ahead of Gaeseon Janggun in the Owner’s Cup took second. Relatively lightly raced, the win was Gaeseon Janggun’s fifth from twelve starts and raises the prospect of future showdown with Areumdaun Jilju, the horse one year his senior and currently recognised as Busan’s best domestically bred runner.
Up at a chilly Seoul Race Park there were no class 1 races but nevertheless an interesting day’s action. Nice Choice, winner of December’s Herald Business and 2008’s top two year old made his three year old debut and confirmed his status as a Triple Crown front runner by successfully stepping up to the Derby distance of 1800 metres with a business like victory in race 9.
With Cho Kyoung Ho replacing the suspended Moon Se Young on board, Nice Choice [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] sat in the middle of the field throughout before outclassing his rivals in a strong final furlong to take a third consecutive win. Closest to him on the line was three year old filly Crown Carla who will also be one to watch later in the year.
The day’s most valuable race at Seoul saw Free Woody drift all over the track on the run in but the favourite still managed to secure a one length victory from Wig. Sitting out for the final day of his suspension, Moon Se Young will have a satisfied observer as none of his rivals for the Champion Jockey title managed to land a winner. Indeed Choi Beom Hyun will now sit out next week after he picked up a two day ban.
Class 1 (Korean Bred) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Feb 15, 2009
1. Gaeseon Janggun [Duality – Diamond Star (Dixieland Band)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.7
2. Yeongung Manse [Sharp Appeal – Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] – Jo Chang Wook – 3.7
3. Gangjaui Beopchik [Fortitude – Crispy (Tax Collection)] – Chae Gyu Jun – 8.2
Distances: 5 lengths/1 length – 11 ran
I just read the 2007 report from the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities. I never knew Korea had such a high purse structure. Third, behind Hong Kong and the UAE.
The average purse is very big but there is quite a narrow band. The minimum purse size is KRW 25Million which before the currency went crazy was about $25,000 (now about $19,000). However, the biggest purse, the Korean Derby, is ‘only’ KRW 500 Million or $500,000. The winner gets 53%. Only 39 races a year have a purse of over KRW 100,000.