Namchonuijijon will look to retain the Group 3 Ttukseom Cup in Seoul’s biggest race of the season so far on Sunday April 12. Going up against him, in a surprise entry, could be stablemate and 2008 Horse of the Year, Myeongmun Gamun.
The Ttkuseom Cup is named to commemorate the old Seoul Racecourse at Ttukseom on the north bank of the River Han. Ttukseom was the sole home of Korean racing from immediately after the Korean War in 1953, until the opening of the new Seoul Race Park at its present home in Gwacheon in 1989. The race is run over seven furlongs and was formerly the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown until that honour was shifted, seemingly permanently, to Busan’s KRA Cup Mile in 2008. However, with a first prize of KRW 132 Million, the Ttukseom Cup remains one of the season’s highlights.
Last year, the then four year old Namchonuijijon held off the grey Baekgwang to record victory by a length. While Baekgwang limped away wih ligament damage that prematurely ended his season, Namchonuijijon went on to disappoint during the rest of 2008 but began his 2009 campaign with a smart victory earlier this month.
If he starts, Myeongmun Gamun will be stepping back down to seven furlongs for the first time since the 2006 running of the race when he finished fifth. Now eight years old, Myeongmun Gamun has seventeen wins from thirty one outings and has only got better with age, 2008 being his most successful season to date. However, he suffered a surprising reverse at the hands of mare Top Point in his only run so far this year. Also among the thirteen early entries are Triple Seven, Taebaek Janggun, Seven Card and Geumsuni.
Meanwhile, this coming Sunday sees the KRA Cup Mile at Busan. Final declarations will be made tomorrow. Gyongmaman will be attending the Football World Cup Qualifier between South Korea and North Korea at Sangam Stadium tomorrow evening so our preview of the big race will be up on Thursday.