After four consecutive second placed finishes, 2007 Grand Prix champion Bally Brae stood tall once again at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Nearly four years after his debut and two weeks after younger brother and stablemate Playing Politics suffered a career threatening injury, the seven year old recorded his fourteenth win in his twenty-seventh outing.
Sent off the marginal favourite in a field of eight, Bally Brae was quickest out of the stalls and led into the first corner with main danger Seoul Teukgeup right behind him. As they turned into the back straight, Yoo Sang Wan brought Pocketful of Money around the field to take up the running. The mare had extended her lead to five lengths as they turned for home but by the time they entered the home straight, the field was right behind her. Moon Se Young shook Bally Brae into action, passing Pocketful of Money with two furlongs to go. He then took the gelding over to the rail and the sprint was on. By now the only danger was Seoul Teukgeup and, under Moon Jung Kyun the big four year old found his run down the centre of the track.
But Bally Brae was not to be beaten today. Not by Seoul Teukgeup and not by Angus Empire who Yang Hee Jin brought roaring late down the outside. The line came in time, champion jockey Moon screaming as they crossed it as if they had won the Grand Prix all over again, not a Saturday afternoon handicap.
Bally Brae has a special place in Korean racing. His first jockey Hong Dae You is now his trainer and in his first big race win, the STC Trophy in 2006, he was ridden by the late Lim Dae Gyu who would also partner him in his first attempt at the Grand Prix on Christmas Eve that year. He would finish second, two places ahead of Subsidy with whom he was to enjoy some memorable battles over the course of the next year before defeating him to take the top prize in the 2007 Grand Prix. 2008 was tougher as he disappointed in the Owners’ Trophy and then Dongbanui Gangja took his Grand Prix crown. However, today Bally Brae emphatically showed he’s not done yet and Moon Se Young was joined by thousands of racegoers in delighting in his victory.
In other races on a gloriously sunny March day at Seoul Race Park, three year old Towering took his third win. A promising but inconsistent performer, Towering was always well placed and came through in the final furlong for a length and a half win. Meanwhile the confusingly named US import Thewon Thewon [Siphon – Marlee’s Rainbow (Geiger Counter)] broke his maiden in spectacular fashion scoring an eleven length domination of race 6.
Meanwhile race 5 resulted in a dead-heat between Dae Hit and Sky Center, with third placed Chonmyeong just a neck behind. Aside from being a dramatic finish, the dead-heat produced the amusing effect (unless you backed it) of favourite Sky Center paying less to win on the Pari-Mutuel than it did to show.
Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow with the first of eleven races going to post at 11:20. Busan gets underway at 12:40 and Jeju at 12:10. It’s going to be a dry and mild day so…Come Racing!
Class 1 (Foreign bred) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Mar 7, 2009
1. Bally Brae (USA) [Yarrow Brae – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] – Moon Se Young – 2.1
2. Seoul Teukgeup (USA) [Safely’s Mark – Bemmalou (Waquoit)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 2.7
3. Angus Empire (USA) [Lion Cavern – Clever Dorothy (Clever Trick)] – Yang Hee Jin – 5.2
Distances: 2.5 lengths/3 lengths – 8 ran