Day: March 8, 2009

First Winner for Wepner

Sky Star beats Sandeomi / Machine Gun misses at Seoul
On his fourth day of racing, South African jockey Martin Wepner rode his first Korean winner at Busan Race Park this afternoon. The thirty seven year old partnered Daehan Gangja to a two length victory in the day’s co-feature race, a class 2 handicap over 1600 metres for overseas bred horses.

Racing prominently throughout, Wepner hit the front on the five year old gelding as they entered the home straight and held off a determined challenge from Park Geum Man on the fast finishing outsider Sun Dance. Hot favourite, US import Heukjanggun was a disappointing fifth. For the Australian bred Daehan Gangja, it was a fourth career win. With Sun Dance finishing second, it made for a 1404.8 exacta.

On a good day for Wepner, the newcomer managed to land second place in the other feature race on outsider Homerun Yeowang. The pair finished just a length and a half behind Ikuyasu Kurakane on the highly rated Sky Star. Just as Impeccable did on Friday, Sky Star stepped up to class 2 for the first time, only at the Derby distance of nine furlongs. Kurakane kept Sky Star safely in the pack, making his move as they turned for home, overhauling favourite and fellow three year old Sandeomi in the straight and never looking in danger from there on despite Wepner’s late charge on five year old mare Homerun Yeowang.

Sandeomi had been four from six before today’s race but clearly didn’t appreciate the step up from a mile. Sky Star meanwhile, who had been inconsistent in previous outings, relished it. Although Impeccable has yet to go further than seven furlongs, with the first of the Triple Crown races being the KRA Cup Mile, there is plenty of time for that.

Also at Busan, it was another good day for the partnership of trainer Peter Wolsley and jockey Park Geum Man. After their double on Friday with Mentor and Impeccable, they repeated the feat today; pairing up to land wins on three year old filly Lady In Gala in race 3 and the gelding Running Man in race 4.

Up at Seoul Race Park, on what can only be described as a glorious spring day, Balhaejanggun upset favourite Machine Gun in a tight finish to the feature race. Third favourite Ugildongja led for much of the race but in a blanket finish it was Balhaejanggun who got his nose in front of Seonju Jangsu with Machine Gun in third.

* Jockey Kim Young Jin remains under observation in hospital following a heavy fall from Tobougg King in race 8 at Seoul. The horse was uninjured.

Class 2 (Foreign bred) – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Mar 8, 2009

1. Daehan Gangja (AUS) [West Quest – La Daze (Palace Music)] – Martin Wepner – 18.5
2. Sun Dance (JPN) [Mutafaweq – Ensayista (Maruzensky)] – Park Geum Man – 73.4
3. Sunday Punch (JPN) [Silent Hunter – Makenaide (Arcangues)] – Kim Kyoung Geun – 63.4
Distances: 2 lengths/Nose – 11 ran