Passing on next week’s KRA Cup Mile to focus fully on May’s Korean Derby, Seoul’s 2008 Champion juvenile Nice Choice looked set to continue his stately progress towards the year’s top prize with a warm up race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Stepping up to class 2 for the first time but with a less than initimidating field to contend with, the Lost Mountain colt was sent off the 1.2 favourite.
Punters were in for a shock, however. Bouncing out of the gate first was Jo In Kwen on six year old Holeinonefive and they led into the first corner of the 1800 metre Derby distance race. Dream Runner slotted into second, outsider Gamunhuye third and Moon Se Young on Nice Choice into fourth.
Holeinonefive continued to lead through the back straight and there were nervous moments for backers of Nice Choice as the colt seemed to be crowded in on the rails. Moon Se Young managed to extricate them, however, and as they rounded the home turn, they were looking well placed for the sprint. They had reckoned without Holeinonefive still having the energy for a sprint and starting with a length’s advantage, the older horse matched the colt stride for stride all the way to the line.
It was Holeinonefive’s first win in nearly a year and the sixth of his career. For Nice Choice, the setback breaks a streak of four straight wins. He remains Derby favourite but, after they take care of their home track classic next Sunday, Busan’s Derby hopefuls may look north with a little less apprehension.
On what was otherwise a low key day’s racing at Seoul, the feature race went the way of Dankee’s Pal. The US bred five year old saw off a field including Yodongseong, Obaek Yechan and Saerounbisul, by two lengths.