Filly takes first leg of Triple Crown / Hot favourite finishes third
Sangseung Ilro came through a tough stretch battle with Namdo Jeap to win the fifth running of the KRA Cup Mile and with it the first leg of the 2009 Korean Triple Crown at Busan Race Park this afternoon.
With Yeonseung Daero the odds-on favourite, Sangseung Ilro was sent off fourth in the betting and the filly, one of four in the race, was quickly into her stride as Namdo Jeap under Martin Wepner grabbed the rail and set the early pace. Geumbit Sesang settled into third and the unbeaten Impeccable into fourth as ther raced down the back straight.
Entering the long turn for home, Namdo Jeap had three lengths on the rest while Yeonseung Daero was still on the rail in the middle of the field with plenty to do to find space. Meanwhile Eiki Nishimura on Sangseung Ilro gradually closed the gap until his filly was alongside Namdo Jeap as they began the sprint.
While Kim Eu Su on Yeonseung Daero finally found his run, it would be too late to catch the leading two. For a long time in the stretch it looked as though the race could go either way. Namdo Jeap battled on strongly but Sangseung Ilro finally got her neck in front for the final time in the last furlong and opened out for a length and a half victory.
Sangseung Ilro takes her winning streak to four and while early Oaks favouritism is assured, the pressure will be on for her to go to the Derby at Seoul next month. There could be much more to come from Namdo Jeap too, as he comfortably stayed the Mile distance only to be outsprinted at the last. With Eiki Nishimura and Martin Wepner taking first and second, it was a welcome day in the spotlight for overseas jockeys while some lucky punters cashed exacta tickets at 299.4.
Previously unbeaten Impeccable stayed the distance but while well placed early on, didn’t have the speed to challenge in the later stages. Meanwhile, it was a familiar story for the two Seoul entrants. Neither featured at the business end of the race, Money Teukgeup finishing seventh and Love Cat, backed into third favourite, a very disappointing eleventh.
However, the day belonged to Sangseung Ilro and connections, owner Ryu Yong Sang, trainer Kim Yong Gwan – who also trains second placed Namdo Jeap – and jockey Eiki Nishimura. This year, the KRA is putting more emphasis on races for fillies and mares. With one leg of the Triple Crown complete, a filly is a third of the way to landing the biggest prize of all.
KRA Cup Mile (G.III) – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Apr 5, 2009
1. Sangseung Ilro F [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Eiki Nishimura – 17.7
2. Namdo Jeap [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – Martin Wepner – 31.7
3. Yeonseung Daero [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – Kim Eu Su – 1.5
Distances: 1.5 lengths/1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sandeomi; 5. Impeccable; 6. Sky Star; 7. Money Teukgeup; 8. Geumbit Sesang; 9. Power Boy; 10. Pangpang; 11. Love Cat; 12. Dream Wings