Mighty Runner finally lived up to his potential as the five year old strode to victory in the Ttukseom Cup in front of a huge crowd at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Sixth in the betting, the horse who won only once in his first thirteen outings held off a field including Myeongmun Gamun and last year’s winner Namchonuijijon over seven furlongs.
Sent off slight favourite, the notoriously recalcitrant Myeongmun Gamun lapsed back into his bad habits at the gate. After thirty one starts, the 2008 Horse of the Year is still no fonder of the starting stalls than he ever has been and is wise to the attempts of the handlers to coax him in. With a leadin, a blindfold and brute force all failing, after a full five minutes, the eight year decided that actually he wouldn’t mind running today and lined up. His pre-race exertions may have taken their toll as he was slow to get away.
It was the mare Geumsuni, breaking from stall 12 who sprinted across the track to take the early lead with Seven Card right behind her as Kim Hyo Seob tucked Mighty Runner into third as they reached the end of the back-straight.
Geumsuni continued to lead as the field came together rounding the home turn and she led Taebaek Janggun into the home straight first. Taebaek Janggun quickly dropped out of contention as Mighty Runner started the sprint, hitting the front with a furlong to go. Meanwhile, Jung Ki Yong coaxed Namchonuijijon into top gear down the outside with Triple Seven and Choi Beom Hyun emerging from the pack to join the challenge.
They were too late, however, as Mighty Runner never looked in danger of being caught with the winning margin two and a half lengths on the line. Namchonuijijon just managed to hold off Triple Seven for third with Geumsuni staying on to a creditable fourth. Myeongmun Gamun’s traditional late run came too late with the favourite only maging fifth place, equally his worst ever finish in this race in 2006.
For Mighty Runner, it was a seventh career victory with six of these now coming in his last seven outings. He finished sixth behind J.S. Hold in the 2007 Derby but remained in the lower ranks until beginning his remarkable run last September which saw him improve from class 4 to class 1 in the space of four races.
Ttukseom Cup (G.III) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – Apr 12, 2009
1. Mighty Runner (KOR) [Pacific Bounty – Roan All Over (Fight Over)] – Kim Hyo Seob – 16.1
2. Namchonuijijon (KOR) [Concept Win – Intriga (Lord At Law)] – Jung Ki Yong – 3.4
3. Triple Seven [The Groom Is Red – Impudence (Grand Lodge)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 5.0
Distances: 2.5 lengths/Head
Also Ran: 4. Geumsuni; 5. Myeongmun Gamun; 6. Seven Card; 7. Free Woody; 8. Saebyeok Dongja; 9. Seonju Jangsu; 10. Lucky Seven; 11. Highway Star; 12. Taebaek Janggun