Ebony Storm finally wins / Iku bows out blank
Bally Brae emphatically proved that his return to the Winner’s Circle last month was no fluke as he powered to another big race win at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. The seven year old had scarcely a single backer in the build-up to the race with the younger pair of Baekjeonmupae and Vicar Love heavily favoured.
Punters knew better, however, and be it out of sentimentality – and Korean racegoers are not, by and large, a sentimental lot – or a genuine belief that the 2006 Horse of the Year is still at the top of his game, by post time Bally Brae had been backed into favourite.
He didn’t disappoint. Vicar Love set the early pace until Cho Kyoung Ho brought the five year old Dankee’s Pal around the field in the back-straight, stretching out to a lead of over five lengths. He maintained the lead going into the home straight and for a while it looked as though he may hold on. Bally Brae, Baekjeonmupae and Vicar Love entered the home straight together but it was only Bally Brae who had the speed to run down Dankee’s Pal, passing him in sight of the line to enable Moon Se Young to perform his familiar victory celebration on this horse as they crossed it.
Some had pointed out that last time, Bally Brae had not had much to beat. Today the big boys were there and now, Dongbanui Gangja is the only horse to have the beating of Bally Brae on current form. Korean racing needs more horses like Bally Brae and another it needs more like is his great rival from 2006, Subsidy. Today the eight year old showed that while he may have slowed, he still belongs in top class races, running on for a creditable fifth, just a length behind Vicar Love, to record his thirty third money finish from thirty six races.
Earlier, Subsidy’s little sister Soseono was denied a second career victory by the narrowest of margins. The filly was leading in the final furlong of race 8, only to be pipped on the line by favourite New Destination.
Down at Busan Race Park, it was Ikuyasu Kurakane’s final day in the saddle in Korea. The Japanese jockey, who will be sorely missed by punters on the south coast, had an uncharacteristically quiet day troubling the placings just once – a third placed finish on Choedae Geoljakpum just behind Phasmes and Jilju Hara in a three way photo finish to race 5.
Nearly a year after his Derby triumph, Ebony Storm finally made his way back to the Winner’s Circle in Busan’s feature. The four year old has managed plenty of second placed finishes but today was finally able to go one better with a fast finish to come from behind to overhaul Gangjaui Beopchik and long time leader Wellbeing Sidae with just metres to spare.
Class 1 (Foreign bred) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Apr 26, 2009
1. Bally Brae (USA) [Yarrow Brae – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] – Moon Se Young – 2.3
2. Dankee’s Pal (USA) [Max’s Pal – Dankee (Regal Intention)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 10.0
3. Baekjeonmupae (NZ) [Traditionally – Star Sixty Seven (Phone Trick)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 2.9
Distances: 1.25 lengths/1 length – 12 ran