Day: June 21, 2009

Dongbanui Gangja Owns Them

Four year old dominates Owners’ Cup / To The Champ wins at last
It may have been inevitable, but it was still very impressive. From the moment at the end of back straight when Choi Beom Hyun shifted Dongbanui Gangja out from the middle of the pack and brought him up to tuck in just behind the leaders, the race as a contest was over.

Vicar Love had set the early pace and Subsidy had made his customary back straight charge to join as they started to make the long turn for home. However, Dongbanui Gangja was with them. Choi Beom Hyun barely had to move as the four year old moved out wide and exploded into the home straight. The track record fell and Dongbanui Gangja cemented his place as the top horse at Seoul right now.

Surprisingly the horse who got closest to him on the line was Seungyu Sinhwa. The outsider had been at the back of the field for most of the race, but finished strongly to claim second. JRA Trophy winner Free Hugs showed he belongs at the top level by finishing third ahead of both Baekjeonmupae and Angus Empire.

Dongbanui Ganga was third in this race last year – his lowest ever placing – but would win the Grand Prix in December. He becomes the first horse to win the Grand Prix and then go on to win the Owners’ Trophy in the following year (although Subsidy did it the other way round a few years ago). His record now reads twelve wins from nineteen races and his unbeaten streak is now seven. Few would bet against him successfully defending his Grand Prix title come December.

Owners’ Association Trophy (G.III) – Seoul Race Park – 10F (Hdcp) – June 21, 2009

1. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 1.3
2. Seungyu Sinhwa (USA) [Commendable – Backroom Blues (Dixieland Band)] – Shim Seung Tae – 164.1
3. Free Hugs (AUS) [Fantastic Light – Woodie (Woodman)]
Distances: 7 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also ran: 4. Baekjeonmupae; 5. Angus Empire; 6. Subsidy; 7. Vicar Love; 8. Fly Queen; 9. Afternoon Dove; 10. Seongpacheonha; 11. Saegisang; 12. Obaek Yechan; 13. Cash In Your Chips

In other races, three horses were making their first appearances since being beaten by Sangseung Ilro in last month’s Derby. And they all looked very impressive. First Khanui Jeguk dominated the category 3 race 8, Cho Kyoung Ho easing the colt with half a furlong to go.

In race 10, it was the turn of Baengnyeonbong, third in the Derby, to try his luck at category 2. Under Kim Ok Sung he rallied late to take a length and a half victory from Blue Pin.

Meanwhile at Busan, Sky Star finished second to King Rider in the category 1 feature race. Performances since the Derby are marking out this year’s three year old crop to be better than last year’s and Sangseung Ilro could have quite a task on her hooves when she comes back to Seoul in October to attempt to complete the Triple Crown.

Finally, a mention must be made of To The Champ. The five year old lined up for the thirty-ninth time this afternoon and came through late in the 1800 metre race 6 to land victory by a length. Kim Ok Sung, who has partnered him in twenty-three of those outings, punched the air as they crossed the line and was still smiling when he emerged for his next ride. While it’s the Dongbanui Gangjas who get the headlines, it’s the To The Champs of this world who keep this wonderful sport going.