Day: July 19, 2009

Hallyu Star Lights Up SBS

Outsider shocks Seoul / Areumdaun Jilju takes Min Ilbo
On a glorious summer’s evening under the lights at Seoul Race Park, long shot Hallyu Star was the shock winner of the SBS Cup.

The six year old had set the early pace in the nine and a half furlong race and had opened up a lead of four lengths at one point in the back straight. With the big guns of Namchonuijijon, Triple Seven, Natural Nine and Baekgwang all gathering behind, it was inevitable that the lead wouldn’t last for long.

It didn’t. The field came roaring back as they entered the home straight and Seoul settled back to see which of the favourites would step up. There was a twist. Rather than succomb, Choi Won Joon coaxed a second wind out of Hallyu Star. Somehow they stayed in front during a pulsating final furlong that saw the first five horses within a length and a half of each other on the line. To add to the shock, the horse closest to them was Lucky Seven, the longest shot on the board. Natural Nine grabbed third while the returning Baekgwang, finishing fast, ran out of track in fourth.

It was another big race let down for Namchonuijijon while Triple Seven never fired, despite being in a good position turning for home, ultimately beating only one home. Baekgwang looked good and ran as expected – he was fourth in the betting and he finished fourth. The vet will have the final say but the signs are good that he has indeed made a full recovery.

Today, however, belongs to Hallyu Star, the old stager winning his sixth race from thirty seven starts. For jockey Choi Won Joon, who put in a sparkling ride, it is also the biggest win of his career.

In what was a sumptious half hour of racing on the peninsula, the lights were on at Busan too as Areumdaun Jilju landed the Gyeongnam-Do Min Ilbo Cup. The only Korean bred horse in the field, Areumdaun Jilju dominated the nine furlong race, taking the lead as they entered the back straight and though tiring late on, did enough to repel a challenge from outsider Haengbok Dream. Filly Miss Ecton finished third. With the win, and in landing a race for foreign bred horses, Areumdaun Jilju further embellishes his reputation.

A little later on at Busan, it was the turn of a three year old to start to repair his reputation. Yeonseung Daero was sent off favourite in the KRA Cup Mile and was well-fancied for the Derby. He flopped in both. Today he began to make amends as he made a very late run to overhaul Distance Runner in the last few strides of the mile long category 1 handicap. The domestic picture looks very bright under the lights of Busan this evening.

Finally, mention must be made of jockey Yoo Mi Ra. The apprentice made her debut over a year ago and today she finally made it into the winner’s circle as she took favourite Tamnahwanhui to victory in race 2. It was only the third time she’d ridden a favourite in over 110 mounts and while she had scored plenty of seconds, the win had eluded her until today. Next month, Yoo will join Lee Ae Li and Park Jin Hee at Busan on Oaks day for the “Lady Jockeys International Challenge” races. Among those set to compete are Australian Claire Lindop and Ireland’s Catherin Gannon. Full preview over the next couple of weeks.

After yesterday’s storm lashed card, perfect conditions and a massive crowd at Seoul in the region of 70,000 made for a wonderful afternoon and evening’s entertainment. Next Sunday will see another big night at Seoul when the Munhwa Ilbo will top the bill.

SBS Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1900M – Jul 19, 2009

1. Hallyu Star (KOR) [Sharp Appeal – Angel (Land Rush)] – Choi Won Joon – 35.2, 4.6
2. Lucky Seven (KOR) [Didyme – Agent Flirt (Double Agent] – Lee Sang Hyuk – 10.9
3. Natural Nine (KOR) [Revere – C. Bop (Aly Dark)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 1.4
Distances: 0.5 lengths/Neck
Also ran: 4. Baekgwang; 5. Geumbit Gangja; 6. Daehyo; 7. Namchonuijijon; 8. Triple Seven; 9. Seungni Yongsa
Non-Runner: Wangson

Gyeongnam-Do Min Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Jul 19, 2009

1. Areumdaun Jilju (KOR) [Didyme – Chills Of Nepal (Nepal)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.9, 1.3
2. Haengbok Dream (JPN) [Lammtarra – Sister Slew (Slew The Dragon)] – Jo Chan Hoon – 7.4
3. Miss Ecton (USA) [Ecton Park – Miss Lion King (Lion Cavern)] – Martin Wepner – 2.8
Distances: 1 length/1.5 lengths
Also ran: 4. Phasmes; 5. Crafty Louis; 6= Hardride; 6=Wonder Love; 8. Winter Invitation; 9. Angle Slam; 10. Gyeongcheonsa; 11. King Kephalos; 12. Jewang; 13. Power Captain; 14. Saeroun Bulpae