Nice Choice Takes the Munhwa Ilbo

Three year olds dominate / Afternoon Dove steps up
Nice Choice continued his post-Derby rehabilitation by coming through late to get the best of a three way battle for the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul Race Park this evening.

As expected, it was the three year olds who dominated proceedings. Nice Choice was sent off the odds on favourite ahead of Baengnyeonbong and Khanui Jeguk. However, it was the other three year old in the race, Event, who made the early running under Moon Se Young and led the eleven strong field going into the home straight.

Choi Beom Hyun on Khanui Jeguk was the first of the big guns to make his move and, as Event faltered, the three favourites locked horns. It was a battle that Nice Choice and Cho Kyoung Ho would win by a neck on the line, with just a further head sealing second place for Khanui Jeguk ahead of Baengnyeonbong, who was finishing fastest of all.

With the win, Nice Choice goes onto six wins from nine starts and, with his Derby disappointment well and truly behind him, puts himself back among the main contenders to prevent Sangseung Ilro from completing the Triple Crown in October. With three year olds sweeping the placings, that particular division is looking a little brighter for the capital track tonight than it did when we filed out of Gwacheon on Derby day.

Things weren’t done after the Munhwa. Once the ceremonies were complete, Afternoon Dove recorded his first class 1 victory in a shock victory over a field containing Seungyu Sinhwa and Fly Queen. Old stagers Serendipper and Crocap rounded out an unlikely first three. Afternoon Dove shot to prominance by finishing second in the JRA Trophy on Derby day but was brought back to Earth by running ninth n the Owners’ Cup last month. Meanwhile Fly Queen, winner of last year’s KRA Cup Classic was sent immediately to the KRA’s Veterinary hospital after the race. Thoughts are with her this evening.

Khanui Jeguk wasn’t the only one of the “Khanuis” in form today. Khanui Huye, another also-ran in the Derby, took victory in a competitve race 7 ahead of fellow three year old Bulsechul. Highly rated Power Of Money sat down in the gate as they loaded and was deemed unfit to race.

At Busan, Oneurui Bobae and Admiral Reigart punished punters by taking first and second in the feature race – the four year old holding off the venerable Admiral by a length. Dongbang Geona completed a top three of outsiders.

Racing takes a break next weekend, but will be back the week after when Sangseung Ilro will be make her first appearance since winning the Derby in May. Currently the hottest property in Korea, the filly will be the one to beat in the Korean Oaks at Busan on August 9. On a big day at the Southern track, the undercard sees the International Lady Jockey Challenge race. We’ll start the build up over the next few days.

Munhwa Ilbo Cup – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – July 26, 2009

1. Nice Choice (KOR) [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.4, 1.0
2. Khanui Jeguk (KOR) [Sunday Well – Lucky Dip (Didyme)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 1.9
3. Baengnyeonbong (KOR) [Al Naba – Sansovino Art (Mister C.)] – Shin Hyoung Cheol – 1.3
Distances: Neck/Head
Also ran: 4. Grandzif; 5. Super Jet; 6. Nanjeongseo; 7. Hallasinbi; 8. Challanhanbit; 9. Event; 10. Lhotse Shar; 11. Taeguk Musa

FULL RESULTS FROM SEOUL

FULL RESULTS FROM BUSAN

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