Pangpang outsprinted Sangseung Ilro to claim an unlikely victory in the Korean Oaks at Busan this evening and in doing so turned the shape of the season on its head.
It all looked so easy for Sangseung Ilro. Sent off long odds-on favourite, in the absence of any early pace the KRA Cup Mile and Derby winner went to the front herself alongside outsider Hwangjeui Seonmul. After an uneventful opening six furlongs, she seemed perfectly placed at the top of the stretch to kick on and away from the field.
Kick on she did but Han Sang Gyu on Pangpang, fourth in the Derby and second favourite here was in pursuit. By the time they hit the furlong pole, Pangpang was closing the gap. The crowd anticipated Sangseung Ilro’s second wind – surely Eiki Nishimura could coax her back into top gear. It didn’t happen, Sangseung Ilro was spent. Pangpang swept by with the line just metres away. Many many lengths back, Leading Velocity rounded out the placings.
Han Sang Gyu punched the air as a shocked hush descended over Busan and Seoul. The Grand Slam was off the table. The Triple Crown remains on but in one furlong Sangseung Ilro lost her aura. Not only was she beaten, she was beaten by another three year old filly.
Pangpang finished tenth behind Sangseung Ilro in April’s KRA Cup Mile, the first of the Triple Crown races. Although she followed it up by winning a class 3 race later that month, her connections’ decision to take her to Seoul and the Derby in May was seen as a slight indulgence. She refuted those claims by running fourth. Returning to Busan, she ran three times over the last two months, improving with each run. Sangseung Ilro meanwhile, sat in the barn.
So the season goes on. Its star isn’t quite as bright as it was this morning. However, maybe in Pangpang, we have another.
Korean Oaks (G.II) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Aug 9, 2009
1. Pangpang (KOR) [Revere – Awishnotalark (Rio’s Lark)] – Han Sang Gyu – 9.0, 1.8
2. Sangseung Ilro (KOR) [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Eiki Nishimura – 1.1
3. Leading Velocity (KOR) [Fiercely – Barefoot Runaway (Strike Gold – Jo Chan Hoon – 2.1
Distances: 1 length/11 lengths
Also ran: 4. Lady In Gala; 5. Suryeohan; 6. Haneul Gisang; 7. Naechingu; 8. Hero Age; 9. Hanmoe; 10. Solar City; 11. Rose Cat; 12. Hwanjeui Seonmul