Reverses for Secret Weapon, Bally Brae / Aoki shines in Jockeys Vs Punters
Secret Weapon is Seoul’s top rated Korean bred horse but he suffered a shock defeat on Saturday as SBS Cup winner Hallyu Star bested him over 1900 metres. Secret Weapon is one of the “Po-In-Ma Troika” – “Po-In-Ma” referring to horses foaled in Korea by mares who were pregnant when imported. They are therefore classed as Korean bred but are ineligible for the Triple Crown races as well as some other big races which are restricted to Korean breds, such as this month’s President’s Cup.
The other two members of the “Troika” are Gi Ra Seong and the mare Top Point, ranked third and fourth respectively in the Korean bred rankings. With all three absent from the President’s Cup, the prospect of the great grey Baekgwang completing a remarkable comeback is a real one. Early entries have been announced and Baekgwang heads them along with Seoul’s top three year old Nice Choice. We’ll start the build-up to the race later this week. The winner of the President’s Cup will almost certainly go on to the Grand Prix in December where the “Troika” will most likely all be present.
Looking increasingly doubtful to be present in the Grand Prix is 2007 winner Bally Brae. The seven year old struggled when returning from a three month lay off in September but came back to be sent off odds-on favourite over the Grand Prix distance of 2300 metres on Sunday with a return to the winners’ circle looking on the cards. It wasn’t to be. Park Tae Jong’s saddle slipped as they rounded the first corner and the former champion jockey was left with little control for the rest of the race. That Bally Brae still finished in touch with the field was testament to both horse and rider. Angus Empire took advantage to land the victory.
Bally Brae still has talent and if he was to get into the Grand Prix, a race where he wouldn’t be handicapped out of contention, anything could happen. However, with Myeongmun Gamun and Subsidy now retired and Bally Brae in the twilight of his career, a new generation are likely to be the ones challenging Dongbanui Gangja in December. Unless of course, Baekgwang can pull off somthing very special.
* It was the ninth annual Jockeys Vs Punters Sports Day in the Seoul Race Park infield last week. No idea who won – although Yoo Mi Ra was given the “MVP” award. In any case, as the “sports” included skipping and dodgeball, it probably doesn’t matter. The Chulgigi blog was there and he has some pictures as well as a video.
Watch out for new Japanese jockey Yoshi Aoki who first introduces himself and then procedes to interrupt an interview with Seoul Jockeys’ Union President Kim Dong Kyun. Sadly Aoki doesn’t ask Kim for his organization’s views on foreign jockeys coming to Seoul. Nevertheless, it seems as though everyone enjoyed themselves. The jury is still out on Aoki but he’s had a good start and he certainly seems an interesting – and English speaking – addition to the ranks.