President’s Cup – Nice Choice strongly fancied to spoil fairytale ending to incredible comeback
As the start of 2009, although it was well-known that Baekgwang, champion three-year old of 2006, had undergone stem-cell treatment, few dared to hope that the much-loved grey would even return to the track, yet alone show something of his old form.
Return he did, however, running fourth in the SBS Cup in August. This was followed by a battling second place to Gi Ra Seong in September and then finally, last month picking off a class 1 handicap to find himself back in the winners’ circle following a characteristic come-from-behind run. On Sunday afternoon the six-year-old will line up against the track’s top Korean bred horses in the President’s Cup -the “Dae-Tong-Lyong-Bae” where the season’s top three-year olds meet the best older horses.
With the “Po-In-Ma Troika” of Secret Weapon, Gi Ra Seong and Top Point all ineligible (having been conceived overseas), Baekgwang has a good shot at landing the biggest prize of his career. However, there are plenty of talented runners out to stop him.
Nice Choice is the track’s top three-year old. After a poor run in the Derby, he finally showed his class by wining August’s Ilgan Sports. Just edged out in the Minister’s Cup by Namdo Jeap – and finishing ahead of Sangseung Ilro – he is the one to beat here. Second in the Ilgan was another three-year old, Khanui Jeguk. He went on to win the Munhwa Ilbo and, like Nice Choice, he’ll have a big weight advantage over the older horses.
Aside from Baekgwang, Natural Nine is one of those older entrants who must be considered as must Ttukseom Cup winner Mighty Runner. Triple Seven, who will have a lot of backers, and Wontagui Gisa have also both shown this year that they know what to do in the final furlong.
At post time tomorrow, however, all eyes will be on stall number 7. If Baekgwang can somehow pull this off, even the most hard-bitten of punter will raise a smile.
Here’s a full list of runners and riders:
Name/Pedigree/Age/Record/Jockey – All are Korean bred.
President’s Cup (KOR. G.I) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Nov 15, 2009 – 16:45
1. Natural Guy [Social Charter – Rocky Stream (Reprimand)] 4 (16/4/6/1) – Yoo Sang Wan
2. Nice Choice [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] 3 (11/7/3/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
3. Nice Good [Concept Win – Whenisitmyturn (Never Tabled)] 4 (19/5/4/4) – Shim Seung Tae
4. Wontagui Gisa [Fiercely -Grove Lady (Varick)] 5 (22/6/2/4) – Jung Ki Young
5. Baengnokjeong [Slew O’Green – Lesu Run (Proper Reality)] 6 (26/7/2/3) – Hwang Soon Do
6. Khanui Jeguk [Sunday Well – Lucky Dip (Didyme)] 3 (12/5/2/1) – Shin Hyoung Cheol
7. Baekgwang [The Groom Is Red – Grey Crest (Gold Crest)] 6 (20/10/6/3) – Park Tae Jong
8. Natural Nine [Revere – C. Bop (Aly Dark)] 5 (24/7/5/5) – Moon Jung Kyun
9. Triple Seven [The Groom Is Red – Impudence (Grand Lodge)] 4 (21/5/3/5) – Choi Beom Hyun
10. Saebyeok Achim [Social Charter – Cheongpa (The Rogers Four)] 4 (26/5/6/3) – Park Byoung Yoon
11. Lucky Seven [Didyme – Agent Flirt (Double Agent)] 7 (27/5/7/1) – Lee Sang Hyeok
12. Mighty Runner [Pacificbounty – Roan All Over (Fight Over)] 5 (25/7/3/7) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
13. Huimang Energy[Ft. Stockton – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] 5 (19/7/3/4) – Ham Wan Sik
14. New Rider [Road Of War – Flyin Kristen (Exclusive Gem)] 6 (43/5/5/2) – Yoshiyuki Aoki