Favourite Crushes Challengers
Dongbanui Gangja produced a dominant performance to crush the rest of the Grand Prix field at Seoul Race Park this afternoon and in doing so, became only the third horse to retain the peninsula’s most prestigious race.
In a break from his usual patient style with the 2008 Champion, Choi Beom Hyun opted to take the race by the scruff of the neck in the back straight. After Ugildongja had made the early speed, Bally Brae headed for the front with Dongbanui Gangja on his shoulder. The favourite took the lead as they exited the third corner and from then on, the race was over.
As ever, he drifted to the centre of the track but the home straight was nothing more than a victory parade for Dongbanui Gangja who kicked on to win by a lazy six lengths. It could have been sixteen if jockey Choi had been so inclined.
The real battle was for second. Bulpae Gisang, winner of the Busan Metropolitan was considered to be his stablemate’s only real threat but in truth, he was in a different class. He did enough to hold off the late determined challenge of Gaeseon Janggun to take second place. Gaeseon Janggun, last year’s top Korean bred three-year old took third and had the honour of being both the best placed Korean horse and the first finisher from Busan.
Old favourite Bally Brae showed at the front in the back stretch, but his sprint legs are gone and he faded to sixth. The only filly in the race, Rolling On Strong, never featured and was eased up by Cho Kyoung Ho in the home straight.
An imposing physical presence, Dongbanui Gangja is a visually impressive animal. Big and muscular, yet handsome with it, he has a turn of speed of the type rarely seen on the Korean track. He now has ten straight wins and defeat doesn’t seem likely any time soon.
Bulpae Gisang is the second best foreign bred horse Seoul has to offer these days, while of the home-bred three-year old crop, the connections of Nice Choice and Yeonseung Daero declined Grand Prix spots, perhaps with Dongbanui Gangja’s presence in mind. Right now, it is difficult to see anything preventing him from completing an historic hat-trick this time next year.
Grand Prix (KOR. G.I) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – Dec 13, 2009
1. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 1.2, 1.0
2. Bulpae Gisang (USA) [Lightnin N Thunder – Neat Trick (Clever Trick)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.2
3. Gaeseon Janggun (KOR) [Duality – Diamond Star (Dixieland Band)] – Jo Chan Hoon – 1.9
Distances: 6 lengths/Head
Also ran: 4. Haengbok Dream; 5. King Kephalos; 6. Bally Brae; 7. Ugildongja; 8. Crafty Louis; 9. Yaho TS; 10. Rolling On Strong
The Grand Prix was the sixth and final race of the year to pit horses from Seoul against those from Busan. Busan ran out the winners by four race to two Tellingly though, Busan made a clean sweep of the Classics, involving horses born, bred, broken in and trained in Korea. Seoul’s two wins were both with imported horses. Dongbanui Gangja, the second of those, is on his way to securing his place as one of the greatest in Korean racing history.