53/1 shot Euro Fighter was the surprise winner of the 2010 Korean Oaks at Busan Race Park this afternoon. The Seoul-trained filly got off to a flying start and led the field into the first corner.
As the better-known names, headed by odds-on favourite Cheonun, massed behind her, it looked just a matter of time before she faded. Instead she did the opposite and, staying firmly on the rail, Euro Fighter found another gear in the home straight and pulled further away from the field. In the middle of the track, Cheonun laboured into stride but by then it was far too late. Euro Fighter, daughter of Archer City Slew, had won the fillies’ Classic.
Was it such a surprise though? Not if form rather than potential was anything to go by. Punters simply chose to disregard the fact that she was one of only two fillies in the race to have won a two-turn race before instead taking a chance on the unknown with fillies who had never gone further than seven furlongs. The exception to this was Cheonun, who had won twice at two turns. She looked set to pounce as they rounded the home turn but by the time Choi Bum Hyun had her pointing in the right direction in the straight, Euro Fighter was out of reach.
Seoul horses filled all the first four places – a welcome result for the capital after Busan’s recent domination of the Classics. Indeed, the calibre of the southern track’s fillies this year would appear to leave a lot to be desired. Crown Flag, the second longest shot on the board, was the host track’s best finisher, managing fifth. Busan does of course still boast the Derby winner, Cheonnyeon Daero, and if all goes to plan, Euro Fighter will have the opportunity to prove that today wasn’t a one off, when the pair meet in the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in October.
For jockey Moon Jung Kyun, it was a first Classic win since his swept all three legs of the Triple Crown on the great J.S. Hold in 2007.
While down at Busan, temperatures were in the low thirties, it was ten degrees cooler and a whole lot wetter back in the capital. Not that jockey Jang Chu Yeol will care tonight. The apprentice won a race for the very first time when he guided Gwanakteukgeup to victory in race 4. Jang is the first of this year’s new jockeys to score a win. It was his thirteenth start.
Meanwhile, she may be the first Korean woman to earn a trainer’s license but Lee Shin Young is very much in form on the track at the moment. Thirty-year old Lee scored a typically agressive win on Nike Seven in race 7. As soon as a training vacancy opens up, she’ll be moving into the barn, however, punters will be quite happy if that doesn’t happen for a good while longer yet.
Seoul’s feature race was won by another 53-1 shot. Mr Loving Life (Full Mandate) scored a win over Owner’s Cup winner Serendipper in the ten furlong handicap.
Korean Oaks (KOR.GII) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Aug 29, 2010
1. Euro Fighter (KOR) [Archer City Slew – Ilso Cheongun (High Yield)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 53.7, 7.8
2. Cheonun (KOR) [Ft. Stockon – Restless Patricia (Born Restless)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.1
3. Dongbang Rose (KOR) [Volponi – Night Mary (Strike Gold)] – Shin Hyoung Chul – 2.6
Distances: 5 lengths/1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Kanui Byeol 5. Crown Flag 6. Heukgun Jilju 7. Saeroun Gongju 8. Harue 9. Selah 10. Sanbang Plus 11. Hushtilled 12. Namgang 13. Shining Champion 14. Saroungangja