Racing returned to Seoul after two blank weekends and on a day where the weather was as predictable as a maiden pony race on Jeju Island, Holy Dreamer finally showed he’s no flat-track bully and can mix it with the big boys as he defeated a host of established names in the feature race.
He’d won his first five races but came unstuck when he faced his first really strong test in last year’s Ilgan Sports where he struggled home in seventh place. He recovered to win twice more in succession to gain entry to Korean racing’s elite for 2010. It seemed he’d met his match, a third place the best to show from four outings this year that included coming a dismal eleventh in the Ttukseom Cup.
Punters still considered him dangerous enough to warrant sending him off at slightly under 10/1 behind such names as Machine Gun, Gi Ra Seong, Nice Choice, Hwangnyongsaji and Taepungchukje. It was Gi Ra Seong who set the early pace but the six-year-old couldn’t hold off the challenge of Holy Dreamer who, under rising star of the weighing room Jo In Kwen took control in the final furlong and won by a length. Taepung Chukje got up for third.
Holy Dreamer now has the impressive record of eight wins from fourteen starts. Whether he can repeat the feat when he carries more weight next time, will be something to watch very carefully. Holy Dreamer’s mother goes by the name of Nice Weather. On that subject…
…If winners were hard to predict, the weather was even harder. Seoul awoke to a crashing thunderstorm but by first post time there was burning sunshine and those in rain coats looked very silly (and very sweaty). All that changed in a few dramatic minutes before the fifth when the skies darkened and the heavens opened unleashing a furious downpour.
This would be repeated between races right up until race 9. Remarkably while parading for all those races was done in torrential unpleasantness, the rain stopped each time the horses entered the starting gate.
In such conditions, surprises were always going to happen. Three odds-on favourites went down: Tracker, Namchonuichukje and Brown Girl were respectively beaten by Seongjang Engine, Battle Bingo and Gounjit.
Some favourites did do the business, however. Best Holls, the only Korean bred entrant in a Foreign-bred race claimed the spoils in race 7 while Cheonji Jangsu cruised past the field to claim victory in race 10. The US bred five-year old is very much a late-bloomer but now looks likely to join the elite on his next outing.
Racing returns to Seoul on Sunday with 11 races from 14:30 to 21:00. Busan also runs a 6 race card from 16:20 to 21:00. The weather forecast is something like hot and sunny with cloudy periods and regular thunderstorms. Oh, and the odd gale-force gust of wind. It’s going to be fun dressing for that.
Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – August 14, 2010
1. Holy Dreamer (KOR) [Duality – Nice Weather (Future Storm)] – Jo In Kwen – 9.3, 2.8
2. Gi Ra Seong (KOR) [Precise End – Dauntless Cat (Mountain Cat)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.9
3. Taepungchukje (KOR) [Future Quest – Change In Time (Time For A Change)] – Boo Min Ho – 2.4
Distances: 1 length/0.75 lengths – 13 ran