Punters believed that Cheonnyeon Daero could take on and beat older horses in the feature race at Busan Race Park this afternoon, but the Derby Winner came up short as Wonder Unicorn strode to an emphatic six-length win.
Third favourite Top Grade set the early pace in the ten furlong handicap, but under jockey Park Geum Man, Cheonnyeon Daero, after recovering from a bad start, was always handily placed and looked ready to strike as they entered the home straight. Instead it was Jo Chan Hoon and Wonder Unicorn who took their chance while Cheonnyeon Daero seemed to get lost in the middle of the track. Top Grade held on for third from Conqueror, who stopped the Derby winner from even placing.
With KRA Cup Mile winner Money Car looking set to be out of action indefinitely following a poor showing at Seoul last week, the Oaks won by 50/1 outsider Euro Fighter and now the Derby Winner being beaten by three competant – but hardly world beating – horses, questions will be asked about the calibre of this year’s three-year old crop.
Maybe there are some late developers. Earlier at Busan, Ganghan Yeoja (Lethal Instrument), absolutely crushed a class 2 field by nine lengths, adding to the twelve length victory she scored last month. Although she won her very first race back in March 2009, it took her ten starts to win again. Now aged four, she’ll soon be in top class company. Whether she can maintain this form at longer distances is yet to be seen.
Up in Seoul, the weather was once again the focus of many people’s attention. What started as a baking hot day with temperatures around 34C, quickly progressed into a spectacular thunderstorm, followed by a monsoon downpour, before eventually settling down into a cool late summer’s day. On the track, things were set for a showdown between Vicar Love and the ever-improving Larrycat in the feature race. While Vicar Love was a late scratching, Larrycat did the business in his absence, scoring a narrow win over Jumong and Cheonjidolpung.
Earlier, there was a surprise in the all-fillies race 9 as hot favourite Raipai went down to defeat by Jeokbyeokgang. Raipai, who came into the race with four wins from six starts, could only manage third as Special Volpony sneaked into second under apprentice jockey Park Sang Woo. It was a good day for Park, who had earlier scored the first double of his career, with victory in race 1 on Honggwang and race 5 on Cheonhagullim.
It was also a good day for lady jockey Lee Ae Li who, in the rain-soaked race 7, produced City Ruler at exactly the right moment to overcome Cho Kyoung Ho on Rose Line and in doing so, record her first victory for five months. It was a skilful piece of riding by Lee who showed that despite her increasingly limited opportunities, when given a horse with a chance, she’s just as likely as anyone to convert it into a win.
In other races, HRI Trophy victor Cheot Insang was successful in race 9, while debut-making fillies Gate Shine (Capital Spending) and Grand Ace (Grand Slam) began their careers with victories in races 3 and 4 respectively.
Class 1 Handicap (Domestic) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – September 5, 2010
1. Wonder Unicorn (KOR) [Graeme Hall – Bessette (Quest For Fame)] – Jo Chan Hoon – 4.0, 1.6
2. Top Grade (KOR) [Texas Glitter – Potential Storm (Cape Town)] – Hitomi Miyashita – 1.9
3. Conqueror (KOR) [Revere – Model Actress (Stage Colony)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.8
Distances: 6 lengths/3 lengths – 12 ran
Class 1 Handicap (Foreign) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – September 5, 2010
1. Larrycat (USA) [Fantasticat – Tiger In My Tank (Tank) – Park Tae Jong – 1.6, 1.0
2. Jumong (USA) [Johar – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] – Moon Se Young – 1.6
3. Cheonjidolpung (USA) [Tactical Cat – Luminate (A.P. Indy)] – Boo Min Hoo – 2.2
Distances: 0.75 lengths/0.5 lengths – 9 ran
* Download English Stewards’ Reports from Busan and Seoul.
* Full results from both of today’s meetings are on the KRA’s website.