That was impressive. First it was the Gyeongnam Governor’s Trophy, then the Minister’s Cup now Dangdae Bulpae has completed a hat-trick of big Autumn victories by claiming the President’s Cup and in doing so, re-affirming his status as the top three-year old – and arguably the top domestically bred horse in Korea.
This afternoon, taking on older horses, he was outstanding. Sent off as odds-on favourite over a star-studded field, Jo Sung Gon took the colt into an early lead. By the time they were into the back straight, they were leading the rest of the field by three lengths. They slowed as they began the long turn for home, allowing the field to come back together, however, Dangdae Bulpae was barely out of first gear. Jockey Jo went to work as they entered the home straight and with a furlong to go, the race was won.
Behind him was Yeonseung Daero. The four-year old winner of last year’s Busan Owners’ Cup was two-and-a-half lengths adrift. It might as well have been ten lengths given the way the winner eased up. In third was another four-year old from Busan, Golden Appeal. Triple Seven was the highest placed horse from Seoul, the Ttukseom Cup winner was fourth, one place ahead of Busan’s Derby winning Cheonnyeon Daero.
A disappointing eighth in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown, Dangdae Bulpae was third in the Derby. Since then though, he’s been unbeatable and has amassed overall career figures of nine wins from twelve starts. Significantly, since the Derby, four of his five wins have come against older horses.
Dangdae Bulpae’s victory also means that in the races where Seoul and Busan horses have faced each other this year, the two tracks have three wins apiece. There is one more race to come (well, two if you count the Breeders’ Cup which is for two-year olds only). The Grand Prix Stakes, the biggest race in the Korean calender takes place next month. Entry to the race is by invitation-only, with the invitations decided by an online vote of punters. Dangdae Bulpae is sure to be voted in, however, the Grand Prix isn’t restricted to Korean bred horses. The best imports will be there too, including Tough Win. In the last ten years, only one Korean bred horse has won the Grand Prix. Dangdae Bulpae has the talent to make it two. Let’s hope he goes for it.
President’s Cup (KOR.GI) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – November 14, 2010
1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.5, 1.1
2. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat -Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance) – Choi Si Dae – 1.7
3. Golden Appeal (KOR) [Shaep Appeal – Golden Image (Dancer’s Image)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.6
Distances: 2.5 lengths/1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Triple Seven 5. Cheonnyeon Daero 6. Suseong TX 7. Baengnyeonbong 8. Money Teukgeup 9. Holy Dreamer 10. Glory Yeonggwang 11. Lucky Dancer 12. Hongji 13. Natural Guy
Non Runner: Geumgangi
In other races, there was a surprising return to form for five-year old Yodongseong (Payne’s Bay). This was a horse who, two years ago looked set to challenge the likes of Bally Brae and Dongbanui Gangja as he arrived on the class 1 scene with five wins from nine starts. Remarkably, he hadn’t won since. Today, at his fifteenth attempt at class 1, he finally came out on top, beating out Cheonji Jangsu and Jumong by a neck.
It was a cold day at the track, the official temperature of 9C not reflecting the windchill which made it seem much chillier. It was a taste of things to come as it’s going to get a lot colder over the weeks and months ahead. However, a performance like that of Dangdae Bulpae is enough to make a punter forget the cold and instead, think about what that horse can possibly achieve over the months ahead.
* Down at Busan, the combination of Australian trainer Peter Wolsley and Japanese jockey Yoshiyuki Aoki struck again. Today they combined for two winners and two second place from the six races run at Busan. Pegasus Farm’s two-year old filly Secret Whisper (Sea Of Secrets) has much expected of her and she scored her second win from five starts in race 2 today. Aoki and Wolsley followed it up with two second place finishes with Jungle Love and Miss Bella in races 3 and 4, before Heukbaram (Exploit) landed race 5. Aoki then went on to score another second place in the last aboard Yu Chung Yeol’s Geungnak Seonnyo, who was beaten by favourite Ecton Legacy.