Sun Hero is Champion Korean Juvenile / Clean Sweep for Sire Menifee in Breeders’ Cup
They were supposed to be the second-string from owner Lee Shin Keun and trainer Seo Beom Seok. Instead, Sun Hero ran out the length and a half winner of the Breeders’ Cup at a frozen Seoul Race Park this afternoon to become the peninsula’s champion Juvenile of 2010. In second place was stablemate – and pre-race favourite – Sun Blaze.
Shrewd punters would have noticed that jockey Moon Se Young received a five-day riding ban last weekend but had asked for it to be deferred by one week to allow him to ride today. In doing so, he ruled himself out of a chance to ride in the Grand Prix Stakes, the nation’s most prestigious race in a fortnight’s time. Clearly he believed Sun Hero wasn’t there just to make up the numbers.
And Moon, whose ban means he will almost certainly fall short in his quest for the jockey’s championship, was at his imperious best as he kept Sun Hero just off the lead early in the 1300 metre race, bringing him to the front inside the final furlong and holding on as Sun Blaze and Park Tae Jong came challenging down the centre of the track. As they returned to scale Moon celebrated with the exuberance of a man for whom a plan – and a gamble – had paid off.
The Breeders’ Cup race was an amalgamation of Busan’s Breeders’ Cup and Seoul’s Herald Business which in previous years had been the two tracks’ Juvenile championships. Significantly, today’s race was restricted to colts and fillies who will be eligible for next year’s Triple Crown races and was the first time that colts and fillies from Seoul and Busan could face off against one another prior to the three-year old Classics. Seoul today took first and second place but in third was Busan’s 150/1 outsider Useung Touch.
Sun Hero and Sun Blaze not only have the same trainer and owner but also the same sire, Menifee. Indeed Useung Touch meant a clean sweep for the stallion who arrived in Korea in 2006 and whose first crop of two-year olds look destined for great things.
Disappointments of the race were Busan’s highly rated pair of Heukdujanggun and the previously undefeated Hwallyeok Energy. They finished eleventh and last respectively. Recently Busan has dominated the Classics, today will give Seoul heart but a lot could happen between now and next April when the best of the generation will convene in Busan for the KRA Cup Mile.
One race later on a bitterly cold day, five-year old Kahnui Jeonseol, produced a surprise win in the afternoon’s feature handicap. The New Zealand bred gelding edged out K J Khan and Owners’ Cup winner Serendipper by half a length. For Kahnui Jeonseol (Howbaddouwantit), it was his first win for nearly two years, his first at class 1 and only his third overall. Meanwhile, joining him at Class 1 in future will be Balhaemyeongjang. The three-year old edged out Cheongha Eutteum for a narrow win in race 8.
While five jockeys from Busan were in town for the weekend, only one of them, You Hyun Myung, rode a winner. You partnered filly Gyemyeongui Bit to an easy victory in race 7. Back home on the South Coast, those jockeys missed out on a six-race card, the star of which was fast improving colt Wanggol. The three-year old Australian import took on a host of the track’s elder statesmen in the feature race. He had few problems dealing with them though as he made all to romp to a two-length win from Full Forest and Admiral Reigart. Wanggol (Jet Spur) now has a record of five wins from eight starts.
Breeders’ Cup (KOR.GIII) – Seoul Race Park – 1300M – November 28, 2010
1. Sun Hero (KOR) [Menifee – Strategic Reward (Bold Revenue)] – Moon Se Young – 14.1, 3.7
2. Sun Blaze (KOR) [Menifee – Claudia’s Secret (Crafty Prospector)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.3
3. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] – Yang Young Nam – 24.3
Distances: 1.5 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Dallija 5. Cheonji Horyeong 6. Haesan 7. Winette Dancer 8. Soseuldaemun 9. Absolute 10. Gaemamusa 11. Heukdujanggun 12. King Field 13. Mustang King 14. Hwallyeok Energy
And so ends another fabulous weekend’s entertainment at the racecourse. Next week it’s the Busan Owners’ Cup and the week after it’s the biggest of them all, the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul. We start our build-up to both of them tomorrow.