Day: January 8, 2011

Handy Andy!

Andy’s Runner Wins New Year Stakes / Magic Party, Sun Hero Lose / KJ Khan Finally Wins

Opening day of the 2011 season at Seoul Race Park saw four-year old Andy’s Runner take victory in the feature New Year’s Commemorative Stakes.

Andy's Runner with Park Tae Jong (up) and trainer Bae Dae Sun (left) in the New Year's Stakes winner's circle

Last year, after never finishing worse than fourth in his first eleven races, Andy’s Runner earned himself a shot at the Minister’s Cup, the final Classic of the season. It didn’t go to plan as he found himself outclassed by the year’s elite. No-one outclassed him today though. Sent off the 2/1 favourite, Park Tae Jong brought Andy’s Runner into contention as the fourteen-strong field rounded the home turn and the pair never looked in danger once they hit the front with just over a furlong to go.

Andy's Runner

Second, a length behind the winner, was Tamnaseontaek with 150/1 outsider Hey Day taking a surprise third. As for the winner, Andy’s Runner it was a fifth win from fourteen starts and for Park Tae Jong, winner of more races than any jockey in Korea, it was yet another big race triumph.

Things didn’t go quite to plan for Park a race later, however, as two of last year’s stand-out two-year olds faced each other for the first time. Park’s mount, the filly Magic Party had won the Gwacheon Citizen’s Cup while colt Sun Hero, had taken home the Breeders’ Cup. Today they both stepped up in distance to run around two turns of the Seoul Racecourse for the first time but were still sent off odds-on to fill the top two places. However, neither of them had any answer to The Almighty, a four-year old who was an also-ran on the Classic trail last year. Magic Party was a well beaten fourth while Sun Hero trailed home in sixth.

The Almighty and Kim Gui Bae win race 10 - Magic Party and Sun Hero trailed home unplaced

We’ll give the pair of them another chance or two before deciding that they’re not going to be able to make the transition to the longer distances required higher level racing, but it wasn’t a good start for either of them. For The Almighty, particularly veteran jockey Kim Gui Bae, it was a great start to 2011.

Finally: K J Khan

Finally, there was the big class 1 handicap to sort out. Torpedo Mast was sent off the slight favourite but the grey could only manage third place as K J Khan just got the better of Cheonji Jangsu in a battling finish.

Japanese bred K J Khan [Squirtle Squirt – Bulge (Assatis)] was winning at class 1 for the first time in sixteen attempts – his last win coming in his final outing at class 2 level in January 2009. Today, perseverance paid-off.

Herald Business New Year’s Stakes – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – January 8, 2011

1. Andy’s Runner (KOR) [The Groom Is Red – Cheonmachong (Lost Mountain)] – Park Tae Jong – 2.9, 1.4
2. Tamnaseontaek (KOR) [War Zone – Every Michelle (Every Intent)] – Choi Bum mHyun – 4.5
3. Hey Day (KOR) [Silent Warrior – Dignified Era (Exclusive Era)] – Shin Hyoung Chul – 31.8

Distances: 1 length/1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sagunyukjin 5. Anseong Chukje 6. Mr. Rocky 7. Cheongha Eutteum 8. Forest Wind 9. High Point 10. Kanui Byeol 11. Mighty Girl 12. Gayabobae 13. Dansimga 14. Best Holls

It took a lot of coffee to melt the snow still lingering around Seoul Race Park on opening day

Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow with eleven races from 11:20 to 18:00 while down at Busan there are six races from 12:40 to 16:30.