So what do we make of this? Another colt on the Classic trail? Or is it that the ones that the ones who already were in the frame are not as good as we thought? Two of the season’s brightest hopes came face to face at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. And both were soundly beaten.
With the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown, just over a month away, Ophelia (Commendable) and Gwangyajeil (Vicar) are among the highest rated of the three year olds who will be going after the Classics this year. Today, they both made their first attempt at 1700 metres – 100 metres more than the Cup Mile, a 100 metres less than the Derby. They were sent off as the top two in the betting, but both found themselves upstaged by another young colt. Singgeureounachim (Exploit) started at 14/1 but jockey Jo In Kwen timed his run just right to storm to a two length victory.
Ophelia got caught in traffic but finished well in second while Gwangyajeil was never a threat in fourth. Ophelia’s strong finish suggested there is more to come while Gwangyajeil may have had an off-day. As for the winner, while recording just his second win from seven starts, he now finds himself amongst the Classic front-runners.
With Park Tae Jong, Moon Se Young, Cho Kyoung Ho and Jung Ki Yong among an unusually large number of jockeys sidelined this weekend due to injury (Park) and suspension (the rest), Jo In Kwen took full advantage. Aside from Singgeureounachim (you will forgive me if I don’t root for him during the Triple Crown as even by Korean standards, it really is a rather difficult name to type), Jo rode four more winners including both of the co-features on Cherokee Man (Sir Cherokee) and Jewang Tansaeng (Petionville).
Racing returns to Seoul on Sunday with 11 races from 11:10 to 18:00 while there are 6 races at Busan from 12:30 to 16:30.