We may have a good one on our hands. Lion Santa kept his unbeaten record intact with a late surge to comfortably see off some top-class opposition in the Kookje Sinmun Stakes at Busan Race Park this afternoon.
The Kookje Sinmun is a rare chance for Busan’s imported horses to race for a Stakes prize over a sprint distance and a number of proven horses were out to stop Lion Santa [Lion King – Santa Fe Strip (Phone Trick)] who was sent off the slight odds-on favourite. Park Geum Man on Hudson River Line took the early initiative and it looked at one point in the home straight that they were going to secure an unlikely wire-to-wire victory.
Inevitably, however, they couldn’t maintain the pace and once jockey Kim Dong Young got Lion Santa running for the line they relentlessly made up the distance and cruised past in the final furlong to record a two and a half-length win from 10/1 shot Mystery Boy and Isidae Gangja, the only Korean horse in the race.
That makes it six wins from six races for Lion Santa. He’s won at every distance from five furlongs to a mile so far and there’s nothing in the manner of his victories to suggest that he can’t go further. From now on, he’ll be doing all his racing at class 1.
Kookje Sinmun Stakes – Busan Race Park – 1400M – May 1, 2011
1. Lion Santa (USA) [Lion Heart – Santa Fe Strip (Phone Trick)] – Kim Dong Young – 1.9, 1.2
2. Mystery Boy (USA) [Ecton Park – Mysterious Moll (Bates Motel)] – Jo Chang Wook – 2.6
3. Isidae Gangja (KOR) [Lost Mountain – Angel (Land Rush)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.5
Distances: 2.5 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Hudson River Line (USA) 5. Field Tripping (USA) 6. Viva Ace (USA) 7. High Best (USA) 8. Seonnyang Yongsa (AUS) 9. Admiral Reigart (USA) 10. Peolpeol (AUS) 11. Dudeurim (AUS) 12. Global Champ (AUS) 13. Hey Sexy (USA) 14. Royale Embrace (USA)
In Busan’s other big race, Areumdaun Jilju (Didyme) clinched the seventeenth victory of his illustrious career beating out second favourite Winning Perfect by a neck at the end of the 1800 metre handicap. It was another big race win for jockey Toshio Uchida who won two of the today’s six races.
Up at Seoul, the feature race was little more than a formality for the track’s top rated Korean horse Ace Galloper. The four-year old was sent off as the odds-on favourite and utterly crushed his eleven rivals over nine furlongs. By the time they hit the finish line, Cho Kyoung Ho had eased Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) to an eight length victory over New Year’s Stakes winner Andy’s Runner and last year’s top filly Love Cat.
Ace Galloper was the second horse Cho Kyoung Ho had the luxury of easing down today. Despite not being on the Classic trail so far, Shoot In (Exploit) has played a big part in it finishing second in his last two outings; first to Yeongung Icheon and then to Gwangyajeil, both of whom are expected to line up for the Korean Derby two weeks today. On today’s form, that pair are worth watching out for as, over 1700 metres, Shoot In comfortably saw off a class 4 field.
Admittedly, he didn’t beat much but the ease of his acceleration when asked and the fact that he clearly ran very much within himself would suggest that this may be a colt that we are likely to hear more from later this year.
Speaking of the Derby, we are indeed just two weeks away. We begin the build-up here, very soon!