Wide Boy Choi Back On The Rails In JRA

Choi Bum Hyun and Baekhomujeok win the JRA Trophy

Barring late misfortune befalling another, Choi Bum Hyun won’t be riding in the Korean Derby tomorrow. He won’t mind too much, however, after landing the Japan Racing Association (JRA) Trophy on 20/1 outsider Baekhomujeok at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Baekhomujeok in the JRA Trophy Winner's Circle

Choi is often maligned by some sections of the Gwacheon punting colony for his habit of going wide around the field to win. Today though, he and the three-year old Baekhomujeok were on the rail all the way as, after always being well-place, they came through to overhaul long time leader Kkochyeoul in the last 100 metres to grab a half-length win. Mass Media’s Tea was a further length back in third, the first three having spent the whole of the race at the front of the field.

Choi Bum Hyun was a winner today

Baekhomujeok (Sharp Humor) was imported to Korea as a two-year old last year (his original name was Late Night Comic) and has now won four of his six starts. Pre-race favourite Ppoppai finished a disappointing fourth after running wide on the final turn. This time, it wasn’t a Choi Bum Hyun ridden favourite who was going wide. Instead for all his faults, Choi was winning his twelfth Stakes race in the last four years.

Today was the twentieth running of the JRA Trophy – and in a rather odd move, the KRA opted to mark the occasion by having “Arirang”, the most Korean of Korean folk songs, played as the visiting JRA representatives presented the prizes.

Blooming Great: Jo In Kwen lands the feature handicap on Blooming

In other races, 2010 Korean Oaks winner Euro Fighter was sent off at 30/1 in the feature class 2 handicap. Given that she hadn’t won since that day at Busan last Summer, it was a fair call by bettors. She didn’t win, but put in a very creditable performance to finish two lengths behind the five-year old winner Blooming, who landed another big race win for Jo In Kwen.

Jo gets his first crack at The Derby tomorrow. We’ll have our final preview a little bit later on.

JRA Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1200M – May 14, 2011

1. Baekhomujeok (USA) [Sharp Humor – Lip Gloss (Lit De Justice) – Choi Bum Hyun – 23.3, 4.5
2. Kkocchyeoul (USA) [Essence Of Dubai – A Star Has Risen (Rock Band)] – Jung Pyeong Soo – 3.4
3. Mass Media’s Tea (USA) [Mass Media – Tea Pot Joy (Joyeax Danseur)] – Moon Se Young – 1.7

Distances: 0.5 lengths/1 length
Also Ran: 4. Ppoppai 5. Celebrate Tonight 6. Imperial Girl 7. Magic Party 8. Bichui Jeonsa 9. Fortunata 10. Es Four 11. Dream Heart

The Japanese flag flies at Gwacheon today - the KRA opted to play "Arirang" during the JRA Trophy Winner's Ceremony

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