Double Grand Prix Winner Comfortably Defeats Tough Win in Stretch Duel To Win “Clash Of The Champions”
Dongbanui Gangja turned the tables on Tough Win to claim victory in the feature event at Seoul Race Park this afternoon to score his first win in over a year and get the better of the battle of three former Horse of the Year winners.
It had been a bad 12 months for Dongbanui Gangja. Once the undisputed best horse on the peninsula, he had always had a tendency to run wide in the home straight causing him to cover far more ground than necessary. He got away with it for twelve consecutive victories, including the Grand Prix Stakes in both 2008 and 2009 until he ran into the then unbeaten Tough Win – two years his junior – in the Busan Metropolitan last July. The younger horse prevailed, Dongbanui Gangja veering wildly off the racing line as the field turned for hom, eventually finishing ninth.
This would be repeated, albeit less dramatically in the KRA Cup Classic – won by Tough Win, and would thwart his attempt to secure an unprecedented third Grand Prix title. It looked like he may never win again. Today though, with race conditions allowing for a dramatic drop in the weight he usually has to carry, things were different.
Because of that weight drop, regular jockey Choi Bum Hyun couldn’t ride and Moon Jung Kyun was drafted in to partner the former champion for the first time and Dongbanui Gangja was sent off second favourite behind the odds-on Tough Win. While outsider Big Sox took the lead early on with Tough Win close behind, Dongbanui Gangja sat right at the back of the field. Midway through the back straight though, he made his customary move, rounding the field within the space of 100 metres and slotting in on the rail slapbang in front of Tough Win.
This time he stayed on the rail. Rounding the home turn, it became clear that this was going to be a private battle between Dongbanui Gangja and his former usurper. And with Dongbanui Gangja running in a straight line for once, Tough Win had no answer and was three lengths behind as the winner crossed the line. Dongbanui Gangja was back in the winner’s circle.
Jumong came in third, with the final former Horse of the Year in the race, Bally Brae grabbing the final money finish in fifth.
Class 1 (Foreign) – Seoul Race Park – 1900M – June 4, 2011
1. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 3.6, 1.4
2. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.1
3. Jumong (USA) [Johar – Foreign Aid (Danzid)] – Jo In Kwen – 1.5
Distances: 3 lengths/3 lengths – 10 ran
Dongbanui Gangja moves on to eighteen victories from thirty career starts. Today everything came right in a way that it might not again. Regardless of this and of whether Tough Win, who was slow to emerge for the post parade, was at 100%, Dongbanui Gangja is a special horse who still only six years old, has plenty still to offer.
Here’s what’s happening tomorrow:
Sunday June 5
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:30
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:00