Rain Battered Seoul Loses a Race but Gwangyajeil Emerges With Reputation Intact
Gwangyajeil put in a performance full of spirit to grind out a victory at rain-soaked Seoul Race Park this afternoon. The Korean Derby winner came from behind to overhaul long time leaders Full Step and Kanui Byeol in the final furlong.
In his first appearance since the Derby, Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] was sent off as odds-on favourite although with the race delayed so that as much water could be cleared off the track as possible, the shocking conditions meant nothing could be taken for granted. Moon Jung Kyun on Full Step (Didyme) shot out of the gate and raced across to find the rail, the driest part of the track, with Gwangyajeil having emerged from gate 1 following.
It proved to be a good tactic as Full Step, without a win in over a year and sent off at 12/1, kept the lead as the field entered the home straight. However, Oh Kyoung Hoan had Gwangyajeil exactly where he wanted him and launched him down the rail in a flat-out bid to catch the leaders. Catch them he did and while Full Step battled on gamely, he was no match for Gwangyajeil who recorded his sixth win from eight career starts by half a length.
It almost didn’t happen at all. The monsoon returned with a vengeance overnight and by the time racing got underway this morning it had been raining non-stop for seven hours. It hit its peak in mid-afternoon as, with a flash of lightning, day turned to night, the rain intensified and suddenly outside did not seem like a wise place to be. As all this was happening, horses were heading to post for rain 7. For the first time since February the floodlights were switched on and the jockeys, having reached the start, sought shelter inside the gate handlers’ coach.
With time ticking on and the horses getting wetter and wetter, race 7 was abandoned which meant we didn’t get the chance to see how the much hyped Ruler Of The Gold (Tribal Rule-Continental Miss) did on his debut around two turns. After the abandonment, a delegation of jockeys and KRA officials toured the track by Land Rover to assess its safety. While race 8 was initially announced as abandoned too, on completion of the inspection the decision was reversed and racing went ahead.
This meant that Balhaemyeongjang [Champali-Beauty On Duty (Dynaformer)] had the opportunity to take victory in the feature handicap as he scored a three length win over Super Jet to record his eighth victory from fifteen career starts. The four-year old is becoming quite a force to be reckoned with in these kinds of events.
Down at Busan, where it was dry for much of the day, there were co-features. In the first of them, Australian six-year old Cheonseungmanseung [Way Of Light – Mysterious Ransom (Red Ransom)] took the honours while an hour later, Tamna Ace [Thunder Gulch – Escape (A.P. Indy)] was victorious over Bulkkot Gisang (Langfuhr) to record his seventh win from nine starts.
Racing returns to the peninsula next weekend and we could well still be in monsoon season. Pick of the action will be at Busan where KRA Cup Mile winner Soseuldaemun heads the field in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Stakes. He’ll be up against Isidore Farm and Peter Wolsley’s King Austin, as the Aussie trainer looks for hs first Korean Stakes win.