Untouchable! Useung Touch Romps The Oaks

She was second in the Derby and today, at Busan Race Park, Useung Touch went one better to win the 2011 Korean Oaks in dominating fashion.

Sent off at slightly better than evens, but starting right on the outside in gate 14, jockey Choi Si Dae sent Useung Touch out quickly and straight into an early lead. Challengers came and went, most noticeably Sen Girl in the back straight but, despite Choi having to battle for a time in the stretch to keep Useung Touch straight, it was clear the rest were only ever racing for second.

In the end it was second-favourite Amass who got closest to the winner meaning a one-two finish for Busan fillies. Outsider Choichoro, grabbing an unlikely third, was Seoul’s best finisher.

Useung Touch first came to attention when finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul last November after starting the race as a 90/1 outsider. On the strength of that run she, along with the two colts who beat her that day, Sun Hero and Sun Blaze (both also by Menifee) went into April’s KRA Cup Classic – the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown – heavily fancied. They all disappointed.

The following month, however, Useung Touch headed to Seoul and the Korean Derby where she managed s superb second behind winner Gwangyajeil. With a class 2 win last month and now today, Useung Touch is already set to be crowned Korean bred filly of the year.

Oaks Winners: Useung Touch and Choi Si Dae

It’s a second Stakes win and first Korean Classic for her sire Menifee with his first set of foals reaching Classic age. With the Derby won by a Vicar colt (Gwangyajeil) and the likes of Ecton Park, Forest Camp and later Officer, to come on-line, we are seeing a changing of the guard in the stallion ranks that have for so long been dominated by the likes of Didyme, Revere and Creek Cat.

Korean Oaks (KOR.GII) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – August 21, 2011

1. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee-Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.2, 1.4
2. Amass (KOR) [Jamine Langfuhr-Jideokjang (Didyme)] – Jo Sung Gon – 2.0
3. Choichoro (KOR) [Concept Win-Eunbiryeong (Mujaazif)] – Kim Dong Chul – 9.7

Distances: 5 lengths/2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. HAengunui Mannam 5. Seungniuihamseong 6. Mustang Queen 7. Beauty Icheon 8. Sen Girl 9. Nicole Windsor 10. Allegrissimo 11. Cyclone 12. Flower 13. Gyeonghuimanse 14. Areumdaun Party

After the Korean Oaks was over with there was more Featured (although non-Stakes) action to come, in the shape of the Gold Coast Turf Club Trophy. Going into the race, which was for class 2 fillies and mares, the exciting US import Empire World (Empire Maker) was hot favourite to add to her previous four victories from five starts. It was not to be, however, as the only Korean bred filly in the race, Dongbangmiin took a narrow half-length victory over Queen of Rain with Empire World back in fourth.

Gold Coast Turf Club Trophy – Busan Race Park – 1800M – August 21, 2011

1. Dongbangmiin (KOR) [Yehudi-Pyeonghwaroun (Kingsview)] – You Hyun Myung – 5.8, 1.9
2. Queen Of Rain (USA) [Lion Heart-Prosperous Move (Arch)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.5
3. Lovely Woman (AUS) [Lion Heart – Ayu Alight (Ali Royal)] – Akane Yamamoto – 2.8

Distances: 0.5 lengths/1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Empire World (USA) 5. Tamna Taehu (USA) 6. Ganggong Alpha (JPN) 7. Lady Pres (USA) 8. Gayatansaeng (NZ) 9. Royale Embrace (USA)

In English, “Useung” means “Winning”. Useung Touch has now won five of her nine starts. She’ll almost certainly be back in Seoul for a rematch with Gwangyajeil in the Minister’s Cup – the final leg of the Triple Crown – in October. In this kind of form, there’s no reason why she can’t have the winning touch there too.

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