Last Year’s Winner Misses Out But A Double Champion, A Legend, A Nearly-Horse and Upstarts Clash in Grand Prix Trial
We had the final leg of the Triple Crown last week but the autumn Stakes action is coming thick and fast at Seoul Race Park. This weekend it’s the KRA Cup Classic, a major pointer towards the season ending Grand Prix Stakes which is now just over two months away.
Although last year’s winner Tough Win is a late withdrawal, there is still plenty to keep interest alive among punters and fans alike in this ten furlong handicap. Two Korean born horses, Ace Galloper and Baekgwang, take on nine imports including the double Grand Prix Champion Dongbanui Gangja.
Ace Galloper is currently the top ranked domestic bred horse at Seoul and is the one they all have to beat here while the great grey Baekgwang is one of the best-loved.
Dongbanui Gangja heads the weights but has only won once since kicking his habit of running wide in the home straight that almost saw him retired a year ago. Jumong, the half-brother of another great name from Korean racing history, Subsidy, is both in form and has a weight advantage as does the returning Bulpae Gisang. Then there are the three-year old unknowns. Could one of them pull off an upset? We’ll find out on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s a full run down of the field (Name [Pedigree] Age, Sex, Weight (Races/1/2/3) – Jockey):
KRA Cup Classic – Seoul Race Park – 2000M October 8, 2011, 16:35
1. Bulpae Gisang (USA) [Lightnin N Thunder-Neat Trick (Clever Trick)] 5 H 57Kg (21/10/4/1) – Won Jung Il
Spent nearly a year on the sidelines but showed a glimpse of the form that took him to victory in the Busan Metropolitan and second place in the Grand Prix as a three-year old in 2009 when winning his last outing in August. Reasonably well handicapped, he could challenge the placings.
2. Ace Galloper (KOR) [Chapel Royal-Explicitly (Exploit)] 4 C 60Kg (20/14/3/1) – Park Tae Jong
Regular jockey Cho Kyoung Ho was engaged to ride Tough Win and even though last year’s winner now won’t run, Park Tae Jong keeps the mount. Park has won on him before and Ace Galloper comes into the race on a run of four straight wins. The weight shouldn’t be a problem but this is the first time he’s faced foreign bred opposition. If he’s on top form, he has a very good chance.
3. Celebrate Tonight (USA) [Songandaprayer-My Place Tonight (Out Of Place)] (USA) 3 C 54Kg (9/4/2/1) – Moon Se Young
Beaten by Sing Sing Cat in his class 1 debut last time out, it’s tough to make a case for him here. However, he has a significant weight advantage over the more established older horses.
4. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow-Maremaid (Storm Bird)] 6 H 61Kg (31/18/6/2) – Choi Bum Hyun
With his unruly five-year old season behind, we’ve seen something of the old Dongbanui Gangja of late and, given a different ride may have won the Busan Metropolitan back in July. The double Grand Prix winner is to be respected but at top weight, he’s going to have his work cut out.
5. Baekgwang (KOR) [The Groom Is Red-Grey Crest (Gold Crest)] 8 H 56Kg (24/11/8/3) – Lee Joon Chel
One of the most popular horses in recent Korean racing history, the grey Baekgwang has on three occasions taken a year out through injury. He’s always come back though and in his 24 races spread over the past 6 years he has, remarkably, never finished out of the money. Like Ace Galloper, he too is facing foreign horses for the first time and this could be his toughest test.
6. Sing Sing Cat (USA) [D’Wildcat-Freddy Fenter (Fenter)] 3 C 55Kg (11/5/2/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
Getting better he’s one four of his last five. Still relatively unexposed, he has a big weight advantage over a number of his rivals and could spring a surprise.
7. Captain Cugat (AUS) [King Cugat-Shiva Angel (Marauding)] 7 G 52Kg (33/5/5/0) – Kim Ok Sung
The old Aussie stager who found his way here via New Zealand doesn’t win much and there’s no reason why he should here. A second place behind hotshot filly Kkakjaengi over this distance two starts ago sees him take his chance here but even with a light weight and a decent jockey, he’ll struggle to trouble the placings.
8. Florida Sox (USA) [Woke Up Dreamin-Chordette (Dixieland Band)] 4 F 52Kg (9/4/0/2) – Boo Min Ho
A Stakes winner at age 3, this filly – the only one in he field – needs a lot of time off between races. Her last start ended in a disappointing 13th in the Owners’ Trophy but that was so long ago, it means little. Reunited with jockey Boo Min Ho with whom she’s enjoyed most success.
9. Jumong (USA) [Johar-Foreign Aid (Danzig)] 4 C 57Kg (23/8/4/3) – Jo In Kwen
Along with Ace Galloper the most in-form horse in the race. Was beaten by Dongbanui Gangja in June but he was giving a lot of weight that day. The roles are reversed here and the finishing order may be too.
10. Ppoppai (USA) [Rockport Harbor-Fair And Lively (Lively One)] 3 C 53Kg (10/5/0/2) – Ham Wan Sik
His first start at class 1 comes in a very tough race. Like the other three-year olds, he has the weight in his favour but will be an outsider.
11. Cheonjidolpung (USA) [Tactical Cat-Luminate (A.P.Indy)] 6 G 52Kg (30/5/0/4) – Mai Beppu
Finished a very creditable 4th in the Busan Metropolitan but well beaten by Sing Sing Cat and Celebrate Tonight last time.