Dongbanui Gangja / Grand First / Champion Belt
We’re just a week away from the Grand Prix, the climax of the Korean racing season, but there’s stillplenty going on across the peninsula this weekend.
Seoul has class 1 handicap headlining on both Saturday and Sunday. Double Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow) misses this year’s event but he’ll be in action in Saturday’s feature. While there are a number of decent, if less than intimidating, horses up against him, the thing that is most likely to stop the former Champion adding to his eighteen career victories is the weight – he’ll be carrying six kilos more than any other horse in the race. Sunday sees three-year old filly Grand First (Salt Lake) making her first appearance at the highest level as she takes on a beatable looking field in the feature race.
Down at Busan, US five-year old Purely Spontaneus (Pure Precision) makes just his third atrt of 2011 in the feature – he’s one of twelve rides for Akane Yamamoto over the weekend as she looks to build on her five wins a week ago. The now nine-year old Golding (Gold Alert) is one of just seven rivals.
However, Busan’s most intriguing contest of the weekend is on Sunday afternoon. Aussie jockey Nathan Stanley gets the nod to ride Champion Belt (Exploit) who many predict will go on to be the stand-out horse of his year-group (which so far has been pretty shoddy) in the feature race. To get on the favourite, however, Stanley has had to get off Khaosan (Sunday Well) on who he won the Busan Owners’ Stakes and finished fourth in the President’s Cup. In his absence, trainer Peter Wolsley has managed to secure the services of champion jockey Jo Sung Gon to ride the tough as nails Khaosan. Neither rider will be in a good mood if they lose this one.
Here’s what’s happening when and where:
Friday December 2
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 17:30
Saturday December 3
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:10 to 17:30
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:30 to 17:50
Sunday December 4
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:30 to 17:00