Day: December 18, 2011

Lion Santa Delivers A Gift To Jeonseong Sidae

Low-Key Closing Day At Seoul And Busan

Just over a week ago, two formidable unbeaten records were intact. Now, as we head into the Christmas break, both are gone. Last week Mister Park saw his unprecedented 17-race winning streak come to a valiant end at the hands of Tough Win in the Grand Prix Stakes. This week a horse who skipped the Grand Prix Lion Santa, was looking to make it a perfect 10 at Busan.

The lights were on as they paraded at Seoul for the last time in 2011

He came unstuck. Maybe because it was the break before an extended break or maybe it was because Nonghyup’s sponsorship had added a few million won to the purse but this handicap attracted a stronger field than usual. Nevertheless, Lion Santa was still sent off as the odds-on favourite. He may have won it too, had he not been left in a poor position rounding the home turn. By the time jockey Kim Dong Young had found a way through, second favourite Jeonseong Sidae was uncatchable. Lion Santa rallied for second but the record was gone.

Australian bred three-year old Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson-Jessie’s Journey) is no mug. This was his sixth win from nine starts. As for Lion Santa (Lion Heart-Santa Fe Strip) the future is still bright, but connections may be wishing they’d taken the chance to go out in a blaze of glory at Seoul last week instead of with a whimper at Busan today.

Up at Seoul it was also a quiet closing day. The feature race was won by Magnifique (Menifee-Miss Beauty) who was making his debut at class 1. Kept off the classic trail, Magnifique was a late developer but may well turn to be the best of what has been a disappointing three-year old crop in Korea his year.

So that’s it for racing in 2011. While racing returns to the Korean peninsula on the first weekend of January, there’s an awful lot of news to catch up on before that which we’ll start to do this week.