She was a Stakes runner-up on three occasions last year but today at Seoul Race Park, Geumbi was a Class 1 winner at last.
The Segye Ilbo Cup, The Owners’ Trophy and the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup all ended in second place finishes for Geumbi as she went through 2011 without a win but never being lower than third in her six starts.
She began 2012 finishing fourth to Jumong last month and today was sent off as second favourite in the feature race to the same horse.
However, this time Jumong (Johar) was carrying an extra 3Kg. It proved to be too much for the five-year old. Geumbi (Ecton Park) broke last of the full field of fourteen but, under a perfect ride by Moon Se Young, was kept on the rail throughout and quickened as they entered the home straight before eventually running out as winner by a length and a half from Jewang Tansaeng (Petionville).
This may have been her first win since the autumn of 2010 but it was Geumbi’s fifth triumph from fifteen career starts and she has never been out of the money. A big year could lie ahead.
On the subject of big years, it seems almost certain that Champion jockey Moon Se Young is going to have another one. Although he had to wait until race 7 to get off the mark today, he was in imperious form, winning a further two to take his total for the season to sixteen.
As has been mentioned on this blog time and again recently, the standard of riding at Seoul is getting better all the time and Moon is doing his part to make sure the bar the newcomers need to reach is being set higher and higher.
Finally today, a mention for five-year old Seolmaseolma (Sunday Well). She went into today’s final race a 36/1 outsider having failed to triumph in any of her previous twenty-seven starts. The tiny little mare made a mockery of those odds by swooping late to grab her first ever victory by a full length. Sometimes in this game, persistence pays off.
Tomorrow sees attention turn to Busan as the record-breaking Mister Park makes his season debut, carrying a back-busting 62.5Kg in the track’s feature. Meanwhile at Seoul, colt Magnifique will be looking for his fourth straight win in the feature race while Classic hopeful Cheoneun makes her first attempt at the Derby distance of 1800M. It promises to be another fascinating day.
Sunday February 5
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Busan Race Park: 8 races from 11:50 to 16:40