Singgeureounachim, Jigeum I Sungan, Cheoneun All Win At Seoul
Reigning Horse Of The Year Mister Park made his season-debut at Busan Race Park this afternoon and, despite carrying a restrictive 62Kg on his back, galloped to his eighteenth career victory on his twentieth start.
Punters ignored the fact that Mister Park was becoming the first horse to be assigned the new top weight – two kilos more than the previous high for allowance races – and sent the 2010 Grand Prix winner off as long-odds on favourite.
Coming out of the gate quickly under Japanese jockey Akane Yamamoto, Mister Park latched onto early pacesetter Boulougne and the two led the field by some distance until they entered the home straight.
As Bolougne weakened, there seemed a nervous moment as Mister Park found himself in front and momentarily seemed to go sideways. he recovered, however, to take victory by a length and a half from Hidden Messenger (Al Naba).
It was comfortable enough but Mister Park was slow in the straight and if he faces better horses while carrying this amount of weight, he may be more vulnerable this year.
With Akane riding Mister Park to victory and Eiki Nishimura also amongst the winners, it was a good day for Busan’s foreign contingent. However, the Japanese pair would be eclipsed by trainer Peter Wolsley’s achievements as the Australian sent out three horses – all maidens – and returned with three winners.
The first came in race 1 as Aussie bred gelding No More Ahead (All Bar One) took victory. This was immediately followed by debut-maiing Cheongchun Bulpae (Milwaukee Brew) in race 2 while another first-timer Nuri Geotap (Prime Timber) completed the treble by winning race 5.
Wolsley is well-known for being an expert at placing his horses to give them the best shot of winning within the restrictive Korean racing class system and today was the perfect example of it. His barn now has three more winners in it and it looks set to be another good season for him. Former stable jockey Park Geum Man partnered all three winners.
Up at Seoul, one of last year’s underachievers Singgereounachim (Exploit) made no mistake in the feature race, holding off determined challenges from Mr. Rocky and Andy’s Runner to record a narrow victory. The colt was third in the Korean Derby last year and could be set to finally live up to his potential this year.
Speaking of the Derby, we are exactly two months away from the first Classic of the season. Today, a colt and a filly who are expected to be involved in the KRA Cup Classic down in Busan at the beginning of April, were in action.
Both of them were trying their luck around two turns of the Seoul track for the first time and both of them were successful. First up was the colt, Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire). Against a weak field, he was sent off the odds-on favourite and he cruised to an eight length win over 1700 metres.
Two races later and a step up in class, things were tougher were Cheoneun (Forest Camp) who went off as the 3/1 second favourite. She put in an impressive performance. Under Park Tae Jong, she made all and held off a strong challenge from favourite King Fighting in the final furlong to claim her fifth win in seven starts.
While she’ll need to get quicker if she’s to compete in the Classics, she’ll be one to watch out for as the road to the Triple Crown starts to really get going in the forthcoming weeks.