Yeonseung Daero grabbed victory in the Busan Ilbo Stakes while in the capital, two-time Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja made light work of the top weight of 62kg to win the feature race.
On the south coast, Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) was sent off favourite for the mile-long Listed Stakes race – Busan’s first of 2012.
And reunited with jockey Jo Chang Wook for the first time since placing fourth in the Minister’s Cup in 2009, the six-year old was always well-placed, entering the home straight in third and then comfortable seeing off the challenge of Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar) and Mulbora (Fiercely) by a full three lengths.
Peter Wolsley’s Khaosan was fifth while Joe Murphy’s Udeumji ran to form in finishing a lowly ninth.
Fifth behind Sangseung Ilro in the 2009 Korean Derby, Yeonseung Daero has gone on to become the most consistent performer of that particular crop of runners. A money-winner in ten Stakes races over his career, today was just his second win at the Listed level, his first coming in last year’s Busan Metropolitan at the expense of Tough Win and Dangdae Bulpae.
His overall win record would surely have been higher than the sixteen from forty starts were it not for the fact that his connections – who also own recently retired 2010 Derby winner Cheonnyeon Daero – took the decision when he reached four-years-old, to only run him against foreign-bred opposition or in Stakes races.
It’s a move that meant not only did he have to carry less weight than he would otherwise have done, has also made for far more competitive races and it is unfortunate that more owners don’t do this with their best Korean bred horses.
Busan Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Sunday Feb 26, 2012
1. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat-Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – Jo Chang Wook – 3.7, 1.6
2. Dongseo Jeongbeol (KOR) [Vicar-Rendezvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] – Song Keong Yun – 1.6
3. Mulbora (KOR) [Fiercely-Winning Design (Beau’s Eagle)] – 4.6
Distances: 3 lengths/Neck
Also Ran: 4. Haneului Chubok 5. Khaosan 6. Isidae Gangja 7. Perfect Made 8. Gamun Daejangun 9. Udeumji 10. Bada Jewang 11. Dongbangmiin 12. Champion Belt 13. Choego Yeongung
Up at Seoul, there was a familiar figure in the winner’s circle after the feature race. Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow) beat out a competitive field to win by half a length from Necromancer (Air Eminem), Captain Cugat (King Cugat) and pre-race favourite Kkakjaengi (Put It Back).
The former double Grand Prix champion and Horse Of The Year was giving at least four kilos to all of his rivals and was coming in to the race off the back of a ten-length humbling at the hands of young phenom Smarty Moonhak in his last outing.
The Dongbanui Gangja we saw on the track today though – and in fairness last time too – was a much more disciplined one than in the past.
He may not seem to have the same kind of explosive finish he had in the past but neither does he go wandering out wide giving himself far more ground to cover than any of his rivals. Today, after Choi Bum Hyun made his characteristic move around the field on Dongbanui Gangja in the back straight, he got on the rail and stayed there until the finish.
It’s good to have him back although with Kkakjaengi disappointing, it looks as though the search goes on to find a horse to join Tough Win and Mister Park as the only credible challengers to Smarty Moonhak this year.