She’d shown great promise as a two-year old but then slumped into mediocrity at three. However, today at Seoul, Royale Embrace (Chapel Royal) finally came good by winning the Ttukseom Cup.
Sent off at 17/1, Royale Embrace was taken into an early lead by jockey You Hyun Myung for the seven furlong Stakes event which this year is the first in the three-race “Queens Tour” series for the country’s top fillies and mares. She never let it go.
Favourite Kkakjaengi (Put It Back) rallied late on but she was far too far behind to make an impact. Ultimately it was young Gamdonguibada (Werblin) who got the closest although she too, never looked like denying the winner.
A $13,000 purchase from the Ocala Spring Sale in 2010, Royale Embrace won four of her five starts at Busan and was talked of as being the an eventual Grand Prix contender. Her progress then stalled and while she ran in four Stakes races last year, her highest finish was seventh. With connections not believing she could stay the distance in longer races, she had been restricted to the ultra-competitive (by virtue of their rarity) high level sprints of less than a mile.
Today was one of those but, running at Seoul for the first time, everything went right.
It was no doubt a sweet moment for jockey Yoo Hyun Myung too. His finest moment as a jockey came at Seoul in December 2010 when he partnered Mister Park to the Grand Prix. He seemed at the top of his game but in racing, you are only ever seconds away from your fortunes being reversed.
An injury in early 2011 saw him sidelined for several months and by the time he came back, he found that he had lost his plum rides. Unhappy, he rejected the offer of Mister Park’s trainer, Kim Young Kwan, to ride his second string Dongseo Jeongbeol in the Grand Prix and stayed home in Busan.
As it turned out, Mister Park lost the Grand Prix and today, while Yoo Hyun Myung was winning at Seoul, the record-breaking five-year old was running at Busan with a first-year apprentice on board. Indeed it made for an odd spectacle as his main – and only – rival, two-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) also had a newcomer in the saddle.
The reason for this was that both horses are now so high up in the handicap, that connections don’t want to run them unless they can get the weight allowance that is available to an apprentice rider. As it turned out, Mister Park, under Jeong Dong Cheol beat Dangdae Bulpae and Kim Jong Woong by just over a length. Such is their dominance at Busan that the third place horse was a full twenty-six lengths adrift.
It was a busy day of racing. Back at Seoul, 28/1 outsider Ruby Queen (Perfect Champion) won the Sports Donga Trophy while at Busan, Japanese jockey Narazaki Kosuke got his first Class 1 winner on Sand Hi (Stormy Atlantic).
Ttukseom Cup (KOR.G3) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – Sunday March 25, 2012
1. Royale Embrace (USA) [Chapel Royal-Embracing Krissy (Kissin Kris)] – You Hyun Myung – 17.7, 5.2
2. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin-Radyla (Country Pine)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.1
3. Kkakjaengi (USA) [Put It Back-Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – Shin Hyoung Chul – 1.3
Distances: 0.75 lengths/4 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Xicar (AUS) 5. Dehere Queen (USA) 6. Gippeumnuri (USA) 7. Mighty Mammy (USA) 8. Geumbi (USA) 9. Triple Hunter (USA) 10. Imperial Girl (USA) 11. Malibu Sky (USA) 12. Chowonuibyeol (USA) 13. Kkochyeoul (USA) 14. Queen Of Rain (USA)