The only filly and one of just three three-year-olds in a field of thirteen, Gamdonguibada (Werblin) announced her arrival in Korean racing in fine fashion by winning the Gukje Sinmun Cup at Busan this afternoon.
Coming into the race off the back of a fine second place in the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul, Gamdonguibada was sent off the 5/1 third-favourite behind last year’s winner Lion Santa (Lion Heart) who entered the race not only as defending champion, but also with a record of 10 wins from 12 career starts.
Today never looked likely to be win number 11 for Lion Santa though. After getting caught out of position on the final turn, the four-year old offered nothing in the sprint and finished a shocking second from last.
Up at the business end of the race, Gamdonguibada, always well-placed, came with a fast run down the rail to overhaul long-time leader Prince Kingdom (Roar Of The Tiger) in the final furlong and stretched out to a two-length win. Aussie import Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson) was third.
With the win, Gamdonguibada, a $31,000 purchase from Ocala last year, has cemented her position as the top three-year old import at Busan so far this season.
Gukje Sinmun Cup – Busan Race Park – May 6, 2012
1. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] – Kim Yong Geun – 5.7, 2.0
2. Prince Kingdom (USA) [Roar Of The Tiger – Special Wife (Husband)] – You Hyun Myoung – 3.6
3. Jeonseong Sidae (AUS) [Stromberg Carlson – Jessie’s Journey (Crown Jester)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.8
Distances: 2 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sand Hi (USA) 5. Gulf Grouper (USA) 6. Admiral Reigart (USA) 7. Dangdae Champ (NZ) 8. Full Forest (USA) 9. Seonnyang Yongsa (AUS) 10. Jungwon Jepae (AUS) 11. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) 12. Lion Santa (USA) 13. Killian’s Tiger (USA)
On a bright but blustery day in Seoul the main attraction was, of course, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones). The three-year-old was making his fourth appearance of the year and, having been sent off at odds of 1/9, he made light of his 61kg impost and short work of thirteen rivals to win the 2000 metre handicap by nine lengths.
The general feeling among the track is that if his rematch with Tough Win, the horse who beat him in the Grand Prix in December was to take place at level weights tomorrow, the older horse may still just about have the advantage.
Given an extra month or two, if Smarty Moonhak continues with his current development, there will be no contest. Smarty Moonhak moves onto 8 wins from 10 career starts.
We’re just two weeks away from the Korean Derby. Unfortunately, Smarty Moonhak, as an import, will not be allowed to compete. On Kentucky Derby weekend, many have questioned whether a horse of his talent would have been better served being shipped back to the US to take his chances on the Derby trail.
In reality, the time he spent in Korea being trained for Korean racing would have put him at a massive disadvantage compared with his native contemporaries. He is naturally very gifted and, had he stayed home, who knows what may have happened. Of course, we can ask that question about any horse who goes anywhere. As it is, it’s unlikely we’ll ever be seeing Smarty Moonhak able to compete internationally.