Nobel Pokpung In Minister’s Cup Frame As Gerrit Schlechter Rides Second Korean Stakes Winner
Nobel Pokpung was a convincing winner of the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup at Busan Race PArk this afternoon, to put him firmly among the top contenders for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Korean Triple Crown.
And his win was under a fine ride by South African jockey Gerrit Schlechter, who not only landed his second Korean Stakes race victory but also scored three winners on the day.
Sent off as the 3/1 favourite on the back of his second place in the Korean Derby, Nobel Pokpung was kept towards the back for the first half of the 1800 metre race, which featured some of Busan’s best three-year olds.
Schlechter asked him to improve rounding the final turn and although they had to go very wide, Nobel Pokpung was far too strong for any of his rivals. Third favourite Predict under Yukio Abe put in a brief challenge in the final furlong but Nobel Pokpung saw him off comfortably, winning by a length on the line, with 30/1 outsider Sangseung Mode a surprise third.
Disappointment of the race was filly Grand Teukgeup. Sent off as second favourite, she led the field for the first half of the race but disappeared from view as they entered the home straight, finishing back in seventh.
Remarkably this was Nobel Pokpung’s first win of the year and only his fourth overall. However, given a few extra strides, he may have won the Derby and as the distances get bigger, so do his performances. He looks like a colt with plenty more to give and the extra furlong in the Minister’s Cup back at Seoul in the autumn should be ideal for him.
Hopefully Schlechter will still be with him then. With his treble today the South African now has 24 wins since debuting earlier in the year.
Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1800M – July 8, 2012
1. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme – Shar Baby (Talinim)] – Gerrit Schlechter – 3.6, 1.6
2. Predict (KOR) [The Groom Is Red – Muhanseungni (Big Sur)] – Yukio Abe – 1.9
3. Sangseung Mode (KOR) [Vicar – Variety Lady (Variety Road)] – Kim Young Min – 6.6
Distances: 1 length/1.5 lengths – 13 ran