Three-Year Olds On Form
Judgement is being well and truly reserved over this year’s crop of three-year olds. Gyeongbudaero won the KRA Cup Mile in April but did little else before finishing second to Dangdae Bulpae in last week’s Owners’ Cup. Likewise Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan came back into form last week for the first time since his Classic victory.
As for the rest, there’s not been much to cheer so far. However, today two colts who have been kept off the Classic trail were in fine form at Seoul and Busan respectively. Tongjesa scored a convincing win in the Ilgan Sports Stakes in the capital, while down on the South Coast, Alpha Myeongjang was similarly convincing in seeing off a class 1 field.
Tongjesa (Creek Cat) was sent off as the even-money favourite for the Ilgan Sports, which was run over the Derby distance of 1800 metres. Under Oh Kyoung Hoan he was kept close to the lead throughout and took control with two furlongs to go, crossing the line with plenty in hand of fast finishing Yaho Pilseung (Exploit) in second.
With six wins from nine Korea starts and, more relevantly, five consecutively now, Tongjesa must be considered for the Minister’s Cup. the final leg of the Triple Crown, in a month’s time.
Ilgan Sports Stakes – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – September 16, 2012
1. Tongjesa (KOR) [Creek Cat – Namdoui Gangja (Greenwood Lake)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 2.1, 1.2
2. Yaho Pilseung (KOR) [Exploit – Pilseung Gangja (Adjudicating)] – Lee Sang Hyeok – 2.3
3. Jeumeundeungi (KOR) [War Zone – Taraxacum (Meadowlake)] – Won Jung Il – 5.2
Distances: 2 lengths/5 lengths – 12 ran
It’s unlikely that Alpha Myeongjang (Pico Central) will be joining him in the capital next month, however, as for now he looks like a sprinter. A very good one too. Today he went 1400 metres and looked very comfortable in putting four lengths into a class 1 field.
It was another big feature race win for Gerrit Schlechter, following his Gold Circle Trophy victory on Fine Fine last week. The South African jockey has picked up where he left off following his immigration department-enforced break last month and is the man to beat at Busan at the moment.
One man who can beat him is Joe Fujii. The Japanese jockey with the Australian accent was on target twice today to add to his winner on Friday.