We didn’t have to wait too long for the big boys to come out the barn and onto the track this year as several of the country’s most well-known horses make their 2013 debuts this weekend.
Chief among them is Tough Win (Yonaguska). Now a 6-year old, he failed to successfully defend his Grand Prix Stakes title last month but should really be back to winning ways on Sunday at Seoul.
He will, however, be giving 4 kilos to Nolbu Manse (Simon Pure), who also disappointed in the Grand Prix but is a Stakes winner and did finish ahead of Tough Win in the KRA Cup Classic. What should be an entertaining race over 1800 metres is one of co-features at Seoul on Sunday.
The other co-feature sees a return to the track after 6 months of rest for former Champion Filly & Mare Top Point (Tom Cruiser). The 9-year-old will need to be close to her old best though to beat a competitive field of 14 in a handicap which, like its partner feature, will also be run over 1800 metres.
Down at Busan, Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) is the first of last year’s Classic winners to make his 4-year-old debut. The KRA Cup Mile winner will take on a field of imported horses including consistent winner Viva Ace (Macho Uno).
Owner Jang Kwang Hwa also owns Yeonseung Daero and took a very similar approach with him when he reached 4 years old.
Korean bred horses receive a weight allowance when running against imports and, while Yeonseung Daero has won nowhere near the number of races he would most likely have done had he just raced his compatriots, he has had more than his fair share of success and his career has been a delight to watch. Hopefully we are in for more of the same with Gyeongbudaero.
Here’s what’s happening when and where:
Friday January 11
Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30
Saturday January 12
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20
Sunday January 13
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00