40/1 chance Gumanseok just held on to win the Sports Chosun Cup ahead of a fast finishing Royal Galloper at Seoul Race Park today, while hot-favourite Feel So Good once again finished nowhere in a big race.
After winning a race in the USA, Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton) won his first three tests in his home country before coming up very short behind Jigeum I Sungan in the Owners’ Trophy in April.
Having dropped down a level for the Sports Chosun, punters showed enough faith in him to back him into only slightly better than even-money. That faith was not rewarded.
While Feel So Good showed towards the front for much of the race, once they hit 300 metres to run, just as in the Owners’ Trophy, he stalled. Instead Gumanseok (Vicar) burst through the pack and took the lead under jockey Lee Dong Kug. While Royal Galloper (Commendable) and Park Tae Jong closed very quickly in the final furlong, the line arrived just in time and Gumanseok hung on by a neck.
Gumanseok’s stablemate 120/1 outsider Appealing Jeil (Exploit), ridden by Yukio Abe, scored an even more surprising 3rd place finish.
Now 4-years-old, Gumanseok competed in the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown last October. Finishing last, he managed to get himself gelded prior to the start of this season. The victory is his 5th in 13 starts and will see him move up to the elite level next time out. As for Feel So Good, it’s now questionable whether he’ll make the elite level at all.
For jockey Lee Dong Kug, it was a first visit to the Stakes winner’s circle since 2008. For trainer Lim Bong Chun and owner Ku Ja Sun it was a more familiar experience. Lim won the KOrean Derby with Gwangyajeil in 2011 while Ku owned the great double Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja.
Speaking of the “elite”, the horse currently at the top of the tree, Tough Win (Yonaguska) was in action in the very last race of the day at Seoul. “Action” is perhaps a strong word as the 6-year-old breezed to 7-length win in a mismatch.
Down at Busan, it was a good day for the foreign jockeys. Joe Fujii won one race but there also was a very welcome double for Darryll Holland. The British jockey landed race 2 on Runnin’ John (Put It Back) and quickly followed up in race 3 on Stand High (Forest Camp). Both were top quality rides and took Holland’s Korean win tally to 8.
Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – June 2, 2013
1. Gumanseok (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Champion (Didyme)] – Lee Dong Kug – 42.1, 8.7
2. Royal Galloper (KOR) [Commendable – Explicitly (Exploit)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.7
3. Appealing Jeil (KOR) [Exploit – Appealing Satin (Valid Appeal) – Yukio Abe – 17.1
Distances: Neck/5 lengths – 14 ran