A full-field of 16, including 2 previous winners, will line up for the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Stakes at Busan this Sunday.
The race is sometimes known as the “summer Grand Prix” bringing as it does, the best horses from both Seoul and Busan together in a way that only the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes usually does.
This year, though, Seoul disappoints. Granted, they may well have the winner in the shape of 2010 victor Tough Win but apart from him, all the leading contenders are from the host track. Last year’s champion Dangdae Bulpae returns after a 5 month lay-off while Grand Prix winner Gamdonguibada also takes her chance.
Australian trainer Peter Wolsley, closing in on 200 Korean wins saddles, 2 runners while Darryll Holland, Joe Fujii, Masakazu Tanaka and Yukio Abe al have rides. Here is a full run-down of the runners and riders (Name [Pedigree] Age, Sex, (Runs/1/2/3) – Jockey (Home track):
Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Stakes (KOR GIII) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – Sunday July 28 – 16:40
1. Call Me Tiger (NZ) [One Cool Cat – Hairini (Zabeel)] 6 H (27/4/2/2) – Lee Dong Kug (Seoul)
Hasn’t really made the grade at Class 1 and is without a win in 2 years. Won’t change here.
2. Viva Ace (USA) [Macho Uno – Dancing Lake (Meadowlake)] 5 G (25/11/7/2) – Song Keong Yun (Busan)
Very solid horse who was 2nd to Beolmaui Kkum and ahead of Gamdonguibada in the Gukje Sinmun Cup last start. Knows where the winning line is and could cause problems. Worth looking at if he seems neglected in the betting market.
3. Wild Myeongun (USA) [D’Wildcat – Start Applauding (Jump Start)] 4 C (15/7/4/2) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
Big taent who has only been out of the money once. A rather disappointing 4th last time out behind weaker rivals than he’ll face here and is without a win in three. Will have backers though.
4. Lion Santa (USA) [Lion Heart – Santa Fe Strip (Phone Trick)] 5 H (19/11/1/2) – Jo Chang Wook (Busan)
Was injured for 6 months after this race last year. He won his return and has hit the money on his 4 subsequent starts. It is hard to recommend him at 2000 metres though.
5. Prince Kingdom (USA) [Roar Of The Tiger – Special Wife (Husband)] 5 G (22/9/4/1) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
Was in cracking form at the tail-end of 2012 but has struggled to repeat this year. A place is not beyond him but a win seems unlikely.
6. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword] 6 G (28/21/2/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
The Boss. He won this race as a 3-year old in 2010 but disappointed in 2011 and 2012. Lost his Grand Prix title last December but has three easy wins behind him this year. He will top many people’s tickets.
7. Murangae (USA) [Sun River – Merrill Gold (Gold Fever)] 4 G (24/1/6/4) – Yukio Abe (Seoul)
You’d think 26 year veteran trainer Ji Yong Cheol would have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than take Murangae to Busan. His only win was only three starts ago but while he seems a late-developer who runs very consistently, he gets consistently beaten and that won’t change here.
8. Cheongchun Bulpae (KOR) [Milwaukee Brew – Placid Star (Placid Fund)] 4 G (14/8/1/1) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
One of 2 entries in the race by Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley. He has 2 wins from 3 starts to his name at class 1 (including one behind stablemate Ghost Whisper). He is second-string here but Wolsley doesn’t enter his horses where they can’t challenge for money.
9. Blueband Mama (USA) [Purge – Meadowbryte (Meadowlake)] 5 M (27/3/4/2) – Park Si Cheon (Seoul)
Foinavon in the Grand National, Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby. Those 2 would be nothing compared with Blueband Mama winning this race.
10 Wonderful Namhae (KOR) [Vicar – Make That Call (Glow)] 4 C (19/9/2/2) – Tanaka Masakazu (Busan)
A well-beaten 2nd behind Ghost Whisper last time but has plenty of talent. Probably 3 or 4 will be too quick for him here.
11. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] 6 H (29/19/2/2) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
A 3-time President’s Cup winner, holder of the record for most Stakes races won in Korea, arguably the best horse Korea has ever produced and the defending champion. The problem is that he hasn’t run since February due to injury and was touch and go to make it to the start line here. Comfortably won his race trial earlier this month. If he is in form though, at 2000 metres, he is very difficult to beat.
12. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 4 F (13/8/2/3) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
Champion racehorse of 2012 by virtue of winning the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul last December, she started this year a pair of routine victories before turning in an out of sorts 3rd behind Beolmaui Kkum last time out. You can’t be out of sorts in this kind of company and if she runs to her best, she has every chance.
13. Hwanggeumjijon (USA) [Medallist – Milady Sadie (Meadow Monster)] 4 G (12/2/1/3) – Kim Gui Bae (Seoul)
Forget Foinavon and Mine That Bird, we’re into Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson territory if Hwanggeumjijon wins this. His jockey, Kim Gui Bae, has been riding for 34 years. In that time he has ridden just 299 winners. This will not be number 300.
14. Eongmandori (USA) [Purim – Allbow (Rainbow Blues)] 4 C (18/4/4/2) – Kim Dong Young (Busan)
2nd behind Wild Myeongun on his class 1 debut last time out after 2 smart wins at class 2. Is an improving type but looks a little outclassed here.
15. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] 3 C – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
The wildcard. Full brother to Seoul-based Stakes winning filly Kkakjaengi, he beat three of his rivals here to win the Gukje Sinmun Cup last start with Gamdonguibada among those defeated. That was his frist try at class 1 and, while he’s never gone 2000 metres, there’s no reason to think he won’t get it. A potential star.
16. Ghost Whisper (KOR) [Gotham City – Emmy’s Lullaby] 5 G – Darryll Holland (Busan)
Collapsed with heat exhaustion after this race last year and was given the rest of the year off. In wonderful form at the moment though winning his last 3 outings. Must be given respect and if things go his way, under Darryll Holland, he has the ability to pull off what would be the biggest win of trainer Peter Wolsley’s career.