Dangdae Bulpae’s three-year reign as President’s Cup champion came to an end as Indie Band scored an emphatic victory in Korea’s richest race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.
Jigeum I Sungan was sent off as the slight favourite ahead of the only once beaten Gwanggyo Bisang with punters doubting Dangdae Bulpae’s fitness as he sought his fourth consecutive victory in this race.
In hindsight, those doubts seem well-founded. Although he showed at the front for the opening stages of the race, once the field turned for home, there was none of the familiar kick from Dangdae Bulpae that had so often before left his rivals trailing.
He wasn’t alone. All six of the leaders entering the home straight faded with just over a furlong to go.
Among the closers, 2012 Derby-winner Jigeum I Sungan and Busan Owners’ Cup winner Gyeongbudaero made their moves first, but it was Indie Band whose sprint was the sharpest.
Still with six horses ahead of him as they entered the final furlong, under the urging of jockey Lim Sung Sil, he sailed past them all, hitting the front in the final 50 metres and going clear for a two-length win.
Of the foreign interests, Joe Fujii was 5th on Indie Band’s stablemate Road To Prince, one place in front of Ikuyasu Kurakane on Naejangsan. Masa Tanaka was 8th on Major King while there was disappointment for Darryll Holland who came home 15 of 16 on Peter Wolsley’s My Winner.
With the victory, Indie Band moves on to 7 wins from 11 starts. It was his 2nd Stakes victory, with the other coming in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup back in July. By all accounts he’s a dreadful worker in the mornings. Dangdae Bulpae was very much the same but it was Indie Band who brought his best to the track this afternoon.
There’s another similarity with the former champion.
The past few Stakes winners at Seoul; Jigeum I Sungan, Gwanggyo Bisang and Major King have all been so docile in the winner’s circle that punters have been allowed to pet them.
Dangdae Bulpae never allowed that (although he was, for the most part well-behaved). Today, Indie Band threw a proper tantrum to the extent that the post ceremony photo session had to be called off.
He’ll be back at Seoul for the Grand Prix Stakes in December. Last year’s winner Gamdonguibada was in winning action down at Busan today but on this form, Indie Band has to be in with a chance.
Jigeum I Sungan should be given a run too although it is questionable whether Gyeongbudaero will get the distance. As for Dangdae Bulpae, he’ll almost certainly not run, nevertheless, the likes of Indie Band still have a very long way to go to match his achievements. Today was a good start though.
President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – November 10, 2013
1. Indie Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Lim Sung Sil – 6.1, 2.2
2. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.9
3. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – 1.8
Distances: 2 lengths / 2 lengths
Also ran: 4. Singgereounachim 5. Road To Prince 6. Naejangsan 7. Gwanggyo Bisang 8. Major King 9. New And Best 10. Dangdae Bulpae 11. Super Rich 12. Special Win 13. Geuma Champ 14. Gumanseosk 15. My Winner 16. Tamnaseontaek
Next weekend the Stakes action moves to Busan with the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour to determine the nation’s champion filly or mare. Derby and Oaks winner Speedy First is set to go along with big name stars Secret Whisper and Joy Lucky. Look out for a full preview this coming Wednesday.