In what was arguably the finest ever race run by a Korean-trained racehorse, Watts Village won the Japan-Korea Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo tonight.
After coming so close to winning the first leg of the Korea vs Japan challenge in Seoul back in September, Watts Village made no mistake this time as, under Seo Seung Un, he led from gate-to-wire to record a famous victory in the Japanese capital.
It was a perfectly timed ride from Seo. Watts Village took an early lead and maintained it as his challengers massed behind. In the final furlong they pressed and pressed. The pressure was relentless and they came so close to sweeping by but gamely, gallantly, Watts Village held on.
Miyasan Cutie and Kogyo Douglas came closest to him, finishing an oh-so-close 2nd and 3rd.
Japan-Korea Interaction Cup – Ohi Racecourse – 1200M – November 26, 2013
1. Watts Village (USA) [Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)] – Seo Seung Un
2. Miyasan Cutie (JPN) [Kurofune – Innocent Nymph (Hector Protector)] – Daisuke Mashima
3. Kogyo Douglas (JPN) [Sterling Rose – Amore Pegasus (Mejiro Ryan)] – Takehiro Kashiwagi
Distances: Neck/1 length – 14 ran
In a race that was always to be dictated by early speed, the other Korean challengers Fly Top Queen and Full Moon Party gave what they could but were found wanting. Watts Village nailed it.
A three-year-old colt, Watts Village (Forestry) had, by virtue of his runner-up position to Tosen Archer in Seoul in September, already achieved an official rating of 100.
This qualified him to run in Dubai this winter. Connections had not been sure whether to take the offer up but now, with him already having passed Japanese quarantine, he might just go for it.
Nobody thought it could happen but tonight Korean trained racehorses went to Japan and against all odds – literally – one of them won. Korean horse-racing took a huge step forward tonight.