It’s the biggest race of the season so far as the Queen’s Tour gets underway in the shape of the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul this Sunday.
While Fly Top Queen misses the race due to coming down with colic, 13 will line up for the 7-furlong test which is the first in a three-race series to determine the nation’s top filly or mare.
Chief among them is Joy Lucky, 2nd in the final leg of the Tour last yea, but she has plenty to do if she’s going to get this year’s campaign off to a winning start with 2012 Grand Prix Stakes winner Gamdonguibada among those out to stop her.
It’s quite a puzzle. Here’s a full run-down of the field:
The Ttukseom Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – March 16, 2014
1. Indian Blue (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gambler’s Passion (Prospector’s Gamble)] 4 (14/4/3/4) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
4th in the Grand Prix Stakes last December over 2300 metres, she dropped down to this distance to pull off a victory over Japan/Korea Challenge winner Watts Village last month. With good late speed, she is one of those best placed to take on Joy Lucky in the closing stages.
2. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine) 5 (17/9/3/3) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
The 2012 Grand Prix Stakes Champion drops down to 7 furlongs for the first time since finishing 2nd in this race a full two years ago. She had an indifferent 2013 but finished 2nd on her season debut in January. She’s race-trialed over 5 furlongs twice since then and must be considered one of the favourites.
3. Star Bolt (USA) [Fusaichi Pegasus – D’Oro Doll (Touch Gold)] 4 (16/3/5/0) – Park Geum Man
Has a great turn of pace as shown when she finished 2nd in the GCTC Trophy, having been 10th inside the home-straight. Has a tendency to leave herself just a little too much to do but drops down to 1400 metres for the first time in a year – the last time she tried this distance, she led from gate to wire – albeit against greatly inferior opposition
4. Xicar (AUS) [Written Tycoon – Grand Jewel (Brocco)] 5 (24/4/3/1) – Jang Chu Youl
Very promising when she first came onto the scene, Xicar has suffered a number of injury setbacks. She finally made her class 1 debut last month and finished a very good 3rd over this distance. It would be a big surprise if she could improve on that here but has an outside chance of matching it.
5. My Day (KOR) [Touch Gold – Smart Advice (Smart Strike)] 4 (18/8/3/1) – Ham Wan Sik
A three-time winner at class 1, this diminutive looking filly has to be given respect. Dropping down to this distance for the first time in over a year, she is one who could cause problems at the business end of the race.
6. Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] 4 (11/8/1/0) – Seo Seung Un
The favourite and for good reason. If she runs to her potential it is hard to see her getting beaten. Second to Secret Whisper in the final leg of the Queen’s Tour last year in Busan, she has an excellent chance of going one better this time.
7. Seungbu Sinhwa (USA) [Bluegrass Cat – Island Rhythm (Skip Trial)] 4 (18/0/3/4) – Kim Ok Sung
Has never won a race. And won’t win this one. Shes not usually far off and has taken home a paycheck from 12 of her 18 starts but, never having run at a higher level than class 3, she’ll be hard pushed to do that here.
8. Sun Blade (NZ) [Coat’s Choice – Wella (Zabeel) 3 (8/4/1/1) – Kim Yong Geun
Trainer Kim Young Kwan usually brings two up for the big races and Sun Blade looks like his 2nd-string here after Gamdonguibada. However, while she is untried at this level, she is quick and has plenty of potential as well as a 2 kilo advantage on the rest. Could be seen toward the front early and jockey Kim Yong Geun is in very good form after returning from a lengthy suspension.
9. Grand Teukgeup (KOR) [Menifee – Saratoga Campaign (Mt. Livermore)] 5 (26/9/4/2) – Jeong Dong Cheol (Busan)
Regular jockey Darryll Holland has stayed back in Busan so Jeong Dong Cheol gets his chance on last year’s runner-up. She likes to be up with the pace and won handily over a class 1 field at this distance in January but was disappointing in the Busan Ilbo Cup last up which causes concern here. Can’t be ruled out but the question is whether she is fast enough to go past the likes of Joy Lucky in the final furlong. On form, she’s not.
10. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] 4 (19/6/4/1) – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
Burst onto the class 1 scene with a pair of wins at the turn of the year including over Gamdonguibada – albeit with a 9kg weight advantage. She drops down to a distance that she’s never won at but if the favourites fail to perform, she could be one to take advantage.
11. Shining Future (KOR) [Silver Train – Juliet’s Kiss (Kissin Kris)] 5 (23/4/3/2) – Kim Do Hyun (Busan)
Closed well to win over this distance in late December and was just beaten a nose last time out after also coming from off the pace. Likely to find the front-runners too quick and too resilient for her to repeat the feat here.
12. Kalma (USA) [Dehere – Leeward Passage (Captain Bodgit)] 5 (18/4/1/3) – Yang Young Nam (Busan)
That she has joined the stable of Bart Rice, who has had a great start to his training career at Busan, is the only thing in Kalma’s favour here. The South African trainer has won with 4 of his 18 starters to date but it would be a huge surprise if Kalma provided the fifth here.
13. Jangmi Eondeok (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sea Gift (A.P. Indy)] 4 (10/3/4/1) – Moon Se Young
Really struggled on her class 1 debut last month and she will appreciate the drop down in distance. Likely to be seen towards the front of the field, she’ll not be favourite but with moon Se Young up, she’ll not be without her backers and is not without a chance of placing.