Bichui Jeongsang swept to a comprehensive win in the JRA Trophy at Seoul Racecourse today, giving Ikuyasu Kurakane a victory in the race sponsored by his home nation’s racing authority.
With the well-fancied Yeondu having been scratched, punter made Bichui Jeongsang the slight favourite in the race which, with its 23rd edition, is the longest running exchange race in Korea.
13/1 chance Ssangdu Bima set the pace for much of the 7-furlong race but Kurakane always had Bichui Jeongsang handy and once he hit the front with a furlong remaining, he was the only likely winner.
Seo Seung Un, who rides the favourite in the Korean Derby tomorrow, closed very quickly on Clean Up Speed, passing 5 horses in the final furlong to grab 2nd place, while Aussie-bred filly Marica stayed on for 3rd.
A three-year-old filly, Bichui Jeongsang was a $30,000 purchase at Fasig Tipton’s Mid-Atlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training sale last May. This was her fifth start and her sixth win. Although as an import, she is ineligible for the Oaks, if she can go on to stay around two turns, she could have a big part to play later on in the season.
For jockey Kurakane, it was not only a big race win, it was also his third triumph of the day. Ikuyasu is renowned for grinding out a big volume of winners but chances in feature races are less common – his last Stakes win came in his first spell at Seoul in 2007. He is 2nd only to Moon Se Young in the 2014 Jockey Premiership.
JRA Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – May 17, 2014
1. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 3.3, 1.5
2. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeaux Danseur)] – Seo Seung Un – 3.2
3. Marica (AUS) [Reset – Teneales Pearl (Redoubte’s Choice)] – Jang Chuyoul – 3.4
Distances: 3 lengths / 2 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Samjeong Tiger (USA) 5. Ssangdu Bima (USA) 6. Foolish Scip (USA) 7. Dorgon (USA) 8. Lion Galloper (AUS) 9. Incheonui Seungni (KOR) 10. Daerugui Byeol (USA) 11. Zentenary (Choi Bum Hyun) 12. Royal Review (USA) 13. Strong Wind (NZ) Scratched: Yeondu (USA)
Racing returns to Seoul on Sunday with the Korean Derby. Ikuyasu Kurakane rides Clean Up Speed, who is not without a chance.