Genuine stars are few and far between in Korean horse racing at the moment. The glory days of a couple of years ago when the likes of Mister Park, Dongbanui Gangja, Tough Win, Dangdae Bulpae, Smarty Moonhak and Yeonseung Daero made each Stakes race one to savour, are gone.
The emergence therefore of Indie Band, who stormed to victory first in the President’s Cup and then in the Grand Prix Stakes at the tail end of last year, was warmly welcomed and his return to Seoul to compete for the Jeju Governor’s Cup was hotly anticipated.
The news that came through this week that Indie Band had suffered a fracture to his leg that is likely to keep him off the track for a minimum of nine months. Indeed, whether he ever returns must be open to debate.
Never a very good worker in the mornings, Indie Band had, by all accounts appeared even more out of sorts on arrival in Seoul last week, with an x-ray on Wednesday confirming the break.
His absence leaves just nine in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, a race which was won by another now retired star, Jigeum I Sungan, a year ago. Here’s a full run-down of the field (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1/2/3) – Jockey (home track):
Jeju Governer’s Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – June 29, 2014 – 16:40
1. Road To Prince [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] (22/9/4/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Came back into form after an indifferent spell with a 2nd place last time over a mile. Likes to go from the front and should be in contention for a place.
2. My Winner [Vicar – Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] (21/6/6/0) – Lee Hee Cheon (Busan)
Peter Wolsley’s entrant has a definite chance here. Unfashionable jockey should mean generous odds and while his last visit to Seoul didn’t go well, we can expect improvement here. Worth investing in at least a place.
3. Singgeureounachim [Vicar – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] (41/9/7/11) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
A very consistent performer who was in the winner’s circle over this distance last time out in May. Likes to come from off the pace and while he’s not the quickest, he has plenty of stamina and will pick off any tired front-runners.
4. Impetus [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] (16/6/2/3) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
A solid performer although 2000 metres might be at the limits oof his ability. Difficult to recommend to win but is one of a number with the possibility of placing.
5. Magic Dancer [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] (14/9/3/0) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
The de-facto favourite was a 7-length winner over this distance at Busan last start. Won from the front that day and will probably try to do so again. Big race jockey on board and difficult to look past.
6. Chowon Yeoje [Forest Camp – Navigation (Big Sur)] (30/5/7/6) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
Another consistent sort who is likely to show at the front early. He’ll be an outsider here.
7. Last Mudae [The Groom Is Red – White Aloe (White Muzzle)] (26/4/6/4) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
Beaten into 4th by Singgereounachim last time out, he’ll benefit from the return of Moon Se Young to the saddle and has strong place hopes.
8. Cheonnyeon Dongan [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] (13/7/1/3) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
Beaten by Joy Lucky in the Seoul Owners’ Cup last time out, this filly has only run twice all year but if she’s at her best, she will give Magic Dancer a very strong test. Likes to come from just off the pace and she’ll have plenty of support here.
9. New And Best [Trick Of Fate – Yongunch’eon (Phizam)] (56/4/6/3) – Bang Choon Sik (Seoul)
A reliable old handicapper, but New And Best will find a few of these far too quick here.