It’s the big one. Not in terms of prestige – that belongs to the open to all comers season-ending Grand Prix Stakes – but in terms of prize money, nothing in Korea can top the President’s Cup which will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.
Restricted to Korean bred horses, the Derby and Oaks winner is here in the shape of Queen’s Blade. She’s the only filly among a very competitive field of 13 that includes old favourites such as Gyeongbudaero and young up-and-comers like Hangangui Gijeok.
It will be one of the biggest betting races of the year Here is a full run-down of the field (Name [Pedigree] Age Sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Korean Rating – Jockey):
President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – Sunday November 9, 2014 – 16:40
1. Gumanseok [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] 5 G (27/9/5/5) 115 – Seo Seung Un
Beaten into third last time out by a very impressive Gwanggyo Bisang and the much-hyped Yeongsan II, this is a tough gelding who has some big wins on his resume. Not likely to be winning this but he can challenge for a place.
2. Ganghae [Didyme – Ocelot (Catrail)] 3 C (15/5/5/1) 109 – Choi Bum Hyun
A revelation in the Minister’s Cup last month when he stayed on for a very creditable 3rd behind Never Seen Before and Gumpo Sky. Again, he may find one or two too quick for him here but another big run can’t be ruled out.
3. Hangangui Gijeok [Didyme – Legendary Destiny (Giant’s Causeway)] 3 G (10/8/1/0) 124 – You Hyun Myung
The latest phenom to emerge from Busan, he comes into the race off the back of seven consecutive wins, most recently the Busan Owners’ Cup in September. He will come from off the pace and has very good late speed. On form, he will be tough to beat and while it will be his first time at Seoul, he is difficult to oppose.
4. Gwanggyo Bisang [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] 4 G (16/11/1/3) 122 – Park Tae Jong
A double Stakes winner last year, he comes in with three consecutive victories and was especially impressive carrying 60kg to victory over this distance a month ago. He is perhaps Seoul’s best hope but he is going to need to find even more improvement to beat the visitors from Busan.
5. New And Best [Trick Of Fate – Yongungch’eon (Phizam)] 7 H (61/4/6/3) 101 – Kim Ok Sung
No. His 4th place over this distance last time out was his first money finish since January. He has been a good and competitive horse but is overmatched here.
6. Haneului Chubok [Revere – Mina D’Oro (Afleet)] 6 G (33/6/10/4) 118 – Kim Tae Kyung
Fourth in the Busan Owners’ Cup last time out, just three lengths behind winner Hangangui Gijeok, eh may go close again but with both Magic Dancer and Gyeongbudaero also both ahead of him that day, it is difficult to see him reversing that form here.
7. Magic Dancer [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] 4 C (16/10/4/0) 126 – Kim Yong Geun
A proven winner at Seoul, having taken the Jeju Governor’s Cup back in June over this distance, this is a classy horse who must be respected. He will be towards the front throughout and will stay on. He also has the fastest final furlong among this field. Beaten by Hangangui Gijeok in the Busan Owners’ Cup, he will have supporters to overturn that form here. Jockey Kim Yong Geun opts for him over Queen’s Blade.
8. Gyeongbudaero [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run) 5 H (26/9/6/7) 125 – Choi Si Dae
One of the stars of the track over the past three years, he doesn’t have the win record that he might have had with eleven of his starts coming in Stakes races. His third place in the Busan Owners’ Cup was his first start since February. He has only been out of the money twice in twenty-six starts and it will be a brave punter who leaves him off his or her tickets here.
9. Queen’s Blade [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] 3 F (12/7/3/0) 113 – Masakazu Tanaka
The Derby and Oaks winner was beaten eight lengths into fifth in the Minister’s Cup at this distance last month when sent off as favourite. Three of those who beat her in that race go again today. It has been a long season for her and while she is clearly a huge talent, this may be a race too far. It would be fantastic to be proved wrong.
10. Gumpo Sky [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] 3 C (14/5/5/2) 111 – Park Geum Man
Second in the Minister’s Cup a month ago, this is another horse whose win record doesn’t reflect his talent. Expect him to be close to the pace early and force the rest to try to come past. He should be aiming for at least a place.
11. Best Captain [Revere – Onethindime (Tactical Advantage) 4 C (17/7/5/3) 116 – Ikuyasu Kurakane
A very consistent money winner who has only failed to bring home a prize once out of his seventeen outings to date. A comfortable winner over 1800M last time out. He won that from the front and is likely to be among a large number here looking to get to the front early and stay there.
12. Success Story [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] 3 C (9/5/0/2) 100 – Jo Sung Gon
He came into the Minister’s Cup last month off the back of three consecutive wins and showed the way for much of that race. He was found wanting in the final furlong though and that makes him difficult to support here. Jockey Jo Sung Gon doesn’t come to Seoul unless he thinks he has a chance though, so he will have some supporters.
13. Heukgisa [A.P.Dancer – Mansumugang (Half Term)] 5 G (22/9/5/2) 119 – Yoo Seung Wan
A very good-looking nine-length class 1 win over this distance a month ago is what gives him such a high rating here and also means he must be respected. Another who likes to be at the front early, he won’t be favourite but can’t be ruled out.