The expressway between Seoul and Busan is called “Gyeongbu”. Given that so much big race prize-money has disappeared down that road from the capital, it is perhaps appropriate that a horse called Gyeongbudaero, returned back South with the biggest prize of them all in the President’s Cup yesterday.
Now five-years-old, Gyeongbudaero won the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown in 2012.
He followed it up with a third place in the Korean Derby and that year’s President’s Cup. Last year he would come back to Seoul and finish second. This year he finally got it right in the nation’s richest race.
It was another Busan raider, Hangangui Gijeok, who was sent off as the pre-race favourite, with Magic Dancer also ahead of Gyeongbudaero in the betting. And it was Magic Dancer who set much of the early pace with the favourite and Ganghae, a shock third in the Minister’s Cup, in close attendance.
This would turn out to be a race for the closers though and as first Ganghae disappeared and then Hangangui Gijeok Magic Dancer began to wane, it was Gyeongbudaero and outsider Best Captain who took full advantage. They would battle all the way to the line but it was Gyeongbudaero who got there first by a head.
Magic Dancer came home three lengths back in third ahead of Hangangui Gijeok with Derby and Oaks winning filly Queen’s Blade in fifth.
It was a tenth career victory for Gyeongbudaero and his fourth Stakes win. Twelve of his twenty-seven starts have been in Stakes company and he is now approaching the KRW 2 Billion mark in prize-money won.
If connections want it, they will be sure of getting an invite back to Seoul next month for the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes. Gyeongbudaero’s sixth place in last year’s race is one of only two occasions to date on which he has been out of the money.
President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – November 9. 2014
1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 6.7, 1.9
2. Best Captain (KOR) [Revere – Onethindime (Tactical Advantage)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 4.9
3. Magic Dancer (KOR) [Forest Camp – Woldly Magic (Peterhof)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.7
Distances: Head / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Hangangui Gijeok 5. Queen’s Blade 6. Haneuli Chubok 7. Gumpo Sky 8. New And Best 9. Gwanggyo Bisang 10. Success Story 11. Gumanseok 12. Heukgisa 13. Ganghae
* So yet another big race win for Busan and it is the southern track that looks likely to take the honours when horses from the two tracks clash again next Sunday – this time on the South Coast – in the Gyeongnam Owners’ Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour.