There was to be no repeat of Watts Village’s sensational 2013 win for Korea in the latest edition of the Japan/Korea Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo on Tuesday night.
Three Korean trained horses made their way to the Japanese capital to take their chances in the 1200M race. However, they were to come up short against a strong line-up of local sprinters, with the race won by the favourite, 6 year-old US-bred Satono Daytona (Tapit).
Here He Comes, ridden by Moon Se Young, came home in 9th, with Parang Juibo in 11th under Kim Ok Sung and Useung Iyagi, who set the early pace under Ikuyasu Kurakane, finishing last of the 13. All horses and riders finished safely and will return to Korea later this week.
Regardless of the result, the successful running of the race was another step forward as Korean racing, after decades of isolation, finally starts to establish its presence internationally.
And while it was unquestionably disappointing for Korean racing fans that the best domestic sprinters were not put forward for the trip, especially after the unexpected win last year, sometimes it is the taking part that counts.
With this bilateral race with Japan set to continue, and the successful hosting of the Asia Challenge Cup earlier this year, “Interaction” is finally happening.