Gyeongbudaero became the second horse in as many years to complete a President’s Cup / Grand Prix Stakes double as he swooped late to win Korea’s most prestigious race this afternoon.
The 5-year-old, who won the KRA Cup Mile (Korean Guineas) two years ago, was sent off at 13/1 for the season-ending showpiece with Beolmaui Kkum the favourite for the second year running.
And as a light snow fell over Seoul Racecourse, it was Beolmaui Kkum who, as expected, set the early pace with Magic Dancer and the outsider Rush Force in close attendance. Gyeongbudaero was leading only three as they began the long turn for home.
As the field entered the home straight there was a nasty incident as Nobody Catch Me slightly interfered with Samjeong Jewang. The latter and Ikuyasu Kurakane tumbled to the ground although thankfully both would get up and walk away. Nobody Catch Me was disqualified.
None of that affected the result. Gyeongbudaero had improved around the turn and went wide in the straight, hitting the front with just over a furlong to go as Beolmaui Kkum and Magic Dancer began to tire. Wonder Bolt came up to challenge but Gyeongbudaero was gone, winning by three lengths on the line.
For Gyeongbudaero, it was an 11th win on his 28th start and takes him to over $2Million in prize money won. He follows Indie Band in winning the President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes in the same year. Crucially too, he is another Korean bred winner of Korea’s best race.
Wonder Bolt was game in second and Beolmaui Kkum will be back. Clean Up Joy was a revelation in 4th although Magic Dancer would have been expected to go better than 5th.
The doubt about Gyeongbudaero had been whether he would stay the trip. The way he ran today, he could have stayed all the way down the “Gyeongbudaero” Highway back home to Busan. Gyeongbudaero is an emphatic Grand Prix Stakes Champion of 2014.
Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2300M – December 14, 2014
1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae –
2. Wonder Bolt (USA) [Desert Warrior – Little Champ (Great Gladiator)] – Lee Chan Ho –
3. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – Lee Hee Cheon –
Distances: 3 lengths / 4 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Clean Up Joy (USA) 5. Magic Dancer (KOR) 6. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) 7. Unbeatable (USA) 8. Ghost Whisper (KOR) 9. Jangmi Eondeok (USA) 10. Rush Forth (USA) 11. Major King (KOR) DQ: Nobody Catch Me DNF: Samjeong Jewang