Hangangui Gijeok was the star of the show in Korea this weekend, scoring a dominant 12-length win over Derby and Oaks winning filly Queen’s Blade at Busan on Friday.
Ineligible for the Triple Crown races this year due to being a gelding, Hangangui Gijeok went up to Seoul last month after seven conseuctive wins at Busan including the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. He finished 4th behind Gyeongbudaero, who would go on to win last week’s Grand Prix Stakes but was the best of the three-year olds in the race, ending just a nose ahead of Queen’s Blade.
There was rather more than a nose between them when they raced over a mile in Busan’s Friday feature. leading from gate-to-wire, Hangangui Gijeok finished a full 12-lengths clear of Queen’s Blade who put a further full 4-lengths between herself and the rest of the field. Hangangui Gijeok moves onto nine wins from twelve career starts and his 2015 campaign will be one of the most eagerly awaited on the peninsula.
Class 1 – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Dec 19, 2014
1. Hangangui Gijeok (KOR) [Didyme – Legendary Destiny (Giant’s Causeway)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.9, 1.0
2. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.3
3. Road To Prince (KOR) [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] – Chae Sang Hyun – 2.1
Distances: 12 lengths / 4 lengths – 11 ran
At Seoul, the feature race was on Sunday when Gwanggyo Bisang struggled under top weight of 60Kg in the big class 1 handicap and could only manage third place as Namhae Daewwang (Commendable) landed his second consecutive win at the highest level. Four of the four-year old’s six career wins have come this year and he closed late to overturn a tiring Nulpureunchongyong in the closing stages of the 1800M event.
Jockey performance of the weekend came, as usual from Moon Se Young, who partnered five horses to victory at Seoul on Saturday, before adding another two on a snowy Sunday. Among them was the still unbeaten US import Bear Queen Trophy (Exchange Rate) who made it three wins from three starts on Sunday afternoon.
Joe Fujii too, got the second win of his comeback from injury on Sunday, guiding the Kim Young Kwan trained Buho to race 6 at Busan on Sunday.
While the racing season was originally scheduled to finish on Sunday, an extra set of cards have been added for the final weekend of the year with a bumper 13-race card at Busan on Friday and the usual weekend racing around the three tracks. There are some big fields in store, especially at Seoul, and racing will be simulcast to Singapore on Friday and Sunday.