What was billed as being a clash between Busan’s best two horses ended up being about neither of them as both Gyeongbudaero and Beolmaui Kkum fell to a late charge from 50/1 shot Donggeupchoegang in the track’s feature race on Sunday.
Beolmaui Kkum, the highest rated horse in Korea was sent off as the slight odds-on favourite ahead of the Grand Prix Stakes winner Gyeongbudaero. The former would, as he generally does, set the early pace and as they entered the home straight, it looked set to be a two way fight between the two favourites.
That was to reckon without Donggeupchoegang. The five-year-old was benefitting from a 6kg weight advantage and he made it count as he flew home under replacement jockey Jeong Dong Cheol, going from 5th to 1st in the final furlong and running on for victory by two and a half lengths.
Gyeongbudaero hung on for 2nd, just pipping another Grand Prix winner Gamdonguibada, by a nose. Beolmaui Kkum was 4th.
The longest shot on the board, US import Donggeupchoegang [Bernstein – Resurge (Seeking The Gold)] was recording his 7th win from 29 career starts and his 3rd from his most recent 6.
It may be at Busan where we get the higher quality racing these days as was evidenced by that track’s utter domination of the KRA Cup Mile last week, but there was some hope for Seoul on Sunday afternoon. That came in the shape of three-year-old colt Daegunhwang (Menifee), who landed his 5th straight win.
This time it was at class 2 and it was a fast time over 1700M. The colt made the running all the way around and while he was made to work a little harder than on previous starts, Daegunhwang looked to have plenty in hand as he stayed on to win by just under three lengths. He’s going to have to work much harder though if he is to beat the Busan raiders next month in the Korean Derby.
Speaking of the three-year-old Classics, the winner of last year’s final Classic Never Seen Before, made his way back to the winner’s circle at Busan on Friday, holding off stablemate Ms. Margaux in what was a competitive class 1 handicap over a mile.