Given that this coming weekend’s cards are already out – at least those for Busan – this is rather late but there were a few notable things that happened last weekend.
Spring Gnarly suffered his first bleeding attack when sent off as odds-on favourite for Sunday’s feature race at Busan. The US bred five-year-old had won nine of his previous fifteen starts and was 2nd in this summer’s Busan Mayor’s Cup but fell out of contention rounding the home turn and while he actually completed the race at a canter, jockey Kim Yong Geun opted not to push him. Aussie-bred Cheonji Bulpae won the race, his first win since March 2014.
Right now, you’ll not get up on the rail at Busan. For the past few weeks it has been noticeable that winner after winner has been coming home in the centre of the track while those on the rail have ended up going backwards. It’s happened to several well-fancied horses including odds-on favourite My Blade on Sunday afternoon. The reason is that the sand is much deeper on the rail than in the centre at the moment and until that’s sorted – and it needs to be – it looks set to continue.
Doraon Hyeonpyo, last year’s Champion Juvenile, couldn’t quite cut it in the Triple Crown races this year but he bounced back to form at Busan last Friday winning a class 2 race over 1900M. Jockey Choi Si Dae made sure to bring him to the middle of the track (of course) as they entered the home straight and the three-year-old cruised away for a 6-length win. Doraon Hyeonpyo will be racing at class 1 next time.
Already at class 1 in Seoul is another Korean Derby also-ran, New White Socks. However, the three-year-old, who looks practically unbeatable up to 1700M, yet again was found wanting over 1800M. Sent off as the odds-on favourite for Sunday’s feature race, New White Socks led into the closing stages only to be overhauled close to the line by Nulpurunchongnyong. It was a third consecutive 2nd place for New White Socks at the distance.
Riding Nulpurunchongnyong was Yuri Takahashi with the Japanese jockey continuing his excellent recent run of form with a double on Sunday. That took Takahashi’s total number of winners to 15 since joining a couple of months ago. A new Italian jockey is set to join Seoul from November 1.
This coming Sunday sees the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, take place at Busan. We will have a full preview on Saturday.