Bold Kings maintained his unbeaten record after getting the best of a thrilling stretch duel with Gumpo Sky to win the most prestigious race on the Korean calendar, the Grand Prix Stakes, at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon.
Trained by Australian Peter Wolsley and ridden by Jo Sung Gon, Bold Kings was sent off the third choice in the betting market with President’s Cup winner Triple Nine the clear favourite.
Gamdonguibada, winner of this race in 2012, would set the early pace and she was joined up front, as expected, by Gumpo Sky, a 40/1 outsider. Bold Kings was in close attendance throughout as was Triple Nine.
As they turned into the home straight, Gamdonguibada weakened but Gumpo Sky kept on going and going. On the rail, Bold Kings got his nose in front and while Gumpo Sky gave no quarter and Clean Up Joy, Triple Nine and Clean Up Cheonha started to press down the outside, Bold Kings simply would not get beaten.
The distance between the winner and the runner-up would be a neck throughout the final furlong. As good as the ride was by Jo Sung Gon, his horse gave everything to win in what was a proper horse race. Bold Kings was not letting anything best him today.
So it had been all year. Bold Kings was a $14,000 purchase at Fasig Tipton’s Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale in 2013 and arrived in Korea in Spring 2014. He didn’t make his debut until this March and arrived here today with just six starts behind him. He had won them all, including a trial for this race last month stretch run in which a similarly battling performance in the home straight, served as a preview for today.
Gumpo Sky was immense in 2nd place and the rest of them, even Triple Nine in 4th, lost nothing in defeat.
For Jo Sung Gon it was a first Grand Prix winner as it was too for Peter Wolsley. The Australian trainer recently marked eight years in Korea and while he won the Minister’s Cup last year with Never Seen Before, this is his greatest triumph. He goes into 2016 with the hottest property in Korean racing in his stable.
Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2300M – Dec 13, 2015
1. Bold Kings (USA) [Afleet Express – Gilded Time (Bold Arrival)] – Jo Sung Gon – 6.6, 2.8
2. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 7.7
3. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeux Danseur)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.4
Distances: Neck / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Triple Nine (KOR) 5. Clean Up Cheonha (USA) 6. Chief Red Can (USA) 7. Heba (USA) 8. Cheonjae Bogo (NZ) 9. Gamdonguibada (USA) 10. Nobody Catch Me (USA) 11. Gandai (KOR) 12. Sotong SIdae (KOR) 13. Cinderella Man (KOR) 14. Damyang Chukje (USA) 15. Goji Jeongbeol (USA) 16. Unbeatable (USA)
Winning Owner/Trainer: Lim Yong Keun/Peter Wolsley