Success Story was sent off the slight favourite on his return to racing in Korea but just like in his two starts at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, he had to settle for 3rd as Gamdonguibada romped to a five-length victory in the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the 2016 Korean Sprint Series at Busan this afternoon.
The race was expected to be dominated by a pace duel between Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum, both fast starters and difficult to split at the head of the market. That would always be fine for Gamdonguibada who was well-backed by punters who suspected she might be able to take advantage of the favourites potentially over-racing early.
Gamdonguibada did exactly that. However, others were not content to let the favourites dictate and Indian Star, Daepungnyeon and Perdido Pomeroy shot out of the gate leaving Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum back in an unfamiliar 4th and 5th as the race settled down.
Entering the straight, Beolmaui Kkum offered nothing and while Success Story rallied, he had too much to find as Gamdonguibada and Choi Si Dae went through the gears and cruised away from the field, racing on for a dominant five-length win on the line. Perdido Pomeroy and Kim Yong Geun ran on for a strong second with Success Story and Paolo Aragoni a further three lengths back in a strung-out finish.
Gamdonguibada (Werblin) is a quite remarkable mare. A $31,000 purchase at the Ocala Two-year-old sale in 2011, she won the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup and then the Grand Prix Stakes, Korea’s most prestigious race as a three-year-old. She didn;t win any Stakes races in 2013 but then as a five-year-old in 2014 she won two legs of the Queens’ Tour for fillies & mares to be crowned the series champion. Connections (thankfully) rejected the bonus that was on offer to retire her immediately for breeding and brought her back in 2015.
Gamdonguibada won the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup, Busan’s richest race for older horses before running poorly in Singapore at 1200M just three weeks later.There was talk once more she would be retired. She wasn’t.
The win is yet another for the Kim Young Kwan training machine that continues to churn out winner after winner at Stakes level. The next leg of the Sprint Series is the SBS Korea/Japan race at Seoul in early June. The final leg is, of course, the Korea Sprint on International Day on September 11th. Gamdonguibada has staked her claim to be there.