Pinot Noir just loves this time of year and she loves this race too. The 7-year-old mare was in fine form as she claimed victory in the Group 3 “Spring Stakes” (planned to be the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
This race was intended to be the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup but due to the impending Presidential election, that had to be dropped with the Governor himself still potentially a candidate and therefore conflict of interest rules coming into play. Pinot Noir won the race in 2014, was 2nd in 2015 and then won again in 2016. She went cold towards the tail-end of last year but came back into form by running 2nd to Meni Money in the Donga Ilbo Cup – a prep for this race – a month ago.
This time around, with the race being over an extra furlong and at level weights, punters found it hard to split Meni Money and Pinot Noir, ultimately sending the former off as the very slight favourite. Outsider Gold Wave, one of just two in the race who didn’t take part in the Donga Ilbo, took the initiative while Moon Se Young opted for a steady start on the favourite. Meanwhile Park Hyun Woo on Pinot Noir used the same tactics as always on the mare; drop right to the back at the start before coming wide around the field in the back-straight.
The field was nicely bunched together in the home straight and once it became apparent Gold Wave wasn’t going anywhere, things started to get interesting. Meni Money just couldn’t hit top gear leaving it to Pinot Noir to tackle her inside the final furlong and run on to win by an ever increasing margin.
In total it was Pinot Noir’s 8th win on her 32nd start and the 5th to arrive in Stakes races. She may very well not win again this year but if she’s still racing this time next, it wouldn’t be hugely surprising to see her back here again.
Spring Stakes (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – March 26, 2017
1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Hyun Woo – 2.4, 1.1
2. Gold Wave (KOR) [Volponi – Geumbit Yuhok (Exploit)] – Kim Yong Geun – 3.2
3. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] Moon Se Young – 1.1
Distances: 1 length / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. The Queen Silver 5. Argo Champ 6. Namsan Chukje 7. Lakshmi 8. Simsin Jiryeo
At Busan, Sunday’s feature saw Perdido Pomeroy (Pomeroy) fall to defeat. The four-year-old who last year won the Korea v Japan race at Seoul, had returned to the winner’s circle in January but turned in a flat performance this time over 1400M as Doraonpogyeongseon (Kantharos), two starts into a comeback from a lengthy absence, took the honours.
This coming week it’s Triple Crown time!. The first jewel in the crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean Guineas) will be run at Busan on Sunday April 2nd.