It was easy for Cheongdam Dokki. He confirmed his position as Seoul’s best horse by beating Clean Up Joy by five-lengths to win the YTN Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
There was general agreement before the race that only a mistake by Cheongdam Dokki, a restrictive favourite, could see him lose and that if that happened, Clean Up Joy would be the only one equipped to take advantage. In the end, it was Clean Up Joy who made the mistake. Never a fluent starter, the 7-year-old made his customary leap as the gates opened and was even slower into stride than usual, making a tall order next to impossible. Cheongdam Dokki meanwhile, who had as usual been a handful in the parade ring, glided regally out of the barrier and into a lead he was never in danger of giving up.
Under Park Tae Jong, Clean Up Joy ran his usual race, looping the field in the back-straight to move into 2nd place in the home turn. That he had enough in him to comfortably see off stablemate Shamrocker, speaks volumes about what a good horse Clean Up Joy is. But he’s not as good as Cheongdam Dokki. Right now in Seoul, nothing is.
For Cheongdam Dokki, it was a 10th career win on his 15th start. The time was slower than his win at the same distance in the Herald Business last month but he looked utterly within himself. Next stop is scheduled to be the concluding leg of the “Stayers’ Series”, the Busan Mayor’s Cup, on the south coast, on July 1st. Three Busan horses beat Cheongdam Dokki in the Grand Prix last December – Power Blade (who has the same owner), Triple Nine and Dongbang Daero. That was at 2300M. It would be a brave punter who takes on Cheongdam Dokki at 1800M. If he overcomes that, a serious attempt at the Korea Cup has to be on agenda.
YTN Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – May 27, 2018
1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] – Lim Gi Won – 1.1, 1.0
2. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeax Danseur)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.2
3. Shamrocker (USA) [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] – Jang Chu Youl – 1.5
Distances: 5 lengths / 4 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Wonder Bolt (USA) 5. Wild Thunder (KOR) 6. Moonhak Chief (USA) 7. Places To Go (USA) 8. Miso Wangja (USA) 9. Winner Red (USA) 10. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 11. Chanma (KOR) 12. Cheonjeok (USA)
At Busan, Sun Day (Ingrandire) made it three wins from four starts in race 3. She’s half-sister to stablemate Today (Drosselmeyer) through their dam Gone Goodbye. Today has won ten of his twelve outings to date and is due to travel to Seoul to run in the SBS Sprint next Sunday. In Busan’s Sunday feature, Dynamic Dash (Pleasantly Perfect) returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in just over two years, outstaying a strong class 1 field over 2000M.
Manoel Nunes rode his first winner since taking up a full-time license in Korea. The Brazilian rider, three times champion in Singapore guided Two Kay (Biwa Shinseiki) to an all the way victory in race 11. Two Kay, an older half-brother of Korean Derby 3rd place-getter Choinma, was winning for the fifth time in eighteen starts. Two Kay would turn out to be the final winner saddled by trainer Ha Jae Heung, who retired after a 35-year career on Sunday.
It was left to the track’s foreign grooms and in some cases trainers themselves to saddle and lead up their horses as local stable staff went on strike. Open The Sky (Sky Mesa), 7th in last year’s Korea Sprint returned for the first time since that September day in Seoul. Though favourite, the three-year-old, with five wins from nine prior starts, would have to settle for 2nd as fellow Kim Young Kwan trainee Uju Star (Officer), took the win. Both Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice played their part in keeping the show on the road, carrying out parade ring duty with their horses and both were rewarded with winners; Rice combining with jockey Fergus Sweeney as the promising Geumsuryeong (Vicar) moved on to three wins from five in race 9.
COMING UP NEXT WEEKEND
It’s mini International Week in Seoul with a string of Exchange races, but the big action comes in the form of a pair of big group races on Sunday afternoon:
SBS Sports Sprint: The 2nd leg of the Sprint Series and having beaten Power Blade in the 1st leg at Busan last month, Silver Wolf will look to follow up with a win on her home track. Power Blade won’t travel but a strong Busan continegent will with Today, Perdido Pomeroy and last year’s winner Doraonpogyeongseon expected to make the trip.
Ttukseom Cup: The 1st leg of the Queens’ Tour for fillies and mares aged 5-year-old or younger. Silver Wolf won this series last year but is now too old so Haeya, who spent most of 2017 chasing her, will have a real chance to get some big wins on the board.