Gaon Champ may have swerved next week’s Korea Sprint but the talented three-year-old returns to Seoul in Sunday’s feature class 2 sprint looking to enhance his burgeoning reputation. There are 11 races at Seoul on Sunday from 10:45 to 18:00 plus 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.
An eye-opening six-length score at the end of July with Gaon Champ barely requiring third-gear put the Ecton Park colt into the frame for next week’s big international race and he duly appeared in the preliminary nominations at the beginning of August. However, connections ultimately decided that with only six starts under his belt and with him yet to even face top-class domestic sprint opposition, he wasn’t quite ready to take on the overseas visitors. Instead, he runs at class 2 level for the first time over his favoured six furlongs.
Gaon Champ burst onto the scene with three easy victories last autumn but a couple of setbacks over the winter meant that he didn’t return to the track until Seoul’s Classic trial in early March. He was favourite that day but over 1400M, he found himself bested in the closing stages by Mask, a colt who would go on to run well in all three-legs of the Triple Crown itself. Nevertheless, Gaon Champ traveled to Busan to take part in the KRA Cup Mile, the first Classic in April. After being very unsettled in the gate, Gaon Champ ran a poor race that day and wasn’t seen again until returning to form back down at 1200M in that July 28th race when he crushed a competitive Class 3 field.
On Sunday, he faces just six rivals, although they do include the in-form Mr. Champion and fellow up and comer Lucky Chunyang, the latter with five wins from seven outings so far. An on-form Gaon Champ should have far too much.
Gaon Champ will be ridden for the first time by Manoel Nunes, the Brazilian rider returning from a two meeting suspension this weekend. Nunes has eight rides on Sunday’s 11-race card and plenty of the others have live chances too.
Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(7) HAEDEULMOE enters having finished 3rd in both his two starts to date. He’s run on well each time and the extra half-furlong should be to his benefit here. Manoel Nunes rides him for the first time and he’s sure to be favourite. (3) ROAD MAN has a 2nd place to his name at this distance and while he was slightly disappointing on his reappearance in June, he comes in after a couple of months off and should get another chance (2) MAGIC DOLPUNG was an improved 3rd last time out and can continue his progression here while (4) GOODCHOICE beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd over 1200M last start and is another with the potential to push the favourite close.
|Selections||(7) Haedeulmoe (4) Goodchoice (3) Road Man (2) Magic Dolpung|
Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(10) JACOB overcame a relatively slow start to win on debut over 1000M in mid-July. He’s up in class here but the additional trip should suit and he has a chance. Plenty of dangers though. (8) MACH SEUNGNI ran 2nd, albeit well beaten by a good winner, on his first try at this class three weeks ago. He’s already a winner at this distance and has good claims again. (6) SKY STORM also put in a good performance on his first try at this level at the end of July, leading for much of the race before getting passed late on and ending in 3rd. Likely to be ridden slightly more patiently today, he can go even better. (11) SPEED (more…)