The Korean Derby 1st and 2nd place-getters both rounded out their three-year-old campaigns on Sunday but there wasn’t to be a successful conclusion as both Ecton Blade and Mask were beaten favourites in the respective features at Seoul and Busan. However, there is a new prospect on the Korean racing block as New Legend continued his impressive homecoming.
Mask at least ran well. In an ultra-competitive class 1 handicap over 1400M which also featured the dangerous Gangtoma and the ever-improving Morfhis, Mask met traffic at the top of the stretch but once he found his run finished smartly under Yoo Seung Wan. However, he was too late to catch winner Jangsan Power, who had stolen some lengths on the rail around the turn and ran on to score by just over a length.
Jangsan Power, an also-ran in the Derby in 2017, was registering his seventh win on his twentieth career start. Mask, Gangtoma and Morfhis filled out 2nd to 4th and all three could have a bright class 1 future.
Ecton Blade was more disappointing at Busan. The Derby winner had won comfortably on his last try at 1400M and was sent off at only slightly better than even money. However, he couldn’t go with the early pace of Perdido Pomeroy and Gasok Engine and then never quickened in the home straight as outsider Mupae took the win.
An American import, Mupae (Paddy O’Prado) won five of his first six starts but entered a 24/1 chance having been winless for in excess of a year. Keep out of trouble by Lee Hyo Sik, who rode Today so well in last week’s Grand Prix Stakes, he finished strongly down the outside to score by three-lengths ahead of Daeho Sidae and Morning Daero.
New Legend (Menifee) was bred in Korea but sent to the United States by the KRA Stud Farm to begin training and racing. He raced seven times stateside, picking up a win at Arlington Park in July of this year. He returned home in the autumn after fetching nearly 200 Million Korean Won in the sales ring, made his local debut at Busan on November 25th, scoring by three-lengths over 1300M.
On Sunday, New Legend stepped up to 1800M in race 3 at Busan and without needing to get out of second gear, cruised to a nine-length win on the bridle. It was only at class 4 level, but this stablemate of Ecton Blade – and indeed of Triple Nine – will be one to watch very closely in the New Year.
Mupae winning Busan race 5:
Jangsan Power winning Seoul race 12: