Golden Power moved to within just one race of sweeping the Filly Triple Crown, as the Luna Stakes winner snared the second jewel in the crown, The Korean Oaks (1800M KOR-G2) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
The fillies who filled out the top three-places in April’s Luna Stakes, ultimately turned it into a three-way affair in the Oaks as well. Chamjoeun Chingu, nailed on the line last month, was sent off as favourite under Moon Se-young and she would set the pace.
Golden Power, after coming from almost last to first in the closing stages of the Luna, was ridden much more forward this time by jockey Choi Si-dae and immediately tracked the leader.
Raon The Spurt, instead of being ridden hard for the lead like she had been in past races, was settled gently from the widest gate by Choi Bum-hyun and gradually made progress up to 3rd.
By the top of the straight, Chamjoeun Chingu and Golden Power had opened a significant lead on the rest and when Golden Power came past her rival with a furlong and a half remaining, the race looked settled. That was to reckon without Raon The Spurt, however, who moved through the gears in the home straight and suddenly the gap was vanishing alarmingly quickly.
The line came in time though with Golden Power still a neck to the good when it mattered, with Chamjoeun Chingu a further two-and-a-half lengths in arrears in 3rd. There were nine-lengths more back to Eunseong Winner in 4th and then a further nine to a thoroughly outclassed rest.
Winning jockey Choi Si-dae felt the opening part of the race – very different from that in the Luna – today was key to the win. “Last time (in the Luna) the start wasn’t satisfactory” he told in-house broadcaster KRBC. “This time she started great, got into a good position and that was the main reason she could win the race today.”
As for her prospects of sweeping all three legs of the “Tiara” as the filly Triple Crown is known, Choi was non-committal but simply stated: “She got better today. Even better than she was last month. I am looking forward to it.”
That final race is over 2000M, and it is hard to imagine Chamjoeun Chingu posing Golden Power too many problems at the extended trip, even on her home track at Seoul. Raon The Spurt’s run was intriguing as for the first time in any of her races, she wasn’t ridden to lead. While the draw may have had a lot to do with that, it paid off and way she finished makes her a fascinating prospect back at Seoul
With regard to the rest, Wonderful Raise was backed into fourth-favourite, but having begun brightly, was on the end of severe interference at the first corner after Chamjoeun Chingu tightened onto Shy Dragon who in turn came together with Wonderful Raise, who had nowhere to go. The latter was shuffled back in the pack and lost interest in racing after that. Moon Se-young, aboard Chamjoeun Chingu was given a four-day suspension. Wonderful Raise can perhaps therefore have a line drawn through her last place.
Eunseong Winner, though too far back, posted a final furlong time only one-tenth of a second slower than that of Raon The Spurt and she may pose more of a danger at Seoul.
Golden Power is by Afleet Express and is out of Cherokee Sheik (by Cherokee Run). She is owned by her breeder, Son Boing-chul of Winner’s Farm, and is trained by Kwon Sung-ju
The final leg of the Filly Triple Crown is the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) which will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday June 4. Next weekend Seoul hosts the twenty-fifth running of the Korean Derby (1800M KOR-G1).