Raon The Spurt, Speed Young Return To Winning Ways

Raon The Spurt was a beaten favourite in the Listed Segye Ilbo Trophy in January, but the four-year-old filly went some way to making amends with an authoritative performance in Sunday’s Class 1 feature at Seoul, downing Segye victor Wow Wow by three-lengths.

Raon The Spurt won the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup last November (Pic: KRA)

After a successful three-year-old campaign that saw her finish runner-up in the Triple Tiara series before winning the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup at Group 3 level against older fillies and mares, Raon The Spurt was sent off as favourite in the Segye Ilbo. But on a day when the going was brutal for front-runners, she ran out of petrol in the home straight, finishing back in the pack as Wow Wow took the glory.

There were no such issues this time around in Sunday’s class 1 finale over 1400M. Punters kept faith with Raon The Spurt, sending her off as the even-money favourite. Under Lee Hyeok, who replaced the suspended Choi Bum-hyun in the saddle, Raon The Spurt was quickly into the lead and she proceeded to keep the rest of the field at arm’s length throughout, with Wow Wow ultimately getting the closest. Long-shot Preemax was 3rd.

The win was Raon The Spurt’s seventh from fourteen starts and stands her in good stead ahead of this year’s Queens’ Tour series, which begins in April. Raon The Spurt is by Musket Man and is out of Tomiken Spring (by Japanese sire Suzuka Mambo). Her three-year-old “full” sister and stablemate with trainer Park Jong-kon, Raon The Quality, has three wins from six starts and is penciled-in to race in Seoul’s Classic Trial on April 19th.

On Friday at Busan, Speed Young worked his way back into Classic contention with a fine win at class 3 level over a mile.

A Menifee colt, Speed Young, who won the Breeders’ Cup champion juvenile race over 1400M in December, had begun his three-year-old campaign in disappointing fashion, weakening badly in the final furlong over a mile in January.

By contrast over the same trip on Friday, Speed Young struck the front on the home turn and stayed on strongly to down a field that included top-rated three-year-old filly Jeulgeounyeojeong.

Trained by Bang Dong-suk, who saddled Hit Yegam to two legs of the Triple Crown in 2021, Speed Young doesn’t hold an entry into the Listed Gyeongnam Shinmun Trophy, Busan’s official Classic trial on March 19th. However, his rating is already high enough to ensure him a spot in the gate for the first leg of this year’s Triple crown, the KRA Cup Mile, at Busan on Sunday April 30th.  

Meanwhile the saga of Park Tae-jong’s 2,200th career winner will drag on into another weekend. The jockey, who has won more races than any other in Korean racing history, has been on 2,199 since February 5th and drew a blank from seven rides across the weekend, a runner-up finish on Joeun Gwangye  in race 10 on Sunday. His winless streak now stands at thirty-four.

Racing returns to Korea at Busan on Friday.