Banjiui Jewang took the honours in a dramatic finish to the feature race at Busan on Friday. Peter Wolsley’s 4-year-old got the best of a tight four-way finish to the 1200M Sprint.
Banjiui Jewang just gets up (Pic: Ross Holburt)
Having won four of his first five starts – the only loss being a 2nd place to Power Blade in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, Banjiui Jewang (Ecton Park) was seen as one of the leading contenders on the 2016 Classic trail. It wasn’t to be though. 7th in the KRA Cup Mile and 5th in the Derby was followed by a series of setbacks that saw him miss the final six months of the season.
He finally returned this January and while it seemed he’d lost his old form completely, he perked up with a 2nd place in early April. That was followed up two weeks later by a win – his first for 14 months – which led him to be favourite for Friday’s race. Under Jo Sung Gon, Banjiui Jewang hugged the rail throughout and just got up to defeat the fast finishing Triple Party by a nose.
Mujeok Wonderful & Marios Mina were easy winners (Pic: Ross Holburt)
One race earlier in race 9, Thomas Gillespie’s Mujeok Wonderful (Tiz Wonderful) sauntered to a 7-length win under Cypriot jockey Marios Mina. It was a second win in four starts for the US import. Also in the winner’s circle was Francisco Da Silva; he partnered Pink Blade to victory in race 7.
*Later in the evening over in Singapore, Moon Se Young had his first rides at Kranji. As expected his three mounts (two scheduled and one additional spare), didn’t trouble the placings.
Saturday racing in Korea is at Seoul with 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. On Sunday, Seoul hass 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00 while Busan runs 6 from 12:40 to 17:05.
Banjiui Jewang was the star of the show on the south coast on Friday as the three-year-old continued his development with an easy class 3 win over 1400M
The Peter Wolsley trainee was 2nd to Power Blade in the Breeders’ Cup race at Seoul last November and that remains his sole defeat. While favourite on Friday, Banjiui Jewang was thought by no means a certainty in a competitive event featuring proven older winners Korean Tank, Wire To and Yesuri Myeongun.
All three of those would fail to fire and even if they had, it is questionable as to whether they would have got anywhere near Banjiui Jewang. The colt raced away to an eight-length win with jockey Choi Si Dae (gleefully stepping in for the ill Lee Hee Cheon) able to spend the final furlong watching himself on the big screen such was his mount’s superiority.
Banjiui Jewang (Ecton Park), whose name means “Lord Of The Rings”, now has four wins from five and looks set to head to the Triple Crown races beginning with the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on April 3.
In other races, you need to be sure your horse is good if you are going to name him World Champion even if he is the half-brother of last year’s Korean Oaks winner Jangpung Parang. On Friday though World Champion (Didyme) made short work of a class 5 field to record his third victory in five starts. Pasquale Borelli rode.
It was a decent day for the foreign contingent at Busan. Aside from Borelli and Wolsley’s victories, Makoto Okabe guided Useung Chance (Any Given Saturday) to a narrow victory in race 10 while trainers Thomas Gillespie and Bart Rice also saddled winners. For Gillespie, filly Sergeant Cecil (Officer) claimed race 4 while the promising Buhwarui Banseok (Tizway) took race 11 for Rice.
Racing returns to Busan on Sunday. Seoul holds cards on both Saturday and Sunday.
Apparently the Spring-like temperatures of Saturday brought all sorts of creatures out of hibernation. Sadly, reality returned overnight and 16C suddenly became several below zero, with predictable results for the unfortunate early-risers.
Punters never hibernate. All were present and some were even correct for the action at Busan and Seoul on Sunday. Here’s what happened:
Busan: If Friday at Busan belonged to jockey You Hyun Myung, Sunday on the “Costa Del Gimhae” was trainer Peter Wolsley’s day with the Aussie handler saddling winners in 4 of the 6 races on the card. Included were a couple of notable ones. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park-Sweetoil] was 2nd to Friday winner Power Blade in the Breeders’ Cup Champion Juvenile race at Seoul last September and is among the Classic contenders this year. Unlike Power Blade, he stuck to a sprint distance for his three-year-old debut and once jockey Seo Seung Un had convinced him to take an interest in the race in the home straight, success was a formality as he beat out eleven rivals to win by just under two lengths in a 1200M class 4 handicap.
In the feature race, Wolsley’s US import Leave It To Me [Exclusive Quality-Afillyate] stepped up to class 1 for the first time and looked very comfortable too, running away from a decent field to win by over two lengths with Lee Hee Cheon on board. It was the four-year-old’s fifth win from nine starts. General [Menifee-High Value] and first-timer Gasi Gongju [Thorn Song-Treed Cat] taking races 1 and 3 respectively, meant Wolsley leapt up the Trainers’ Premiership to 2nd. Where he will probably remain for the rest of the season behind Kim Young Kwan’s machine in 1st.
Seoul: There were some tight finishes at in the capital and that included the feature race 11, a class 1 handicap sprint over 1200M. Sent off the slight favourite, Parang Juuibo [With Distinction-Spicy Souffle] emerged as the marginal winner, holding off Winning Andy by a neck on the line. Parang Juuibo moves onto 6 wins from 29 starts but he has now won three consecutively. Winning Andy was ridden by Djordje Perovic, the Serbian having earlier added yet another winner to his tally.