Cheonji Storm romped home to win the first Group race of the year in Korea, comfortably scoring in the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Chairman’s Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
The race was billed as a re-run of January’s Segye Ilbo Trophy with all five top place-getters in that race due to take their chance. However, Segye Ilbo winner and early favourite for this race Final Boss came down lame with quarter cracks in a front hoof and had to be scratched. There is no guarantee he would have won.
Cheonji Storm was sent off favourite ahead of City Star, who just headed him for 2nd in the Segye Ilbo and it was those two left standing in the home straight after early leaders Raon Magic and Always Winner faded. Cheonji Storm was able to stretch away from his rival to win by a full two-and-a-half lengths on the line. Dongchonui Achim was a full three lengths further back in 3rd.
Cheonji Storm is a five-year-old horse and was winning for the eighth time in his career. Previous highlights include victory in the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy in 2016 and 2nd place in this race last year. For the horse – as well as for both trainer Kim Dong Kyun and jockey Jo Jae Ro – it was a first Group win.
SROA Chairman’s Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 11, 2018
1. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Jo Jae Ro – 2.5, 1.3
2. City Star (KOR) [Menifee – City Styling (Carson City)] – Jang Chu Youl – 1.4
3. Dongchonui Achim (KOR) [Officer – Abbey (Redoubte’s Choice)] – Kim Dong Soo – 1.5
Distances: 2.5 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Yaho Sky Cat 5. Gold Music 6. Raon Magic 7. Lead Money 8. Global Fusion 9. Always Winner 10. Wild Thunder 11. Huri Baram
Non-Runner: Final Boss
Well the temperatures were springlike but the rain was monsoon-season-like. And the weather created the conditions under which it was possible for Lucky Light to claim the Seoul Racecourse 1400M track record, setting a mark two tenths of a second quicker than that of the Singapore’s El Padrino in the 2014 Asia Challenge Cup.
Sent off the 5/1 third-favourite in the class 2 race 11, Lucky Light (Rockport Harbor), a four-year-old gelding, went to the lead straight out of the gate and never looked seriously threatened as he ran on to win by eight lengths on the line. It was his sixth win in fourteen starts. Goodness knows how fast the 2014 version of El Padrino could have gone in such conditions.
Moon Se Young rode Lucky Light and it was but one of five winners the champion jockey rode on a day when the track was racing very fast. The up and coming pair of Super Start (Strike Again) in race 7 and Miso Wangja (Cowboy Cal) in race 10 being the other standouts.
On the subject of up-and-comers, Winners Glory (Strike Again) was 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup race, Korea’s top juvenile contest last November and today took on two turns for the first time in the 1700M race 8. And mighty impressive he was too, making all under Kim Dong Soo to win easily. Winners Glory is not currently among the nominations for the first leg of the Triple Crown in Busan next month but may play a role on the Classic trail at some point.
One who is nominated for that KRA Cup Mile at Busan next month is Cheonji Storm (Admire Don). He also had his first try at two-turns today, also at 1700M although it was one class higher at class 3. It didn’t go so well. Sent off the strong favourite, Cheonji Storm pulled hard in the early stages of the race and never looked truly comfortable as Daegeoni (Menifee) came through in the home straight to take victory by a length.
Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow when both the capital track and Busan host early Oaks trials. Entry to the racecourse is free tomorrow to make up for the four races that were lost to the weather last Sunday.