Cheongdam Dokki has spent the past few months systematically replacing Clean Up Joy as Seoul’s top horse. Cheongdam Dokki beat the older horse in both the KRA Cup Classic last October and the Herald Business Cup last month with Clean Up Joy the defending champion in both and found time in between to finish ahead of him in the Grand Prix Stakes and beat him in a handicap for good measure. A year ago, Clean Up Joy won the YTN Cup and on Seoul on Sunday, Cheongdam Dokki will be odds-on to take it off him.
A field of twelve will assemble for the YTN Cup, which the 2nd leg in the “Stayer’s Series” – the Herald Business was the 1st and the Busan Mayor’s Cup is the final leg on July 1st on the South Coast.
Cheongdam Dokki was very much a handful last year with mounting yard and post parade antics making him a difficult watch for those who had backed him at short odds. Since his 4th place in the Grand Prix Stakes when he set blistering fractions only to run out of steam in the closing stages of the 2300M, he appears to have calmed down and looks to be maturing as a racehorse too. Under Lim Gi Won, who keeps the mount despite both previous riders Moon Se Young and Kim Yong Geun being back from injury, he will be expected to dictate from gate to wire.
It’s still a ten-furlong horse-race though and anything can happen. Clean Up Joy, got within two and a half lengths of him in the Herald Business Cup and clearly isn’t a spent force yet. He will run his usual race, being badly away from the outside gate, which connections always request due to his awkward way of starting, and then improving in the back straight before finishing strongly. If he can be close enough at the top of the straight so Cheongdam Dokki feels he has some competition, then we may have a race.
Clean Up Joy’s stablemate Shamrocker will be there too as will Places To Go, who provides a final Stakes runner for trainer Ha Jae Heung, who retires this weekend. Places To Go enters off three consecutive class 1 wins and may have a say. Pioneerof The Nile colt Moonhak Chief, with five wins from his eight starts so far also takes his chance. It is probably a little too much too soon, but he looks to have plenty of promise for the future.
- AREUMDAUNDONGHAENG – Formerly top mare who has gone very cold of late David Breux tasked with bringing some spark to her.
- SHAMROCKER – Took on Cheongdam Dokki for speed in January which was predictably futile. Ran his own race in the Herald Business and did better, finishing a good 3rd. Should place again.
- WINNER RED – 4th behind Places To Go at 1400M on only start this year. Outsider but may challenge for the lead which could be interesting.
- WONDER BOLT – 2nd to Silver Wolf in the Sports Donga in March but well back behind Cheongdam Dokki, Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker in the Herald Business.
- PLACES TO GO – A revelation this year going 3 for 3 at Class 1. Tougher opposition today but placing chances.
- CHEONGDAM DOKKI – If he runs anything approaching his best, he wins leading from gate to wire.
- CHEONJEOK – Well back in the Herald Business and a big outsider today.
- MISO WANGJA – Not much in recent form stands out. Another who may well opt to take on Cheongdam Dokki early.
- CHANMA – Decent enough at class 1 finishing 4th behind Places To Go last start. Big ask here but outside chance of the minor money.
- WILD THUNDER – Class 2 winner at this distance on April 21st which allows him to take his chance here. Big step up in competition though.
- MOONHAK CHIEF – Plenty of promise and the only three-year-old in the race. First time at the distance and perhaps a little too much too soon.
- CLEAN UP JOY – Still very dangerous, if Cheongdam Dokki does anything wrong, he’s the one to take advantage.
Selections: (6) Cheongdam Dokki (12) Clean Up Joy (2) Shamrocker (5) Places To Go