Dangdae Bulpae has won a remarkable 3 consecutive President’s Cups. On Sunday he faces his toughest challenge yet as 15 rivals seek to prevent him recording a scarcely believable 4th straight victory in Korea’s richest horse race.
The President’s Cup is the most valuable race in the Korean racing year
Chief among those rivals is Jigeum I Sungan. The 2012 Korea Derby and Minister’s Cup winner has just kept on getting better and better and at 2000 metres on his home track, he is set to be the toughest opponent that Dangdae Bulpae has ever faced in this race.
They are joined by a host of other Stakes winners. This year’s Minister’s Cup winner Major King is up from Busan as is Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo winner Indie Band and Owners’ Cup champion Gyeongbudaero.
Meanwhile, in addition to Jigeum I Sungan, the host track sends out the up-and-comer Gwanggyo Bisang, who has won 7 of his 8 starts to date.
It’s set to be an intriguing race. Here is a look at the chances of every entrant:(Name (Pedigree) Age Sex (Starts/1/2/3) – Jockey:
President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – November 10, 2013 – 16:35
1. Gyeongbudaero [Menifee – Pricess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] 4 C (21/7/5/6) – Choi Si Dae
The stark figure of 7 wins from 21 starts doesn’t really do justice to this horse, who has only finished outside the money once. Last time out he beat Dangdae Bulpae in the Owners’ Cup. An additional furlong and being at Seoul will not be to his advantage and he will need to be on his absolute best form – and others to be below theirs – for him to win this.
2. Road To Prince [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] 4 C (16/9/3/1) – Kanichiro Fujii
You can never rule our trainer Kim Young Kwan and jockey Joe Fujii in a big Stakes race. However, while a consistent winner, Road To Prince has disappointed whenever he has faced the best and was back in 6th in the Owners’ Cup. He bounced back to win next time out but it’s enough to suggest he’ll not be favoured here.
3. Gwanggyo Bisang [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] 3 G (8/7/0/1) – Park Tae Jong
The wildcard. As a gelding, he was ineligible for the Classics this year but has won back-to-back Stakes races in his last two outings. He’s never faced a field like this one and he’s untried at 2000 metres but we’ll not fault him for that. Worth watching the board to see if there is any value.
4. Geuma Champ [Vicar – Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] 5 H (25/9/6/4) – Seo Seung Un
A winner last time out in a weak class 1 event, Geuma Champ should find himself a little overmatched here. Will like the distance but others will like it more.
5. Singgeureounachim [Exploit – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] 5 H (35/8/6/9) – Jo In Kwen
3rd in the Derby in 2011, he has gone on to become a very consistent handicapper. He should be close here but it’s unlikely he’ll be challenging for the win.
6. Naejangsan [Menifee – Miss Merit (Old Trieste)] 4 C (12/5/5/0) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
Without a run since February, the undoubtedly talented Naejangsan is an unknown here. Cannot be recommended although if he retains his best form from before his layoff, he’ll not be embarrassed either.
7. Jigeum I Sungan [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] 4 C (23/13/6/1) – Moon Se Young
Seoul’s champion. A Korean Derby and Multiple Stakes winner, Jigeum I Sungan is a real star. Made for the distance – if anything, he’d like to go further – he should be causing Dangdae Bulpae serious problems. A real chance and its difficult to make a case against his right to be the favourite.
Jigeum I Sungan (KRA)
8. New And Best [Trick Of Fate – Yongunch-eon (Phizam)] 6 H (49/4/6/3) – Bang Choon Sik
A faithful old handicapper who has never won at class 1 and won’t come anywhere close to winning here.
9. Indie Band [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] 3 C (10/6/1/1) – Lim Sung Sil
A tough one to call – he could be brilliant but he could be very average. He won the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo but could only manage 3rd to Major King in the Minister’s Cup. A very good chance of a place if he turns up in form and in a good mood.
10. Tamnaseontaek [War Zone – Every Michelle (Every Intent)] 6 H (36/5/7/3) – Han Sung Youl
He was a good horse and is a Stakes winner. He’ll not be winning this.
11. Gumanseok [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] 4 G (17/7/5/3) – Lee Dong Kug
A slightly late developer, Gumanseok has recorded some very impressive results this year, including a Stakes win in the Sports Chosun Cup. He’ll need even more improvement to challenge here though.
12. Major King [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)] 3 C (10/6/2/2) – Masakazu Tanaka
The Minister’s Cup winner, Major King is talented and clearly likes the Seoul course. Naturally, improvement is needed if he is to feature here – that Minister’s Cup field had nothing like the depth that there is here – but in his recent outings he’s come on each time and with some more progress, he could be challenging for at least a place.
13. Super Rich [Osumi Jet – Fast Fare (West By West)] 6 H (38/7/4/7) – Choi Bum Hyun
Only one win in the last two years doesn’t exactly set the heart racing and it’s unlikely that Super Rich will in contention at the business end of this race.
14. Dangdae Bulpae [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] 6 H (31/19/3/3) – Jo Sung Gon
He has won this race three times in a row and is arguably the greatest ever Korean-bred racehorse in history. A few little nagging injuries have been catching up on Dangdae Bulpae recently and he has been very conservatively campaigned this year. He generally does not lose at Seoul but he also doesn’t usually face Jigeum I Sungan. hIf he is 100% fit and on top form, he can beat him, however, he is more vulnerable than he has been at any time during his 3-year President’s Cup reign.
15. Special Win [Tahamkke – Wellbeing Cat (Creek Cat)] 5 H (30/10/5/3) – Cho Kyoung Ho
A very consistent money winner but Special Win is no star and it’s hard to see him competing here.
16. My Winner [Vicar-Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] 4 G (17/5/5/0) – Darryll Holland
It could be a little bit too much too soon for My Winner, however, any horse trained by Peter Wolsley and ridden by Darryll Holland is sure to have been well-prepared and will give anyone a run for their money. An outside chance of a place.
Gyongmaman’s verdict: Dangdae Bulpae winning this for the 4th consecutive time is to be hoped for but given the questions this year over both his form and fitness, the pragmatic punter will lean towards Jigeum I Sungan to win the President’s Cup.
Sunday November 10
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the President’s Cup at 16:35
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00