Final Boss

Derby Winners Power Blade & Final Boss Back To Winning Ways

The winners of the last two Korean Derby’s found their ways back into the winner’s circle last Sunday. 2016 Triple Crown winner Power Blade defeated stablemate Triple Nine to win the Busan Owners’ Cup while 2017 Derby victor Final Boss scored in a rather more modest contest at Seoul.

For Power Blade it was a first start since returning from the Dubai World Cup Carnival where he scored a couple of very creditable 3rd place finishes. He won the domestic Triple Crown last year with ease but had to play second fiddle to stablemate Triple Nine, one year his senior, in the later season races. On Sunday, at a mile though, it was all about Power Blade who gave jockey Franco Da Silva his first Korean Group race winner.

Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – August 13, 2017

1. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Francisco Da Silva – 9.5, 2.3
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Gil – 1.0
3. Doraon Hyeonpyo (KOR) [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.7
Distances: 1 length / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. City Star 5. Success Story 6. Zettabyte 7. Beolmaui Sin 8. Baedari Bobae 9. Two Two Raptor

Up at Seoul, this year’s Derby winner was also triumphant, albeit in slightly less illustrious company. Nevertheless, Final Boss still had to defeat Sinjo Daehyeop, one of the track’s top class 1 handicappers, as well as his greatest danger – his own erratic style – to prevail over 1800M.

Champion juvenile last year, Final Boss was well fancied heading to Busan for the first leg of this year’s Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile in April but arrived looking out of sorts and blew his race in the early stages before rallying for 5th. He then won the Korean Derby despite running wild and wide in the closing stages before beng lackluster once more in the Minister’s Cup with another 5th place.

On Sunday, champion jockey Moon Se Young, freshly returned from a stint in Singapore, took the mount and took Final Boss forward early, stalking the leader before hitting the front turning into the home straight and going clear to win comfortably. Sinjo Daehyeop, who was conceding 6kg, could only finish 4th.

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Final Boss Wins The 2017 Korean Derby

Final Boss came wide and late but ended up scoring a remarkably convincing victory in the Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

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All alone, Final Boss and Choi Bum Hyun win The Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Out of sorts in the Cup Mile at Busan last month and at the back of the field for much of the Derby, last year’s Champion Juvenile Final Boss came through very late and very wide to claim victory. Royal Ruby was 2nd with American Power just pipping Cup Mile winner Indian King to repeat his Cup Mile 3rd place.

Royal Ruby was sent off as the slight favourite. The Peter Wolsey trainee had come desperately close to catching Indian King in the Cup Mile and punters clearly felt that Sunday’s extra furlong would suit. It was not to be once more. Nor would it be for Indian King himself who despite being pushed slightly wide on the first turn, rallied well and raced prominently to end in 4th.

It was the unconventional stretch run of Final Boss that was the story. He was last as they sighted the line just over two furlongs out. On the race video, you can’t see him until they are within a furlong on the finish. By this time he is front having shifted all the way over to the stands-side rail. Generally, horses that do that lose. And get sent back to trial to improve their manners. Final Boss just ran on and on and had three lengths on Royal Ruby on the line.

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – May 14, 2017

1. Final Boss (KOR) [Menifee-Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 6.6, 2.0
2. Royal Ruby (KOR) [Chapel Royal – Red Ruby (Yehudi)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.3
3. American Power (KOR) [Ecton Park – White Angelica (Quiet American) – Francisco Da Silva 1.5
Distances: 3 lengths / 1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Indian King 5. Adele Ace 6. Taeyangui Sinhwa 7. Daeho Sidae 8. Muhan Yeoljeong 9. Jangsan Power 10. Lion Rock

Final Boss [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] provided his sire, Menifee, with his 5th consecutive Korean Derby winner. His dam, Sinsok Dolpa, ran 23 times in Korea for 2 wins. She was bred in Japan. Final Boss is her 4th foal to make the track with two of the other three having been winners. She has a two-year-old Rock Hard Ten filly called Raise Me Up set to begin racing this year and a yearling by 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (the last non-Menifee to win the Derby).

Jigeum I Sungan was also saddled by trainer Ji Yong Cheol. That colt would go on to claim the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown, as well and Final Boss is now surely favourite to go on to repeat that feat. Ji has been training since 1986 and has won plenty of big races. Jigeum I Sungan has been his best so far but Final Boss looks very exciting – especially if he can learn to run in a straight line.

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Final Boss with connections in the Derby winner’s circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

For jockey Choi Bum Hyun, it was a first Derby. The 38-year-old won the Grand Prix twice on Dongbanui Gangja in 2008 and 2009 but this was his first success in any of the three-year-old classics.

So Seoul wins the Derby for the first time since 2012 and only the third time since Busan horses began competing in 2008. The best of the three-year-old crop will reconvene in Seoul on July 16th for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown. Before that, the fillies Classic – the Korean Oaks – is at Busan on June 11th.

 

 

Meni Money Downs Pinot Noir In Donga Ilbo

Last year’s winner Pinot Noir put up a valiant defence of her Donga Ilbo crown but ultimately was to be denied as Meni Money came home in front  in Seoul’s second Listed Race of 2017.

With the well-fancied Touch Flying found lame and declared a non-runner less than an hour before the race, it was Meni Money who was sent off as favourite and she was kept handy by champion jockey Moon Se Young in the early stages. Meanwhile, Park Hyun Woo on Pinot Noir employed the now 7-year-old mare’s familiar tactics of dropping to the rear on leaving the gate before going wide around the field in the back straight to take the lead.

Pinot Noir would lead into the straight but Meni Money came alongside with a furlong to go and ran on to prevail by just under a length and a half. Argo Champ ran on well for 3rd.

Meni Money [Menifee-Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] is out of a dam who for a number of years held the track record at today’s distance of 1800M. She won five and was runner-up in five of her first ten career starts, including 2nd place in the Korean Oaks in 2015. However, since then she had only added a further two victories prior to today. Her previous biggest victory came in the 2015 Sports Seoul Cup.

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – Feb 19, 2017

1. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Moon Se Young – 2.3, 1.2
2. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Hyun Woo – 1.6
3. Argo Champ (KOR) [Menifee – Doo Dah Day (Woodman)] – Djordje Perovic – 2.1
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 3 lengths – 9 ran

The win was one of five on the day for defending champion jockey Moon Se Young. Earlier, he won on Lion Rock (Ecton Park), a three year-old “full” brother to reigning Horse of the Year Triple Nine. Lion Rock moved to three from three with a facile victory in the 1700M race 8.

Two unbeaten records came to an end at Busan though. American Power (Ecton Park) didn’t travel especially well on his first try at a mile and gave himself too much to do in race 5, ending up in 2nd place. A race later, US import Drop The Beat (Mad Flatter) also went down to his first defeat.

Those defeats were in contrast to the showing a day earlier by Final Boss (Menifee). The champion juvenile of 2016 barely required second gear to maintain his winning streak over 1800M at Seoul:

(Late) Weekend Round-Up: Final Boss Starts 2017 Well At Seoul

Korea’s reigning champion juvenile made his first appearance as a three-year-old last Sunday and it was a winning start as Final Boss stepped up to two-turns and comfortably saw off his class 3 opposition.

Despite winning the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup in October, Final Boss (Menifee) was still sent off as a 12/1 chance in the Breeders’ Cup (the top juvenile race in Korea) at the beginning of December with punters favoring horses from Busan, where the winners of the vast majority of big races in Korea over the past few years are trained. However, Final Boss was far too strong in the closing stages that day and entered 2017 as the early favourite for the big Classic races.

While there is a long way to go, Final Boss did nothing to change that on Sunday and while it took him a while to get to the front, once he got into gear in the closing stages, the result wasn’t in doubt for long. The margin on the line was almost two lengths and after five consecutive wins, sterner tests await.

* At Busan, Perdido Pomeroy (Pomeroy) got back to winning ways in Sunday’s feature. The colt had been without a victory since his triumph in the SBS Korea/Japan Cup last June but under apprentice Jung Do Yun, the four-year-old led from gate to wire in the 1400M race, seeing off the closing Tongil Sidae with plenty to spare.

* It was another good weekend for much of the foreign contingent with Bart Rice and Peter Wolsley sending out winners as usual while jockeys Djordje Perovic, Jan Havlik, Marcello Belli, Darryll Holland, Yonekura Satoshi and Francisco Da Silva all found the winner’s circle at least once.

Final Boss Is Korea’s 2016 Juvenile Champion

Final Boss swept home late to land the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul today and be crowned Champion Korean Juvenile of 2016. The Menifee colt followed up his victory in October’s Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup to land a rare triumph for Seoul-trained horses over their Busan rivals. 

Busan’s Europa, winner of the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup and from the Kim Young Kwan training machine, was sent off as the slight odds-on favourite but while he was well placed entering the home straight, he was able to offer little in the closing stages, coming home in 4th.

Indeed the early pace-setters, Evergreen Tree, Circle Dancer, Athena Thunder and Ice Marine, would all fade as the closers took command late on. Second favourite Daeho Sidae struck the front a furlong out and was joined by the Yonekura Satoshi ridden Muhan Yeoljeong. But on the outside, just as he did in the Mayor’s Cup, Final Boss pounced, jockey Choi Bum Hyun timing things perfectly to go past in sight of the line and take the glory by just under a length.

Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – December 4, 2016

1. Final Boss (KOR) [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 12.4, 3.5
2. Daeho Sidae (KOR) [Simon Pure – Ara Mireu (Didyme)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.2
3. Muhan Yeoljeong (KOR) [Officer – Ridemetothemoon (Malibu Moon)] – Yonekura Satoshi – 4.0
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 1 length
Also Ran: 4. Wonder Wall 5. Europa 6. Indian King 7. Kkumui Silhyeon 8. Meni Bracing 9. Rocket Queen 10. Illyu Star 11. Sunkissed 12. Ice Marine 13. Lead Money 14. Circle Dancer 15. Evergreen Tree 16. Athena Thunder

Final Boss moves on to four wins from six outings and heads into the New Year as Seoul’s big hope to land one of the three-year-old Classics. It’s great news for Seoul, however, it will be tempered by the fact that the next five place-getters were all from Busan.

More to follow…