Geumbi Gets The Glory At Last

She was a Stakes runner-up on three occasions last year but today at Seoul Race Park, Geumbi was a Class 1 winner at last.

Geumbi and Moon Se Young Return Winners at Seoul

The Segye Ilbo Cup, The Owners’ Trophy and the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup all ended in second place finishes for Geumbi as she went through 2011 without a win but never being lower than third in her six starts.

She began 2012 finishing fourth to Jumong last month and today was sent off as second favourite in the feature race to the same horse.

However, this time Jumong (Johar) was carrying an extra 3Kg. It proved to be too much for the five-year old. Geumbi (Ecton Park) broke last of the full field of fourteen but, under a perfect ride by Moon Se Young, was kept on the rail throughout and quickened as they entered the home straight before eventually running out as winner by a length and a half from Jewang Tansaeng (Petionville).

This may have been her first win since the autumn of 2010 but it was Geumbi’s fifth triumph from fifteen career starts and she has never been out of the money. A big year could lie ahead.

On the subject of big years, it seems almost certain that Champion jockey Moon Se Young is going to have another one. Although he had to wait until race 7 to get off the mark today, he was in imperious form, winning a further two to take his total for the season to sixteen.

Seungniuihamseong gives Moon Se Young the second of his three wins

As has been mentioned on this blog time and again recently, the standard of riding at Seoul is getting better all the time and Moon is doing his part to make sure the bar the newcomers need to reach is being set higher and higher.

Finally today, a mention for five-year old Seolmaseolma (Sunday Well). She went into today’s final race a 36/1 outsider having failed to triumph in any of her previous twenty-seven starts. The tiny little mare made a mockery of those odds by swooping late to grab her first ever victory by a full length. Sometimes in this game, persistence pays off.

Tomorrow sees attention turn to Busan as the record-breaking Mister Park makes his season debut, carrying a back-busting 62.5Kg in the track’s feature. Meanwhile at Seoul, colt Magnifique will be looking for his fourth straight win in the feature race while Classic hopeful Cheoneun makes her first attempt at the Derby distance of 1800M. It promises to be another fascinating day.

Sunday February 5

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Busan Race Park: 8 races from 11:50 to 16:40

Weekend Preview: Weighty Task For Mister Park

Magnifique, Geumbi, Jumong In Action At Seoul / Mai Beppu Returns

Last season, Mister Park (Ecton Park) broke the record for most consecutive wins in Korean racing history. It was a sensational streak of seventeen straight triumphs which only came to an end by the narrowest of margins at the hands of Tough Win in the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December.

Heavy Task: Mister Park

On Sunday, the now five-year old Mister Park makes his season debut at Busan in Sunday’s feature race. However, if he’s going to get back to winning ways, he’s going to have to carry jockey Akane Yamamoto, as well as a lot of dead-weight, faster than eleven rivals over 1800M.

This year, the maximum weight for allowance races (which include most Stakes races in Korea) has been upped to 62Kg and Mister Park will carry exactly that amount on Sunday. He should still win, but it’s by no means an easy start to his season.

Akane also rides top sprinter Night Moves (Proud Accolade) in Friday’s Busan sprint feature, a race where Peter Wolsley’s Khaosan(Sunday Well) and Pnata Rhei (Stormy Atlantic) as well as Joe Murphy’s Udeumji(Yehudi) will be among a full field looking to beat her.

The pick of the action at Seoul is on Saturday, where the feature sees Jumong (Johar) go up against double-stakes runner-up Geumbi (Ecton Park). Old favourite and former Grand Prix winner Bally Brae (Yarrow Brae), now ten, joins them.

Sunday sees the late developing Magnifique (Menifee) look for his fourth straight win the feature, Singgeureounachim (Exploit) and Andy’s Runner (The Groom Is Red) also helping make up a competitive field of twelve.

In jockey news, Japanese rider Mai Beppu makes her return to action for the first time in 2012, with twelve mounts across the weekend.

After near record low-temperatures in Korea this week, the weekend is looking a looking a little better but it’s still set to be pretty cold. Start and finish times have been adjusted earlier at all three tracks this weekend and there is an extra race at Busan on both Friday and Sunday. Click here for full cards but here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday February 3

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday February 4

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:20
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 16:40

Sunday February 5

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Busan Race Park: 8 races from 11:50 to 16:40