Some of the best horses in training in Korea met at Busan Racecourse yesterday and at the end of 1800M, it was Gumpo Sky who came out on top, having led from gate-to-wire to defeat Cinderella Man and Gyeongbudaero.
It was Gyeongbudaero, President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner – and also top rated in Korea and top weight in the handicap – who was sent off as slight favourite of seven for the Class 1 race. US import Spring Gnarly was slightly favoured over Cinderella Man for 2nd favourite.
When the race got going, however, it would be the 4th choice in the market, Gumpo Sky, who would go into an early lead. And under jockey Kim Dong Young, it would be one he would never relinquish, running on for victory by just over two lengths.
Cinderella Man, having his first outing under the care of Bart Rice, was a fast finishing 2nd, just edging out Gyeongbudaero who had to settle for 3rd.
With the victory, Gumpo Sky moved onto 8 wins from 21 starts. He’s only failed to make at least the minor prize money on two occasions; his two trips to Seoul last Year for the Korean Derby and the President’s Cup. Cinderella Man will no doubt be back as too will Gyeongbudaero, who may just be feeling the top weight he gets in these handicaps – yesterday he was giving 5.5kg to Gumpo Sky and 5kg to Cinderella Man
Class 1 – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – May 31, 2015
1. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] – Kim Dong Young – 6.5, 3.4
2. Cinderella Man (KOR) [Southern Image – Tiza Fast Kat (Tiznow)] – Jo Sung Gon – 2.0
3. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.4
Distances: 2.5 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Spring Gnarly (USA) 5. Useung Radar (USA) 6. Nobody Catch Me (USA) 7. Ghost Whisper (KOR)
The top-class clash at Busan, despite being a little short on numbers, certainly contrasted with the main event at Seoul. That’s to take nothing away from Chief Red Can (Fantasticat) though, who saw a burst of speed around the home turn take him from 9th to 1st and then storm away from the field to record a nine-length win in the 2000M Class 1 feature under jockey Park Eul Woon.
For some time it has been routine for Busan’s feature race to eclipse Seoul’s with the strength and depth in the class 1 ranks on the south coast being currently superior to that of the capital. Permanent transfers between the two are now allowed, however, and a few have been moved up to Seoul. Among class 1 horses, Road To Prince and Challanhan Useung have already run – unsuccessfully – while the biggest name among them, Magic Dancer, remains spelled.
Further down the ranks, however, Red Vic (Creek Cat) became the first transfer from Busan to find the Seoul winner’s circle when he won race 8 on Saturday. It came at the end of a week when Seoul Racecourse stable-hands were protesting the proposal to allow foreign track riders to work in the capital – something that has been hugely successful at Busan.
Next weekend, Busan horses will be in the capital for the Ttukseom Cup. New York Blue, Heba, Ms. Margaux and Golden Lass are currently slated to make the trip while among Seoul horses is the tantalizing prospect of Joy Lucky finally returning from injury. However, all eyes will be on Japanese raider Esmeraldina. The first JRA horse to run in Korea arrived in Seoul late last Wednesday and is, by all accounts, doing well.