Money Tree

Tough Win Toys His Way To Easy Win

Anything Smarty Moonhak can do, Tough Win can do too. While the young upstart had romped to two easy victories already this year, the horse who beat him in the Grand Prix Stakes remained in the stables until today.

The Eyes Have It: Tough Win

Eleven rivals showed up to face him, chief among them Jumong (Johar) but Tough Win, despite carrying the maximum 63kg, was sent off long odds-on favourite.

Just as in the Grand Prix last year and in contrast to his earlier starts, Cho Kyoung Ho kept Tough Win right at the back of the field. At one point, the pair were at least 20 lengths off the pace although with Jo In Kwen keeping Jumong well back too, there was little in front to concern the favourite.

They improved around the home turn and then, after a couple of taps entering the home straight, Tough Win sprinted away from the field. Cho eased him down throughout the final furlong and the favourite was practically down to a trot as he crossed the line five lengths ahead of Jumong.

It’s 15 wins from 19 starts for Tough Win now but other than knowing he’s in godd shape, we learned very little today. Indeed, everything he and Smarty Moonhak do in these handicaps seems little more than empty posturing leading up until the time they finally clash again.

Two years ago, eveyone was anticipating Dongbanui Gangja vs Tough Win. When it arrived, it was a disappointment as the unruly double Grand Prix winner pulled an Orfevre. The anticipation for this next one, with Mister Park in the mix too, is far greater.

The clash could come at Busan and, down on the south coast today there were co-feature races. Akane Yamamoto continued her recent run of form in big handicaps by winning the first on Money Tree (Medallist). Running third in the race was 2009 Minister’s Cup winner Namdo Jeap (Ft. Stockton). It was the former champion’s first placed finish for a year and the first on Korea for his jockey, Narazaki Kosuke.

* Next week it’s Seoul vs Busan for the first time in 2012 as some of the peninsula’s best fillies and mares come to the capital for the Ttukseom Cup.

Dongbang Rose Wilts As Tamnaseontaek Takes Seoul Victory

After a barren spell of over a year, Tamnaseontaek returned to the winner’s circle at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

The five-year-old, who competed in the Korean Derby in 2010 and has three Stakes race placings to his name, finally landed a Class 1 race by taking a narrow victory in the feature handicap.

Kim Jeong Jun looks across but Choi Bum Hyun has beaten him on Tamnaseontaek

Symphony Sonata, another who has found the going tough since breaking through to the elite level, was a battling second while former Champion filly Dongbang Rose could only manage third.

Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Feb 18, 2012

1. Tamnaseontaek (KOR) [War Sone-Every Michelle (Every Intent)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 4.9, 1.8
2. Symphony Sonata (KOR) [E. Dubai-First Violin (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Jeong Jun – 2.9
3. Dongbang Rose (KOR) [Volponi-Night Mary (Strike Gold)] – Choi Won Joon – 2.3

Distances: 0.75 lengths/0,75 lengths. 10 Ran

On Friday at Busan, there was a dominant win in the feature race for 5/1 chance Money Tree (Medallist). The five-year-old mare scored by seven lengths from outsider Sinheung Daejangun and favourite Tough Tiger to record her seventh career victory. It was another big success for Japanese jockey Akane Yamamoto who, for the time being, is the only foreign rider at Busan.

On Sunday the focus is on Seoul where Aussie filly Xicar (Written Tycoon) is set to be favourite for the Segye Ilbo Cup. Meanwhile at Busan, Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley is in with a shout in the feature race as his Secret Whisper (Sea Of Secrets) has strong claims in a seven furlong handicap.

60/1 Deep Desire Gives Joe Murphy Unlikely First Winner Of 2012

A fortnight ago, it took a 50/1 winner to get Aussie Peter Wolsley off the mark for 2012. Today it was the turn of the only other foreign trainer in Korea, American Joe Murphy, to get his first of the year with an even longer priced victor as Deep Desire swooped late to land the feature race at Busan.

Sent off at odds of 64/1 and under jockey Lee Hee Cheon, Deep Desire hit the front deep inside the final furlong to take a half-length win from fellow outsider Money Tree while early leader Tough Tiger battled on for third.

Deep Desire (Jump Start) is a five-year old gelding who, at one stage during his three-year-old season, looked to heading for the very top. Instead he has become a solid handicapper and today recorded his eighth win in twenty-eight lifetime starts. His last victory came in September last year – a success that was until today, his trainer’s most recent too.

The win is just Murphy’s eighth in his eighteen months in Korea and while it was, in terms of prize-money, the trainer’s biggest in Korea, it may be that the morale boost to his barn at getting off to a great start for the year ends up being worth far more than the money.

As an interesting footnote to the win, Deep Desire’s owner, Yoo Su Tae, has three horses stabled with Murphy as well as others elsewhere. Remarkably one of those others is second-placed Money Tree. One wonders if, in addition to the prize-money, the owner had a few won on the exacta which paid out at 2544/1.