Raon The Spurt was a beaten favourite in the Listed Segye Ilbo Trophy in January, but the four-year-old filly went some way to making amends with an authoritative performance in Sunday’s Class 1 feature at Seoul, downing Segye victor Wow Wow by three-lengths.
After a successful three-year-old campaign that saw her finish runner-up in the Triple Tiara series before winning the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup at Group 3 level against older fillies and mares, Raon The Spurt was sent off as favourite in the Segye Ilbo. But on a day when the going was brutal for front-runners, she ran out of petrol in the home straight, finishing back in the pack as Wow Wow took the glory.
There were no such issues this time around in Sunday’s class 1 finale over 1400M. Punters kept faith with Raon The Spurt, sending her off as the even-money favourite. Under Lee Hyeok, who replaced the suspended Choi Bum-hyun in the saddle, Raon The Spurt was quickly into the lead and she proceeded to keep the rest of the field at arm’s length throughout, with Wow Wow ultimately getting the closest. Long-shot Preemax was 3rd.
The win was Raon The Spurt’s seventh from fourteen starts and stands her in good stead ahead of this year’s Queens’ Tour series, which begins in April. Raon The Spurt is by Musket Man and is out of Tomiken Spring (by Japanese sire Suzuka Mambo). Her three-year-old “full” sister and stablemate with trainer Park Jong-kon, Raon The Quality, has three wins from six starts and is penciled-in to race in Seoul’s Classic Trial on April 19th.
On Friday at Busan, Speed Young worked his way back into Classic contention with a fine win at class 3 level over a mile.
A Menifee colt, Speed Young, who won the Breeders’ Cup champion juvenile race over 1400M in December, had begun his three-year-old campaign in disappointing fashion, weakening badly in the final furlong over a mile in January.
By contrast over the same trip on Friday, Speed Young struck the front on the home turn and stayed on strongly to down a field that included top-rated three-year-old filly Jeulgeounyeojeong.
Trained by Bang Dong-suk, who saddled Hit Yegam to two legs of the Triple Crown in 2021, Speed Young doesn’t hold an entry into the Listed Gyeongnam Shinmun Trophy, Busan’s official Classic trial on March 19th. However, his rating is already high enough to ensure him a spot in the gate for the first leg of this year’s Triple crown, the KRA Cup Mile, at Busan on Sunday April 30th.
Meanwhile the saga of Park Tae-jong’s 2,200th career winner will drag on into another weekend. The jockey, who has won more races than any other in Korean racing history, has been on 2,199 since February 5th and drew a blank from seven rides across the weekend, a runner-up finish on Joeun Gwangye in race 10 on Sunday. His winless streak now stands at thirty-four.
Sunday’s racing is at Seoul with 11 races from 10:35 to 18:00 and at Busan with 6 races from 11:00 to 15:40. The highlight is at Seoul where surprise Segye Ilbo Trophy winner Wow Wow returns to face that day’s favourite Raon The Spurt. Black Musk also joins them in the class 1 feature over 1400M. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens in the opener and there will be a warm favourite. (2) LEGEND K comes in off a good 3rd place at this distance on February 4th, having settled back and run on, beating a couple of these in the process. He comes un under the same conditions today and from a similarly gate and he won’t need to improve much to win this. (3) CHECK POINT took a string of trials to finally qualify but once he did appear on the racecourse, he came from well back to run 3rd over 1200M. The time wasn’t quick but should have come on for the experience, he comes into a much better gate and the additional half furlong can suit. Also coming into a better gate is (5) HUNTER BLADE. He ran on fairly for a midfield finish last time out and should have more scope for further development. (7) GROW and (12) EVERY CHARM the others in the hunt.
(2) Legend K (3) Check Point (5) Hunter Blade (7) Grow
1, 5, 6, 7
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens with two of the ten racing for the first time. One of those, (7) KALJABI, goes on top. He trialled up well last October and then blitzed another heat in double quick time on February 11th, making all and stopping the clock in a fast time. He draws fairly enough to get on pace here and if he brings his trial form to the races, he may take some beating. The main danger is (10) SINHAE MANGCHI. He ran a strong 3rd on debut on February 5th over this distance beating a couple of today’s rivals. The draw isn’t the best here, but he doesn’t need to lead, and he should be going close again here. (3) CHOICE ROAD has run fairly in all three starts so far including an on-pace 3rd at this distance on February 3rd and from another good draw should be on pace and in this a long way. (5) DUBAI WONJEONGDAE and (9) HAERANG JANGGUN others in the placing frame.
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
More three-year-old maidens and two standouts here, both of whom finished in 2nd on their respective debuts in pretty much identical times over this distance. It’s a coin-toss but we’ll go with (4) URUS QUEEN. After a positive trial she was relatively well backed on debut on January 28th in an all-filly maiden and was handy throughout before running on for that 2nd place. She draws well to sit behind the early speed again and can win. (8) COMPLETE LEADER ran very similarly on his debut the following day, sitting handy and running on. He will be on or close to the pace here and can go close. (7) THIS WEEKEND was 5th in that race behind Complete Leader, having led for much of the way around. That was an improvement from his debut, and he can continue to make progress here. (3) SSEULMO should be on pace and in this a long way while debut-maker (2) VET CAPTAIN is another in the hunt.
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million
(3) MA GUN will probably be favourite here. He returns to action for the first time since last August when he was 4th over 1300M having run 5th on debut. He looked sharp in a February trial and has winning chances first up today. From a wide draw, (2) PURPLE LINE failed to get involved on his second start on January 27th and his first at this distance. Go on his debut just before Christmas though when 3rd over 1300M, and he warrants a chance from a much better draw. (5) MIRACULUM is a seventeen-race maiden but enters with his recent form reading well having beaten plenty of these in his latest two over 1400M and a mile. A similar run will put him in the finish here. (8) HAPPY BLUE, a stablemate of Miraculum, and (11) STORMY DAY others who can enter the minor money frame.
(3) Ma Gun (2) Purple Line (5) Miraculum (8) Happy Blue
8, 9, 11, 12
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million
A maiden for fillies and mares only. (6) TES MARY is the one to beat with a 3rd and a 5th from her latest two, at this distance and at 1300M. She has tended to get a bit back in her races before running on strongly, but she may be a little more forward today and with Moon Se-young aboard, she is sure to be well backed. The main danger is (10) FOUR ACE. She ran 4th to Tes Mary’s 3rd two starts back before registering a 3rd place of her own over this distance on February 5th when settling at the back of the field and working home well. The wide draw shouldn’t be a problem and she can be challenging late again. (8) TOP TIER has shown on pace in both starts so far before finishing 4th and 5th and can build on those here while (2) COSMO QUEEN defied big odds to record a significantly improved 3rd last time out. That was back in November so she comes off sixteen weeks away but draws well and can go close. (7) JAEWOO SIDAE has placed before and could again.
(6) Tes Mary (10) Four Ace (8) Top Tier (2) Cosmo Queen
3, 7, 8, 11
Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
It took (7) PHANTOM ACE twelve attempts to get his maiden win, which he finally achieved in January, but based on his first try at this class on February 10th, he should be getting his second much quicker. He sat midfield that day before running on for 3rd at this distance. He has the fastest time among these for the 1200M too (albeit recorded on a weekend the track was very fast), and he is the one to beat here. (5) GOOD MAGIC was 2nd on debut before scoring at start number two over this distance on February 5th when on pace throughout. She comes up in class here but carries a feather weight in his back and she can measure up in this company. (3) DOCTOR KONGDOLI comes back in trip after a fair enough spin over 1400M a month ago. She has a good finish on her and so long as she doesn’t too far back, can be a danger. Up in class following maiden wins, the pair of (6) FAST FURY and (1) JEONGSEONG DAERO will need to improve but can be considered.
(7) Phantom Ace (5) Good Magic (3) Doctor Kongdoli (6) Fast Fury
5, 6, 7, 9
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(7) GLOBAL POWER has been knocking on the door of a second win in four starts since being promoted to this level in which he has finished no worse than 4th. On his latest outing on January 29th, he came from midfield to run 2nd, well beaten by a good winner, but well clear of the favourite in 3rd place. He comes up 1.5kg in the weights but he won’t need to improve much to win here. The main danger is (2) UNICORN KINGDOM. He has mixed his form across five starts so far but comes up in class following a smart front-running win over this distance on February 5th. He comes down in the weights, draws well to be on pace again, and should be in this a long way. (5) CLOUTER is another who can mix good and bad runs but based on his latest when 2nd at class and distance, settling back and running on, he can be considered. (6) JAKDUKONG and (8) TUHON GISANG others to keep safe.
Wow Wow came from off the pace to score a 46/1 upset in the Segye Ilbo Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, leaving the green colours of the hotly fancied “Raon” pair, Raon First and Raon The Spurt, back down the track behind him.
After a year where owner Son Chun-soo’s Raon stable had dominated, his progressive four-year-old filly Raon The Spurt, was sent off as favourite for the Segye Ilbo (1200M KOR-Listed), the first Stakes race on the 2023 calendar, with stablemate and President’s Cup winner Raon First second in the market, ahead of Jeju Governor’s Trophy winning mare Wish Me.
While Raon First was slow out of the gate, Raon The Spurt cruised into the lead alongside fellow Group winner East Jet. But on a rare day at Seoul where the track was not kind to front-runners – nine of the eleven winners on the card emerged from the rear – the leaders were in trouble entering the straight and by the furlong pole, both had wilted.
Raon First launched a home straight challenge through traffic but the longshot pair of Wow Wow and Jangsan Laser were quicker, flashing down the outside with Wow Wow, who had settled right back in the pack in the early exchanges, coming home a length-and-a-quarter to the good. Raon First was 3rd.
With the race being restricted to Korean-bred runners, the Nasca organization’s Korea Sprint winning star Eoma Eoma was ineligible but they also own Wow Wow, a four-year-old colt by Cowboy Cal and out of the Forest Camp mare Jjak Kkung, who did her racing in Korea, winning six of twenty-six starts.
Wow Wow was on last year’s Classic trail and overcame gate fifteen to run 5th in the Korean Derby before an indifferent run in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup. Before Sunday, the highest level he had won at was class 4. He is trained by Song Moon-gil and was ridden by Song Jae-chul, who was winning just his third Stakes race after successes in the YTN Cup (then not a group race) in 2015 on Areumdaun Donghaeng and then guiding Saenae Town to victory in the Listed NACF Chairman’s Trophy last November.
There are no Listed or Graded races in Korea in February, with the next big events on the calendar the three-year-old Classic trials at Seoul and Busan on March 19.
Horses with the word “Raon” in their names took home eight Korean Listed or Graded races in 2022 and as the 2023 Stakes race season kicks off at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday with the Segye Ilbo Trophy (1200M KOR-Listed), two of those winners in the green silks of owner Son Chun-soo are set to be at the top of the market as the six-year-old mare and defending champion Raon First, clashes with up-and-coming stablemate and potential heir-apparent, four-year-old filly Raon The Spurt.
Last year’s winner RAON FIRST is the top filly or mare in Korea, with twelve wins from twenty-two starts and a hugely versatile repertoire as shown by her 3rd place in the Korea Sprint (1200M – IG3) last August and then her sensational victory in the President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) in November. It was a first ever victory for a filly or a mare in the nation’s most valuable race for older in-country bred runner, with Korea Cup champion Winner’s Man back in 3rd. Raon First finished off what had been a remarkable campaign with an in no way disgraced 6th place in the Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1) as Winner’s Man returned to the summit.
In the early half of her three-year-old campaign, RAON THE SPURT was forced to play second fiddle in the Triple Tiara (filly Triple Crown) races, running 3rd in the Luna Stakes and then 2nd to Tiara winner Golden Power in both the Korean Oaks and Gyeonggi Govenor’s Cup. She finished off the season strongly though, winning the Singapore Turf Club Trophy at 1200M, running 2nd to Wish Me in the Jeju Govenor’s Cup (1400M KOR-G3) and then winning the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Cup (2000M KOR-G3) at Busan. Her star is very much in the ascendency.
Jockey Choi Bum-hyun has ridden both of the Park Jong-kon trained pair in recent starts. For their first head-to-head meeting, he rides Raon The Spurt.
It’s not necessarily a two-horse race though. WISH ME has done something she never usually does and drawn a good gate for a front-runner. She had to contend with gate eleven when 2nd to Raon The Spurt in the Singapore Turf Club Trophy over 1200M in September, before reversing the form with a stunning track-record breaking performance in the Jeju Governor’s Cup from gate twelve. She found 2000M was not her go last time out, but back in sprinting territory and from the plum barrier two, she can’t be ruled out.
While it’s the fillies and mares who are most favoured, the race is open to males as well and a strong set have shown up. DAEHAN JILJU was a break-out 4th in the Korea Sprint last September before running 2nd to that day’s winner Eoma Eoma in the Kookje Shinmun Trophy (1400M Listed) at Busan on October. He is capable of running fast times and the wide draw should prove no distraction. Group winner EAST JET as well as the in form JANGSAN LASER, 4th in the President’s Cup, are among others who can provide testing material.
Only one Busan-trained horse has made the trip to the capital. That’s HAPPY FEVER, a six-year-old who, while he doesn’t win out of turn, enters in consistent form and has posted fast times. At his best he can challenge for some minor money. Jockey Kim Hye-sun has come with him to ride at her former track and has picked up five additional rides across the weekend.
The Segye Ilbo Cup is race 8 on an 11-race program at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon with a local post time of 16:35.
Selections: (4) Raon The Spurt (1) Raon First (2) Wish Me (12) Daehan Jilju
After a campaign of mainly coming off second-best when it really counts, Raon The Spurt finally got her reward in the shape of a big Group race win as she dominated the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2) at Busan on Sunday afternoon, securing the final leg of the Queens’ Tour for herself and the overall series title for stablemate Raon First.
Golden Power won all three legs of the Triple Tiara, with Raon The Spurt trailing her home in 3rd in the Luna Stakes and then 2nd in both the Korean Oaks and the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. Since the end of that series Raon The Spurt had maintained her form better, winning back-to-back races at 1800M and 1200M before running second to Wish Me in the Jeju Governor’s Cup and punters accordingly sent her off as the favourite as the three-year-old pair faced off with their seniors.
Those favourite backers never had a moment’s cause for concern as Raon The Spurt broke well from the plum draw of gate three and quickly got to the lead. Jockey Choi Bum-hyun was able to set a tempo to suit and it proved too hot for the rest as Raon The Spurt cruised to a six-length win in a very fast time.
As for Golden Power, she began as second favourite, but at no stage did she look a danger, settling back and making it up to fifth in the home straight before ultimately weakening and crossing the line in ninth.
Jeju Governor’s Cup track-record breaker Wish Me was sent off as third-favourite and under Antonio Da Silva, was hurried along from her nightmare draw of gate sixteen to loop the field and take the early lead. That gamble was her only chance of prevailing and the question was how long she would stay on after such an early effort over an unfamiliar distance. She ran gamely but would ultimately run out of steam in the home straight, finishing seventh.
Calm Strong, the KNN Cup winner, also drew a poor barrier for a front-runner, having to navigate to the front from gate fourteen and while she was able to race prominently throughout the back straight, she was one of the first to be beaten.
Stepping up to get closest to the winner on the line were 19/1 chance Flat Babe, who settled back under Franco Da Silva and gradually improved as the race went on. She came home in second-place, two-and-a-half lengths clear of Eodigana, a Smarty Moonhak filly who won over the distance in last year’s Triple Tiara final leg. She set off in excess of 80/1.
Raon The Spurt is by Raon’s own stallion Musket Man and out of Japanese-bred mare Tomiken Spring (by Suzuka Mambo). Owned by her breeder, Son Chun-soo of Raon, she is trained by Park Jong-kon. Her victory propels Musket Man to the top of the Leading General Sire rankings despite having just 274 starters throughout 2022 compared to 899 for now second-placed Cowboy Cal. It’s not necessarily only Musket Man’s influence, but also Raon’s attention to early pre-training on their uphill track at their Jeju training centre staffed with not only some very good local, but some skilled overseas grooms too, that is coming together to pay huge dividends.
So Raon The Spurt won the race and Raon First the series for Son Chun-soo and his Raon organization. Raon First is expected to head to the Grand Prix Stakes on December 11th, where she will be joined by Raon The Fighter, the Korea Cup runner-up and KRA Cup Classic winner. The latter is then scheduled for a tilt at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. The Raon Empire is building momentum.
Next weekend, the Champion Juvenile will be crowned with the running of the Breeders’ Cup (1400M KOR-G2) at Busan. Then on December 11th it’s the traditional final Group 1 of the season, the Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1), with Raon going in with both barrels, at Seoul Racecourse.
Graded Stakes racing returns to Seoul on Sunday for the first time since the Korea Cup and Korea Sprint five weeks ago with the Jeju Governor’s Cup (1400M KOR-G3) for local-bred fillies and mares taking centre stage. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:15 to 16:45. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Juvenile maiden fillies in the opener with five on the nine racing for the first time. And unlike in so many of these races where we go for experience, this time we’ll go with a first timer. (8) YUKWAEHAN SARANG won a trial in good fashion, running on pace on the bridle and responding well when asked for a brief effort. She looked well within herself and let loose on the track, has every chance first-up. (7) RAON THE FLATTER ran a creditable 4th on debut in July in a fair time before parting company with her jockey right after the start on her re-appearance on August 27th, competing the course pilotless. So long as man and beast stay united here, she should improve on that debut 4th. (2) GANGHAN QUEEN was on pace for much of her debut before weakening late on She should have derived benefit from that run and can be in this a little longer. (4) SEUNGRIUI YEONGHON and (5) VISION STAR are other newcomers who may provide some interest.
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Juvenile maidens here and based on his debut performance, it will be very hard to look past (4) NANOMETA. Having won a July trial, he came out on August 28th and came from off the pace to finish 2nd over 1000M. The additional furlong today should be ideal and with the benefit of that experience, he should take some beating. (5) MORNING PRINCESS was a decent 3rd on debut and while she found herself overmatched on her second appearance which is in the Rookie Stakes at the end of August, she finds herself back in shallower waters here and can be a big player. (2) BAEDARI WANGJA similarly ran well for 2nd on debut and while he couldn’t repeat at start number two on September 4th, he can be given another chance here. (3) HUNTER BLADE and (8) LEMON BLADE others in the placing frame.
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
A big field for this maiden but another short-price favourite seems likely and again Moon Se-young rides it in the shape of (7) STRONG CHARM. He has a 2nd and a 3rd to his name from three starts to date including last time out when he ran through the line well. He comes up in distance here, but it should suit, and he should sign off from class 6 with a win. (3) ROSE GOLD beat a couple of these on his way to 2nd place two starts back and followed up with a 3rd, again at this distance, on September 18th. He has the fastest tie of any of these for the distance and from a good draw can go close. (11) DEVIL K is another who will be up to class 5 with a finish anywhere in the top three. He comes in off back-to-back 3rd place finishes in good times at this distance and can run on well here. (12) MENI ACE, who returns for the first time since February, and (2) SAMBA ZONE, are others in the frame.
(7) Strong Charm (3) Rose Gold (11) Devil K (12) Meni Ace
5, 7, 9, 12
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Juvenile maidens open proceedings on the south coast, with four of the eleven racing for the first time. The hot favourite will be (2) WORLD LEGEND, a good 2nd on debut over 1000M in July and then 4th over this distance in a good time at start number two on August 28th. He draws very nicely to be on pace here and should take some beating. (10) K.AI has been on pace for 3rd and 2nd in two starts so far, both over the 1000M. The draw is a little wider than ideal, but he should handle the distance and can be a danger. So too (8) DOCTOR PANGPANG. He made good ground late to run 2nd on debut over 1000M on August 28th and should appreciate the step up in trip today. (1) ADELE HORANGI and (11) FINAL SEVEN can also be in the hunt for at least places in a race with decent form, given the lack of experience.
(2) World Legend (10) K.Ai (8) Doctor Pangpang (1) Adele Horangi
2, 6, 10, 11
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(7) MONSTER POWER ran out a comfortable winner on debut over 1000M on September 3rd, settling midfield and then running on strongly. He comes up in class and in distance, but neither should be an issue and he is the one they need to beat here. (4) STAR RUSH is yet to win in twenty-five attempts, but he has had a fair few near-misses and was a decent 4th in a fair time over 1300M last time out. He has had a couple of months off and looks a place line here. (6) JANGSU NABOM too has placing chances. He weakened having led last time out but at the start prior, he ran a solid 3rd place beating a couple of today’s rivals in the process. He has the fastest start among these and can be in this a long way. (1) COWBOY TANGO and (2) COMPLETE LUCKY are others with minor money claims.
(7) Monster Power (4) Star Rush (6) Jangsu Nabom (1) Cowboy Tango
5, 6, 7, 8
Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(8) ALPHA V is winless but comes up in class following a 2nd and two 3rd place finishes, all over 1200M. She carries a light weight and he running style suggests that the widest gate – of only eight – shouldn’t be a problem. This is hardly the most intimidating of class 5 fields and this could be her day. (6) GOLD TAP will probably start as favourite. While he comes in having missed the top five for the first time, when 6th over this class and distance on September 16th, that wasn’t a bad run, and the finish was tight. He can sit in pace or handy here and may prove too strong late on. (2) MY SONG is a winner over this distance at class 6 level and while she weakened to only beat one home having led over her previous start at the beginning of September, she is worth another chance today. (1) INDIAN PARTY and (7) WIND PARK others capable of sneaking a place.
(8) Alpha V (6) Gold Tap (2) My Song (1) Indian Party
2, 3, 6, 8
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Small but competitive field with two standouts. It’s time (7) GANA FASHION won a race. She has three runner-up finishes and one 3rd place from four starts so far and came close to making all at class and distance last time out. She can be on pace again and may just be a little sharper in the finish which is what makes her the very marginal top pick over (2) TIZ SUCCESS, who has similar form but with a win in the books and over one race less. She too was an on-pace 2nd last time out, stopping the clock in an identical time to that of Gana Fashion in her race. She comes up one more kilogram than her rival does and also starts here for the first time in three months. It would be a big surprise if those two don’t fill out the quinella so the rest look like battling for the minors. (3) ELITE RULES, (1) JEONGMUN PAPAGO and (4) TIZ FIGHTING all come in off the back of good latest starts.
(7) Gana Fashion (2) Tiz Success (3) Elite Rules (1) Jeongmun Papago
1, 2, 5, 7
Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Golden Power moved to within just one race of sweeping the Filly Triple Crown, as the Luna Stakes winner snared the second jewel in the crown, The Korean Oaks (1800M KOR-G2) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
The fillies who filled out the top three-places in April’s Luna Stakes, ultimately turned it into a three-way affair in the Oaks as well. Chamjoeun Chingu, nailed on the line last month, was sent off as favourite under Moon Se-young and she would set the pace.
Golden Power, after coming from almost last to first in the closing stages of the Luna, was ridden much more forward this time by jockey Choi Si-dae and immediately tracked the leader.
Raon The Spurt, instead of being ridden hard for the lead like she had been in past races, was settled gently from the widest gate by Choi Bum-hyun and gradually made progress up to 3rd.
By the top of the straight, Chamjoeun Chingu and Golden Power had opened a significant lead on the rest and when Golden Power came past her rival with a furlong and a half remaining, the race looked settled. That was to reckon without Raon The Spurt, however, who moved through the gears in the home straight and suddenly the gap was vanishing alarmingly quickly.
The line came in time though with Golden Power still a neck to the good when it mattered, with Chamjoeun Chingu a further two-and-a-half lengths in arrears in 3rd. There were nine-lengths more back to Eunseong Winner in 4th and then a further nine to a thoroughly outclassed rest.
Winning jockey Choi Si-dae felt the opening part of the race – very different from that in the Luna – today was key to the win. “Last time (in the Luna) the start wasn’t satisfactory” he told in-house broadcaster KRBC. “This time she started great, got into a good position and that was the main reason she could win the race today.”
As for her prospects of sweeping all three legs of the “Tiara” as the filly Triple Crown is known, Choi was non-committal but simply stated: “She got better today. Even better than she was last month. I am looking forward to it.”
That final race is over 2000M, and it is hard to imagine Chamjoeun Chingu posing Golden Power too many problems at the extended trip, even on her home track at Seoul. Raon The Spurt’s run was intriguing as for the first time in any of her races, she wasn’t ridden to lead. While the draw may have had a lot to do with that, it paid off and way she finished makes her a fascinating prospect back at Seoul
With regard to the rest, Wonderful Raise was backed into fourth-favourite, but having begun brightly, was on the end of severe interference at the first corner after Chamjoeun Chingu tightened onto Shy Dragon who in turn came together with Wonderful Raise, who had nowhere to go. The latter was shuffled back in the pack and lost interest in racing after that. Moon Se-young, aboard Chamjoeun Chingu was given a four-day suspension. Wonderful Raise can perhaps therefore have a line drawn through her last place.
Eunseong Winner, though too far back, posted a final furlong time only one-tenth of a second slower than that of Raon The Spurt and she may pose more of a danger at Seoul.
Golden Power is by Afleet Express and is out of Cherokee Sheik (by Cherokee Run). She is owned by her breeder, Son Boing-chul of Winner’s Farm, and is trained by Kwon Sung-ju
The final leg of the Filly Triple Crown is the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) which will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday June 4. Next weekend Seoul hosts the twenty-fifth running of the Korean Derby (1800M KOR-G1).