150-Up Perovic As Shamrocker & Champ Line Win Well At Seoul & Busan

Djordje Perovic rode his 150th Korean winner at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and not many of them will have been easier than the landmark one which arrived on Shamrocker in the 2300M Championship Series feature.


Djordje Perovic returns to scale on Shamrocker

Possibly the biggest challenge for Perovic on Sunday would have been the 52kg weight assigned to the on the up Shamrocker but once that was made there was only likely to be one winner in the race which was run over the maximum distance used at Seoul. After a steady start, Shamrocker hit the front early in the home straight and cantered away from the field to win by six lengths on the line.

It had taken Shamrocker (Dublin), a $30,000 purchase as a 2-year-old at OBS in Florida, eight starts to get his maiden victory but yesterday’s was his fifth in total and second consecutive at class 1. He could have a big summer ahead of him.

Djordje Perovic could well have a big summer ahead of him too. Shamrocker was his 31st victory of 2017 and leaves him five clear of perennial champion Moon Se Young at the top of the standings. With Moon set to spend at least three months of this year in Singapore, Perovic is in pole position to become the first foreign jockey to claim the Seoul championship.

150 wins also ties Perovic with Joe Fujii – who spent Saturday watching Winx disappear into the distance at Rosehill – in 2nd place in the all-time foreign jockey standings in Korea.

Down at Busan a foreign jockey was on top too with Yonekura Satoshi winning Sunday’s feature – also a Championship Series race – over 2200M. It came on Thomas Gillespie’s Champ Line over what was a high class Busan field.

Success Story, as ever, set the early pace but was always likely to struggle to maintain it over the extended distance and so it proved as a host of horses swept by him in the closing stages.

It was Champ Line who did it the most convincingly, running on very strongly for victory by almost three lengths. Places 2nd-6th came home within a half-length of each other, surprisingly headed by 100/1 outsider Bathsheba Park, who was given an enterprising ride by Marios Mina.

Champ Line (Curlin) moves on to 10 wins from 19 starts and is on a four-race winning streak and heads an impressively effective string that has been put together by talented trainer Gillespie.

Weekend Review: Shamrocker, Saengil Gippeum Step-Up

A couple of imports stepped up in class at Seoul and Busan on Sunday afternoon and turned in the star performances of the weekend.

At Seoul, Shamrocker [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] may only have been winning for the third time in eleven starts but since he’s begun racing at distances around two turns, that figure is now three from four. On Sunday he stepped up to class 2 for the first time and cruised home from off the pace under jockey Lee Chan Ho to win the 1800M event by four lengths. Shamrocker is a 3-year-old colt who was a $30,000 purchase from Ocala last Spring.

Down at Busan Diferent Dimension, who beat Triple Nine last start, was sent off as favourite for Sunday’s feature handicap – a class 1 test for horses rated no higher than 100 – however, he never traveled well and instead it was left to the up in class pair of Saengil Gippeum and Dongbang Daero to battle it out. On the line, Saengil Gippeum got the best of their battle, taking advantage of a light weight and apprentice jockey (Lyu Gwang Hee) to win by a head.

Saengil Gippeum [Parading – Minny’s Niece (Quiet American)], purchased for $18,000 from Fasig-Tipton as a yearling in 2014, has now won five of his last six starts.

In other news, a couple of apprentice jockeys debuted at the weekend. At Busan, Lee Hyo Sik and Choi Eun Gyeung both had one ride each and were unplaced.  At Seoul, Lee Dong Ha had four rides across the two days with a 5th place finish being the best of them.

This coming Sunday, a little bit of Korean racing history is up for grabs as KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby winner Power Blade returns to Seoul looking to win the Minister’s Cup and become the first winner of the Korean Triple Crown in its current form. Not a single Seoul horse is set to compete so Power Blade will be up against seven other visitors from Busan including stablemate and Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi in the 2000M race. Full previews of the race to follow.