Special Stone

Seouri Byeol Stuns Special Stone In Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup

Just when it seemed as though Special Stone was set fair to claim the title of Champion three-year-old filly of 2018 by backing up her Korean Oaks win in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, up popped 10/1 chance Seouri Byeol from the rear of the field to deny her in emphatic fashion.

Seouri Byeol - Korea Racing Authority

Seouri Byeol beats Special Stone in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Seouri Byeol had finished similarly quickly in the filly Classic at Busan in July but that day found two too many to pass and had to settle for 2nd as Special Stone dominated. At the top of the stretch this time, Special Stone cruised into the lead as pace-setter and betting favourite Blue Flag started to weaken and under jockey Kim Jeong-jun, seemingly had the race at her mercy.

That was reckoning without Seouri Byeol, however. Last with two furlongs to run, Park Eul-woon found a gap and his filly found top gear. Though still trailing with half a furlong to run it was clear she had the momentum and shortly after, she had the race, winning by no fewer than 4 lengths on the line from Special Stone. Nike Street, last in the Oaks, came home 3rd with a tiring Blue Flag 4th.

A filly by the Japanese-bred sire, Limitless Bid, Seouri Byeol was wining for just the fourth time on what was her twelfth start. Her colours, those of owner Kim Sun-sik, were last seen in the Stakes race winner’s circle on Final Boss after the 2017 Derby. It was a first big race win for her trainer Kim Dong-chul, a former jockey who gained his license in 2016. For jockey Park, it was his fourth success on a Group race.

At Busan, King Of Ace returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year. The American import by Malibu Moon won four of his first five starts in the first half of 2017 before suffering a bad injury. Although he returned at the beginning of this year he hadn’t quit been able to recapture his old form but he looked good when leading gate-to-wire to win the south-coast track’s feature handicap over 1400M.

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Special Stone Wins The 2018 Korea Oaks

Special Stone has won the 2018 Korean Oaks. The Limitless Bid filly, sent off as a 22/1 chance among the sixteen-strong field, raced away to win the fillies’ Classic by a clear seven-lengths, ridden by trainer Kim Jeong-jun for Seoul trainer Kang Hwan-min at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Special Stone Korea Racing Authority

Special Stone wins the 2018 Korean Oaks under Kim Jeong-jun (Pic: Korea Racing Authority)

In a race that always looked fiendishly difficult to predict, Yeonghui Sidae was ultimately sent off as a very slight favourite, ahead of Blue Flag, Gyohaksangjang and Yeongcheon Derby. None of them would get close though with Blue Flag the best of the in 4th. By the time she crossed the line, jockey Kim Jeong-jun was celebrating his biggest career win to date.

Special Stone began steadily as an overly keen Star Cat set the early pace. Jockey Kim kept his mount to the rail and the pair steadily gained ground in the back straight, improving to 2nd on the turn for home. Once they hit the straight and others swung wide, Special Stone found the front and then found another gear, leaving the rest trailing far down the track.

Seoul horses completed an unlikely 1, 2, 3 with Firewind coming home in 2nd and Seouri Byeol beating out Blue Flag in the photo-finish for 3rd, the Tierce paying out on that combination at 25850/1.

Trainer Kang Hwan-min only took out his license a year ago and has now won a Classic having had only slightly over 100 starters.

Special Stone is by Limitless Bid, a Korea-based Japanese-bred stallion by Sunday Silence. He is out of Grey Stone, Korean-bred mare who did her racing at Seoul, winning 2 of 28 starts between 2010 and 2013. Special Stone was her first foal. Grey Stone was by Walkslikeaduck (Blushing John), who was imported to Korea in 2002.

Korea Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 15, 2018

1. Special Stone (KOR) [Limitless Bid – Grey Stone (Walkslikeaduck)] – Kim Jeong-jun – 22.9, 7.6
2. Fire Wind (KOR) [Colors Flying – Chukje (Bellamy Road)] – Jeong Jeong-hee – 5.7
3. Seouri Byeol (KOR) [Limitless Bid – Busanui Byeol (Generous)] – Parl Eul-woon – 16.3
Distances: 7 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Blue Flag 5. Gyohaksangjang 6. Yeongcheon Derby 7. Catch Nine 8. Mone Flying 9. Yeonghui Sidae 10. Peace Tour 11. Queen Of Captain 12. Magic Ten 13. Yuhwi 14. Star Cat 15. Uju Daewang 16. Nike Street