There were super features at both Busan and Seoul this past weekend as both tracks hosted their respective Owners’ Association Cups. At Busan there was a shock with Meni Hero leading home the field, while at Seoul a new star was born as Raon The Fighter dominated an elite set of sprinters.
The Busan Owners’ Cup on Sunday saw a quality field meet the starter over a mile, headed by Blue Chipper, along with Tiz Plan and Doctor Carson then a mix of young talented horse stepping into the higher levels Including Yeongung Louis a close 3rd in the SBS Sports Sprint to Eoma Eoma at level weights, as well and the unbeaten Success Macho.
They would all be beaten. The start was even other than Yeongung Louis veering out slightly and it would be Black Musk who led from Blue Chipper and the ever-reliable King of Glory.
Black Musk’s challenge would falter in the home straight while Blue Chipper would maintain his charge but drifted wide. Tiz Plan made his way forward but closing the best was 20/1 chance Meni Hero, who struck the front just over a furlong from home under jockey Ham Wan-sik, and ran on to win by just under two-lengths from a resurgent Tiz Plan. Wang Beotkkot closed strongly for an unlikely 3rd while Blue Chipper was an always game 4th.
It was a quantum rise in results for Meni Hero, whose only previous class 1 success had come two starts back over 1400M. By the great stallion Menifee, he is out of Pocketful Of Money (by Running Stag), who was a long time holder of the 1800M track record at Seoul Racecourse. Only four-years-old, there could be plenty to come. Tiz Plan showed he is still a force to be reckoned with in 2nd while Wang Beotkkot was a revelation in 3rd. As for Blue Chipper, he briefly hit the front with 300M remaining and while he couldn’t hold on, showed he still can’t be dismissed in any company.
A day earlier at Seoul Racecourse, an elite field lined up for the SROA Trophy at 1200M, headed by Eoma Eoma, winner of the SBS Sports Sprint and of ten races from twelve starts in total and East Jet, winner of nine races including last year’s edition of this race. The 2020 SBS Sports Sprint winner Morfhis was present, as was the unbeaten three-year-old Raon The Fighter, a winner of seven from seven up to Class 2 level in very fast times.
Eoma Eoma was sent off as the odds-on favourite but after an even start, Raon The Fighter quickly headed the field ahead of East Jet and with the favourite caught wide. It stayed that way until the home straight which Raon The Fighter entered a length clear. And then he just kept going.
Eoma Eoma put in a huge effort to find the fence and to grind out 2nd place from the fast-finishing Morfhis with East Jet in 4th. But they were running a different race to Raon The Fighter, whose jockey Park Tae-jong was afforded the luxury of being able to ease his mount in the closing stages having taken a long leisurely look back over his shoulder. The margin of victory was six-lengths on the line in a time barely outside the track record.
It was a statement performance that has turned the existing order on its head. Eoma Eoma didn’t get the greatest of trips but even so, there are few similar races in history in Korea that his performance would not have won. While Raon The Fighter entered unbeaten, there is always the question in such circumstances of whether they will match up in truly elite company. The answer was an emphatic “yes”. Where Raon The Fighter goes next, or even what distance he tackles, as he has won up to 1800M already, is the hottest topic in Seoul right now.
Raon The Fighter is a three-year-old colt by Bayern and out of Clarinda (by Empire Maker). He was imported in-utero which meant that although he is officially classed as Korean-bred, he was ineligible for the three-year-old Classics this year. There is no limit on what races he can take part in from now on though, and it would seem there is no limit in his potential.
Dia Road firmly established herself at the top of the filly and mare division by taking out the Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and in doing so, beat perennial champion Silver Wolf for the second consecutive time. One race later, British jockey Alan Munro recorded his first Korean Stakes race victory when guiding East Jet to a smart victory in the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association (KOR G3).
Coming into the Ttukseom Cup, the first leg of the Queens’ Tour, Dia Road [Captain Coltish – Gieongnal Geunal (Menifee)] had won seven of her eight prior races, including that meeting with stablemate Silver Wolf in the Donga Ilbo Cup prior to the shutdown earlier this year when she had a 5kg weight advantage.
At level weights this time, Dia Road was slowly out of the gates but by the end of the back straight, jockey Kim Yong-geun had threaded a way through the field and was up just behind the leaders. She struck the front at the top of the home straight and powered away from the rest to record a six-length win from early pacesetter Raon First and closer Ice Marine. Silver Wolf, who took a long time to find space for a run, came home 5th.
If all goes to plan – and that is a big “if” with Korean racing in an uncertain position due to the recent COVID-19 resurgence, the four-year-old Dia Road and the eight-year-old Silver Wolf will most likely meet again in the final two legs of the Queens’ Tour – of which Silver Wolf is already a two-time winner – in the autumn.
The SROA Trophy (KOR G3) brought back together some of the nation’s top sprinters including the first five home in last month’s SBS Sports Sprint. Most pre-race attention focused on the young up and comer Eoma Eoma who after three straight wins, had suffered her first career defeat when a gutsy 3rd in the SBS Sports Sprint a month ago.
Despite a much better draw, this time Eoma Eoma had to settle for 2nd place as East Jet [Strike Again – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)], the only other three-year-old in the race, made short work of a wide draw to get right on pace with the leaders and then proved too strong in the straight, holding off Eoma Eoma by just under a length. SBS Sports Sprint winner Morfhis produced his customary late charge but had to settle for 3rd.
East Jet was ridden by Alan Munro, who was recording his first Koream Stakes race victory. Munro, who only returned earlier this month from a broken wrist suffered prior to the KRA Cup Mile has now ridden 67 winners from 570 rides in the country since debuting in February 2019.
It’s Double Graded Stakes Sunday at Seoul with the Ttukseom Cup and Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy set to be r0un in the capital. There are 12 races in Seoul from 10:25 to 18:00.
In The Ttukseom Cup, Silver Wolf will get the opportunity to avenge defeat earlier this year at the hands of Dia Road while the SROA Trophy brings SBS Sprint winner Morfhis back together with Do Kki Blade and exciting newcomer Eoma Eoma. See below for previews of all Seoul races plus horse by horse for the two Stakes.
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
The two-year-old gallopers will kick off proceedings on a twelve event card from Seoul. (10) VICTORICA is the on top selection after powering to the line last start to finish fourth behind Hwanggeum Power. The Colonel John filly can position in the second half of the field before reeling of a quick sectional. (2) KKANGDORI looks as if she is one of the debutants ready to fire early in her career. The grey won her trial in good style clocking a reasonable time for the juveniles. (4) DAESAN TEUKGEUP is another trial winner who looks capable of performing at his debut run. He overcame a wide gate and covered the ground nicely to win his heat when clocking 62.7 seconds on a muddy track. (3) ACE PRINCE comes out of the race that Victorica lined up in where he finished fifth. With some improvement he can be considered an each way chance.
(10) Victorica (2) Kkangdori (4) Daesan Teukgeup (3) Ace Prince
2, 4, 6
Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(11) NINE EYE was a significantly improved 2nd when stepped up to this trip for the first time on August 2nd recording in the process the fastest time of any of these so far over the 1300M. He’ll have to overcome the outside gate to work forward but should be capable and can in. (2) GEUMSEONG ACE looks to be steadily improving and is another who has demonstrated that she can run a time. She remains nicely weighted and should go close here. (4) GO GO GO debuted in that race, coming from off the pace to run 5th. She He should have come on for that and get closer this time. (7) LOVING DANCER tackles the distance for the first time following a useful enough 3rd over 1200M. She hasn’t shown much in the way of speed so far but that was a big improvement and she can build on it today.
(11) Nine Eye (2) Geumseong Ace (7) Loving Dancer (4) Go Go GO
2, 3, 11
Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
The third will see the Class Five gallopers go over the 1300m where there are numerous chances. (3) GLOBAL GOLD is the on top selection coming off a third behind Jeonjeongsaguem where the Thunder Mocassin gelding powered to the line in the final stages. With a better draw Lee Hyeok should be able to settle the three-year-old closer before unleashing him as they balance up for the run home. (2) LAO JIN is second up after finishing third behind Tiz City in similar company last time out. The filly will get the services of Moon Se-young for the first time. (5) TANK SOCKS is another that is second-up coming off a good performance. The filly finished second when resuming over this distance after sitting in the leading division. If Park Eul-woon can cross the filly early on she looks a big chance. (1) GOLD FIELD looks a place chance from an inside draw. The filly broke maiden status two starts ago before finishing midfield behind Yeolrin Mun last time out.
(3) Global Gold (2) Lao Jin (5) Tank Socks (1) Gold Field
Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(8) COIN BLADE came from way back to get his maiden win over 1200M on June 28th. Having previously run 3rd on debut at 1300M all the way back in early 2019. He looks set to be a two-turn horse but 1400M should give him enough opportunity to stretch out and he can win again today. This is a really good race for the level though. (3) TOP SEED got his maiden win at this distance in June, making all, but was touch slow away on his first crack at this level last month, ending up in 3rd. With a better start he can be right back in the mix today. (1) CHEONJI YEOGEOL and (6) UNOECHANCHEON are both up in class following maiden wins last month at 1300M and 1200M respectively. Both ran through the line strong and should adapt to the increased trip with few difficulties. (5) CHEOGANG MAGIC comes in following a class and distance 3rd a month ago and can aim to follow up here while (7) CHOEGANG PARTY drops back in trip following a useful 3rd place around 1700M last start and is one of a number of others who can also come into consideration.
A field of eleven will line up over the seven furlongs in the fifth. (2) HAENGBOK WANGJA looks extremely hard to beat notching two runner-up performances in a row since resuming. The Daredevil colt comes off a last start second behind Mighty New which reads extremely well for this event. (4) SOUL MERIT will be sure to attract attention in betting markets. The American Pharoah colt trialed up in good fashion and was a Class Four winner before the racing hiatus. The three-year-old will have to carry 57.5kg, a substantial increase on the 52.5kg he carried to victory last start. (5) GOOD SENSE produced a solid performance when resuming last start. The Street Sense four-year-old is up in class on the strength of a second last start and as a result will carry just the 52kg. (7) BULGULUI RUNNER looks next best after finishing third behind Jangsan Forever last time out. The King Cugat gelding has been settling rearwards this time in before hitting the line strong in the final stages.
(2) Haengbok Wangja (4) Soul Merit (5) Good Sense (7) Bulgului Runner
Race 6: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Entertaining little race this. (1) RUNNING BOX has looked in good form since the restart. She ran 3rd behind East Jet, who has very quickly gone on to better things, in June before running a narrow 2nd to My Hawk last month when having a hard time getting a good position from a wide draw. She has the inside gate today and could well be peaking with a real winning chance. (8) RAON TAP MAN has only finished outside the top three once in seven starts and comes in having scored at class 4 over this distance in June and then run 2nd on his first try at this class a month ago. She carries significantly less weight this time and has a real chance. (9) NEUL PUREUN CAT was well back behind Running Box last start but that was his first-up run and he has previously proven himself more than competitive at class and distance. (3) CHOIN BOLT hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise but has a class and distance 3rd place to his name since the restart and should be in at least the placing hunt again.
(1) Running Box (8) Raon Tap Man (3) Choin Bolt (9) Neul Pureun Cat
5, 6, 8
Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
The Class Four gallopers will go over the two turns in the seventh event where four of the engagements come off last start wins. (8) JEONGSANG YEOSIN is the on top selection after a very consistent career to date. The Colors Flying filly has notched four wins from ten starts with two minor placings. She resumed in good style when finishing second behind Best Lucky over the 1700m. (9) JANGSAN BADA is another progressive type who has notched two wins and a minor from three career starts. The Old Fashioned colt sits handy in his runs and has clocked some good times in his short career to date. (5) GAROSUGIL was a surprise winner last time out when leading throughout. The win was over the two turns, he is up in class but will carry just 54kg. (6) JEONJEONGSAGEUM is another progressive type notching two wins from the four starts as well. Lim Gi-won has been aboard the filly at all four starts to date. She normally has plenty of early speed so expect her to shoot across from barrier six. Good race.
(8) Jeongsang Yeosin (9) Jangsan Bada (5) Garosugil (6) Jeonjoengsageum
3, 5, 6, 10
Race 8: Class 3 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
This is a super race for the level and is suitably tricky to solve. (1) GEUMA WHOLESOME has not only recorded the fastest time of those who have raced at the level before but also beat a number of these on his was to 3rd place behind Brigadier General on July 26th. He carries even more weight today but has plenty of quality and should go close. No fewer than three last-start winners are up in class here. (5) ECHO BILL won well at this distance on July 6th in a useful time. He was beaten by (6) SHU LEUB first-up in June, also at today’s distance, but can overturn that form today. (8) MOONHAK EMPIRE was a good winner over 1400M on July 19th and steps up to two-turns for the first time. His running style to date would suggest that won’t be a problem and he should be competitive here. (2) SHARK JJANG and (4) MUDO are others in the hunt.
Race 9: Class Open (1400M) Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) Allowance / KRW 400 Million
The time-honoured Ttukseom Cup is the ninth event on the card where the fillies and mares will line up over the 1400m at Korean Group Two level. A field of fourteen will face the starter where last year’s winner Silver Wolf will rematch Dia Road, who turned the tables on the eight-year-old back in January winning the Donga Ilbo Cup. Here’s a look at each of the runners:
DAEBAK HAENGJIN – Good performance last start to finish third behind Wang Beotkkot when second-up. Somewhat of a non-winner notching just one victory from fifteen starts. Looks to be up against it at set weights.
SKY BAY – Light raced five-year-old who needs to be considered an each way chance after a very good win at Class 1 level when first up over the 1400m. Never been able to match Silver Wolf previously but has resumed in great order.
SILVER WOLF – Last year’s champion mare clean sweeping the Queen’s Tour. Found the Grand Prix not suitable and then finished second to Dia Road in the Donga Ilbo before the enforced hiatus. Will be interesting to see her run after a lengthy break.
RAON FIRST – Seems the logical choice to line up in after struggling to run a strong 1600m out in the Luna Stakes and subsequentially bypassing the Oaks. A winner of four from six she is an on-pace runner that must be respected.
SEOURI BYEOL – Has performed admirably at the highest level behind the likes of Dia Road and Silver Wolf. Whilst she is unlikely to match their efforts, she is normally a live place chance. Query lies with the 1400m.
ICE MARINE – Winner of eight from twenty-six including a last start victory when defeating last year’s Oaks winner Deep Mind. The seven furlongs not her ideal distance as she normally takes time to find her feet before hitting the line strong.
HWA GI – Hard to suggest on her two performances since resuming in June.
SEONNYANG CHEOLLI – Class 3 winner last start over 1200m. Yet to be stretched beyond the six furlongs and she looks outclassed against this field.
DIA ROAD – A winner of seven from eight starts including the Donga Ilbo back in January when beating Silver Wolf. She is all class and looks the one to beat. Resumed with a win when made to work for it over 1800m. The one to beat.
DAMYANG HWANHO – A long time between drinks and looks safely held.
CHEONGSU YEOGEOL – Lacks to class to match it with a field of this caliber. Unlikely.
LEAD MONEY – Resumed in good fashion to finish third behind Dia Road over the 1800m. Always thereabouts in Class 1 level. Place chance at best.
CHOCO CANDY – Last start Class 2 winner when carrying only 53.5kg. Another filly who is capable of finishing in the minor money.
UJU DAEWANG – Career best performances to date include a win in Class 3 company. Looks outclassed.
VERDICT: (9) DIA ROAD showed us in January that she has more than enough ability to stamp herself as the best filly or mare in Korea. Now we get to see this rematch between her and (3) SILVER WOLF for the first time since the Donga Ilbo. There is so much intrigue watching these two superstars face each other at equal weights. In January’s Donga Ilbo Silver Wolf had to carry 5kg more than Dia Road only going down three lengths. At set weights with fresh legs she is more than capable of regaining the upper hand. (2) SKY BAY showed us that she has resumed in brilliant style when winning over this distance last time out. She has placed behind the likes of Silver Wolf previously and we know she can carry weight. (4) RAON FIRST knows one way only and that is to jump and run. The Musket Man filly looks perfectly suited over the 1400m with a good draw.
(3) Silver Wolf (9) Dia Road (2) Sky Bay (4) Raon First
2, 4, 9, 14
Race 10: Class Open (1200M) SROA Trophy (KOR G3) Weight for Age / KRW 400 Million
1. WONDER BOLT – The 10-year-old never disgraces himself and will likely finish in midfield again but he simply doesn’t have the kind of speed anymore to be a serious contender in races such as this.
2. SPRING BACK – Good class 1 sprinter but perhaps not quite of the elite level at equal weights. Finished 7th in the SBS and while he could better that, he has a little too much to make up.
3. ULTRA PUNCH – Establishing himself as a competent class 1 campaigner although he is yet to win at the top level. Ran 2nd to Complete Sweep last start. Great draw so expect him to challenge for the early lead but others should end up too quick.
4. COMPLETE SWEEP – Good all the way win at this distance in July before running 3rd in a fast race on a very wet track earlier this month sandwiched between Jjang Kong and Mask in 3rd place. He’ll be aiming to get on speed from the start but isn’t among the favourites.
5. M J POWER – A very good 4th behind Do Kki Blade in the Busan Ilbo, he skipped the SBS and instead ran 2nd to Sky Bay over 1400M. Likes to come from just off the pace with a strong finish, he is unlikely to win but shouldn’t be far away.
6. EOMA EOMA – The up and comer put in a huge run to finish a desperately close 3rd in the SBS, his first serious race after three easy wins. He had to come from gate 10 that day but has fared much better with the draw this time. Moon Se-young being available means Song Jae-chul misses out despite doing everything right last time. Expect a fast start and this time he can win.
7. JJANG KONG – Put in a massive effort to run 2nd at this distance on a very wet track, beating Complete Sweep and Mask, on August 1st. That earns him his shot here but while he will grind away, aiming to close from a midfield position, surely this is too hard
8. CHEUNGDAM GENIE – Well back behind Morfhis in June, he takes his chance here having pulled off a good win over the distance on July 12th. Still potential to improve but may not have the speed to compete for the money here.
9. MASK – Returned from a lengthy absence to run 4th behind Jjang Kong and Complete Sweep on August 1st. That was a good first-up run and he has consistently posted solid times at this distance. In this company though, a few others may just be a bit quicker.
10. GLOBAL CAPTAIN – Loads of talent but he is unreliable in terms of manners. From an unpromising gate, he managed to run 6th in the SBS, coming from well back late on. At his best he is capable of winning but there are too many questions over him.
11. MEDICI GLORY – Made his way rapidly up the levels and ran a very solid 5th in the SBS. Runs best on the early speed but both draw and quality of opposition will make it difficult for him to get there. Matching that SBS performance would be a good result.
12. DO KKI BLADE – Brilliant winner of the Busan Ilbo and he can desperately close in the SBS before Morfhis snatched it away. A front-runner, his draw is worse today then in both the Busan Ilbo and SBS and he has a lot of speed inside him. Nevertheless, his quality should see him close.
13. EAST JET – A winner of five from his first six he was then a revelation in the SBS when he ran a close at hand 4th. One of just two three-year-olds in the race, along with Eoma Eoma, he gets weight allowance, but the draw isn’t kind. Will be hard to better that 4th but not impossible.
14. MORFHIS – That rarest of things in Korea; a closer who wins Group level Sprints. As in the SBS, the wide draw is arguably in his favour as he can keep out of both trouble and kickback and run his own race until the business end. If he is to repeat though he will need a lot to go right for him. A real chance once more.
15. SEONGPA – Struggled in the Busan Ilbo and skipped the SBS in order to run in the Jjang Kong race in which he finished 8th. He has posted a fast time when winning at this distance but it’s hard to make a case for him on most recent form.
VERDICT: (14) MORFHIS will aim to repeat his SBS Sports Sprint win with his customary late charge and it’s not impossible he could be successful. However, the up and comer (6) EOMA EOMA impressed that day and has drawn a much better gate. It may be that by the time Morfhis arrives on the scene, it’s too late. This time the draw does no favours to (12) DO KKI BLADE but he has plenty of quality and should be present at the business end of the race. Likewise (13) EAST JET will have to come from wide, but the wily Munro isn’t one to throw the kitchen sink early and he’ll surely be around to challenge late on. (9) MASK and (10) GLOBAL CAPTAIN are among others in the hunt for the minors in what should be a tremendous race.
Race 11: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
There looks an abundance of speed engaged in the eleventh where a field of eleven will line up over the 1400m. (4) DAEGUN CHEONHA has been a model of consistency in his thirteen start career. The Verrazano colt has won just the two races but has never finished worse than fifth including eight minor placings. From barrier four he should get every chance to figure, expect him to be hitting peak fitness at his third start back from the racing hiatus. (7) FLYING FORD put his brilliant turn of foot on display last start when gobbling up a good bunch of gallopers. The Shackleford four-year-old goes up a considerable 4.5kg which will make his task tougher, but his last win was very good. (3) KILIUI JEWANG is second-up after a midfield performance behind Munhak Tiger in this company last start. Expect improvement from the five-year-old second-up. (2) INCHEON CHIEF will drop back to the 1400m after finishing midfield at his first start back. He will take improvement out of that first up run, expect him to be on speed from gate two over the 1400m.
Race 12: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(3) STRETTO came back into form with a strong 2nd place over class and distance on August 1st. He gets in again under a very light weight and going one better isn’t impossible. (10) LUMINESCE and (11) HIGH BEAT came home 1st and 2nd at class and distance with not much between them on July 18th. Winner Luminesce was giving away 3kg that day but it’s up to 5kg today and that, coupled with the former being drawn much wider this time, may be enough to allow the consistent High Beat to overturn the form. (5) JEONGSANG ETTEUM almost made all but ultimately finished 2nd over 1400M on July 11th. From a good draw, he’ll be on pace again and has every chance. (1) PSYCHIC BOSS and (6) GLOBAL CHEONHA came home 3rd and 4th when they raced each other on July 25th at class and distance and both can aim to go close again.
(3) Stretto (11) High Beat (10) Luminesce (5) Jeongsang Etteum
Cheonji Storm romped home to win the first Group race of the year in Korea, comfortably scoring in the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Chairman’s Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
The race was billed as a re-run of January’s Segye Ilbo Trophy with all five top place-getters in that race due to take their chance. However, Segye Ilbo winner and early favourite for this race Final Boss came down lame with quarter cracks in a front hoof and had to be scratched. There is no guarantee he would have won.
Cheonji Storm was sent off favourite ahead of City Star, who just headed him for 2nd in the Segye Ilbo and it was those two left standing in the home straight after early leaders Raon Magic and Always Winner faded. Cheonji Storm was able to stretch away from his rival to win by a full two-and-a-half lengths on the line. Dongchonui Achim was a full three lengths further back in 3rd.
Cheonji Storm is a five-year-old horse and was winning for the eighth time in his career. Previous highlights include victory in the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy in 2016 and 2nd place in this race last year. For the horse – as well as for both trainer Kim Dong Kyun and jockey Jo Jae Ro – it was a first Group win.
SROA Chairman’s Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 11, 2018
1. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Jo Jae Ro – 2.5, 1.3 2. City Star (KOR) [Menifee – City Styling (Carson City)] – Jang Chu Youl – 1.4 3. Dongchonui Achim (KOR) [Officer – Abbey (Redoubte’s Choice)] – Kim Dong Soo – 1.5 Distances: 2.5 lengths / 3 lengths Also Ran: 4. Yaho Sky Cat 5. Gold Music 6. Raon Magic 7. Lead Money 8. Global Fusion 9. Always Winner 10. Wild Thunder 11. Huri Baram Non-Runner: Final Boss
8/1 chance Haemaru was the winner of the first Korean Group race of 2016, getting up for a last-gasp victory over Segye Ilbo Cup victor Global Fusion in the Seoul Racecourse Owners’ Association Trophy this afternoon.
Punters couldn’t come to any kind of consensus. Magic Dancer ended up sent off as a weak favourite but while he would show close to the front for most of the race he, along with all the early pace-setters; Yaho Sky Cat, Sun Lordly and Always Winner, would fade badly in the home straight.
It would be left to the closers and Global Fusion, the shock winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January with a similar late late show, took control with a furlong to go. His lead looked to be big enough to ensure lightning would indeed strike twice but that was to reckon without Haemaru. Fifth at the furlong pole, he relentless ground down the leader under jockey Choi Bum Hyun and snatched victory in the final strides.
Sotong Sidae, Sun Burster and Seonbong would likewise fly home from the back to occupy the minor prize money positions.
For Haemaru (Vicar), a 5-year-old gelding, it was an 8th career win on his 25th start and first Stakes victory. He was 9th in this race last year. For Jockey Choi Bum Hyun, at one-time the go to man in the weighing room for the big occasions, it was a first return to the Stakes winner’s circle since 2012.
SROA Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 13, 2016
1. Haemaru (KOR) [Vicar – Forest Flower (Timber Country)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 8.6, 2.9 2. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 4.0 3. Sotong Sidae (KOR) [Gold Money – Myeonggahuiye (Black Minnaloushe)] – Park Byeong Yun – 3.1 Distance: Head/2.5 lengths Also Ran: 4. Sun Burster 5. Seonbong 6. Always Winner 7. Yaho Sky Cat 8. Singyu Gangja 9. Best Guy 10. Gumanseok 11. Goldholic 12 Magic Dancer 13. Power City 14. Impetus 15. Raon Morris 16. Sun Lordly
Down at Busan, Beolmaui Kkum (Wildly Magic) cemented his return to the top of racing on the south coast, beating Gamdonguibada (Werblin)for a second consecutive time. over 1400M. There was a length between the pair on the line and they were split by Darkest Night (Ghostly Minister), who recorded a very solid 2nd place on his first try at class 1.