Last Sunday one of the highlights of the Korea summer racing season was conducted at Busan with the running of the Korean Group 3 Busan Mayor’s Cup (1800m). The result not only a triumph for rising star Cheongdam Dokki, but certain to have a long term impact for the 3rd Keeneland Korea Racing Authority International Races on September 9th, 2018.
Cheongdam Dokki was venturing outside of Seoul for the first time for the Busan Mayor’s Cup, however he was able to defeat a strong set of rivals confirming his status as the top-rated horse in Korea.
Sent off as the odds-on favourite for the race, often called the “Summer Grand Prix”, Cheongdam Dokki and jockey Lim Gi Won left from the widest barrier and settled behind the leader King Of Ace and Franco Da Silva with Cheonji Storm and second favourite Triple Nine just behind him.
As the field entered the home straight, King Of Ace began to weaken and Cheongdam Dokki assumed command and while fellow Seoul-raider Cheonji Storm threatened to mount a challenge, Cheongdam Dokki comfortably saw him off in the final furlong to win by three-lengths on the line.
Triple Nine, a three-time President’s Cup winner and former Horse of the Year, hit top gear late in the race but could only come home in third place one ahead of last year’s winner I’m Your Father.
The win took Cheongdam Dokki, an American import by To Honor And Serve, to 11 wins from 16 career starts and it was his second Korean Group race win following his victory in last autumn’s Group 2 KRA Cup Classic.
He is unbeaten in 2018 with his last defeat coming in December’s Grand Prix Stakes over 2300m. It also gave him a new domestic rating of 130, the highest of any horse since the rating system in its current form began.
The result means that Cheongdam Dokki is now surely on a path to face the ultimate test in Korean racing, that of taking on the international visitors in September’s Keeneland Korea Cup (1800m) at Seoul Racecourse on September 9th, 2018.
The international race meeting, now in its third year, has two international races at Korea Group 1 level, the Keeneland Korea Cup and the Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200m). Last year the Cup was won by London Town (JPN) and the Sprint by Graceful Leap (JPN), both Japanese runners.
The Korea Cup has a stake of KRW 1 Billion and the Korea Sprint a stake of KRW 600 Million. Nominations close for the races on August 10th. Both races are on sand.