Japan duo takes home Korea Cup & Sprint titles
Japan took the honours for the two international races at the Korea Autumn Racing Carnival at Seoul Racecourse (LetsRun Park Seoul) on Sunday, September 10th, 2017, with London Town (JPN) and Graceful Leap (JPN) completing a winning double of the two Korean Grade 1 races – the Keeneland Korea Cup and Keeneland Korea Sprint.
Graceful Leap put Japan on the board first, with Yutaka Take guiding the seven-year-old horse to victory in the 700k Korean Won (approximately US$620,000), Korea Sprint (1200m).
Trained by Shinsuke Hashiguchi, Graceful Leap broke well from the barriers and settled behind America’s Perdido Pomeroy setting the early pace. Graceful Leap caught Perdido Pomeroy with 300m to run going away to a good win with a 1 3/4L margin over locally trained Power Blade and another USA runner Doraonpogyeonseon third with the margin 2L. The time was 1.10.70.
It was a debut win for the experienced Take.
“The horse was in good condition and getting a great jump was huge – it was an ideal race for him,” Take said.
“He hung on well until the end. We had a great crowd and I felt the excitement of the Korea racing fans close by. I’m thrilled to be able to win my first race riding in such atmosphere.”
London Town, the second favorite and ridden by Japan’s Yasunari Iwata, lead all the way to win the 1bn Korean Won (approximately US$885,000) Korea Cup (1800m), with compatriot and last year’s champion Chrysolite (JPN), ridden by Take, finishing four lengths behind in second. The Japanese duo dominated the 11-horse field, with America-trained Papa Shot finishing 17 lengths behind Chrysolite for third. The time was 1.50.70 on the sand track.
London Town, a four-year-old horse by Kane Hekili trained by Kazuya Makita, came to Korea after winning the Grade 3 Elm Stakes at Sapporo Racecourse in August.
Similar to Take, it was also the first ride in Korea for Iwata, who has won major races globally, including Australia, Hong Kong and USA.
"I had the outer barrier draw, so I was thinking of travelling behind Chrysolite. But I got a great jump, so I let him take the lead," Iwata said.
"He travelled with a steady pace, so I was able to win rather comfortably. The grandstand and screen at Seoul Racecourse are huge and I enjoyed riding in the enthusiastic atmosphere of the Korea racing fans."