Under a patient ride by Yoo Seung-wan, Silver Wolf still had eight in front of her as she entered the home straight, but once she found room and her stride, she motored past them all, going away to win by almost two lengths on the line. It was her fourteenth win in total and fourth Group triumph on what was her first start as a seven-year-old.
Pre-race most of the attention had been on the return of Cheongdam Dokki (USA). Seoul’s highest rated horse was making his first start for Luigi Riccardi and first since down at 1200M in more than two years. With the feeling that flat-out Cheongdam Dokki could have the race won before his rivals got anywhere near top-gear, the five-year-old was sent off as the odds-on favourite.
It was not to be for Cheongdam Dokki though. Not as sharp as others coming out of the gates, he looked slightly ungenerous and uncomfortable throughout although he did gather himself together in the straight, picking off several to finish in 5th place. He’ll be back and winning again.
As it was, Gaon Champ (KOR) who set the pace. The Trainers’ Cup winner jumped slightly at the start and then hard to work hard to hold his rail position ahead of Panorama Show (USA) and Sinui Myeongryeong (KOR). He did that, holding the lead until the final furlong, ultimately ending up in 4th on what was his first taste of true elite company. Panorama Show, the last of the early leaders to succumb, was a revelation in 3rd place.
Perhaps the performance of the race came from runner-up Mask (KOR). As expected, last year’s Korean Derby 2nd place-getter didn’t quite have the early speed needed to sit just off the leaders and got shuffled back further than he would have liked and ended up hampered rounding the corner. Once he found his run in the home straight though, he was superb, getting the closest to Silver Wolf on the line and with only the winner and the closer Cheonjiga (USA), who came from last to 6th in the final furlong and a half, matching him for speed late on. He can have a big say in the top races later in the year.
This time though the day belonged, as it has so many times before, to Silver Wolf.