With just one week to go until the 2019 Keeneland Korea Cup & Sprint, the ten overseas raiders have begun arriving at Seoul Racecourse. However, while they were getting accustomed to their new surroundings in the international stables, a home hopeful was making a statement out on the track.
Dolkong, Korea’s star at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, took to the racecourse on Friday morning to take part in a barrier trial as part of his final preparation before the 1 Billion Won Keeneland Korea Cup on September 8th.
After settling in midfield in the early stages of the 1000M trial under veteran jockey Park Tae Jong, Dolkong was allowed off the bridle in the latter part of the home straight and cruised by the rest of the field, completing the course in a leisurely 1:00.7.
Park Tae Jong, who holds the record for most career wins by a Korean jockey, is expected to partner Dolkong for the first time in the Cup after Johan Victoire, who rode him in the Mayor’s Cup at Busan in late June, broke a collarbone in a fall last weekend.
That Mayor’s Cup victory was Dolkong’s first run since the Dubai World Cup at the end of March. Earlier at the Carnival, he won the Listed Curlin Handicap and finished 3rd in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Dolkong ran 2nd to Japan’s London Town in last year’s race and is expected to once more be the home nation’s biggest chance.
International horses began to arrive on Thursday lunchtime when Ugly Warrior and Glorious Artist rolled into Seoul Racecourse under stormy skies after the short flight from Hong Kong. They were followed twenty-four hours later on Friday when the first set of American horses; Lone Sailor, Heartwood and Fast Pass touched down.
After dark on Friday evening, the Europeans, in the shape of UK-trained Ambassadorial and Pass The Vino, as well as France-based Bakoel Koffie took up their places in the barn. No issues were reported with any of the arrivals.
The Hong Kong pair worked for the first time on Saturday morning, spending 40 minutes on the Seoul track while the Friday arrivals are expected to hit the track early on Sunday morning. The final two international arrivals, Holy Legal and Harvey Wallbanger, are expected in Seoul on Sunday evening.
With entries now closed, there are eleven runners in the Cup – four overseas and seven Korean, with a full field of sixteen in the Sprint, six of whom are international.
Fast Pass, picture Korea Racing Authority