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Korea Report: Happy Busan Homecoming For Ecton Blade

Ecton Blade made his Busan homecoming a successful on Sunday afternoon as the Korean Derby winner ran out a four-length winner of the track’s feature handicap.


The last time he raced at home on the south-coast, Ecton Blade finished a close 2nd in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown before heading to Seoul where he was an easy winner of the Derby. He couldn’t follow up in the final leg, the Minister’s Cup, but is already assured of Champion Three-Year-Old honours. And while Sunday’s seven-furlong race wasn’t against the most taxing of opposition, the Kim Young-kwan trained colt showed he has plenty of potential for further success.

Under Franco Da Silva, Ecton Blade was quickly away but soon found himself under pressure from Tapipoint and Banjiui Jewang. In the straight, however, he quickly shook them off to run out a comfortable winner to move on to a career total of 6 wins from 11 starts.

On Friday evening, things didn’t go quite so well for another of this year’s Classic winners. World Sun finished 3rd in the KRA Cup Mile and 5th in the Derby before winning the Minister’s Cup. He was sent off an even-money favourite for his return to Busan in the night’s feature class 2 handicap but came up short in 3rd place as Master Win dominated for an all the way victory over 1 1⁄4 m.

Master Win (Peace Rules) was racing at Class 2 for the first time following an eye-catching eleven-length score over 1 1⁄8 m at the end of June. Friday’s win was only the three-year-old colt’s fourth in eleven career starts but he’s a horse that looks to be getting better and better.

At Seoul, Sunday’s most valuable race was a special juvenile contest for graduates of the Jeju Breeze-Up Sale. Only two of the field had raced before and one of the newcomers was a hot favourite going into the race. That was Limitless Bid colt Gyoryong Unu but while he led into the straight, he failed to hold off the fast-finishing Strike Again colt Bal Roe who took home the big prize by just over a length at odds of 20/1.

On Saturday, Seoul’s 7 f track-record-holder Sanggam Mama (Peace Rules) roared back into top form in the class 1 sprint feature. Coming out of gate 11 he looped the entire field to race into a big early lead and never looked like being caught, ultimately coming home eight lengths in front long-shot Ace Runner, who in turn edged favourite Winner Gold into 3rd.

The victory was Sanggam Mama’s first since his four-race win streak, which included that track record, came to an end late last autumn and moved the six-year-old onto 9 wins from 28 starts. It also saw jockey Antonio Da Silva to a late treble on the day. The Brazilian rider repeated that feat on Sunday, kicking home another three winners early in the card.

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