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Korea: Ecton Blade, Mask Headline Sunday Features At Busan And Seoul

Ecton Blade and Mask came home 1st and 2nd in the Korean Derby in May and the pair of them are in class 1 action on Sunday afternoon in the respective feature races at Busan and Seoul.

While the Derby was at 1 1⁄8 m, the pair look set to be pointed at shorter distances for the foreseeable future. After winning May’s Classic, Ecton Blade ran 3rd in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup over 1 1⁄4 m in June, but found older horses at that distance a completely different prospect when 9th of 16 in the President’s Cup last month.

However, between those two races, he returned to Busan and dropped back to Sunday’s trip of 7 f to record a comfortable class 1 victory.

South African jockey Francois Herholdt will get the leg-up on Ecton Blade in Sunday’s race 5 and the colt will be favoured to prevail with the likes of Morning Daero and Daeho Sidae likely to provide the stiffest examinations.

As for Mask, he ran 4th in the Minister’s Cup before having a couple of near-misses around two turns in September and October. A month ago he dropped back to 7 f and returned to the winner’s circle, taking out a class 2 handicap by three-lengths.

Sunday will be Mask’s first try at class 1 and it won’t be easy as he meets Gangtoma, a winner of six from ten, and who, like Ecton Blade was an also-ran in the President’s Cup but should pose a much sterner test this time. Track record holder for the distance Sanggam Mama is also among a competitive field of twelve who will contest the concluding race 12 in the capital.

Earlier at Busan, New Legend will get the chance to show what he is made Though Korean bred, the Menifee colt began his racing career in the United States, winning a maiden special weight contest at Arlington Park in July. The three-year-old returned to Korea in the autumn and was an easy winner over 6 1⁄2 f three weeks ago. In Sunday’s race 3 at Busan, he steps up to 1 1⁄8 m and runs straight into the in-form Challanhan Miso for his first real local test. He will be expected to come through

There are 12 races at Seoul on Sunday (10:45 to 18:00 KST) and 5 at Busan (12:40 to 16:15).

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