Korea: Gaon Champ Holds Off Gasokbulpae To Win Trainers’ Cup

Gaon Champ rounded out 2018 at Seoul Racecourse on a winning note but he was pushed all the way before claiming a narrow victory over Gasokbulpae in the Trainers’ Cup on Sunday.
A winner of six from eight heading into the valuable sprint, Gaon Champ was sent off as the prohibitive favourite of the eight runners but after a slightly slow start, had to work to get to his favoured forward position in the 6 f contest. That gave Gasokbulpae, who a year ago had surprised Final Boss to win this race, to gain the initiative and the pair raced side-by-side around the turn.

Ultimately, Gaon Champ would have too much and while he never managed to truly shake off the defending champion, he always looked like he had a little bit more in the tank and the Ecton Park colt took the line just under a length in front of his rival. He’s going to be one to watch in the big sprints in 2019.

It was somewhat fitting that Antonio Da Silva, who was this week crowned champion jockey, won Seoul’s last race of the year, taking out the concluding race 15 on East Palos, but it was a former champion who had the best of the day. It has been trying year for Moon Se Young with multiple lengthy injury layoffs. He was on song on Sunday, however, claiming a quartet of victories. Moon will be relieved to get 2018 over with and can head into the New Year ready for a tilt at wresting back his crown.

On Saturday at Seoul, Winner Gold continued his very impressive run of form. The US import landed his second straight Class 1 event, seeing off Shamrocker and Silver Wolf over 1 1⁄8 m in what was one of Seoul’s strongest handicaps of the year. Winner Gold (Wildcat Heir) now has 8 wins from 13 starts as he heads into his four-year-old campaign.

While Seoul’s racing is now complete for the year, there are full cards at Busan next Saturday and Sunday.

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