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Seirene Stuns as Outsider in Tiara Finale For Silk Sporting Owner

There will be no Triple Tiara winner this year as Seirene, the longest shot on the board – and a maiden to boot – stormed through late to claim glory, and a first ever race win, in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (1 1/4M KOR-G3) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Having won both prior legs of the Triple Tiara, the Luna Stakes and Korean Oaks, Eclipse Berry was sent off as the hot favourite for the Gyeonggi, ahead of Global Taeyang, who had run 3rd in both races, getting especially close when Moon Se-young dropped his crop on Eclipse Berry in the Oaks, but still went down by a nose.

In the final leg of the Tiara, Global Taeyang began badly and was always chasing while Eclipse Berry set the pace under Moon Se-young. You Hyun-myung rode Global Taeyang up to be on the heels of Eclipse Berry in the back straight, but it was quickly apparent that the Luna Stakes and Oaks runner-up had very little left in the tank.

The favourite quickly capitulated as Flying Star first struck the front and then Seirene set out in pursuit. Flying Star would put in a special effort, but Seirene, the longest shot on the board (US Markets), would pick her off in sight of the line.

Son Jin-ha, representative of the Gong I Gong Pal ownership group of the 42/1 chance Seirene, had taken the unusual step of leading his filly around the parade ring while sporting a full replica jockey silk. He was still wearing it after the race.

"I cheered until my voice was hoarse" Son told in-house broadcaster KRBC. "As they got to the 4th corner, I was thinking that we might manage to come 3rd. But suddenly (the leaders weakened) and I thought we might get 2nd. And then the end. It was thrilling. I can't believe it!"

When asked about his parade ring appearance (it wasn't the first time he has worn his silks in the parade ring) Son said: "I think it is important to show the happiness an owner can have."

"We have been doing this for just eight years (the Gong I Gong Pal club), but we have shown it is possible – we went into this race with a maiden filly and now she has won a Group 3!" Seirene was the only one in the race yet to break her maiden. But how she broke it! When I bought her, I assumed she would be better at long distances. My hope is that she can continue to race at these distances for years to come."

Owner Son then poked fun at the English translation of his filly's name noting that he had intended it to be "Siren": "Because they lure foolish men onto the rocks."

Whether the Korean racing registry will take note is yet to be seen. 

The rest of the connections were just as forthcoming: "This is just the second time I rode her, and I tried to stick as close to the leaders as possible" winning jockey Jang Chu-youl told in-house broadcaster KRBC. "Flying Star went to the lead in the home straight and she was going so well that she looked like she wasn't going to stop. I just asked Seirene to give as much as she could, and she just wouldn't give up. It felt so good." 

"I think (Seirene) has the potential to go further and challenge for the Queens' Tour races later this year." Jockey Jang then reflected on a personal note. "We always want to win the best races and for me it has been a long time since I did, (the 2012 G3 SROA Chairman's Sprint was his only prior Group win) so I am grateful, and I will work harder in future."

"I didn't expect this at all. I never even thought about it, really." trainer An Hae-yang told in house broadcaster KRBC. And he didn't say any more as the notoriously shy – and somewhat old-school trainer ushered his assistant to answer the remainder of the questions on his behalf. For An, it was a fourth Group win in a twenty-five-year career, having won the 2001 Minister's Cup with Mubidongja and then two Koreans Oaks with Amaranth in 2003 and Uaryung in the Covid hit 2020 season.

It's another big winner for sire To Honor And Serve. The stallion attracted Korean notice with his imported champion Cheongdam Dokki. That alerted Korean breeders and they bought him. Along with Seirene, he is the sire of locally-bred superstars Global Hit and Beolmaui Star.

Bred by Kim Sang-wook, Seirene was bought by her owners, the 0208 or "Gong I Gong Pal" group for $18,000 at the December 2022 Mainland Yearling Sales. 

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