The exciting four-year-old has won eight of his eleven career starts; including a five-length victory in the Ilbo Cup at Busan last start when beating a quality field of gallopers including odds-on favourite New Legend ($1.40).
Six of Gaon Champ’s rivals in the SBS Sports Cup are also coming out of the Ilbo Cup; with Good Casting finishing the closest to him when runner-up.
Gaon Champ’s rider Lim Gi-Won is confident his horse can win the race, but is cautious of the horse drawing barrier eleven.
“The horse’s condition remains great; I am not so satisfied to have drawn an outside gate” Lim Gi-Won said.
“I expect there will be pressure from the start so we’ve worked mainly to focus on that point”
Lim Gi-Won will rely on Gaon Champ’s high cruising speed and ability to run through the line strongly.
“He’s capable of withstanding a rapid pace and he continues on with the early-mid speed till the end of the race” Lim Gi-Won said.
“There’s not much difference with the horse but I can definitely feel some improvement”
Ace Korea resumes in the feature after an unsuccessful Dubai preparation.
The four-year-old was in stellar form prior to heading to the Emirates, winning in brilliant style over the 1400m when defeating Silver Wolf.
The four-year-old had barrier problems in Dubai when failing to jump on both occasions but has since passed a barrier test and completed a trial in brilliant fashion.
Ace Korea’s trainer Peter Wolsley is confident his horse is ready to fire first up.
“Watching him work this week at Seoul I thought he looked pretty good; his fitness is good” Wolsley said.
“I thought he trialed really good, it was an easy trial for him and he ran 59.9 (seconds)”
Ace Korea’s form prior to Dubai was exceptional, and with the inside draw on Sunday, if he can return to a form of his old self he will take some beating.
Wolsley will be instructing You Hyun Myung, who has his first ride on the four-year-old to ensure he positions the colt on speed.
Ace Korea caused headaches for connections earlier this year when jumping poorly on both of his starts at Meydan.
“My biggest fear is he can be notoriously slow away” Wolsley said
“Most times he jumps about fourth or fifth and glides forward”
“From gate one I want him to be first or second in running even if we have to hunt him up”
Connections of multiple feature winner Doraonpogyeongseon will be hoping the six-year-old can improve as he has his second start this preparation.
The son of Kantharos ran on strong in the Ilbo Cup after settling worse than midfield in the strung out field.
The Min Jang Gi trained galloper has been known for his turn of foot in his races, and from barrier eight it is likely Choi Si Dae will settle him well back in the capacity field.
Francisco Da Silva will have to overcome barrier fifteen on Sunday when he is legged aboard Good Casting for the feature.
The five-year-old beat all but Gaon Champ to the line in the Ilbo Cup; which was his fifth start this preparation.
The Majestic Warrior entire may be forced to settle further back than desirable Sunday with his ideal tactics being settled behind the leading division.
The An Woo Sung trained galloper is looking for his eight career win at start twenty-three.
Meanwhile, Korea’s most successful Australian import in the modern era looks extremely hard to beat in this Sunday’s Ttukseom Cup over 1400m at Seoul.
Silver Wolf, the daughter of Oratorio (IRE) was a $40,000 AUD purchase at the 2014 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
The now seven-year-old has gone on to amass $2.69 million AUD winning fourteen of her thirty career starts in Korea.
On Sunday she will line up in the Ttukseom Cup; the first leg of the three leg Queens Tour series.
The versatile mare has shown her class on the sand with her fourteen victories ranging between 1200m through to 2000m.
As she looks for three successive wins on Sunday; she’s coming off a brilliant performance in the Chairman’s Cup on March 17 when defeating both sexes over the 1200m.
Settling well back on the fence Yoo Seung-Wan maneuvered her into the clear in the straight, and she let down in blistering fashion to defeat Mask (2nd) by 1.75L.
Prior to her last start victory she defeated the fillies and mares in the Donga Ilbo Cup over 1800m.
One of her most powerful attributes is her ability to settle in races and let loose with an eye-catching turn of foot.
With the Ttukseom Cup ran at set weights, Silver Wolf looks extremely hard to beat on paper.
The import holds a Korean handicap rating of 125; with the next highest being Sky Bay (93), Hi Sexy and Sinui Myeongryeong (both 89).
The SBS Sports Cup gets underway at 3:50pm Korean local time followed by the Ttukseom Cup at 4:45pm.