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Gaon Champ bids to retain Busan Ilbo in hot renewal

The fifteenth running of the Busan Ilbo Cup is the feature race for the weekend with a capacity field of sixteen to face the starter at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. With the postponement of the Chairman’s Cup due to Covid-19, this will be the first leg of the 2020 Korean Sprint Series.

Eight of Seoul’s top sprinters will line up against eight of Busan’s best over the 1200m. The Group Three feature was taken out by Gaon Champ last year, who lines up in the event once again. 

The winning trifecta of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January will reunite to face off once more. There was less than half a length covering the first three in the 1200m listed feature with Simjangui Godong (1st), Do Kki Blade (2nd) and Gaon Champ (3rd) completing the trifecta. Last year’s Champion Three-Year-Old Simjangui Godong showed a brilliant turn of foot over the sprint distance after dropping back from the 1800m the start prior. Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ both settled on speed and were gallant up the Seoul straight. 

Last start Class One winner Seobu Cat will face his toughest test to date, coming of four successive victories. The four-year-old comes off a dominant two length victory when carrying the featherweight of 51kg, defeating Doraonpogyeongson (2nd/58kg) and Ace Korea (4th/60kg).
Last year’s Korea Sprint runner-up Dia Socks will make the trip to Busan for the feature. The five-year-old comes off a last start fourth behind Global Captain, who is absent from the race. The five-year-old is never the fastest out of the gates, but he did fail to muster early on last start which cost him a closer finish after rattling home late. To make things more difficult, he has been dealt the outside gate but will have the services of Korea’s leading jockey in Moon Se-Young.

M J Power and Morning Daero both come off Class One victories. M J Power saluted over the 1200m in February with just 52kg on his back, he beat home Munhak Winner (3rd/52kg) who will line up in the event as well. Morning Daero comes off a 1400m victory carrying 56.5kg when defeating former KRA Cup Classic Winner Divide Wind (4th/52kg). 

King Of Glory was beaten four lengths last start late December over 1200m in Class One grade carrying 56kg, with Hi Sexy finishing well back in the same race. Clean Up Board comes off a last start midfield performance behind Heuk Jeonsa whilst Seongpa and Seongsan Simon saluted in Class 1 events over 1200m and 1400m respectively.

In a wide open version of the Busan Ilbo Cup, Gaon Champ is the on top selection. The five-year-old entire has been so consistent throughout his career to date, winning nine of fourteen and placing on three other occasions. He is drawn to likely find the fence early on, and if not sit at worst one of the fence outside of Seongpa who is a speedy type. His trial in April was encouraging, Lim Gi-won looked statuesque aboard him as he worked home under his own steam to clock a good time. Epsom Derby-winning jockey Alan Munro is the beneficiary of an injured Lim Gi-won and will be legged aboard on Sunday. 
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