London Town, Moanin complete Japan double for second straight year in Korea Cup & Sprint
For the second straight year, Japan-trained horses dominated the two Korean Grade 1 races – the Keeneland Korea Cup and Keeneland Korea Sprint – held on Sunday at Seoul Racecourse.
Moanin, winner of the 2016 G1 February Stakes, entered the race as the favorite and demonstrated great closing speed in the Korea Sprint, travelling mid-field and outlasting second-favorite Fight Hero by a head to cross the wire in 1:11.5. Moanin was ridden by Kanichiro Fujii, a global Japanese jockey who has been based in several countries, including Korea. Fujii also rode Chrysolite to victory in the 2016 Korea Cup.
Trained by veteran trainer, Sei Ishizaka, Moanin picked up his eighth career victory in his first start over 1,200m. It was his first win since the Coral Stakes in March, an open class race over 1,400m.
“He adjusted well to the environment here and was in good condition,” Ishizaka said after the race. “There were some concerns with his first time over the distance, but he showed his potential in the end.”
“I wanted to bring him to a forward position early on, but the horse on his outside was quick out the gates and it was not an easy trip,” Fujii said. “It was a very tight race until the end, but I'm really happy with the result.”
The following race, the Korea Cup over 1,800m, saw another Japan-trained horse in the winner's circle, but in complete dominating form. London Town, back to repeat his Korea Cup title from last year, hit the front early in the backstraight and never relinquished the lead, winning in 1:50.6 and 15 lengths ahead of runnerup Dolkong.
This was the 5-year-old horse's first win since his triumph in Korea last year and eighth overall in 27 starts.
“Similar to last year, everything went well leading up to the race,” trainer Kazuya Makita said. “He stretched his lead in the backstretch, so I was able to watch the race with relief. It would be an honor if he can get invited again next year.”
“The plan was to hit the front from the start, but the horse on my outside was rearing to go, so I let him go,” jockey Yasunari Iwata said. “The horse was relaxed compared to last year, and the result today showed how much he has improved in a year. My hat's off to the horse for his performance today.”
* Please visit the following website for more information.
Korea Racing Authority (racing page)