Riven Light and Forest Ranger in search of Far East riches in Korea Cup
Seoul: Keeneland Korea Cup | local Group 1 | 1m1f | 3yo+ | dirt | 8.55am BST
Riven Light and Forest Ranger tackle 12 other rivals in Seoul on Sunday for the biggest race of the Korean season – the Keeneland Korea Cup.
With Won1,000,000,000 (£703,000) in prize-money up for grabs and no entry fees to pay, both sets of connections have taken the gamble to send runners to the up-and-coming racing nation.
Riven Light, trained by Willie Mullins for Susannah and Rich Ricci, is no stranger to racing abroad having contested the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes in Australia last year in which he sustained a serious leg injury.
However, the six-year-old made a winning return to action at the Galway festival and Mullins has called on some local contacts to boost his charge’s chances of victory in the 1m1f dirt contest.
"Riven Light has settled in well and we're looking forward to seeing him run,” Mullins said from Seoul on Saturday. “The race is on dirt and the surface is much softer than any of the all-weather tracks we race on in Ireland or Britain. He's seemed to handle it okay in his preparation but there's likely to be plenty of kickback so we'll have to see if that will be an issue.
“We've gone for a local jockey – Jo Sung Gon – who is one of Korea's top riders. Peter Hill, who used to train in Ireland and is now a leading trainer and owner over here, recommended him to us."
While Mullins has gone for a local rider, the Richard Fahey-trained Forest Ranger will be partnered by regular jockey Tony Hamilton, who makes a flying visit to South Korea having arrived on Saturday evening before returning to Britain on Monday.
Leading the betting for the third running of the Korea Cup is London Town, who became the second successive winner of the race trained in Japan when romping to a four-length success last year.
Ennobled Friend, who had been due to carry the colours of owner Sheikh Juma Damook Al Maktoum, was declared a non-runner for the race on Saturday due to lameness.
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