Wow Wow came from off the pace to score a 46/1 upset in the Segye Ilbo Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, leaving the green colours of the hotly fancied “Raon” pair, Raon First and Raon The Spurt, back down the track behind him.
After a year where owner Son Chun-soo’s Raon stable had dominated, his progressive four-year-old filly Raon The Spurt, was sent off as favourite for the Segye Ilbo (1200M KOR-Listed), the first Stakes race on the 2023 calendar, with stablemate and President’s Cup winner Raon First second in the market, ahead of Jeju Governor’s Trophy winning mare Wish Me.
While Raon First was slow out of the gate, Raon The Spurt cruised into the lead alongside fellow Group winner East Jet. But on a rare day at Seoul where the track was not kind to front-runners – nine of the eleven winners on the card emerged from the rear – the leaders were in trouble entering the straight and by the furlong pole, both had wilted.
Raon First launched a home straight challenge through traffic but the longshot pair of Wow Wow and Jangsan Laser were quicker, flashing down the outside with Wow Wow, who had settled right back in the pack in the early exchanges, coming home a length-and-a-quarter to the good. Raon First was 3rd.
With the race being restricted to Korean-bred runners, the Nasca organization’s Korea Sprint winning star Eoma Eoma was ineligible but they also own Wow Wow, a four-year-old colt by Cowboy Cal and out of the Forest Camp mare Jjak Kkung, who did her racing in Korea, winning six of twenty-six starts.
Wow Wow was on last year’s Classic trail and overcame gate fifteen to run 5th in the Korean Derby before an indifferent run in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup. Before Sunday, the highest level he had won at was class 4. He is trained by Song Moon-gil and was ridden by Song Jae-chul, who was winning just his third Stakes race after successes in the YTN Cup (then not a group race) in 2015 on Areumdaun Donghaeng and then guiding Saenae Town to victory in the Listed NACF Chairman’s Trophy last November.
There are no Listed or Graded races in Korea in February, with the next big events on the calendar the three-year-old Classic trials at Seoul and Busan on March 19.