Silver Wolf Adds KNN To Ttukseom In Busan Romp

Plenty doubted her but today at Busan, Silver Wolf answered in emphatic fashion, crushing her rivals in the KNN Cup to add to her Ttukseom Cup last month and put herself withing touching distance of a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour series.

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Silver Wolf & Yoo Seung Wan win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

There was an enforced jockey change with Djordje Perovic being indisposed and also the nagging doubt that Haeya only allowed herself to be caught in the Ttukseom Cup because she had set off early in the race in pursuit of a couple going too fast. Haeya was duly sent off the odds-on favourite with Silver Wolf in excess of 7/1 on the Korean tote.

The early but not unexpected scratching of Ottug Ottugi meant there was going to be one less on the early speed but as it was, Gaenari, under Kim Yong Geun set off from gate 13 like the proverbial scalded cat, looped the field and had three lengths on the rest withing a furlong. Concerningly for favourite backers, Haeya, this time with Ham Wan Sik on board, gave chase with Silver Wolf and Yoo Seung Wan tracking her every move.

So they remained until the straight until Gaenari, inevitably, ran out of steam (she would equally inevitably finish last). With her out of the way though, it was Silver Wolf took charge with Haeya having nothing to give. The race was won a furlong and a half from home and the Aussie-bred 5-year-old cruised home with a winning margin of five lengths.

That nine lengths wasn’t to Haeya. She found herself caught by the game Mighty Gem, who dispelled the ever-present doubts about her soundness by running on tremendously to go from 10th to 2nd in the home straight and snatch the big runner’s-up purse. Another pair of outsiders, O.K. Yeondap and The Queen Silver came home next to make it four Seoul horses out of the top five.

Silver Wolf [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] was a $40,000 purchase from Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2014. Today was her 7th win in 16 career starts and takes her to over 800 Million Korean Won in Prize money. For trainer Song Moon Gil, it was his 3rd Group race win – his others coming through Clean Up Joy in last year’s Grand Prix and of course, Silver Wolf in the Ttukseom Cup. It is jockey Yoo Seung Wan’s first Group win. His previous biggest victories had come with a pair of wins in the Segye Ilbo Cups of 2013 and 2016.

The final leg of the Queens’ Tour is the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup which will run at Busan on November 12th. A lot can happen between now and then and it will be over 2000M. Nevertheless, that just means Silver Wolf has an extra few months to get even better. A clean sweep could very well happen.

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Silver Wolf in the KNN Cup winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

KNN Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 23, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 8.3, 1.8
2. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] – Kim Hye Sun – 12.6
3. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxaholic (Macho Uno)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.1
Distances: 9 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. O.K. Yeondab (USA) 5. The Queen Silver (KOR) 6. Gold Blue (JPN) 7. Supreme Magic (USA) 8. Black Sapphire (KOR) 9. Santa Gloria (KOR) 10. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 11. Steal The Show Why (KOR) 12. Queen’s Queen (KOR) 13. Queen Two Hearts (KOR) 14. Gaenari (CAN). NR: Ottug Ottugi (KOR)

KNN Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (July 23)

The second leg of the Queens’ Tour Champion Filly & Mare series is the highlight of a busy Sunday of racing in Korea. The KNN Cup will be run over a mile at Busan. There are 6 races at Busan from 13:25 to 17:40 and 11 at Seoul from 11:45 to 19:00. English racecards are here.

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Silver Wolf defeated Haeya in the Ttukseom Cup. They race again in the KNN Cup at Busan (Pic: KRA)

Silver Wolf defeated Haeya to win the first leg of the Tour, the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul on June 4th. However, that day Haeya went off a little too fast trying to chase down an early leader and paid for it in the closing stages. She could overturn that form today. Silver Wold will be dangerous but there are concerns over the fitness of another contender, last year’s Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi, about whom a final decision will be made in the morning. If she doesn’t run, it could change the complexion of the contest given her front running style.

Other contenders include Black Sapphire although it is perhaps a furlong shorter than she would like and Seoul raider Areumdaundonghaeng. Last year’s winner Supreme Magic won’t be among the favourites but can’t be completely ruled out. Form comments on all 13 Sunday races fro overseas simulcast are below:

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

1. SINUI MYEONGRYEONG – Hansen 2yo made all to win very easily on debut a month ago. Up in class but should have few problems with this lot.
2. JUGEUKSEONG – Well back in recent outings.
3. USEUNG DESIGN – Maiden winner over 1200M in May but only beat one home on first try at this class.
4. PARTY TIME – Not too far away from minor placings most times and could sneak some here.
5. FIRSTIGE – Up in class following maiden win at 1200M last month. This is harder but he should be competitive.
6. SIMON MISSILE – Up in class after maiden win at 1300M all the way back in April. Not favoured to repeat but can get some minor money.
7. JINGYEOGUI RACE – Yet to win but has come close on plenty of occasions. First try at class 5 and should go well.

Verdict: Four of the seven are racing at this class for the first time and the three that aren’t look to be the outsiders. (1) SINUI MYEONGRYEONG should win and win well at (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 22)

French jockey Johan Victoire will make his Korean debut in the saddle at Seoul on Saturday and it’s a good weekend for him to do so. A number of jockeys are absent from Seoul in order to ride in the KNN Cup at Busan on Sunday and Victoire is among those who could take advantage in the 11 race Saturday card which runs from 14:00 to 21:00. English cards are here. Notes on races for overseas simulcast are below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million 
1. WONDERFUL LUCKY – 4th in trial behind Jungdong Jijon
2. MENI TURBO – 2nd on debut on June 24th and strong favourite here.
3. BABY STAR – 5th in trial behind Special Light. Wasn’t quick.
4. CUPID STORM – Well back behind Jungdong Jijon and Wonderful Lucky in trial.
5. MASK – 2nd in trials and looks set to go well.
6. CAPTAIN POWER – Trialled a couple of times and worked ok but probably best to watch first up.
7. FIORE – Looks competent enough and can go well.
8. HESEDEU – 3rd on debut at the end of May but considerably slower than Meni Turbo. Should lead here.
9. OPI WINTER – Trialled up behind Icheon Seal – looks to have plenty to make up on that one. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 21)

It’s Friday! It’s Busan! 10 races on the South Coast from 14:30 to 21:00. English racecards are here, notes on races for overseas simulcast are below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

1. GAMUNUI YEOWANG – 10th on debut behind Black Fine.2. BOUND TODAY – Solitary star was in November last year. Trialled up averagely.
3. S PARIS – Offered little in three goes last year. First start in nine months. Looked ok in trials.
4. CHEONJI RHYTHM – Slow in both outings to date.
5. HANEOLUI GISANG – First timer. Not quick in trial but knew what to do. Top stable.
6. ROYAL RIVER – Debut-maker. Trial wasn’t quick but did enough.
7. NEULPUREUN DRAGON – Only beat a couple home on debut.
8. MIO – Faded on debut over 1300M. Should much better at the minimum today.
9. SEOGANG JILJU – First start today. Trialled up behind Pocket Rocket.
10. POCKET ROCKET – Debut-maker who looked competent in trial.
11. BLACK FINE – 7th and 5th in two stars to date. Drops to 1000M for the first time and surely has a good chance. (more…)

Choegangja & Zentenary Set for Kranji KRA Trophy

Two Korea-trained horses, Choegangja and Zentenary, are in Singapore for the annual running of the Korea Racing Authority Trophy which will be held over 1200M at Kranji this coming Sunday. As in previous years, the race will be broadcast live – without betting – at Seoul & Busan Racecourses during the local Sunday afternoon cards.

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Choegangja, on his way to victory last year, is in Kranji (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The Korean contingent has generally not found this race to be easy and this year looks set to be no exception as they face a strong local challenge attracted by the S$250,000 purse. Zentenary has drawn gate 1 while Choegangja will break from gate 8. Here’s the field (full card at the Singapore Turf Club website here):

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This year there’s no excuse for lack of local knowledge as both horses are in the care of Brian Dean, the former Singapore based trainer who has just finished up training in Seoul. Additionally, unlike previous runnings of this race, it was decided this time to put local Kranji-based jockeys on board the two horses and accordingly Oscar Chavez, who partnered El Padrino in his second Asia Challenge Cup at Seoul Racecourse in 2015, will ride Choegangja while Malaysian Kasim A’Isisuhairi gets the leg-up on Zentenary.

Choegangja (USA) [Silver Train – Sweet Sizzle (Distorted Humor)]

The pick of the two, he blossomed after moving to Brian Dean at the tail-end of his three-year-old season, winning five races in a row and moving from class 3 to class 1 in the process. He finally came unstuck when missing the break in the SBS Sports Trophy at the start of June, resenting the kick-back and ultimately finishing last but can be forgiven for that. A US bred, Choegangja was a $40,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton 2-year-olds in training sale in May 2015.

Zentenary (USA) [First Defence – Celestic (Sky Classic)]

A $30,000 buy from OBS 2-year-olds in training sale in 2013, the now 6-year-old has won 6 of his 31 starts with one of them coming at class 1, an all-the-way effort last Christmas Eve. He’s been up and down in six outings in 2017 with two 3rd places being the best including last time out on June 18th, over this distance of 1200M.

 

JP Guillambert Begins Busan Sojourn With Winner

It’s not easy being a foreign jockey in Korea, not even at the traditionally more open Busan. Early runs on the board are essential and that’s exactly what JP Guillambert managed to achieve on his first weekend in the saddle on the South Coast.

The 34-year-old had five rides across the two days for five different trainers and Guillambert finished inside at least the minor money on four of them. The highlight though was his first victory which arrived on Sunday afternoon on the modestly-named Global Champion in race 2.

The three-year-old Cape Blanco colt had looked every inch the no-hoper in his early starts and even though he had been showing signs of figuring things out in his latest two, Global Champion was nevertheless sent off at odds in excess of 50/1.

Guillambert’s fellow British jockey Darryll Holland will probably want to forget the race as he looked set to make all on co-favourite Vega Khan. That was until the very final strides when Guillambert brought Global Champion unnoticed up the rail to steal victory by half a length on the line.

Victory may have been a tad fortunate but for Guillambert, who like Holland will have to overcome a riding weight of 54kg which will limit his opportunities, it’s a great start.

Guillambert is riding at Busan on an initial four-month license.

33/1 Yeonggwanguihunter Wins Minister’s Cup

There was a surprise in the Minister’s Cup as outsider Yeonggwanguihunter (Colors Flying) raced to victory in what was the final leg of the 2017 Korean Triple Crown at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Derby winner Final Boss was sent off as favourite for the 2000M test but just like in the Cup mile, he didn’t feature until far too late after a pedestrian (to put it generously) pace was set in the early stages on a track that was beginning to dry out following a weekend of rain.

Cup mile winner Indian King performed admirably, joining outsider Wild Thunder on what passed for the early speed and staying on well for 2nd place. Daeho Sidae built on disappointing runs in both Cup Mile and Derby to come home a close 3rd. Royal Ruby, 2nd in both first two legs ran well in 4th.

The day belonged to Yeonggwanguihunter though whose jockey Lim Sung Sil opted to loop the field in the back straight, something that transpired to be the key move. They struck the front a furlong out and comfortably saw off the late challenges to win by half a length on the line.

Yeonggwanguihunter began the race a 33/1 chance. He’d won three of his ten previous starts at no higher level than class 4 and at no greater distance than 1300M. He took his chance here following 3rd place in an 1800M class 3 handicap a month ago.

For trainer Lim Keum Man, it was a second Group winner following Yeongung Manse in the 2009 Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. For jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a seventh group success.

Yeonggwanguihunter [Colors Flying – Cheers Again (Awesome Again)] was bred by Kim Hae Buk. His dam, Canada-bred Cheers Again was a $17,000 purchase from Keeneland’s October 2007 Breeding Stock sale. Yeonggwanguihunter is her fifth foal to race in Korea with four of them having won at least one race. She has a yearling by Eurosilver and recently produced a foal by Chapel Royal. Both are colts.

Busan provided the first four home on the day with Final Boss leading home the Seoul representatives in 5th. Final Boss surely remains the most naturally gifted of this crop. Will he produce later in the year?

Minister’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – July 16, 2017

1. Yeonggwanguihunter (KOR) [Colors Flying – Cheers Again (Awesome Again)] – Lim Sung Sil – 33.7, 6.5
2. Indian King (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] – Ham Wan Sik – 3.3
3. Daeho Sidae (KOR) [Simon Pure – Ara Mireu (Didyme)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.8
Distances: 0.5 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Royal Ruby 5. Final Boss 6. Wild Thunder 7. America Power 8. Uju Star 9. Jejui Haneul 10. Bright Star 11. Teukbyeol Star 12. Choegang Jeollyeok