Seoul & Busan Sunday: Clean Up Joy in YTN Cup: Preview (May 28)

The best horse in Korea will make his third start of 2017 on Sunday afternoon and Clean Up Joy looks odds-on to add the YTN Cup to his ever growing collection of big race wins. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. English race cards can be found here.

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Clean Up Joy will bid to make it 3 out of 3 for 2017 (Pic: KRA)

The 6-year-old son of Purge won the KRA Cup Classic last October and then went on to defeat Triple Nine and Power Blade in the season ending Grand Prix Stakes in December. While the vanquished pair went on to race with distinction at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Clean Up Joy stayed home.

Clean Up Joy has raced twice so far in 2017 although “raced” is a rather strong word so superior has he been, sauntering to a handicap victory in February before claiming the Herald Business Cup in April and it would be a brave punter who takes him on in the YTN.

After long-time regular jockey Ham Wan Sik relocated to Busan at the start of the year, Djordje Perovic has been the lucky one to replace him on Clean Up Joy. To do that he’s had to get off Shamrocker, who ran 3rd to Clean Up Joy las month – albeit ten lengths behind – and it’s Shamrocker who looks to be the closest thing to a rival to the favourite on Sunday.

It is racing of course and anything can happen but having beaten seven of this field across his last four starts, Clean Up Joy will surely be recording his 14th career win.

Here are notes on races to be simulcast overseas, including the YTN Cup:

Race 9: Class Open “The YTN Cup” (2000M) / Allowance / KRW 200 Million

1. UNBEATABLE – Not unbeatable but he rarely misses by much. 3rd behind Clean Up Joy and Soting Sidae at the distance last time, he carries lots more weight today but can place again.

2. BICHUI JEONGSANG – One of the best mares in Korea. 6th behind Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker last time, she is a strong closer who could get nearer today.

3. HWANGGEUMBIYUL – Last on solitary start of 2017 so far and a big ask here.

4. SHAMROCKER – 3rd behind Clean Up Joy last start and a strong winner of two class 1 races prior. May opt to set the pace here and is the biggest danger to the favourite.

5. WINNER RED – Hasn’t quite pushed on as expected but comes in following two creditable outings since being well back behind Cheonjeok in March. Minor money possible. (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Antonio da Silva Debuts – Race-By-Race Preview (May 27)

There’s a new foreign jockey in town and he’ll be in action on Saturday at Seoul where there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. English race cards here.

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Antonio Da Silva on a previous visit to Seoul

29-year-old Antonio Davielson Correira da Silva is from Brazil. He rode in his home country for 11 years, mainly in Sao Paulo and notched up over 700 winners including several Brazilian Group races.

He moved to Singapore in the summer of 2015 and enjoyed a successful stint at Kranji, even coming to Korea last year to partner Super Winner in the Korea Sprint.

Da Silva, who will be called “Antonio Davielson” in the Korean race cards, has a busy opening weekend in Seoul with six rides booked on Saturday and three on Sunday.

Notes on races to be simulcast overseas belows:

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

1. LITTLE ANGELS – Yet to win in 22 but was 3rd at odds of 140/1 last start. More respect today but still an outsider.

2. LEAD UP – An all the way winner at the distance in April and then 3rd on first try at this class three weeks ago. With a quick start, she has a good chance here.

3. SUAN STAR – Last in slow effort on only start of 2017 so far at the end of April. Not devoid of talent but hard to back here.

4. SHINE QUEEN – Has been getting progressively further away in six outings at this class but may appreciate the drop back to the minimum distance today.

5. GANGCHONUI ACHIM – Hasn’t won in 5 attempts but has been close. 2nd on both tries at this distance. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 26)

10 races at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards are here. Notes on simulcast races are below:

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Marios Mina was among the winners last Friday – can he repeat this week? (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million 

1. CHOEGANG FORCE ONE – Got his maiden win by 8-lengths on April 28th, making all on what was his second start. Up in class here but every chance again.

2. SEOGANGDAERO – 4th and a 3rd in two efforts so far at this class and should be close today.

3. BAROGA – Not too far away in five tries at this class. Steps back in trip following 6th place over a mile three weeks ago.

4. OPEN THE SKY – Highly thought of last year, he’s been gelded and returned from six months off to win by 10-lengths two weeks ago. Up in class and looks the one to beat.

5. MANGANG – Has found the money at class and distance but was a slightly disappointing 8th of 11 last start. (more…)

Coming Up In Korean Racing

The Korean Derby is now behind us and we won’t be getting a Triple Crown winner this year. We have to wait until July to see if impressive Derby winner Final Boss can win the Minister’s Cup too but in the meantime, we have a big month ahead of us. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up in June and July in Korean racing.

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All being well, Derby Winner Final Boss will aim for July’s Minister’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

June International Weekend (Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th)

The big one is of course the Korea Cup & Sprint in September but to mark the start of summer, the first weekend of June sees plenty of good racing. On the Saturday there will be excahnge races with the Selangor Turf Club, Turkey Jockey Club and China Horse Industry Association before two big group races on Sunday:

Sunday June 4 – SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3 – Sprint Series), Seoul: The 2nd leg of the Sprint Series doubles up as this year’s edition of the Korea vs Japan race. Success Story won the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the series, and he is expected to be in Seoul to try to make it two out of two in advance of the final leg, the Korea Sprint, in September. Last year’s winner Perdido Pomeroy is also expected to be there but with Power Blade now likely to stay home and Busan Ilbo 2nd place-getter Seoul Bullet spelled, Busan’s challenge is not as strong as usual. That gives opportunities to Seoul horses including Brian Dean’s Choegangja, who is 5 for 5 for the Aussie handler and could well give Dean a chance to return to his old haunt of Kranji for the KRA Trophy in July.

Currently there are two Japan-trained entrants for the race; Kimon Avalon who ran a solid 5th in the race last year, and Party Dress, a winner of 5 from 21, both trained by Arayama Katsunori.

Sunday June 4 – Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2 – Queens Tour), Seoul – The Queens’ Tour to decide the year’s champion filly or mare gets underway with the shortest race of the series, the 1400M Ttukseom Cup. This division is not especially strong at the moment and favourites are likely to include last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup winner Indian Star and KNN Cup winner Supreme Magic.

Sunday June 11 – Korean Oaks (KOR G2) Busan – There were 27 early entries for the fillies’ Classic  and we’ll get a clearer picture in the next week or so. Nevertheless, Ice Marine is set to be favourite. She won a valuable trial for the race in March and while her 6th place in the KRA Cup Mile meant she didn’t go for the Derby, she’s the standout so far. Plenty of unexposed ones could test her though.

They’re followed by:

Sunday June 28: Sports Chosun Cup (L) Seoul
Sunday July 9: Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) Busan – Informally known as the “Summer Grand Prix” it is, ater the Oaks, Busan’s 2nd most valuable race of the year. This year it will be run over 1800M. Past winners include Dangdae Bulpae, Tough Win (twice) and Gamdonguibada.
Sunday July 16: Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) Seoul – There’s no Triple Crown on the line this year but the final Classic of the year still has its intrigues. Final Boss’s Derby win was rated lower than that of Power Blade last year so can he burnish his credentials before taking on older, proven horses later in the season?
Sunday July 23: KNN Cup (KOR G3) Busan – They step up to a mile for the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour.
Sunday Jul 30: Ilgan Sports (L) Seoul

Night Racing

The nightracing season is shorter this year than last. From June, Friday meetings at Busan will switch to their night race times. Seoul will run Night meetings on Saturdays and twilight meetings on Sundays in July and August only.

Tohamsan, Sinjo Daehyeop Take Busan & Seoul Features

Tohamsan put in a commanding performance to claim victory in the feature race at Busan on Sunday afternoon, beating pre-race favourite I’m Your Father by four-lengths to record his first class 1 win.

Tohamsan (Kwaedo Nanma), who slipped and fell on the soaking wet Seoul track in last year’s Korean Derby, recovered from that to win three more times before the end of the season and be promoted to class 1 for the New Year. After three indifferent performances, he pushed the highly rated Doraon Pogyeongseon all the way over 1400M a month ago and today made all, leaving David Miller’s stable-star I’m Your Father, trailing. It was Tohamsan’s 8th win on his 15th start.

At Seoul, the main event had a much tighter finish and it was US import Sinjo Daehyeop (Summer Bird) who just did enough to take the honours and win by a nose. 2nd in the Herald Business Cup last monh, Sinjo Daehyeop was, just like Tohamsan, recording his first class 1 success.

Overseas this afternoon, Korean champion jockey Moon Se Young was in action at Kranji and while he remains yet to ride his first Singapore winner, he came close, guiding unfancied No Smoking Jeff to 2nd place in race 7 to add to a 3rd and a 4th he had achieved earlier on the card.

Banjiui Jewang Wins Again At Busan

Banjiui Jewang took the honours in a dramatic finish to the feature race at Busan on Friday. Peter Wolsley’s 4-year-old got the best of a tight four-way finish to the 1200M Sprint.

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Banjiui Jewang just gets up (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Having won four of his first five starts – the only loss being a 2nd place to Power Blade in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, Banjiui Jewang (Ecton Park) was seen as one of the leading contenders on the 2016 Classic trail. It wasn’t to be though. 7th in the KRA Cup Mile and 5th in the Derby was followed by a series of setbacks that saw him miss the final six months of the season.

He finally returned this January and while it seemed he’d lost his old form completely, he perked up with a 2nd place in early April. That was followed up two weeks later by a win – his first for 14 months – which led him to be favourite for Friday’s race. Under Jo Sung Gon, Banjiui Jewang hugged the rail throughout and just got up to defeat the fast finishing Triple Party by a nose.

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Mujeok Wonderful & Marios Mina were easy winners (Pic: Ross Holburt)

One race earlier in race 9, Thomas Gillespie’s Mujeok Wonderful (Tiz Wonderful) sauntered to a 7-length win under Cypriot jockey Marios Mina. It was a second win in four starts for the US import. Also in the winner’s circle was Francisco Da Silva; he partnered Pink Blade to victory in race 7.

*Later in the evening over in Singapore, Moon Se Young had his first rides at Kranji. As expected his three mounts (two scheduled and one additional spare), didn’t trouble the placings.

Saturday racing in Korea is at Seoul with 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. On Sunday, Seoul hass 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00 while Busan runs 6 from 12:40 to 17:05. 

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 19)

The weekend’s action in Korea gets underway with a 10-race card on Friday with the first at 11:30 and the last at 18:00. English race cards can be found here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRA 22 Million 

1. VICAR OF THE SUN – Improved 4th on his 2nd start on April 14th and will be better backed today.

2. RISING DERBY – Improved start on his 2nd start on April 21st. Ran on well and steps up to the distance for the first time.

3. GEUJIKOJI – 6th behind Sinbihan Jilju last up. Finished off well but has a bit to find.

4. YES QUEEN – Plenty of experience but little suggest a first win is on the cards.

5. ASTRA – Best of 4th so far. 6th of 11 last time and could improve today. (more…)