Just a brief one today as it was a day of generally unspectacular racing. On the plus side, Seoul Racecourse Park was bathed in thoroughly spectacular sunshine providing a wonderful day for the above average sized crowd. Betting was competitive all day long with punters undecided on many races. Moon Se Young returned riding three favourites but each time was beaten as sure things were hard to come by. Particularly disappointing was Easy Company in race 6 which had one 2 out of its 3 previous races but failed to stay the extra 200 metres trip. Most notable performance of the day came in race 10 as the highly fancied Jeokdaejeok added to his impressive record with a comfortable win under Yoon Dae Keun.
A beautiful day at Gwacheon saw bright sunshine and a welcome return to reasonable temperatures after last week’s cold. The torrential rain on Friday afternoon resulted in heavy going and a track that looked more like mud than the usual sand. This had a predictably unpredictable effect on the form and it was a day of long-shots coming in and odds-on chances getting beaten. The most surprising result of the day came perhaps in race 10 where Wontagi Gisa – a horse with W130Million of prize money from just 9 races behind it failed to feature at all in a race won by the unfancied Jeoldae Banji under Shim Seung Tae – the tote paying 60.0 on the win. Australian Danny Craven had two rides but didn’t trouble the placings.
Sunday will see another 12 races plus the return of Moon Se Young after 2 racing days off.
Aussie jockey makes second appearance
There’s a 12 race card with the first at 11:00 and the last at 17:20. There are no feature races but as ever, the final three are the most valuable. It’s a card of long races with every race from 7 onwards being over 1700 metres or further. After a Friday afternoon of thunderstorms and torrential rain, the track may be a little heavy but the day is expected to be dry and much warmer than recent days with temperatures of up to 10C. Australian jockey Danny Craven will make his second Korean appearance in the fifth race. Craven debuted last week with a winner. A quick check on Virtual Form Guide shows he has a record since 2003 of 115 winners from 1316 rides based in South East Queensland although he has also ridden in the past in Mauritius. He rides in races 5 and 9 so a further update tomorrow.
Eventful day for Iku and it’s cold…very cold…
Winter arrived in a big way in Seoul this weekend. The early forecast of a high of 6C proved hopelessly optimistic as the temperature struggled to rise over freezing. This, coupled with a biting easterly wind, made it a bracing day at the races. On the track, the weekend’s big race was the “NACF Chairman’s Trophy Race” over 1800 metres and worth 67,000,000won to the winner. The 5 year old Pilseung Giwon, running in her fortieth race took the trophy under Ikuyasu Kurakane, a length and a half ahead of the odds-on favourite Morning Dance under Cho Kyoung Ho.
Ikuyasu had an eventful day, placing and winning in early races before falling on the final bend in Race 9 while riding the highly fancied Biroesonata. Placed fifth at the time, Biroesonata pulled out into the back of Magic Sarang (ridden by Oh Kyung Ho) and went over. Remarkably, from what looked like a bad tumble, both horse and jockey were straight up. Magic Sarang went on to cross the line first, however, a steward’s inquiry found Oh to have been responsible for Iku’s fall and the horse was disqualified. Hyo Bin, under Lee Sung Hwan, was promoted to first place. Iku went straight from the ambulance to the paddock for the big race clearly with a point to prove.
Overall a good day’s sport but the cold is here – and it’s going to be at least four months until the end is in sight!
Last weekend’s International Jockey Challenge received a little overseas attention with one or two English language websites carrying reports notably in South Africa. SAHorseracing.com had a story on Gerrit Schlecter’s victory as well as a link to the article the website wrote as a follow-up to its junket trip to Seoul on the KRA last year (half of which is a cut and paste from the KRA’s site).
Winter is expected to get underway with a vengeance tomorrow with predicted highs of just 6C. Nevertheless there’s a 12 race card at Seoul Racecourse Park with the first under orders at 11:00 and the last at 17:20. The most valuable race is Race 11 at 16:50 – a 2000 metre handicap worth 60,000,000won. Only seven runners are declared though which means that place bets will only pay out on first and second – a rarity at Gwacheon – so the entertaining betting looks to be earlier in the day.
The International Jockeys Challenge was won by one of the international entrants and it was another great day for Moon Se Young
International Jockeys Challenge
Despite not winning any of the four designated races in the challenge, South African Gerrit Schlechter was the overall winner in terms of prize-money and took the $20,000 award. Cho Kyoung Ho finished second in the standings following his win on Bandoueui Byeol in the 15:20 “Macau Jockey Club Goodwill Trophy” beating Schlecter by a nose on High Boy. Park Tae Jong finished third overall. Schlecter also took time out to win Race 9 – not part of the Challenge – on joint-favourite Eoullimnyeongung overhauling long time leader Balgeunhae (Yoon Dae Keun) in the final furlong. An interesting event and it was certainly a novelty to see so many official looking foreigners around Gwacheon. They even laid on a US military band for the presentation ceremony. The only pity was that Irish representative Wayne Lordan seemed to get lumbered with the weakest horse in each race – four times he got himself into a good position on the final turn – four times the horse then went backwards.
Moon does the business again
The weekend has further cemented Moon Se Young’s reputation as the man you most trust your money with at the moment. Following on from his success in yesterday’s feature race, Moon repeated the trick in today’s feature taking the 80,000,000won 1400 metre Handicap Special on Saerounbisul. Taking an early lead, Moon was overtaken on the final turn and seemingly boxed-in until he found a gap with a furlong to go and won pulling away from Park Tae Jong on Ilbo Gyeongcheon and Gerrit Schlecter on Eunpa Manse. A superb ride that earned rare applause from racegoers and it was Moon’s second win of the day having earlier guided old-stager Turn Turtle to success in the horse’s first outing over 1800 metres in race 7.
Japanese jockey Nozomu Tomizawa is worthy of a mention having had a good day, notching up his sixth winner in Korea on the unfancied Smart Angel in race 5 and following it up with a 3rd place finish on Seonbi in race 6. Of the two Japanese Jocks riding regularly at Gwacheon Ikayasu Kurakane has been the most successful so far but Nozomu showed what he can do today. Elsewhere there was a rare British bred horse in race 7. Be My Day went off favourite but didn’t stay the 1800 metre trip and finished last.