Month: December 2007

Racing Review – Sunday December 30

A bitterly cold day at Seoul Race Park with temperatures officially hovering around -6 but with a cruel wind making the conditions much worse. Still 12 races took place and it was a good day for veteran jockey Park, Tae Jong who notched up 3 winners. The most valuable race of the day was Race 11, a race over 1400 metres worth 31Million won to the winner. It was won by the favourite Good Day ridden by Jeon, Deok Young a length ahead of Ikuyasu Kurakane on Dalkane. Other odds-on favourites Gamadongja in race 6 and Baekpa in race 12 also came home in front. The longest priced winner was Chanranhanbit in race 9 returning at 15.1 in an open race on a day when class proved vital in the freezing conditions.

Australian Danny Craven experienced his first real taste of the Korean winter with some creditable rides, his best placing being a 4th behind Baekpa in the last race of the day. Overall, the final race day of 2007 was a day dominated by the cold with a lower than average turnout – many racegoaers found it too cold even to go outside to smoke. Hopefully it will warm up for next Saturday’s card – the first of 2008.

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Racing Preview – December 29/30

It’s got cold again. From the balmy highs of midweek, the temperature plummeted below zero on Friday evening and is expected to remain there throughout the weekend. There are 12 races in Seoul on both Saturday and Sunday. Start time is 11am both days. Compared to the Grand Prix last week, there are no outstanding prizes but there are big competitive fields on both days. Come racing, just remember to wrap up very very warm.

Korean racing on video

Youtube has broken down all sorts of barriers, not to mention copyright laws, and thanks to a Korean posting under the name of Fallight, videos of Korean horseracing are available to an English speaking audience for the first time. Here are some of his best ones from 2007:

J.S. Hold took the Triple Crown this year. Here winning the Korean Derby the second leg of the Crown in a canter back in May and then going on to complete the full set in the Minister of Agriculture Cup in October, leaving it very late to overhaul Ganghomyeongjang in the final metres.

Back in March, Subsidy and Bally Brae did battle over ten furlongs – by the final turn the rest of the field was nowhere to be seen.

Finish of the year perhaps came from Baekgwang all the way back in February, the grey coming from the back of the field to the front in an explosive final 2 furlongs.

The season concluded with Subsidy and Bally Brae doing battle again n the Group 1 Grand Prix race. No J.S. Hold or Baekgwang, but a fine race nonetheless.

So Cheers Fallight, keep up the good work in 2008!

Racing Review – Sunday December 23

Bumper crowd sees Bally Brae take Grand Prix
Racing returned to Seoul Racecourse Park this week after last weekend’s unplanned hiatus and a huge crowd turned out Sunday for the 12 race card, the highlight being the Group 1 Grand Prix Race. Run over 2300 metres it’s the season’s longest race and is worth 182 Million won to the winner. The five year old Bally Brae with ten wins from 17 previous starts went off the 1.5 favourite under 2007’s top jockey Moon, Se Young, in a race that also featured old-stager Flying Cat and prolific winners Myeongmun Gamun (Chun, Chang Ki) and 2005 Horse of the Year, Subsidy (Oh, Kyung Hoan). And it proved to be these three who disputed the placings. Subsidy came round the field on the back straight to open a 5 length lead, however, as they rounded the turn, Moon asked Bally Brae to quicken up, catching Subsidy on three furlongs and then opening out into the final straight winning by a comfortable 5 lengths. Subsidy battled on for second and Chun, Chang Ki brought Myeongmun Gamun home for third. Fly Queen, (Park Tae Jong) finished fourth. The start of the race had been delayed by almost 5 minutes due to Myeongmun Gamun’s refusal to go into the stalls. It was looking like the horse was going to have to be withdrawn until a last ditch attempt – or brute force of about 10 handlers – finally got the 6 year old in. The owners owe the handlers a drink as the horse went on to win 45 million won for finishing third.

So Moon, Se Young confirms his position as Korea’s top jockey with yet another big race win. Earlier in the day he’d been in the winner’s enclosure after steering Happy Hero to victory in race 5. It’s getting to the stage where Moon’s booking on a horse is enough to bring its price down a good 2 or 3 points. He’s also beginning to get his share of groupies in the paddock…

Overall a good return to racing at Seoul – big crowd, good weather, good afternoon’s sport. More next week.