Month: May 2008

Top Point comfortably beats Galsaem

Favourite Top Point (1.5) eased to a six length victory over Galsaem (5.4) in the feature handicap at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. With Cho Kyoung Ho riding, Top Point led from the beginning of the 2000 metre race and pulled away as they hit the home straight to land his eighth win from fourteen runs.

The day’s second most valuable race was won by second favourite Victory Queen (3.3) with a two and a half length over Borkhan (2.7). Moon Se Young followed up his win on Victory Queen with victory in the last on Easy Company (9.8). Cho Kyoung Ho was jockey of the day, however, with Top Point the second of three wins, Cho being successful on Jigwan (2.5) in race 7 and Seongpacheonha (2.3) in race 11. There were also doubles for Kim Sug Bong winning races 1 and 2 on Badasarang (5.8 ) and Kkum Ha Na (20.6) and for Han Sung Yeol with wins on Speed Lady (1.6) in race 5 and Charming Victor (6.6) in race 6. Race 6 was notable for an extremely close finish with Charming Victor taking a half-length victory but the judges unable to split Thunder Hill (1.8 ) and Irwolsin (20.3) and declaring a dead-heat for second place.

A large crowd enjoyed the beautiful weather with bright sunshine and temeperatures in the low twenties. It is expected to be slightly warmer tomorrow but still fine. Racing gets underway at 11:20 at Seoul, 12:20 at Jeju and 12:40 at Busan.


Hangye Geukbok wins at Busan

Hangye Geukbok (3.0) took his second straight win in the feature handicap at Busan this afternoon winning a tight finish ahead of Hwanggeumbit Taeya (3.8 ) and Wonder Love (7.7). The six year old sat right at the back of the ten-strong field with jockey Yang Young Nam waiting until they hit the straight before making his move, then powering home for a half length win.  It was Hangye Geukbok’s eleventh career win.

In other races, the three year old Useung Party (1.7) made her third career start in race 3.  The filly won by seventeen lengths last time out and stepped up to 1200 metres for the first time. She led throughout under Yoo Hyun Myoung and came home a length and a half clear of Myeongpum Jilju (6.5) and seven ahead of third placed Daehan Dolpung (12.0) to keep her 100% record intact. 


Weekend Racing Preview

The weekend’s cards get underway at Busan Race Park at 13:00 on Friday afternoon. Feature race on Friday is a 2000 metre handicap for foreign bred horses at 17:10 with Crafty Louis (22 runs/8 wins) the tope weight followed by Hwanggeumbit Taeya (29/6).  There is also a six race card at Busan on Sunday afternoonwith the first race as usual at 12:40. Feature is race 5 where Perfect Champ will be looking to make it three out of the last three and eight from a career of fourteen, taking on  Milliondollar (21/7).

Racing at Seoul begins at 11:20 on both Saturday and Sunday. There are twelve races on Saturday with Galsaem going in the feature handicap at 16:50, the six year old mare still looking for her first win of 2008. She’s up against Nujindo, who won over the distance last time out and perennial handicapper Flying Cat.  Sunday sees eleven more races, with a pair of average handicaps the day’s highlights. As usual there are also cards on Jeju beginning at 12:20 on both Saturday and Sunday. It;s hot and humid in Seoul right now and over the weekend it is expected to be dry and sunny with temperatures reaching 25C on Saturday and 27C on Sunday.

Japanese riders extend contracts

Both Ikuyasu Kurakane and Nozomu Tomizawa have signed six month extensions to their contracts at Seoul Race Park. The new deals will see Ikuyasu continue until the end of December and Nozomu until the end of January next year.  Ikuyasu currently has a record of 42 wins from 508 rides and Nozomu 18 from 338.

Meanwhile, various media have reported that South African jockey Chris Taylor will become the third overseas rider at Seoul.

An Byung Ki retires from the saddle

One of the most senior figures in the paddock, An Byung Ki is retiring as a jockey at age 42. Making his debut at Ttukseom in 1984, An went on to record figures of 5501 rides with 770 winners, 648 seconds and 579 thirds. He won a number of cup and group races throughout his career with the highlight being winning the 1997 Grand Prix race on P’Ulgeurim, one of the dominant horses of 1997-98. An’s last race was on Sunday with a seventh placed finish on Sudden Attack in race 4. His last winner cam on Saturday May 17 when Lucky Mountain in race 6 gave him the second leg of a double and leacing him with a career win strike rate of 14.0% and a place rate of 25.8%. An will now take up a trainer’s licence. Here is a video of his 1997 Grand Prix win on P’Ulgeurim.

Jockey’s Championship / New jockeys update

Moon Se Young recorded four wins over the weekend to move onto 56 winners for the year so far. Moon won race 1 and 10 on both Saturday and Sunday. Cho Kyoung Ho scored one winner on Saturday before picking up an injury in race 4 on Sunday ruling him out of his remaining rides. The Japanese contingent was in good form on Sunday with Ikuyasu Kurakane winning two, including on Shaving Points, and Nozomu Tomizawa winning one.

Japanese jockey Toshio Uchida has been added to the roster at Busan Race Park.  The 47 year old is set to make his debut as early as next week.  Meanwhile at Seoul, American Kevin Radke, who competed in last November’s international jockey’s challenge is scheduled to join full-time having been granted a licence last month. He is yet to appear on Seoul’s official list, however.  The current foreign duo at Seoul, Ikuyasu and Nozomu will finish their initial year at the end of June and July respectively.  There will also be a new intake of graduates from the KRA’s jockey school.  We’ll have a full list of the newcomers, both Korean and overseas over the next week or so.

1. Moon Se Young 56
2. Cho Kyoung Ho 49
3. Park Tae Jong 25
4. Ikuyasu Kurakane 20
5. Shim Seung Tae 19

Natural Nine wins Sports Chosun Cup

Pocketful Of Money takes handicap / Shaving Points looks unbeatable / Danny wins again
Favourite Natural Nine landed the Sports Chosun Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon, holding off the fast finishing Nice Champ by a length. The 2.0 shot, ridden by Park Soo Hong made it 6 career victories out of 13 starts. The early running was made by Kkumui Mugyoel (13.6) until Lee Shin Young brought Nokhaji (14.0) around the field to the front in the back straight, a tactic that has worked well with the six-year-old in the past. Nokhaji led until inside the final two furlongs when Natural Nine opened out the sprint. Woo Chang Gu on Nice Champ (7.9) and Moon Jung Kyun on Mansebose (8.9) finished faster but the line came just soon enough for Natural Nine to take the trophy with Nokhaji in fourth place.

On a day when in excess of 60,000 people took advantage of the finest day of the year so far and came to the track, once the Sports Chosun ceremony was over, the days’s feature handicap got underway and it was another victory victory for a favourite, this time Pocketful of Money (2.7) giving Moon Se Young his second win of the day, scoring a length’s victory over Seoul Teukgeup (5.2), the two of them eight lengths clear of the rest. Second-favourite Haengeun Daewang (4.8 ) was clearly feeling the effects of the handicapper, the top-weight leading early on but fading badly in the straight to end up eleventh.

One of the most exciting prospects on the track at the moment is Shaving Points and the three-year-old son of Pure Precision made his third start since arriving in Korea in January. Stepping up in both distance and class, the 1.6 favourite found the going just as easy as in his previous two outings as he cruised to a five length victory over 1700 metres ahead of Mupae Jilju (5.1) and giving Ikuyasu Kurakane his second winner of the day following a win in race 5 on Jayaduri (12.1). There was also a dominant win for Bonny Bee (5.0) who led from start to finish of a competitive KRW 27Million 1400 metre race 8.

Down at Busan, Danny Craven won his second big handicap of the weekend with a fine ride on favourite Boryeong Bulbit. Sitting at the back of the field for the opening stages of the KRW 42Million 1800 metre race, Craven steadily brought Boryeong Bulbit (2,2) towards the front but finding himself boxed in as they rounded the final turn, had to take a very wide line to find a winning run. Once he did, however, Boryoeng Bulbit showed his class with a blistering final furling securing a four length win from Choego Jangseong (10.7) and Haeil (5.8 ) to make it 8 wins out of his last 10 runs.



Secret Weapon holds on for battling win

Top weight and favourite Secret Weapon set the pace and held off a late challenge from Balhaejanggun and Hongji to take this afternoon’s feature race at Seoul Race Park. Ridden by Moon Se Young, the five year old made it 12 wins from 24 races in the 2000 metre handicap. Inside the final two furlongs, it looked as though the 1.5 favourite might be in some danger, however, Moon asked Secret Weapon for a little extra effort and the win was more comfortable than the one length margin over Balhaejanggun (16.0) and Hongji (6.4) suggests. Second-favourite Gayasanseong (3.3) never thretatened to mount a challenge for the placings, finishing eight lengths off the front in fourth place.

Earlier, three year old Power Spinner (2.0) had made it three wins from four races easing up to a length victory over Arctic Time (10.8). Kim Hyo Seob made a fast start on Power Spinner and had a big lead entering the straight. Although Arctic Time ate into the gap, the favourite never looked in any real danger despite drifting across the track in the final furlong. Moon Se Young’s win on Secret Weapon was his second of the day, having won the first on Alps (3.1). Choi Beom Hyun also recorded two wins with victory on the previously un-raced Playing Politics (29.2) in race 2 and then on Western Forever (2.7) in race 5 as did Lee Dong Kuk with wins on Hera (4.4) in race 4 and Sky Wing (7.1) in race 9.

A warm, sunny day with temperatures peaking at around 28 degrees brought out a large Saturday crowd despite the humidity. Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow at 11:20 with weather expected to be similar (although I was wrong last week) with warm temperatures but hazy sunshine and a 20% chance of rain. There’s also racing at Busan with a 12:40 start and at Jeju from 12:20.


Weekend Racing Preview

Fourteen go in Sports Chosun Cup / Gayasanseong, Hongji & Secret Weapon face-off
Racing gets underway at Busan Race Park at 13:00 on Friday. Nine races are rounded off with a KRW 40Million handicap with Florida Native at joint top-weight. Racing returns to Busan on Sunday at 12:40 with six races. Feature race is the last with Boryeong Bulbit heading the field.

Big race of the weekend is at Seoul Race Park on Sunday afternoon in the Sports Chosun Cup, an 1800 metre race for domestic bred horses aged four and up. An open field includes four year olds Natural Nine, Jeokdaejeok and Nice Champ. The race is off at 17:00. On Saturday, the main event is a 2000 metre handicap. Only seven horses run but there are some big names among them with the weights headed by Secret Weapon (23 runs/11 wins), followed by Hongji (22/7) and Gayasanseong (44/16) who beat Galsaem by a nose last time out. Racing starts at Seoul at 11:20 on both days with twelve races on Saturday and eleven races on Sunday.

There is also a card at Jeju Race Park on both Saturday and Sunday with the first off at 12:20 both days.