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.
FULL RESULTS FROM SEOUL
Danny Craven secured his second Busan win and his biggest since arriving in Korea with victory on Winning Beauty in the feature handicap at Busan Race Park on Friday. The 6.7 second favourite came from behind to take a one length win from favourite Florida Native (1.7) in the KRW 40 Million race.
FULL RESULTS FROM BUSAN
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.
Last year’s triple crown winner J.S. Hold, who hasn’t run since winning the Minister of Agriculture Cup last October, is on his way back to fitness. The horse has been suffering from Tendinitis which caused him to miss the end of year Grand Prix and many have doubted whether he would emerge as a four year old. J.S. Hold reportedly ran at racing speeds in sessions on the track during last week and a return to racing is on the cards. His injury is similar to that suffered by Baekgwang last year – Baekgwang returned to finish second in the Ttukseom Cup in April only to suffer a re-occurence which has sidelined him for another year – so further injuries are a big concern. Also set to return is Ganghomyeongjang, who finished only half a length behind J.S. Hold in the Minister’s Cup. Both horses finished four lengths clear of the star performer of this year so far, Namchonuijijon.
Korean Derby video online / Moon’s lead down to four / Challanhanbit wins / Hannam Daegyo wins at Busan
A video of yesterday’s Korean Derby is now online. The conditions during the race make identification of some of the horses difficult at times.
Cho Kyoung Ho managed to narrow the gap at the top of the Jockey’s table slightly by scoring four wins over the weekend to Moon Se Young’s two. Moon now has 52 with Cho on 48. Shim Seung Tae’s win in the Derby on Ebony Storm was quickly followed by another in race 10 on another outsider, Bernie C (16.6). The third-placed horse in the Derby, Namdo Jijon, was ridden by Kim Ok Sung, a late replacement for Ham Wan Sik who picked up a late injury and had to give up all his weekend rides. Shim moves into joint fourth place. It was a good weekend for Boo Min Ho, who marked his hundredth ride on Saturday with his third winner – and then picked up his fourth on Sunday with a win on Colosseum (7.5) in race 2.
Sunday’s handicap came before the Derby when the track was slightly less wet. It was won by Challanhanbit (2.4) for Cho Kyoung Ho. Sunday’s feature race at Busan, where in stark contrast to Seoul, there was beautiful sunshine for much of the afternoon, was won by second favourite Hannam Daegyo (5.4) a head in front of top-weight and favourite Seongsan Daegun (2.3).
Seoul Jockey’s Championship
1. Moon Se Young 52
2. Cho Kyoung Ho 48
3. Park Tae Jong 24
4. Ikuyasu Kurakane; Shim Seung Tae 18
Busan sweeps the places but Rainmaker nowhere / Race run in torrential rain
Ebony Storm, ridden by Shim Seung Tae, pulled off a shock win in the Korean Derby at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. On a waterlogged track and in a torrential downpour, the outsider of fourteen Ebony Storm came home at 95.3 to land the biggest race of the year by a neck from Gaeseon Janggun (5.5) with another Busan horse, Namdo Jijon (33.1) half a length back in third. Pre-race favourite Rainmaker (2.5) started slowly under Moon Se Young and had nothing as Moon asked him to accelerate off the final turn finishing a well-beaten eighth with second-favourite Jeolho Chance (5.1) behind him in ninth.
Samsimnyeonsarang (43.4) made the early running with Jeolho Chance. Ebony Storm sat just off the front two round the first two turns dropping back in the back straight. As the field came together rounding the top of the final turn, Shim Seung Tae made his move on Ebony Storm, hitting the front with a furlong to go and just hanging on as Park Tae Jong left himself slightly too much to do on Gaeseon Janggun. Seoul’s highest placed finisher was Cheonnyeonbulpae (7.9) finishing in fourth under Cho Kyoung Ho. Meanwhile, Hammer Punch unseated jockey Choi Jung Seob as they rounded the final treacherous bend. Busan now emphatically leads Seoul, providing all the placed horses in the two triple-crown races run so far. A below avearge crowd for Derby day was there to see it happen, the rain and thunder, which grew heavier as the afternoon wore on keeping many away, despite the free admission.
Korean Derby (G1) 1800 Metres
1. Ebony Storm (Shim, Seung Tae) 95.3
2. Gaeseon Janggun (Park, Tae Jong) 5.5
3. Namdo Jijon (Kim, Ok Sung) 33.1
Distances: Neck/1.5 lengths
FULL RESULTS FROM SEOUL
FULL RESULTS FROM BUSAN
Derby day has arrived and it’s raining. There have been showers overnight and it is now forecast to develop into a persistant light rain throughout the afternoon which means that come 17:05 the track may have quite a bit of water in it. The morning tipsheets are mostly backing Rainmaker to take the Derby with some support for two of the other Busan horses Gaesan Janggun and Jeolho Chance. There’s some place support for Magic Victor and Mighty Galloper.