Month: June 2008

Four track records fall in June

June has seen four of the ten track records at Seoul Race Park broken:

1300 Metres: The New Zealand bred Playing Politics took nine tenths of a second off the 1300 metre record on June 21 to set a new time of 1:19.1. (Video – needs Internet Explorer)

1800 Metres: Milwaukee Special (Canada) took a two length win in a record time of 1:52.09 on June 29.

1900 Metres: Dashing Champ becomes the only Korean bred horse to currently hold a track record taking a tenth of a second off the 1900 metre record in a time of 2:00.1 on June 22.

2000 Metres: Saerounbisul (New Zealand) landed the Seoul Owner’s Association trophy in a record time of 2:05.0. (Video)

The only records standing for more than year are those of Bally Brae over 1200 metres set in 2006, Island Fever over 2300 metres in 2005 and the longest one, Jin Gom Da Ri, at the seldom used distance of 2200 metres set way back in 1992.

Ebony Storm second, Rainmaker nowhere

Yeongung Manse upsets Classic winners at Busan / Secret Weapon edges out Galsaem at Seoul
Yeongung Manse (6.1) gatecrashed what was supposed to be the battle of the two Classic winners in the feature race at Busan Race Park this afternoon, overhauling Derby winner Ebony Storm (2.7) in a final furlong battle to take a half length victory over 1800 metres. Punters had forgiven KRA Cup Mile winner Rainmaker for his disappointing showing in the Derby and sent him off the marginal 2.6 favourite but, on a wet track, it was Janggun Sinhwa (16.7) under Jo Seung Gon who made the early running with Toshio Uchida on Ebony Storm on his shoulder while Rainmaker sat at the back. As they exited the final turn, those looking for a run from Rainmaker were to be disappointed as it was Yeongung Manse who emerged from the pack to take on the leaders. Ebony Storm drifted slightly across the track and Jo Chang Wook coaxed a blistering final furlong from Yeongung Manse to take the half length win with Janggun Sinhwa in third. There was then a ten length gap to Jageun Taeyang in fourth with Rainmaker never featuring in seventh.

Yeongung Manse went off third favourite and recorded his fifth win from eight starts. As a gelding, he wasn’t eligible for either the KRA Cup Mile or the Derby but showed his class today in beating the winners of both those races. Ebony Storm’s connections need not be too downhearted as it was a strong run and he might have won but for the drifting in the straight, proving the shock Derby win was not just down to the conditions. Two disappointing performances in a row from Rainmaker, however, are a greater concern.

At Seoul, only six horses contested the feature handicap and it went exactly to form as Secret Weapon (1.5) held off Galsaem (3.4) for the win. It wasn’t easy, however, as Galsaem showed more fight than she has recently pushing Secret Weapon all the way to the line of the 2000 metre handicap and was perhaps a touch unlucky to be half a length behind at the finish. Secret Weapon moves on to 13 wins from 26 starts while Galsaem remains stuck on 16 from 32, without a win from six outings in 2008.

Secret Weapon was ridden by Park Tae Jong and was Park’s third winner of the day following earlier victories on similarly fancied Seonggonchulbal (1.5) in race 5 and Beautiful Sky (7.0) in race 6. Kim Hyo Seob landed an early double with wins on Taesanbukdu (2.9) in race 1 and Black Bird (10.1) in race 3. Moon Se Young made a return to the saddle after 5 race days out and it took him only until race 2 to make his mark with victory on Yujoseon (1.7), however, it was to be his only win of the day and he faces being called before the stewards for possible inteference when guiding Sinheung Gangho to third place in the feature.

There was no racing at Jeju Race Park today because of fog limiting visibiliy to unsafe levels. Jeju is feeling the full force of this monsoon season with an abandonment last week, two races cancelled yesterday and now a complete cancellation today. So far, however, and despite forecasts, both Seoul and Busan have completely ecaped the monsoon. The feature race next weekend is at Seoul in the form of Sunday’s Sports Seoul Cup and hopefully we’ll see more of the same weather-wise.



Saturday Review

Brilliant Knight & KJ Khan win / Seungyu Sinhwa lands feature
Seungyu Sinhwa landed his second handicap win of the month with victory in the feature at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Starting the 2.1 favourite, the Kim Ok Sung ridden six-year-old, held off the challenge of long time leader Geumbittuhon (4.9) to take the 2000 metre category 1 race by half a length. It was Seungyu Sinhwa’s eleventh win from a career of twenty eight races. Another six year old, Special Party (7.7) took the day’s second most valuable race with a a half length win over Julino Price (13.7).

American import Brilliant Knight made his second racecourse appearance in race 6. The son of Lion Hearted had easily won his debut race over 1200 metres four weeks ago and the three year old gelding had things similarly his own way stepping up to 1300 metres today. Ridden by Park, Soo Hong, Brilliant Knight (1.2) jumped into the lead out of the stalls and led all the way eventually winning by six lengths. Brilliant Knight joins Playing Politics and Shaving Points in a small group of very exciting recent imports and hopefully their paths will cross on the track soon.

After disappointing last time out another three year old import, Japanese bred K J Khan was back on form in race 7. Punters were not deterred by his surprise fourth place finish earlier in the month and once again sent him off the strong favourote at 1.5. This time he didn’t disappoint as Park Tae Jong guided him to a one and a half length victory from Nice Friend (4.7) over 1400 metres. It was Park’s only victory of the day and only Shim Seung Tae managed a double with wins on favourote Vimoksa (1.6) in race 6 and Junior Shards (13.9) in race 9. Unluckiest jockey of the day was Cho Kyoung Ho who managed five seconds but no wins. A light drizzle fell on the track for most of the day and unsettled weather is predicted tomorrow when the first of eleven races is off at 11:20. Busan Race Park’s card starts at 12:40 and Jeju’s at 12:20.


Namdo Jijon wins / Florida Native beaten

Busan Review
Namdo Jijon, third in the Korean Derby, was in dominant form at Busan Race Park today, landing a category 2 allowance race by an impressive eight lengths. The 1.4 favourite, ridden by Kim Eu Su, led from start to finish of the 1400 metre race to comfortable claim the KRW 31Million first prize. It was only the second win of Namdo Jijon’s nine-race career, however, the three year old has never finished worse than fourth.

The feature handicap, a KRW 42 Million race over 1800 metres was inpressively won by Namdo Choegang (10.0) who hit the front as they crested the top of the home straight and went on to win by four lengths from favourite Florida Native (3.2) and Wonder Love (5.5). Elsewhere there were wins for Sinheung Gangja (3.7) in race 8, a category 2 handicap, and also for Wakeup America. Apart from in his first race, the interestingly named three year old son of West Acre has never finished worse than third, but he had to battle for his fourth career victory today, the 2.3 favourite overhauling King’s Stride (18.0) in the final few strides to win by a nose.

Racing returns to Busan on Sunday with the first of six races under orders at 12:40.


Classic winners to face off at Busan

Weekend Preview: June 27-29
This year’s two classic winners will meet once again in the feature race at Busan Race Park this coming Sunday. KRA Cup winner Rainmaker will have the chance to avenge his Korean Derby defeat at the hands of rank outsider Ebony Storm as the two are the star names in a field of thirteen who will line up for the KRW 42Million handicap which will be off at 16:30. Kim Tae Kyung will ride Rainmaker and Toshio Uchida has been handed the Derby winner. The race heads a card of six races on Sunday with the first off at 12:40. Friday sees the usual nine race card at Busan with the first under orders at 13:00. Hangye Geukbok heads the weights in the feature handicap off at 17:10 which also includes Florida Native and Wonder Love.

As usual, Seoul Race Park holds cards on Saturday and Sunday with the first race off at 11:20 both days. Feature race of the weekend attracts only seven runners as Galsaem and Secret Weapon go head to head over 200 metres in race 10 on Sunday. Both horses have win rates of over 50% despite having run over fifty races between them. Secret Weapon is the horse in form though, and top weight, with Galsaem yet to win in five outings in 2008. There is also a ten race card at Jeju Race Park on Saturday and Sunday with the first off at 12:20 both days.

Chris Taylor heads new jockey list

South African Chris Taylor was among eight new jockeys officially added to the roster at Seoul Race Park last week. The twenty nine year old made his debut in South Africa in 1995 but has spent much of his career racing in the middle east in Qatar and Dubai. Taylor, who has signed an initial six month contract with the KRA, will ride freelance and will take the tally of foreign jockeys currently riding in Korea to five along with Ikuyasu Kurakane and Nozomu Tomizawa at Seoul and Danny Craven and Toshio Uchida at Busan. To find out a little more about Taylor, here is an interview he gave to back in 2006.

The seven other newcomers are all graduates of the KRA’s jockey academy. They are:

Kim Dong Min (b. 1986)
Kim Cheol Ho (b. 1987)
Park Byung Yun (b. 1987)
Park, Si Chon (b. 1983)
Yu Mi Ra (b. 1984) – Yu becomes the fourth female jockey to gain a license at Seoul
Cho In Kwon (b. 1987)

Owner’s Cup Day round-up

Dashing Champ wins handicap / Baengnokgunji lands Jeju Ilbo Cup
Saerounbisul’s win in a closely fought Seoul Owner’s Cup (full report) was the highlight of an eleven race card at Seoul Race Park. It was jockey Park Tae Jong’s second win in the race, having been successful on Port Omen in 2001 and it was his second of the day having guided Taehwangseong (3.7) home in race 8. The feature handicap was won by Dashing Champ (10.0), the Ham Wan Sik ridden five year old finishing a length ahead of top weight and favourite Hongji (2.3) with Balhaejanggun (2.8 ) a close third. Shin Hyoung Chul also scored a double with a win on hot favourite Steve’s Purple Rose (1.3) in race 4 followed up immediately by another favourite Yeopungchunha (1.4) in race 5. Outsider of the day was Biseungbisul, a 60.8 winner of race 6.

After yesterday’s abandonment, it was a big day at Jeju Race Park and the weather had improved for the Jeju Ilbo Cup, one of the biggest pony races of the year and a clash between the pair of unbeaten two year olds Baengnokgunji and favourite Hanrasan. It was Baengnokgunji (2.7) who moved onto eight races without defeat scoring a one and a half length victory in the 1200 metre race. Hanrasan (2.0) looked to be in a winning position throughout most of the race but fell away badly in the final furlong, finishing a disappointing ninth of the ten runners.

There were six races at Busan Race Park, the highlight being a category two handicap won by Jullyakjuk Seungbu (16.4), three lengths ahead of favourite Gaya Gongju (2.9).



Saerounbisul wins Seoul Owner’s Cup

Subsidy & Bally Brae unplaced as three year olds dominate
Saerounbisul (8.6) won this afternoon’s Seoul Owner’s Cup at Seoul Race Park with late run to score a one and a quarter length victory over Seoul Teukgeup (17.7) in what was otherwise a blanket finish. Gamadongja (36.1) made the early running under Nozomu Tomizawa with Bally Brae (3.9) on his shoulder. Second favourite Subsidy (2.7) under Oh Kyoung Hoan moved up the field during the back straight and as they turned for home it looked like the battle was going to be between Subsidy and Bally Brae yet again and they passed the weakening Gamadongja with a furlong to go. However, the younger horses behind were closing in and, carrying significantly less weight, had a faster finish. Park Tae Jong guided Saerounbisul down the outside and he hit the front with 50 metres remaining to take the KRW 106Million first prize. On the line, Seoul Teukgeup, Dongbanui Gangka (17.7) and rank outsider Obaek Yechan (81.1) also swept by the older horses leaving Subsidy and Bally Brae in fifth and sixth respectively.

For the New Zealand bred Saerounbisul it was a sixth career victory from seventeen outings:

Seoul Owner’s Cup (G.III), 2000M – Seoul – Sunday June 22, 2008, 17:00

1. Sarounbisul (NZ) – 52.5 – Park Tae Jong (8.6)
2. Seoul Teukgeup (USA) – 52 – Moon Jung Kyun – (17.7)
3. Donbanui Gangja (USA) – Choi Beom Hyun – (18.7)
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 0.75 lengths


Saturday Review

Daecheong Maru wins / Playing Politics canters home / Jeju abandoned
Playing Politics put in the performance of the day to make it two wins out of two with a sixteen length victory at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. The three year old gelding, made his debut last month with a shock four length win over Last Dance Buddy and punters were wiser to him this afternoon as he went off the 1.2 hot favourite. Choi Beom Hyun took Playing Politics into the lead straight out of the stalls and as they rounded the final turn began to stretch the lead, Ecton Cat (12.5) a distant second.

Last Dance Buddy was himself in action and back in the winner’s enclosure this afternoon taking the honours in race 4 after starting the strong 1.2 favourite. Daecheong Maru (3.7) won the afternoon’s most valuable race with a narrow victory over Eoullimnyeongung (7.1) and favourite Jachuk (3.6) in a 1900 metre handicap. It was the second leg of a double for the in-form Park Tae Jong following victory on Huimang Achim in race 2. Choi Beom Hyun also doubled, with his canter on Playing Politics followed by a surprise win on Donghae Star (22.0) in the last. Bonny Bee (5.9) took her second consecutive win, landing race 10 by a head in a tight finish from Taebaek Janggun (4.8).

There was a mixed day at Jeju Race Park. In a dramatic race 3 over 1200 metres, Salmosa (8.6) produced a blistering final furlong to come from last to first in the space of 150 metres, completing the last furlong a full second and a half quicker than the rest for a half length victory. A quite stunning performance which left many racegoers gasping even at the second viewing. However, Jeju had to be abandoned following race 4 after fog descended from Mt Halla severely limiting visibility. The monsoon had been forecasted to hit Seoul too, a contributing factor in a low turn-out. Evidently it stayed in Jeju but could hit Seoul tomorrow when the first race is under orders at 11:20 with the Seoul Owner’s Cup at 17:00. There is also a card at Busan beginning at 12:40 and Jeju is scheduled for 12:20 – The Jeju Ilbo Cup is set for 15:55 where two unbeaten horses Baengnokgunji (7/7) and Hanrasan (5/5) will face off.