Month: July 2008

Weekend Preview – Munhwa Ilbo Cup

Thirteen go in Cup / Subsidy and Secret Weapon head handicap fields
Racing is back at Seoul Race Park this weekend and the highlight is the Munhwa Ilbo Cup, a category 2 test for domestic bred horses over 2000 metres with a first pize of KRW 58Million. There’s a field of thirteen colts and geldings with three year olds Sichuseon, winner of the Netizen’s Day Race, and Cheonnyeonbulpae, fourth in this year’s Derby up against older horses including second and third in the Sports Chosun Cup, Nice Champ and Mansebose. Also running is last year’s runner-up, Samdobong and Top Value, who had a promising three year old season last year. The race is off at 17:00 on Sunday. Full list of runners and riders (Stall/Name/Record/Sex/Age/Jockey):

1. Tough Energy (31/4/2/5) – C, 5 – Ji Ha Ju
2. Top Value (11/4/2/3) – C, 4 – Park Tae Jong
3. Yeongshil Jeonggi (29/3/4/2) – G, 5 – Lee Shin Young
4. Mansebose (21/5/3/1) – G, 5 – Kim Seok Bong
5. Nice Champ (15/4/3/4) – C, 4 – Kim Hyo Seob
6. Cheonnyeonbulpae (8/2/4/0) – C, 3 – Cho Kyoung Ho
7. Borkhan (34/2/4/7) – C, 5 – Shin Hyoung Cheol
8. Proud Boy (30/4/3/3) – C, 6 – Kim Dong Cheol
9. Wonju Jangsa (16/2/3/2) – G, 5 – Choi Beom Hyun
10. Eoullimnyeongung (18/4/4/0) – G, 4 – Park Soo Hong
11. Sichuseon (10/3/0/2) – G, 3 – Oh Kyoung Hoan
12. Samdobong (16/4/4/3) – C, 5 – Jung Ki Young
13. New Rider (28/4/2/2) – C, 5 – Ikuyasu Kurakane

Sunday also sees a category 1 foreign bred handicap with 2005 Horse of the Year Subsidy looking to bounce back from disappointment in the Owner’s Association Trophy. The eight year old will be top weight, carrying 60kg ahead of Haengun Daewang. Unusually Subsidy won’t be the oldest horse in the race as nine year olds Daiwa Arazi and Value Play also go.

Saturday’s card is headed by Secret Weapon (25runs/13wins) taking on seven challengers over 2000 metres in race 11. Racing on both Saturday and Sunday gets underway at 11:20 with twelve races on Saturday and eleven on Sunday. Jeju also holds a card both days while Busan will follow up its Friday card with a six race card on Sunday beginning at 12:40.

Busan Preview

After last weekend off, racing returns to the peninsula on Friday when the usual nine race-card at Busan Race Park gets underway at 13:00. Feature race is the last, a category 1 handicap with Widaehan Bonneung topping the weights. Earlier there is a useful category 2 race involving some of the more exciting three year old foreign bred horses such as King Kephalos who has three wins and a second from his six outings so far. Also lining up will be Sarounbulpae, who has placed in all but two of her nine races, as has the American bred Namsanui Jeonggi.

Sunday will see a six race card at Busan beginning at 12:40 with no category 1 races. Focus on Sunday, however, will be more on Seoul Race Park and the Munhwa Ilbo Cup of which we will have a full preview tomorrow.

Busan prepares to take Oaks bow

With less than a fortnight to go until the 2008 Korean Oaks, there are fourteen entries for the fillies classic which this year will be held at Busan Race Park for the first time. So far, only two Seoul based horses are slated to make the trip south for the third classic of the year, with both the KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby having been dominated by Busan horses.

Jeolho Chance (10 runs/5wins), third in the Cup Mile, and Gaya Gongju (10/4) are the top rated entries. Jeolho Chance went off second favourite in the Korean Derby in May and despite finishing well back, recovered to take a 2000 metre category 1 handicap back on home ground at Busan last month. Gaya Gongju most recently finished second over the distance in a category 2 handicap. Also in the field is Useung Party (4/3), a horse who comfortably won her first three races before failing to stay 1600 metres last time.

Seoul’s two entries are the improving Gate Way (13/3) and Baram Queen (11/2) who ran third in the Sports Seoul Cup last time out. Seoul’s poor performance so far this year has been subject to various theories. These have included the Busan track being tougher and therefore providing a better training ground, the unfamiliarity of Seoul jockeys with Busan in the Cup Mile (Busan runners in the Derby were ridden by Seoul jockeys) and simply Busan owners having bought more wisely. Either way, it is hard to see the domination being broken just yet.

The Oaks is race 5 of a 6 race card on Sunday August 10 and is off at 15:35. It is over 1800 metres with first place prize money of KRW 228Million, an increase of nearly KRW 100 Million from last year when Baekpa scored a five length win. We’ll have a full preview and detailed run down of the field next Wednesday.

SA names 2008 Jockey Challenge entrant

South Africa has named its entrant for this year’s International Jockey Challenge which will be held at Seoul Race Park on the weekend of October 4/5. Following on from Gerrit Schlechter’s win in last year’s event, fellow Eastern Cape rider Greg Cheyne will be participating in the four-race competition. Cheyne is the reigning Eastern Cape champion and currently lies fifth in the national standings. See full report on Gold Circle.

Weekend preview – No Racing!

Racing takes a break this weekend to mark midsummer – although it’s not shaping up to be anything like the hottest weekend of the year with heavy rain and thunder predicted.  However, with no evening racing this year, the KRA has opted to take a one week summer break. That means there will be nothing to report on this weekend so instead we’ll be having a lookat some upcoming races, including the Korean Oaks, scheduled for August 10 at Busan Race Park.

Baekpa dominates SBS Cup

Grey lands cup by five lengths / Bugyeong Choegang takes spoils at Busan
The grey Baekpa put in a commanding performance in the rain to land the KRW 63Million first prize in this afternoon’s SBS Cup at Seoul Race Park. Starting the 4.1 second favourite, the four year old won by five lengths, going away from favourite Myeongmun Gamun (2.0).

This time there were no tantrums at the start from Myeongmun Gamun, the top money winner retuning from a two month track ban for refusing to go in back in May, but it was Sports Chosun winner Natural Nine (6.5) who set the early pace with Park Tae Jong keeping Baekpa right on his shoulder. And so it was until the final turn when Natural Nine weakened and Baekpa hit the front. Jung Ki Young asked Myeongmun Gamun for a sprint and the seven year old obliged, but Baekpa was out of sight to record her biggest win since last year’s Oaks. Bangnokjeong (10.6) was just a nose behind Myeongmun Gamun in third.

With free entry to the track because of the predicted bad weather, there was a large crowd, however the early races were held in bright sunshine. The rain started around race 6 and by the time the Cup race got underway, the track was saturated. In the feature handicap, there was a win for Ugildongja (3.6), the Moon Se Young ridden favourite just edging out Aragorn (7.0). It was Moon’s second win after taking the first on the unraced two year old Nautilus (21.1). Moon was beaten, however, on hot favourite Last Dance Buddy (1.8 ) in race 6, going down to fellow US import Mexicali Blues (5.1) by half a length. Aside from Baekpa, Park Tae Jong was also successful on Bareukseu (13.1) in the last, beating out strong favourite Best Fusion (1.6) by a head.

At Busan, the weather was wet
but slightly less torrential than Seoul and the feature handicap was won by favourite Bugyeong Choegang (2.1), half a length ahead of Wonder Love (5.6). It was the four year old’s fourth win from six outings in 2008. Toshio Uchida kept up his impressive run of form, landing two for the second consecutive Sunday. Uchida took race 1 on Son of Sinhwa (5.1) in a pulsating three way finish and then race 5 on hot favourite Glory Champ (1.7).



Baekjeonmupae wins in rain

Supernatural & Brilliant Knight maintain ubeaten records
Slight favourite Baekjeonmupae took a narrow win in the feature handicap at a rain-soaked Seoul Race Park this afternoon with a length win over co-second favourites Seoul Teukgeup (3.4) and Owner’s Cup winner Saerounbisul (3.4). Park Tae Jong on Saerounbisul set the early pace but Ikuyasu Kurakane timed Baekjeonmupae’s run well to hit the front shortly before the line.

Earlier, two unbeaten imported horses kept their records intact. First the New Zealand bred gelding Supernatural (1.4) went in the 1300 metre race 2 when the rain was at it’s heaviest. Park Soo Hong left it late but Supernatural got up to win by three quarters of a length from Nandanara (4.7). Later in race 8 the American bred Brilliant Knight (1.4) had things a little more his own way leading wire to wire for a three length win from Gapbu (7.8 ) with Park Soo Hong riding again. Both geldings, the four year old Supernatural goes to two from two while it’s three from three for three year old Brilliant Knight.

In other races, there was a smart win for Huimang Energy (5.1) who made it five wins from 10 races leading race 9 from start to finish and looks ready to step up in class and also for Vicar Love (1.6), who made it 4 wins from 7 in race 12. Aprt from Park Soo Hong, there were also doubles for jockeys Choi Beom Hyun and Moon Se Young.

The turnout was kept low because of the torrential rain which started in the early morning and only began to ease off late in the day, making for unpleasant and unpredictable racing conditions. Things should be slightly better tomorrow when the first race is underway at 11:20 before racing takes a one week break.


Janggun Sinhwa wins as big names disappoint

Rainamker third but Procyon last / Uchida in imperious form again
Janggun Sinhwa (6.0) took the feature handicap at Busan Race Park this afternoon scoring a two and a half length win over Mirae Cheonsa (12.7) with KRA Cup Mile winner Rainmaker (4.2) a further length back in third. Favourite Procyon (2.0), Busan’s top money winner in recent times made the running out of the gate and held the lead until two furlongs to go before tying up in the straight to finish last of the twelve. KNN Cup winner Annika Queen (8.7) never featured, finishing second last.

For Janggun Sinhwa it is a sixth win from eighteen outings and is the first for the four year old at this level. Meanwhile it was a welcome return to the placings for Mirae Cheonsa – the outstanding filly of both 2006 and 2007 who won her first eight races coming close for the first time this year.

Mirae Choensa was ridden to second place by Toshio Uchida who had another outstanding day. Following his double last Sunday, the Japanese jockey landed a treble this afternoon with wins in races 3,4 and 7 with two more second places. Racing returns to Busan on Sunday with the first of six races off at 12:40.


SBS Cup Weekend Preview

Natural Nine vs Baekpa vs Myeongmun Gamun / Saerounbisul goes on Saturday
Sunday sees ten line up for the SBS Cup at Seoul Race Park. Second in the Derby in 2007 and winner of this year’s Sports Chosun Cup, four year-old Natural Nine (13 runs/6 wins) heads the field but faces two big name threats in Baekpa (18/7) and Myeongmun Gamun (25/14). The dominant filly of 2007 and the only female horse here, Baekpa was back to winning ways last time out, defeating Namchonuijijon while the seven year old Myeongmun Gamun has won more prize money than any other horse currently racing in Korea despite a fear of the starting stalls. Also lining up is Dashing Champ (29/7), the gelding who set a track record over this 1900 metre distance only last month and 2006 Derby winner Baengnokjeong (19/7). The race is off at 17:00.

Saturday’s highlight is a 2000 metre handicap for foreign bred horses in which Saerounbisul (17/6) will make his first appearance since winning the Owner’s Trophy last month. The four year old will start the marginal top-weight over Seoul Teukgeup (11/4). Racing gets underway on both Saturday and Sunday at 11:20.

Rainmaker takes on Procyon at Busan

KRA Cup winner and subsequent disappointment Rainmaker is back in action at Busan Race Park on Friday, lining up for a 1600 metre handicap against a host of well known domestically bred horses. Heading the weights is Procyon (15 runs/9 wins), the gelding suffering his first defeat of 2008 last time out in the KNN Cup a race won by Annika Queen (17/6) who also goes here. The first of nine races at Busan on Friday gets underway at 13:00. Sunday sees its usual six races with the first off at 12:40, the highlight being a foreign-bred handicap with Bugyeong Choegang (14/6) topping the weights.