Month: August 2008

Triple Seven leaves rivals on the mat

Baekpa suffers shock defeat / Brilliant Knight wins again
Second favourite Triple Seven galloped to victory in the KRW 53Million Olympic Judo Race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Favourite Dangdanghan (2.7) bolted out of the gate under Lee Shin Young and set the pace through the back straight, leading the field as they rounded the final turn. However, Choi Beom Hyun brought Triple Seven through the field and edged in front inside the final furlong taking a length and a quarter win. Outsider Bareukaseu (34.0) recovered from a dreadful start to grab second in the final stride from Dangdanghan.

The race was run to welcome back Korea’s Judo team from the Beijing Olympics and gold medallist Choi Min Ho was on hand to present the prize. Beforehand, Choi himself was presented with KRW 250Million (about $250,000) for his exploits in Beiijing with silver-medallist Kim Jae Beom receiving KRW 100Million.

The other Choi, Choi Beom Hyun had to settle for slightly less prize-money, but nevertheless he had an exceptional day in the saddle, with Triple Seven’s win quickly followed by a battling win on Huimang Energy in the next race. The four year old gelding just held off Lucky Seven by a neck in an 1800 metre cat. 2 handicap. The 2.6 favourite has now won his last three and even though this was his first cat. 2 outing, looks likely to be facing cat. 1’s soon. The win brought jockey of the day Choi’s win tally to three having much earlier guided odds-on favourite Tiger Sox to victory in race 1.

In the feature handicap, the stage seemed set for Baekpa to continue her impressive recent form as she was sent off the 1.4 favourite. Things did not go to plan, however, as Park Tae Jong found himself slightly out of position as they turned for home in the 2000 metre race. At the same time, Ikuyasu Kurakane on Machine Gun found an explosive turn of foot to open up a six length lead. Park eventually found his run and Baekpa started to close it down but the line came too soon and the six year old gelding Machine Gun (26.2) recorded his first ever category 1 win in fifteen attempts by an impressive 5 lengths. Second favourite Natural Nine was third.

Last action of an eventful day saw exciting import Brilliant Knight extend his record to four wins from four races. The three year old gelding led from start to finish but had to work for it in the final furlong as outsider Rich Market finished strongly, Brilliant Knight [Lion Hearted – Deputy Lady (French Deputy)] eventually recording a half length win.

At Busan Race Park, the feature race was a cat 1 foreign bred handicap which saw a commanding seven length win by Dongbang Geona. The Japanese bred gelding hit the front early in the back straight and kicked on as they turned for home, the contest over well before the final furlong. It was the four year old’s eighth career win.

The feature domestic handicap was a chaotic affair. The 1800 metre cat. 2 race was delayed after hot favourite Daehan Dolpung fell inside the starting stalls bringing down Jeorin Jiyong in the next stall. Although both horses got up, both were withdrawn. When the race did get underway, new third favourite Katrina (4.1) was first over the line. However, the mare had spent most of the final furlong pushing second placed Seonggeong Gado (2.8 ) so far wide towards the stands, punters were scurrying for cover. Meanwhile, on the other side of the track, a blanket finish had the first six horses finishing within a length of each other. The inevitable Stewards’ Inquiry reversed the order of the first two home giving Seonggong Gado just his second win of a long career.



Gamadongja Sprints Home

Four winners for Moon as favourites dominate
Gamadongja dropped back in distance to land the day’s most valuable race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. In a rare non-handicap category 1 race, Gamadongja, who has never been beaten at sprint distances went wire-to-wire in the 1200 metre race 10 to take a length and a half vctory from favourite Pocketful of Money (2.2) who was running at the distance for the first time since 2006. Fly Queen (6.5) was a well beaten third.

Pocketful of Money was partnered by Moon Se Young and the day saw very much a return to form for Moon as he landed four winners. All were odds-on favourites and included a narrow win on Last Dance Buddy in race 7. The three year old colt took his second win and is yet to finish worse than second in five outings. Later on Moon also took the feature domestic bred race on Wontagui Gisa (1.7).

It was very much a day for favourites with seven of the twelve races returning odds-on winners. After last week’s perfect conditions, summer was back today with temperatures averaging thirty degrees throughout the afternoon. Sunday is expected to be cooler and cloudier with an outside chance of rain. The first race gets underway at Seoul at 11:20 and at Busan at 12:40.


Debut Winner for Daniels

Deryl Daniels landed a winner on his first day’s racing at Busan Race Park this afternoon.  The South African jockey guided four year old Nagase to victory in race 5.

The 31 year old Daniels had earlier scored a third place finish in race 3 on 79.2 outsider High Honor.  On Nagase, Daniels kept the 3.7 second favourite well placed as they turned and hit the front in the final furlong, running on for a half length win.

The win means that Daniels has matched Danny Craven and Chris Taylor who also scored winners on their debuts.   


Weekend Preview

The weekend’s racing gets underway at Busan Race Park this afternoon with a nine race card beginning at 13:00.  Busan will also host its usual six race card on Sunday with the first going to post at 12:40.  Racing at Seoul Race Park starts at 11:20 on both Saturday and Sunday.

The most valuable race of the weekend is Race 8 at Seoul on Sunday, a race celebrating the Korean Olympic Judo team which the KRA sponsors.  Sammuae and Dangdanghan line up amongst a field of category 3’s.  Later on Sunday Baekpa will be in action in a cat 1 handicap with the likes of Natural Nine for company.  Jeju Race Park will also host its usual Saturday and Sunday cards.

New South African jockey heads for Busan

The KRA has announced the arrival of a new overseas jockey to be based at Busan Race Park. South African Deryl Daniels will make his debut this coming Friday. Daniels is 31 years old and has been riding for 16 years first in South Africa, where he was top apprentice in 1997, and then stints in Singapore, Macau, Dubai, Kuwait and Mauritius. He has 560 career wins and his record over the last three years is 826 rides with 54 winners.

Daniels replaces Australian Danny Craven who completed his contract early this month after spending 10 months riding first at Seoul before making a short extension to his contract in Busan. Craven finished up with figures of 151 rides with 10 wins.

Daniels becomes the second South African jockey to debut this year although Chris Taylor’s Korean career has come to a premature end with his decision to end his contract after less than two months. Taylor debuted at Seoul Race Park on July 5 with a win, but that was to be his only success in 17 rides.

Daniels arrives on a six month contract which will take him up to February 2009 and will line up for the first time on unraced two year old Magic Play in race 1 on Friday.

Pick Me Up can’t find a race

Pick Me Up’s US debut has been delayed for the second week running as the KRA can’t find a suitable race to run him in. The six year old has been in Maryland for over a month now to take part in the KRA’s first experiment of racing domestic bred horses overseas. However, races he was entered in at Laurel Park last week did not go ahead and likewise he was withdrawn from races at Delaware Park and Philadelphia Park over the weekend. His next entry is at Penn National in a $29,000 allowance race on September 3.

Yeongung Manse beats them again

Myeongmun Gamun back winning / Miss Ecton returns with defeat / Supernatural maintains record
Yeongung Manse once again got the better of classic winners Rainmaker and Ebony Storm with a classy win in this afternoon’s feature handicap at Busan Race Park. The gelding went off 4.1 third favourite and from the gate vied for the lead with Ebony Storm (3.1). It proved to be a straight battle between these two in the stretch and having hit the front for the final time two furlongs out, Jo Chang Wook kept Yeongung Manse ahead for a half length victory. Mirae Cheonsa (8.5) came home third.

Punters had kept faith with Rainmaker despite his disappointing form since his KRA Cup Mile win and he was sent off 2.9 favourite. However, coming from the back of the field, Toshio Uchida wasn’t able to find a clear run quick enough to put in a challenge, Rainmaker eventually a fast finishing fourth. It’s four runs now without victory for Rainmaker although the quick finish would suggest that if he is better placed coming off the final turn, he may have some more in him. Conversely, Yeongung Manse how has four wins on the spin and, depending on how the handicapper treats him, will surely be favourite next time out. It was another good run by Ebony Storm, the Derby winner may even have just nicked it if given a few more metres.

Earlier at Busan, Miss Ecton made her first appearance since winning the Busan Ilbo Cup all the way back in March. Lining up in race 5, the filly finished strongly but was unable to catch wire to wire winner Passing Gear (9.8 ) and second placed Ima Firecracker (8.6). In finishing third, she did, however, manage to beat favourite White Bull (2.1). Meanwhile Kazuyuki Watase scored his second double of the weekend while compatriot Toshio Uchida suffered his first winless raceday since early July.

Fifteen handlers were required to get favourite Myeongmun Gamun into the stalls in the feature at Seoul Race Park. The recalcitrant gelding lapsed back into his bad habits on his first outing since finishing second to Baekpa in the SBS Cup. As so often in his career, connections had reason to be grateful to the handlers, however, as the seven year old went on to convincingly defeat a field of nine with 71 previous wins between them in the 1900 metre race. Jung Ki Young brought Myeongmun Gamun into contention in the back straight and the rest had no answer as he made his move on the final turn. Dashing Champ, who set the course record at this distance in June, got closest but the 2.6 favourite never looked in danger. Baengnokjeong, third in the SBS Cup, took the same position today.

It looked as though Dixie Vicar was going to end Supernatural’s 100% win record as the two battled it out in the final furlong of the 1400 metre race 9. However, Park Soo Hong asked the New Zealand bred gelding to find something more and Supernatural responded at the right time to get up by a length. The four year old Supernatural [Danske – Dance On Deck (Yachtie)] now goes three for three. Although unable to hold on, it was another good performance from the filly Dixie Vicar who was coming off the back of two consecutive wins.

The beautiful weather at both tracks ensured good attendances and although field size was disappointing in a number of races, overall both Seoul and Busan provided a good afternoon’s sport.



Jeokdaejeok steps up

Seoul Saturday Racing Review
Four year old Jeokdaejeok took this afternoon’s biggest race at Seoul Race Park. The gelding, ridden by Ham Wan Sik started the cat 2 race 10 as 6.3 third favourite in an open betting market and came through late to score a half length win from Daechong Maru. The win is Jeokdaejeok’s first at cat 2 level and his fifth overall.

On a low key day of racing at Seoul, K J Khan went down to another defeat. Starting favourite, the Japanese import was among the leaders for most of the 1800 metre race 11, but faded in the straight as Moon Se Young brought Seongpacheonha (14.6) right from the back of the field to land the race by three quarters of a length from Cash Parade.

The rain held off for the entire twelve race card and the pleasant temperatures brought out a higher than average Saturday crowd. Racing is back at 11:20 tomorrow at Seoul and 12:40 at Busan.


Weekend Preview: Ebony Storm & Rainmaker go again

Classic winners clash at Busan / Myeongmun Gamun heads Seoul card
Korean Derby winner Ebony Storm and KRA Cup Mile winner Rainmaker will face each other once more at Busan Race Park this Sunday. Both are yet to win since their respective Classic triumphs but Ebony Storm has the better of Rainmaker in their last two meetings – the Derby and a handicap at the end of June where Ebony Storm finished second with Rainmaker nowhere. Winner that day, Yeongung Manse also goes again on Sunday. The gelding couldn’t run in the Classics and has a better win rate than either of the two big names. Busan’s six race Sunday card gets underway at 12:40.

As usual, there is racing at Seoul Race Park on both Saturday and Sunday with a start time of 11:20 both days. Feature race comes on Sunday when Myeongmun Gamun will be looking to get back in form. After refusing to go in the stalls in May, the seven year old returned in the SBS Cup, only to be comprehensively beaten by Baekpa. Nevertheless, Myeongmun Gamun remains the highest earning horse at Seoul over the past year (albeit primarily due to Busan horses taking the Classics this year, Myeongmun Gamun’s President’s Cup win last October still keeps him top). Among those up against him in race 10 on Sunday will be Dashing Champ and Baengnokjeong (third in the SBS).

Torrential rain throughout Firday means there should be plenty of water in the track. Forecast is for more showers on Saturday, but Sunday should be fine and dry. In addition to Seoul and Busan, there is also racing at Jeju on Satuday and Sunday with the first going to post at 12:20 both days.

Busan Review

Favourites disappoint as Storm Rider takes handicap win
Florida Native and Namdo Choegang both finished well down the field as Storm Rider (6.6) won a dramatic final furlong battle in the feature handicap at Busan Race Park this afternoon. Storm Rider, under Seo In Seob, set the early pace and featured at the front of the field throughout the 1800 metre race but had to fight off a strong challenge from Jungnyeong (10.5), Cho Sung Gon bringing the six year old from the back to the front of the field in the final few hundred metres. The line just came soon enough, however, for Storm Rider to record victory by a nose.

Earlier on a wet afternoon on the South Coast, there was another win for the promising New Zealand bred gelding Dandi. The three year old battled to his third win in five races, taking victory by a nose in race 4. In the day’s feature domestic race, favourite Lucky Dancer (2.4) took his fourth win from his last five races with a comfortable three length win over Hammer Stone (21.2). It was a good day for Japanese jockey Kazuyuki Watase who landed a double to take his Korean winners tally to three.