Month: August 2008

Vicar Love Sprints to YTN Victory

Playing Politics beaten / Hongji takes Galsaem again
Third favourite Vicar Love tore up the field in the final furlong to claim victory in the KRW 63Million YTN Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. The unbeaten Playing Politics went off the hot favourite at 1.8 and under Choi Beom Hyun was well placed throughout the back straight. As they rounded the final turn, however, Playing Politics couldn’t find his sprint and it was Shim Seung Tae on Vicar Love (6.9) who went away from the rest, leading home by five lengths from outsider Serendipper (33.8 ) and Milwaukee Special (9.5) with the favourite in fourth (full result below).

It was not a good day for favourites. In race 9, six year old Galsaem suffered another setback, going down to Hongji for the second time this year. Galsaem, sent off 1.6 favourite, jumped out of the gate and led through all four corners but as they wound up the sprint, first Nujindo (7.8 ) and then Hongji (4.1) went past, Hongji ultimately the quickest by just over a length. Galsaem is still without victory since her last outing of 2007 and it was Hongji’s first win since the pair faced each other in February.

By this stage many punters had already taken a batttering after highly fancied Captain Cugat (1.4) went down to Royal Missile (4.2) in race 7, however, there was some relief as the fast improving Hera (1.9) came home four lengths clear in race 8.

On a day when one unbeaten record was broken, maybe another one began as the New Zealand bred gelding Coleraine made his first appearance on the track since arriving in Korea at the end of May. He was sent off slight favourite at 3.1 but it’s unlikely the odds will be so generous next time as he bounced out of the gate and never looked back, the rest of the field trailing in seven lengths behind at the end of the 1000 metre race 5. Coleraine’s time of 59.1 seconds just half a second off the course record.

At Busan, there was a six race program and the Japanese bred Jilju Hara kept up her 100% record (1.4) with an astonishing fifteen length win in race 4. The three year old filly, by Dehere and out of Super Innocent, won her first race back in June by eleven lengths and surely has a interesting future ahead. Busan’s feature came down to a three way final furlong battle and it was Toshio Uchida on Distance Runner (4.9) who just got the better of Annika Queen (4.8 ) and Milliondollar (21.0). There was disappointment in the last as The Bee Keeper, likely to be hot favourite was withdrawn through injury. In his absence, Winter Invitation (4.6) took a narrow win from Honor Day (2.3).

YTN Cup Cat.2 (Handicap) – 1900M – Seoul Race Park, 17:30

1. Vicar Love (US) [Vicar – Canberra (Silver Hawk)] – 56kg – Shim Seung Tae
2. Serendipper (Aus) [Danewin – Coppelius (Pleasant Colony)] – 54kg – Cho Kyoung Ho
3. Milwaukee Special (Can) [Milwaukee Brew – A Bit Special (Rahy)] – 57kg – Ham Wan Sik
Distances: 5 lengths, 3/4 length



Baekjeonmupae, Ugildongja take handicaps

Sharp win for Seven Card / Namchon Party outclasses rivals
Seoul Race Park saw dual features today with cat. 2 handicaps for both domestic and foreign bred horses. The domestic one was up first and it was favourite Ugildongja who extended his winning streak to three. Early pace was set by Sports Seoul winner Samsimnyeonsarang (9.6), however, the filly faded away badly as they entered the home straight allowing Moon Se Young to bring Ugildonja (2.2) through for a two and a half length win from Geumbit Gangja (13.7) and Eagle (57.6).

The foreign bred race saw a closer finish as second favourite Baekjeonmupae (2.5) took a half length win from slight favourite Dongbanui Gangja (2.3). Dirt King (7.1) led the field through the back straight but Ikuyasu Kurakane brought the New Zealand bred Baekjeonmupae into contention as they turned for home, hitting the front with 100 metres to go. Obaek Yechan (9.9) ran on for third.

Earlier, race 5 brought together some of Seoul’s more promising three year olds in a race over 1300 metres. Royal Taichi was sent off the 2.2 favourite, but never figured as Seven Card (3.0) took a wire to wire victory by an impressive seven lengths. The Yoo Seung Wan ridden colt recorded his second win from four outings with the rest of the field led in by Jeil Beonjjeok (5.6) and Galmasan (13.8 ).

Yoo Seung Wan would go on to record a second wire to wire win with Namchon Party (1.3) dominating the 1700 metre race 8, winning by six lengths. The three year old colt now has three wins from seven outings and has only been unplaced once. Another impressive performance came from the US bred gelding Storm Feet who made it four from seven in race 9. Sent off 2.0 favourite after main rival Happy Box was withdrawn, Storm Feet beat out Thermopolis (3.7) by three lengths. Storm Feet was the first half of a double for Moon Se Young. In addition to Moon and Yoo, Kim Hyo Seob also scored two winners.

In stark contrast to recent race-days, today was unseasonably cool with temperatures around 22 degrees – a full 10 degrees cooler than last week. Persistant drizzle made the track wet and similar conditions are expected tomorrow – although experience says never trust weather predictions for Seoul. Tomorrow’s card gets underway at 11:20 and a cracking card is topped off by the YTN Cup at 17:30. busan Race Park also holds a card with the first race at 12:40.


Busan Racing Review

Gamun Bobae hit the front at exactly the right time to take victory in the feature handicap at Busan Race Park this afternoon. The 3.8 second favourite showed at the head of the field for most of the 2000 metre handicap with Lim Sung Sil taking him past longtime leader Brown Beauty (24.9) in the last 50 metres for a half length win. The win Gamun Bobae’s fifth overall and first at cat.1 level.

In other races, there was a handicap win for three year old Super Goliath (4.5) scoring a tight win by a neck over hot favourite Sinheung Gangja (1.8 ) after the two had a back and forth battle in the final two furlongs with the rest of the field comfortably beaten.

The holiday meant a slightly larger than usual Friday crowd at Busan. Racing returns to the South Gyeongsang province track on Sunday with the first of six races off at 12:40.


YTN Cup tops Holiday Weekend Cards

Playing Politics heads field / Shaving Points withdrawn / Hongji & Galsaem face-off again
It’s a holiday Friday and Busan Race Park stages its usual nine race card with the first off at 13:00. Friday’s highlight is a category 1 (foreign) handicap over 2000 metres. Hangye Geukbok (33 runs/12wins) heads the field along with Bugyeong Choegang (15/7). Busan also runs a six race card on Sunday when a similar category 1 (domestic) race with a competitive field including Janggun Sinhwa (17/5) and Annika Queen (17/6). Also on Sunday, The Bee Keeper (5/4) makes his first outing since his unexpected defeat last time out.

Seoul Race Park runs its usual cards on Saturday and Sunday with the feature race of the weekend being the KRW 63Million YTN Cup. Disappointingly, Shaving Points, one of the two outstanding imports of 2008 so far, doesn’t go, but the other, Playing Politics, does and shares top weight with the interestingly spelled Noubeau Riche (8/5). The YTN Cup is race 10 on Sunday with a post time of 17:30. See below for full list of runners, riders and weights.

The YTN is a category 2 but both Saturday and Sunday also see category 1 races with Angus Empire heading the weights in Saturday’s race 11 and Hongji and Galsaem facing off again in race 9 on Sunday.

YTN Cup, Cat. 2(Foreign) – Seoul Race Park – 1900M – Aug 17, 17:30

1. Samson’s Echo (US) (15/3/3/1) – 52.5 – Park Soo Hong
2. Princess Thumb (US) (20/2/2/3) – 52 – Moon Se Young
3. Milwaukee Special (Can) (12/3/4/2) – 57 – Ham Wan Sik
4. Nice Friend (Aus) (27/1/3/4) – 52 – Ikuyasu Kurakane
5. Vicar Love (US) (7/4/1/1) – 56 – Shim Seung Tae
6. Storming Colors (US) (11/4/0/1) – 53- Kim Hyo Seob
7. Playing Politics (US) (3/3/0/0) – 57 – Choi Beom Hyun
8. Serendipper (Aus) (10/3/2/1) – 54 – Cho Kyoung Ho
9. Julgisepo (US) (25/4/1/3) – 52 – Shin Dae Jun
10. Big Guy (Aus) (16/3/2/0) – 55.5 – Kim Dong Kyun
11. Entro (NZ) (9/4/1/2) – 54.5 – Nozomu Tomizawa
12. South Darby (US) (12/4/0/1) – 52.5 – Kim Ok Sung
13. Noubeau Riche (US) (8/5/0/1) – 57 – Oh Kyoung Hoan

Lim Dae Gyu Remembered

August 11 marks one year since the death of jockey Lim Dae Gyu in a race at Seoul Race Park. The horse he was riding, Crown Forever, broke down at the end of the back straight. The race ambulance was on the scene immediately but Lim died en-route to Anyang hospital. He was 42.

Lim Dae Gyu debuted in April 1987 along with the likes of Park Tae Jong, Kim Hey Sung, Chun Chang Ki and Kim Ok Sung. In a career with over 5000 rides, Lim rode 632 winners with 578 second and 567 third placed finshes, strike rates of 11.8% and 22.6% respectively.

Among these were victories in most of Korea’s top races. He won the Korean Derby in 2002 on Haeam Janggun and The Oaks in 2005 on Gamun Nyeonggwang and also had wins in The Ttukkseom Cup and Minister of Agriculture Cup. In 1994 he won the year end Grand Prix Race on Ji Goo Ryeok, a horse he would go on to win the KRA Chairman’s Race on the following year.

During the past weekend’s racing, there were tributes to Lim Dae Gyu in the paddock and by the rails at Seoul Race Park. A video of his 1994 Grand Prix win can be seen here.

Pick Me Up Stateside

The KRA’s first experiment at sending domestic horses overseas is underway, with six year old Pick Me Up currently at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. The Busan based horse flew out last month and is scheduled to train and race in the US until December.

Pick Me Up [Time Star – Skiptamaloo (Northern State)] debuted in 2005 and has raced at Busan 40 times with a record of 7 wins, 12 seconds and 9 thirds with KRW 477Million in prize money won. The last of those wins came over a year ago, although he has placed in all his 2008 outings.

Weekend Round-up

Jeolho Chance’s Oaks win was unquestionably the main event but, on a sweltering afternoon, there was plenty of other action at both Seoul and Busan:

Seoul’s feature handicap was won by hot favourite Good Day (1.6), the Cho Kyoung Ho ridden four year old leading from start to finish of the 2000 metre race, ultimately winning by two lengths from Heukjo Bisang (6.7). It’s three consecutive wins for Good Day and 12 from 16 in his career to date.

New jockey Kim Dong Cheol scored his first career winner earlier in the afternoon, guiding favourite Hwanggeumnalgae to a three length win in race 3.

At Busan Race Park, only six went in the feature handicap – a category 2 for foreign bred horses. A very open race betting-wise, the win was taken by second favourite Brown Storm (2.5) under Toshio Uchida.



Jeolho Chance Wins Oaks in Style

Favourite recovers from first corner wobble
Jeolho Chance recovered from an early scare to score a commanding win in the Korean Oaks at Busan Race Park this afternoon and in doing so, cemented her place as the nation’s top filly.

Breaking out of stall nine, Jo Chan Hun took Jeolho Chance out quickly with the intention of leading into the first corner. It so nearly went wrong though as the 1.7 favourite ran wildly off line at the corner allowing most of the field to pass. Jo kept his head, however, and shook Jeolho Chance back into position. As they entered the back straight she was in front and from then on, it was simply a matter of time before she kicked away from the field.

The inevitable happened as they turned for home. Jeolho Chance translates into English as “Perfect Timing” and when she went, the rest had no answer. Arch Racer (13.7), under Toshio Uchida, emerged from the field to give chase but Jeolho Chance showed her class to sprint away for a five length win. Seoul horses Gate Way (20.2) and Baram Queen (11.9) were a further two lengths back in third and fourth respectively.

On a baking hot day in Busan, with temperatures in the low thirties, Jeolho Chance moved onto six career wins from twelve starts. Although they were never likely to win, it was a good day for the two Seoul entrants, redeeming some of the capital’s pride after Busan’s monopoly on the placings in the season’s earlier classics.

It was also another masterful ride by Toshio Uchida on Arch Racer, weaving through the field and timing his run to perfection. Only there was one exceptional filly who they were never going to have a chance to catch.

Korean Oaks (G II) – Busan Race Park – Aug 10, 2008 – 15:45
1. Jeolho Chance [Didyme – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Jo Chan Hun – 1.7
2. Arch Racer [Archer City Slew – Trixable (Tax Collection)] – Toshio Uchida – 13.7
3. Gate Way [Psychobabble – Rich Emotions (Rizzi)] – Lim Sung Sil – 20.2
Distances: 5 lengths / 2 lengths


Seoul Racing Review

Arrow Guard, Free Woody & Dangdanghan score good wins
Outsider Arrow Guard (29.0) produced a storming finish to take a narrow win in the feature at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Esteban (17.8 ) under Ikuyasu Kurakane set the early pace in the 1700 metre category 2 handicap and looked set for a wire to wire win until Kim Ok Sung brought the five year old Arrow Guard – in last place as they turned into the straight, through the field for the half length win. Esteban held on for second with Happy Go (2.8 ) in third.

Highly fancied Free Woody (1.5) had to work hard for victory in the previous race. However, the three year old made it four wins from eleven holding on by a neck from the fast finishing Mighty Galloper (5.8 )in an 1900 metre category 3. Finding things slightly easier was Dangdanghan (2.7), the three year old gelding taking his third consecutive victory in race 10, Lee Shin Young guiding him to the front out of the gate and kept him there for a commanding five length victory.

Moon Se Young returned from suspension but it was Cho Kyoung Ho who was the dominant jockey of the day with three wins, while there were doubles for Park Tae Jong and Kim Hyo Seob. New jockey Park Si Cheon scored his first place finish with third on Keungori (22.7) in race 4. Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow with the first at 11:20. The Korean Oaks will be simulcasted from Busan at 15:45.