Month: September 2008

Gamadongja cruises to Sprint Win

Favourite Gamadongja (1.6) led wire to wire in recording his second straight win over 1200 metres leading home Bally Brae (3.0) by a length and a half. Bally Brae hadn’t run in a sprint for over two years but had broken the track record on his only previous outing at 1200 metres, however, on a soaking wet track, both Gamadongja and Bally Brae were well inside that time. Cash Parade (22.5) ran on for third. The New Zealand bred Gamadongja moves on to eight wins from thirteen outings

The day’s other race of note was also won by a hot favourite as Noubeau Riche landed a category 2 handicap with an impressive late run to win by three lengths from Gangcheolgwon.

Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow with the first under orders at 11:20.


Uchida dominates Busan

Areumdaun Jilju caps five wins/four seconds for veteran
Racing returned to Busan yesterday and Toshio Uchida underlined his domination of the track since his arrival earlier this year with his biggest winning haul to date. From ten rides, the Japanese rider landed five winners and four second places with only his ride in the last failing to trouble the placings.

As expected, Uchida took the feature race on favourite Areumdaun Jilju (1.8 ). Uchida opened his sprint as they rounded the home turn, the four year old Areumdaun Jilju running on for a comfortable four length win – his fifth of 2008. Namdo Jijon (5.9) just edged out Procyon (6.4) for second with Rainmaker, later discovered to have picked up an injury, back in fifth.


Dong-A Ilbo Cup headlines busy weekend

Racing returns to Korea this weekend after breaking for Thanksgiving last week and it looks set to be an eventful three days. Big race of the weekend is the Dong-A Ilbo Cup which is off at 17:00 at Seoul Race Park on Sunday. The 1400 metre race is one of the biggest races of the season for fillies and mares and has attracted a field including Samsimnyeonsarang, Challanhanbit, and Gateway.

There are a number of other big name horses on show at Seoul on Saturday and Sunday when cards will get underway at 11:20 with twelve races on Saturday and eleven on Sunday. Former horse of the year, Bally Brae drops back to 1200 metres for the first time in nearly two years in Saturday’s feature. The six year old holds the course record over the distance and will be up against the likes of Gamadongja, Baekjeonmupae and Dankee’s Pal. Myeongmun Gamun has satisfied the starter that he can be trusted to behave at post and the seven year old goes in Sunday’s feature, a 2000 metre handicap.

The first action of the weekend is, as usual, on Friday at Busan Race Park. The South Gyeongnam track hosts ten races on Friday with the first going to post at 13:00. There’s a double feature with handicaps for foreign bred and domestic bred horses. In the domestic, Rainmaker is given another chance to prove his KRA Cup Mile success wasn’t a fluke, but he’s going to have it all to do against a top class field headed by Areumdaun Jilju who has won five out of six this year. Also going is Procyon, the four year old gelding looking to bounce back after two disappointing runs at shorter distances. Namdo Jijon, who finished third in the Derby will be there too as will Annika Queen. Sunday’s Busan card is lower key with six races getting underway at 12:40. One novelty on the card is race 5, a race only for Japanese bred horses.

As usual, Jeju Race Park hosts pony racing on Saturday and Sunday and Sunday sees one of the big races of the season in the shape of the KRA Jeju Cup which is off at 15:55.

Eoullimnyeongung wins Ilgan Sports Cup

Weekend Round-Up
Eoullimnyeongung, second in the Munhwa Sports Cup went one better at Seoul Race Park this afternoon, landing the Ilgan Sports Cup by the narrowest of margins in a blanket finish. The four year old gelding started the race the 3.1 favourite and held off  Baekdu Jeonseol by a nose to take the KRW 63Million first prize. Free Woody  (8.9) came third, a half length back. Eoullimnyeongung had been second in his last three outings and today’s win was the fith in his career.

After two disappointing runs, Subsidy was back on form in the feature handicap. The eight year old son of Mr Prospector took his 18th career win, but like in the earlier Ilgan Sports, it went to a photograph. Subsidy, under Moon Se Young was well placed throughout and hit the front on the line to win by a nose from favourite Dongbanui Gangja. Owner’s Association Trophy winner and second favoruite, Saerounbisul was back in fourth.

Down at Busan Race Park, South African jockey Deryl Daniels continued his impressive start to his Korean stint. Daniels guided second favourite Dangdae Star to victory in the day’s big handicap.  The New Zealand bred gelding took his first win of 2008 by a length and a half from Seonbaljein (7.4).  It was Daniels’ second win in Korea and he added another placing finishing third on outsider Sinsan (75.9) in race 1.

On Saturday, Shaving Points made his first since May following an injury. Things did not look right, however, as the three year old faded badly finishing last of 10.  Saturday’s big race was won by long odds-on favaourite Secret Weapon.



Busan Review

Sinjin Gangja led from the start to claim victory in today’s feature race at Busan Race Park. The 1.8 favourite never looked in any serious danger as he recorded a two length victory in the 2000 metre handicap ahead of Hannam Daegyo (19.8 ). The four year old notched his ninth win from twenty outings.

There had been a shock in the previous race as Arch Racer, second in the Korean Oaks last month was sent off 1.5 favourite, only to finish third behind Silver King (25.3) and Locomotion (9.7) in 1600 metre category 2 handicap.

Jo Sung Gon was jockey of the day, landing a treble, while female jockey Park Jin Hee socred two winners. Racing returns to Busan Race Park on Sunday at 12:40pm.


Weekend Preview

Ilgan Sports headlines weekend / Shaving Points returns
The weekend’s cards get underway this afternoon at Busan Race Park with a nine race program starting at 13:00. Highlight is the last seeing a Cat.1 domestic handicap headed by Sinjin Gangja and Widaehan Bonneung.

Attention switches to Seoul on Saturday where the first of a twelve race card will be off at 11:20. Attention will be on Shaving Points, the unbeaten three year old making his first appearance since May in the Cat 2. race 11.

Sunday sees the feature race of the weekend in the shape of the Ilgan Sports Cup. The race for domestic Cat 2’s attracts a field of thirteen and is off at 17:00. Immediately after the Ilgan Sports, Subsidy will head the weights in a handicap, the eight year old son of Mr Prospector bidding for a return to form with what would be his eighteenth career win. Busan also runs a card on Sunday with the first of six off at 12:40.

Gambling Review Threat to Korean Racing

The government appointed National Gaming Control Commission (NGCC) is expected to make its recommendations soon and it could spell disastrous news for the racing industry in Korea. The NGCC was formed in 2007 to oversee the gaming industry in Korea with its mission supposedly being to protect the Korean public from gambling.

In August, the NGCC’s recommendations persuaded the government to double tax on casino operators to 20%. This instantly caused the stock of “Kangwon Land”, the only casino in Korea open to Korean citizens, to drop 15% – the maximum daily limit. Bloomberg quoted Kangwon Land’s rivals “Paradise Casinos” as describing the move as being “just like they are telling us to shut down shop”. Next in the NGCC’s sights is horse racing.

The primary proposal of the NGCC is to limit the annual revenue of the Korean gambling industry to a total of $12.4Billion. This would include the most prominent gambling methods of horse racing, lotteries and casinos and also cycle racing and motor boat racing which both have vibrant betting markets in Korea. Under the proposal, the Korea Racing Authority (KRA) would be given a revenue quota and would face stiff penalties if it was exceeded. Given that upwards of $30Million can be wagered on a good day at Seoul Race Park and Seoul, Busan and Jeju combined currently have upwards of 200 race meetings each year, the implications for racing are obvious.

Other proposals put forward by the commission are the introduction of an ID card for gamblers to track individuals’ spending on gaming, a ban on off-course betting, a reduction in races and a total ban on simul-casting. Although the commission is yet to rule specifically on racing, industry insiders are nervous with some pointing to the make-up of the commission as being especially hostile to racing. The NGCC has fifteen members, ten of whom represent civil groups with five more being government officials. Not only does racing have to worry about the unpredictability of those representing the civil groups who traditionally take a very hard line against any form of gambling, but also a majority of the govenment appointed members come from the Minstry of Culture, Tourism and Sport, who run the casinos. With the KRA operated by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, few voices are likely to speak up for racing.

Over the past few weeks, the KRA has been taking signatures from racegoers at all three of its tracks in support of the racing industry. However, given that the casinos had representation on the NGCC and still suffered, the outlook for racing is not good. In a country where racing, despite the well-intentioned efforts of the KRA, has never managed to shake off its reputation as having a negative effect on society, there is a great danger that it could fall victim to equally well-intentioned, but gravely misguided, government intervention.

Busan Stewards’ Reports now available in English

In a big step for the Korea Racing Authority, stewards’ reports for all races run at Busan Race Park are now being made available in English as well as in Korean.

The move is one of the more tangible ones in the KRA’s plans for the internationalization of Korean racing which includes the annual International Jockey Challenge and the sending of locally bred horse Pick Me Up to the United States to race. It is anticipated that Seoul Race Park will be issuing similar English reports within the next few months.

Currently the reports can only be accessed via the Korean language version of the KRA’s official website, not the English version. Until this happens, the English language reports can be downloaded straight from the Busan Latest Results page of Horse Racing in Korea.