Day: December 19, 2008

Ten Go in Grand Prix

The Group 1 Grand Prix race which traditionally acts as a season finale will be run at Seoul Race Park on Sunday. Although the race is by no means the most valuable on the calender it is arguably the most prestigious as it pits domestic and overseas bred horses against each other, which is rare in Korea. The overseas bred horses are generally faster, but the Koreans will carry less weight. However, with only Seoul based horses competing, it means that none of this year’s Classic winners, who are all based at Busan, will be taking part. Nevertheless, a strong and an intriguing line up will assemble for race 10 at 16:35 on Sunday:

Grand Prix (G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – Dec 21, 2008
1. Myeongmun Gamun (KOR) – G 7 (28/16/3) -54kg- Cho Kyoung Ho
This year’s top Seoul based horse in terms of prize money won, the seven year old finished second in last year’s race and, having behaved himself at the gate of late, won the President’s Cup last time out. Only beaten once in 2008, by Baekpa in the SBS Cup
2. Baekpa (KOR) – F 4 (20/8/4) -51kg- Moon Jung Kyun
Myeongmun Gamun’s conqueror in the SBS Cup, last year’s Oaks winner left it too late in the President’s Cup. The filly will have plenty of supporters but will need to produce the race of her life to challenge here
3. Fly Queen (USA) – M 5 (28/7/5) -55kg- Kim Hyo Seob
Fourth last year, the mare had an indifferent start to 2008 in handicaps before landing the G3 KRA Cup Classic in September ahead of top Point and Galsaem. A stayer, she went on to win over 2300 metres a month later.
4. Bally Brae (USA) – G 6 (24/13/7) -58kg- Moon Se Young
Last year’s winner began 2008 tidily winning some big handicaps before suffering an unexpected reverse and then a dismal showing in the Owner’s Association Trophy in June finishing out of the money for only the second time in his career – the other being in the corresponding race in 2007. Having a torrid time at the hands of the handicapper Bally Brae has since finished second in both his recent outings.
5. Top Point (KOR) – F 4 (16/1/1) -51kg- Shim Seung Tae
A prolific winner, her defeat by Fly Queen in the KRA Cup Classic broke a winning streak of six, however, she was quickly back to form the following month.
6. Secret Weapon (KOR) – H 5 (28/16/6) -54kg- Park Tae Jong
Dominant in 2008, Secret Weapon is on a run of five straight wins and carrying much less weight than he does in handicaps, a big run will be expected.
7. Galsaem (KOR) – M 6 (35/17/9) -51kg- Ikuyasu Kurakane
The mare has carried big weights in 2008 but finally got her first win of the year in November.
8. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) – C 3 (14/7/4) -55kg- Choi Beom Hyun
The second best three year old imported colt this year, he finished third in the Owner’s Association Trophy and hasn’t been out of the money in fourteen starts.
9. Seongpacheonha (AUS) – G 4 (18/4/2/4) -58kg- Lee Sang Hyuk
The least well known of all entrants, Seongpacheonha is yet to win at category 1 level. Apprentice jockey Lee Sang Hyuk gets his first big race ride.
10. Vicar Love (USA) – C 3 (10/7/1) -55kg- Yang Hee Jin
Impressive winner of the YTN Cup and in formidable form, the three year old colt could be the one to beat. Only one outing at 2000 metres but this finished in a comfortable win.

Too Easy for Areumdaun Jilju

Busan’s top handicapper, Areumdaun Jilju closed out his 2008 with a stylish performance in this afternoon’s feature at Busan Race Park. The four year old stalked second favourite Procyon throughout the latter half of the 2000 metre race, dismissively coming past at the furlong pole and sprinting away for a six length win. Areumdaun Jilju finishes 2008 with seven wins and two second place finshes from nine starts.

In other races, there was a second win for three year old Khaosan. The Peter Wolsley trained colt was one of the first horses in Korea to wear pacifiers when finishing second last time out. Today he stepped up in both class and distance but soundly defeated his cat 2 opponents by two and a half lengths.


Weekend Preview

It’s Friday so the weekend’s action is about to get underway. Sunday is a big day at Seoul with the season ending Grand Prix race bringing together some of the track’s top performers in 2008. We’ll have a full preview of the big race later today. For now, here are the start times for the next three days:

Busan Race Park
Friday 19 December: 10 races, first post time 13:00
Sunday 21 December: 6 races, first post time 12:20

Seoul Race Park
Saturday 20 December: 12 races, first post time 11:00
Sunday 21 December: 12 race, first post time 11:00 – the Grand Prix is race 10 and will go to post at 16:35.

Jeju Race Park hosts pony racing on Saturday and Sunday with first post time 12:20. It’s going to be a cold weekend at Seoul with a chance of snow showers on Sunday. It will be much warmer down at Busan with rain likely on Sunday.