Month: March 2009

Spring in Step for Baekjeonmupae

Tummim does it the hard way / Boo! – Min Ho lands a treble
Baekjeonmupae galloped through the sunshine to land victory in this afternoon’s feature event at Seoul Race Park. As expected, sprint specialist Gamadongja made the early running of the 2000 metre race with hot favourite Vicar Love just behind. With Gamadonga still leading in the back straight, Moon Se Young brought former horse of the year Subsidy around the outside of the field to slot into second.

This was how it remained until they exited the home turn with Gamadongja clinging on. Oh Kyoung Hoan asked Vicar Love for an effort but he couldn’t match that of Baekjeonmupae who finished strongly down the outside under Moon Jung Kyun for a two and a half length win.

One race later, three year old import Gangho [Peace Rules – Honor Delilah (Honor Grades)] continued his impressive start to his racing career taking a seven length win and in the process extending his unbeaten run to three. Gangho was the third winner of the day for second year jockey Boo Min Ho following earlier success on Fly Top in race 2 and Bio Com in race 7.

Much earlier in the day, highly thought of Lost Mountain filly Tummim broke her maiden in race 3, although she did her best not to. Sent off long odds-on favourite in her second start, Moon Se Young had the three year old in a winnng position with less than a furlong to go when Tummim suddenly veered off the inside rail and right across to the other side of the track. The filly almost lost enough ground to allow Lee Ae Li on Haedong Teukgeup to steal a shock win, but champion jockey Moon managed to coax Tummim across the line with just enough to spare.

In other news on what was a beautiful spring day with temperatures in the low seventies at the track, South African jockey Stephan Swanepoel scored his first money finish in Korea, guiding The Bank to third place in race 8.

Tomorrow is Busan Ilbo Cup day at Busan Race Park where the first of six begins at 12:40. Seoul gets underway at 11:20 and Jeju at 12:10.


Weekend Preview

Subsidy vs Vicar Love & Baekjeonmupae / Triple Seven vs Tu Won
It’s Busan Ilbo Cup weekend and while the big race is on Sunday afternoon (see preview below), there’s plenty of other action to look forward to.

As usual, Busan gets things underway with ten races on Friday afternoon. The feature will see Hwanggeumbit Taeyang look to get back in form after a disappointing start to the year. Wonder Love and King Kephalos will be amongst those out to stop him. In addition to the the Cup race, Sunday’s Busan card also features a clash of two 2008 Classic winners as Gaeseon Janggun and Ebony Storm face other over 2000 metres. They’ll have the back in form mare Mirae Cheonsa for company.

At Seoul Race Park, Saturday’s highlight sees Vicar Love taking on Baekjeonmupae and Subsidy. Top sprinter Gamadongja joins them and will have a significant weight advantage in the 2000 metre test. Subsidy got the better of Baekjeonmupae last month when both were soundly beaten by Playing Politics and with Vicar Love back in form after his Grand Prix disappointment, it looks an intriguing race.

On Sunday, Triple Seven and Tu Won will meet again in the feature race. Dashing Champ will also be among those lining up for race 10. Also on Sunday, Shaving Points, who began his racing career so impressively this time last year before being blighted with injury, makes his first appearance of 2009.

Busan Race Park

Friday March 20: 10 races, first post 13:00
Sunday March 22: 6 races, first post 12:40

Seoul Race Park

Saturday March 21: 12 races, first post 11:20
Sunday March 22: 11 races, first post 11:20

Jeju Race Park hosts cards on Saturday and Sunday with first post at 12:10. A wet weekend is forecast. Busan should escape rain on Friday but showers are expected on Saturday and Sunday.

* Not taking any part in the weekend’s action is jockey Choi Jung Seob. The 29 year old has been suspended for three months and trainer Lee In Ho fined KRW 2 Million under the non-triers rule following Choi’s ride on Lhotse Shar in race 10 at Seoul last Saturday. Lhotse Shar finished a close fourth in the race which can be viewed here. The horse in question breaks from stall 10.

Full Field for Busan Ilbo

Fourteen will come under orders for the Busan Ilbo Cup this coming Sunday as Busan Race Park hosts its first big fillies race of the year. Among those lining up will be Japanese bred Jilju Hara who has won four of her six starts and US import Mighty Hero, who has run the fastest over the 1400 metre distance and comes into the race off the back of three straight wins. Three domestically foaled fillies will also be taking part with Galmaegi Kkum joined by Mentor and Haste, both of whom have suffered only one defeat in their careers so far.

The Busan Ilbo Cup is race 5 of a six race card at Busan on Sunday and comes under orders at 15:35. Full list of runners, records and riders:

Busan Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1400M – Mar 22, 2009

1. Neat Play (JPN) (14/1/3/4) – Moon Joong Won
2. Lady Pres (USA) (6/1/3/2) – Yang Young Nam
3. Haste (KOR) (4/3/0/1) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
4. Yeongwonhanhangbok (USA) (13/3/2/3) – Eiki Nishimura
5. Mighty Hero (USA) (6/3/0/0) – Jo Chang Wook
6. Galmaegi Kkum (KOR) (7/2/2/1) – Jo Chan Hoon
7. Charm And Harm (USA) (7/3/1/1) – Han Sang Gyu
8. Global Jeongsang (NZ) (7/2/1/0) – Lee Seung Jae
9. Jilju Hara (JPN) (6/4/1/0) – Kim Tae Jun
10. Mentor (KOR) (5/4/0/0) – Park Geum Man
11. Smart As Me (USA) (8/3/2/0) – Kim Eu Su
12. Phasmes (USA) (8/3/1/4) – Jo Sung Gon
13. Graceful Ballerina (USA) (14/3/1/4) Chae Gyu Jun
14. City Bon (USA) (8/3/2/1) – Martin Wepner

Lost Mountain Dies at 21

Sad news out of Jeju earlier this month as Lost Mountain, who had been standing at stud on the island for the past fifteen years, passed away on March 5 at the age of twenty one. He had been suffering from worsening arthritis for some time.

On the track, Lost Mountain [Cox’s Ridge – Space Angel (To The Quick)] was a winner of the 1991 Haskell Invitational, Peter Pan Stakes and Dwyer Stakes. Imported to Korea in 1994, he sired a number of strong performing runners, the best known of whom was Bicheonbong [Turn To You (Like You And Yours)] who won the President’s Cup in 2004.

Lost Mountain’s legacy could well be further enhanced this year with his son Nice Choice [Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] winning the 2008 Herald Business, the nation’s top two year old race and looking a strong contender for Triple Crown honours beginning next month with the KRA Cup Mile.

Stallions in Korea update / KRA Studbook

Crafty Louis Catches Them Out

Namdo Jeap, Seokcheong win / Iku dominates Busan / Swanepoel debuts
Crafty Louis stepped back in distance and bounced straight back into form landing Busan Race Park’s feature event this afternoon. Dropping back to a mile for the first time in over two years, the six year old went off fourth in the betting as highly fancied Patches Of Gold made the early running.

Favourite Dongbang Geona was well placed throughout but as they came off the turn it was Crafty Louis who accelerated the quickest. Only Oneuri Bobae could go with him and these two opened up a substantial gap on the field, Jo Chang Wook bringing Crafty Louis home for a length and a half win with Storm Rider leading the field in a full eleven lengths back.

Jo was one of only two Korean jockeys to ride a winner at Busan this afternoon. Ikuyasu Kurakane really hit the jackpot in moving from Seoul to Busan and had wrapped up a treble by the race 4. Meanwhile South African Martin Wepner scored his second victory in Korea, guiding relatively unfancied Captain Kim to victory in race 3.

Another jockey getting his second victory on the peninsula was American Santos Chavez who landed race 3 at Seoul Race Park on Yaho Shani. Chavez is gradually picking up more rides and followed up his front-running win on Yaho Shani with a surprise second place on unfancied Baram Queen in Seoul’s feature race. Under Chavez, the filly finished less than a length adrift of favourite Cheonnyeonbulpae, the Cho Kyoung Ho ridden four year old taking his second consecutive win at class 2 level.

In what was an eventful day for overseas riders, another South African jockey, Stephanus Swanepoel made his Seoul debut. Swanepoel’s first mount came in race 4, a race which exemplified Korean racing at its worst. Horses ran wide on the turn and, in the stretch, eventual winner My Photo Map suddenly veered off towards the stands. That the gelding still managed to win spoke volumes about the quality of the field behind. Meanwhile Swanepoel’s mount returned home lame after finishing tailed off and has been stood down for at least a year. His second mount, Smart Angel, finished in the middle of a pack well beaten by Giant Rose in race 7, the filly giving Moon Se Young his third victory of the day.

In other races, there were two three year old performances of note. At Busan, Namdo Jeap [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] predictably wired a field of eight fellow three year olds and was eased to a five length win on his season’s debut. Up at Seoul, Seokcheong [Fiercely – Miss Geology (Jade Hunter)] was always likely to put in a good performance, but the colt exceeded expectations by winning race 8, two lengths ahead of favourite Saerounjeonseol.

Class 1 (foreign bred) – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Mar 15, 2009

1. Crafty Louis (USA) [Louis Quatorze – Crafty Atlantic (Crafty Prospector)] – Jo Chang Wook – 7.0
2. Oneurui Bobae (USA) [Montbrook – Promise Me Magic (Pentelicus)] – Jo Chan Hoon – 12.1
3. Storm Rider (JPN) [Tabasco Cat – Goldrush Gal (Gulch)] – Han Sang Gyu – 18.0
Distances: 1.5 lengths/11 lengths – 12 ran



Namchonuijijon Wins At Last

Mighty Runner’s streak ends / Red Ball wires field
Last week it was Bally Brae, today it was Namchonuijijon returning to the Winner’s Circle with a long overdue triumph at Seoul Race Park. The five year old started second favourite to Mighty Runner, who was looking for a sixth straight win, and was slow away as Heukjo Bisang made the running in the early stages of the 2000 metre race.

Mighty Runner, under Shin Hyoung Cheol, looked menacing throughout but as they turned for home, Jung Ki Young made his move on Namchonuijijon. Heukjo Bisang fell away and Mighty Runner never seemed to get into his stride. Only Free Woody, who had been racing at the front throughout, offered resistance but he too was passed as Namchonuijijon went on to take the line with a length and a half in hand.

Very much in the shadow of J.S. Hold in his three year old season, Namchonuijijon was expected to shine in 2008 and victory over Baekgwang in the Ttukseom Cup in April seemed to indicate great things ahead. On his next outing, however, Baekgwang’s sister, Baekpa, would soundly defeat him and things got worse from there as he finished out of the money for the first time in his career in his next appearance. Finally in December, he managed a creditable second behind Taebaek Janggun and now, with his first outing of the year ending in success, maybe 2009 could be Namchonuijijon’s year.

In other races, three year old Red Ball [Lethal Instrument – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] stepped up in class and never looked anything other than a winner as he led race 10 from start to finish. The colt goes on to four wins from seven starts. Another three year old in the winner’s circle was Modern Fighter [Even The Score – Jester Rehab (Dmitri)] who scored moved up to 1700 metres and scored his third success from six starts in race 9.

Tommorow sees eleven races at Seoul with the first off at 11:20. South African jockey Stephan Swanepoel will make his Korean debut in race 4 riding unfancied gelding Gangcheolbong. Swanepoel also has a mount in race 7. Busan hosts a six race card with the first off at 12:40 while Jeju gets its ten race program off at 12:10.

Class 1 – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Mar 14, 2009

1. Namchonuijijon (KOR) [Concept Win – Intriga (Lord At Law) – Jung Ki Young – 4.3
2. Free Woody (KOR) [Social Charter – Choeseonbong (Imperial Price)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 7.6
3. Mighty Runner (KOR) [Pacificbounty – Roan All Over (Fight Over)] – Shin Hyoung Cheol – 2.1
Distances: 1.5 lengths/0.5 lengths – 12 ran


Weekend Preview

The weekend is almost upon us and that means that after a four day break, racing returns to the peninsula. Busan will start things off on Friday, Seoul and Jeju race on Saturday and all three tracks will host cards on Sunday.

Headlining the weekend’s action is Saturday’s showdown between Mighty Runner and Namchonuijijon over 2000 metres at Seoul. A late developer, five year old Mighty Runner has won his last five outings and will still have a two kilo advantage over Namchonuijijon. Last year’s Ttukseom Cup winner struggled after his big race win, but was second last time and returns after more than two months off. Busan’s main event is on Friday with Luna and Pick Me Up among a field of twelve going over nine furlongs.

With just three weeks to go until the first leg of the Triple Crown, it’s possible that the the future KRA Cup Mile winner has already had their last outing before the big race, but nevertheless there remain some three year olds to look out for. At Seoul, Red Ball steps up in class in race 10 on Saturday in a bid to make it three straight wins while on Sunday, Seokcheong, who suffered his first reverse last time out, will appear in race 8. Busan hosts a three year old race on Sunday with Namdo Jeap looking the pick of a small field of eight.

Busan Race Park

Friday March 13: 10 races, first post 13:00
Sunday March 15: 6 races, first post 12:40

Seoul Race Park

Saturday March 14: 12 races, first post 11:20
Sunday March 15: 11 races, first post 11:20

Jeju Race Park hosts nine races on Saturday and ten on Sunday with first post at 12:10 both days. At Seoul, Saturday should be dry and bright but cold, Sunday should be warmer but with a chance of rain. Rain is also forecast at Busan on Friday but it’s expected to be mild and dry by Sunday.