Month: May 2009

Hwangnyongsaji Battles Past Gi Ra Seong

Choi Beom Hyun in form but Park inches closer to milestone
Hwangnyongsaji and Gi Ra Seong fought a tough stretch battle in the main event at Seoul race Park this afternoon and it was the four year old Hwangnyongsaji who got the better of his older rival to record his ninth career victory.

As Kim Ok Sung on Jigusangwiryeok set a fast early pace, only Choi Beom Hyun on Gi Ra Seong chose to try to keep up with Jun Deok Young keeping Hwangnyongsaji at the head of the main pack a few lengths back. As they turned into the home straight, Jigusangwiryeok tired to leave Hwangnyongsaji to take the line half a length ahead of Gi Ra Seong with Lucky Mountain a further length and a half back.

The defeat was a rare setback for Choi Beom Hyun on an afternoon where the jockey landed three winners. His first came on New Zealand import The Key Lucky [Danroad – Diamond Flute (Clay Hero)], the three year old filly breaking her maiden in race 4. Choi also took wins on highly rated gelding Brothers in race 5 and Hi Friends in race 9, the latter seeing off favourite Grandzif by two lengths.

Grandzif’s jockey was Park Tae Jong and Korea’s most successful ever rider moved a step closer to reaching the next milestone his career – 1500 wins. A wire to wire victory in Gwacheon Jijon in race 8 took Park to 1496 and all eyes will be on his mounts next week to see if they can carry him to the landmark figure.

At Busan Race Park the feature race was won by favourite Glory Champ, who just beat out Annika Queen in the photograph. However, the race was marred by a fatal injury to Janggun Sinhwa. The five year old winner of six races was pulled up in the back straight.

Class 1 (Korean bred) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – May 31, 2009

1. Hwangnyongsaji [Slew Gin Fizz – Wild Guess (Wild Rush)] – Jun Deok Young – 3.0
2. Gi Ra Seong [Precise End – Dauntless Cat (Mountain Cat)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 2.9
3. Lucky Mountain [Silent Warrior – Myeonggaheui (Revere)] – Cho Kyoung Ho
Distances: 0.5 lengths/1.75 lengths – 11 ran



Dankee’s Pal Noses out Bally Brae

Bally Brae was finishing the fastest but Dankee’s Pal just managed to hold off the seven year old to claim victory by the narrowest of margins in the feature race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

When these two met last month, the result was reversed and agin Dankee’s Pal hit the front early while Moon Se Young kept Bally Brae in the middle of the ten strong field. This time, however, although Bally Brae, carrying six kilos more than his rival, began relentlessly closing the gap in the straight, Dankee’s Pal, under Cho Kyoung Ho, just did enough to hang on. Seongpacheonha was a well beaten third.

One race earlier, Santos Chavez got his final weekend’s riding underway with a win, taking race 9 on outsider Gamunhuye. In other races, there were wins for Lhotse Shar and Saegisang.

Class 1 (Foreign bred) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – May 30, 2009

1. Dankee’s Pal (USA) [Max’s Pal – Dankee (Regal Intention)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 2.7
2. Bally Brae (USA) [Yarrow Brae – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] – Moon Se Young – 1.6
3. Seongpacheonha (AUS) [Agnes World – House Of Chimes (Bellotto)] – Park Tae Jong – 21.9
Distances: Nose/8 lengths – 10 ran


Weekend Preview

It’s been a turbulent week on the peninsula. With the suicide of former President Roh Moo Hyun last Saturday morning shortly followed by North Korea’s nuclear test forty-eight hours later, as well as “Swine Flu” finally making its way into the news, even in a country where there is scarcely a quiet week, this one has been different.

As reported yesteraday, the regular Friday racing at Busan is off so as not to clash with President Roh’s funeral. The rest of the weekend’s cards will go ahead as planned, however, and horses will be running at Seoul Race Park from 11:20 on Saturday morning.

Bally Brae is the biggest name on show over the weekend. The seven year old former horse of the year is looking for his third straight win and has the beating of his ten rivals in Saturday’s feature race. However, he will be conceding at least six kilos to all of his rivals, a handicap that could let in the likes of Dankee’s Pal and Seungyu Sinhwa.

Busan Race Park

Sunday May 31: 6 races, first post 12:40

Seoul Race Park

Saturday May 30: 12 races, first post 11:20
Sunday May 31: 11 races, first post 11:20

Jeju Race Park hosts cards on Saturday and Sunday with first post at 12:10 both days. The weather is forecast to be dry, bright and hot.

Friday at Busan Cancelled for Presidential Funeral

The Korea Racing Authority (KRA) has confirmed that this Friday’s meeting at Busan Race Park has been cancelled. The funeral for former Korean President Roh Moo Hyun will take place at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul at 11am on Friday.

Roh, a Busan native, jumped to his death last Saturday morning in his home village of Bongha.

Sunday’s meeting at Busan will go ahead as planned, as will Saturday and Sunday’s cards at Seoul Race Park.

Wangson Steps up to Win Sports Chosun

Beomtti and Sandeomi also win
Wangson came through late to land a convincing win in the Sports Chosun Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. The four year old ran at the back of the pack for most of the 1800 metre race before coming through with a stong run in the home straight to have victory secured with half a furlong still to run.

The Sports Chosun Cup is traditionally an opportunity for those four year olds who were either not quite ready for the previous year’s major three year old races or who competed but hadn’t yet reached their peak, to kick on to the top level of Korean racing.

Seven Card led for much of the race and hung on for second place to make it a one-two finish for his and Wangson’s sire, Distilled. Pre-race favourite Happy Queen finishing strongly in third. For Wangson, it is a fifth win in eleven outings and his next race will be in category 1 company.

In other races at Seoul, three year old filly Beomtti threw her name back into contention for big race honours with a surprise win in race 7 beating out two other highly rated fillies in the process. Sangsangbong and My Symphony were more fancied, but it was Beomtti, under Yoo Seung Wan, who came through to snatch the lead and the victory with less than 20 metres remaining. Beomtti is now on three wins from five runs and the three year old filly picture in Seoul is looking increasingly interesting. Whether one can kick on and make a serious challenge for the Oaks in Busan in August is another matter.

In Seoul’s second most valuable race, Blue Pin took his third straight victory. The colt, whose form arrived too late for entry into the Derby picture was a comfortable four length winner.

Meanwhile, another colt who skipped the Derby was in action at Busan Race Park this afternoon. Sandeomi was the only one of the top six finishers in the KRA Cup Mile not to journey to Seoul for the Derby. Today he ran out a comfortable winner over a mile in race 5. Busan’s feature race went the way of Gangsan Jijo. The six year olf New Zealand bred gelding beat out Power Captain and Admiral Reigart in a tight photo finish.

Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 24, 2009

1. Wangson (KOR) [Distilled – Eastern Tide (Far Out East)] – Kim Young Jin – 4.9
2. Seven Card (KOR) [Distilled – Youcancallmebetty (Buckaroo)] – Kim Ok Sung – 4.4
3. Happy Queen (KOR) [Revere – C. Bop (Aly Dark)] – Cho Kyoung Ho 3.4
Distances: 2 lengths/0.5 lengths – 12 ran



Weekend Preview

Sports Chosun Cup / Gaeseon Janggun / Mighty Runner
After the the excitement of Derby weekend it’s back to normal this week as racing once again returns to the peninsula. Big race of the weekend is the Sports Chosun Cup at Seoul Race Park on Sunday afternoon, but both Friday at Busan and Saturday at Seoul also have some interesting races.

Last year’s top Korean-bred three year old, Gaeseon Janggun headlines Busan’s Friday card. The Minister’s Cup winner faces seven opponents over 2000 metres in race 10. He’ll be favourite but will be giving at least five kilos to a host of proven winners such as Mirae Cheonsa, Boryeong Bulbit, Sinheung Gangja and even Pick Me Up. Sunday at Busan sees two of the southern track’s most prominent overseas bred horses face off as Golding goes up against Admiral Reigart.

While the Sports Chosun Cup is Seoul’s feature race of the weekend (full preview to follow), Saturday sees a fascinating feature race as Ttukseom Cup winner Mighty Runner faces among others, Hongji, Machine Gun and Ugildongja over 1900 metres.

Busan Race Park

Friday May 22: 10 races, first post 13:00
Sunday May 24: 6 races, first post 12:40

Seoul Race Park

Saturday May 23: 12 races, first post 11:20
Sunday May 24: 11 races, first post 11:20

Jeju Race Park will host pony racing cards on Saturday and Sunday with a first post time of 12:10 on both days. Sunday sees the Jeju Owner’s Cup, one of the island’s top races of the year. Established winners Mansokchum and Medaljeonseon will come up against three year old filly Cheonjibusa, who has six wins from eight outings in the race, which is run over a mile.

The current wet weather is predicted to continue throughout the weekend with showers likely at both tracks.

Sangseung Ilro Romps the Derby

Filly on course for Triple Crown after destroying Derby field
There were doubts about Sangseung Ilro. Yes, she had won the KRA Cup Mile pulling away, but the Cup Mile is not the Derby and Seoul’s best had stayed home that day in April. There are no doubters now.

Seoul’s best didn’t stay home today and they were found wanting as Sangseung Ilro destroyed the best colts Korea has to offer to win the Derby at Seoul Race Park this afternoon and in doing so, take herself to within one race of completing the Triple Crown.

As expected, it was Nice Choice who was sent off favourite, with Sangseung Ilro fourth in the betting, behind Seokcheong and Yeonseung Daero. As the field broke, it was Namdo Jeap who grabbed the early lead under Shin Hyoung Cheol, standing in for Martin Wepner who lost the ride reportedly for failing to weigh-in on time.

Namdo Jeap, second in the Cup Mile last month, continued to lead through the back-straight with Yeonseung Daero, Seokcheong and Khanui Jeguk following close behind. Jo Sung Gon meanwhile was keeping Sangseung Ilro tucked in at the back of the field. Jo began to make his move as they rounded the home turn coming level with Nice Choice in the middle of the field as they exited the turn and entered the home straight.

When the filly started to sprint, however, there were no equals. As in the Cup Mile, Namdo Jeap battled valiantly but once caught, was never going to be able to fight back. Sangseung Ilro ran on to win by five lengths on the line, Jo Sung Gon comfortable in victory with half a furlong still to go. Namdo Jeap completed the same 1-2 as in the Cup Mile while Baengnyeonbong salvaged a tiny amount of pride for Seoul, finishing third. Rank outsider Pangpang, the only other filly in the field, ran a creditable fourth. Yeonseung Daero came in fifth.

Favourite Nice Choice never got involved and crossed the line in sixth, while second favourite Seokcheong disappeared in the home straight and came home ninth. It was another miserable classic for Seoul trained horses. With Busan raiders taking four of the five money finishes, the pressure is going to be on the beleaguered Seoul backstretch to take a long hard look at itself and figure out what it is doing wrong.

Sangseung Ilro is the fifth filly to win the Derby and she is now on course to become the first to land the Triple Crown. She will have to wait a long time to do it, however, as the final leg isn’t until the Minister’s Cup, back at Seoul in October. Before that, however, she will have the opportunity to add the Korean Oaks to her collection at Busan in August.

Overnight, the fear had been that the rain which had fallen throughout yesterday’s card would continue into today and that by post time, the track would be a quagmire. Instead, it was dry from early morning and a strong wind around lunchtime dried the track out considerably and by the time the Derby got underway, the sun had been shining for quite some time. The poor forecast, however, meant that a slightly smaller crowd than hoped for enjoyed the now traditional free entry to the track on Derby day.

Korean Derby (G.I) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 17, 2009

1. Sangseung Ilro (F) [Concept Win – Miss Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Jo Sung Gon – 8.1
2. Namdo Jeap [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – Shin Hyoung Cheol – 19.8
3. Baengnyeonbong [Al Naba – Sansonvino Art (Mister C.)] – Kim Ok Sung – 19.8
Distances: 5 lengths/3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Pangpang; 5. Yeonseung Daero; 6. Nice CHoice; 7. Money Teukgeup; 8. Sky Star; 9. Seokcheong; 10. Triple Canon; 11. Khanui Jeguk; 12. Impeccable; 13. Khanui Huye; 14. Red Ball

One race before the Derby, the final International Exchange race of the weekend took place. The unbeaten Gangho was sent off the odds-on favourite but it was third favourite Free Hugs who emerged from the pack to land the victory from Saerounachim and Afternoon Dove – Gangho a disappointing fourth:

JRA Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1200M – May 17, 2009

1. Free Hugs (AUS) [Fantastic Light – Woodie (Woodman)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 5.6
2. Saerounachim (NZ) [Pyrus – Jouet (Langfuhr)] – Kim Dong Cheol – 57.5
3. Afternoon Dove (USA) [Afternoon Deelites – Flying Dove (Dove Hunt)] – Jung Ki Young – 35.1
Distances: 2.5 lengths/Neck – 14 ran

* He may have been jocked off Sangseung Ilro for the Derby, but Eiki Nishimura responded in the best possible way, doubling the two most valuable races on offer at Busan Race Park this afternoon. The Japanese rider landed race 5 on Hangang Jeil and race 6 on Jewang.



Korean Derby Weekend – Sunday Preview

Korean Derby / JRA Trophy
The twelth Korean Derby goes to post at 17:00 on Sunday afternoon. With 24 hours of persistent rain already having fallen and no signs of it stopping any time soon, track conditions are sure to be similar to last year when 90/1 outsider Ebony Storm pulled off a shock win.

Eight Seoul horses and six Busan horses will line up. Amongst them are two fillies, one of whom, Sangseung Ilro is, for now at least, on course to land the Triple Crown, having won the KRA Cup Mile at Busan in April. The one sour note that hovers above this Derby is that Eiki Nishimura, the jockey who guided her to that victory, will not be with her amid suspicions that the idea of an overseas rider landing a Triple Crown is too much to take for some on the backstretches of Seoul and Busan.

Nice Choice is the likely favourite but it is an open race, especially with the rain. Sangseung Ilro has obviously staked her claim, but cases can be made for a host of others, including Yeonseung Daero, Baengnyeonbong, Sky Star and Seokcheong. In jockey Martin Wepner and trainer Peter Wolsley, Namdo Jeap and Impeccable respectively offer an overseas angle even in Eiki’s absence.

Whatever the result and regardless of the weather, hopefully the Derby can provide a race that does justice to our wonderful sport’s biggest day.

Click here to download past performance information (Korean). Full list of post positions, runners, records and riders:

Korean Derby (GI) – Seoul Race Park – May 17 2009 – 1800M, 17:00

1. Sky Star [B] [Tahamkke – Blue Lark (Ravenwood)] – (10/5/1/0) – Kim Tae Kyoung
2. Khanui Huye [The Groom Is Red – Noble Michelle (Flow Technology)] – (7/2/2/0) – Han Sung Yeol
3. Nice Choice [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] – (6/4/2/0) – Moon Se Young
4. Seokcheong [Fiercely – Miss Geology (Jade Hunter)] – (6/4/1/1) – Park Tae Jong
5. Namdo Jeap [B] [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – (6/3/2/1) – Martin Wepner
6. Khanui Jeguk [Sunday Well – Lucky Dip (Didyme)] – (7/3/1/1) – Lee Jung Sun
7. Yeonseung Daero [B] [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – (8/5/1/2) – Kim Eu Su
8. Baengnyeonbong [Al Naba – Sansovino Art (Mister C.)] – (9/4/1/1) – Kim Ok Sung
9. Pangpang [B] [Revere – Awishnotalark (Rio’s Lark)] – (11/3/0/1) – Kim Hong Il
10. Impeccable [B] [Distilled – Bellebreezy (Foolish Pleasure)] – (6/4/0/0) – Park Geum Man
11. Sangseung Ilro [B] (F) [Concept Win – Miss Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – (6/4/1/1) – Jo Sung Gon
12. Triple Canon [Tahamkke – Tamna Jeilbong (Lost Mountain)] – (7/4/2/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
13. Money Teukgeup[Ft. Stockton – Headwork (Silveyville)] – (8/2/3/1) – Choi Beom Hyun
14. Red Ball [Lethal Instrument – Wildly Magic (Pieterhof)] – (8/4/0/1) – Yang Hee Jin

JRA Trophy – Class 2 (Foreign bred) – 1200M – Race 8

Just before the Derby, the final International Trophy race of the weekend will take place and it’s the big one as the undefeated Gangho faces his first real test in the JRA Trophy. While he will likely be the overwhelming favourite, if he has a bad day, there are one or two who could cause him problems. Bulpae Gisang has four wins from six outings and Free Hugs is a proven performer at this level.

There are eleven races at Seoul on Sunday with the first under orders at 11:20. Busan Race Park hosts six races with the first at 12:40. Jeju Race Park gets underway at 12:10.

Symphony Sonata Off Key in the Wet

Super Jet, Keungori, Giant Rose land Trophy races
In atrocious conditions at Seoul Race Park, the favourites went down in all three of the International Trophy races this afternoon. It had been raining for twelve hours before the horses went to post for the first race and continued throughout racing creating a saturated track and appalling visibility for the jockeys.

While all three Trophy races were of equal value, most eyes were on the HRI Trophy where Symphony Sonata was sent off favourite off the back of four wins in six starts. Brought to the front early by Park Tae Jong, the four year old seemed well placed coming off the last turn but when asked to sprint, had nothing to offer. Instead, it was second favourite Super Jet, under Kim Young Jin who edged out Natural Guy and Choi Beom Hyun on the line after the two duelled in the final furlong.

One race earlier, Bandoui Kkum was favourite going into the AJC Trophy race, but she never got going as Moon Se Young on Giant Rose scored a clear four length victory over Choi Won Jun on Yeonjikkot with Princess Ruby in third. Meanwhile, the STC Trophy went the way of three year old filly Keungori with favourite Soseono well down the field.

STC Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 16 May, 2009 – 1300M

1. Keungori (USA) [Essence of Dubai – Goldmakesmesmile (Mining) – Kim Ok Sung – 10.5
2. Kkumchaja (USA) [Orientate – Westerville (Gone West)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 5.3
3. Storm For Lucky (JPN) [Mejiro Ryan – Dark Moon (Real Shadai)] – Yoon Tae Hyuk – 68.3
Distances: 0.75 lengths/7 lengths – 13 ran

AJC Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 16 May, 2009 – 1400M

1. Giant Rose [Pacific Bounty – Kiss My Goldie (Candi’s Gold)] – Moon Se Young – 5.0
2. Yeonjikkot [Al Naba – Sez Babble (Psychobabble)] – Choi Won Jun – 24.1
3. Forest River [Texas Glitter – Whosis (Trempolino)] – Park Tae Jong – 8.2
Distances: 4 lengths/2.5 lengths – 14 ran

HRI Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 16 May, 2009 – 1800M

1. Super Jet [Archer City Slew – Tae Eulbong (Road of War)] – Kim Young Jin – 5.3
2. Natural Guy [Social Charter – Rocky Stream (Reprimand)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 6.5
3. Yonggeol [Psychobabble – Uri Maeum (Glorify)] – Han Sung Yeol – 129.3
Distances: Neck/4 lengths – 14 ran


Korean Derby Weekend – Saturday Preview

STC, AJC and HRI Trophies up for grabs
Not only is the Korean Derby being run on Sunday, it’s also International Weekend at Seoul Race Park. Across the two days, there are four trophy races sponsored by overseas racing authorities. While the biggest of the four is the JRA Trophy on Sunday, the race immediately preceding the Derby, the three on Saturday offer plenty of interest.

Selengor Turf Club (STC) Trophy – Class 3 (Foreign bred) Fillies & Mares – 1300M – Race 7

Two jockeys from Malaysia will guest in this race which has attracted a full field of fourteen. Likely favourite will be Soseono, half sister to Subsidy, Korea’s horse of the year in 2005. Also in contention should be Sky Center, Nandanara and Rose Cat. The race is off at 3pm.

Australian Jockey Club (AJC) Trophy – Class 3 (Korean bred) Fillies & Mares – 1400M – Race 9

Another full field of fourteen for the AJC Trophy. It’s an open race with no stand-out favoruite although there will be plenty of support for Bandoui Kkum. Yeonjikkot and Hera have both won at this level before and must also be considered.

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Trophy – Class 3 (Korean bred) – 1800M – Race 10

The only trophy race on Saturday open to mae horses, the HRI Trophy is perhaps the most interesting of the three as Symphony Sonata, the well bred and highly rated four year old seeks to gain a fourth win from six races. Hacing been beaten narrowly by Derby contender Triple Canon last time out, he’ll be the likely favourite. He’ll be up against Super Jet, who last time out beat another Derby contender, Seokcheong over the same distance as the trophy race. Also in the mix should be Luxury Jewang, Excacta Runner and Haedong Jewang.

There are twelve races in total on Saturday at Seoul, with the first getting underway at 11:20. There is also racing at Jeju Race Park with the first at 12:10. Sadly, just like Derby weekend last year, the weather forecast is not good with umbrellas likely to be necessary throughout the day.

Check back tomorrow for full reports on Saturday’s trophy races plus final previews of The JRA Trophy and, of course, the Korean Derby.

* Areumdaun Jilju returned to action after a five month lay-off in this afternoon’s feature race at Busan Race Park. Although punters failed to send him off as favourite for the first time in many outings, it was as if the five year old – who has never finished worse than fourth and before his lay-off was arguably Busan’s most feared horse – had never been away. Under Jo Chan Hoon, the gelding came through late to stretch away from the field for a five length win. Racing returns to Busan on Sunday.