Day: July 2, 2009

Weekend Preview

Myeongmun Gamun Returns
Myeongmun Gamun doesn’t run very often, but he is still considered the best Korean bred horse at Seoul. One of the reasons the eight year old appears so infrequently is that he spends most of his time banned. Notoriously badly behaved at the gate, the gelding more often than not delays the start of his race and picks up a two month suspension in the process.

Myeongmun Gamun winning the President's Cup (Sports Munhwa)

Myeongmun Gamun winning the President's Cup (Sports Munhwa)

Nevertheless, Myeongmun Gamun has still managed to gain seventeen wins in his four year career and coming back off his latest ban, will be the one to beat in Sunday’s feature race. That ban was picked up in the Ttukseom Cup in April when he finished a disappointing fifth.

Going up against him will be Mighty Runner, who was victorious that day, as well as Free Woody and Hwangnyongsaji. Mighty Runner was also beaten last time out, and at 2000 metres, Myeongmun Gamun must be fancied to record his first win of 2009.

At Busan, the major races on Friday and Namdo Jeap, second in both the Cup Mile and the Derby this year will, intriguingly, line up against foreign bred horses over 1400 metres. It is unusual for a Korean horse to take on the imports and, carrying a low weight, Namdo Jeap will be well worth watching among a field where Sinjin Gangja is his best known opponent.

Busan Race Park

Friday July 3: 11 races, first post 12:30
Sunday July 5, 6 races, first post 12:40

Seoul Race Park

Saturday July 4: 12 races, first post 11:20
Sunday July 5: 11 races, first post 11:20

On Jeju Island, there are 10 races of both Saturday and Sunday, first post 12:10. Alternate spells of thunder, Sunshine and monsoon downpours have been a feature of the weather across the peninsula this week and there is no reason why that shouldn’t continue over the weekend.

Rare Racing Mention in the KT

Just as in most countries these days, racing in Korea doesn’t get a lot of mentions in the traditional media. While YTN News carried a twenty five second report of Park Tae Jong reaching 1500 career winners last week, generally it is only the slightly trashier “Sports” editions of the newspapers that cover goings-on at the track, in between photographs of the local schoolgirls getting wet.

Coverage is even less common in the English langauge media, so it was surprising to see yesterday’s racing on Haeundae beach at Busan featured in the Photo-News section of the Korea Times today.

Korea Times, July 2, 2009

Korea Times, July 2, 2009

The racing was held as part of Haeundae Beach’s “Opening Ceremony”. Korea has an official beach going season and that began on July 1. That means that while the last month may have seen better beach weather, now it is the official thing to do, this coming weekend is sure to see everybody heading there and it will probably look something like this.

It won’t be pleasant, so come racing instead!