Month: August 2009

Lucky Seven for Nice Choice

Bungjeongmalli in contention / Volponi sires first winner
Nice Choice stepped up to class 1 level for the first time to land the feature race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. While memories of the Derby flop will only be fully erased if he wins the Minister’s Cup in October, Nice Choice continued to demonstrate that the form that made him champion two year old last year, has the potential to still make him champion three year old.

It’s true that today he didn’t face the strongest class 1 field to assemble at Seoul. Far from it, but there were some seasoned campaigners present in the likes of Natural Nine, Gang Gwon and Lucky Seven as well as Hallyu Star, who last month won the SBS Cup.

Under Cho Kyoung Ho, Nice Choice tracked the leaders for most of the 1900 metre race, coming by in the last furlong to win going away from second placed Lucky Seven. The colt now has seven wins from ten starts and thoughts are now turning to the season’s final classic.

Another three year old who could perhaps force himself into contention for that Classic was in the winner’s circle half an hour prior to Nice Choice. Bungjeongmalli [Archer City Slew – Mup’aegado (Lost Mountain)] only tsrated once as a two year old and finished eigth of ten. Given three months off he came back for his three year old season and, while too late to be in the running for the Derby, has run up a record of five wins and two seconds this term. While still some way off Nice Choice, if he continues to improve there is a possibility that Cho Kyoung Ho, who rides both, could have an interesting choice to make come October.

Today was also noteworthy as Seoul saw the first winner sired by 2002 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Volponi. Special Volpony doesn’t look like a world-beater but the two year old filly had more than enough about her to see off thirteen rivals over six furlongs. Making her second appearance on the track, she led from gate to wire to win race 1 by a length and a half. Volponi arrived in Korea in January 2006.

Down south at Busan, Crafty Louis notched his fourth win of 2009. The six year old held off King Kephalos by the narrowest possible margin in the feature handicap.



Nothern Ace Relaxes

Wins for Strong Demand and Blue Pin as Cho Kyoung Ho cleans-up
This year’s hottest two year old prospect made his second appearance today as Nothern Ace came out for a stroll in the sunshine at Seoul Race Park. Nothern Ace [Didyme – Telegraph Road (Royal Academy)] broke the five furlong track record on his debut last month and many were looking for the six furlong record to go today.

In the event, Nothern Ace went to the front straight out of the gate and jockey Cho Kyoung Ho sensibly kept the colt well within himself as he dispatched his thirteen rivals – the eventual winning margin of just four lengths meaningless. It’s early days, but Nothern Ace appears to have a talent unusual for Korea. The only two year old race of note at Seoul is the Herald Business towards the end of the season. It will be interesting to see what course his connections take between now and then.

Cho Kyoung Ho’s examplary professionalism in guiding Nothern Ace home was the first of four winners for the jockey. It only came about, however, after Moon Se Young, who was booked for the ride, suffered a nasty fall in race 2. The previously unraced filly Raipai veered wildly coming out of the gate and threw the champion jockey into the rails.

Cho landed both of the co-feature races. First up in the domestic bred contest, three year old gelding Blue Pin – a half brother to Nothern Ace through their dam, Telegraph Road – overhauled Natural Guy in the final furlong to claim his fifth victory from eleven starts. Next up, Cho brought Strong Demand home in the overseas bred race, five lengths the margin over the returning Gangho whose first effort since his disappointing JRA Cup run was encouraging.

Earlier, there was a winning debut for US import Wonerful Sun [Pico Central – Jacket Required (Black Tie Affair)]. The two year old (whose name written in Korean reads as “Wonderful” just like Nothern Ace is “Northern”) led from gate to wire in race 4 and won’t go off at 7/1 again in the near future.


Weekend Preview

Nice Choice / Gangho / Northern Ace / Bukgeukseong
After five days off it’s back. Racing on the Korean peninsula gets underway again this Friday at Busan and at Seoul and Jeju on Saturday and then all three tracks on Sunday.

Munhwa Ilbo winner Nice Choice is the biggest draw in the weekend’s headline race at Seoul on Sunday. The three year old steps up to class 1 racing for the first time and will be up against SBS Cup winner Hallyu Star.

While the big race is on Sunday, many racegoers will have their eyes on Saturday’s card which sees a number of potential stars on show. Earlier this year, US import Gangho swept all before him, winning his first four races barely breaking into a gallop. He then flopped in the JRA Trophy in May and hasn’t been seen since. He’s back in race 11 on Saturday when he’ll take on thirteen others over 1900 metres.

Saturday may also see some clues to next year’s Classics as two year old filly Brown Girl is looking to go three for three in race 8. An hour earlier, Northern Ace will have made his second start. The colt broke the five furlong track record on his debut and his reputation was enhanced without him even leaving his stable last week as the horse he beat into second that day, Ace Galloper, cruised to an eighteen length win. Northern Ace goes over six furlongs this time.

At Busan, prolific filly Bukgeukseong steps up to class 1 in Friday’s feature. Although classified as domestically bred, the three year old was ineligible for the Oaks due to having being conceived outside of Korea. She has five wins to her name from six starts and will be up against the likes of Annika Queen and Sky Star over a mile. Sunday’s Busan feature has track stalwarts Angle Slam, Dongbang Geona, Bugyoeng Choegang and Crafty Louis facing younger rivals King Kephalos and Jilju Hara.

Busan Race Park

Friday August 28: 10 races, first post 13:00, last 17:30
Sunday August 30: 6 races, first post 12:40, last 16:30

Seoul Race Park

Saturday August 29: 12 races, first post 11:20, last 17:40
Sunday August 30: 11 races, first post 11:20, last 18:00

Jeju Race Park (Pony racing)

Saturday August 29: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10
Sunday August 30: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10

Ecton Cat Pounces

Symphony Sonata off key / Impressive debuts
Ecton Cat scored a comfortable win at Seoul Race Park this afternoon and in doing so qualified to step up to the top level of Korea racing. The four year old US import – whose sire now stands in Korea – led from gate to wire to grab a four length win over Saerounachim and Fly Top. Next time out for Ecton Cat will be in class 1 company.

In the other feature race – an 1800 metre class 2 handicap for Korean bred runners, Symphony Sonata was sent off favourite but failed to make any impression on the race as Challanhanbit started quickly and held off the challenge of Wangsan to win by half a length. For the five year old mare it was a sixth career win.

While the feature races were all well and good, most attention at the track was focused on the early races. Last month, Northern Ace set the five furlong track record. Not far behind him in that race was another “Ace”, Ace Galloper. In race one today, Ace Galloper [Chapel Royal – Explicitly (Exploit)] went six furlongs and crushed thirteen rivals as he was eased up for a remarkable eighteen length win.

In race 3 it was supposed to be the turn of Forest Wind. He didn’t make an impact so instead it was second favourite Seonbongbulpae [Newsprint – Jeseok (Lost Mountain)] who stepped up. The colt had thirteen lengths between him and his nearest challenger at the end of he five furlongs.

The final debut came from an import. Two year old filly Gwacheon Geojang [Peace Rules – Copelan’s Filly (Copelan)] was one of the more expensive overseas two year old purchases this year but didn’t start the favourite in race 4 as she took on a number of more experienced fillies. She showed a good turn of foot, however, to lanf the five furlong test by nearly two lengths and will be another one to watch out for in future.

A bigger than average Saturday crowd was in with the cancellation of Sunday’s card for the funeral of former President Kim Dae Jung no doubt playing a part.


Weekend Preview

For the second time this year, a Presidential funeral has meant the cancellation of a day’s racing. After six days of mourning, Kim Dae Jung – President from of South Korea from 1998 to 2003 and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 – will be laid to rest on Sunday at the National Cemetary in Seoul following a State funeral.

The cancellation leaves each track with just one day’s racing this weekend. Busan runs on Friday while Seoul and Jeju have cards on Saturday. With the short evening racing season complete, all three tracks are running daytime cards. To replace the lost races, Seoul and Busan will each host a make-up card in December on Christmas weekend – the season had previously been scheduled to finish a week earlier.

Procyon and Yongdu Baram head the field for Busan’s feature race. Symphony Sonata is the biggest name on show at Seoul on Saturday.

Busan Race Park

Friday August 21: 10 races, first post 13:00, last 17:30

Seoul Race Park

Saturday August 22: 12 races, first post 11:20, last 17:40

Jeju Race Park (Pony racing)

Saturday August 22: 10 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10

23 August 2009

Sunday Racing Off

The KRA has confirmed that all racing on the peninsula this coming Sunday, August 23, has been cancelled. The cards at Seoul, Busan and Jeju are all off so as not to clash with the funeral of former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, who died on Tuesday.

Friday’s card at Busan and the Saturday cards at Seoul and Jeju will go ahead as planned.

Evening Promises…

Evening racing on the peninsula drew to a close this past Sunday as Seoul, Busan and Jeju Race Parks all revert to their usual daytime hours from this coming weekend.



In 2008, there was no evening racing with high energy prices being cited as the reason. The return this year was a welcome one as on a warm summer’s night, the racetrack is the place to be.

"Happyville & Luckyville" go black & white in the dark

With a mid-afternoon start and and a late finish, horses, jockeys and punters alike were able to get some respite from the hottest days of the year so far. Despite beginning in the monsoon season, seven of the eight fixtures were gloriously dry.

Choi Beom Hyun brings Soseono home

Choi Beom Hyun brings Soseono home

On the final night, Soseono landed the YTN Cup in front of 42,000 racegoers to bring the short evening season to a close.


All pictures by letsbook.

Soseono Wins YTN Cup

Subsidy’s sister steps up / Golding wins
In Korean racing, any sibling of Subsidy has a lot to live up to. The 2005 Horse of the Year is one of the most successful and popular horses to ever run on the peninsula. This evening, under the lights at a packed Seoul Race Park, Sosoeno stepped out from her big brother’s shadow to land the YTN Cup.

Four year old Soseono has promised great things but until tonight had always just failed to deliver. In eleven previous starts, the only time she’d finished outside the money was when she threw her jockey coming out of the stalls. Of those money finishes, however, only one was in the top spot.

Tonight, sent off fourth favourite in a field of fourteen and with Choi Beom Hyun in the saddle, Soseono stalked the leaders for the early parts of the 2000 metre race. She hit the front as they entered the home straight and held off fast finishing favourite Air Kat by two lengths on the line. Kkumchaja, also coming from behind, made it into third.

YTN Cup (Class 2 Foreign Bred) – Seoul Race Park – 1900M – Aug 16, 2009

1. Soseono (USA) [Aldebaran – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 5.7, 1.9
2. Air Kat (USA) [Digging In – Vivian’s Mercedes (Broad Brush)] – Moon Se Young – 1.7
3. Kkumchaja (USA) [Orientate – Westerville (Gone West)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 2.1
Distances: 2 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Jangjagang; 5. Storm For Lucky; 6. Alpha Lady; 7. Crown Carla; 8. Sangsangbong; 9. Ginny’s Delight; 10. Cheonsangcheonha; 11. Gild Regal; 12. Exclusive Offer; 13. Pricess Thumb; 14. Keungori

It was another big win race win for Choi Beom Hyun who landed two other wins on the final evening card of the year including on debut making import Great True [Yes It’s True – Gigi’s Magic (Alien’s Prospect)] who took race 3. Meanwhile, another Foreign Aid foal is set to make his track debut soon. Jumong, the two year old brother of Subsidy and Soseono arrived in Korea in May.

At Busan Race Park, after a year of trying, track legend and 2006 Cup Mile winner Golding was finally back in the Winner’s Circle. The seven year old came right from the back of the field to land the nine furlong feature race by half a length.



YTN Headlines Final Evening

The YTN Cup is the big race at Seoul as a glorious four weeks of evening racing on the peninsula come to a close tomorrow.

In its tenth running, the YTN is this year, for the first time restricted to fillies and mares. A class 2 race, like the Munhwa Ilbo a few weeks ago, it brings together a group of up and comers along with more established horses who haven’t quite made it through to the top level just yet.

And an interesting field will assemble at 7:30pm. Air Kat looked to be steadily progressing in her three year old season last year before injury intervened. Absent for nine months, she came back in May and then ran second in a class 2 race last month. If she’s continued to improve since then, she’ll be the one to beat even though the mare who did beat her last time, Cheonsangcheonha will also go tomorrow.

Two three year olds may be her biggest threats. Keungori won the STC Trophy in May while Alpha Lady is the unknown quantity. The recent US import has only run four times and started inauspiciously but has won her last two by embarrassing margins. She hasn’t raced at more than six furlongs before so making the big step up to ten furlongs will be the first test for her.

Soseono, little sister of track legend Subsidy will be there and in with an outside chance while for Korean bred runners, Sangsangbong looks the best hope. Potential outsiders to watch include Kkumchaja and Exclusive Offer See below for a full lost of runners, records and riders:

YTN Cup (Class 2 Foreign Bred) – Seoul Race Park – 1900M – Aug 16, 2009

1. Jangjagang (USA) [Buddha – Illusory (Skywalker)] – (11/2/1/3) – Ham Wan Sik
2. Ginny’s Delight (USA) [Polish Miner – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] – (26/1/2/5) – Kim Young Jin
3. Storm For Lucky (JPN) [Mejiro Ryan – Dark Moon (Real Shadai)] – (16/0/2/4) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
4. Keungori (USA) [Essence Of Dubai – Goldmakesmesmile (Mining)] – (10/3/0/1) – Shim Seung Tae
5. Sangsangbong (KOR) [Warzone – Balieria (Gulch)] – (15/3/2/4) – Choi Won Joon
6. Kkumchaja (USA) [Orientate – Westerville (Gone West)] – (10/1/2/4) – Cho Kyoung Ho
7. Princess Thumb (USA) [Stravinsky – Narjis Flower (Pleasant Colony)] – (28/2/2/3) – Lee Dong Kuk
8. Alpha Lady (AUS) [Iglesia – Star Tipper (Luskin Star)] – (4/2/0/0) – Park Eul Woon
9. Crown Carla (KOR) [Beautiful Crown – Fleet Carla (Afleet)] – (15/4/3/2) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
10. Soseono (USA) [Aldebaran – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] – (11/1/4/3) – Choi Beom Hyun
11. Air Kat (USA) [Digging In – Vivian’s Mercedes (Broad Brush)] – (13/3/3/2) – Moon Se Young
12. Cheonsangcheonha (USA) [Formal Dinner – Southbound Odyssey (Big Spruce)] – (34/3/3/3) – Moon Jung Kyun
13. Gild Regal (AUS) [Gilded Time – Regal Prospect (Exploding Prospect)] – (30/2/4/2 – Park Tae Jong
14. Exclusive Offer (USA) [Belong To Me – Soup ‘N Salad (Top Account)] – (21/3/2/0) – Toshiyuki Katoh

There are eleven races at Seoul on Sunday with the first off at 14:30. Busan hosts six races beginning at 16:20. Jeju’s nine race card gets underway at 16:30. From next weekend, all three tracks revert to their usual racing hours.

Weekend Preview

YTN Cup / Myeongmun Gamun / Golding / Yeonseung Daero
The last weekend of twilight racing is upon us before all three tracks in Korea revert back to their normal daytime programs and with sunshine predicted, there’ll be no better place to be on the peninsula than the track.

The YTN Cup crowns the weekend’s program at what is sure to be a packed Seoul Race Park on Sunday evening. We;ll have a full run down on the runners and riders for the big race over the next couple of days.

Given current form, he’s not likely to win but two-time President’s Cup winner Myeongmun Gamun is the biggest name on show on Saturday. He’ll go over 2000 metres against the likes of Hwangnyongsaji and Triple Seven.

Down at Busan, three year old colts Yeonseung Daero and Sky Star go up against their elders on Friday afternoon. They’ll have Mirae Cheonsa and Boryeong Bulbit for company in what looks like a very competitive 10 furlong handicap. On Sunday, Busan institution Golding heads the field for the feature handicap.

Busan Race Park

Friday August 14: 10 races, first post 16:00, last 21:00
Sunday August 16: 6 races, first post 16:15, last 20:50

Seoul Race Park

Saturday August 15: 12 races, first post 14:30, last 21:00
Sunday August 16: 11 races, first post 14:30 last 21:00

Jeju Race Park (Pony racing)

Saturday August 15: 9 races, first post 16:30, last 21:20
Sunday August 16: 9 races, first post 16:30, last 21:25

* Race 7 at Seoul on Sunday has been designated as the first ever “Jockey’s Memorial Race” and will be run in honour of those riders riders who have lost their lives at the track. Coming on the second anniversary of Lim Dae Gyu’s death, the race will also honour Seo Dae Won, Kim Tae Sung, Lee Joon Hee and Yoo Hun Ki who make up the five riders killed during racing or trackwork since 1980, as well as Kim Jong Eon, critically injured in 1992.