Month: October 2009

Suryeohan Makes Short Work in Gyeongnam

Busan Round-up
Somewhat lost on Minister’s Cup Day at Seoul was that Busan also put on an interesting card on Sunday afternoon. Highlight was the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup, one of the track’s most valuable filly races of the year.

Open to fillies in the second of the five tiers of racing at Busan, it was a chance for a number of three year olds to make the step up to the top level. In the end, it was Suryeohan, fifth in the Oaks who took the honours. Under Chae Gyu Jun, the third favourite hitting the front three furlongs out and had enough in reserve to hold off the very late challenge from relative outsider Viva Galileo by a comfortable two and a half lengths.

On board Suryeohan was new girl Hitomi Miyashita while Eiki Nishimrura made it two Japanese riders in the first three, bringing home Golden Egg in third. With Martin Wepner taking top honours at Seoul, it was another good day for foreign jockeys in Korea.

Gyeongnam Shinmun – Busan Race Park – 1400M – Sun Oct 11, 2009

1. Suryeohan (KOR) [Commendable – Diamond Star (Dixieland Band)] – Chae Gyu Jun – 4.3, 1.3
2. Viva Galileo (KOR) [Galileo – Jessie’s Lass (Danehill)] – Hitomi Miyashita – 3.4
3. Golden Egg (KOR) [Duality – Bo Sang (Baptize)] – Eiki Nishimura – 10.8
Distances: 2.5 lengths/1.75 lengths – 14 ran

Glory For Namdo Jeap in Minister’s Cup

Sangseung Ilro’s Triple Crown dream ends / Wepner victorious
Sangseung Ilro battled all the way to the line in a brave bid to become the first filly in history to land the Korean Triple Crown at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. But it was stablemate and runner-up in both the first two legs, Namdo Jeap, who finally had his day in front of a crowd of 60,000 assembled for the Minister’s Cup.

Given a terrific ride by Martin Wepner, Namdo Jeap was always in control of the ten furlong race – the final Classic of the season. After taking an early lead from Ilgan Sports winner Khanui Jeguk, Namdo Jeap had favourite Nice Choice on his tail on the rail as they turned for home while Jo Sung Gon took Sangseung Ilro wide to launch her challenge.

The challenge was both thrilling and valiant. With a furlong to go, it looked as though Sangseung Ilro could write her name into history as the gap closed. However, with Nice Choice also gunning into top gear, Wepner coaxed Namdo Jeap into a final effort and the colt responded magnificently to hold off his rivals by a neck on the line.

For South African jockey Wepner, it was not only the biggest win of his Korean career, but also repayment for trainer Kim Young Kwan who brought him back from the brink of quitting Korea after the Derby in May and for the owner who put him back on Namdo Jeap.

In second place, Nice Choice showed his class re-affirmed his status as Seoul’s top three year old. That an eigth successive Classic has gone the way of a Busan based horse, however, must set alarm bells ringing on the capital’s backstretch. The other two Seoul horses, Khanui Jeguk and Love Cat came home fifth and sixth respectively. Nice Choice will most likely be nominated for the season ending Grand Prix and hopefully his connections will accept.

Sangseung Ilro went off third favourite and finished third. Despite bandaging on her legs, she appeared in fine form and were the race a little shorter, she may have got there. Winning two of the three legs of the Triple Crown and coming third in the final one is still a fine achievement. What comes next for her is questionable. Punters will hope her immediate future is on the track.

Namdo Jeap and Martin Wepner Pose after The Minister's Cup

Namdo Jeap and Martin Wepner Pose after The Minister's Cup

Yeonseung Daero finished half a length behind Sangseung Ilro in fourth but Oaks winner Pangpang found herself stuck in ninth. Overall Busan horses made up three of the first four but the top six contained three from each track.

Today was Namdo Jeap’s day. In Ft. Stockton, he shares a sire with J.S. Hold. Today he ensured that his half brother remains the sole holder of the Korean Triple Crown.

Minister of FAFF Cup (G.II) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Oct. 11, 2009

1. Namdo Jeap (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – Martin Wepner – 16.0, 2.9
2. Nice Choice (KOR) [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.3
3. Sangseung Ilro (KOR) [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.7
Distances: Neck/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Yeonseung Daero; 5. Khanui Jeguk; 6. Love Cat; 7. Sky Star; 8. Isidae Gangja; 9. Pangpang; 10. Conqueror; 11. Tamna Hero



Sangseung Ilro Bids For The Triple Crown

Filly has tough task in Minister’s Cup
Sangseung Ilro will lead a Busan invasion of Seoul Race Park on Sunday afternoon as she seeks to become the first filly to land the Korean Triple Crown.

Eight horses from Busan will line up compared to just three from the home track, however, it’s one of those three that is going to be the one to beat at 5pm tomorrow afternoon. Nice Choice was champion two year old of 2008. His owner’s decision to avoid the first leg of the Triple Crown in order to focus entirely on the Derby backfired as the colt finished a disappointing sixth. Since then he’s been in imperious form, racking up three straight wins including the Munhwa Ilbo Cup.

But what of Sangseung Ilro? After winning the KRA Cup Mile in April, punters failed to give her the respect she deserved in the Derby the following month and she duly punished them with a dominant win. Not appearing on the track again until the Korean Oaks in August, she looked set to stroll to victory before tying up in the final furlong to allow Pangpang to steal an unlikely victory. Coming out of that race with shin problems she hasn’t run again and there will be big questions over both her fitness and her ability to stay the 10 furlong course.

Having beaten Sangseung Ilro, Pangpang must be respected, but a subsequent race in which she was beaten not only by Busan stars Gaeseon Janggun (who won his race last year) and Areumdaun Jilju, she also finished behind Conqueror, who has strong claims here.

Busan’s main challenger, however, may be Yeonseung Daero. Since disappointing in the Derby, he has won twice over the distance against top class oppostion, including a victory last time out over Namdo Jeap, who was second to Sangseung Ilro in both the KRA Cup Mile and the Derby. Namdo Jeap will also go tomorrow and is something of a wildcard as he seems at his best at shorter distances. Nevertheless, he’s proved he likes the Seoul track and he can’t be discounted.

Neither can Khanui Jeguk. Second to Nice Choice in the Munhwa, he went on to beat Love Cat in the Ilgan Sports Cup last month and looks likely to improve further.

These three make up Seoul’s challenge and Nice Choice is set to bring some pride back to Seoul which has seen itself humiliated by Busan in recent classics. However, one Busan filly has beaten him before and tomorrow afternoon, Sangseung Ilro will run for the Triple Crown.

Full list of runners, records and riders:

Minister Of Agriculture (FAFF) Cup (G.II) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – October 11, 2009, 17:00

1. Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] Filly, Busan (8/5/2/1) – Jo Sung Gon
2. Isidae Gangja [Lost Mountain – Angel (Land Rush)] Filly, Busan (11/3/3/2) – Kim Eu Su
3. Pangpang [Revere – Awishnotalark (Rio’s Lark)] Filly, Busan (17/4/1/1) – Yoo Hyun Myoung
4. Nice Choice [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] Colt, Seoul (10/7/2/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
5. Love Cat [Creek Cat – Love Cue (Curia Regis)] Filly, Seoul (11/6/1/2) – Choi Beom Hyun
6. Tamna Hero [Creek Cat – The Big C (Deputed Testamony)] Filly, Busan (10/4/3/0) – Han Sang Gyu
7. Khanui Jeguk [Sunday Well – Lucky Dip (Didyme)] Colt, Seoul (11/5/2/1) – Park Tae Jong
8. Conqueror [Revere – Model Actress (Stage Colony)] Colt, Busan (13/4/3/0) – Kim Myoung Shin
9. Namdo Jeap [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] Colt, Busan (12/4/3/3) – Martin Wepner
10. Sky Star [Tahamkke – Blue Lark (Ravenwood)] Colt, Busan (15/5/3/1) – Lee Hee Cheon
11. Yeonseung Daero [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] Colt, Busan (14/8/1/2) – Jo Chang Wook

Dongbanui Gangja Is Number One

Tomorrow, eleven three year olds will race in the final leg of the Korean Triple Crown. This afternoon, at Seoul Race Park, Dongbanui Gangja sent out a message that whoever wins will have a long way to go before they have any possibility of being recognised as the best horse in Korea.

Last time he ran, Dongbanui Gangja left it late to come through and claim his eighth straight win. It didn’t matter – the best horses don’t necessarily win by big margins, they just win. Today, however, he won with an awful lot to spare.

Sprint king Gamadongja set his usual early pace while Dongbanui Gangja sat right at the back of the field. Choi Beom Hyun moved the favourite up during the back straight and let him go as they turned for home. The four year old was quickly in front and, with Choi motionless in the saddle, cruised away from the field to record an effortless victory. Free Hugs trailed in eleven lengths back with Gamadongja following in third.

It’s now nine in a row for Dongbanui Gangja. With the Grand Prix now two months away, the only question at the moment seems to be just how far Dongbanui Gangja will win by.

Not a contender this year, but perhaps in future years is Great True. The two year old made his third appearance this afternoon and, like his previous two outings, it ended in victory. Stepping up in both class and distance, Great True [Yes It’s True – Gigi’s Magic (Allen’s Prospect)] led from gate to wire but had to work to hold off the fast finishing Daejayeon.

Daejayeon’s jockey was Lee Sang Hyeok, the apprentice earlier surviving a hard fall when in race 4, the impressive two year old colt Yyongwang Jjang sadly broke down when leading just 150 metres from the line in its debut race.


Eiki Spoils Hitomi’s Big Day

Japanese one-two on good day for foreign jocks at Busan
On the day Hitomi Miyashita became the first foreign female jockey to take up a full time license in Korea, it was her Japanese compatriot, Eiki Nishimura who denied her the honour of landing the day’s feature race at Busan Race Park.

Riding favourite Yongdu Baram, Miyashita was unable to catch Nishimura who guided second favourite Glory Champ to a two and a half length win. As well as a Japanese one-two, both horses are trained by Kim Young Gwan, the trainer who has supported overseas jockeys more than any other.

Miyashita had earlier made her debut in race 6 with a strong ride on mildy fancied Chowolgeum, taking the three year old to second place. Two other rides didn’t trouble the placings but overall it was a successful first day on the job for Hitomi.

With the track’s leading overseas rider Martin Wepner up in Seoul for Sunday’s Minister’s Cup, Nishimura took another win earlier in the day with a win on Theres No Reason in race 5. Rounding out a great day for the foreign riders at the track, Stephan Swanepoel took an unlikely win on 100/1 outsider Stormy Run in race 1. Swanepoel went on to add two third place finishes to his haul.

The action moves to Seoul and Jeju Race Parks on Saturday before all three tracks host cards on Sunday.


Minister’s Cup Weekend Preview

Triple Crown on the line at Seoul / Gyeongnam Shinmun at Busan
Racing took last weekend off, but it’s back with a vengeance. And it’s as big as it gets in Korean racing. At 5pm on Sunday, eleven three year olds will go to post at Seoul Race Park for the Minster Of Agriculture’s Cup and one of them, Sangseung Ilro, is running for the Korean Triple Crown.

She hasn’t run since she was unexpectedly beaten in the Oaks, having already won the KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby. That reverse will be all but forgotton about, however, if she comes out on top on Sunday.

It won’t be easy and we’ll have a full preview of the big race over the next couple of days but with the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup at Busan, as well as Dongbanui Gangja – Seoul’s top ranked horse, making an appearance on Saturday, it promises to be an exciiting weekend.

Busan Race Park

Friday October 9: 10 races, first race 13:00, last 17:30
Sunday October 11: 6 races, first race 12:40, last 16:30

Seoul Race Park

Saturday October 10: 12 races, first post 11:20, last 17:40
Sunday October 11: 11 races, first post 11:20, last 18:10

Jeju Race Park (Pony racing)

Saturday October 10: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10
Sunday October 11: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10

Hitomi Goes Full-Time

Miyashita to make history at Busan
She won the International Lady Jockey Invitation race at Busan Race Park in August and clearly Japanese jockey Hitomi Miyashita took a liking to the southern track. On Friday, Miyashita will make her debut as a licensed freelance jockey at Busan and in doing so, becomes the first foreign female jockey to ride full-time in Korea.

Hitomi shared the Japanese National Association of Racing (NAR) Grand Prix award for best female jockey of 2008 and has been based recently at the Aichi racecourse.

Miyashita has secured a competitive set of rides for the upcoming weekend. She will debut in race 6 on Friday when she partners Chowolgeum – likely to be an outsider in a seven furlong contest. She’ll follow that up with three more rides, including taking the mount on Yongdu Baram in the feature race. On Sunday, she will partner Viva Galileo in Busan’s big race of the weekend, the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup.

Hitomi Miyashita (centre) with Laura Cheshire and Chiaki Iwanaga at Busan

Hitomi Miyashita (centre) with Laura Cheshire and Chiaki Iwanaga at Busan

Enjoy racing has has more on Hitomi – including pictures of her putting her time in eating something re-assuringly Korean looking back in August.

Here she is winning the International Lady Jockey Invitational on Ima Firecracker: