Day: December 12, 2009

Dongbanui Gangja Up For Grand Prix Double

Seoul Vs Busan Part 6
It’s the race that brings the curtain down on the racing season at Seoul – in theory anyway, in practice they’re racing again next weekend – and Dongbanui Gangja is set to become only the third horse to retain the prestigious Grand Prix at Seoul Race Park on Sunday afternoon.

The four-year old is unbeaten this year having won the Owners’ Cup as well as a selection of cherry-picked handicaps and goes in the odds-on favourite. He’ll have nine horses out to stop him, four from Seoul and five from Busan as the season long rivalry between the two tracks also reaches its conclusion.

Busan dominated the Classics, but Seoul won the only race open to older foreign bred horses, the Metropolitan at Busan last month. That winner, Bulpae Gisang, will likely be the biggest threat to his stablemate Dongbanui Gangja.

Bally Brae is back for his fourth Grand Prix having been second in 2006 and 2008 and a winner in 2007. The ever-popular gelding has struggled in his last two races but is re-united with champion jockey Moon Se Young for another assault on his favourite race.

The pick of Busan’s five entrants is Gaeseon Janggun, winner of the Minister’s Cup at Seoul last year and the only Korean bred horse in the race likely to be able to challenge the big guns from overseas.

The race will be off at 4:45pm. Click here for past performance information (in Korean). Here is a full run down of runners, pedigrees, records, track and riders:

Grand Prix (KOR. G.I) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – Dec 13, 2009, 16:45

1. Yaho TS (USA) [Roar Of The Tiger – Propeller (Lear Fan)] C – 3 (15/4/1/1) – Seoul – Yoo Sang Wan
A first attempt at class 1, let alone a Grand Prix. Has potential, but shouldn’t trouble the placings.
2. Haengbok Dream (JPN) [Lammtarra – Sister Slew (Slew The Dragon)] C – 3 (11/4/4/2) – Busan – Hitomi Miyashita
Consistent and with an in-form jockey but would have to run better than ever before to place.
3. Bulpae Gisang (USA) [Lightnin N Thunder – Neat Trick (Clever Trick)] C – 3 (12/7/2/0) – Seoul – Park Tae Jong
Could be the one to challenge Dongbanui Gangja. Beat Busan’s finest last month and may have a surprise in store for his stablemate.
4. Bally Brae (USA) [Yarrow Brae – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] G – 7 (31/15/10/1) – Seoul – Moon Se Young
The grand old statesman of the Grand Prix, a Bally Brae victory would bring the house down. Hasn’t been right in his last two outings. If he’s better, he’ll challenge for a place.
5. King Kephalos (JPN) [King Glorious – Western Edge (Woodman)] G – 4 (19/8/3/3) – Busan – Yoo Hyun Myoung
A consistent winner and may enjoy the Seoul track. A chance of a place.
6. Ugildongja (KOR) [Dixie Dot Com – May Roses (Incinderator)] H – 5 (32/10/5/1) – Seoul – Ham Wan Sik
Third behind Baekgwang in October, Seoul’s only Korean representative looks outclassed here.
7. Rolling On Strong (USA) [Werblin – Gracie Gale (Opening Verse)] F – 3 (12/4/1/3) – Busan – Cho Kyoung Ho
The only filly in the race, this will be her first outing in top class company.
8. Gaeseon Janggun (KOR) [Duality – Diamond Star (Dixieland Band)] C – 4 (18/9/4/1) – Busan – Jo Chan Hoon
Last year’s Champion three-year old was second to Bulpae Gisang in the Metropolitan. He’s Korea’s best chance.
9. Crafty Louis (USA) [Louis Quatorze – Crafty Atlantic (Crafty Prospector)] G – 6 (34/13/4/2) – Busan – Jo Chang Wook
Has won three out of his last four and is one of Busan’s top handicappers.
10. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)] C – 4 (21/14/4/2) – Seoul – Choi Beom Hyun
The odds-on favourite, Dongbanui Gangja is unbeaten since his Grand Prix win last year.

Seonbongbulpae Takes Juvenile Championship

Seonbongbulpae was eased to victory in the Herald Business Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon and was crowned Champion Juvenile of 2009.

Backed into odds of 1/5, the colt built up a lead in the 6 furlong race and coasted through the home stretch under Park Tae Jong. There were nervous moments as the field came back at him but Park knew what he was doing and was able to hold them off for a half-length win.

It was the filly Hushtilled who came the closest. Finishing much the quicker, she edged out second favourite Full Step to take second.

With Northern Ace being scratched after the race was moved from last week to this, there remains a general feeling that race fans have been robbed of a potential epic. Nevertheless, seeing how this two-year old crop develop as three-year olds is something to look forward to.

Seonbongbulpae is now four for four and the time today was just a tenth of a second off the track record for a Korean bred horse.

Herald Business Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1200M – Dec 12, 2009

1. Seonbongbulpae [Newsprint – Jeseok (Lost Mountain)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.2, 1.0
2. Hushtilled [Distilled – Miss Alwuhush (Alwuhush)] – Moon Se Young – 2.0
3. Full Step [Didyme – Fox Dance (Foxtrail)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan
Distances: 0.5 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also ran: 4. Silver Mon; 5. Muhandeungguk


Twenty Eight Years of the Grand Prix

Sunday is the 28th running of the Grand Prix Stakes, the season ending race which in theory, clears up the matter of the year’s top thoroughbred in Korea. It’s one of the most valuable races on the calendar and also the longest running “name” race.

Whereas the Classics are restricted to Korean bred entrants, the Grand Prix is open to all. Indeed in the previous 27 editions, home-bred horses have ended up in the winner’s circle just three times. Fillies or mares have won the race five times with Ka Shock Do taking back-to-back wins in 1990 and 1991.

Dongbanui Gangja will be bidding to become the third horse to win in two consecutive years – along with Ka Shock Do, the great Po Gyeong Seon won the first two editions of the race in 1985 and 1986 – carrying 65kg in the latter.

2008: Dongbanui Gangja (USA)
2007: Bally Brae (USA) – Also has two second places to his name, in 2006 and 2008.
2006: Flying Cat (KOR)
2005: Subsidy (USA)
2004: Value Play (USA)
2003: Tempest West (USA)
2002: Bohamian Butler (USA)
2001: Tahamkke (NZ) – has gone on to become a moderately successful sire in Korea
2000: Cheolgeoun Party (KOR) – The only Korean bred filly to win.
1999: Saegangja (KOR)
1998: Sin Se Dae (AUS)
1997: P’Ulgeurim (NZ)
1996: Hula-Mingo (NZ)
1995: Dae Kyeun (AUS)
1994: Ji Goo Ryeok (AUS) – The first year prize-money was awarded, Ji Goo Ryeok’s connections took home 50 Million won. This year’s winner will receive 212 Million, slightly down on last year.
1993: Gi Peun So Sik (NZ)
1992: Chun Pung (NZ)
1991: Ka Shock Do (NZ) – With her second , she became arguably the greatest filly to run in Korea. In all, she won twelve of her thirteen starts.
1990: Ka Shock Do (NZ)
1989: Cha Dol (USA)
1988: Wang Bang Wool (AUS)
1987: Cheong Ha (AUS)
1986: Po Gyeong Seon (NZ) – with twenty wins from twenty-five starts, he is, along with Saegangja and J.S. Hold
1985: Po Gyeong Seon (NZ)

Choi Beom Hyun will be bidding to become just the second jockey to win the race twice. While the current top four of Choi, Moon Se Young, Cho Kyoung Ho and Park Tae Jong have all won the race once, only Lee Sung Il, who retired in 2005, has won twice.

The origin of the winners also shows the change in influence on Korean racing. Throughout the eighties and nineties, the vast majority of horses imported to Korea were from the Southern Hemisphere. This is reflected by Australian or New Zealand breds winning thirteen of the first sixteen runnings, compared with just one American. Since the turn of the century, the majority of imports have come from the USA and American breds have won six out of the last seven editions.

* Although this is the 28th running of the Grand Prix, Korean racing records officially only go back to 1985.