Month: May 2010

Weekend Review: Katoh At The Double

It was supposed to rain all weekend. Instead, racegoers who took their umbrellas ended up using them as parasols as Seoul basked in perfect conditions for punting.

Toshiyuki Katoh on Dongbang Jinju - the second of his two winners

And Sunday was a very good day for Seoul Race Park’s sole foreign jockey as Toshiyuki Katoh landed a quick-fire double in races 5 & 6. Approaching the first anniversary of his Korean debut, the Japanese rider had only been successful on seven occasions before today. However, strong rides, first on filly Wink and then, a race later on Dongbang Jinju.

Like all foreign riders before him at Seoul, Katoh has struggled to get rides, let alone good ones. When he has been given horses with chances, he hasn’t let anybody down.

Down at Busan, where things have been better for overseas riders – in terms of opportunities anyway – there was more success today for the Japanese contingent. Kunihisa Hirase guided old-stager Wonder Love to a two and a half length victory in the feature race.

The now eight-year old Wonder Love made his debut in December 2004, just three months after the track opened. While the pinnacle of his career was victory in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup in 2008 his performance today, ahead of a field including King Kephalos (who returned lame), Haengbok Dream and fellow old-timer Golding, showed he still has plenty to offer.

In other races at Seoul, there was a useful win for US import Bop’s Punch – the four-year old getting the better of a photo-finish with Mistergolden to secure his first victory at class 2. Meanwhile, three-year old filly Magic Collar scored her first victory at class 3 and her fourth from eight starts overall – a tilt at the Oaks may be possible.

Mistergolden (No.4) would get to within a nose, but Bop's Punch (9) would hold on

* The most valuable race of the weekend at Seoul took place on Saturday. With likely favourite Taesanbukdu a late scratching, it was left to Ugildongja to take the honours for jockey Ham Wan Sik.



Weekend Preview

Racing is back and Busan hosts arguably the most interesting race of the weekend on Friday afternoon as Hangang Ruby, Ebony Storm, Night Moves and Mulbora are among a full field of fourteen class 1 horses getting a rare opportunity to compete for a big prize over the sprint distance of six furlongs.

As usual, Busan hosts cards on Friday and Sunday while Seoul has its most valuable race of the weekend on Saturday. It’s a relatively uninspiring line-up for the ten furlong handicap, however, with Taesanbukdu slated to be top weight by some 5 kilos. Nevertheless, there’s plenty to get stuck into in the rest of the card on both days.

Suspended - Moon Se Young

Three of Seoul’s top jockeys will be on the sidelines this weekend. Choi Bum Hyun remains injured while Moon Se Young and Kim Ok Sung both begin bans which will last for four meetings. It will be an opportunity for the chasing pack to close some of the gap between themselves and Moon, who is looking to regain the title that he won in 2008.

Here’s what’s happening:

Friday May 28

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00-18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30-17:30

Saturday May 29

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20-18:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:10-17:30

Sunday May 30

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40-16:30

Gambling News Round-Up

Betting has been in the news in one form or another over the past couple of weeks in Korea. First off, the Starcraft “Match-Fixing” case saw some breakthroughs with arrests and charges and now supposedly confessions. Ultimately it seems a tale of young men being manipulated for surprisingly little money.

Next up is the JoongAng Daily with a glorified advert, masquerading as news, for Sports Toto’s World Cup games. Sports Toto is one of Korea’s licensed lotteries and runs pools on Korean domestic sports leagues as well as European football. It’s run by the Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation which also operates Track Cycling and Motorboat racing. These, along with horse racing and one casino,are the only legal betting opportunities for Koreans.

Speaking of that one casino, most news outlets covered the story of a Mr Ahn Seung Pil, who won the “Super Mega Jackpot” at Kangwon Land and promptly decided to donate all his winnings – which at 766 Million won were the biggest in the Korean casino history – to the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology and Science (KAIST). KAIST is one of the nation’s richest academic institutions.

Mr Ahn said he was inspired to make his donation after he remembered seeing a KAIST Professor on TV complaining that without adequate funding, Korea’s scientists will end up lagging behind their Chinese counterparts. Whether that happens or not, that Professor surely has a second career in Sales ahead of him.

* Note to any potential jackpot winners: Korean racing currently lags far behind that of Japan. This is not good. Investment is very important if it is to have any chance of catching up. Look at the quality of pictures on Keiblog…Gyongmaman will need a new camera is he is to compete…

Lap Of Luxury

Luxury Jewang Wins Sports Chosun / Namdo Jeap, Sangseung Ilro Go Down At Busan / Tough Win Seven-Up

Luxury Jewang held off a determined challenge from Daesahyeong to win the Sports Chosun Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. The five-year old took the line just a neck ahead of his rival, giving young jockey Boo Min Ho his second big race win of the year.

Luxury Jewang in the Sports Chosun Winner's Circle

It was the lightly raced Blooming who set the early pace but in the back straight Boo Min Ho brought Luxury Jewang right from the back of the field to the front. When Blooming fell away with two furlongs to go, favourite Khanui Huye struck down the rail. Luxury Jewang was the stronger though and while Daesahyeong was the quickest of them all in the final furlong, the line came just in time.


Luxury Jewang was recording a fifth win from twenty starts. His previous best performance came in January, when he claimed the scalp of the then unbeaten Seonbongbulpae. Now he’ll be competing in the same class every outing. Meanwhile jockey Boo Min Ho adds the Sports Chosun to the Segye Ilbo Cup that he won earlier this year.

While racing at Seoul was run under slate-grey skies, the rain by and large held off. Not so at Busan where five of the six races were run in torrential rain. This made for plenty of drama in the co-feature races.

First up was the Kokura Handicap, sponsored by Japan’s Kokura Racecourse. Namdo Jeap, taking on overseas bred horses yet again, was sent off the favourite but foundered in the sloppy home straight as New Zealand bred old-timer Gunham [Anziyan – Kaapture The Heart (Kaapstad)] took advantage of a favourable handicap to record his first win in over a year.

The second co-feature saw Sangseung Ilro, last year’s Derby winner sent off the favourite but, in a topsy-turvy final furlong where the lead changed hands three times, she was beaten into second by Gangjaui Beopchik. A horse who frequently hits the money finishes but hardly ever wins – this was Gangjaui Beopchik’s first victory since September 2008. Peter Wolsley’s Khaosan filled out the placings.

Back at Seoul, three-year old American import Tough Win [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] was going for his seventh straight win, this time over ten furlongs. He duly obliged by two lengths without jockey Cho Kyoung Ho having to do much except point him in the right direction. A showdown with Dongbanui Gangja – the highest rated horse in Korea – now seems inevitable and few will be betting against the younger horse.

Sports Chosun Cup (Stakes Listed) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 23, 2010

1. Luxury Jewang (KOR) [The Groom Is Red – Integra’s Delight (Integra)] – Boo Min Ho – 9.0, 2.6
2. Daesahyeong (KOR) [Slew O’Green – Nakchodae (Kingsview)] – Lee Sang Hyeok – 2.2
2. Khanui Huye (KOR) [The Grrom Is Red – Noble Michelle (Flow Technology)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.5
Distances: Neck/1.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Dansimga; 5. Gamdongui Sungan; 6. Seon San; 7. Top Seed; 8. Pop’s Slew; 9. Golden Rose; 10. Uri Manse; 11. Blooming; 12. Free Bird; 13. Centum; 14. Mr. Swing



It’s Wide Open In The Sports Chosun

Full field for Cup / Tough Win goes for 7 / Namdo Jeap, Sangseung Ilro go at Busan

Just a week after the Derby, Stakes racing is back at Seoul Race Park on Sunday in the shape of the 21st Sports Chosun Cup. For Korean bred horses aged four and up, but who haven’t made it to class 1 yet, it offers an opportunity for those horses who’ve been at the fringes of the top-tier of Korean racing to break into the big time.

Luxury Jewang

A full field of fourteen will contest the nine furlong race and it really is “stick a pin in it” time as any one of a number have good claims. Two horses have won at the class and distance before. Of these Seon San is well favoured while Pop’s Slew will be carrying significantly more weight than when he triumphed.

Luxury Jewang was the first horse to defeat Seonbongbulpae – one of this year’s star three-year olds while Khanui Huye also has notable scalps and was a creditable fourth in January’s Herald Business. Blooming has five wins from just eight starts and while Gamdongui Sungan hasn’t had a good year, a third place last time out suggests he is returning to form. Neither Daesahyoung and Golden Rose should be overlooked while Top Seed is the improver of the race.

Punters, take this one on at your peril but the rewards are potentially big. Here’s the full list of runners and riders with race records:

Sports Chosun Cup (Stakes) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 23, 2010 – 17:00

1. Dansimga (KOR) 4 G (20/2/4/4) – Park Byeong Yun
2. Centum (KOR) 5 M (26/5/1/5) – Yoo Sang Wan
3. Luxury Jewang (KOR) 5 G (19/4/2/2) – Boo Min Ho
4. Mr. Swing (KOR) 5 H (30/3/4/1) – Park Eul Woon
5. Khanui Huye (KOR) 4 C (17/5/3/1) – Ham Wan Sik
6. Free Bird (KOR) 5 M (27/3/3/3) – Lee Gi Hweoi
7. Gamdongui Sungan (KOR) 7 H (40/3/3/5) – Moon Se Young
8. Top Seed (KOR) 4 C (19/2/5/4) – Park Tae Jong
9. Blooming (KOR) 4 C (8/5/1/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
10. Golden Rose (KOR) 4 F (14/4/3/3) – Han Sung Youl
11. Daesanhyeong (KOR) 5 G (23/5/3/1) – Lee San Hyeok
12. Uri Manse (KOR) 5 M (20/3/3/3) – Yoon Tae Hyoug
13. Seon San (KOR) 5 G (18/4/4/4) – Shin Hyoung Chul
14. Pop’s Slew (KOR) 5 G (22/3/4/5) – Kim Ok Sung

Gyongmaman will be losing his money on: 1. Khanui Huye; 2. Seon San; 3. Luxury Jewang; Wildcard bet: Top Seed

Tough Win

Once the Sports Chosun is out-of-the-way, one of the hottest properties in Korean racing will take to the track. Tough Win has six wins from six starts and has Dongbanui Gangja firmly in his sights as they head towards a potential clash in the Owners’ Cup next month. Tough Win will be long odds-on to dispose of a class 1 field.

It’s not just at Seoul where there’s action. Down at Busan, Namdo Jeap, winner of last year’s Minister’s Cup once more faces overseas-bred horses while Sangseung Ilro, last year’s KRA Cup Mile and Derby winner will go in the second of the double feature races.

Overall it’s set to be a great day’s sport. There’s just one problem: It looks set to rain all day!

Sunday May 23

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 – 18:10
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40 – 16:30

Triple Seven Makes It Five

Triple Seven recorded his fifth straight win to confirm his position as the top Korean bred horse currently in training at Seoul on a damp afternoon at the racecourse.

Triple Seven parades

Making his first start since his Ttukseom Cup in last month and with Moon Se Young partnering him for the first time in the absence of regular jockey Choi Bum Hyun, Triple Seven was sent off odds-on favourite for the nine and a half furlong handicap.

It wasn’t easy. After early pace-setter Natural Guy had gotten out-of-the-way, Mighty Runner – a former Ttukseom Cup winner himself – took things up with a furlong to go. Coming late down the outside, Triple Seven just hit the front in time and had enough left to hold off the late challenge of Free Woody to win by a neck.

It was a tenth career victory for Triple Seven [The Groom Is Red – Impudence (Grand Lodge)] with his last defeat coming at the hands of currently injured Nice Choice in last year’s President’s Cup.

Bunting & Punting: The racecourse decorates itself for the movie cameras

On a thoroughly miserable afternoon weather-wise, punters found Seoul Race Park decked out in unusual flags and bunting proclaiming “Grand Prix 2010”. After checking the calendar to make sure we hadn’t skipped seven months until the actual Grand Prix which is in December, it emerged that the decorations are for the movie “Grand Prix” which is currently being shot at the track – although apparently in some disarray as its male lead Lee Jun Ki was hauled off to the Korean Army earler this month. Sadly Kim Tae Hee was nowhere to be seen. Maybe tomorrow.

Back on the track, there was an impressive run by three-year old colt Silver Way who did his late season Classic prospects no harm at all by claiming the eight and a half furlong race 8 by seven lengths.

Moon Se Young was jockey of the day with four winners while New Zealand import Call Me Tiger [One Cool Cat – Hairini (Zabeel)] scored his second victory from as many starts. Call Me Tiger arrived in Korea last December – just one day before One Cool Cat himself arrived to begin his Korean stud career.

Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow with the Sports Chosun Cup and an appearance by potential superstar Tough Win. There will also be racing at Busan.

Dark, dismal & wet - a misty start to race 10


Triple Seven Heads Saturday Card

Tough Win, Sangseung Ilro, Namdo Jeap set for Sunday outings

The holiday weekend – Happy Birthday Buddha! – got underway at Busan today. There were wins for highly thought of three-year old filly Money Tree, and the improving colt God’s Word. See Full Results.

Triple Seven

On Saturday, attention moves north to the capital as Seoul hosts its first racing since last weekend’s Derby. Triple Seven makes his first start since winning the Ttukseom Cup last month. Currently ranked the top Korean bred horse in training, the five-year old goes in race 11 and will carry top-weight against a competitive field which includes Baengnyeonbong, Lucky Seven and Mighty Runner.

On Sunday, Tough Win puts his 100% record on the line in the feature at Seoul while down at Busan last year’s Cup Mile and Derby winner and runner-up, Sangseung Ilro and Namdo Jeap will be in action at Busan on Sunday

Saturday May 22

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:10 to 17:30

Sunday May 23

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:10
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40 to 16:30

Markets and currencies are going haywire so it seems a good time for a little punting. Here are Gyongmaman’s “investments” for Saturday at Seoul:

Race 1: Gangho Tansaeng
Race 2: Branton
Race 3: Haeranjanggun
Race 4: Call Me Tiger
Race 5: Storm Victor
Race 6: Hwajin
Race 7: Horman
Race 8: Silver Way
Race 9: Gippeun Sesang
Race 10: Dosiro
Race 11: Triple Seven
Race 12: Fierfield

Derby Weekend Round-Up

While Cheonnyeon Daero’s stunning last-gasp win in the Korean Derby was the big story of the weekend, there was plenty of other action with Gippeumnuri the star as she landed the Japan Racing Association Trophy.

Gippeum Nuri wins the JRA, Yoo Sang Wan up - Pic: Ross Holburt

As we reported on Saturday, the AJC Trophy and HRI Trophy races were won by Yeopungjudo and Cheot Insang respectively. Fallight now has the videos of both races:

AJC Trophy – Yeopungjudo

HRI Trophy – Cheot Insang

On Sunday, the warm-up act for the Derby was the JRA Trophy. Traditionally a race which features the best of the up and coming imports at Seoul, it was won in impressive style by third favourite Gippeumnuri. The three-year old American bred filly led from gate to wire to take victory by three lengths.

Gippeumnuri [Eurosilver – Regatta Queen (Danzig Connection)], third in February’s Segye Ilbo Stakes, now has a record of four wins from seven starts and looks a real force for the future:

The weekend ended on a downbeat note, however. The build-up to the Derby had been all about the showdown between Money Car and Northern Ace – with a likely cameo from Seonbongbulpae. While Money Car was being turned over by Cheonnyeon Daero in the final few metres – possibly as a result of Seonbongbulpae’s pressure in the opening stages – Northern Ace was nowhere to be seen.

Sensing something was wrong with his previously unbeaten mount, jockey Moon Se Young eased the colt in the home straight and, clearly distressed, immediately dismounted. The vet arrived and the diagnosis was not long coming; a fracture to his left foreleg and a potentially golden career cruelly curtailed.

Northern Ace pulled up after the Derby (Pic: Roar)

Cheonnyeon Daero Wins The Korean Derby

Money Car crashes out of Triple Crown in the last stride

Cheonnyeon Daero snatched away Money Car’s chances of sweeping the Triple Crown in the very last strides of the Korean Derby at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Entering the final furlong, Money Car looked to be cruising to an easy victory until out of the pack emerged Cheonnyeondaero, who reeled in the tiring KRA Cup Mile champion, overtaking him inches away from the line.

Park Geum Man punches the air as Cheonnyeon Daero wins the Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

As expected Seonbongbulpae burst out of the gate like a train, beating Money Car for the early lead. Money Car tried to match him stride for stride and maybe paid for it in the later stages. nevertheless, as they turned for home, Seonbongbulpae began to weaken and Park Tae Jong steered Money Car into the lead. Entering the home straight, they had a length on the field.

By this stage it seemed a case of just how far they would win by and with a furlong to go, the gap was at least five lengths. Then came Cheonnyeon Daero. With two hundred metres to go it looked as though Money Car would be comfortable, by one hundred it was looking close, by fifty, punters were gasping in disbelief. The instant reaction was to question whether Park Tae Jong – the greatest Korean jockey of all time – had badly misjudged it. A look at the replay showed he had not. Money Car had simply run out of gas.

Behind them Dangdae Bulpae took a surprise third ahead of Triple Sinhwa. The sour note of the race was an injury to second favourite Northern Ace. Showing towards the front in the back straight, he looked poised to make a run. Dropping back on the final turn though it was clear he had nothing in him and jockey Moon Se Young sensibly opted not to ease him. Devastatingly, following the race a vet’s inspection showed a fractured forelimb.

So a Triple Crown winner is off the agenda for another year. Instead we have a clash of Classic winners to look forward to in October when this year’s best three-year olds reconvene for the Minister’s Cup. Cheonnyeon Daero – second in last year’s Busan Breeders’ Cup and third in this year’s KRA Cup Mile now heads this generation. This was only his third win but he had never been out of the money in ten previous starts. For both trainer Oh Moon Sik and jockey Park Geum Man the victory is by far the biggest in their careers.

Cheonnyeon Daero poses in the Winner's Circle, Matthew Lutz, COO of Breeders' Cup Ltd, is on the left (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Korean Derby (KOR.GI) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 16, 2010

1. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – Park Geum Man – 28.9, 3.3
Money Car (KOR) [Newsprint – Pinocchio (Big Sur)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – Kim Eu Soo – 7.0

Distances: Neck/5 lengths

Also Ran: 4. Triple Sinhwa; 5. The Almighty; 6. Tamnaseontaek; 7. Gayabobae; 8. Seonbongbulpae; 9. Donghae Gangho; 10. Forest Wind; 11. Northern Ace; 12. Full Step

*Pictures by Ross Holburt of Slickpix

Can Northern Ace Stall Money Car’s Triple Crown?

Derby day has dawned bright and sunny and racing is set to get underway at Seoul. At 5pm this afternoon, Money Car will attempt to land the second jewel of the Triple Crown as he goes in the 2010 Korean Derby.

He’s going to need to run better and faster than he ever has before if he is to win. Facing him for the first time is the undefeated Northern Ace who has won all his four races by impressive margins without ever being asked for an effort. This duel is one of the most hotly anticipated in Korean racing for years.

Also there will be Seonbongbulpae and although he will be less-fancied than the other two, he may play a big role in deciding the outcome. He will take on Money Car early and how the KRA Cup Mile winner responds to the unfamiliar challenge will be crucial. If he leaves his race on the first corner, Northern Ace could well be the beneficiary.

Then there are the Busan horses. Four colts are seeking to make it three straight derbies for the south. Cheonnyeondaero is better than his Cup Mile performance suggests while Triple Sinhwa was relatively unknown before being the horse that got closest to Money Car a month ago. “Closest”, however, was still eleven lengths away.

Korean Derby (KOR.GI) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – Sunday May 16, 2010 – 17:00

1. Tamnaseontaek (KOR) [War Zone – Every Michelle (Every Intent)] (5/2/1/1) – Shin Hyoung Chul
2. Gayabobae (KOR) [War Zone – Myeonggaheui (Revere)] (7/2/2/0) – Yang Hee Jin
3. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] (6/4/0/0) – Kim Eu Soo
4. Seonbongbulpae (KOR) [Newsprint – Jeseok (Lost Mountain)] (8/6/1/0) – Jo In Kwen
5. Forest Wind (KOR) [Capital Spending – Coffee Royale (Sword Dance)] (4/2/0/0) – Ham Wan Sik
6. Full Step (KOR) [Didyme – Fox Dance (Foxtrail)] (7/3/1/2) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
7. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] (10/2/5/2) – Park Geum Man
8. Northern Ace (KOR) [Didyme – Telegraph Road (Royal Academy)] (4/4/0/0) – Moon Se Young
9. Money Car (KOR) [Newsprint – Pinocchio (Big Sur)] (7/6/1/0) – Park Tae Jong
10. Triple Sinhwa (KOR) [Capital Spending – Claudia’s Secret (Crafty Prospector)] (5/1/4/0) – Chae Gyu Jun
11. The Almighty (KOR) [Capital Spending – Dauntless Cat (Mountain Cat)] (5/2/1/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
12. Donghae Gangho (KOR) [Psychobabble – Nae Myeon (Somalia)] (14/2/1/3) – Kim Yong Geun

Gyongmaman’s Money: 1. Northern Ace, 2. Money Car 3. Cheonnyeondaero, Wildcard bet: Donghae Gangho

* Thanks to Fallight and Roar for the video uploads.