Month: June 2010

Stylish Cheonun Heads For The Oaks

Cheonun wins Sports Seoul while Derby Winner scores successful homecoming at Busan

Favourite Cheonun was too fast and too good for her rivals as she swept to a comfortable victory in the Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. In doing so, she leaped to the top of the three-year old filly ranks ahead of the Korean Oaks which will be run at Busan in August.

Sent off at odds slighty better than evens, Cheonun took up a prominent position early on in the 1700 metre trial, behind early pace-setters Magic Collar and Euro Fighter with Dongbang Rose also showing at the front.

This was how it would stay until they entered the home straight and Oh Kyoung Hoan kicked for the line on Cheonun. A short burst of energy put her in front and she extended her lead in the final furlong to win by a comfortable five lengths on the line. Dongbang Rose got closest in second with outsider Euro Fighter hanging on for a creditable third.

Second-favourite Manjeomhwanhui left her run too late and could only snatch fourth while the only others to attract serious support in the betting ring, Kanui Byeol and Hushtilled were fifth and sixth respectively.

Cheonun [Ft. Stockton – Restless Patricia (Born Restless)] now moves on to four wins from eight starts and at this stage looks to have every chance of being the first Seoul horse to win the Oaks at Busan.

Of course, Busan horses have dominated the Classics in recent times and this year’s Korean Derby victor, Cheonnyeon Daero made his first appearance since his triumph in May in the feature race at the Southern track this afternoon. It was a winning homecoming as he hit the front with a furlong to go and then held off old favourite Pick Me Up who was finishing strongly, to win by a neck.

Sports Seoul Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1700M – June 27, 2010

1. Cheonun (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Restless Patricai (Born Restless)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – Win: 2.2, Place: 1.2
2. Dongbang Rose (KOR) [Volponi – Night Mary (Strike Gold)] – Shin Hyoung Chul – Place: 2.9
3. Euro Fighter (KOR) [Archer City Slew – Ilso Cheongun (High Yield)] – Place: 6.5

Distances: 5 lengths/2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Manjeomhwanhui; 5. Kanui Byeol; 6. Hushtilled; 7. Magic Collae; 8. Saeroungamun; 9. Special Volpony; 10. Blue Band Zet; 11. Candy Gongju

Seoul Set For Oaks Trial

Cheonun will be the one to beat when eleven of Seoul’s best three-year old fillies line up on Sunday afternoon for the Sports Seoul Cup, the track’s premier trial race for the Korean Oaks.

With three wins, thee seconds and a third from her seven starts and having beaten decent opposition, Cheonun is likely to be a strong favourite. Nevertheless, there are several others worthy of consideration for the race which, at eight and a half furlongs, is slightly shorter than the big one down at Busan in August.

Hushtilled has the experience and is coming back from a two-month lay-off following while Magic Collar was an impressive winner over the same distance last time out. At the start of the year, Manjeomhwanhui looked a potential superstar. She has struggled in her last two races but both time she was facing older males.

Kanui Byeol has won her last two starts while Candy Gongju is the wildcard having never run more than six furlongs. Meanwhile, Dongbang Rose is likely to have supporters too. Here is a full list of the runners, their records and riders:

Sports Seoul Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1700M – Sun Jun 27, 17:00

1. Special Volpony (8/2/3/2) – Park Sang Woo
2. Cheonun (7/3/3/1) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
3. Hushtilled (11/3/3/1) – Park Tae Jong
4. Magic Collar (8/4/2/0) – Jo In Kwen
5. Dongbang Rose (6/4/0/1) – Shin Hyoung Chul
6. Euro Fighter (8/3/2/0) – Moon Jung Kyun
7. Kanui Byeol (8/3/1/2) – Cho Kyoung Ho
8. Saeroungamun (10/2/2/1) – Ham Wan Sik
9. Candy Gongju (3/2/0/0) – Jung Ki Yong
10. Blue Band Zet (5/1/2/0) – Boo Min Ho
11. Manjeomhwanhui (9/4/0/3) – Moon Se Young

* Today at Seoul, the big race resulted in a surprise win for 30/1 outsider Necromancer. The Japanese four-year old took advantage of carying significantly less weight than favourites Angus Empire, Bally Brae and Bulpae Gisang to record a narrow victory of Emperor Cugat.

Due to time constraints, full results from all meetings will be delayed a little this weekend but are available on the KRA’s website

6/25 – Weekend Preview

June 25, 2010 marks sixty years since the start of the Korean War. Sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten War” a total of five million people on both sides were either killed or wounded during the three-years of struggle. That total includes over half a million South Korean civilians. 36,000 American soldiers and 1,100 British soldiers were also among 700,000 killed on the Allied side. Those suffered by the North have never been accurately calculated but they were surely even higher.

The city of Seoul today is the finest possible tribute to those who paid the ultimate price for its freedom and indeed, its very existence. Following the end of outright hostilities, South Korea went through a number of turbulent decades before finally emerging as an economic powerhouse as well as one of the world’s most vibrant democracies. Meanwhile, across the border, just thirty miles north of the city, a tragedy that has been unfolding for the past 60 years shows no signs of abating.

On the peninsula, the anniversary, while marked, has been low-key. While North Korea has made a rather feeble attempt at rattling the sabre, after the Cheonan incident earlier this year, no-one is in much of a mood to play games.

It is true to say though, that the main reason for the seemingly general apathy is that on Saturday evening, Korea will play Uruguay in the last sixteen of the World Cup. Korea’s recent history means that it does nationalism very well and Saturday’s game is the biggest since Korea fell to Germany in the semi-finals of the 2002 competition.

Of course, this time around, the North were in South Africa too. A creditable defeat at the hands of Brazil was followed by humiliation by Portugal and a hammering by the Cote D’Ivoire. Despite all that has happened, here in the South, the vast majority were supporting the North – after all that has happened, they are still Koreans.

Cheonnyeon Daero

Racing takes a backseat as the nation prepares for the encounter. Nevertheless, it’s a big weekend in prospect. Cheonnyeon Daero makes his first appearance since winning the Derby last month in Busan’s feature race on Sunday. Meanwhile, Seoul hosts its Oaks trial, the “Sports Seoul Cup, where the likes of Dongbang Rose and Hushtilled will be looking to put themselves in the frame for the Classic at Busan in August.

Saturday June 26

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

Sunday June 27

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

Ace Galloper Is King Of The Pack

Cho Kyoung Ho Scores Five

Nice Choice got through his comeback without any setbacks, but neither he, nor any of another eight challengers, were any match for the imperious Ace Galloper at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Ace Galloper strolls

The three-year old was coming back from a two-month lay-off to take his chance in class 1 racing for the first time and, while Free Woody did his best to make him work, Ace Galloper was simply too strong. Cho Kyoung Ho asked the colt for another gear as they entered the home straight and he cruised away from the field for a four-length win.

Nice Choice, last year’s President’s Cup winner ran into sixth and looked but a shadow of the horse who defeated Baekgwang to take 2009’s most valuable race last November. Ace Galloper meanwhile, moves on to seven victories from ten starts.

Victory Town

Ace Galloper was the fourth of a remarkable five wins for jockey Cho Kyoung Ho. He kicked things off with a maiden win on US import Haneori in race 4, before guiding two-year old gelding Skyfull to his second consecutive victory in race 6. A win on Victory Town, last seen running second in the JRA Trophy, followed in race 9 before he completed the card with a win on Raon Glory in the last.

Cho Kyoung Ho unsaddles after another winner

In other races, there was win a for improving four-year old filly Tamnahwanhui, while early on the day, Japanese jockey Toshiyuki Katoh continued his recent good form by landing race 2 on Raon Sunshine. That race saw one of today’s few setbacks for Cho Kyoung Ho as he could only manage third place on favourite Interlaken. There was also a rare win for a Canadian bred horse as
Gippeun Sesang [Behrens – Bellus (Saint Ballado)] scored in race 7.

Down at Busan, there was a second consecutive win for exciting three-year old filly Money Tree. Like Ace Galloper, Money Tree [Medallist – Money Trust (Hennessy)] was born in Korea but was conceived elsewhere and therefore isn’t eligible for the Classics. Nevertheless, her imminent entry to the class 1 ranks at Busan is eagerly awaited.

Meanwhile in the Southern track’s feature race, Australian bred Seonnyang Yongsa scored a narrow victory over Jungwon Jepae.

Tamnahwanhui drives clear of Top Myeongye



Weekend Preview

Nice Choice returns to face Ace Galloper

Korea were well and truly beaten by Argentina this evening but not to worry; it’s Thursday evening and a weekend’s punting is almost upon us! Having said that, Gyongmaman’s bank balance has taken a bit of a battering during the World Cup (7/1 Korea to beat Argentina sounded like good value at the time) so he may have to sit a few races out.

Punting or not, there’s something interesting to watch. After four months sidelined through injury, Nice Choice, winner of the 2009 President’s Cup returns to action at Seoul this Sunday. However, the four-year old will have some tough competition when he lines up for the ten-furlong handicap, which is the feature race of the weekend.

Ace Galloper will take on Nice Choice

Also going will be Ace Galloper, winner of six of his nine starts today. Born in Korea but conceived elsewhere, the three-year old wasn’t eligible for the classics and, after a two-month lay-off of his own, looks set compete for some big prizes later in the season. Free Woody and New Rider are amongst the others making up the ten strong field.

Here’s what’s happening where and when this weekend:

Friday June 18

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 13:30 to 18:00

Saturday June 19

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

Sunday June 20

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

Serendipper All-Smiles in Owners’ Cup

Aussie Mare Lands Owners’ Cup / Sangseung Ilro Wins KNN Cup

A barnstorming late run saw Aussie bred Serendipper crowned top filly or mare in Seoul in the Seoul Racecourse Owners’ Association Trophy (“Owners’ Cup”) at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

In an open betting race, Lucky Mountain was sent off the slight favourite but she rarely featured as JRA Trophy winner Gippeumnuri set the early pace. Second favourite Love Cat was well-placed throughout but it was five-year old Serendipper, under Kim Ok Sung who came wide of the field in the home straight to pass them all and take victory by just over a length.

Serendipper [Danewin – Coppelius (Pleasant Colony)] has been a consistent money earner but a rare winner since making her debut three years ago. Her previous biggest payday came with a second place finish in the YTN Cup in 2008 but she had hit the wire in first place just three times in twenty-seven outings prior to today.

For veteran jockey Kim Ok Sung – known as the “smile jockey” for the Cheshire Cat grin he constantly wears – it was arguably his biggest win since landing the Grand Prix back in 1996. And the day got even better for the 43 year-old who’s only recently back from a 10 meeting ban – after the presentation, he got straight back out on the track and won race 10 on unfancied Choedaepungsok.

Smile: Serendipper and Kim Ok Sung in the Winner's Circle

SROA Trophy G.III – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – June 12, 2010

1. Serendipper (AUS) [Danewin – Coppelius (Pleasant Colony)] – Kim Ok Sung – 8.2, 2.5
2. Gippeumnuri (USA) [Eurosilver – Regatta Queen (Danzig Connection)] – Ham Wan Sik – 2.6
3. Love Cat (KOR) [Creek Cat – Love Cue (Curia Regis)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.5

Distances: 1.25 lengths/1 length
Also Ran: 4. Lucky Mountain; 5. Jangjagang; 6. Pocketful Of Money; 7. Daehyo; 8. Sky Center; 9. Gamdonguijumal; 10. Soseono

It was also a big day down at Busan as nine of the best domestic bred horses at the track – among them three Classic winners – met in the KNN Cup. And it was a repeat of the result from the first two legs of the 2009 Triple Crown as Sangseung Ilro put in a late burst to get the better of stablemate and long time rival Namdo Jeap.

Last year’s Champion Juvenile Night Moves had set the early pace in the mile-long test but she faded in the straight as the four-year olds came by. 2009 Busan Owners’ Cup winner Yeonseung Daero was sent off favourite but, just as in the classics last year, he couldn’t get close to Sangseung Ilro or Namdo Jeap, eventually finishing a disappointing sixth. Further down the field was Namdo Jeap’s half-brother (through their dam Wandering Katie [Tejano]) 2008 KRA Cup Mile winner Rainmaker who was making his first racecourse appearance for nearly a year.

KNN Cup – Busan Race Park – 1600M – June 13, 2010

1. Sangseung Ilro (KOR) [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Jo, Sung Gon – 2.8, 1.3
2. Namdo Jeap (KOR) [FT. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – Gu Min Sung – 2.7
3. Lucky Dancer (KOR) [Fiercely – Ocean Dream (Mohamed Abdu)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.1

Distances: 1.25 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Yeongung Manse; 5. Annika Queen; 6. Yeonseung Daero; 7. Rainmaker; 8. Night Moves; 9. Procyon



Weekend Preview – We’re With You!

KNN and Owners’ Cups top the bill on big weekend

What a weekend in prospect! First let’s get the important things out-of-the-way:

Yes, the World Cup gets underway on Friday and the South Korean team will be in action against Greece on Saturday evening. Seoul Race Park will stay open after Saturday’s last race for a pop concert followed by the whole game live on the two giant screens at 8:30pm.


Prior to that there will have been a full day’s card of twelve races with the highlight being the very last at 6pm when one time track heroine Baekpa – winner of the 2007 Korean Oaks and the 2008 SBS Cup – makes her second appearance since her long lay-off after returning from the US last year. She carries the lowest weight in an intriguing race that also features the likes of Gi Ra Seong, Good Day and, significantly, top three-year old Seonbongbulpae.

Racing will begin at Busan on Friday but it is Sunday which sees the pick of the action with a double-header of Stakes races at Seoul and Busan. Down on the South Coast, it’s the KNN Cup and a tasty clash of the track’s top four year-olds featuring a host of names from last year’s Classic trail – with one or two older and younger horses thrown in. Cup Mile and Derby winner Sangseung Ilro will be there, as will the runner-up in those races and ultimate Minister’s Cup winner Namdo Jeap. Late developer Yeonseung Daero also goes as do 2008 Cup Mile winner Rainmaker and 2009 Champion Juvenile Night Moves.

Once the KNN Cup is over with, the focus switches to Seoul where it’s the Owners’ Cup. This year restricted to fillies & mares only, it features the likes of Love Cat, Soseono, Lucky Mountain, Pocketful Of Money and last month’s JRA Trophy winner Gippeumnuri in what should be a cracking contest.

Soseono is among the fillies & mares going for the Owners' Cup

We’ll try to put up a full preview of both races – probably between football matches – on Saturday evening.

Here’s what’s happening where and when:

Friday June 11

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

Saturday June 12

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

Sunday June 13

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

Ocala Spring Purchases Sold-On

KRA takes quantity over quality at OBS

Horses purchased by the KRA and the Seoul Racecourse Trainers’ Association at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales (OBS) Spring two-year old sale have arrived in Korea and have now been sold on to local owners. At the original sale in April, Korean representatives purchased 92 horses – 12% of the total who went through the ring.

Due to government restrictions designed to protect the Korean breeding industry, the Korean buyers at Ocala were limited to paying no more than $20,000 for a single colt or $40,000 for a single filly – the higher limit for fillies being intended to encourage the purchase of higher quality fillies for racing who may end up having careers as broodmares.

There were no such limits on the amounts they could be sold on for in Korea, however, with owners at Busan splashing out the most. A Tiznow colt out of the mare Trickle of Gold (Formal Gold) fetched the highest figure closely followed by another colt by Sharp Humor out of Secret Mirage (Secreto). Owners Choi Sang Il and Choi Sang Hee both shelling out close to 200 Million on the pair.

Tough Win

While such high prices for seemingly indifferent horses may seem inexplicable, it must be remembered that these horses will immediately be running for big money with even the least valuable race worth $13,000 to the winner. Indeed, both Dongbanui Gangja and Tough Win – respectively the best and the most exciting horses on the peninsula right now – arrived in Korea via Ocala and owners are keen to get a piece of the action.

The KRA operates as a not-for-profit oragnization so the excess money made is put straight back into breeding and also for funding their next overseas purchases.

Here are a list of the top re-sales of horses bought at the OBS Spring Sale for both Busan and Seoul with original names if known as well as the amount (in Korean won) they were sold for:


1. Colt [Tiznow – Trickle Of Gold (Formal Gold)] – 187,700,000 won
2. Colt [Sharp Humor – Secret Mirage (Secreto)] – 183,300,00 won
3. Filly [Dehere – Riptide (Gold Case)] – 150,000,000
4. Colt [Montbrook – Auf Wiedersehn (Notebook)] – 115,000,000
5. Filly [Johannesburg – Perfect Wave (Boston Harbor)] – 110,000,000 won


1. I’d Rather B Lucky (Colt) [Gibson County – Tricky Prospector (Prospector’s Halo)] – 72,000,000 won
2. Colt [D Wildcat – Freddy Fenter (Fenter)] – 61,500,000 won
3. American Revival (Colt) [Put It Back – American Saint (Saint Ballado)] – 52,000,000 won
4. Filly [Sir Shackleton – Tocar (Jeblar)] – 50,200,000 won
5. Public Mischief (Filly) [Grand Slam – Silver Lover (Silver Deputy)] – 46,100,000 won

1233 Korean won = 1 US$ – Figures from Korean Stud Book and Korea Racing Journal

The local Ocala media ran a story on the Korean buyers at the time of the sale.

Anyone wishing to check on the progress of horses they may have sold to Korea can do so by going to the homepage of the Korean Studbook and then searching on the dam’s name.

Kim Tae Hee Saddles-Up At Seoul

Punters had a treat at Seoul Race Park this afternoon as actress Kim Tae Hee donned racing silks and a pair of impossibly tight riding trousers to shoot scenes for upcoming movie “Grand Prix”.

Kim Tae Hee waits to get on

For two weeks now, the racetrack has been decked out in flags and banners for the production. Today an extra number 9 horse – complete with a ribbon in its tail – joined the runners in the paddock prior to race 9.

Best legs in the paddock - Kim Tae Hee

Kim emerged from the tunnel along with the jockeys and, after a little difficulty as her mount was playing-up, was given a leg-up by a lucky groom. She then completed a lap of the paddock and followed the rest of the horses back into into the track-bound tunnel.

Kim Tae Hee - once up she certainly looked the part

To their credit, punters refrained from the abuse they normally greet any newcomers to the paddock with and Kim, for her part, certainly looked assured in the saddle.

Grand Prix, which is part funded by the Korea Racing Authority is scheduled for an autumn release. It’s production was disrupted when the original male lead, Lee Jun Ki, was hauled off to military service with a month of filming already complete. He has since been replaced by Yang Dong Kun.

The officially released pictures of shooting so far have shown sad faces so it is likely that the movie will be a traditional Korean melodrama/love story; indeed Allkpop reports that Kim’s character moves to Jeju Island after her horse dies where she meets fellow jockey and love-interest Yang. Nevertheless, like Gak-seol-tang before it, the movie looks set to introduce racing to a wider audience and its release is eagerly awaited.

Kim Tae Hee

Park Tae Jong 1600 Up

Korea’s most successful ever jockey reached another milestone at Seoul Race Park this afternoon as Park Tae Jong rode his 1600th career winner.

Park Tae Jong - 1600 up but still doesn't smile a lot

Park started the day on 1598 but took race 1 on Daejiuichukje before guiding third-favourite Gwangsokcheoreom to a half-length victory in race 7 to reach the 1600 mark. Half an hour later it was 1601 with Haetbitbeonjjeok a three-length winner in race 8.  He wasn’t finished there either as victory on hot favourite Summa Cum Laude in race 10 meant he ended the day with four winners.

The forty-four year old Park gained his license in 1987 at the old Seoul Race Park at Ttukseom. During his career he has won three Korean Derbies as well as the Grand Prix and Minister’s Cup. In April, he partnered Money Car to the KRA Cup Mile before the pair finished second in the Derby.

Park Tae Jong about to take Gwangsokchereom (No.2) into the lead to secure his 1600th career win

While 1600 winners is not a lot in terms of world racing, Park has achieved the figure from just over 10,000 race rides. Not only can he only race two days a week in Korea but, until the freelance jockey system came into effect a few years ago he, like every other jockey, was restricted to just five race rides per weekend.

While most of his contemporaries who gained licenses in the late 1980s – Chun Chang Ki, Ahn Byung Ki and Kim Hyo Seob – have recently taken up training licenses, If Park’s desire remains strong, there is no reason why he can’t reach 2000 winners before he finally calls it a day.