Day: December 2, 2010

Weekend Preview: Derby Winner Stays Home

Cheonnyeon Daero Heads Busan Owners’ Cup Field

Cheonnyeon Daero’s connections have spurned his invitation to next week’s Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul. However, punters have plenty of compensation as the 2010 Korean Derby winner will line up at his home track of Busan for the Owners’ Cup this coming Sunday. And the race, Busan’s last big event of the year, is made all the more interesting by another two Grand Prix refuseniks in the shape of Golden Appeal and 2009 Minister’s Cup Winner Namdo Jeap, as the trio join eight others in the ten-furlong Championship race.

Cheonnyeondaero poses in the Korean Derby Winner's Circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

While the Grand Prix is the most prestigious race on the Korean calendar and the call of history has meant Dangdae Bulpae will go north to Seoul next week, joined by the game-for-anything Yeonseung Daero and the precocious Mister Park to take part in a race which will result in an undisputed Champion, realism has kept Cheonnyeon Daero home. And the Grand Prix’s loss is the Owners’ Cup gain.

Aside from the afore-mentioned three, Gold Circle Trophy winner Glory Yeonggwang will be there as will the Peter Wolsley trained pair of Lucky Dancer and Khaosan. Lucky Dancer is a new addition to the Australian handler’s barn while Khaosan is one of his stalwarts. Wolsley is putting Japanese riders on both of his horses, Yoshi Aoki will ride Khaosan, while Hitomi Miyashita will be at the controls of Lucky Dancer.

The big race is off at 15:35 on Sunday afternoon and is the highlight of a six-race Sunday card. Busan also hosts a card on Friday while Seoul runs its usual Saturday and Sunday programs. While there’s no Stakes action at Seoul this weekend, there’s a star-studded line-up in Saturday’s feature handicap as Ace Galloper is joined by Jilpungganho, Big Easy, Nice Choice and Cheonun in a 1900 metre handicap.

On Sunday, it’s Bally Brae time. The 2006 Horse Of The Year is still so fondly regarded that punters voted him an invitation to the Grand Prix. The eight-year old gelding can no longer compete with the likes of Tough Win, Dongbanui Gangja or Dangdae Bulpae so connections politely declined and instead he will go in Sunday’s feature. Such is Korea’s handicapping system he will still be top-weight by a considerable margin and so has it all to do to beat a field who on paper and at equal weights, he should make very light work of. He may be getting on but he’s still healthy and gives every impression of loving what he does. And punters love to see him.

Here’s a full list of runners and riders for Sunday’s Busan Owners’ Cup:

Busan Owners’ Cup (Handicap) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – Sunday December 5 – 15:35

1. Glory Yeonggwang (KOR) (16/4/2/4) – 54kg – Kim Dong Young
2. King Hunter (KOR) (11/4/2/1) – 53.5kg – Toshio Uchida
3. Lucky Dancer (KOR) (24/10/3/2) – 58kg – Hitomi Miyashita
4. Isidae Gangja (KOR) (22/4/6/2) – 55kg – Choi Si Dae
5. Khaosan (KOR) (23/6/5/6) – 55kg – Yoshiyuki Aoki
6. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) (15/4/6/2) – 55kg – Park Geum Man
7. Namdo Jeap (KOR) (24/8/6/4) – 58kg – Jo Sung Gon
8. Golden Appeal (KOR) (15/9/3/2) – 59.5kg – Lim Sung Sil
9. Sky Star (KOR) (29/5/7/3) – 53.5kg – You Hyun Myung
10. New World Record (KOR) (23/3/4/3) – Yang Young Nam
11. Gangjaui Beopchik (KOR) (28/5/8/3) – Lee Sung Jae

And here’s what’s happening when and where over the first of three racing weekends in December:

Friday December 3

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 17:30

Saturday December 4

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:10 to 17:20

Sunday December 5

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:35 to 16:30

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“Annuity Lottery” Set For Korea

Racing might be being less than gently encouraged to reduce its revenues – because gambling is bad – but the government is desperately trying to breathe new life into one of its myriad gambling rip-offs “lotteries”. Because gambling blindly on numbers is obviously good for society.

Happy Punting! Good gambling, not that nasty racetrack stuff

According to the Korea Times, lottery revenues have fallen from 3.8 Trillion won in 2003 to 2.4 Trillion won last year as punter move to more sophisticated online – and illegal – gambling platforms. To try to counter this, one government-run lottery, the scratchcard based “Speetto 2000” is offering players a salary instead of a lump-sum. While a familiar concept around the world, where most lotteries offer winners the chance to receive their prizes in installments, this is a first for Korea.

Marketed as a “Pension” in a society where the idea of a private pension is just taking off, starting next April, Speetto 2000 is offering a first prize of 5 Million won (about $4,6000) won payable every month for twenty years. Previously known for a 2006 incident where they mistakenly printed too many jackpot tickets, Speetto is also abandoning smaller cash prizes for runners-up. Instead, those who score a near-miss will receive an electric car. Which they can use to drive to the track.

Mockery aside, Gyongmaman will be purchasing his ticket come next April. 5 Million won is a pretty healthy pot to start handicapping the weekend’s form with.