Month: April 2011

Weekend Preview: Kookje Sinmun Stakes

Youth and Experience Clash at Busan

An unbeaten colt will be joined by two other outstanding three-year olds, a host of proven winners and one track legend as some of Busan’s best foreign horses line up for the Kookje (Gukje) Sinmun Stakes this coming Sunday.

Lion Santa (Lion Heart) has won all five of his starts to date in impressive style and puts his perfect record on the line against another recent import Viva Ace (Macho Uno) and three-year old filly Royale Embrace (Chapel Royal) who have both racked up impressive win records of their own in their time here. Top weight in the handicap will be carried by Aussie bred Seonnyang Yongsa (Catbird) while fellow antipodean Dudeurim (Delago Brom) also has claims in the seven-furlong sprint.

Then there is Admiral Reigart (General Royal). At nine years old, the Admiral is three times the age of the young pretenders. He’s been a stalwart of the track since its opening in 2005 and while his win record of nine from sixty-seven starts is more creditable than outstanding, he’s in the best form of his life with two wins and to second place finishes from his last four starts. Remarkably, Sunday’s race will be his first outing at a sprint distance since April 2005 and he can’t be discounted from shocking the young upstarts.

The Kookje Sinmun – named for a Busan Newspaper – is the highlight of a busy weekend of racing on the peninsula. The Derby is just two weeks away so none of the contenders for that race are in action however, there’s still plenty to be going on with both at Busan and Seoul.In the capital, the feature race is on Sunday when Ace Galloper headlines a competitive handicap.

It’s been an odd week weather-wise with a few downpours mixed in with generally sunny skies. That’s set to continue over the weekend although there’s the chance of a thunderstorm in Seoul on Saturday. Come Racing…but bring a jacket. Here’s what’s happening when and where this weekend:

Friday April 29

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

Saturday April 30

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 17:30
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday May 1

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:10
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:10

Here is a full run-down of the Gukje Sinmun Stakes (Name/Pedigree/Age/Sex/Weight/Race records/Jockey):

Kookje Sinmun Stakes (Hdcp) – Busan Race Park – 1400M – Sunday May 1, 2011 – 16:15

1 Mystery Boy (USA)[Ecton Park – Mysterious Moll (Bates motel)] 4-C-54kg – (10/5/3/0) – Jo Chang Wook
2 High Best (USA) [Domestic Dispute – Sunday Thunder (Thunder Gulch)] 5-H-50kg – (20/5/1/2) – Kim Nam Sung
3 Hudson River Line (USA) [Not For Love – New Years Eve Gala (Slavic)] 4-C-52kg – (17/7/2/0) – Kim Tae Kyung
4 Hey Sexy (USA) [El Corredor – Miss Royal Spirit (Royal Academy)] 5 -G-50kg – (23/3/4/1) – Jo Chan Hoon
5 Global Champ (AUS) [Charge Forward – Amarocco (Brocco)] 4-C-54kg – (24/5/3/4) – Mun Jung Won
6 Lion Santa (USA) [Lion Heart – Santa Fe Strip (Phone Trick)] 3-C-52.5kg – (5/5/0/0) – Kim Dong Young
7 Viva Ace (USA) [Macho Uno – Dancing Lake (Meadowlake)] 3-G-52kg – (7/4/3/0) – Song Keong Yun
8 Isidae Gangja (KOR) [Lost Mountain – Angel (Land Rush)] 5-G-52kg – (27/5/7/3) – Choi Si Dae
9 Peolpeol (AUS) [Barely A Moment – What’s The Buzz (Brocco)] 3-G-50kg – (12/5/1/1) – Park Geum Man
10 Field Tripping (USA) [Trippi – Lilly’softhefield (Struggler)] 4-C-50kg – (12/3/3/3) – Kim Young Min
11 Admiral Reigart (USA) [General Royal – Entoria (Stop The Music)] 9-H-56.5kg – (67/9/14/7) – You Hyun Myung
12 Royale Embrace (USA) [Chapel Royal – Embracing Krissy (Kissin Kris)] 3-F-51.5kg – (7/5/1/0) – Chae Gyu Jun
13 Seonnyang Yongsa (AUS) [Catbird – Silicon Glory (Le Glorieux)] 5-G-58kg – (31/10/7/5) – Jo Sung Gon
14 Dudeurim (AUS) [Delago Brom – Ravissante (Rechabite)] 3-C-55kg – (13/4/6/1) – Toshio Uchida

Tough Win Breezes Heavy Task

Horse Of The Year Tough Win conquered both the wind and the weights to record his eleventh victory from just thirteen lifetime starts in the feature event at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Tough Win and Han Sung Yeol (9) hold off Royal Missile and Park Tae Jong (8) in the feature race

Carrying a stiff 62 kilograms, 7 more than his closest rival in the 1900 metre handicap, the four-year old Tough Win [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] was still sent out as the odds-on favourite. And, ridden for the first time by Han Sung Yeol who was replacing the suspended Cho Kyoung Ho, he didn’t disappoint. Taking over the lead at the top of the home stretch, Tough Win seemed on course for an easy win as he built up a five length lead with a furlong to go despite the wicked head win that buffeted the runners all day long.

Emerging from the pack, however, was outsider Royal Missile. Under Park Tae Jong, the six-year old was carrying 12 kilos less than the favourite and it showed as they reeled in the leader, Han just managing to coax Tough Win over the line half a length ahead of the challenger. To underline their superiority, second favourite Baekjeonjeonseung was a full eight lengths back in third.

It was a gutsy performance from Tough Win and a good ride from Han Sung Yeol who pushed the gelding only as much as he absolutely had to given the weight he was carrying. But what next for Tough Win? 1900 metres is at the upper limit of what he is capable of and there isn’t likely to be much respite from the handicapper next time he runs. It seems likely that a defence of his Busan Metropolitan title in July is on the cards although while it’s not a handicap, the 2000 metres may prove too far. Either way, despite the limited options, the 2010 Horse of the Year remains a top talent.

Magic Party and Park Tae Jong parade before romping home in race 9

Another top talent is Magic Party. When she won the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup last autumn she looked set for instant stardom. It’s taken a little longer for her to settle as a three-year old but today, in her third attempt at a race around two turns of the Seoul track, she was finally successful.

And an impressive display it was too as she stretched away from an otherwise almost fully male class 2 field to win race 9 by four lengths. Having been born in Korea but sired elsewhere, Magic Party [Artie Schiller – Gigi’s Magic (Allen’s Prospect)] isn’t eligible for the three-year old classics, but with five wins from eight starts in the bank, it may not be too long before we see her mixing it with the biggest names in Korean racing.

Park Sang Woo rides Senator Ron past the cherry blossoms on their way to second place in race 4

Down at Busan there was a filly who was already mixing it with the best for the first time today. Bulkkot Gisang (Langfuhr) had racked up an impressive seven wins from seven starts to graduate to the elite level. Today, she took her bow at class 1. Though sent off as favourite it didn’t go to plan. Under Jo Sung Gon, Bulkkot Gisang showed briefly at the front but had little to offer in the home straight eventually finishing ninth as second-favourite Mulbora scored a narrow victory over Great Value and Mupae Star.

Where to go from here? It’s a question that owners face the world over. For different reasons, connections of Bulkkot Gisang and Tough Win both have some thinking to do this evening.

It took a while to track down but this weekend wouldn't have been complete without a glass raised to another owner.

Punters Stub Out as Seoul Goes Smoke-Free

Though a non-smoker himself – drinking and gambling filling up the vice quotient quite nicely – Gyongmaman is generally of the opinion that when a gent has had a punt, he should be allowed a smoke while he waits for its outcome. A kind of courtesy to the condemned, as it were. However, get 50,000 smokers in one place and even outside, that place becomes pretty unpleasant.

Sight for sore eyes (and lungs): Signs like this one by the paddock, are popping up all over the track

Of course, the inside of the buildings at Seoul Race Park have always been no-smoking. However, set foot outside and its a different story; thick smoke in the air and a fine layer of ash over every surface doesn’t make for the most attractive of environments. Actually it’s not a fine layer – on the second floor balcony of the grandstand, the ash has to be swept away by a team of cleaners between each race. It’s not nice. As the KRA seeks to broaden racing’s appeal, the smoking and the resulting spitting is seen as something that deters first time visitors from coming back. Now, it’s doing something about it.

It started during the swine flu panic in 2009 when various fairs and festivals up and down the country were being cancelled with the threat of disease transmission being cited. Of course, the cynic may suggest that “swine flu” was a convenient excuse for organisers to not go ahead with loss-making events, but the fact remained that racing – the largest weekly gathering of people in Korea – was under threat. At the time, the KRA launched an “anti-spitting” policy. Simultaneously, they began plans to gradually ween punters off cigarettes.

The infield Family Park was the first to go smoke free, followed last year by the covered walkway leading from the subway station to the track entrance. Earlier this month, staff started instructing punters sitting by the paddock to stub out their cigarettes and last week signs went up confirming that smoking by the paddock was no longer permitted. Signs have also gone up announcing that from May, the second and third floor balconies overlooking the track, as well as down by the rail, will also become smoke-free.

Smoking zones remain both inside and outside; on every floor of both grandstands there are smoking rooms and these will stay, however, the idea is to allow people to watch the horses without having to worry about smoke, ash and spittle. Hopefully they’ll come back and, just as importantly, when asked what they thought about their visit to the track, the first thing they mention won’t be about how shocked they were at all the smoke.

* Today’s feature race at Seoul was won by filly Cheonun. The four-year old hit the line at just the right time to snatch victory away from pre-race favourite Hongji by a nose.

Tomorrow sees Tough Win (Yonaguska) headlining at Seoul. The four-year old US import with ten wins from twelve starts to his name will carry 62 kilos in the feature handicap. Meanwhile down at Busan, the unbeaten filly Bulkkot Gisang (Langfuhr) makes her class 1 debut. The three-year old will be looking for her eighth consecutive win.

Sunday April 24

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:00

Friday Night Wine & Winners

An eleven race card to get stuck into tomorrowat Seoul but first off a word about today’s racing at Busan where the feature event was won by Toshio Uchida on the 3/1 favourite Lucky Dancer. Lucky Dancer’s trainer was Peter Wolsley and with the win, the Australian moves up to third, behind only Kim Young Kwan and Baik Kwang Yeol, in terms of number of winners saddled over the past year with 43. With a number of quality horses in his stable, that elusive Stakes win can’t be far away.

Back On Top: Toshio Uchida(Pic: KRA)

As for Uchida it was business as usual with two winners. The Japanese jockey has recorded 39 victories since his return to Korea last November and is now back firmly established as the track’s top rider.

On to the business at hand and ss usual, we are mainly looking for value that for a small win bet (2,000won) and a larger place (4,000won) should provide a decent return even if not many actually win. Both Singgerounachim and Manchester Miss should be heavy favourites so don’t bother with the place on them. And remember, Gyongmaman bets for his meals but eats instant ramen every day – here’s why this week:

Saving the Kendall-Jackson to toast some winners on Saturday

Race 1: Sylvia Green (1)
Race 2: A.P. Plus (8)
Race 3: Neulsarang (12)
Race 4: Aragaya (10)
Race 5: Bravo Together (7)
Race 6: Hanhyeolhwasin (9)
Race 7: Singgerounachim (8)
Race 8: Richmond Hwanhui (1)
Race 9: Wonerful Sun (3)
Race 10: Cheonun (1)
Race 11: Manchester Miss (5)

It’s been a wet twenty-four hours in the capital but things should have dried out by the time racing gets underway at Seoul on Saturday at 11:10. There are eleven races through to 17:30 with three races being simulcasted from the pony race meeting on Jeju Island.

Weekend Preview

Here’s what’s happening when and where on a weekend where Bulkkot Gisang (Langfuhr) makes her class 1 debut at Busan and Tough Win (Yonaguska) is in action at Seoul:

Friday April 22

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

Saturday April 23

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 17:30
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday April 24

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:00

Dangdae Bulpae Too Good In Ttukseom Cup

Busan Scores Clean Sweep in Clash Of The Champions at Seoul

Dangdae Bulpae had it all his own way as he added the Ttukseom Cup to his Minister’s and President’s Cups titles at Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Derby winner Cheonnyeon Daero was second while his stablemate Yeonseung Daero made it a clean sweep of the placings for Busan horses by finishing third.

Dangdae Bulpae and Jo Sung Gon in the Ttukseom Cup Winner's Circle

While his last visit to the capital ended in defeat as he failed to stay the distance behind Mister Park in the Grand Prix Stakes, today, running at seven furlongs for the first time in his career, there were no such worries. Under Jo Sung Gon, Dangdae Bulpae was always well placed and hit the front with a furlong and a half to go.

Cheonnyeon Daero tried to go with him but was beaten for speed while the fast finishing Yeonseung Daero left his run too late to reel in the winner, jockey Jo able to relax in the final fifty metres as the pair cruised to their fourth Stakes win together.

Cheonnyeon Daero - The Derby winner got the closest to Dangdae Bulpae

A late developer as a three-year old, Dangdae Bulpae [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] was third behind Cheonnyeon Daero in the Korean Derby last year. He then embarked on a glorious summer and autumn which brought victories in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Stakes as well as those Minister’s and President’s Cups back in the capital. Aside from a shock reverse at the hands of Mupae Star, that Grand Prix setback is the only real blot on a career which has seen eleven wins from sixteen starts.

And that Grand Prix winner, Mister Park, is all that stands between Dangdae Bulpae and recognition as the best Korean born horse on the peninsula. Mister Park, being Korean born, but not bred, couldn’t take part today, but their paths will surely cross again.

It was another desperately disappointing – if not especially surprising – result for Seoul. Finishing fourth, Wangson was the best placed of the home track’s entries with last year’s winner Triple Seven in sixth. Busan leads this year’s head to head by in Stakes races by two to nothing.

Ttukseom Cup (KOR.GIII) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – Sunday Apr 17, 2011

1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – Jo Sung Gon – 2.0, 1.2
2. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – Park Geum Man – 2.4
3. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.8

Distances: 1.75 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Wangson 5. Namdo Jeap 6. Triple Seven 7. Triple Sinhwa 8. Suseong TX 9. Baengnyeonbong 10. The Almighty 11. Golden Rose 12. Tamna Hero 13. Best Holls 14. Tamnahwanhui

* Earlier in the day at Seoul, there was a match-up between two of the track’s highest rated three-year old colts. Shoot In (Exploit) and Gwangyajeil (VIcar) have been kept off the Triple Crown trail so far but could make an appearance later in the season. Today, it was Gwangyajeil who got the better of their battle in race 8, with a four length win.

* With the track’s domestic stars up in Seoul, the feature race at Busan was for the imports. It was won by favourite Kiwi’s Playboy (Cloud Hoppin) for jockey Toshio Uchida. The win was Uchida’s third of the afternoon, the Japanese rider having earlier taken both races 1 and 2.

Seoul Racecourse, Sunday April 17, 2011

Glory For Se Young in HRI Trophy

Raon Glory wins HRI Trophy / Ttukseom Cup in D-1

Moon Se Young is a smart guy. When picking up a four meeting ban for getting Florida Sox demoted back to third in last Sunday’s feature race, he was quick to request a one-week delay to the start of his lay-off.

Knowing Smile: Moon Se Young

As is customary when the jockey has a ride in a big race the following weekend, the Stewards agreed. It seems though that Moon didn’t necessarily have his eye on the mount of Suseong TX in tomorrow’s Ttukseom Cup, but rather on several this afternoon that saw him ride off with five winners.

Chief among them was victory in the feature event, the Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Trophy on favourite Raon Glory (Tapit). The pair hit the front of the seven-furlong race inside the final furlong and stretched away to a three-length win from the weakening long-time leader Yuseongjeil. Outsider Major Girl finished strongly to take third in the all-filly and mare Cup race.

Raon Glory: HRI Trophy Winner

Raon Glory, a four-year old grey filly, now has six wins from nine lifetime starts and looks set to join class 1 company very soon. As for Moon, it was the third of five wins on the day to send him off on his enforced break with plenty of spending money.

The HRI Trophy is one of a number of “International Exchange” races run each year. In addition to Ireland, the KRA has arrangements with racing authorities in Japan, Australia, South Africa, Macau, Malaysia and Turkey whereby each sponsor a race in the other’s country. The link with Ireland is one of the longest standing; today’s race being the fifteenth running of the HRI Trophy.

HRI Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – April 16, 2011

1. Raon Glory (KOR) [Tapit – Queen Lu Lu (Kingmambo)] – Moon Se Young – 1.6, 1.1
2. Yuseongjeil (KOR) [Creek Cat – Haetpit Maeul (Mujaazif)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 4.3
3. Mighty Girl (KOR) [Duality – Our Kaapstad (Kaapstad)] – Won Jung Il – 11.1

Distances: 3 lengths/Nose – 14 ran

Seoul basked in beautiful sunshine today and it should continue tomorrow for one of the highlights of the Korean racing year, the 23rd running of the Group 3 Ttukseom Cup. While Triple Seven, Suseong TX and Wangson will be doing their best to keep the silverware in the capital, most observers see the business end of the race being contested by the visitors from Busan.

Derby winner Cheonnyeon Daero should relish the drop back to 1400 metres as should Minister’s and President’s Cup Champion Dangdae Bulpae. Then there’s Yeonseung Daero; arguably the best Korean bred horse on the peninsula, he usually only takes on foreign opposition and isn’t fussy about the distance. Also lining up is Triple Sinhwa, a horse who was a well beaten second behind Cheonnyeon Daero last month but is another for whom the shorter distance could be a benefit.

The big race is at 16:35 and is race nine of an eleven race card at Seoul which starts at 11:10am. There are also six races at Busan from 12:30 to 17:05. Here is a final run-down of the runners and riders for the Ttukseom Cup (Name / pedigree / race records (Races/1sts/2nds/3rds)/jockey / (home track)

Ttukseom Cup (KOR.GIII) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – Sunday Apr 17, 16:35

1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – (15/10/1/1) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
2. Best Holls (KOR) [Fierecely – Onethindime (Tactical Advantage)] – (15/5/1/2) – Jung Ki Yong (Seoul)
3. Suseong TX (KOR) [Concept Win – Oktong-I (Kyoei Blossom)] – (21/7/4/4) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
4. Triple Sinhwa (KOR) [Capital Spending – Claudia’s Secret (Crafty Prospector)] – (15/6/6/0) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
5. Golden Rose (KOR) [Buster’s Daydream – Pop’s Apple (Digangi’s Grinder)] – (21/5/3/3) – Moon Jung Kyun (Seoul)
6. Tamna Hero (KOR) [Creek Cat – The Big C (Deputed Testamony)] (25/8/4/3) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
7. Wangson (KOR) [Distilled – Eastern Tide (Far Out East)] – (17/8/3/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
8. Tamnahwanhui (KOR) [Al Naba – Bulbijihye (Pro For Sure)] – (18/5/3/1) – Kim Cheol Ho (Seoul)
9. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – (30/13/6/4) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
10. Namdo Jeap (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – (27/8/7/4) – Kim Dong Young (Busan)
11. Baengnyeonbong (KOR) [Al Naba – Sansovino Art (Mister C.)] – [(25/7/2/7) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Seoul)
12. The Almighty (KOR) [Capital Spending – Dauntless Cat (Mountain Cat)] – (15/5/3/0) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
13. Triple Seven (KOR) [The Groom Is Red – Impudence (Grand Lodge)] – (34/12/4/7) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
14. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – (19/7/7/2) – Park Geum Man (Busan)

Fall Ends Time at Busan for Yoshi Aoki

Japanese rider in hospital after bad fall during race

Japanese jockey Yoshi Aoki suffered a bad fall at Busan this afternoon to bring a premature end to his second spell in Korea. The 34-year-old is in hospital with a punctured lung and a number of broken ribs after being thrown from his mount shortly after the start of race 5.

Yoshi Aoki

Aoki was due to leave Korea at the end of this month as had been riding outside of his native Japan for so long that his license there was about to expire. It was for similar licensing reasons that Toshio Uchida had to cut short his first stint in Korea.

Aoki first arrived in Korea in 2009 for a short stint at Seoul Race Park. Like everyone other foreign rider before and since, he found it hard going in the capital riding just two winners before departing at the end of his three-month license. He made an impression off the track though, memorably interrupting an interview with then Jockey Union President Kim Dong Kyun while wearing a rubber horse’s head during the KRA’s annual “Punters vs Jockeys” Sports Day. He returned to the peninsula in September last year, this time to the more welcoming Busan Race Park, where he has had much better success.

Primarily riding for Australian trainer Peter Wolsley (often on horses bred and owned by Pegasus and Isidore Farms – both Jeju outfits with a heavy foreign influence) he recorded 21 winners from 165 rides. Fittingly, today he won race 4 – the race prior to his fall – on Wolsley and Isidore Farm’s Yehudi Kkot (Yehudi).

With Hitomi Miyashita also leaving Busan this week it leaves Mr Pink, Toshio Uchida as the sole foreign rider at the track. Hiro Hamada and the injured Mai Beppu are at Seoul. Tonight, thoughts are with Yoshi Aoki for as speedy as possible a recovery from what was a very nasty fall and hopes that one day, he may return to Korea.

Weekend Preview: Ttukseom Cup

Dangdae Bulpae, Cheonnyeon Daero, Yeonseung Daero, Namdo Jeap Come To Seoul

Korean horse racing is, if truth be told, generally just the most popular of the three legal gambling games on the peninsula. And the only one open on the weekend. Be it the Korean Derby or a class 6 maiden, for the vast majority of punters every race is just a number, another punting opportunity.

Not that this is much different to anywhere else but the huge crowds and the atmospheric summer evenings notwithstanding, the sterility of some big race days in Korea can be quite off-putting to the race fan. The KRA knows how to hype a race with slick video packages but the feeling is always unavoidable: apart from connections, very few people actually care about the name of the horse that wins the race. It’s the numbers in the quinella that count.

Triple Seven wins last year's Ttukseom Cup

This Sunday, however, is one of the few days on the racing calendar where history gets honoured in the shape of the GIII Ttukseom Cup, so named to remember of the location of the old Seoul Racecourse on the north bank of the River Han. It’s a race which has been run every year since the current track opened in Gwacheon in 1989 with winners including the great J.S. Hold, who claimed the race when it was run as the first leg of the Triple Crown series in 2007.

Classic Winner Dangdae Bulpae has never lost at Seoul

This year marks a new chapter in the race as for the first time, horses from Busan have been invited to the capital. And the Southern track is sending its A-Team in the shape of three classic winners; Namdo Jeap, Cheonnyeon Daero and Dangdae Bulpae who will all drop down to seven furlongs along with prolific winners Yeonseung Daero and Triple Sinhwa for an assault on the Cup. Seoul, still reeling after its best three year olds suffered a shock reverse in the KRA Cup Mile a fortnight ago, will have a hard time keeping the trophy on home soil. Its best hope may come in the shape of last year’s winner Triple Seven. The big race is underway at 4:35pm on Sunday and is race 9 of 11 at Seoul. See below for a full list of runners and riders but first, here’s what’s happening when and where this weekend:

Friday April 15

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

Saturday April 16

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday April 17

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:05
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:05

* The Ttukseom Cup will be run over seven furlongs and is open to Korean born horses aged four years old and up. Two mares, Golden Rose and Tamna Hero will be involved. Here’s a run down of the runners, pedigree, race records (races/1sts/2nds/3rds), riders and home tracks of all fourteen runners:

Ttukseom Cup (KOR.GIII) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – Sunday Apr 17, 16:35

1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – (15/10/1/1) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
2. Best Holls (KOR) [Fierecely – Onethindime (Tactical Advantage)] – (15/5/1/2) – Jung Ki Yong (Seoul)
3. Suseong TX (KOR) [Concept Win – Oktong-I (Kyoei Blossom)] – (21/7/4/4) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
4. Triple Sinhwa (KOR) [Capital Spending – Claudia’s Secret (Crafty Prospector)] – (15/6/6/0) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
5. Golden Rose (KOR) [Buster’s Daydream – Pop’s Apple (Digangi’s Grinder)] – (21/5/3/3) – Moon Jung Kyun (Seoul)
6. Tamna Hero (KOR) [Creek Cat – The Big C (Deputed Testamony)] (25/8/4/3) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
7. Wangson (KOR) [Distilled – Eastern Tide (Far Out East)] – (17/8/3/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
8. Tamnahwanhui (KOR) [Al Naba – Bulbijihye (Pro For Sure)] – (18/5/3/1) – Kim Cheol Ho (Seoul)
9. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – (30/13/6/4) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
10. Namdo Jeap (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – (27/8/7/4) – Kim Dong Young (Busan)
11. Baengnyeonbong (KOR) [Al Naba – Sansovino Art (Mister C.)] – [(25/7/2/7) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Seoul)
12. The Almighty (KOR) [Capital Spending – Dauntless Cat (Mountain Cat)] – (15/5/3/0) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
13. Triple Seven (KOR) [The Groom Is Red – Impudence (Grand Lodge)] – (34/12/4/7) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
14. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – (19/7/7/2) – Park Geum Man (Busan)

Hitomi Heads Home

Hitomi Miyashita has given up her Korean Jockey license to return to her native Japan. The 34-year-old has spent the last 18 months riding at the Busan Race Park. She has cited personal reasons for her departure.

Going: Hitomi Miyashita

Hitomi first rode in Korea in the International Lady Jockey Invitation race on Korean Oaks day in August 2009. She ended up victorious, partnering Ima Firecracker to a narrow victory. She returned to the track full-time in October of that year and quickly became one of the track’s top jockeys.

In her time in Korea, from 660 rides, Hitomi ride 55 winners and 66 seconds for a win strike rate of 8.3% and a quinella rate of 18.3% and a place rate of 29.5% and was very popular among racing fans on the peninsula. She made one appearance at Seoul Race Park in the Grand Prix Stakes in 2009.

Here is her win on Ima Firecracker in the International Lady Jockey Invitational in 2009:

For obvious reasons it’s a touchy subject but a lot of things changed at Busan after the suicide of jockey Park Jin Hee in March 2010. Hitomi was one of the jockeys who, along with fellow visiting riders Martin Wepner and Kunihisa Hirase was put in a very difficult position between the trainers and the local jockey union. The Union, which had not exactly gone out of its way to make foreign riders welcome, now expected them to join them in their battle certain trainers along with the rest of the jockeys. On the other side the trainers union, knowing the difficulties the foreign riders had had with the union, expected them to side with them

The trainers and jockeys eventually came to an understanding with the foreign riders caught in a figurative no-man’s land. Wepner and Hirase quickly left while Hitomi stayed on and continued to try her hardest. It may have been coincidence, but never again though did she find herself on either the quality or quantity of horses she was on before and her strike rate declined accordingly. That she stuck things out and continued to ride winners is a credit to her talent and perseverance.

Hitomi’s departure leaves Busan with no female jockeys compared to five at Seoul and three with the pony racing colony on Jeju Island. Toshio Uchida and Yoshi Aoki continue to fly the flag successfully for Japan at Busan while Hiro Hamada and the currently injured Mai Beppu are at Seoul. There are currently no non-Japanese foreign jockeys in Korea.

We wish Hitomi the best for the next stage of her career.