Day: May 14, 2011

Soseuldaemun Faces Tough Task In Open Derby

Korean Derby 2011: Final Preview

It’s Derby Day and this race is anybody’s. Soseuldaemun comes to Seoul on Sunday to attempt to win the second leg of the 2011 Triple Crown in the 14th Korean Derby. He’ll have thirteen out to stop him.

The Seoul Racecourse paddock is ready for the 14th Korean Derby

Does a competitive field mean we have a weak crop of three-year olds this year? We’ll decide that at the end of the season, for now we can savour the prospect of a genuinely unpredictable race. It’s going to be a gorgeous day – albeit slightly breezy – and there’s sure to be a massive crowd in attendance.

Here’s the final run-down of the runners, pedigrees, race records, riders and a comment on their chances:

Korean Derby (KOR.GI) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 15, 2011 – 16:35

1. Shoot In [Exploit – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – (5/3/2/0) – Shin Hyoung Chul
Half-brother of last year’s winner Cheonnyeon Daero, he was a late entrant and is improving all the time. Won’t be among the favourites but could spring a surprise after taking the lead early on.

2. Singgereounachim [Exploit – Singgereoun (Mr. Adorable)] (9/3/1/2) – Jo In Kwen
Won so easily last time out that there’es surely more to come. A strong chance.

3. Useung Touch [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (Filly) (6/3/1/1) – Choi Si Dae
An unknown quantity at this distance, the filly will be at long-odds. She’ll start quickly and is the fastest horse in the race, but will she stay?

4. Sun Hero [Menifee – Strategic Reward (Bold Revenue)] (9/4/2/1) – Moon Se Young
Last year’s champion juvenile is proving tough to handle in races at three and a dreadful performance in the Cup Mile makes him hard to recommend for anything more than an outside chance at a place.

5. World Winner [Yankee Victor – Wakired (Red Ransom)] (11/2/3/2) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
Although untried at the distance, it shouldn’t be a problem but despite winning his last two, has shown nothing to suggest he’s capable of he massive improvement required to win here.

6. Soseuldaemun [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] (10/3/3/1) – Toshio Uchida (Busan)
The KRA Cup Mile winner and on-course for the Triple Crown. He will be well-fancied and with Uchida on board, cannot be discounted.

7. Yeongung Icheon [Concept Win – Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] (9/3/2/1) – Park Tae Jong
Jockey Park has won the Derby twice before but it would be a major surprise if he added another here.

8. Champion Belt [Exploit – Telegraph Road (Royal Academy)] (6/2/2/2) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
An intriguing late entry, his dam also produced the very talented Blue Pin and Northern Ace, and his two recent wins suggests plenty more to come. Could be worth an each-way bet at decent odds.

9. Daeseung Yegam [Silent Warrior – Tolp’ung-Yegam (Land Rush)] (10/3/1/1) – Kim Myoung Sin (Busan)
Too inconsistent to recommend here. Will be one of the outsiders.

10. Cheonji Horyeong [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (9/2/3/1) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Half-brother to 2008 winner Ebony Storm and fourth in the Cup Mile, many believe there is plenty more to come from Cheonji Horyeong. Should be there or thereabouts.

11. Geuma Champ [Vicar – Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] (7/2/3/1) – Jung Ki Yong
A month ago it was Geuma Who? But an impressive second behind Super Rich last month has put him right into contention. Has looked fantastic in trackwork and will have a lot of backers.

12. Double Light [Menifee – Iruda (Glorify)] (8/3/3/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho
All around the most complete looking horse. Second in the Cup Mile, he will most likely be the favourite.

13. Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] (6/4/0/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
An impressive winner of his last two starts, if he’s on form, he has every chance

14. Prime Galloper [Strodes Creek – Apple G (Carson City)] (7/3/4/0) – Hwang Soon Do
Some decent performances behind him but nothing to suggest he can beat some of the better known names. An outsider.

So, who’s it going to be? This is a very open race so there is plenty of scope for betting. Gyongmaman will be losing a little bit of money on likely outsiders Champion Belt and Useung Touch. While he’ll be watching to see if any of Double Light, Soseuldaemun, Gwangyajeil or Geuma Champ offer any unexpected value, he will be sure to have a win bet on Singgeureounachim.

Sunday May 15

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:05 (including the 2011 Korean Derby at 16:35)
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:00

Wide Boy Choi Back On The Rails In JRA

Choi Bum Hyun and Baekhomujeok win the JRA Trophy

Barring late misfortune befalling another, Choi Bum Hyun won’t be riding in the Korean Derby tomorrow. He won’t mind too much, however, after landing the Japan Racing Association (JRA) Trophy on 20/1 outsider Baekhomujeok at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Baekhomujeok in the JRA Trophy Winner's Circle

Choi is often maligned by some sections of the Gwacheon punting colony for his habit of going wide around the field to win. Today though, he and the three-year old Baekhomujeok were on the rail all the way as, after always being well-place, they came through to overhaul long time leader Kkochyeoul in the last 100 metres to grab a half-length win. Mass Media’s Tea was a further length back in third, the first three having spent the whole of the race at the front of the field.

Choi Bum Hyun was a winner today

Baekhomujeok (Sharp Humor) was imported to Korea as a two-year old last year (his original name was Late Night Comic) and has now won four of his six starts. Pre-race favourite Ppoppai finished a disappointing fourth after running wide on the final turn. This time, it wasn’t a Choi Bum Hyun ridden favourite who was going wide. Instead for all his faults, Choi was winning his twelfth Stakes race in the last four years.

Today was the twentieth running of the JRA Trophy – and in a rather odd move, the KRA opted to mark the occasion by having “Arirang”, the most Korean of Korean folk songs, played as the visiting JRA representatives presented the prizes.

Blooming Great: Jo In Kwen lands the feature handicap on Blooming

In other races, 2010 Korean Oaks winner Euro Fighter was sent off at 30/1 in the feature class 2 handicap. Given that she hadn’t won since that day at Busan last Summer, it was a fair call by bettors. She didn’t win, but put in a very creditable performance to finish two lengths behind the five-year old winner Blooming, who landed another big race win for Jo In Kwen.

Jo gets his first crack at The Derby tomorrow. We’ll have our final preview a little bit later on.

JRA Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1200M – May 14, 2011

1. Baekhomujeok (USA) [Sharp Humor – Lip Gloss (Lit De Justice) – Choi Bum Hyun – 23.3, 4.5
2. Kkocchyeoul (USA) [Essence Of Dubai – A Star Has Risen (Rock Band)] – Jung Pyeong Soo – 3.4
3. Mass Media’s Tea (USA) [Mass Media – Tea Pot Joy (Joyeax Danseur)] – Moon Se Young – 1.7

Distances: 0.5 lengths/1 length
Also Ran: 4. Ppoppai 5. Celebrate Tonight 6. Imperial Girl 7. Magic Party 8. Bichui Jeonsa 9. Fortunata 10. Es Four 11. Dream Heart

The Japanese flag flies at Gwacheon today - the KRA opted to play "Arirang" during the JRA Trophy Winner's Ceremony