Month: October 2011

Weekend Preview: Baby Time

Racing is about to get underway on what is a wet Friday on the Korean peninsula. This week sees the first Stakes action of the year for two-year olds in the shape of the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at Seoul on Saturday and the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at Busan on Sunday. In a slight change to the usual preview format (i.e. run out of time to do the usual handicap) here’s a brief run down on what’s going on at each meeting this weekend:

Magic Party won last year's Gwacheon Mayor's Cup

Friday October 14

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Normal Friday afternoon card. The feature is the last where former Derby winner Ebony Storm carries top weight. Joe Murphy’s Deep Desire is coming in off the back of a win and remains very well handicapped.

Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30
Nine pony races on the island with three simulcasted to Busan and Seoul.

Saturday October 15

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:10 to 17:40 including the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at 16:30
Five colts and four fillies make up the field for Seoul’s first two-year old championship Stakes race of the year. Filly Cheoneun (Forest Camp) has been the most impressive so far although Viva Cat (Creek Cat) is also yet to lose and Dolpung Jilju (Didyme) is two for three against tougher competition. An intriguing race.

Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20
Two massive Stakes races for the ponies on Jeju – The Jeju Governor’s Classic and the Jeju Governor’s Open. Unfortunately, neither of those will be simulcasted to Seoul but it is one of the Island’s biggest race days of the year.

Sunday October 16

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:10
Last year’s Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup winner Magic Party has gone on to become a useful three-year old and she runs in the feature handicap alongside fellow fillies Dongbang Rose and last year’s Oaks winner Euro Fighter.

Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:30 to 17:10 including the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at 16:15.
The Gyeongnam Sinmun brings together six fillies and two colts for Busan’s two-year old Championship. Nathan Stanley returns from illness to partner Peter Wolsley’s Nuriui Bit (Menifee) who has won her only start to date. However, in a field of unknown quantities, anything can happen. In the last race of the day, Mister Park (Ecton Park) will be looking to extend his record-breaking winning streak to 17. Japanese jockey Akane Yamamoto will have the honour.

Ace Galloper Wins The KRA Cup Classic

Ace Galloper strode to a three-length win in the KRA Cup Classic at Seol Race Park this afternoon and in doing so gave himself a favourite’s chance in the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes.

Ace Galloper and Park Tae Jong win the KRA Cup Classic

With Park Tae Jong on board, Ace Galloper took control in the home straight and strectehd away to win comfortably from Sing Sing Cat and Jumong. Double Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja was fifth while Baekgwang returned injured in sixth.

KRA Cup Classic (KOR.G.III) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – October 9, 2011

1. Ace Galloper (KOR) [Chapel Royal-Explicitly (Exploit)] – Park Tae Jong – 3.6, 1.5
2. Sing Sing Cat (USA) [D’Wildcat-Freddy Fenter (Fenter)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 3.1
3. Jumong (USA) [Johar-Foreign Aid (Danzig)] – Jo In Kwen – 1.6

Distances: 3 legnths/1 length
Also Ran: 4. Captain Cugat 5. Dongbanui Gangja 6. Baekgwang 7. Celebrate Tonight 8. Bulpae Gisang 9. Ppoppai 10. Cheonjidolpung 11. Florida Sox

Weekend Preview

Selangor Turf Club Trophy & KRA Cup Classic at Seoul

KRA Cup Classic weekend is about to get underway – click here for a full preview of the big race – but there’s plenty more happening across the peninsula.

On Saturday it’s the Selangor Turf Club Trophy at Seoul. Two Malaysian jockeys, Ming Wan Teh and Ismail Fadzlei will be in town to ride in the race. Down at Busan there’s also a bonus as Sunday sees seven races instead of the usual six. Here’s what’s happening when and where – the weather is set to be beautiful. Come Racing!

Friday October 7

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

Saturday October 8

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:10 to 17:40 including the Selangor Turf Club Trophy at 16:30
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday October 9

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 111:10 to 18:05 including the KRA Cup Classic at 16:35
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:30 to 17:05

Will It Be Ace On A High In KRA Cup Classic?

Last Year’s Winner Misses Out But A Double Champion, A Legend, A Nearly-Horse and Upstarts Clash in Grand Prix Trial

We had the final leg of the Triple Crown last week but the autumn Stakes action is coming thick and fast at Seoul Race Park. This weekend it’s the KRA Cup Classic, a major pointer towards the season ending Grand Prix Stakes which is now just over two months away.

One To Beat: Ace Galloper

Although last year’s winner Tough Win is a late withdrawal, there is still plenty to keep interest alive among punters and fans alike in this ten furlong handicap. Two Korean born horses, Ace Galloper and Baekgwang, take on nine imports including the double Grand Prix Champion Dongbanui Gangja.

Ace Galloper is currently the top ranked domestic bred horse at Seoul and is the one they all have to beat here while the great grey Baekgwang is one of the best-loved.

Jumong

Dongbanui Gangja heads the weights but has only won once since kicking his habit of running wide in the home straight that almost saw him retired a year ago. Jumong, the half-brother of another great name from Korean racing history, Subsidy, is both in form and has a weight advantage as does the returning Bulpae Gisang. Then there are the three-year old unknowns. Could one of them pull off an upset? We’ll find out on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s a full run down of the field (Name [Pedigree] Age, Sex, Weight (Races/1/2/3) – Jockey):

KRA Cup Classic – Seoul Race Park – 2000M October 8, 2011, 16:35

1. Bulpae Gisang (USA) [Lightnin N Thunder-Neat Trick (Clever Trick)] 5 H 57Kg (21/10/4/1) – Won Jung Il
Spent nearly a year on the sidelines but showed a glimpse of the form that took him to victory in the Busan Metropolitan and second place in the Grand Prix as a three-year old in 2009 when winning his last outing in August. Reasonably well handicapped, he could challenge the placings.

2. Ace Galloper (KOR) [Chapel Royal-Explicitly (Exploit)] 4 C 60Kg (20/14/3/1) – Park Tae Jong
Regular jockey Cho Kyoung Ho was engaged to ride Tough Win and even though last year’s winner now won’t run, Park Tae Jong keeps the mount. Park has won on him before and Ace Galloper comes into the race on a run of four straight wins. The weight shouldn’t be a problem but this is the first time he’s faced foreign bred opposition. If he’s on top form, he has a very good chance.

3. Celebrate Tonight (USA) [Songandaprayer-My Place Tonight (Out Of Place)] (USA) 3 C 54Kg (9/4/2/1) – Moon Se Young
Beaten by Sing Sing Cat in his class 1 debut last time out, it’s tough to make a case for him here. However, he has a significant weight advantage over the more established older horses.

4. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow-Maremaid (Storm Bird)] 6 H 61Kg (31/18/6/2) – Choi Bum Hyun
With his unruly five-year old season behind, we’ve seen something of the old Dongbanui Gangja of late and, given a different ride may have won the Busan Metropolitan back in July. The double Grand Prix winner is to be respected but at top weight, he’s going to have his work cut out.

5. Baekgwang (KOR) [The Groom Is Red-Grey Crest (Gold Crest)] 8 H 56Kg (24/11/8/3) – Lee Joon Chel
One of the most popular horses in recent Korean racing history, the grey Baekgwang has on three occasions taken a year out through injury. He’s always come back though and in his 24 races spread over the past 6 years he has, remarkably, never finished out of the money. Like Ace Galloper, he too is facing foreign horses for the first time and this could be his toughest test.

6. Sing Sing Cat (USA) [D’Wildcat-Freddy Fenter (Fenter)] 3 C 55Kg (11/5/2/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
Getting better he’s one four of his last five. Still relatively unexposed, he has a big weight advantage over a number of his rivals and could spring a surprise.

7. Captain Cugat (AUS) [King Cugat-Shiva Angel (Marauding)] 7 G 52Kg (33/5/5/0) – Kim Ok Sung
The old Aussie stager who found his way here via New Zealand doesn’t win much and there’s no reason why he should here. A second place behind hotshot filly Kkakjaengi over this distance two starts ago sees him take his chance here but even with a light weight and a decent jockey, he’ll struggle to trouble the placings.

8. Florida Sox (USA) [Woke Up Dreamin-Chordette (Dixieland Band)] 4 F 52Kg (9/4/0/2) – Boo Min Ho
A Stakes winner at age 3, this filly – the only one in he field – needs a lot of time off between races. Her last start ended in a disappointing 13th in the Owners’ Trophy but that was so long ago, it means little. Reunited with jockey Boo Min Ho with whom she’s enjoyed most success.

9. Jumong (USA) [Johar-Foreign Aid (Danzig)] 4 C 57Kg (23/8/4/3) – Jo In Kwen
Along with Ace Galloper the most in-form horse in the race. Was beaten by Dongbanui Gangja in June but he was giving a lot of weight that day. The roles are reversed here and the finishing order may be too.

10. Ppoppai (USA) [Rockport Harbor-Fair And Lively (Lively One)] 3 C 53Kg (10/5/0/2) – Ham Wan Sik
His first start at class 1 comes in a very tough race. Like the other three-year olds, he has the weight in his favour but will be an outsider.

11. Cheonjidolpung (USA)
[Tactical Cat-Luminate (A.P.Indy)] 6 G 52Kg (30/5/0/4) – Mai Beppu
Finished a very creditable 4th in the Busan Metropolitan but well beaten by Sing Sing Cat and Celebrate Tonight last time.

First Female Trainer/Jockey Combo Finds Success

Lee Shin Young & Kim Hae Sun Score Historic Double

Last week we talked about Australian trainer Peter Wolsley and jockey Nathan Stanley who are currently the in-form partnership at Busan. Up at Seoul there is another pair who are less than conventional in Korean terms making headlines. On September 24, trainer Lee Shin Young and Kim Hae Sun became the first female trainer/jockey combination to win two races on the same card.

Winning on the track: Kim Hae Sun

Lee Shin Young was only the third Korean woman to qualify as a jockey and in the July this year became the first ever female trainer. She’s had a remarkable start to her career in the barn. Out of 23 runners from her fourteen-strong string, she’s recorded 6 wins already.

Winning in the barn: Lee Shin Young (Picture: KRA)

She still holds the record for most thoroughbred wins by a female jockey in Korea at 90, however, her record seems almost certain to be eclipsed by the young Kim Hae Sun. Kim qualified in 2009 and has made the most of the opportunities afforded to her to rack up 37 winners already – 28 of them coming in the last year and 4 in the past two weeks.

It’s a record that is better than the two other jockeys in her graduating class, Park Sang Woo and Lee Gi Woong.

On that Saturday a week and a half ago, Lee and Kim combined with debut making US two-year old Belong To John (Belong To Me) at odds of 23/1 and then in the final race of the day on 8/1 Blue Charming (On Fire). Certainly punters will be closely examining any such generous odds on the pair in future.

Dongseo Jeongbeol Crashes Classic Winners’ Clash

16/1 Shot Wins Final Leg Of 2011 Triple Crown

Dongseo Jeongbeol stunned the big guns to storm to claim victory in the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the 2011 Korean Triple Crown, at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Dongseo Jeongbeol beats Useung Touch to win the Minister's Cup

In a race which brought together the winners of all three previous races in the Triple Crown series – Soseuldaemun, Gwangyajeil and Useung Touch – Dongseo Jeongbeol was sent off as a 16/1 outsider, despite having won six of his ten prior starts.

Things seemed to be going to form to begin with as Oaks winner Useung Touch (Menifee) set the early pace with Derby winner Gwangyajeil (Vicar) following closely behind. Midway through the back straight, the horse who was actually sent off the slight favourite, Champion Belt (Exploit) – the most expensive horse of this generation when sold as a two-year old, hit the front. All the while, Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar) and jockey Chae Gyu Jun were simply siting in the middle of the pack.

As the field entered the home straight, battle commenced. However, Gwangyajeil was quickly out of it as Useung Touch seemed set to go on to claim the win. Then came Dongseo Jeongbeol on the outside. Third with a furlong to go, he was travelling much quicker than Useung Touch and he swept past the filly fifty metres from the line. Another fast finishing outsider Geuma Champ grabbed third.

Not right: Derby winner Gwangyajeil

As for Gwangyajeil, he went backwards in the home straight eventually finishing thirteenth. Indeed, the only horse he beat home was KRA Cup Mile winner Soseuldaemun – that first Classic victory looking more and more a flash in the pan although he did return lame. Gwangyajeil returned looking angry and didn’t want to trot for the vet. However, he didn’t seem injured.

For Dongseo Jeongbeol it was, as mentioned earlier, he moves onto seven wins from eleven starts and a potential invite back to Seoul next month for the President’s Cup. His win means that horses from Busan claimed the Cup Mile, the Oaks and the Minister’s Cup with Gwangyajeil’s Derby win the only success for Seoul.

Dongseo Jeongbeol and Chae Gyu Jun in the Minister's Cup Winner's Circle

Dongseo Jeongbeol is the second classic winner this year by Vicar – in the sire’s first year of three-year olds hitting the track. Useung Touch continued Menifee’s strong performance in what is also his first season of classic runners.

The Minister of FAFF Cup (G2) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – October 2, 2011

1. Dongseo Jeongbeol (KOR) [VIcar-Rendezvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] – Chae Gyu Jun – 16.7, 4.6
2. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee-Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.0
3. Geuma Champ (KOR) [Vicar-Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 5.0

Distances: 1.5 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Champion Belt 5. Amass 6. Absolute 7. Choenji Horyeong 8. Singgeureounachim 9. Raon Speed 10. Daejeuimilsa 11. Sun Hero 12. Smart Win 13. Gwangyajeil 14. Soseuldaemun

So, four classics and four different winners. A very competitive crop or just a poor one? We’ll know for sure when they start taking on the best older horses. That begins in the President’s Cup next month.

* Next week big Stakes action returns to Seoul in the form n the KRA Cup Classic. Tough Win, Dongbanui Gangja, Ace Galloper and even Baekgwang are all set to be there. Full preview coming soon!

She’s An Imperial Girl

Second favourite Imperial Girl cruised to a comprehensive win in the first ever Singapore Turf Club (STC) Trophy at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Imperial Girl and Choi Bum Hyun Win the Singapore Turf Club Trophy

The seven furlong Cup race for fillies & mares attracted a competitive field of thirteen and it was the favourite Kkochyeoul who set the early pace with well-fancied Blueband Mama and Imperial Girl closely following her. They remained in this order until, with a furlong to go, Choi Bum Hyun asked Imperial Girl to accelerate and the three-year old motored away from her rivals to record a four length win from the fast finishing Hwansanguimulgyeol who swept home unnoticed on the stands-side.

The win was only the third for Imperial Girl whose previous career highlight was an impressive third place in the Owners’ Association Trophy back in June. For jockey Choi Bum Hyun – sporting a haircut that can charitably be described as interesting – it was a first big race win for over a year. The Chairman of the Singapore Turf Club was on hand for the presentation.

Singapore Turf Club Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – October 1, 2011

1. Imperial Girl (USA) [Imperialism-Wallena (Wallenda)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 3.2, 1.5
2. Hwansanguimulgyeol (KOR) [Happy Jazz Band-Koran (Alquoz)] – Kim Dong Chul – 3.4
3. Kkochyeoul (USA) [Essence Of Dubai-A Star Has Risen (Rock Band)] – Jung Pyeong Soo – 1.3

Distances: 4 lengths/1 length
Also Ran: 4. Alpha Lady (AUS) 5. Worincheongang (USA) 6. Uigiyangyang (USA) 7. Arisae (KOR) 8. Saeroungamun (KOR) 9. Burning Sky (JPN) 10. Pilseung Korea (JPN) 11. Blueband Mama (USA) 12. Sky Center (USA) 13. Manjeomhwanhui (KOR)

* On Sunday it’s the big one. The Minister’s Cup brings the 2011 Korean Triple Crown Series to a close. The winners of all three legs so far will be present – Soseuldaemun (KRA Cup Mile), Gwangyajeil (Korean Derby) and Useung Touch (Korean Oaks) – for the showdown at Seoul Race Park. Useung Touch is set to be the slight favourite but she’ll face strong competition not only from Gwangyajeil but also from the likes of improvers such as Champion Belt and Singgeureounachim. It’s set to be a great race – click here for the full preview.

Sunday October 2

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:05 including the Minister’s Cup at 16:35.
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:05

Imperiousness: Imperial Girl was tough to handle in the Winner's Circle