It’s March and there has been a definite spring-like feel to the weather on the peninsula over the past few days. On the track it’s set to be a big start to the month as Korea’s current hottest racing property, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) makes his second appearance of 2012.
After dispatching two-time Grand Prix Stakes winner and former horse of the year Dongbanui Gangja by ten lengths in his last outing, the three-year old should have little difficulty seeing off a less than daunting class 1 field in Sunday’s 2000 metre feature handicap.
Smarty Moonhak will be carrying 59Kg and will for the first time be ridden by Moon Jung Kyun instead of previous regular Shim Seung Tae.
Best known for riding J.S. Hold to the Korean Triple Crown in 2007, Moon has taken over as stable jockey for trainer Ko Ok Bong with Shim moving to Kim Ho. As jockeys in Korea ride in their own colours instead of those of the owners, it will mean a slightly different look for the horse.
So long as the weight isn’t a problem few of his rivals seem likely to be.
On Saturday, Singgeureounachim (Exploit) headlines the feature race while top-rated three-year old filly Cheoneun (Forest Camp) goes over the Derby distance of 1800 metres in race 9.
Down at Busan, Friday sees Classic prospects Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) and Good Time (Yehudi), last year’s champion Juvenile, attempt the Derby distance for the first time in race 9.
There are co-features on Sunday. Aussie colt Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson) headlines the first of these while both Peter Wolsley and Joe Murphy saddle contenders in the second in the shape of Pnata Rhei (Stormy Atlantic) and Ganghan Yeoja (Lethal Instrument) in the six furlong sprint.
Here’s what’s happening when and where:
Friday March 2
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30
Saturday March 3
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:20
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20
Sunday March 4
Seoul Race Park: 11 race from 11:00 to 17:40
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:15 to 16:40