Month: September 2012

Long Shot Yeouiju Takes Donga Ilbo Stakes

Sydney Jewelry on target again / Schlechter and Fujii score at Busan

20/1 outsider Yeouiju upset the favourites to take a narrow victory in the 16th edition of the Donga Ilbo Stakes at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Yeouiju and Oh Kyoung Hoan in the Donga Ilbo Winner’s Circle

The four-year old filly got the best of a tight finish to claim the prize ahead of fellow unfancied runners Chowon Yeoje and Cheondungbeonjjeok in the nine-furlong all filly and mare Stakes race.

Yeouiju now has four wins from eighteen career starts while it was a fifth Stakes victory for trainer Woo Chang Gu and a ninth for jockey Oh Kyoung Hoan who won this race last year riding Sen Girl.

Donga Ilbo Stakes – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – September 23, 2012

1. Yeouiji (KOR) [Revere – Chayu Mankkik (Pro For Sure)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 21.6, 4.4
2. Chowon Yeoje (KOR) [Forest Camp – Navigation (Big Sur)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 3.3
3. Cheondungbeonjjeok (KOR) [Capital Spending – Whosis (Trempolino)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 4.3

Distances: 0.5 lengths/Nose – 14 ran

In other races at Seoul, there was another impressive win for young Aussie import Sydney Jewlery (Lion Heart-Rivendelle. The three-year old landed his fifth victory in eight career starts by taking out the 1900 metre race 10 in style.

Hitting the front on the home turn, Sydney Jewelry stretched away for a six length win in the class 2 handicap to confirm his position as one of the most exciting imports of the year.

It may be slightly too late for him to make the big end of season races – although he will surely be on the ballot paper for the season ending Grand Prix Stakes (in which the runners have to be voted in by the punting public) but if he stays sound, next year he surely will be.

Down at Busan,
US four-year old Viva Ace (Macho Uno-Dancing Lake) led from gate to wire to win the feature race while earlier in the card there were wins for jockeys Gerrit Schlechter and Joe Fujii.

South African Schlechter won race 1 on debut making filly Fine Gongju (Tiz Wonderful) while Japanese rider Fujii was on target in race 3 on Marina’s Boy (Ecton Park) which, owned by Isidore Farm and trained by Peter Wolsley, was pretty much a 100% foreign winner.

Racing in Korea takes a break next weekend for the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holiday and returns on October 5.

Weekend Racing Schedule

Friday September 21

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:45 to 17:40

Saturday September 22

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:20 to 17:15

Sunday September 23

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:35

Tongjesa, Alpha Myeongjang Step Up

Three-Year Olds On Form

Judgement is being well and truly reserved over this year’s crop of three-year olds. Gyeongbudaero won the KRA Cup Mile in April but did little else before finishing second to Dangdae Bulpae in last week’s Owners’ Cup. Likewise Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan came back into form last week for the first time since his Classic victory.

As for the rest, there’s not been much to cheer so far. However, today two colts who have been kept off the Classic trail were in fine form at Seoul and Busan respectively. Tongjesa scored a convincing win in the Ilgan Sports Stakes in the capital, while down on the South Coast, Alpha Myeongjang was similarly convincing in seeing off a class 1 field.

Tongjesa (Creek Cat) was sent off as the even-money favourite for the Ilgan Sports, which was run over the Derby distance of 1800 metres. Under Oh Kyoung Hoan he was kept close to the lead throughout and took control with two furlongs to go, crossing the line with plenty in hand of fast finishing Yaho Pilseung (Exploit) in second.

With six wins from nine Korea starts and, more relevantly, five consecutively now, Tongjesa must be considered for the Minister’s Cup. the final leg of the Triple Crown, in a month’s time.

Ilgan Sports Stakes – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – September 16, 2012

1. Tongjesa (KOR) [Creek Cat – Namdoui Gangja (Greenwood Lake)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 2.1, 1.2
2. Yaho Pilseung (KOR) [Exploit – Pilseung Gangja (Adjudicating)] – Lee Sang Hyeok – 2.3
3. Jeumeundeungi (KOR) [War Zone – Taraxacum (Meadowlake)] – Won Jung Il – 5.2
Distances: 2 lengths/5 lengths – 12 ran

It’s unlikely that Alpha Myeongjang (Pico Central) will be joining him in the capital next month, however, as for now he looks like a sprinter. A very good one too. Today he went 1400 metres and looked very comfortable in putting four lengths into a class 1 field.

It was another big feature race win for Gerrit Schlechter, following his Gold Circle Trophy victory on Fine Fine last week. The South African jockey has picked up where he left off following his immigration department-enforced break last month and is the man to beat at Busan at the moment.

One man who can beat him is Joe Fujii. The Japanese jockey with the Australian accent was on target twice today to add to his winner on Friday.

Weekend Preview

The Ilgan Sports Cup at Seoul on Sunday highlights another busy weekend of racing on the peninsula. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday September 14

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 14:30 to 18:35

Saturday September 15

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:30 to 17:35

Sunday September 16

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:35

After Feel So Good wins in the US, KRA tells trainers “Maybe we found out that the problem is not the horse”

There’s a very good write-up on Brisnet about Feel So Good’s victory at Calder Racecourse in Florida last week when he became the first Korean bred horse to win a race outside of Korea. The article quotes Ko Byung Un of the Korea Racing Authority as saying:

“…even though Feel So Good is a Korean horse, we had him in the U.S. since he was young, and the horse learned to race here and was taught by American trainers…I think maybe we found out that the problem is not the horse.”

That’s not exactly news to anyone who’s been watching Korean racing over the last few years although for a KRA official to come out and say it in such explicit terms is unusual.

Having invested shrewdly in the past few years, the stallion stock in Korea is very solid and improving all the time. The broodmares that they get to cover are also, while not among the world’s elite, more than adequate and certainly the equal of those who foal the cheap American imports that arrive here aged two and then regularly run faster than the homegrown talent.

Feel So Good in the winner’s circle at Calder

The idea of “Internationalization” is resisted by many in the industry in Korea for understandable reasons but it is necessary. It’s necessary not only for the sake of the sport but also because of the precarious position that racing – as one of very few legalised gambling options in the country – occupies.

Korean governments are nothing if not impulsive as recent policies attempting to “ban” public drinking (practically the national sport here), internet pornography and Sunday opening of supermarkets have shown. All of them were ill thought out and ended up being unworkable, however, it seems only a matter of time until legal gambling finds itself targeted to an even greater extent than it already is.

Some in the KRA realise this and are eager to make the racing industry, already a major employer, bankroller of Korean agriculture and charity fundraiser – not to mention tax payer – a source of national pride.

It’s difficult to get very excited about Feel So Good [Ft.Stockton – Courting Dreams (Eastover Court)] winning a midweek maiden claimer at Calder. If Dangdae Bulpae had been trained in the US, he could be winning Stakes races. However, the fact that he’s done it is important and sends a big message to those training young horses in Korea that we need to be achieving more. We have a captive audience of hundreds of thousands every weekend but we can’t stand still. And to be fair, most realise this.

Feel So Good makes the front page of the Korean Racing Journal

Feel So Good has already entered quarantine in preparation to return to Korea. On arrival he’ll be sold to a private owner to begin his domestic racing career. In pictures he looks bigger and stronger than other Korean bred horses his age. With plans to set up their own training centre in Ocala, the KRA is considering making Feel So Good only the first of many to spend the early part of their life outside of Korea.

There is one potential downside to Feel So Good’s win at Calder. As one trainer pointed out at the weekend, he was almost certainly running on Lasix. Like the vast majority of racing jurisdictions outside the US, raceday medication is banned in Korea and hopefully the KRA doesn’t get any foolish ideas.

Hopefully they won’t and if Feel So Good can finally put to rest the idea of “this is a Korean horse, it doesn’t understand western ways”, then the experiment will have been more than worth it.

* Thanks to @KeeneGal on twitter for the link to the Brisnet article.

Dangdae Bulpae Owns Busan

Easy win for Dangdae Bulpae in Owners’ Cup / Gerrit Schlechter wins Gold Circle Trophy in Fine Fine / Jigeum I Sungan takes victory in Seoul / Game On Dude’s half-brother debuts

It was one of very few Stakes races he was eligible for that he hadn’t won but today, Dangdae Bulpae added the Busan Owners’ Cup to his massively impressive resume in almost contemptuous fashion at a rainswept Busan Race Park.

Sent off as the overwhelming favourite in the 12-strong field, the two-time President’s Cup champion was taken straight to the front by jockey Jo Sung Gon and the pair never looked like giving up that position, Jo easing Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) to a 2 length victory on the line.

Behind them, KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) got the best of a competitive battle for second place, just edging out Powerful Korea (Distilled).

Dangdae Bulpae moves on to 17 wins from 26 starts and with today’s victory he becomes the first Korean horse to win more than US $2Million in prize-money and has won a record-breaking 8 Korean Stakes races. His next target looks set to be an attempt on a third consecutive President’s Cup at Seoul in November, after which connections will have to decide whether to pit him against Tough Win in the Grand Prix Stakes.

Busan Owners’ Cup (KOR.G3) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – September 9, 2012

1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – Jo Sung Gon 1.2, 1.0
2. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Narazaki Kosuke – 1.5
3. Powerful Korea (KOR) [Distilled – Bound To Score (Quick Score)] – You Hyun Myung – 4.5
Distances: 2.5 lengths/0.5 lengths – 12 ran

Dangdae Bulpae isn’t the only one with an impressive record in big races. Before today, two of Gerrit Schlechter’s 30 Korean winners had come in Stakes races – the KNN Cup and Geyongnam Governor’s Trophy. Today the South African jockey added a third, appropriately enough in the Gold Circle Trophy, a race sponsored by South Africa’s Gold Circle Turf Club.

Schlechter guided second favourite Fine Fine (Forest Camp) to an extremely comfortable 7 length victory in the 1400 metre race.

Longest shot on the board Pull Queen (Giacomo) was second while pre-race favourite Myeongun Jewang (Forest Camp), who fetched the highest bid at last year’s Jeju Sales, was third. Fine Fine now has 6 wins from his 13 starts and looks set to be in class 1 company next time.

Gold Circle Trophy – Busan Race Park – 1400M – September 9, 2012

1. Fine Fine (KOR) [Forest Camp – Dream Fantasy (Manlove)] – Gerrit Schlechter – 3.4, 1.4
2. Pull Queen (KOR) [Giacomo – Gold Buzz (Touch Gold)] – Jo Chan Hoon – 11.1
3. Myeongun Jewang (KOR) [Forest Camp – Fully Approved (With Approval)] – 1.3
Distances: 7 lengths/0.75 lengths – 9 ran

Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan back in the winner’s circle at Seoul

It may have been a dreadful day weather-wise at Busan but up in the capital Seoul, it was quite beautiful. In the feature race, Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since his victory in the Korean Derby in May.

The colt was far too quick for his rivals in his first attempt among older class 1 company and stretched away for a 4 length victory.

Jigeum I Sungan will now be prepared for the final leg of the 2012 Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul next month, when he will likely meet Gyeongbudaero, who ran second to Dangdae Bulpae today, as well as Oaks winner Rising Glory.

*There was a notable debut at Busan today. Two year old gelding My Key (Macho Uno) is a half-brother of American champion Game On Dude. He is one of two foals to be delivered by their dam Worldly Pleasure during her time at Nokwon Farm on Jeju Island before she was sold to Japan’s Shadai Operation just prior to Game On Dude’s second place in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year.

My Key’s debut today was low-key. He finished was 5th of 12 over 5 furlongs in the opening race at Busan

Weekend Preview – Busan Owners’ Cup

Dangdae Bulpae at Busan, Jigeum I Sungan at Seoul while Game On Dude’s little brother debuts

It’s a big weekend on the south coast as Metropolitan City Stakes winner Dangdae Bulpae heads the field for a competitive renewal of the Busan Owners’ Cup.

Dangdae Bulpae will most likely be back in the winners’ circle this Sunday

Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) is a two-time President’s Cup winner and beat both Smarty Moonhak and Tough Win to claim the Metropolitan in July. He should be a strong favourite to take his sixth Stakes win but that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily have it all his own way.

KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee), who was third in the Korean Derby, takes his chance as does another three-year old with a good set of wins to his name, Himchan Jilju (Kwaedo Nanma). The evergreen Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) is there while Peter Wolsley’s tough Khaosan (Sunday Well), winner of this race last year after the disgqualification of Cheonnyeondaero, is always due respect.

The big race is off at 15:50 on Sunday afternoon and is immediately followed by another Stakes race, the Gold Circle Trophy.

Up at Seoul, Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) heads Sunday’s feature race in what will be only his second start since claiming the Classic in May. He was second in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup in July and is the only three-year old in a ten furlong test.

Back at Busan, there is a notable debut on Sunday as two-year old gelding My Key (Macho Uno-Worldly Pleasure), a half-brother of US Champion Game On Dude, makes his racecourse debut over five furlongs in race 1.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday September 7

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 14:30 to 18:35

Saturday September 8

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:15

Sunday September 9

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45

Tough Win Roars Back Into Form At Seoul

Grand Prix Champ Sees Off Rivals Haedongcheonwang and Jumong

After a difficult couple of months which saw a bleeding attack and then a disappointing defeat in the Busan Metropolitan Stakes, Tough Win (Yanaguska) returned with what was perhaps one of his most impressive performances to date to win the feature race at Seoul Race Park on Sunday.

In doing so he not only beat his regualr foe Jumong (Johar) but also Haedongcheonwang (West Acre) the three-year old with six wins from right starts to his name and the horse now thought most likely to be able to wrest Tough Win’s Grand Prix crown from him.

Tough Win did it the hard way. After Jung Pyeong Soo set a seemingly inadvisable early pace on 25/1 chance Kkochyeoul, Cho Kyoung Ho found himself a full 25 lengths off the pace as they began the turn for home. After receiving a couple of gentle reminders, Tough Win started to make up ground but he still had an awful lot of traffic to get though as they entered the straight with Haedongcheonwang clear in front and seemingly headed for the win.

Once Tough Win found his run though he was irresistible. he passed six horses in the final furlong and still managed to sweep home two lengths ahead of Haedongcheonwang, who was carrying five kilos fewer. Jumong tagged along in third.

Haedongcheonwang will surely improve but he’s not likely to get such a weight advantage again as the weights will be much more evenly distributed the next two times these horses meet; likely to be the KRA Cup Classic and the Grand Prix itself.

Meanwhile, Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki), who bested both Tough Win and an injured Smarty Moonhak in the Busan Metropolitan returns to action next weekend in the Busan Owners’ Cup. While it is questionable as to whether the Korean bred horse will come to Seoul for the KRA Cup Classic – a tilt at an unprecedented third consecutive President’s Cup looking more likely – with any luck a Grand Prix appearance and another meeting with Tough Win will be on his agenda this year.

Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Sunday September 2, 2012

1. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] – Cho Kyoung Ho
2. Haedongcheonwang (USA) [West Acre – Sienna’s Honor (Honor Grades)] – Park Sang Woo
3. Jumong (USA) [Johar – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] – Jo In Kwen
Distances: 2.5 lengths/2 lengths – 12 ran