It might be sub-zero but it doesn’t get bigger than this in Korean racing. After public vote decided upon the invitations, thirteen horses will line-up for the Grand Prix Stakes, the traditional end of season showpiece, at Seoul Race Park this Sunday.
Last year’s champion Tough Win returns to defend his title but he’ll face stiff competition from three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae. They are joined by a host of other Stakes winners in Korea’s most prestigious race.
The conditions are going to be challenging. The first of this winter’s extreme cold snaps is crossing the peninsula right now with temperatures not expected to reach anything higher than -6C during the day. Ground staff will be working through the night to ensure the track is raceable.
Here is the full list of runners and riders (name [pedigree] Sex Age (Runs/1st/2nd/3rd) – Jockey):
Grand Prix (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – December 9, 2012, 16:15
1. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] F 4 (18/6/6/1) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
She won the Korean Oaks in 2011 but while she’s been a solid money winner since, she’s always found one or two quicker and this will probably be the same again.
2. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] F 3 (9/5/2/2) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
A real potential star in the making. She’s the champion filly & mare of this year and should have no trouble with the distance. In Joe Fujii, she has one of the best jockeys in the peninsula on board and if the twi favourites have a bad day, she could be the one to capitalize.
3. Sing Sing Cat (USA) [D’Wildcat – Freddy Fenter (Fenter) C 4 (20/9/3/1) – Lee Sang Hyeok (Seoul)
Upset Tough Win in the KRA Cup Classic and therefore must command respect. Will love the distance and, while we must assume that Tough Win will be given a better ride than he was that day, he could be one to watch.
4. Seungniuihamseong (KOR) [Vicar – Hug And Kiss (Commander In Chief)] F 4 (19/6/2/1) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
She was a creditable fourth in the President’s Cup but she’s going to have to show some improvement to match that performance here.
5. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] H 5 (27/18/2/1) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
Now a three-time President’s Cup winner and has won more prize-money than any other horse in Korean racing history. The only question is the distance. Two years ago, he didn’t stay. Last time he didn’t even try. If he stays, he wins.
6. Nolbu Manse (USA) [Simon Pure – Reason To Fear (Kris S.)] C 3 (15/5/3/3) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
A very nice looking colt who was second to Sing Sing Cat in the KRA Cup Classic. The distance is a slight concern but he is a potential value bet for at least a place.
7. Sydney Jewelry (AUS) [Lion Heart – Rivendelle (Charnwood Forest)] C 3 (9/6/1/0) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
A real up and comer, he was a surprise entry. He comes off the back of two consecutive wins over 1900 metres and looks eager for more. This might be a few months early for him but the big names are going to need to be at their best to beat him
8. Smoking Gun (USA) [Hat Trick – Desdemona’s Dream (Announce)] C 3 (8/5/1/1) – Narazaki Kosuke (Busan)
Won his first four starts and has been lightly campaigned. Has been beaten by a number of his rivals here but is highly thought of and in Narazaki Kosuke, has aruguably the most in form jockey on the peninsula on board.
9. Tamna Hwangje (USA) [Montbrook – Morada Bay (Cape Town)] C 4 (17/8/3/0) – You Hyun Myoung (Busan)
Is generally at his best over shorter distances though has wins over many of his rivals here. Will likely be an outsider.
10. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] G 5 (24/18/2/1) – Jun Duck Yong (Seoul)
The defending champion. If he is on his game, then he will be very hard to beat. He’ll have a different jockey on board for only the second time but, after he was given an awful ride in the KRA Cup Classic, that may be no bad thing. He will need to be at his absolute best to beat Dangdae Bulpae.
11. Jumong (USA) [Johar – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] H 5 (33/9/7/6) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Seoul)
A regular runner-up, the half-brother of 2005 winner Subsidy is almost guaranteed to be in the mix at the end. It’s unlikely that he’ll win, but he is always competitive.
12. Sangnyu (USA) [Broken Vow – Midtown Miss (Yes It’s True)] F 3 (12/3/3/1) – Park Tae Jong (Seoul)
Winner of the YTN Cup in the summer and third behind Gamdonguibada in the Governor’s Cup last time out, she has plenty of talent but will be an outsider here.
13. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme – Shar Baby (Talinum)] C 3 (13/4/3/2) – Kim Do Heon (Busan)
This colt really should have a far better win record. Second in the Korean Derby and seemingly crying out for more distance, he’ll certainly have that here. Others should be faster though and disappointing performances in both the Minister’s and President’s Cup make him a hard horse to back.
Sunday December 8
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:55 including the Grand Prix Stakes at 16:15
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:40