Just a week after Speedy First won the 2013 Korean Derby, last year’s winner Jigeum I Sungan, headlines the action at Seoul Race Park, while on Jeju Island, the ponies have their own Derby.
Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) added another Stakes crown, the Owners’ Association Trophy, to his big-race haul last time out and, despite being top-weight by some considerable margin, will be heavy favourite to win in slightly more modest company in Sunday’s feature handicap.
Down at Busan, another former Derby winner, Ebony Storm (Buster’s Daydream), the evergreen winner of the 2008 edition is also in action. He’ll be nowhere near favourite but the 8-year old is not without a hope in the 7-furlong main-event. Last year’s KRA Cup mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) heads the field.
Derby winning jockey Joe Fujii returns to his home-track of Busan and has 10 rides across the weekend. The other foreign riders at the track aren’t getting quite the same support, however, with Ureshi Katsunori and Darryll Holland having just 3 and 2 mounts respectively.
Up at Seoul, however, it is a very busy weekend for Ikuyasu Kurakane, who rides 17 while even the ever-relaxed Yukio Abe will get on 9.
Meanwhile, down on Jeju Island, it is Derby Day! The KRA Jeju-Bred Derby is a new event on the calendar (or rather, an old Stakes race re-packaged as a Derby for 3-year olds) and brings together 10 of the most promising ponies running at the track. I’ll not pretend to know anything about the form but I do know that a month ago, practically the same field ran over the same 5-furlong distance in a race called the “Seongsan Ilchul” (hereafter called the “Jeju Guineas”) and it was won by a gelding called Sanjeongmuhan by a neck.
Sanjeongmuhan comes into the Derby with 6 wins from 9 starts. The race is number 5 on a 9-race card on Saturday at Jeju and will be simulcasted live to Seoul Race Park.
Here’s what’s happening when and where:
Friday May 24
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30
Saturday May 25
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:40 including the KRA Jeju Derby at 15:15
Sunday May 26
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00
Here’s what’s happening when and where.