Month: June 2013

Jigeum I Sungan Does It Again

Jigeum I Sungan continued his remarkable run of form and further boosted his claims to be the number-one Korean bred horse with victory in the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young win the Jeju Governor's Cup (Picture: KRA)

Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young win the Jeju Governor’s Cup (Picture: KRA)

Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) won two legs of the 2012 Korean Triple Crown and came into this race off the back of 5 successive wins since being beaten into 2nd place by Dangdae Bulpae in last year’s President’s Cup. Four horses came up from Busan to challenge him and, while they got closer than most have recently, when Jigeum I Sungan was asked for an effort, he didn’t disappoint.

Having taken the lead a furlong and a half out, Jigeum I Sungan held off KNN Cup winning mare Yodongseong (Concept Win) and Road To Prince (Pico Central) to take victory by just over a length.

There was none of the usual showboating from jockey Moon Se Young as they crossed the line as this win required a proper effort from Jigeum I Sungan. Instead he saved it until after the race, emulating Joe Fujii at the Grand Prix and Derby by bringing his horse back out in front of the grandstand to take the applause.

Pushed as he was, this colt is still showing improvement every time he runs and, while it seems likely he will take Dangdae Bulpae’s crown of best Korean horse by default due to the 6 year-old’s injury, it was arguably only a matter of time until he did so on the track anyway.

The less said about Seoul’s remaining entrants the better, suffice to say that the 4 visitors from the South filled places 2-5. Jigeum I Sungan is a superstar but he generally swims in a very small pond at Seoul. It was a great performance today and while it is a long way off, Jigeum I Sungan now looks the one to beat in the President’s Cup later this year.

Jigeum I Sungan allows punters to pet him after he won the Jeju Cup. Try doing that with Tough Win or Dongbanui Gangja and they'd have eaten you.

Jigeum I Sungan allows punters to pet him after he won the Jeju Cup. Try doing that with Tough Win or Dongbanui Gangja and they’d have eaten you.

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – June 30, 2013

1. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – 1.3, 1.0
2. Yongduseong (KOR) [Concept Win – C’Est Avie (Lord Avie)] – Lim Sung Sil – 2.2
3. Road To Prince (KOR) [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] – Kanichiro Fujii – 1.4

Distances: 1.25 lengths/1.25 lengths – 11 ran

Next week, this year’s Korean Derby winner makes her first racecourse appearance since winning the Classic last month. Speedy First heads the field in a competitive looking Gyongnam Do-Min Ilbo Stakes at Busan.

Big Race Preview: Seoul Vs Busan In Jeju Cup

Jigeum I Sungan heads big name field that also includes Gyeongbudaero, Useung Touch and Road To Prince

Sunday is Jeju Island Day at Seoul Racecourse! While to Gyongmaman, Jeju Island brings to mind images of rain, fog, and a “dormant” volcano (last eruption 1007) which shares the name of his favourite brand of Soju, to others it is known as the “Hawaii of Korea”.

Of more interest to punters, however, is that Jeju is home to not only a unique type of pony racing which gets simulcasted to the mainland, but that it is also home to the majority of the Korean thoroughbred breeding industry.

Jigeum I Sungan heads the field for the inaugural Jeju Governor's Cup at Seoul (KRA)

Jigeum I Sungan heads the field for the inaugural Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul (KRA)

The KRA has decided to mark that this year by turning Seoul Racecourse into a “Mini Jeju” which will showcase Jeju culture (that Halla-san Soju, by any chance?) and its agricultural products. More importantly, they’ve decided to run a big-money race which has attracted some of the best domestic-bred horses from the capital and from Busan.

Three Classic winners are among the eleven runners (Name [Pedigree] Sex Age (Runs/1/2/3) Jockey (Home track)):

Jeju Governor’s Cup – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – June 30, 2013 – 16:35

1. New And Best [Trick Of Fate – Yeongunch’eon (Phizam)] H 6 (45/4/6/3) – Yukio Abe (Seoul)
He finished a shock 2nd to Jigeum I Sungan in the Owners’ Trophy in April prior to which he’d been marked down as a plodding handicapper. He followed it up with a creditable Class 1 3rd place, again behind Jigeum I Sungan. It would be quite a stretch for him to repeat that here though.

2. Mr. Rocky [Exploit – Sultry N’Sassy (Thunder Gulch)] G 6 (30/7/6/1) – Yoon Tae Hyuk (Seoul)
Had his 2012 season wiped out by injury and his results since coming back suggest he is not the horse he was. An outsider.

3. Gyeongbudaero [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] C 4 (18/6/4/6) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
Difficult to believe that the 2012 KRA Cup Mile winner has won only 6 times. He’s only ever been out of the money once and almost always places. At minimum he should do that again.

4. Useung Touch [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] M 5 (23/8/7/2) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
The 2011 Korean Oaks winner has been enjoying a renaissance since finishing a surprise 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes last December and returned to Seoul to take the Ttukseom Cup in March. A disappointing 5th behind Yongduseong in last month’s KNN Cup at Busan, she seems to love the Seoul track and can’t be ruled out.

5. Yongduseong [Concept Win – C’est Avie (Lord Avie)] M 5 (14/9/2/1) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
The KNN Cup winner is on a run of 3 consecutive successes. However, she’s never won at further than a mile and is untried completely at this distance or on this track. She’s talented but those caveats are enough to suggest that stablemate Road To Prince is the real fancy from the Kim Young Kwan barn.

6. Yeongung Icheon [Concept Win – Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] H 5 (25/6/4/3) – Moon Jung Kyun (Seoul)
A solid enough performer but he doesn’t win much at this level and he’ll not be winning here.

7. Road To Prince [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] C 4 (12/8/2/0) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
A late bloomer but, barring a 5th place in the Busan Ilbo Cup in February, looks to be getting better with each run. Jockey Joe Fujii and trainer Kim Young Kwan generally only come to Seoul to win and he will have plenty of backers.

8. Sharp Concept [Concept Win – Sharp Eyed (Danzero)] M 5 (31/5/2/6) – Ikuyasu Kurakane (Seoul)
She hasn’t impressed since graduation to CLass 1 this Spring and there’s little recommend her here.

9. Forest Wind [Capital Spending – Coffee Royale (Sword Dance)] H 6 (37/7/3/7) – Lee Sang Hyeok (Seoul)
Two wins over course and distance this year already means he can’t be discounted although he did get turned over in his two most recent outings by opposition inferior to what he’ll face here.

10. Jigeum I Sungan [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] C 4 (20/11/6/1) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
Since winning the Korean Derby last May, he’s won 7 of his 9 starts and all 5 this year. He’s the best Korean horse running at Seoul at the moment (and with Dangdae Bulpae on the long-term injury list, perhaps in the country) and he still appears to be getting better with every run. If he runs anything close to his best, he wins.

11. Gangcheoljangsa [Slew O’Green – Komyeongttal (Nurefly)] G 6 (36/2/9/5) – Kim Ok Sung (Seoul)
Hasn’t won since 2010. Won’t win here. Gets in because few want to take on Jigeum I Sungan and his owner likes a challenge.

Weekend Race Times

Saturday June 29
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday June 30
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:05

Joy Lucky Wins Seoul Oaks Trial

Joy Lucky put herself among the leading contenders for the Korean Oaks with a commanding win in the Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

The promising filly was sent off as second favourite for what is Seoul’s premier Oaks trial race and having taken an early lead. she was never troubled as she stretched away for a 9-length victory.

Favourite Dewma straggled home in 2nd place with Cheonnyeon Dongan in 3rd. However, the race was all about Joy Lucky whose only defeat to date was in the Korean Derby last month. Of course, the Derby winner, Speedy First is a filly and so long as she stays sound, is likely to be prohibitive favourite for the Oaks, which will be run at her home track of Busan in August. Joy Lucky will need to show even more improvement to overturn the Derby result.

It was a first Stakes win for young jockey Seo Seung Un. Seo, who debuted in 2011 has quickly established himself as among the top riders at Seoul with 84 winners plus a succesful stint in the United States to his name already. It won’t be the last time we see him in a big race winner’s circle

Sports Seoul Oaks Trial – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – June 23, 2013

1. Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] – Seo Seung Un – 3.1, 1.3
2. Dewma (KOR) [Forest Camp – Wild Cat Strike (Wild Again)] – Moon Se Young – 1.2
3. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennesey)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 2.4

Distances: 9 lengths/1.25
Also ran: 4. Jumbo Speed 5. Storm Music 6. All With Me 7. Hurricane Jump 8. Dashing Diva NR: Smarty Road

* Seo Seung Un is the man this year’s new jockeys will be looking to emulate and Lee Chan Ho today became the first of their number to ride a winner. Lee, who debuted last week, guided filly Last Love (Volponi) to victory in race 6.

It was another good day for the Japanese contingent. Ikuyasu Kurakane rode another double with victories in races 1 and 5 while Yukio Abe was also among the winners. Down at Busan, Joe Fujii also scored his now regulation winner.

Next week it is Seoul vs Busan in a new race on the calendar, the Jeju Governor’s Cup. A big prize is on offer as Seoul’s top horse Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) faces a formidable foursome from Busan that at this stage comprises Stakes winners Useung Touch, Yeongdusong, Gyeongbudaero and prolific winner Road To Prince.

Fly Top Queen Wins Easily On Debut

Fly Top Queen may have kept us waiting for over a year but the most expensive racehorse ever to be imported to Korean didn’t disappoint when she finally made her debut at Seoul Race Park today.

While the morning tip-sheets were sceptical, punters sent Fly Top Queen off as the odds-on favourite and it was the punters who were proved correct as the 3-year-old filly led from gate to wire for a 5-length win.

Fly Top Queen [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)] was a $225,000 purchase out of the Ocala Spring Sale last April, shortly after the KRA lifted the $70,000 limit that Korean buyers were previously restricted to spending on imported fillies.

Weekend Preview: Fly Top Queen Set To Finally Debut

Almost a year to the day since she first arrived at Seoul Racecourse, Fly Top Queen is set to make her racing debut this Saturday.

Fly Top Queen with trainer Choi Bong Ju (left) and owner Oh Ho Kuk (right), the most expensive racehorse in Korean racing history, debuts this weekend

Fly Top Queen with trainer Choi Bong Ju (left) and owner Oh Ho Kuk (right), the most expensive racehorse in Korean racing history, debuts this weekend

The filly became the most expensive racehorse every imported to Korea when owner Oh Ho Kuck paid $225,000 for her at the OBS Spring Sales in Florida last April.

Horses don’t know how much money has changed hands for them though and Fly Top Queen has been injured ever since she arrived, suffering with lymphatic problems. She race-trialed once last year and qualified but never made it to race day while she was withdrawn from another trial this March. Early last month she had another go and comfortably won her heat. Now finally, she will line up in race 2 on Saturday, class 4 race for fillies over 1200 metres. She will be favourite.

It is a big weekend for fillies at Seoul as on Sunday the track hosts its major Oaks trial, the Sports Seoul Cup. That only 9 fillies will take their chance suggests that Seoul owners are not exactly relishing the prospect of a trip down to Busan next month to face Derby winner Speedy First in the fillies’ Classic.

There are some decent entrants though. Joy Lucky’s only defeat to date was in the Derby while Cheonnyeon Dongan was showing great promise before running into problems in the KRA Cup Mile. The useful looking Dewma and Jumbo Speed will also be there.

Busan’s feature race is also on Sunday as prolific winners Dongteuja and Tamna Ace face each other over 2000 metres.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday June 21

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:10 to 17:30

Saturday June 22

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday June 23

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the Sports Seoul Cup at 16:35
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:05

Ghost Whisper Completes Wolsley’s Four-Win Weekend

Peter Wolsley is closing in on his 200th Korean winner as Ghost Whisper completed another great weekend for the Aussie trainer by winning the first of co-feature races at Busan today. Following on from his treble on Friday, Wolsley has now saddled 187 winners at the south-coast track.

Ghost Whisper (Gotham City), a 5-year-old grey gelding who had an 8-month lay-off after collapsing with heat exhaustion at the end of last Year’s Busan Metropolitan Stakes, was sent off at little over 2/1 yet, such is Wolsley’s knack at getting his horses into races they can win or place in, he wasn’t even the stable’s first choice. That was the even-money favourite Cheongchun Bulpae (Milwaukee Brew) who had retained jockey Jo Sung Gon on board.

However, Darryll Holland is not a bad jockey to be able to call on to ride your second string and once he had Ghost Whisper in front at the top of the home straight, the result was never in doubt, the grey winning by a comfortable 2 lengths and Cheongchun Bulpae coming home in third.

Ghost Whisper is owned and was bred by Jeju based Pegasus Stables. Under foreign management, Pegasus have been Wolsley’s keenest supporter since his arrival in Korea at the end of 2007 and it was their colt Rumor Has It (Lethal Instrument) that broke his maiden to give Wolsley his first of three winners on Friday. Filly Placid Angel (Menifee) and US import Long Way Baby (Werblin) completing the treble.

Just as Pegasus have supported him, so Wolsley has supported the overseas jockeys who ride at Busan. Ghost Whisper was Darryll Holland’s 9th winner at the track and a great send-off for the British rider, who will pay a flying visit to Royal Ascot this week to partner Monseiur Chevalier who takes on Animal Kingdom in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday.

Wolsley’s win ratio is a solid 16% but his “show” ratio is a remarkable 41% – only Busan’s champion trainer Kim Young Kwan can boast a higher one. Ghost Whisper, decked out with the pacifiers that Wolsley introduced to Korean racing, was winning for the 9th time. Few would bet against his trainer finding another race for him to win soon.

Up at Seoul, the feature race of the day was the MBN Cup and it was old-stager Green Empire (Bertolini) whi took the honours. The New Zealand bred 6-year-old has always been a solid campaigner but a very rare winner. Today, he closed quickly in the final furlong to beat pre-race favourite and last year’s winner Haedongcheonwang (West Acre) to take only his 3rd career win in 34 starts.

Later at Seoul, former top-ranked Korean bred horse Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) returned to action after a three-month absence. However, he found himself comfortably beaten by Singgeureounachim (Exploit) in a class 1 handicap over 1800 metres. Ace Galloper’s trainer Seo Beom Seok, who was not happy about his horse being forced to carry 61kg, will take up a trainer’s license in Macau. He’ll be hoping the handicapper there is a little more lenient.

Stakes action returns to Seoul next week in the shape of the Sports Seoul Cup.

Weekend Race Times

Five new apprentice jockeys debut at Seoul this weekend. Here’s when and where the action is:

Friday June 14

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

Saturday June 15

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:10 to 17:30

Sunday June 16

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:50