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

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