Month: July 2013

Weekend Race Times

No Stakes races this weekend but still plenty of action across Korea. Might be best to bring an umbrella though. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday July 12

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

Saturday July 13

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

Sunday July 14

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:10

Indie Band Takes DoMin Ilbo As Speedy First Goes Solo

Indie Band landed a commanding victory in the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Stakes at Busan today but the story of the race was in the opening few seconds as Korean Derby winner and hot favourite Speedy First unseated her rider Joe Fujii after being interfered with.

Speedy First (Menifee) broke quickly but after only 100 metres, was cut off by Daejiuibit on his outside, on whom jockey Jo Chan Hoon had momentarily lost control. With nowhere to go, Fujii ended up on the track.

This left the way clear for Indie Band (Ecton Park), stablemate of Speedy First, to ease to a 4-length win from Major King (Pico Central).

It was a 5th win from 8 starts for the promising 3-year old colt Indie Band who has to now be in contention for big prizes this autumn, principally the Minister’s Cup when he should come up against Speedy First again. For jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a 2nd big race win in as many months after taking victory in the KNN Cup on Yongduseong a few weeks ago.

As for Speedy First, she reportedly suffered no ill-effects from her unsupervised gallop around Gimhae and remains on course for the Korean Oaks next month.

Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Stakes – Busan Race Park – 1800M – July 7, 2013

1. Indie Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Lim Sung Sil – 5.4, 1.6
2. Major King (KOR) [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.5
3. High Five (KOR) [Creek Cat – Nam’s Gulch (Gulch)] – Choi SI Dae – 3.1

Distances: 4 lengths/2.5 lengths – 10 ran

Also suffering no ill-effects was her jockey. Joe Fujii cleaned off the sand and 45 minutes later got on board another star of the Kim Young Kwan training-machine Tamna Hwangje to win the class 1 finale over a mile with ease. Tamna Hwangje (Montbrook) was recording his 11th win from 22 starts and despite carrying 62kg is looking unbeatable at anything up to a mile.

Up at Seoul it was a relatively low-key day of racing. The feature race was won by Gumanseok (Vicar), who despite only being sent off at 8/1, followed up his success in last month’s Sports Chosun Cup with a solid class 1 win over 1800 metres.

Weekend Race Times

Derby winning filly Speedy First is the weekend headliner, making her first appearance at her home track of Busan since winning the biggest race of all in Seoul back in May. Joe Fujii will partner her as she lines up for the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo Stakes on Sunday afternoon.

Back: Derby winner Speedy First

Back: Derby winner Speedy First

There is also an interesting looking feature race at Busan on Friday as KRA Cup Mile winner and beaten Derby favourite Sting Ray also makes his racecourse return. He faces established stars Wonderful Namhae (with Fujii on board), filly Dongteuja and Peter Wolsley’s Ghost Whisper, which will be ridden by Darryll Holland.

We’ll have a full preview of the big Sunday race over the next couple of days, in the meantime, here is what’s happening when and where over the weekend:

Friday July 5
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 8 races from 13:10 to 17:00

Saturday July 6
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 8 races from 12:30 to 16:55

Sunday July 7
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:05

Japan’s Kurakane Riding High Again At Seoul

They say you should never go back, but Ikuyasu Kurakane’s second stint at Seoul Racecourse is shaping up to be just as good – and maybe even better – than his first.

Ikuyasu Kurakane is into his second successful stint at Seoul Race Park

Ikuyasu Kurakane is into his second successful stint at Seoul Race Park

Japanese jockey Kurakane first rode at Seoul in 2007 and spent nearly 18 months in Korea, riding both in the capital and at Busan, scoring 106 winners in all.

He returned at the beginning of April this year and has quickly become the hardest working man at the track, riding in 188 races since – no mean feat when there are only 2 race meetings a week.

The horses he’s been riding haven’t necessarily been the best and it is rare for Kurakane to get on a favourite, however, this past weekend the 38-year-old partnered 5 different horses to victory. It takes him up to 22 since his return and puts him in 8th place in the 2013 jockeys’ championship.

Shortly before returning to Korea, Kurakane rode his 1500th winner in Japan. Prize-money and lifestyle in Korea is such though that there is plenty of competition among Japanese jockeys to ride here and many apply to return after they leave.

It does take a certain kind of jockey to succeed in what is a harsh weighing room environment for foreign jockeys and the workaholic Kurakane, who rides a full lot of trackwork every morning and never turns down a mount, fits it exactly.

In the winner's circle: Ikuyasu has been in it more times than any other foreign rider at Seoul

In the winner’s circle: Ikuyasu has been in it more times than any other foreign rider at Seoul

While Japanese jockeys find things much easier than western riders, there have still been as many who haven’t been a success than have. At semi-foreigner friendly Busan, Toshio Uchida and Joe Fujii have, a couple of years apart, both become the track’s top rider. At Seoul, Ikuyasu has been the only one to break through to the top-tier of jockeys.

Currently there are 5 foreign jockeys licensed in Korea. Britain’s Darryll Holland – with 9 wins to his name so far – is the only non-Japanese. Another Japanese rider will start at Busan this month.

Meanwhile in foreign training terms, there really is only one Peter Wolsley. The remarkable Australian is closing in on 200 Korean winners and made it 190 on Sunday afternoon when Cheongchun Bulpae (Milwaukee Brew) took the first of Busan’s co-feature races.