Month: September 2013

Luck’s In For Cheonnyeon Dongan

Cheonnyeon Dongan took full advantage of hot favourite Joy Lucky’s misfortune to win the Donga Ilbo Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Cho Kyoung Ho in the Donga Ilbo Cup winner's circle

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Cho Kyoung Ho in the Donga Ilbo Cup winner’s circle

Joy Lucky came into the race with 6 wins from her 7 starts to date, her only defeat having come in the Korean Derby. She skipped the Korean Oaks and was entered here instead of in the much more valuable Minister’s Cup next week. She started at odds of 1/3.

She looked good to win too. Rounding the final turn Joy Lucky, under Seo Seung Un, was about to make her move when suddenly the horse in front of her, Wild Cat, carried her wide. She recovered but her momentum was gone and she could only manage 4th.

Meanwhile the always handily placed Cheonnyeon Dongan cruised to the front and, having picked off longtime leader Eutteum Khan, went clear for victory by just under 2 lengths.

Cheonnyeon Dongan (Ecton Park), a 3-year-old filly, was 3rd behind Joy Lucky in the Sports Seoul Cup and 4th in the Korean Oaks at Busan last month. Today’s win was her 5th from 11 starts.

Joy Lucky and Cheonnyeon Dongan may meet again in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup next month. as good as Cheonnyeon Dongan was today, if Joy Lucky gets a clear run, few will bet on a repeat of this result.

Donga Ilbo Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – September 29, 2013

1. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessey)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 6.1, 1.4
2. Eutteum Khan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Dangdae Eutteum (Pro For Sure)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 4.2
3. Happy Field (KOR) [Field Asuka – Taeheuimang (Happy Jazz Band)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.5

Distances: 1.75 lengths/3 lengths – 14 ran

* Yesterday at Seoul, Jigeum I Sungan returned to form with a comfortable victory in the feature race.

The 2012 Korean Derby winner, who suffered a shock defeat in the TJK Trophy on international weekend last month, handed Ace Galloper a comfortable 2 length beating to re-confirm his position as the top Korean-bred horse in the capital.

* Racing returns quicker than usual next week as Busan’s regular Friday card is brought forward a day to Thursday to coincide with the public holiday. Then all racing eyes will be on Seoul for the weekend and the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the 2013 Korean Triple Crown.

Brazilian Jockey Fausto Pinto Durso Set For Seoul

Fausto Durso, who rode at the International Jockey Challenge in Seoul last month, is set to return to Korea for an extended stay after being granted a short-term license at Seoul Race Park.

Back To Seoul: Fausto Durso

Back To Seoul: Fausto Durso

The 39-year-old has spent the last few years racing mostly in Macau and was representing the Macau Jockey Club on his previous visit, during which he won the feature race of the event, the YTN Cup.

A Sao Paolo native, who racked-up over 700 wins in Brazil before coming to Asia, Durso has ridden more than 600 winners in Macau and has won the Macau Derby. He has also ridden in Dubai and Malaysia.

He he is winning the YTN Cup on Choichoro, reeling in Noel Callow on Dongseo Daeryuk:

The move is one of an increasing number of interactions between Korean and Macau. Seoul’s champion jockey Moon Se Young spent 3 months riding there earlier this year and Busan champion Jo Sung Gon is set to go soon. Additionally, Korean trainer Seo Beom Seok (also known as Kenny Seo) has set up a stable in Macau with 12 horses which he runs alongside his one at Seoul.

In other foreign jockey news, Japanese rider Ikuyasu Kurakane has been granted a 6-month extension to his license beginning October 1. Down at Busan, Britain’s Darryll Holland has also been offered an extension. Meanwhile, Joe Fujii, winner of the Grand Prix Stakes, Korean Derby and Korean Oaks during his time in Korea so far, is in the process of applying to the JRA in his native Japan.

Weekend Preview: Donga Ilbo Cup / Jigeum I Sungan vs Ace Galloper

After last week’s break for the Chuseok holiday, it’s time to sober up and – several kilos heavier – return to the track as racing resumes in Korea.

In action: Jigeum I Sungan

In action: Jigeum I Sungan

Big Stakes race of the weekend is the Donga Ilbo Cup at Seoul on Sunday. Next weekend sees the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup, and the fact that hot 3-year-old filly Joy Lucky (Vicar), whose only in 6 starts came in the Korean Derby, will skip that race in favour of the less valuable but restricted to fillies Donga Cup, suggests that she will take some beating. Cheonnyeon Dongan (Ecton Park) is one who will try along with 12 others in the 9-furlong test.

Saturday’s Seoul feature sees a heavyweight clash as Jigeum I Sungan and Ace Galloper face each other. 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) suffered a shock defeat in last month’s TJK Trophy while former KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) returned to the winner’s circle for the 19th time in his last start after a pair of 2nd place finishes. There’s little to choose between them in terms of weight – the older Ace Galloper carrying just a kilo more – and it promises to be a fascinating match-up.

Also on Saturday, Charming Girl, 0 for 100, will make her final start before being retired.

At Busan, the weekend’s most valuable races are on Sunday.
Well-known names such as Road To Prince, Lion Santa and the evergreen 2008 Korean Derby winner Ebony Storm will all be in action.

As for foreign jockeys, Ikuyasu Kurakane has plenty of action lined up at Seoul while Joe Fujii (Friday only), Ureshi Katsunori, Masa Tanaka and – fresh from spending his vacation racing around a field in Inner Mongolia – Darryll Holland are riding at Busan.

Here’s what’s happening when and where across the weekend:

Friday September 27

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:10 to 17:40

Saturday September 28

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday September 29

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

Gwanggyo Bisang Romps To Stakes Double

Gwanggyo Bisang cruised to a Stakes double at Seoul Race Park today, adding to his Munhwa Ilbo Cup with a 10 length victory in the Ilgan Sports Cup.

Park Tae Jong and Gwanggyo Bisang in the Ilgan Sports winners' circle - with a little help from members of Nine Muses

Park Tae Jong and Gwanggyo Bisang in the Ilgan Sports winners’ circle – with a little help from members of Nine Muses

Sent off the narrow favourite, Gwanggyo Bisang (Menifee) was always prominent among the 13-strong field and, under veteran jockey Park Tae Jong, never looked like being caught as he eased away from his rivals in the home straight.

Second-Favourite Heukgisa (A.P.Dancer) ran on for 2nd while the talented but lightly raced and injury prone K-Tap (Menifee) returned a creditable 3rd.

As a gelding, Gwanggyo Bisang was ineligible for the Triple Crown races this year. He has now won 7 of his 8 starts and enters class 1 racing as the highest ranked 3-year-old at Seoul. Having won at distances from 1000 metres to 1800 metres, he looks set to among the contenders for big honours later this year.

Ilgan Sports Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – September 15, 2013

1. Gwanggyo Bisang (KOR) [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] – Park Tae Jong – 2.1, 1.2
2. Heukgisa (KOR) [A.P.Dancer – Mansumugang (Half Term)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.6
3. K-Tap (KOR) [Menifee – Summit Party (Ecton Park)] – Jang Chu Youl – 3.7

Distances: 10 lengths/1 length – 13 ran

Earlier at Seoul there was a 3rd win in 4 starts for well-thought of 2-year-old Persian Wangja (Ghostzapper). One of very few Canadian-breds in Korea, he suffered his first defeat last time out at the hands of Fly Top Queen in the Singapore Turf Club Trophy. Today, he ran in a comfortable 2-length winner over 7 furlongs and is one to keep an eye on.

Down at Busan, having secured his 200th Korean winner last week, Australian Peter Wolsley trained his 201st today, saddling his stable star Cheongchun Bulpae (Milwaukee Brew) to win the feature “Mister Park Memorial Race” by a neck. A 4-year-old gelding, Cheongchun Bulpae now has 10 wins from 17 starts.

Happy Chuseok! From Dal Shabet

Happy Chuseok! From Dal Shabet

Racing now takes a weekend off for the “Chuseok” (Korean Thanksgiving) holiday. Punters were not impressed to find that the KRA had not supplied gifts for them as is customary at this time of year. However, given that top Korean girl-groups “Dal Shabet” and “Nine Muses” were both in attendance, we will forgive them.

Weekend Preview: Ilgan Sports Cup

The summer weekend evenings of decadence and debauchery are over as racing returns to its normal morning start times this weekend.

Munhwa Ilbo Cup winner Gwanggyo Bisang heads the Ilgan Sports field

Munhwa Ilbo Cup winner Gwanggyo Bisang heads the Ilgan Sports field

And sore heads will find plenty to lighten their wallets over in competitive cards at both Seoul and Busan, with the highlight being Seoul’s Ilgan Sports Cup on Sunday afternoon.

Gwanggyo Bisang (Menifee) has won 6 of his 7 starts to date, including the Munhwa Ilbo Cup last time out, and despite not having run since that Stakes victory back in July, is set to be favourite for the 1800 metre race, which has attracted a field of 13.

The injury-blighted K-Tap (Menifee), who was Seoul’s champion juvenile last year and was 2nd to Gwanggyo Bisang in that Munhwa Ilbo also goes, as do fellow 3-year-olds Blue Camp (Forest Camp) and Like The Sun (Forest Camp). Among the older horses they will face are Sand Jjang (Forest Camp) and Viva Cat (Creek Cat), both proven winners at this level.

Also at Seoul on Sunday, highly rated 2-year-old Canadian import Persia Wangja (Ghostzapper) seeks to get back to winning ways after being narrowly defeated by phenom Fly Top Queen last time out.

Dal Shabet will be performing at Seoul Race Park on Sunday afternoon

Dal Shabet will be performing at Seoul Race Park on Sunday afternoon

At Busan, the feature race on Sunday in which Peter Wolsley, fresh from saddling his 200th Korean winner last weekend, sends out stable star Cheongchun Bulpae (Milwaukee Brew).

Also at Busan, as reported here, a statue to the late Mister Park will be unveiled on Sunday. On a lighter note at Seoul, top K-Pop group “Dal Shabet” will be performing.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday September 13

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:10 to 17:40

Saturday September 14

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:15

Sunday September 15

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

Mister Park Statue Set For Busan Unveiling

A statue honouring the late Mister Park will be officially unveiled during racing at Busan Race Park this coming Sunday.

The Mister Park statue will have its official unveiling this weekend

The Mister Park statue will have its official unveiling this weekend

Mister Park (Ecton Park) won the Grand Prix Stakes in 2010 and broke the Korean record for most consecutive victories before suffering a fatal injury in a race at Busan on June 23, 2012.

Mister Park with trainer Kim Young Kwan, jockey Yoo Hyun Myung and owner Kwak Jong Soo after winning the 2010 Grand Prix

Mister Park with trainer Kim Young Kwan, jockey Yoo Hyun Myung and owner Kwak Jong Soo after winning the 2010 Grand Prix

The life-size statue took five months to complete and Mister Park’s owner Kwak Jong Soo will attend to officially dedicate it to his horse. A special booklet “I’m Mister Park” has also been produced for the occasion.

Mister Park's final resting place in Busan

Mister Park’s final resting place in Busan

Mister Park, who was 5-years-old when he passed away, ran 22 times, winning on 19 occasions. He was Korean Horse of the Year in 2011. Read more about him here.

Darryll Holland & 200-Up Peter Wolsley Win Gold Circle Trophy With My Winner

British jockey Darryll Holland and Australian trainer Peter Wolsley combined to reach personal milestones as My Winner emphatically won the Gold Circle Turf Club Trophy at Busan Race Park this evening.

First Korean Stakes Win: Darryll Holland

First Korean Stakes Win: Darryll Holland

For Holland it was a first Korean Stakes win. For Wolsley it was a second, but more significantly, it marked his 200th training winner in Korea.

A 4-year-old gelding, My Winner started as the favourite and under a calm ride from Holland, steadily made ground around the home turn before cruising away from the field in the final furlong and a half to record a 6-length winning margin.

Since arriving in Korea in March, Darryll Holland has been everything that the KRA’s overseas jockey program intended. Although today’s win was just his 18th overall, he has a 28% quinella strike rate achieved while riding in a manner that the local jockeys would do well to emulate. Active on social media, Holland has also helped bring Korean racing to a wider audience.

As for Peter Wolsley, his story has been told before – and you can bet your bottom Korean Won that this website is going to tell it again – but it gets no less impressive.

Wolsley is a master of preparing and entering his horses so as to get the best out of them. He does his work in the mornings and at the computer and is rarely to be seen at the track on racedays among the other trainers who mostly wish he would simply go away and leave them to their old ways.

Peter Wolsley

Peter Wolsley

As the first foreign trainer to receive a license in Korea, he was arguably set up to fail but through talent and hard work, Peter Wolsley has become the second most sought-after trainer at Busan.

It can only be viewed as a compliment that it isn’t unknown for those owners who want their average horses to join the barn of (Busan’s top trainer) Kim Young Kwan, to send them to Wolsley to get them good enough for Kim to accept.

He is currently 2nd in the 2013 Busan Trainer Championship (Kim has already won it) and lies in 12th place in the track’s all-time list. It’s an achievement unthinkable in the days after he first arrived in Korea and was given the “breakdown barn”. Also remarkable is the fact that Busan’s best Korean jockey Jo Sung Gon, is now his retained rider.

Jo, a talented rider who needs to expand his horizons beyond the confines of Busan, is bound for foreign shores soon.

And who could possibly be better to replace him than a 41-year-old former British Champion Apprentice from Manchester?

Gold Circle Turf Club Trophy – Busan Race Park – 1400M – September 8, 2013

1. My Winner (KOR) [Vicar – Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] – Darryll Holland – 2.7, 1.3
2. High Five (KOR) [Creek Cat – Nams Gulch (Gulch)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.8
3. Segye Cheogo (KOR) [Ecton Park – Rising (Is It True)] – Kim Dong Young – 3.8

Distances: 6 lengths/1.75 lengths – 10 ran
Winning Trainer: Peter Wolsley

Gyeongbudaero Downs Dangdae Bulpae In Owners’ Cup

After spending the best part of a year and half finishing 2nd or 3rd to the great and good of Korean racing, Gyeongbudaero finally came out on top, producing a late burst to win the Owners’ Cup at Busan Race Park today.

Winner: Gyeongbudaero

Winner: Gyeongbudaero

The 2012 KRA Cup Mile winner went on to finish 3rd in the Derby, 2nd in last year’s Owners’ Cup, 3rd in the Minister’s Cup and 3rd again in the President’s Cup.

This year he finished 3rd in the Busan Ilbo before finally winning a handicap in April.

He was 3rd in the betting today. Unsurprising, given that finishing 3rd is what he is best at.

Dangdae Bulpae, the 3-time President’s Cup winner and victor in that Busan Ilbo, was sent off the heavy favourite, despite it being only his second run back from a long injury.

With 2 furlongs to go, it looked like Dangdae Bulpae would win comfortably. Gyeongbudaero, after sitting in the middle of the field for most of race was steadily making ground but few expected him to go past – he doesn’t like winning, after all. However, as the final furlong wore on, it became clear that Gyeongbudaero was going the quickest and he swept by Dangdae Bulpae to claim the prize by half a length.

15/1 chance Powerful Korea, who had led much of the way, stayed on for 3rd while mare Useung Touch turned in a typically solid effort in 4th ahead of filly Grand Teukgeup. The well-fancied Road To Prince found trouble in the home straight and, under Joe Fujii, could only manage 6th.

Maybe Dangdae Bulpae has lost a yard of pace since his injury, however, after promising so much for so long, Gyeongbudaero is finally making good. He will be among the main favourites to stop Dangdae Bulpae at Seoul in November if the champion goes for his 4th President’s Cup.

Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – September 8, 2013

1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 6.1, 1.5
2. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.1
3. Powerful Korea (KOR) [Distilled – Bound To Score (Quick Score)] – Song Keong Yun – 2.5

Distances: 0.5 lengths/5 lengths
Also ran: 4. Useung Touch 5. Grand Teukgeup 6. Road To Prince 7. Rising Glory 8. Movement 9. Seoul Jeongsang 10. Gumpo Yeowang 11. Fleet Boy 12. Danzing Sally

Busan Owners’ Cup: Full Preview

The Owners’ Cup is, along with the KRA Cup Mile, the Korean Oaks and the Metropolitan Stakes, one of the four biggest races of the season on the south coast and some of the track’s biggest Korean-bred stars will be battling it out early Sunday evening.

Dangdae Bulpae: Three time President's Cup winner seeks thr Owners' Cup

Dangdae Bulpae: Three time President’s Cup winner seeks thr Owners’ Cup

Four former Classic winners line-up while Seoul sends also sends a small contingent.

Here is a run-down of the field with Name (KOR) [Sire] Age Sex (Runs/1st/2nd/3rd) Jockey). All will carry 58kg although fillies and mares receive a 2kg allowance:

Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Sunday September 7, 17:35

1. Movement (KOR) [Sakura Seeking] 5 H (30/4/4/4) – Kim Jeong Jun (Seoul)
Finally graduated to class 1 recently but made an inauspicious debut the level and like all of the Seoul contingent, he looks out of his depth here.

2. Grand Teukgeup (KOR) [Menifee] 4 F (20/8/3/2) – Chae Gyu Jun
A nice filly who was 3rd in the Korean Oaks last year. She won last time out but has performed best at shorter distances and is difficult to recommend around two-turns in company such as this.

3. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee] 4 C (20/6/5/6) – Choi Si Dae
Since winning the KRA Cup Mile last year, Gyeongbudaero has run 2nd or 3rd in some of Korea’s best races. It’s winning that has been the problem with just 1 from 11 starts since that Classic victory. He is always close though and will be again here.

4. Rising Glory (KOR) [Menifee] 4 F (15/4/4/1) – Masakazu Tanaka
Won the Korean Oaks last year and was 2nd in the Minister’s Cup. However, following some injury setbacks, she hasn’t been the same as a 4-year-old and while she is making progress, it is difficult to see her challenging here.

5. Fleet Boy (KOR) [Creek Cat] 5 H (24/5/3/2) – Lee Gang Seo (Seoul)
An average handicapper at Seoul who can be relied upon to pick up some prize-money now and again. It’s unlikely he’ll be doing so in this race.

6. Road To Prince (KOR) [Pico Central] 4 C (14/8/3/1) – Kanichiro Fujii
Difficult to bet against the jockey/trainer combination of Joe Fujii and Kim Young Kwan in a big race and they have a good horse here. unraced at 2, he’s never been out of the prize-money and he will be in it here again. The only question is whether he can come out on top. Recommended.

7. Gumpo Yeowang (KOR) [Menifee] 4 F (16/3/4/5) – You Hyun Myung
Graduated to class 1 this yearand was 4th last time out. Unlikely to be able to make too much of an impact here.

8. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki] 6 H (30/19/2/3) – Jo Sung Gon
The 3-time President’s Cup winner is widely acknowledged as one of Korea’s best ever horses. Returned after a 6-month lay-off to finish 3rd in the Metropolitan Stakes last time out. If he’s continued to get back to his old form, he can win this.

9. Seoul Jeongsang (KOR) [Capital Spending] 5 G (27/4/5/7) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
2nd to Ace Galloper last time out, this is his favourite distance. Seoul’s best hope of a place but no more than that.

10. Danzing Sally (KOR) [War Zone] 5 M (27/2/4/4) – Kim Gui Bae (Seoul)
In woeful form and was 11th of 12 in the YTN Cup last month. Nothing to recommend here.

11. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee] 5 M (24/8/7/2) – Lim Sung Sil
The 2011 Korean Oaks winner soared back into form when finishing a shock 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes in Seoul last December. She then returned to the capital to win the Ttukseom Cup in March. She’s not run since a disappointing 5th in a handicap back in June. Can never be discounted but it would still be a surprise if she won.

12. Powerful Korea (KOR) [Distilled] 5 G (24/7/4/5) – Song Keong Yun
Spent his 2-year-old season in training in the USA. He finished 3rd in this race last year and returns in decent form. He could be challenging for a place.

* Also at Busan tomorrow is the Gold Circle Turf Club Trophy race. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Sunday September 8

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 13:00 to 18:10
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 16:45 to 19:40