Day: November 14, 2013

Weekend Preview: Queens’ Tour Finale Features / Smarty Moonhak Looks For Form At Seoul

While the undoubted highlight of the weekend is the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup – click here for full preview – there’s plenty of other action going on across the weekend.

Going again: Smarty Moonhak

Going again: Smarty Moonhak

At Seoul, the main interest is Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) making the second appearance of his comeback from a long injury lay-off.

The 4-year old goes in Sunday’s finale.

The former phenom was 6th on his return last month and, while a win may be slightly too much to ask for, an improved showing is expected over the same 6-furlong distance.

Samjeong Bulpae (Hook And Ladder), who has won 5 of his 8 starts to date and will be makingh is class 1 debut, is the most interesting of his 10 rivals.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday November 15
Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:10 to 17:40

Saturday November 16
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday November 17
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00 including the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup at 16:10

Speedy First, Secret Whisper Headline Queens’ Tour Finale

The Queens’ Tour 2013 will conclude at Busan Race Park this Sunday with the running of the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the most valuable fillies & mares race of the year.

Korean Derby and Oaks winner Speedy First will line up in the Queens' Tour finale on Sunday

Korean Derby and Oaks winner Speedy First will line up in the Queens’ Tour finale on Sunday

Korean Derby and Oaks winner Speedy First heads the line up but she’ll face a tough challenge from Secret Whisper, a mare two years her senior and in the best form of her impressive career. Down from Seoul comes the capital’s champion filly Joy Lucky, with 6 wins from 8 starts to date.

Also among the full field of 16 is Useung Touch, Korean Oaks winner in 2011 and winner of the first leg of the series, the Ttukeseom Cup, a full 8 months ago.

Despite the race being open to all fillies & mares aged three to five, eleven of the entrants are Korean bred, with only five imports taking their chance. The most notable absentee is Fly Top Queen, who is in quarantine in Japan in preparation for the 2nd leg of the Korea vs Japan Challenge in Tokyo on November 26.

Here’s a full run down of the field with Name [Pedigree] Age (Starts/1/2/3) – Jockey

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – November 17, 2013

1. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] 5 (25/8/7/2) – Lim Sung Sil
The Korean Oaks winner in 2011 won the 1st leg of the Queens’ Tour all the way back in March. She was 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes at the end of last year. She’s only won once from 4 starts since March but all have been in strong company. Can never be discounted.

2. Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] 3 (8/6/0/0) – Seo Seung Un
Seoul’s best chance. Interfered with in the Donga Ilbo Cup, she still rallied for 4th and then easily won the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup over this distance last month to become Seoul’s champion filly or mare. Kept off the Triple Crown trail, this is the first time she’ll face Speedy First. A chance.

3. Kkon Maru (USA) [Include – Crowned (Chief’s Crown)] 4 (23/2/0/4) – Lee Gi Hweoi
Indifferent filly in indifferent form. She won’t be competing for honours here.

4. Miracle Wonder (KOR) [Menifee – Jeongbowang (Concept Win)] 3 (10/5/3/0) – Darryll Holland
Second – a very distant second – to Speedy First in the Oaks, she bounced back to win over a mile last time. Like all Menifees, there will be a question mark over the 2000 metre distance but she is a talented filly.

5. Imperial Star (KOR) [Nihon Pillow Neil – Psychic Girl (Generous)] 5 (20/6/5/3) – Lee Gang Seo
Has only run twice this year since returning from a long injury lay-off. She hasn’t yet regained her previous form and as a result, there is very to little to recommend her here.

6. Silver Classic (USA) [Chapel Royal – Psychic Friend (Star De Naskra)] 4 (22/4/3/2) – You Hyun Myung
Fourth in the KNN Cup and winner of the Gold Coast Trophy in the summer. Comes into the race off the back of two very disappointing runs and will be hard pressed to match her 6th place in this race last year.

7. Choichoro (KOR) [Concept Win – Eunbiryeong (Mujaazif)] 5 (22/5/2/3) – Kim Dong Chul
Was the unexpected winner of the YTN Cup at Seoul in August and likes this distance. However, she could only manage 4th in the Gyeonggi Governor’s last time and will be facing much better filles and mares here.

8. Grand Teukgeup (KOR) [Menifee – Saratoga Campaign (Mt.Livermore)] 4 (22/8/3/2) – Chae Gyu Jun
She was 2nd to Useung Touch in the Ttukseom Cup but her only win this year has been at 7 furlongs. She has finished 3rd over this distance but likely won’t have the speed to challenge the favourites in the final furlong.

9. Seungniuihamseong (KOR) [Vicar – Hug And Kiss (Commander In Chief)] 5 (27/6/2/3) – Bang Choon Sik
Seoul’s champion filly & mare of 2012, she’s not won a single race since. She has come very close though and consistently places. She only has an outside chance of doing that here but she shouldn’t disgrace herself either.

10. Dehere Queen (KOR) [Dehere – Cinnamon Girl (Meadowlake)] 5 (28/3/5/3) – Masakazu Tanaka
Very difficult to recommend a mare who hasn’t won since September 2011 in a big Stakes race so we’ll not be doing that here. Some encouraging runs and plenty of prize-money won recently but not a winner.

11. Fine Gongju (KOR) [Tiz Wonderful – Blissful Kiss (Kissin Kris)] 3 (14/5/3/1) – Choi Si Dae
Looked to be set to push on into a really good filly but has struggled in two class 1 outings recently which suggests she may find herself a touch overmatched here. Has potential but should find others better.

12. Dongseo Daeryuk (USA) [A.P.Warrior – Lady Marion (Forestry)] 3 (12/3/4/0) – Park Tae Jong
That Park Tae Jong has been persuaded to come down to Busan to ride her should be a recommendation but she is not in the same class as the likes of Speedy First, Joy Lucky or Secret Whisper. Has never run at 2000 metres but she was 2nd to Choichoro in the YTN Cup in August.

13. Secret Whisper (KOR) [Sea Of Secrets – Generals Passion (General Meeting)] 5 (26/10/5/5) – Jo Sung Gon
The Peter Wolsley trained mare followed up her 2nd in the KNN Cup with a pair of wins and an unexpected reversal in a 7 furlong tune-up last time out can be discounted. Should love the distance and has the potential to give Speedy First a very strong run for her money.

14. Imperial Girl (USA) [Imperialism – Wallena (Wallenda)] 5 (31/3/2/4) – Lee Ah Na
A Stakes winner in the past but in dreadful form this year and there’s nothing to suggest that will change here.

15. Speedy First (KOR) [Menifee – Speedy Deedy (Victory Gallop)] 3 (9/6/0/1) – Kanichiro Fujii
The Korean Derby and Korean Oaks winner. She put in an unexpectedly lacklustre performance in the Minister’s Cup at Seoul last time out and will need to be back to her best to beat Secret Whisper. It’s likely that punters will make her the favourite to do just that.

16. Sangnyu (USA) [Broken Vow – Midtown Miss (Yes It’s True)] 4 (19/5/3/2) – Jang Chu Youl
One of the few entrants to hold a class 1 win over this distance, she was also 3rd to KRA Cup Classic winner Mari Daemul last time out. This suggest she must be taken seriously as a contender for a place.