It’s been a while but Stakes action finally returns to Seoul on Sunday in the shape of the Segye Ilbo Cup.
A rarity on the calendar in that it is restricted to fillies and mares of up to class 2 level, it serves both as an opportunity for imported fillies to win a big race and also as an important trial for those hoping to get a run in the Queens’ Tour series of races, which begins in March.
A field of 14 will contest this year’s edition and as usual it is a mix of young up-and-coming fillies and older mares who haven’t yet made the breakthrough to class 1. It should be a very open betting race with many having chances. Here’s a full run down of the field:
Segye Ilbo Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – February 16, 2014 – 16:35
1. Socheonha (NZ) [Duelled – Interdame (Senor Pete)] 5 (36/1/3/5) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
Her only win came more than 2 years ago but she was 3rd last time out behind Xicar who has since performed well at Class 1. With Kurakane riding, she is a live outside bet. 5th in this race last year.
2. Felix Joy (AUS) [Hard Spun – Royal Amity (His Majesty)] 3 (12/1/2/2) – Yoo Seung Wan
A visually impressive winner over this distance last time out to finally break her maidem. That was at class 3 and she has recent losses to rivals here including Daeryugui Byeol and Marika. Another possible outside bet.
3. Strong Wind (NZ) [Duelled – Seams Of Gold (Made Of Gold) 3 (7/4/1/0) – Oh Kyung Hoan
The likely favourite, she comes into the race off of 3 consecutive wins and has beaten most of this field before. Seemingly class 1 bound sooner or later, if she runs to her best, she will be tough to beat.
4. Daeryugui Byeol (USA) [Rock Hard Ten – Big Miss (Chief Honcho) 4 (18/1/3/2) – Seo Seung Un
Has been in the money in her last 4 outings and has the most in-form jockey in Seoul riding. She shouldn’t have much chance of a win but she will have her backers.
5. Raon Bold (USA) [Big Brown – Wolfendale Island (Unbridled)] 4 (12/3/1/1) – Ham Wan Sik
Has two wins and a 3rd from her last four starts over two turns and drops down in distance here to look a solid bet for a place.
6. Geum Jello (USA) [First Defence – Jennifer Rose (Hennessy)] 4 (13/2/03) – Lee Chan Ho
Holds a win over the distance but has put in two consecutive poor performances since graduating to class 2. She’s had over a month off since the last one but she’s difficult to recommend here.
7. Namsan Chukje (KOR) [Volponi – Simple Charm (Capote)] 4 (13/4/2/1) – Jo In Kwen
One of just two Korean bred entrants, she was 2nd in the Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy over this distance last November. May find herself a little outclassed here though and she’ll be an outsider.
8. Big Power (USA) [A.P.Warrior – Dixie Satin (Dynaformer)] 5 (20/3/1/1) – Lee Sang Hyeok
never disgraced but hasn’t been in contention in her last few outings and there’s not much to suggest that will change here.
9. Marica (AUS) [Reset – Teneales Pearl (Redoute’s Choice)] 3 (7/2/2/2) – Jang Chu Youl
Third behind Strong Wind and Raon Ruby at the end of December and a disappointing season’s debut last month – albeit over a much longer distance – doesn’t give much confidence of her reversing that form.
10. Fly Winner (USA) [Unbridled Energy – Legendary Destiny (Giant’s Causeway)] 6 (19/1/1/4) – Lee Ah Na
Another who has found life difficult since reaching class 2 level. Not to be recommended here.
11. Smart Chestnut (USA) [Corinthian – Stillbe (Wavering Monarch)] 4 (19/1/2/3) – Park Sang Woo
In awful form of late and is making the numbers up. No chance.
12. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacific Bounty)] 4 (9/3/3/1) – Park Hyun Woo
The second Korean bred entrant has talent but hasn’t run since a poor effort in November. She’ll likely be a long price.
13. Raon Ruby (USA) [Tapit – Daisy Dukes (Ghazi)] 4 (10/2/3/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho
Will have plenty of support and was narrowly beaten by Strong Wind last time out and there are those who will fancy her to overturn that. It will be tough but she should be involved at the business end of the race.
14. Fly Top Queen (USA) [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)] 4 (6/4/0/0) – Park Tae Jong
Defeat in Japan in November followed by a lacklustre performance last month when she finished behind three of her rivals here have taken a little of the shine off Korea’s most expensive ever import. If she runs at her best, she’s streets ahead of this field but doubts over exactly which Fly Top Queen will show up mean she won’t be favourite.
The Segye Ilbo Cup is race 9 of an 11-race card at Seoul on Sunday which runs from 10:50 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:45 to 17:00