A field of 15 will contest the 17th Korean Derby at Seoul Race Park this coming Sunday.
Cheongnyong Bisang took the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan last month and he returns to his home track to seek to take out the second jewel.
An unprecedented 5 foreign jockeys have rides in the race. Korean racing stalwarts Joe Fujii, Masa Tanaka, Ikuyasu Kurakane and Darryll Holland are joined by newcomer Shinichi Terachi. With trainers Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice both saddling runners, it is set to be the most international running of the Derby to date.
Below is a full run-down of the runners and riders but first here’s what’s happening around Korea this weekend:
Friday May 16
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:25 to 17:40
Saturday May 17
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00 including the JRA Trophy at 17:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:15
Sunday May 18
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00 including the Korean Derby at 16:40
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:05
The JRA are in town on Saturday for their annual trophy race and there are some good ones going in that. Our main focus though is the Derby and here is a full run down of the runners with [Pedigree} (Starts/1/2/3) (Trainer) – Jockey (Home Track):
The Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 18, 2014
1. Raon Morris [Yankee Victor – Thunder By Night (Thunder Gulch)] (7/3/1/1) (Lee Shin Young) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
Set the pace for much of the Cup Mile and ran on well to finish 4th at generous odds. He has every chance of improving here and if he gets the lead and others have a bad trip, he just might keep it.
2. Gangchi [Volponi – Regal Heir (Regal Intention)] (10/3/1/1) (Bart Rice) – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
Bart Rice is the new star of the Busan trainer colony and he saddles his first Korean Derby runner here. Gangchi made little impact in the Cup Mile and will need to show a lot of improvement to challenge here.
3. Jeongsang Bima [Forest Camp – Smokegetenyoureyes (Smokester)] (9/2/3/2) (Park Hui Cheol) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
A winner over the distance, albeit at class 4, he has a nice turn of foot and likes to come from just behind the leaders. Could be worth a place interest.
4. Jangsan Horangi [Forest Camp – Steal The Show (Cat Thief)] (5/2/2/1) (Kim Jeom Oh) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Seoul)
Lightly raced and untried at further than 1400M and hasn’t won at higher than class 5. Has plenty of promise and has never finished worse than 3rd but is difficult to recommend here.
5. Wild Rush [Forest Camp – Wisconsin Girl (Smart Strike)] (7/2/3/2) (Kim Young Kwan) – Darryll Holland (Busan)
Won a minor event on Cup Mile day and yet to go further than a mile. Kim Young Kwan doesn’t bring horses to Seoul unless he has high expectations though and with Darryll Holland on board, punters will take note.
6. Gumpo Sky [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] (8/3/2/2) (Kwan Seung Joo) – Jeong Dong Cheol (Busan)
Comes into the race in excellent form with two consecutive wins behind him, the most recent of which was just 2 weeks ago over a mile. Expect him to be close to any early pace, he’ll need to show a bit more speed than he has to date in the home straight to challenge.
7. Jungle Jim [Peace Rules – Diamond Stephanie (Lucky Lionel)] (5/2/1/1) (Peter Wolsley) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
Peter Wosley is searching for his first winner at Seoul and while this colt is not without claims, he will have to improve to win this. Rallied well for 2nd over a mile last start and if he comes on here, he could cause problems at the business end of the race.
8. Queen’s Blade [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] (8/4/3/0) (Kim Young Kwan) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Sent off as the odds-on favourite in the Cup Mile, she finished a disappointing 5th having shown briefly at the front with a furlong to run. The half-sister to 2008 Oaks winner Jeolho Chance will have plenty of backers to put things right here. Kim Young Kwan will no doubt have fixed her final furlong but will others have come on more?
9. Royal Impact [Cielo Gold – Skeemo (Meadowlake)] (8/2/3/0) (Kim Byung Hak) – Song Keong Yun (Busan)
The closer never closed in the Cup Mile, staying in 11th position the whole way around. Needs others to run poorly to have a chance.
10. Super Rider [Ft.Stockton – Poyeon (Road Of War)] (9/1/0/1) (Choi Yong Goo) – Shinichi Terachi (Seoul)
Little to recommend this one-time winner who is yet to start at further than 7 furlongs. Japanese jockey Shinichi Terachi gets a first Derby ride in just his 2nd week in Korea.
11. Clean Up Speed [Pico Central – Rich Emotions (Rizzi)] (7/4/1/0) (Seo In Seok) – Ikuyasu Kurakane (Seoul)
The Oaks may be a more realistic target for this filly but she’s a frontrunner with a quick finish who’s beaten colts before. These may be a bit too good though. Was in great form until a disappointing 5th last time out.
12. Namdo Trio [Didyme – Tapas (Sky Classic)] (10/2/4/1) (Baik Kwang Yeol) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
The surprise package of the Cup Mile, he closed very strongly to land third. Joe Fujii rode Speedy First to win this race last year and while he’ll not be favourite to win here, heis not without a chance.
13. Cheongnyong Bisang [Volponi – Miss Alwuhush (Alwuhush)] (8/5/0/0) (Kim Jeom Oh) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
The Cup Mile winner and favourite. He was superb in Busan last month and if he repeats that form, he wins. Cheongnyeong Bisang’s defeats have come when he’s had a poor trip and Seo Seung Un is going to have to work very hard to get him into his favoured position from gate 13.
14. Cupid Girl [Vicar – Sheza Hot Dish (Rubiano)] (9/4/0/1) (Park Jae Woo) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
A decent filly but another for who the Oaks is a more likely target. A creditable 8th in the Cup Mile, a similar position here seems achievable.
15. Pureun Geotap [Menifee – Charmin Strike (Smart Strike)] (9/2/2/3) (Ji Yong Cheol) – Lee Chan Ho (Seoul)
Had an abortive attempt on the Cup Mile but otherwise has form at this distance, winning a slowly run race here in March. This will be tougher though.