The “Summer Grand Prix” is upon us. 15 horses will go to post at Busan on Sunday for what is the fast becoming the most prestigious race of the summer months in Korea, the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup.
The Cup – known as the Busan Metropolitan for short – has been Open to horses from both Busan and Seoul since 2009 and has been won by such big name horses as Tough Win (twice), Yeonseung Daero and Dangdae Bulpae. There will be a new name in the winner’s circle this year, however.
Here’s full look at the runners and riders:
Busan Metropolitan City – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – Sunday July 20, 17:15
1. Indian Blue (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gambler’s Passion (Prospector’s Gamble)] 4 F (17/5/4/4) – Ikuyasu Kurakane (Seoul)
A really good filly, she was 4th in the Grand Prix in Seoul last December but was well beaten behind Gamdonguibada at Busan in the KNN Cup. The fastest closer in the field, if Gamdonguibada and the other front-runners go too quickly, too soon, she could have a chance.
2. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 4 M (19/11/3/3) – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
She’s won the first two legs of the Queens’ Tour in imperious style in her last two outings and neither facing the makes nor the step back up in distance will hold any fears here. The 2012 Grand Prix winner is a top quality filly. Lost to Heba at this distance in January when giving away 9kg – that shouldn’t happen here. Huge opportunity for Masa Tanaka replacing the injured Joe Fujii in the saddle.
3. Hwanggeumjijon (USA) [Medallist – Milady Sadie (Meadow Monster)] 5 G (22/2/2/3) – Kim Gui Bae (Seoul)
Nothing to recommend here. His two wins came on his first two starts two years ago. Has never actually made it to regular class 1 racing and he was 12th in this race last year. Connections clearly enjoy the day out at Busan.
4. Chogwang (AUS) [Lion Heart – Colonial Dancer (Pleasant Colony)] 5 H (23/3/5/3) – Kim Hyun Joong (Busan)
A really good-looking 8-length winner last time out at this distance against class 1 horses at odds of nearly 30/1. Unlikely to repeat here but expect him to be challenging for the lead early.
5. Russian To Win (USA) [Mayakovsky – Aristie (Loustrous Bid)] 4 C (14/3/0/1) – Yoon Tae Hyuk (Seoul)
Another from Seoul who’s here for the day out. Was a decent prospect at one time but never really recovered form after a 6-moth layoff last year. Has never graduated from class 2 although usually runs in class 1 company and generally doesn’t do very well. No chance.
6. Bichui Wangja (USA) [Roman Ruler – Quiet Delight (Grindstone)] 4 C (16/6/5/2) – Shin Hyoung Chul (Seoul)
Has two class 1 wins to his name this year and is by no means a bad horse. Likes to come from just off the pace and while he is quick, it’s questionable whether he’ll have enough speed to go past the front-runners here or hold off the likes of Indian Blue late on. Outside chance of a place.
7. Cheongchun Bulpae (KOR) [Milwaukee Brew – Placid Star (Placid Fund)] 5 G (23/12/2/2) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
The first of two for trainer Peter Wolsley. He comes into the race off the back of two consecutive wins at this distance against class 1 Korean bred horses. He’ll face tougher opposition here but is quick enough to compete. Likes to be towards to front early on and then stays on the straight.
8. Star Bolt (USA) [Fusaichi Pegasus – D’Oro Doll (Touch Gold)] 4 F (20/3/6/1) – Park Geum Man (Busan)
Third behind Gamdonguibada in the KNN Cup last time out and will probably be aiming for a similar finish here. Likely to be close to the pacesetters early on but it is questionable whether she will have enough speed to get past them in the home straight. A Place bet.
9. Dynamic Jilju (USA) [Forestry – Beat Your Feet (Dixieland Band)] 3 C (15/5/2/1) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
Hasn’t won in four class 1 starts but has finished in the money on each occasion, second place in the Gukje Sinmun being the highlight. Will expect to challenge for a similar position again. Another who sits just off the lead early on and another who may not be quite quick enough when it counts.
10. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) [Bernardini – Purrfection (Tale Of The Cat)] 5 H (21/10/0/3) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Peter Wolsley’s second entrant was 3rd in the Grand Prix last December and then won his first two starts of 2014 before showing up out of sorts in his most recent two. When he wins, it’s from a spot just behind the leaders, generally hitting the front early in the home straight. There will be plenty of competition for that position but on his day, Cheonji Bulpae can compete with this field.
11. Nobody Catch Me (USA) [With Distinction – Nana’s Babe (Allen’s Prospect)] 4 G (15/4/4/2) – Yang Young Nam (Busan)
Despite his name, trainer Kim Young Kwan’s second entry doesn’t usually lead from the front and then hope no-one catches him. Beaten 7-lengths last time out by resurgent stable-mate Magic Dancer, he still comes in here not without a chance. Tough to see him winning but should be challenging at the business end of the race.
12. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallacheivement (Smart Strike)] 3 C (10/8/1/1) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
The biggest earner to date worldwide for his sire, Cowboy Son is so far only proven up to 1500 metres. He undoubtedly has the fastest sprint in the race but whether he can do that after an extra two and a half furlongs is the big question here. Definitely has class, but will he stay? The dark-horse of the field.
13. Mari Daemul (USA) [Go For Gin – Token Beauty (Gold Token)] 5 H (26/9/4/3) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
The somewhat surprising winner of the KRA Cup Classic last autumn has been in reasonable form this year and comes into the race following a win over 1800 metres last month. Generally comes from off the pace and if he runs to his best, can compete.
14. Heba (USA) 4 F [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] (21/6/4/1) – Jeong Dong Cheol (Busan)
Scored a win over Gamdonguibada back in January although she had a huge weight advantage that day which she doesn’t have here. Has been in indifferent form since then and will need to step up significantly to compete. Another who will most likely try to come out of the pack as they enter the home straight.
15. Sangnyu (USA) [Borken Vow – Midtown Miss (Yes It’s True)] 5 M (23/5/3/3) – Jang Chuyoul (Seoul)
Was 9th on her last start which was at Busan in the KNN Cup. Hasn’t won for a year and while she has a quick finish, it is highly unlikely to be quick enough to trouble the favourites here.