Month: June 2015

The Korean Oaks 2015: Full Preview

Eleven fillies will line up at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon to contest the 16th running of the Korean Oaks.

Joe Fujii and Speedy First winning the Oaks in 2013

Joe Fujii and Speedy First winning the Oaks two years ago

A Seoul-based filly has only won one of the seven running of the race since it was shifted to Busan in 2008 but in Meni Money, the capital this year brings one with a very good chance in what is the first Oaks to be run in June.

Here is a full run-down of the field with Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey (Home Track):

The 16th Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 21, 2015 (16:30)

1. Purple Ocean [Volponi – Espirito (Prince Of Birds)] (4/1/0/0) An Woo Sung – Nobuyuki Oyama (Busan)
She’s had the fewest starts of any in the field and got her maiden win in May over 1400M. She beat some reasonably promising horses that day but she is yet to show much speed. Add to that the question of the distance and while she clearly has potential, she will be an outsider. Jockey Nobuyuki Oyama takes his first mount in a Korean Classic.

2. Dia Girl [Didyme – Gild Regal (Gilded Time)] (9/3/2/1) Song Moon Gil – Kim Cheol Ho (Seoul)
She has good speed and having led most of her races to date, is likely to be among the frontrunners early on. However, she was beaten by both Meni Money and Smart Time in the Sports Seoul Cup over 1400M in March and stamina is likely to be a key factor here. It would be a surprise if she stayed on. Kim Cheol Ho has been in good form this year.

3. Hot Commend [Commendable – Hot Red (Thunder Gulch)] (6/1/2/0) Yoo Byung Bok – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
Yet to progress beyond class 5, and yet to go further than 1300M. However, she should be able to stay the distance and has generally been ridden back at the start of races before closing effectively. Speed is one thing that has been lacking so far and others may be quicker at the business end of the race. Masa Tanaka has been having a great year and while he is yet to win a Stakes race, he is firmly established in the top tier of jockeys at Busan.

4. Queen Creek Cat [Creek Cat – Hwamongnan (Umatilla)] (8/3/3/1) Kim Hyo Seob – Kim Hye Sun (Seoul)
Her Seoul form is good and she comes in having won at class 4 over this distance. She led from gate to wire but it was a very slow race and while she will likely be another looking to get off to a fast start, whether she can maintain it in what is sure to be a faster run race will be the real test. Kim Hye Sun has ridden more thoroughbred winners than any other female Korean jockey.

5. Dangdae Cheonha [Forest Camp – Dangdaeteukgeup (Tayasu Meadow)] (9/2/5/0) Peter Wolsley – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
Another front-runner, she was 2nd behind Jibong Sarang in the MJC Trophy in March but has been a little disappointing in three starts since then. She is by no means the quickest in this race and is yet to be tested at the distance – although her dam was a winner at 1900M – and she won’t be among the favourites. Jockey Joe Fujii won the Oaks on Speedy First in 2013 and this could be his last ride in Korea for the time being.

6. Queen Two Hearts [Menifee – Ghostly Gal (Silver Ghost)] (5/4/0/1) Yoo Byung Bok – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
She won her first four races with considerable ease but didn’t quite stay on when stepped up to this distance at the beginning of May. She has plenty of speed though and if she stays a little better this time she must be seriously considered. She is another one who likes to go forward early – it could be very crowded up there. Jo Sung Gon is Busan’s leading jockey and he won the Oaks on Rising Glory in 2012.

7. Meni Money [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] (9/5/4/0) Kim Dong Kyun – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
Seoul’s best chance and very possibly the favourite. She won the Sports Seoul Cup in March, beating Smart Time and Dia Girl and went on to win consecutive races at 1700M and 1800M. She doesn’t generally lead early so if there is a race to first corner, she should avoid it and she scores highly in terms of speed and staying ability. Her dam still holds the Seoul Racecourse 1800M track record and a Menifee filly has won each of the past four Oaks. Seo Seung Un is considered one of the rising stars in the jockey ranks and gives up a weekend of rides at Seoul to come to Busan for this.

8. Jangpung Parang [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] (8/3/2/2) Kim Young Kwan – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Another with a chance. She finished 3rd behind Jibong Sarang and Dangdae Cheonha in the MJC Trophy in March and has since run well at a mile and 1800M. Decent speed and she is yet another who in her previous races has liked to go forward early. She has every chance of going close. Jockey Kim Yong Geun won the Korean Derby and Oaks double last year on Queen’s Blade.

9. Smart Time [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (9/3/2/0) Kim Dong Kyun – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
She is the only filly in the race who ran in the Korean Derby last month, finishing 7th. Prior to that, she was beaten by Meni Money by just half a length in the Sports Seoul Cup in March and then ran reasonably well over 1700M. She hasn’t shown exceptional speed so far but she is solid and reliable and she should stay on. She was slow away in the Derby and closed well and that strategy may serve her well here too. Ham Wan Sik won two Stakes races on filly Ua Deungseon last year.

10. Jibong Sarang [Officer – Meryl’s Spirit (Storm Boot)] (6/2/3/1) Kim Jae Seob – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
The winner of the MJC Trophy on March 1. She won by five lengths and probably could have won by more. Shea beat Dangdae Cheonha and Jangpung Parang what day and while she hasn’t raced since, she will be one of the favourites here. In her early starts she looked to lead but in the MJC, she went to the back out of the gate and closed very strongly and should try similar in this. Jockey You Hyun Myung has won plenty of big races but never the Oaks.

11. Grace [Vicar – Attendance (A.P. Indy)] (10/2/1/1) – Baik Kwang Youl – Kim Dong Young (Busan)
Likely to be the outsider of the field, she was 7th of 8 in the MJC Trophy behind Jibong Sarang. She’s run three times since then and most recently was a winner over 1200M. She has raced over a mile unsuccessfully over a mile before and this is a big step up today. She has tended to go forward in most of her races but may struggle to get to the front from the outside gate here. That may not be a bad thing though and she doesn’t seem to have reached her full potential yet. Jockey Kim Dong Young has won the KRA Cup Mile but never the Derby.

*The Oaks is race 5 of a 6-race card at Busan with a first post time of 12:45. K-Pop girl-band “Red Velvet” will be performing. There are also 10 races at Seoul Racecourse from 10:50 to 18:00 and the Oaks – and all of the races from Busan – will be telecast live to Seoul.

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Rock Band Out Of Tune At Busan

Rock Band saw his unbeaten record wither away in the Busan twilight on Friday as the much-vaunted three-year-old crashed to his first defeat on his first try at 1800M.

Rock Band [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] is the full-brother of the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band. Unraced as a two-year-old, he debuted in March and before Friday had won each of his four races with ease.

Stepped up to 1800M and also up to class 3, the main danger on Friday was expected to be Yeonggwanguitaepung, who had been so disappointing in the Korean Derby last month. However, with Rock Band sent off the long-odds on favourite, the one they all overlooked was Cheonji Hero (Volponi).

Under You Hyun Myung, 30/1 chance Cheonji Hero made the early running and remarkably would go on to make all. Rock Band on the other hand, found himself caught up first behind the erratically racing Choegang Bulpae and then behind a wall of Yeonggwanguitaepung, Lucky and Sinheung Menifee, the latter two travelling slowly.

By the time jockey Kim Yong Geun had managed to extricate himself, Cheonji Hero – no superstar but no mug – was long gone. Rock Band finished like the KTX to Cheonji Hero’s Mugunghwa but came up three lengths short. He will surely win next time.

Other reputations did emerge intact yesterday. Rock Band’s stable-mate Triple Nine (Ecton Park – A Little Poke) was 2nd in the Korean Derby at Seoul last month and back at his home track he came out in the feature race to record his 5th win from 7 starts. Racing well within himself under jockey Lim Sung Sil, the colt secured a very comfortable three-length victory.

Like Rock Band, Triple Nine is also not one to hit the front too early. Unlike Rock Band he safely managed to navigate a 13-strong field rather than getting lost in traffic among just 6 rivals. Both will be back and both could be present in some of the big Autumn Stakes races.

Weekend Race Times

It’s Korean Oaks weekend. Eleven fillies will line up at Busan on Sunday afternoon for their Classic and we will have a full preview of the race later on.

Final days: Joe Fujii

Final days: Joe Fujii

In addition to the Oaks, the unbeaten Seoul Bullet, winner of the Gold Circle Trophy last month, makes his first class 1 appearance at Busan on Sunday while there is class 1 action at Seoul too.

English language racecards are available here.

Here’s what’s happening when and where and be sure to check back tomorrow for the full Oaks preview:

Friday June 19
Busan Racecourse: 10 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:15 to 17:35

Saturday June 20
Seoul Racecourse: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:30

Sunday June 21
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30

Classy Perovic Doubles At Seoul

Fresh from his first victory in Korean racing last Sunday, it didn’t take Djordje Perovic very long to strike again, with the Serbian rider landing a double at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

His first victory came in race 1 when he got 8/1 Horuragi home in a final furlong tussle with second-favourite Ison. The two horses were evenly matched but Perovic’s superior skill got his mount to the line in front.

Perovic would show that skill again later on when guiding 40/1 shot My William to an unexpectedly comfortable win in race 7. Connections will be starting to take note.

It is notoriously difficult for foreign riders to get a foot in the door at Seoul, regardless of talent or ability. It takes steely resolve, a thick skin, an open-mind and a lot of perseverance. Perovic got a toe in the door when getting on a spare ride on his first weekend and guiding it to second place. The foot followed last week. Today he started to kick the door down.

It’s still early days and plenty can still go wrong but owners want winners. They wanted Ikuyasu Kurakane in the past and it seems many are going to start to want Djordje Perovic.

* Despite his earlier successes, Perovic was unable to complete a treble in the afternoon’s feature race. That was won by Seoul’s leading jockey Moon Se Young who booted Brig (Menifee) to a comfortable win in the 1800M Class 1 Handicap.

New White Socks Beats Daegunhwang And Sets Track Record

New White Socks stunned Daegunhwang and in doing so, broke the Seoul Racecourse track record for 1700M (approximately eight and a half furlongs).

Class 2 Handicap – Seoul Racecourse – 1700M – June 13, 2015

1. New White Socks (KOR) [Secret Weapon – Wonder Queen (Canadian Silver)] – Moon Se Young – 4.8, 1.2
2. Daegunhwang (KOR) [Menifee – Lusi Pond (Elusive Quality)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.1
3. Ilgi Dangcheon (KOR) [Peace Rules – Mucha Prisa (Wild Again)] – Kim Hye Sun – 1.7
Distances: 1.75 lengths / 6 lengths – 8 ran

The record had stood since July 2009 when set by Green Jewel but with the track racing fast at the moment it was no real surprise to see it go today.

image

New White Socks' new record

However, most money would have been on Daegunhwang and not New White Socks to be the one to do it. They finished 4th and 12th respectively in the Korean Derby last month and while both also held wins over this distance, it was Daegunhwang who was sent off as the odds-on favourite.

Ilgi Dangcheon set a very brisk early pace and the two favourites let him get on with it until he came back to them turning for home. Under Moon Se Young, New White Socks hit the front first and never let go as Daegunhwang chased in vain.

New White Socks crossed the line a length and a half in front and shaved one tenth of a second off the record which now stands at 1.48.3.  He now has 6 wins from 9 career starts.

Weekend Race Times

Sandwiched between last week’s Ttukseom Cup and next week’s Korean Oaks, it’s a bit of a low-key weekend but there’s still plenty going on.

March 2 2014

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday June 12
Busan Racecourse: 10 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:15 to 17:35

Saturday June 13
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday June 14
Seoul Racecourse:11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 12:45 to 17:00

The Korean Oaks 2015: First Preview

We’re just over a week away from the Korean Oaks and thirteen are currently set to line up for the fillies’ Classic at Busan Racecourse on Sunday June 21.

Eurofighter was the last filly from Seoul to win the Korean Oaks

Eurofighter was the last filly from Seoul to win the Korean Oaks

For the first time since 2012, there isn’t a Derby winner among them. Speedy First and Queen’s Blade completed the Derby/Oaks double in 2013 and 2014 respectively but this year, only two fillies took their chance in the Derby and of those only Smart Time, who was 7th, is also entered here.

Meni Money heads a five-strong challenge from Seoul. She won an early Oaks trial in the capital in March and is on a five-race unbeaten streak. The last filly from Seoul to win the Oaks was Eurofighter in 2010.

We will have a full preview of the race next week but in the meantime, here are the horses left in (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer (Home track):

The Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 21, 2015

Meni Money [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] (9/5/4/0) Kim Dong Kyun (Seoul)
Jibong Sarang [Officer – Meryl’s Spirit (Storm Boot)] (6/2/3/1) Kim Jae Seob (Busan)
Lucky Music [Creek Cat – Dangdae Jeil (Lucky Ruler)] (11/4/1/3) Seo Heung Soo (Seoul)
Queen Two Hearts [Menifee – Ghostly Gal (Silver Ghost)] (5/4/0/1) Yoo Byoung Bok (Busan)
Queen Creek Cat [Creek Cat – Hwamongnan (Umatilla)] (8/3/3/1) Kim Hyo Seob (Seoul)
Smart Time [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (9/3/2/0) Kim Dong Kyun (Seoul)
Dangdae Cheonha [Forest Camp – Dangdaeteukgeup (Tayasu Meadow)] (9/2/5/0) Peter Wolsley (Busan)
Dia Girl [Didyme – Gild Regal (Gilded Time)] (9/3/2/1) Song Moon Gil (Seoul)
Jangpung Parang [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] (8/3/2/2) Kim Young Kwan (Busan)
Hot Commend [Commendable – Hot Red (Thunder Gulch)] (6/1/2/0) Yoo Byoung Bok (Busan)
Grace [Vicar – Attendance (A.P. Indy)] – Baik Kwang Youl (Busan)
Pandora [Menifee – Format II (Furiously)] (9/1/0/3) Kim Jae Seob (Busan)
Purple Ocean [Volponi – Espirito (Prince Of Birds)] (4/1/0/0) An Woo Sung (Busan)