Month: June 2015

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)

Weekend Round-Up: Tanaka Takes Busan Feature / Singgeureounachim Evergreen At Seoul / MERS Hits Legal Betting

Esmeraldina’s Ttukseom Cup win was the top story of the weekend, but there was plenty of other action going on too.

Down at Busan, the feature race of the weekend was somewhat overshadowed by events at Seoul 30 minutes previously but it ended in another Japanese success as Masa Tanaka rode 8/1 shot Ildeung Hanghaesa to victory.

4-year-old Ildeung Hanghaesa (Ecton Park), who beat second-favourite Dynamic Dash by 4-lengths, was winning for the 5th time in total and the first time at class 1. As for Tanaka, the Japanese rider has started a countdown to his 100th Korean winner and is now on 72.

In addition to the Ttukseom Cup, there was class 1 action at Seoul too and it was a return to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year for one of the stalwarts of the track, Singgeureounachim. The 7-year-old was sent off at odds of 35/1 but under apprentice Kim Dong Soo (which got him a 2kg weight allowance) he ran on for victory by just under a length from joint-favourite Best Run. It was a 10th career win for Singgeureounachim (Exploit) on his 50th career start.

Earlier on Sunday at Seoul, jockey Djordje Perovic, who has impressed a number of observers in his short time here so far, got his first Korean winner.

On a weekend which saw attendance at both KBO baseball and K-League football matches drop by 40% due to public fears over the MERS virus (or as Yonhap News ever so slightly melodramatically put it, South Korea is currently “an ailing nation in the grip of a deadly virus”), it was inevitable that racing was going to suffer too.

As it was, while the infield family park was nearly deserted, betting turnover was also down on Sunday to an average KRW 4.1 Billion per race from KRW 4.4 Billion per race last week. It was the lowest of the year so far. Online betting is illegal in Korea and the legal telephone betting service that was previously offered was forcibly shut down by the government a few years ago.

You have to physically go to the track or an OTB if you want a legal punt. The MERS panic is a demonstration of one of the deficiencies of that policy and no doubt the illegal bookies were cheering it all the way to the bank.

Japan’s Esmeraldina Just Too Good In Ttukseom Cup

Esmeraldina was dominant in winning the 27th Ttukseom Cup for Japan at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon. Under jockey Joe Fujii, the 4-year-old swept to a 3-length in the first leg of the 2015 Queens’ Tour.

Esmeraldina and Joe Fujii return to scale

Esmeraldina and Joe Fujii return to scale

Korean punters sent the sole Japanese raider off as the odds-on favourite. She was the quickest out of the gate to such an extent that it drew admiring gasps from the huge crowd but it would be Fly Top Queen who would quickly come across to take things up.

In the end, this set things up perfectly for Esmeraldina who when Fly Top Queen inevitably faded in the home straight, was left with a clear run for home. A burst of acceleration gave her an unassailable lead by the time they hit the furlong pole and while New York Blue valiantly tried to chase her down, she won by three lengths on the line, pulling ever further clear.

The winning time was just one tenth of a second outside El Padrino’s track record in the Asia Challenge Cup. New York Blue was 3rd that day last August, today once more chasing a visitor, she showed her sprinting class by running 2nd. Bichui Jeongsang got the best of a tight finish for 3rd.

The 27th Ttukseom Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – June 7, 2014

1. Esmeraldina (USA) [Harlan’s Holiday – Tasha’s Star (Spanish Steps)] – Kanichiro Fujii – 1.4, 1.1
2. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] – You Hyun Myung – 2.4
3. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 2.0
Distances: 3 lengths/5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. My Day (KOR) 5. Heba (USA) 6. Ms. Margaux (USA) 7. Halla Chukje (USA) 8. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) 9. Fly Top Queen (USA) 10. Ua Deungseon (KOR) 11. Golden Lass (KOR) 12. Joy Lucky (KOR)

Esmeraldina is owned by Ms. Kazumi Yoshida, who also owned Testa Matta, who now stands at Nokwon Farm on Jeju Island. She is trained by Makoto Saito out of the Miho Training Centre.

For jockey Joe Fujii, a man who has won the Grand Prix Stakes, the Korean Derby, the Korean Oaks and the Jeju Governor’s Cup this victory today – riding a horse for a Japanese owner and Japanese trainer in Seoul – may well be one of the most significant of his career to date. After the race, he played down his role, putting all the credit on the horse. He still had to do the job though.

Fujii will leave Korea at the end of June to return to Japan and hopefully this win today will go someway to burnishing his reputation in his home country – a place he has never ridden professionally before. Fujii will ride initially in the NAR and will take the JRA exam to try to enter Japan’s elite racing circuit. He has been a true ambassador and has bounced back from both injury and accidental controversy in fine style. Today was a fitting reward.

Esmeraldina and smartly dressed travelling head lad in the winner's circle

Esmeraldina and smartly dressed travelling head lad in the winner’s circle

It was an important day. The Ttukseom Cup race was an international open race, not an invitational meaning that Esmeraldina’s connections paid their way here. There were no gala dinners (although by all accounts, the bars and restaurants of Anyang have been on high alert the past few days) and they didn’t come for the fresh air. They came for business and they came for sport. Their courage paid off.

Where does this leave Korea? Our sprinters are supposed to be our strong point and although there were no stars in the line-up today, being outclassed by a talented but by no means superstar Japanese horse is less a wake-up call than a cacophony of alarm bells.

The next big international weekend in Korea is the final weekend of August. Seoul Racecourse will host the Asia Young Guns Apprentice Jockey Challenge, the Asia Challenge Cup, which will remain an invitational race, plus two more Open races, the KRA Cup Classic and the Singapore Turf Club Trophy. Before that, Korean horses are expected at Kranji in Singapore for the Korea Cup on July 26.

Djordje Perovic Gets Off The Mark At Seoul

Djordje Perovic has ridden his first winner in South Korea. The 33-year-old partnered Gold Mountain to a 5-length victory in race 6 on the Ttukseom Cup undercard at Seoul Racecourse today.

It was Perovic’s first winner in Seoul and came on his 35th ride in the Korean capital. Crucially, it was one of the first he’d had that had been given much of a chance pre-race.

Perovic has two more rides later in the day and the chance of at least one more winner. His win added to the three second places and a third he’d already managed.

The other two foreign jockeys at the track, Jarred Samuel and Rakesh Bhaugeerothee are still working for their first wins. Hopefully they are not too far away.

Ttukseom Cup 2015: Horse By Horse

The first international race of the year in Korea takes place on Sunday and Esmeraldina will be flying the flag for Japan in the Ttukseom Cup.

Cheonnyeon Dongan heads the home challenge

Cheonnyeon Dongan heads the home challenge

The race, over 1400M, is the first leg of the 2015 Queens’ Tour for fillies & mares and has attracted a solid entry from both Seoul and Busan. The Ttukseom Cup, named to commemorate the second home of Seoul Racecourse on the north bank of the Han River, is the highlight of a 10-race card in the capital.

While Esmeraldina is no doubt the star attraction, Cheonnyeon Dongan, Ua Deungseon and New York Blue are among those heading the challenge for the home team in a race that looks set to be a quick one.

Here is a full list of the runners (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) – Jockey (Home track):

Ttukseom Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – June 7, 2015 (16:55)

1. Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player (Montbrook)] (19/3/4/1) – Lee Hyeok (Seoul)
She has been regularly winning money at class 1 since being promoted there with a win over this distance last October. Like may here, she should be looking to go forward early and while a win may be too much to ask, another money finish is possible.

2. Esmeraldina (USA) [Harlan’s Holiday – Tasha’s Star (Spanish Steps)] – Joe Fujii (Japan)
The one they have to beat. Her fastest time over this distance is quicker than the track record at Seoul (albeit over a different surface) and she is in all ways a cut above her opponents here. She has traveled well and by all accounts has adapted to Seoul comfortably. There are unknowns with any travelling horse but with Joe Fujii on board, they have someone who knows the track well. The favourite.

3. Ua Deungseon (KOR) [Menifee – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] (13/6/0/1) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
She was 3rd behind Cheonnyeon Dongan in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup on her last start and is a Stakes winner at this distance in the past. Another who is likely to look to get forward early, whether she has the late speed to compete in the closing stages is open to question but she is one of Seoul’s strongest contenders.

4. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] (17/1/7/7) – Park Geum Man (Busan)
She will only travel up to Seoul on Saturday and while she has only ever won one race, she can’t be completely discounted. A real sufferer of “second-itis”, she has a remarkable seven 2nd and seven 3rd place finishes to her name. Last seen running (where else?) 2nd behind Never Seen Before over a mile, her only previous experience at this distance was a 4th place. Perhaps likely to try to come from just off the pace.

5. Golden Lass (KOR) [Ecton Park – Golden Eagle (Big Sur)] (12/4/2/3) – Kim Do Hyun (Busan)
An outsider, she is yet to make it beyond class 2, she was 2nd on her only try at this distance so far. She has shown decent speed but will probably find that there are a few too many who are too good here.

6. Fly Top Queen (USA) [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)] (15/7/1/1) – Lee Chan Ho (Seoul)
The most expensive ever racehorse to be imported to Korea hasn’t quite lived up to her promise and she would be discounted here having been last in both her starts so far this year. However, she came out last week and flew through a barrier trial in a remarkably quick time. That suggests that she is in good shape but the distance is still against her; at this stage she probably needs shorter.

7. My Day (KOR) [Touch Gold – Smart Advice (Smart Strike)] (30/11/7/4) – Park Tae Jong (Seoul)
She comes in after a battling class 1 win over 2000M and drops down to a distance at which she has recorded some fast times in the past although she was 3rd on her only recent start over it. The last time she failed to find the money was in this race last year (when it was held in March) and she must be respected but it is hard to make the case for her beating the visitor.

8. Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] (16/10/1/0) – Lim Gi Won (Seoul)
She was without doubt one of the most talented fillies to emerge over the past few years in Korea but she was pushed very hard and an unforgiving campaign of big races took its toll. Apart from an ill-advised trip to the Busan Owners’ Cup, she hasn’t run properly for a year. She won a barrier trial back in March but this is a very tough ask first up.

9. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] (30/7/5/1) – Noboyuki Oyama (Busan)
Tough to assess as she drops back to 1400M for the first time since this race last year a full fifteen months ago. She was 4th then and has gone on to become a solid handicapper at Busan regularly picking up class 1 prize-money. She has one class 1 victory, emerging from the middle of the pack over 1900M on Boxing Day under the jockey who rides her here and a money finish is possible.

10. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] (17/5/7/1) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
You Hyun Myung, one of Busan’s top jockeys has been persuaded to give up a weekend’s income at home to ride this one who on her last visit to Seoul was 3rd behind El Padrino and Wonder Bolt in the Asia Challenge Cup. She is back at that distance for the first time since that day when she came from just off the pace and she will be looking for the places again.

11. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] (12/5/4/0) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
Another one who usually comes from just off the pace, she was beaten by Fly Top Queen at the end of last year. Since then their fortunes have diverged and Bichui Jeongsang has had a successful year so far with a class 1 win over 1800M and was just beaten a nose over 1200M by Mirae Yeongung on her last start. That was a quick race and she can go well here.

12. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] (22/10/5/3) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
Perhaps Seoul’s best. She’s won two Stakes races already this year, albeit both at 2000M, beating Ua Deungseon on both occasions. She tends to be not too far off the pace and has good late speed. She hasn’t raced since March although she did take part in a barrier trial last month. Champion jockey Moon Se Young rides and if the visitor makes any mistakes, she could be the one to take advantage.

* Despite the ongoing MERS outbreak, punters were out in force supporting the meeting at Busan on Friday. There is also a card at Busan on Sunday afternoon while Seoul and Jeju both have full cards on Saturday.

Ttukseom Cup D-5: Japan’s Esmeraldina Heads 13 Left In

There are thirteen left in this coming Sunday’s Ttukseom Cup at Seoul Racecourse, the track’s first International Open race. They are headed by Japan-based Esmeraldina, who arrived in Korea last week.

Esmeraldina

Esmeraldina

Esmeraldina’s connections have shrewdly opted to give the ride to Busan-based Japanese jockey Joe Fujii, a man who has won three big Stakes races in the Korean capital before; the Grand Prix Stakes, the Korean Derby and the Jeju Governor’s Cup. The four-year-old Esmeraldina has reportedly settled into Seoul Racecourse very well.

The other Japan-based filly initially entered to run, Robe De Soie, was unable to make the trip after suffering a bleeding attack.

Four are set to travel up from Busan with Heba and New York Blue among them with the rest coming from the home track.

We will have a full preview after final declarations later in the week but in the meantime, here is a run-down of those left in with pedigree (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) and home track:

Ttukseom Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M (Fillies & Mares 5yo and down) – June 7, 2015

Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] (22/10/5/3) Seoul
Ua Deungseon (KOR) [Menifee – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] (13/6/0/1) Seoul
Geumbit Hwanhui (KOR) [Peace Rules – Sincheongchun (Silent Warrior)] (16/5/3/2) Seoul
Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] (16/10/1/0) Seoul
Esmeraldina (USA) [Harlan’s Holiday – Tasha’s Star (Spanish Steps)] Japan
My Day (KOR) [Touch Gold – Smart Advice (Smart Strike)] (30/11/7/4) Seoul
Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] (12/5/4/0) Seoul
Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] (30/7/5/1) Busan
Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player (Montbrook)] (19/3/4/1) Seoul
Golden Lass (KOR) [Ecton Park – Golden Eagle (Big Sur)] (12/4/2/3) Busan
Fly Top Queen (USA) [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)] (15/7/1/1) Seoul
New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] (17/5/7/1) Busan
Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] (17/1/7/7) Busan

Gumpo Sky Rockets To Down Cinderella Man & Gyeongbudaero

Some of the best horses in training in Korea met at Busan Racecourse yesterday and at the end of 1800M, it was Gumpo Sky who came out on top, having led from gate-to-wire to defeat Cinderella Man and Gyeongbudaero.

It was Gyeongbudaero, President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner – and also top rated in Korea and top weight in the handicap – who was sent off as slight favourite of seven for the Class 1 race. US import Spring Gnarly was slightly favoured over Cinderella Man for 2nd favourite.

When the race got going, however, it would be the 4th choice in the market, Gumpo Sky, who would go into an early lead. And under jockey Kim Dong Young, it would be one he would never relinquish, running on for victory by just over two lengths.

Cinderella Man, having his first outing under the care of Bart Rice, was a fast finishing 2nd, just edging out Gyeongbudaero who had to settle for 3rd.

With the victory, Gumpo Sky moved onto 8 wins from 21 starts. He’s only failed to make at least the minor prize money on two occasions; his two trips to Seoul last Year for the Korean Derby and the President’s Cup. Cinderella Man will no doubt be back as too will Gyeongbudaero, who may just be feeling the top weight he gets in these handicaps – yesterday he was giving 5.5kg to Gumpo Sky and 5kg to Cinderella Man

Class 1 – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – May 31, 2015

1. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] – Kim Dong Young – 6.5, 3.4
2. Cinderella Man (KOR) [Southern Image – Tiza Fast Kat (Tiznow)] – Jo Sung Gon – 2.0
3. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.4
Distances: 2.5 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Spring Gnarly (USA) 5. Useung Radar (USA) 6. Nobody Catch Me (USA) 7. Ghost Whisper (KOR)

The top-class clash at Busan, despite being a little short on numbers, certainly contrasted with the main event at Seoul. That’s to take nothing away from Chief Red Can (Fantasticat) though, who saw a burst of speed around the home turn take him from 9th to 1st and then storm away from the field to record a nine-length win in the 2000M Class 1 feature under jockey Park Eul Woon.

For some time it has been routine for Busan’s feature race to eclipse Seoul’s with the strength and depth in the class 1 ranks on the south coast being currently superior to that of the capital. Permanent transfers between the two are now allowed, however, and a few have been moved up to Seoul. Among class 1 horses, Road To Prince and Challanhan Useung have already run – unsuccessfully – while the biggest name among them, Magic Dancer, remains spelled.

Further down the ranks, however, Red Vic (Creek Cat) became the first transfer from Busan to find the Seoul winner’s circle when he won race 8 on Saturday. It came at the end of a week when Seoul Racecourse stable-hands were protesting the proposal to allow foreign track riders to work in the capital – something that has been hugely successful at Busan.

Next weekend, Busan horses will be in the capital for the Ttukseom Cup. New York Blue, Heba, Ms. Margaux and Golden Lass are currently slated to make the trip while among Seoul horses is the tantalizing prospect of Joy Lucky finally returning from injury. However, all eyes will be on Japanese raider Esmeraldina. The first JRA horse to run in Korea arrived in Seoul late last Wednesday and is, by all accounts, doing well.