Month: September 2015

Heba Wins KNN Cup After Jockey You Hyun Myung Falls From New York Blue

Heba ran off with a three-length win in the KNN Cup, the second leg of the 2015 Queens Tour at Busan Racecourse this afternoon. However, that came after You Hyun Myung, on hot favourite New York Blue, was one of two riders unseated midway through the race.

The incident came as the field began the long turn for home. Winner’s Marine, under Ikuyasu Kurakane shifted in slightly causing Heba to check and clip heels with New York Blue, resulting in jockey You going over the top. Lee Hyeok would also be unseated from Who’s Perfect. Lee was relatively unharmed, however, You was taken to hospital with leg and back injuries.

Heba comfortably beat the rest of the field with Seoul visitor Hay Queen running second and Korean Oaks winner Jangpung Parang taking third. Winner’s Marine, who came home in fifth place was disqualified with jockey Kurakane receiving a four-day ban.

A five-year-old mare, Heba was third in this year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup and today recorded her 8th career win from 34 lifetime starts.

KNN Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – September 20, 2015

1. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] – Song Keong Yun – 15.7, 2.1
2. Hay Queen (USA) [Hold Me Back – Jack’s Touch (Touch Gold)] – Seo Seung Un – 4.0
3. Jangpung Parang (KOR) [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.2
Distances: 3 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Super Surf (USA) 5. Halla Chukje (USA) 6. Ms. Margaux (USA) 7. Bear Queen Trophy (USA) 8. Seungbu Sinhwa (USA) 9. Hwanggeumbitjijunghae (KOR) 10. Nauryz (USA)
DNF: New York Blue (USA) Who’s Perfect (USA)
DQ: Winner’s Marine

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KRA Is Recruiting Overseas Trainers

The Korea Racing Authority is currently seeking qualified and experienced applicants to join its professional thoroughbred Trainer ranks.

The stables at Busan

The stables at Busan

Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ experience and currently hold a valid trainer’s license in a Part 1 or Part II racing country. In addition to other criteria which will enable them to set up their business in Korea, trainers must also have a minimum 8% win or 15% quinella strike-rate or have trained more than 1000 career winners.

Click here for detailed information and here for the application form. For more information or to apply, please contact Natalia Lee at the Korea Racing Authority on: natalia@kra.co.kr

It’s a tough assignment requiring more than just training skill as Korea is by no means the easiest place to adapt to for professionals working in any field, even for those with a lot of experience. The small number of trainers currently working in the country will certainly attest to this and the challenges they have had to overcome. However, the potential rewards for those who can make a go of it, are great.

Weekend Race Times – KNN Cup

It’s the final weekend of racing before the short Korean Thanksgiving break and it’s a big one with the KNN Cup, the second leg of the 2015 “Queens Tour” for fillies and mares at Busan on Sunday.

The big race of the weekend is at Busan

The big race of the weekend is at Busan

You can generally judge the chances of the horses who travel to the other track by the jockey who goes with them and with Seoul’s champion jockey Moon Se Young giving up a weekend’s prize money at Seoul to ride Bear Queen Trophy in the KNN Cup, the filly who has won three of her four races so far, must be considered.

Korean Oaks winner Jangpung Parang will go as will New York Blue, 2nd behind Japanese-raider Esmeraldina in the first leg of the tour, the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul in June. In total, thirteen will line up for the race, which will be run over 1600M.

English language race cards for all this weekend’d meetings are available here

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday September 18
Busan Racecourse: 12 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:15 to 17:25

Saturday September 19
Seoul Racecourse: 14 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday September 20
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30

Watts Village, 2013 Ohi Interaction Cup Winner, Has Died

Watts Village, who became the first Korea-trained horse to win a race overseas, died late last month.

Watts Village winning the 2013 Interaction Cup in Japan (Pic: keiba.co.jp)

Watts Village winning the 2013 Interaction Cup in Japan (Pic: keiba.co.jp)

The 5-year-old passed away of a neurological disease just days before the Asia Challenge Cup, a race in which he had been expected to run.

Watts Village [Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)] was a $20,000 purchase from the 2012 Ocala Spring sale of two-year-olds in training and arrived in Korea in June of that year.

Watts Village 2010-2015

Watts Village 2010-2015

He debuted in August of that year with a victory and would also win his next three starts, including the TJK Trophy in November. He wouldn’t win again until July 2013 and then went on to finish 2nd behind Tosen Archer in the Korea-Japan Goodwill Trophy in September.

He then won a quick race over six-furlongs in October which encouraged connections to take their chance in the Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo on November 26. While most Korean hopes were pinned on Fly Top Queen, the most expensive horse ever imported to the country and at that time, still unbeaten, a Korean win seemed unlikely.

However, under jockey Seo Seung Un, Watts Village was gunned out of the gate and into an early lead. He would not give it up. Although the field came back to him, he just managed to hold on, sparking raucous celebrations among the visiting Korean contingent and securing his place in Korean racing folklore.

There was a feeling among some close to the horse that his exertions in Japan had taken a lot out of him and despite having been invited to race in Dubai the following spring, connections declined and kept him at home. Indeed, he only raced five times in 2014, with a solitary victory.

Watts Village and Moon Se Young in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup winner's circle. It turned out to be his last race (Pic: KRA)

Watts Village and Moon Se Young in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup winner’s circle. It turned out to be his last race (Pic: KRA)

Given another lengthy spell, he came back for a tilt at this year’s Asia Challenge Cup, which would be run over his favoured six furlongs. After an encouraging 2nd place on his re-appearance after six months off, he easily won the Munhwa Ilbo Cup in July, Seoul’s official trial for the Challenge Cup. Sadly that turned out to be his final race.

Watts Village ran a total of 19 times with 8 wins, 5 seconds and 2 thirds.

Weekend Race Times

With just a couple of weekends to go before the short Chuseok break, the fields are big and its juveniles who take centre-stage in feature races at Seoul and Busan on Sunday.

Apropos of nothing, here is a picture of some cheerleaders from the Asia Challenge Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Apropos of nothing, here is a picture of some cheerleaders from the Asia Challenge Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The two 1200M races are part of a beefed up program of races exclusive to two-year-olds in the build-up to the “Breeders’ Cup” at the end of November and are for those horses bought at this year’s domestic sales. Seoul’s race sees a debut for Golden Vascar, the first Korean based horse to be owned by Katsumi Yoshida.

Full racecards in English are available here

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday September 11
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:15 to 17:25

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

Sunday September 13
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

Rock Band Plays Winning Encore In Owners’ Cup

In what turned out to be a repeat of the Minister’s Cup, Rock Band led home stablemate Triple Nine and Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace to score a commanding victory in the Owners’ Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

Rock Band wins the Minister's Cup (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Rock Band wins the Minister’s Cup (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

In the final leg of the Triple Crown at Seoul in July, Triple Nine had been sent off as the odds-on favourite with Rock Band fourth in the market. With Triple Nine, 2nd in the Derby and the Minister’s Cup, having finally got a Stakes race win in the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo Cup in August, he was favourite again ahead of Success Story and with Rock Band third choice.

Rock Band in the Owners' Cup winner's circle (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Rock Band in the Owners’ Cup winner’s circle (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Once more, Rock Band made a mockery of that. Success Story, showed the way early on but Rock Band was always very handy and took things up entering the home straight. From then on the result was never in doubt.

Under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Rock Band ran on to win by just under two lengths with Triple Nine and Yeongcheon Ace chasing him home to complete an identical 1-2-3 to that in Seoul in July.

Jockey, Trainer and Breeder (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Jockey, Trainer and Breeder (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

It was Rock Band’s 6th win from 7 career starts, his only defeat coming when he got a dreadful trip in his first try around two-turns in June.

A full-brother of Indie Band, the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner, Rock Band didn’t race as a 2-year-old but now looks the pick of his crop. Hopefully, he will return to Seoul to attempt to emulate big brother in the President’s Cup later this autumn.

It was another solid performance by Triple Nine in 2nd. He has now raced 10 times with 6 wins and 4 second places. He too is trained by Kim Young Kwan, Busan’s top trainer and just like the winner, is by Ecton Park. The 1-2 was another triumph for Isidore Farm, where Ecton Park stands

Owners’ Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – September 6, 2015

1. Rock Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 6.4, 3.1
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5
3. Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae
Distances: 1.75 lengths/3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Ildeung Hanghaesa 5. Doraon Hyeonpyo 6. Success Story 7. Gumpo Sky

* Elsewhere over the weekend, the Seoul Racecourse track-record for 1700M fell for the third time this year. The capital’s track – quicker than ever in recent months – was racing extremely fast following a storm on Saturday morning. Perfect Clone (Exploit), having broker the Korean-bred record for five furlongs earlier in the day before Special Joy (Kitten’s Joy), under Djordje Perovic, took a second off the previous best set by New White Socks in July, in winning the 1700M race 9

Chief Red Can Takes KRA Cup Classic

Aside from the Asia Challenge Cup, there was other big Stakes action at Seoul Racecourse this past weekend. And it was 6/1 chance Chief Red Can who took the honours in the Korean Group 2 KRA Cup Classic.

Chief Red Can and Park Eul Woon win the KRA Cup Classic (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Chief Red Can and Park Eul Woon win the KRA Cup Classic (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Clean Up Cheonha was sent off slight favourite for the 2000M race, just ahead of Cinderella Man, the latter making his first appearance at Seoul since transferring from Busan.

It would be outsider Vincero K, along with Cinderella Man who set the early pace while Chief Red Can, under jockey Park Eul Woon, went to the back. Both early pacesetters would fade badly though and having made progress in the back straight, Chief Red Can dominated the sprint to win by three lengths from Clean Up Cheonha with the slightly inaccurately-named Unbeatable back in 3rd.

Chief Red Can and Park Eul Woon return as winners. (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Chief Red Can and Park Eul Woon return as winners. (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Chief Red Can, a 5-year-old US bred gelding, moves on to 6 wins from 16 lifetime starts, while for jockey Park Eul Woon it was by far the biggest win of his 19-year career.

KRA Cup Classic (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – August 30, 2015

1. Chief Red Can (USA) [Fantasticat – Deputy Lady (French Deputy)] – Park Eul Woon – 6.5, 2.0
2. Clean Up Cheonha (USA) [El Corredor – Loh Colladoo (More Than Ready)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.4
3. Unbeatable (USA) [Eddington – Baxter Hall (Rahy)] – Park Tae Jong – 4.1
Distances: 3 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Daehan Janggun (USA) 5. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) 6. Cheonjeok (USA) 7. Areumdaun Donghaeng (USA) 8. Tough Win (USA) 9. Cinderella Man (KOR) 10. Vincero K (USA)

This coming weekend, the focus moves to Busan and the Owners’ Cup. Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace and Minister’s Cup winner Rock Band will take on top 4-year-olds Gumpo Sky and Success Story over a mile. The three others in the small field of seven; Triple Nine, Ildeung Hanghaesa and Doraon Hyeonpyo are no mugs either.