Month: October 2015

Ottug Ottugi Heads A Kim Young Kwan Quinella In Gyeongnam Sinmun

We might have had a surprise winner of the Juvenile Championship race at Seoul on Saturday but it was business as usual in the corresponding event at Busan on Sunday as trainer Kim Young Kwan saddled a 1-2 and the odds-on favourite Ottug Ottugi doing the business.

One thing that Ottug Ottugi does have in common with Seoul’s winner Waikiki is that she is a filly. However, unlike Waikiki, who was getting her maiden victory yesterday, Ottug Ottugi came in to today’s race undefeated in her two previous starts.

Under Choi Si Dae Ottug Ottugi led from gate to wire but the second string very nearly got up. Nozi Tomizawa and Power Blade ended up almost in the stands so wide did they run looking for quicker ground – as had been common at Busan this weekend – but Ottug Ottugi just held on by a neck

It’s the fillies that will go to the Breeders’ Cup race at Seoul at the end of November as favourites.

Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – Oct 11, 2015

1. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.8, 1.2
2. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmachong (Lost Mountain)] – Nozomu Tomizawa – 1.3
3. Whitte Queens (KOR) [Exploit – Miracle Win (Iriquois Park)] – Song Keong Yun – 3.8
Distances: Neck/1.75 lengths – 8 ran

Interaction Cup: Korean Horses Race In Japan On Tuesday

Cheon Gu, Cowboy Son and Dynamic Jilju will be racing for Korea under the lights at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo on Tuesday night as they take on a full field of 13 Japanese horses over 1200M in the third running of the Interaction Cup.

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Cheon Gu

And in contrast to last year when Korea didn’t really bring the firepower needed in order to be competitive, there is a feeling that if the horses run to the best then they – especially Cheon Gu – have a chance of making it into the money this time around.

Cheon Gu has been drawn in gate 1 while Cowboy Son and Dynamic Jilju will start from gates 12 and 13. As ever, Yoo Seung Wan will ride Cheon Gu, who is competing in his third consecutive international race having taken part in the KRA Cup at Kranji in Singapore in July and then the Asia Challenge Cup in Seoul in August when he was beaten only by Choegang Schiller and El Padrino. Oh Kyoung Hwan takes the mount of Cowboy Son while Ikuyasu Kurakane has travelled back to his homeland to ride Dynamic Jilju.

The Japanese contenders are sure to expect the Korean horses to look to get out of the gate quickly and look to set a fast pace and then try to hang on. That’s what happened when Watts Village won the first running of this race two years ago and Cheon Gu has indeed gone forward in each of his last two races only to be reeled in.

As for those Japanese runners, as ever they tend to be older and have a lot of experience behind them and a lot of wins between them. Gorski is making his first run at NAR level following a solid JRA career and is likely to be one of the main dangers while Satono Tiger and Maruka Bakken are others who have been racing in stiffer competition and could go well on Tuesday. For a full run-down of the Japanese contenders, see the preview at the excellent Japanracing site here.

Here is the full list of runners and riders with race records:

Interaction Cup – Ohi Racecourse – 1200M – October 13, 2015 (20:15)

1. Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] 3yo colt (8/4/1/2) – Yoo Seung Wan
2. Gorski (JPN) [Neo Universe – Nikiya (Nureyev)] 8yo horse (42/8/3/4) – Seiji Yamazaki
3. Blue Tanzanite (JPN) [Brian’s Time – Keyboogie (Lyphard)] 6yo horse (37/4/1/6) – Takehiro Kashiwaga
4. Fire Prince (JPN) [On Fire – Restive Commander (Commander In Chief)] 4yo colt (30/5/6/1) – Tadanari Konno
5. Kevin Dieu (JPN) [South Vigorous – Little Namura (Ashkalani)] 6yo horse (27/5/3/0) – Tatsuya Sawada
6. Coreles Puma (JPN) [Highbridge Slew – Terano Judi (Adjudicating)] 11yo horse (68/10/8/8) – Takayuki Yano
7. Satono Tiger (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Fabulous Turn (Sunday Silence)] 7yo horse (41/7/6/4) – Seiji Sakai
8. Air Lafon (JPN) [Durandal – Pretty Tidy (Jade Robbery)] 8yo horse (40/12/6/2) – Takumi Kobayashi
9. Kurino Ama Dablam (JPN) [Orewa Matteruze – Lady Mahalo (Forty Niner)] 5yo mare (38/4/4/2) – Naoki Machida
10. Tre Bone (JPN) [Agnes Digital – Heart Full Voice (Mejiro Ryan)] 7yo gelding (41/5/2/5) – Daisuke Mashima
11. Major Athlete (JPN) [Daiwa Major – Splintercat (Storm Cat)] 6yo horse (38/3/96/2) – Taito Mori
12. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallachievement (Smart Strike)] 4yo colt (19/10/2/2) – Oh Kyoung Hwan
13. Dynamic Jilju (USA) [Forestry – Beat Your Feet (Dixieland Band)] 4yo colt (27/6/3/4) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
14. Erimo Feather (JPN) [Sinister Minister – Little Mermaid (Twining)] 5yo mare (26/4/1/4) – Jun Aritoshi
15. Maruka Bakken (JPN) [Kurofune – Famed Grace (Sunday Silence)] 8yo horse (38/7/3/4) – Hidemitsu Sakai
16. Taisei Legend (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Sharp Kick (Mejiro McQueen)] – 8yo horse (39/9/5/2) – Tsubasa Sasakawa

Life’s A Beach For Waikiki in Mayor’s Cup

Filly Waikiki was the shock 48/1 winner of the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday afternoon, in the process becoming a rather unlikely champion 2-year-old for the capital city track.

The previously unbeaten Meni Music had been sent off the slight favourite for the 1200M test but with a whole host of unexposed and very lightly raced entrants, the likelihood of a surprise was always high.

Second favourite Winners Glory was prominent for much of the race and looked to have the race won entering the final furlong. However, Waikiki, who had been very slow to jump and only led one entering the home straight, flew home in the closing stages under jockey Park Byeong Yun to snatch victory on the line.

Waikiki had raced twice previously, finishing 2nd on both occasions. She is now likely to race in the Breeders’ Cup at the end of November when the bet Seoul juveniles will face the best of Busan’s. Indeed, the Busan version of the Mayor’s Cup – the Gyeongnam Sinmun Trophy – will take place this afternoon on the south coast. Ottug Ottugi, currently two for two, is set to start as favourite.

Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Oct 10, 2015

1. Waikiki (KOR) [Pico Central – Wyvern (Didyme)] – Park Byeong Yun – 49.0, 7.4
2. Winners Glory (KOR) [Strike Again – Luck And Fame (Western Fame)] – Kim Dong Soo – 1.5
3. Gaia Thunder (KOR) [One Cool Cat – Now Cope With This (Tiznow)] – Song Jae Chul – 14.0
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 1 length – 12 ran

Borelli Bags A Busan Brace

It didn’t take Pasquale Borelli long to make an impact at Busan. The Italian jockey had eight rides on his first day in the saddle in Korea and two of them came home as winners.

Things started well for Borelli as he guided 19/1 chance Garak Yeowang to a creditable 4th in race 2 before partnering Bart Rice’s King’s Rules to 3rd in race 3. The breakthrough would come in race 4 as Borelli produced Useung Choego, the longest shot on the board at exactly the right time to score victory in race 4

It wouldn’t be all plain sailing for Borelli. On a day when favourite after favourite got turned over in the Busan sand, Peter Wolsley’s well-fancied Daseot Me was a disappointment in race 7 although the pair did combine earlier for a useful 2nd place with Nuri Bulpae in race 5.

Borelli’s final mount of the day came in race 10 and it was another successful one with 2-year-old US import Soul Blade, also making his debut today, romping away to a 6-length victory.

Masa Tanaka was also on target with a double in what was a good day for the foreign jockey contingent at Busan. Borelli has three more rides at Busan this coming Sunday.

Weekend Preview

Juveniles take centre-stage this coming weekend with the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at Seoul on Saturday and the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at Busan on Sunday serving as the two-year-old Championship races for their respective tracks. Both are prep races for the Breeders’ Cup, which will be run at Seoul at the end of November, to decide the nation’s top juvenile.

Ponies! The big ammunition was rolled out for the National Assembly visit on Monday (Pic: Agrinet)

Look at the ponies! The big ammunition was rolled out for the National Assembly visit on Monday (Pic: Agrinet)

Off the track, some might say it has already been a week for juveniles with the annual National Assembly audit of the Korea Racing Authority taking place on Monday (as an offshoot of the Agriculture Ministry, the KRA receives a yearly inspection). As ever, it provided a mild dose of entertainment but little substance related to racing.

It’s a holiday weekend in Korea and with Busan Racecourse celebrating its 10th anniversary and Seoul Racecourse hosting a three day music festival after racing each day, there should be some big crowds in.

Italian jockey Pasquale Borelli makes his Busan debut on Friday. Across the weekend he has a total of 11 rides.

Full English Race Cards available here

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday October 9
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:20 to 16:50

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

Sunday October 11
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30

Cheon Gu, Cowboy Son, Dynamic Jilju In Japan For Ohi Interaction Cup

Three Korean-trained horses are in Japan in preparation for the 3rd Interaction Cup, which will be held at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo on Tuesday October 13.

Korea-trained horses are travelling again (Pic: KRA)

Korea-trained horses are travelling again (Pic: KRA)

Two years ago, the late Watts Village delivered a glorious, not to mention totally unexpected, victory for Korea in the inaugural event. In 2014, a weak Korean entry flatly succumbed to a much stronger Japanese challenge. This year, there is a little more optimism in the air with the Korean visitors hopeful that the three challengers can this time at least give the home team a run for their money.

Cowboy Son at Nasu (Pic: KRA)

Cowboy Son at Nasu (Pic: KRA)

Cheon Gu, who seemed to enjoy his trip to Singapore in July and then finished 3rd in the Asia Challenge Cup on his return home heads the challenge of the visitors who spent six days at a quarantine facility in Nasu before moving to Ohi Racecourse on the Thursday prior to the race.

The race will be held under the lights next Tuesday evening and will be run over 1200M.

Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] 3yo Colt (8/4/1/2)
Fast becoming the go-to horse for the international races with his sporting connections taking every opportunity to do something different this year. He led out of the gate in the KRA Trophy in Singapore only to tire in the home straight and then tried something similar in the Asia Challenge Cup at Seoul in August. That day only Choegang Schiller and El Padrino made it past him.

Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallacheivement (Smart Strike)] 4yo colt (19/10/2/2)
As a 2-year-old in 2013 he won his first six races but the nature of Korean racing has meant that since becoming a class 1 horse, he has had very few opportunities to race at his preferred sprint distances. This race should therefore be ideal for him and he could be very interesting.

Dynamic Jilju (USA) [Forestry – Beat Your Feet (Dixieland Band)] 4yo colt(27/6/3/4)
He hasn’t run at 1200M since he was a 2-year-old (he won) but there is no reason why he won’t appreciate the opportunity for a sprint. He comes in following a class 1 victory over a mile in August and while he has never been a superstar, he is a solid campaigner.

We’ll have a full preview of the race once the final declarations are made over the weekend.

Cheon Gu returns from work at Nasu (Pic: KRA)

Cheon Gu returns from work at Nasu (Pic: KRA)

Italian Jockey Pasquale Borelli Set For Busan

There is a new foreign jockey in the weighing room at Busan as Pasquale Borelli joins on an initial license that will run until the end of the year.

Pasquale Borelli is set for Busan (Pic: Supplied)

Pasquale Borelli is set for Busan (Pic: Supplied)

The 32-year-old Italian has landed over 900 wins in a professional career that began in 1999, among them victories in 20 Listed races.

Another Italian licensed jockey, Serbia’s Djordje Perovic has met with sustained success at Seoul since joining earlier this year and despite parting company with trainer Lee Shin Young at the end of August, has continued to show his class and bring in the winners.

Also at Seoul, Japanese rider Yuri Takahashi has been quietly making a name for himself. Like Perovic, it took Takahashi a while to build up some momentum following his July debut but in riding his 10th and 11th winners last weekend took him up to the extremely creditable quinella strike rate of 22%.

Borelli joins Busan where among foreign jockeys Masa Tanaka is currently top man, lying in 6th place in the Jockey Championship with 39 winners in 2015 so far. Ikuyasu Kurakane has picked up where he left off since returning to Korea in the summer while Nozi Tomizawa contines to get plenty of rides and lies in 15th place in the table. Noboyuki Oyama finished up his ten-month stint in Korea at the end of September.