Month: October 2015

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.

Cheonnyeon Dongan Injury Mars NACF Trophy Victory

Favourite Cheonnyeon Dongan raced to her second NACF Chairman’s Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday but it is likely to have been the last time we see the mare in action on the track as she suffered a breakdown on being pulled up.

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Lee Chan Ho win the NACF Chairman's Race (Pic: KRA)

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Lee Chan Ho win the NACF Chairman’s Race (Pic: KRA)

There was little indication in the race that anything was amiss with Cheonnyeon Dongan trading the lead with 25/1 shot Beaux Arts before taking things up for good in the home straight and outsprinting Korean Oaks runner-up Meni Money for victory by just under a length on the line.

It wasn’t until a full furlong after the line that the winner stumbled, dumping jockey Lee Chan Ho out of the saddle and onto the track. She was quickly attended to but x-rays revealed a fracture of both proximal sesamoid bones of her left foreleg. Surgery will attempt to save her for a breeding career.

Cheonnyeon Dongan was a late starting two-year-old in 2012 but had shown sufficient promise in her early races to be sent to the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown, the following Spring. That didn’t go well but a 4th place in the Korean Oaks marked her out as one of the top fillies of her crop. She confirmed that with victories in the Donga-Ilbo Cup and then her first NACF Trophy in the autumn.

2014 would see two Class 1 wins and four 2nd places among seven starts for the year. This season as a five-year-old, she won her second Donga-Ilbo Trophy and added a 2nd place in the Sports Seoul Trophy before her final victory this past weekend, her 11th from a total of 26 career races.

NACF Chairman’s Trophy – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – October 4, 2015

1. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessey)] – Lee Chan Ho – 2.5, 1.3
2. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.4
3. Shine Clover (KOR) [Revere – Prairie Township (Smarty Jones)] – Kim Dong Soo – 15.6
Distances: 0.75 lengths/1.75 lengths – 13 ran

With Cheonnyeon Dongan’s long-time rival Joy Lucky disappointing once more after being sent off as 2nd-favourite it looks as though there is a changing of the guard among the distaff ranks at Seoul. Meni Money perhaps hasn’t quite lived up to her early potential just yet but still looks to have plenty more in her while the lowest rated filly in the race, Shine Clover pulled off a shock 3rd place.

Shine Clover, the second foal out of the Smarty Jones mare Prairie Township, has won just once from ten career starts but has only been out of the money once.

This coming week, attention turns to the 2-year-olds with Juvenile Championship races at both Seoul and Busan in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup race at the end of November.

Weekend Race Times

After a one week break for the Korean Thanksgiving holidays, racing is back on the peninsula with a big three days of action with valuable races at both Seoul and Busan.

Autumn racing season gets underway this weekend

Feature race of the weekend is at Seoul where the Nonghyup Chairman’s race for fillies & mares is the weekend highlight. 13 will line up for the 1200M event including Korean Oaks secon placegetter Meni Money.

English language race cards are available here.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday October 2
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:20 to 16:50

Saturday October 3
Seoul Racecourse: 13 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday October 4
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30