Day: November 15, 2015

Queen’s Blade Welcomed Home A Winner

After fifteen long months in the Korean racing wilderness, Queen’s Blade, the 2014 Korean Derby and Oaks winning filly, was back in the winner’s circle at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon having triumphed in the Jeju Governor’s Cup.

Queen's Blade in the Jeju Governor's Cup winner's circle

Queen’s Blade in the Jeju Governor’s Cup winner’s circle

Being sent to the USA is generally a career death-knell for a Korean racehorse with connections understandably taking advantage of the inexplicably generous subsidy available for running a Korean Group race winner in the States (you have to do it three times and one of them must be a Stakes race) only when they feel their horse isn’t going to win an equivalent amount at home anymore.

And while Queen’s Blade, unlike another Derby winning filly Speedy First, was at least sound, she wasn’t in race shape in America and duly met with the now familiar humiliation that greets participants in this program. Home, retirement and the breeding shed seemed to await, not the racecourse.

This filly was a little different though and after the three-month spell on the farm that she was long overdue, she returned to work last month, flying through a barrier trial and found herself in the starting gate today.

True, this was not the toughest assignment first up with race-watchers here scratching their heads trying to recall a weaker looking Stakes race which had no upper class or rating limit on its entrants. They put on a decent show though and under a characteristically skilful ride from Japanese jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane, Queen’s Blade battled hard to earn victory by a neck.

Queen’s Blade was always handy and while she and stablemate Bukbeol Sinhwa (a full sister to President’s Cup winner Triple Nine) stayed on, the rest of the early front-runners would fade in the closing stages and it was left to closers Pinot Noir and Meni Money to get the closest to the winner with Pinot Noir, an 18/1 chance, just running out of track in the end.

Queen’s Blade is a half sister to 2008 Korean Oaks winner Jeolho Chance and was recording her first victory since her own Oaks success last August. It was her 8th career win in total from sixteen (Korean) starts. For jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane it was a third Korean Stakes race win while for trainer Kim Young Kwan it was business as usual in the biggest races.

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – November 15, 2015

1. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.9, 1.6
2. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.9
3. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.7
Distances: Neck/2 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Bukbeol Sinhwa 5. X File 6. Smart Time 7. Winner’s Marine 8. Indian Star 9. Hwanggembitjijung 10. Jokwang 11. Jibong Sarang 12. Appealing Star 13. Space Shuttle 14. Chongal Gongju 15. Blue Guardian 16. Geumbit Hwanhui

Jeju Governor’s Cup – Runners & Riders

This afternoon’s sees the final stakes race of the season for fillies & mares in the shape of the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul. And it has attracted a full field of sixteen in what looks an interesting, if underwhelming, contest.

Queen's Blade won last year's Derby and returns to Korean action at Seoul today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade won last year’s Derby and returns to Korean action at Seoul today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Interesting it may be but the Cup has drawn the short straw somewhat in that it falls just two weeks after the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, in which a number of the best domestic bred fillies, such as Oaks winner Jangpung Parang participated in and the lack of depth in the distaff ranks is shown up quite starkly by a line-up lacking in quality.

The 2014 Korean Derby winner Queen’s Blade returns to action in Korea after a pointless trip to the United States. She is at least fit now (had she been fit earlier this year, she would have stayed in Korea but that is another gripe for another day) and she could very well get back in the winner’s circle today under Ikuyasu Kurakane. However, stablemate Bukbeol Sinhwa, who won the Busan trial for this race last month will also be expected to go close with another Japanese jockey, Masa Tanaka on board.

Others who will be backed include Indian Star and Winner’s Marine who were 2nd and 3rd behind Bukbeol Sinhwa in that trial race and have managed to attract top Busan jockeys Jo Sung Gon and Kim Yong Geun to the capital to ride while Nozi Tomizawa is a also in town and may go well on Jokwang. Meni Money is perhaps the pick of a weak home team but whoever wins this isn’t exactly going to be a world beater.

Here is the full list of runners and riders:

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Nov 15, 2015

1. Hwanggeumbitjijung (KOR) [Menifee – Firstclasscat (Catienus)] (18/6/2/1) – Yang Young Nam
2. Chongal Gongju (KOR) [Vicar – Isis (Didyme)] (41/3/9/3) – Kim Hye Sun
3. Bukbeol Shinhwa (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (13/6/2/1) – Masakazu Tanaka
4. Winner’s Marine (KOR) [Volponi – Graceful Ballerina (Posse)] (20/5/2/3) – Jo Sung Gon
5. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee (Woodman)] (36/5/3/10) – Moon Se Young
6. Space Shuttle (KOR) [Menifee – Jeongtongseong (Lassigny)] (17/3/0/3) – Jo Jae Ro
7. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (10/4/3/0) – Ham Wan Sik
8. Jibong Sarang (KOR) [Officer – Meryl’s Spirit (Storm Boot)] (9/3/3/1) – Jo Chang Wook
9. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] (13/6/6/0) – Seo Seung Un
10. Indian Star (KOR) [Adcat – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] (6/5/1/0) – Kim Yong Geun
11. Geumbit Hwanhui (KOR) [Peace Rules – Sincheongchun (Silent Warrior)] (18/5/3/2) – Jang Chu Youl
12. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] (15/7/5/0) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
13. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] (22/5/6/2) – Park Eul Woon
14. Blue Guardian (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Timber Side (Timber Country) (12/2/3/1) – Kim Dong Soo
15. Jokwang (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charming Roman (Gadabout)] (35/3/4/4) – Nozomu Tomizawa
16. Appealing Star (KOR) [Duality – Appealing Satin (Valid Appeal)] (29/4/3/2) – Lee Hyun Jeong