Month: January 2016

Weekend Round-Up

We’re a couple of weeks into the 2016 racing season and there has been plenty going on already both at Seoul and Busan, as well as further afield.

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Cheongu on TV!

The main story for Korean racing so far this year has to be the Korean horses at the Dubai Carnival. While Success Story is expected to make his debut on January 21, Cheongu ran on the opening night last Thursday and did ok.

Despite missing the break slightly and also losing a shoe in running, the four-year-old Old Fashioned colt finished well in touch with the pack, ending up 5th of 8 runners under British jockey Royston Ffrench.  Cheongu will get another chance either at 1400M or most likely, again at 1200M, later on in the carnival.

Cheongu’s trainer is Seo In Seok and he was back at Seoul on Sunday in time to see his mare Bichui Jeongsang comfortably win the weekend’s feature race. Bichui Jeongsang (Wildcat Heir) had downed Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller over 1200M in November and was stepped up to 1800M for Sunday’s class 1 feature. And under Nicola Pinna, she made light of her 59kg impost racing away from the field in the final furlong to win by almost three lengths on the line.

At Busan, there was a new name in the Class 1 winner’s circle. Yuseong Dream (Giacomo) was making his first start at the level following back to back wins at the end of 2015 and the four-year-old completed his hat-trick, making almost all under Kim Dong Young.

Pasquale Borelli is showing the way in the very early stages of the Busan Jockey Championship. The Italian jockey rode a double for trainer Peter Wolsley on Sunday afternoon to take him to four winner for 2016. Tied for first place is Seo Seung Un, who rode a treble on Friday and another one on Sunday and who seems to be very much enjoying his new surroundings at Busan after transferring from Seoul on January 1.

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Cheongu Goes On Dubai Carnival Opening Night

The 2016 Dubai World Cup Carnival gets underway at Meydan on Thursday and on on the very first day, Cheongu will become the first ever Korea-trained horse to take part in one of world racing’s biggest annual meetings.

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Cheongu works at Meydan (Pic: Seungho Ryu/KRA)

Cheongu (Old Fashioned) will race over 1200M on the dirt in an event for horses rated 95-108, the  Longines Conquest Classic Gents Moon Phases Handicap, which will go to post at 7.35pm Dubai time.

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Cheongu in his stall in Dubai

He is one of two Korea-trained horses to travel to the carnival along with Success Story (Peace Rules), who is being pointed towards a race over mile later this month.

The two horses arrived in Dubai on Christmas Eve and both the already experienced traveler Cheongu and first-time flyer Success Story have reportedly settled well.

Having already concluded quarantine protocols with Singapore and Japan, the protocol with the UAE was finalized in autumn last year and should also enable Dubai based horses to come and race in Korea with the inaugural US$1Million Korea Cup and the Korea Sprint – the new incarnation of the Asia Challenge Cup – both potential attractions in early September.

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Success Story settles in

Unlike in previous forays overseas, jockeys already in Dubai will be booked to ride the Korean horses and the services of a very good one have been secured on Thursday. Originally Christophe Soumillon was scheduled to ride, however, with Cheongu only set to carry 54.5kg, Britain’s Royston Ffrench will take the mount.

Hopes are realistic with creditable performances the goal. Cheongu led the KRA Trophy in Kranji in July, the Asia Challenge Cup in Seoul in August and the Interaction Cup at Ohi in October but each time didn’t take kindly to being challenged and weakened late on. He was 3rd and 4th respectively in the latter two races.

Cheongu returned to the winner’s circle at Seoul in November, making all over 1200M to record a smart win. On Thursday, he will face just seven rivals but he is rated the lowest but one of them. Here is the racecard from the Emirates Racing Authority.

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Cheongu’s entry form