Month: February 2016

Pinot Noir Is Seoul’s Snow Queen While Triple Nine Scores At Busan

A frenetic day of racing on the peninsula saw a total of four races lost due to a combination of a Tote system failure and then a late-winter blizzard. However, both of the day’s biggest races survived, with Pinot Noir running out the dominant winner of Seoul’s snowbound Donga Ibo Cup and, in altogether more agreeable conditions in Busan, last year’s President’s Cup winner and top three-year-old Triple Nine got his 2016 campaign off to a winning start.

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Pinot Noir slips and slides around the Donga Ilbo Cup winner’s circle

Pinot Noir was sent off the 2nd favourite for the Donga Ilbo Cup, an early prep race for the Queens’ Tour races later in the year. And while, as in recent starts, she was slowly away, she quickly improved and once she took the lead on the turn for home, there was only ever going to be one winner. She and jockey Park Eul Woon crossed the line a full nine lengths clear of their nearest rivals.

Smart Time and Djordje Perovic got the best of a photo-finish for 2nd, nosing ahead of X File. Pre-race favourite Meni Money, 2nd in last year’s Korean Oaks, was a disappointing seven further lengths back in 4th place. It was Pinot Noir’s 6th career victory.

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Feb 28, 2016

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.9, 1.2
2. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft.Stockton – Caron (Jade Robbery)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.5
3. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee (Woodman)] – Kim Dong Soo – 2.9
Distances: 9 lengths/Nose – 9 ran

At Busan, President’s Cup winner Triple Nine (Ecton Park) was making his seasonal debut and he was sent off at odds-on to score in the class 1 handicap over 2000M. He was made to work for it, although not by second favourite Gumpo Sky (Vicar) who as usual set the early pace but this time failed to get home.

Instead, on a day when the road to the Queens’ Tour began in Seoul, it would be last year’s “Queen” Heba (Peace Rules) would run Triple Nine all the way to the line, ultimately going down by only half a length. Old-stager Viva Ace (Macho Uno), nowin his sixth season racing at Busan, ran a huge race and pipped Gumpo Sky by a nose for 3rd.

Neither were perhaps the story of the day. There had been carnage in race 6 at Seoul when filly Brown Rocket broke down when leading, unseated jockey Jang Chuyoul in front of a wall of horses. Three more jockeys would be brought down in the aftermath; Jeong Jeon Hee, Kim Hye Sun and Lee Hae Dong. Remarkably, between them, the most serious injury was a broken arm. Brown Rocket, sadly, was not so fortunate.

While races 3 at Busan and 7 at Seoul proceeded without incident, the tote system then malfunctioned – Busan and Seoul both running the same system. This caused the cancellation of Busan race 4. For a few worrying moments it became clear that not only could the system not take bets, it could not payout or refund tickets either. A ripple of discontent started to appear although to punters’ credit, tempers remained intact.

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A tractor does its best

With snow now blizzard-like at Seoul, race 8 was cancelled in any case although to the relief of almost all, the tote system came back online to allow Busan race 5 to go ahead as planned. The two feature races were then run before with dusk falling but the snow not yet abating, Seoul races 10 and 11 were cancelled on safety grounds in accordance with jockeys’ wishes.

And so ended an eventful day’s racing. Or mostly racing. It’s March in a couple of days and we should be done with this kind of nonsense. Next Sunday sees early Korean Oaks trials at both Seoul and Busan.

Saturday Round-Up

There was Class 1 action at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday afternoon and it was 8/1 shot Ganghae who returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year as he got the best of a tight finish to win the seven furlong contest.

Ganghae (Didyme) recorded consecutive 2nd place finishes in Stakes races last year but yesterday would record his 7th career win, racing forward throughout under jockey Choi Bum Hyun and holding off the fast finishing 2nd-favourite Grade Captain by a neck on the line.

Grade Captain was ridden by Djordje Perovic and the “Balkan Wolf” was in superb form throughout the day, partnering three winners; Power Jeongsang in race 3, Bulkkochwangja in race 5 and Whiz Speed in race 6 to move onto 59 Korean winners.

In other races, US filly Wow Cat (Cowtown Cat) continued her development, taking the class 3 race 10 by just over a length to chalk up her 3rd win in 7 starts.

Racing retirns to Seoul Sunday with 11 races including the Donga Ilbo Cup. Race 1 is at 10:50. There are 6 races at Busan with the first underway at 1pm.

Sunday Big Race Preview: Donga Ilbo Cup At Seoul / Triple Nine Vs. Gumpo Sky At Busan

Big race action returns to Seoul on Sunday in the shape of the Donga Ilbo Cup. However, it’s at Busan where arguably the pick of the action is with a high quality handicap just 25 minutes later.

Triple Nine

President’s Cup winner Triple Nine makes his 2016 debut at Busan on Sunday

The Donga Ilbo Cup is for domestic-bred fillies and mares and has attracted eight entries. Favouritism is likely to be contested by Meni Money, 2nd in last year’s Korean Oaks and Pinot Noir, 2nd in the Jeju Governor’s Cup.

At Busan, the feature class 1 handicap has attracted some of the biggest names at the track. President’s Cup winner Triple Nine takes on Grand Prix runner-up Gumpo Sky and nine other very solid competitors over 2000M. Here is a full run-down of the prospects of each horse in both races:

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) (F&M) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – February 28, 2016 (16:40)

1. Argo Asset (KOR) [Menifee] 5 (23/4/3/2) BJ Choi – Lim Gi Won
Not especially proven around two turns and was a well beaten 5th behind Smart Time last start. Likely to go forward early and an outside chance of the money.

2. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee] 4  (15/6/6/1) DK Kim – Moon Se Young
Seoul’s top 3yo filly of last year was 2nd in the Korean Oaks and Nonghyup Chairman’s Cup. 3rd behind Pinot Noir in the Jeju Governor’s Cup on November 15, she could overturn that form here. 4th in her only start so far this year, she will settle behind any early speed.

3. Space Shuttle (KOR) [Menifee] 5 (20/4/0/3) HJ Bae – Jo Jae Ro
An outsider, she was an also-ran in the Jeju Governor’s Cup. A winner over 1800M at class 3 in December, she will need to find plenty here. She will probably go back early and look to close.

4. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending] 6 (24/5/7/2) CS Park – Park Eul Woon
2nd in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, two lengths ahead of Meni Money, she is a very solid racemare. She could only manage 6th place in a tough class 1 handicap in December but comes in following a couple of months off and can go well. She has tended to go back of late and attempt to close but there is no guarantee that’s what she’ll do here.

5. Lucky Music (KOR) [Creek Cat] 4 (16/4/2/5) HS Seo – Lee Hyeon Jong
Moreof an outsider, she has decent results at the distance though and was 3rd to Space Shuttle last start when giving her weight. She will probably go forward and could place.

6. X File (KOR) [Exploit] 7 (38/5/3/10) YS Kim – Kim Dong Soo
Comes in following three consecutive 5th place finishes, one of them the jeju Governor’s Cup. Should be looking to improve on that here. Decent speed and will sit behind any early leaders.

7. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton] 4 (13/5/3/0) DK Kim – Djordje Perovic
Sixth in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, she followed that up with a win over 1400M and then a 4th at 1800M, both at this class. A probable front-runner, she will be well-backed and is the likely 3rd favourite.

8. Punggwae (KOR) [Ft. Stockton] 5 (14/3/2/2) ST Shim – Yoo Seung Wan
An outsider to finish with, she’s two races into a comeback following six months out. She hasn’t shown a great deal in those. Generally goes back at the start.

Class 1 Handicap – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – February 28, 2016 (17:05)

1. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules] 6 M (37/9/5/3) 56kg SJ Kwon – Song Keong Yun
Queens’ Tour and therefore Champion filly or mare of 2015, the Grand Prix Stakes in December was perhaps a race too far. Nevertheles she was back last month, running 3rd behind Yuseong Dream and she wil be well-backed to at least place. Usually settles in midfield.

2. Dynamic Dash (USA) [Pleasantly Perfect] 4 C (15/7/5/1) 55kg BH Kim – Pasquale Borelli
2nd to Yuseong Dream and ahead of Heba and a couple of others in that 1900M race on January 10th, he was a class 1 winner the time before that. Very talented but there are one or two here who are a bit better. He could find the money.

3. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) [Bernadini] 7 H (33/11/3/4) 54.5kg BE Kang – Park Jae I (-3)
Took advantage of a low impost to win over 1800M last October. 4th behind Yuseong Dream, Dynamic Dash and Heba last time he will need to find a bit more today. Likely to drop back at the start.

4. Viva Ace (USA) [Macho Uno] 8 G (51/11/14/7) 51kg CY Yoo – Chae Sang Hyun (-1)
A Busan stalwart in his sicth season of racing, he is very capable of picking up minor prize money – he’s done it on two of his last three starts. Sometimes goes forward, sometimes goes back, he won’t win this but 4th or 5th is possible.

5. Nobody Catch Me (USA) [With Distinction] 6 G (25/6/5/2) 54kg JK Min – Lyu Gwang Hee (-3)
Nobody has needed to catch him lately as he has led very few. This one time Mayor’s Cup winner suffers from a rating based on past glories and although the apprentice jockey will alleviate that somewhat, he isn’t in good form. Changed trainers lately and he may well go forward today.

6. Goji Jeongbeol (USA) [Congrats] 5 G (23/5/4/5) 51kg KY Baik – Jin Kyum (-3)
Another who has an apprentice on board and who looks very nicely in here. 2000M is ideal and while others are better, he can go well. He is likely to go back early and look to close.

7. Chogwang (AUS) [Lion Heart] 7 H (36/4/6/5) 54.5kg JK Min – Park Geum Man
Returns to the track for the first time since September. Sauntered through a barrier trial not looking especially impressive last month and he will be an outsider here. Likely to go forward.

8. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal] 5 H (22/10/2/3) 57kg SY Lee – Makoto Okabe
Not generally thought of as being ideal for 2000M although he did once run 3rd at it, it is hard to see him beating the specialists at it, especially carrying 57kg. He’s failed to win prize money on only three occasions but this could be a fourth. In his favour, he has a smart jockey aboard who can help him get the trip.

9. Yuseong Dream (KOR) [Giacomo] 4 C (17/7/1/4) 52kg DS Bang – Kim Dong Young
A really nice looking winner on his very first try at class 1 last month, beating four of his rivals here. One on the up and still very nicely in the handicap. He’s won three in a row and a fourth isn’t impossible. He made all last time and will try to do so again.

10. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar] 5 H (26/9/8/3) 57kg SJ Kwon – Seo Seung Un
Just beaten a neck in a thrilling end to the Grand Prix Stakes in December, Gum Sky is a proven class and distance winner. Although he beat Triple Nine in the Grand Prix, he suffered a reverse to him at this distance in the President’s Cup at Seoul last October and he is likely to be 2nd favourite here. He will go forward though and Triple Nine will have to come past him.

11. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park] 4 C (12/7/4/0) 53kg YK Kim – Yoo Hyun Myung
The favourite. 2nd in the Korean Derby and the Minister’s Cup, he won the President’s Cup in October. He couldn’t quite get up the Grand Prix but was only a length and a half behind the winner and it is his debut this year that is anticipated more than almost any other. He will settle just behind the early leaders and he can win.

Busan Friday Round-Up

Banjiui Jewang was the star of the show on the south coast on Friday as the three-year-old continued his development with an easy class 3 win over 1400M

The Peter Wolsley trainee was 2nd to Power Blade in the Breeders’ Cup race at Seoul last November and that remains his sole defeat. While favourite on Friday, Banjiui Jewang was thought by no means a certainty in a competitive event featuring proven older winners Korean Tank, Wire To and Yesuri Myeongun.

All three of those would fail to fire and even if they had, it is questionable as to whether they would have got anywhere near Banjiui Jewang. The colt raced away to an eight-length win with jockey Choi Si Dae (gleefully stepping in for the ill Lee Hee Cheon) able to spend the final furlong watching himself on the big screen such was his mount’s superiority.

Banjiui Jewang (Ecton Park), whose name means “Lord Of The Rings”, now has four wins from five and looks set to head to the Triple Crown races beginning with the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on April 3.

In other races, you need to be sure your horse is good if you are going to name him World Champion even if he is the half-brother of last year’s Korean Oaks winner Jangpung Parang. On Friday though World Champion (Didyme) made short work of a class 5 field to record his third victory in five starts. Pasquale Borelli rode.

It was a decent day for the foreign contingent at Busan. Aside from Borelli and Wolsley’s victories, Makoto Okabe guided Useung Chance (Any Given Saturday) to a narrow victory in race 10 while trainers Thomas Gillespie and Bart Rice also saddled winners. For Gillespie, filly Sergeant Cecil (Officer) claimed race 4 while the promising Buhwarui Banseok (Tizway) took race 11 for Rice.

Racing returns to Busan on Sunday. Seoul holds cards on both Saturday and Sunday.

Success Story To Face California Chrome At Meydan

Success Story will make his 2nd Dubai Carnival start at Meydan on Thursday and it couldn’t be a tougher ask for the Korea-bred and trained five-year-old as faces the Carnival’s star attraction, California Chrome, over 2000M. 

Success Story O'Shea

Tadhg O’Shea will partner Success Story again (Pic: Dubai Racing Club)

Success Story has raced three times over 2000M in the past, struggling to get the distance in two attempts at it as a three-year-old in 2014, including a 10th place in the President’s Cup at Seoul. He managed a win in his only attempt at the distance in 2015, winning a handicap by just under three lengths at Busan last April.

Provisional race cards are available at the Emirates Racing Authority’s website.

The Min Jang Ki trained five-year-old horse also held an entry in a 1400M contest, however, given the strength of that race and the presence of a lot of early speed, it was decided to allow him to take his chance at the greater distance.

As it happens, California Chrome will run in the same event, race 6 on the seven-race card, using it as his warm-up race for the World Cup. While making it that much more difficult for Success Story to improve on the 3rd place that he recorded on his Dubai debut over a mile last month, the presence of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner does enable the rest of the field, including Success Story to just carry 53Kg (although a Godolphin entrant has a jockey claiming a further 2.5kg which could be interesting).

The hope is that this, combined with the Meydan dirt being kinder to stay on than the Busan sand as well as the fact that it was well known California Chrome would be running here leading some other tough contenders to avoid this race  (there are only eight runners) will allow Success Story to not only stay the distance but also be able to beat some of the others home.

Cheongu, the other Korea-trained horse at the Carnival, will also race on Thursday. He finished 5th of 8 over 1200M on opening night and will go over the same distance in race 3. Having been slowly away and losing a plate in running, he certainly had his excuses in January. He’ll be up against it once more but an improved performance is possible.

Tadhg O’Shea, who won admiration in Korea for his enterprising ride on Success Story last month, will take the mount again while Royston Ffrench will partner Cheongu.

Full Weekend Round-Up: Clean Up Joy Too Good

He put in a huge performance when finishing 3rd in the Grand Prix Stakes in December and today Clean Up Joy opened his 2016 campaign with a dominating win over a strong class 1 field at Seoul Racecourse.

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Clean Up Joy and Ham Wan Sik return to scale following a comfortable win in Seoul’s feature

 

The 1800M race featured Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller, top mare Bichui Jeongsang and consistent performer Wonder Bolt among a field of thirteen but Clean Up Joy was sent off the odds-on favourite and punters were overwhelmingly proved right.

Steady in the early stages, Ham Wan Sik brought Clean Up Joy into the frame around the home turn hitting the front with a furlong to go and racing away for an 8-length victory. Bichui Jeongsang continued her recent run of good form in 2nd with Wonder Bolt 3rd. An out-of-sorts Choegang Schiller came home in 8th.

It was a 7th win from 15 career starts for US import Clean Up Joy (Purge) and his 3rd from his last 4.

At Busan, another import was winning in fine style as Peter Wolsley’s Macheon Bolt (Old Fashioned) had too much in the class 1 feature over 1400M, winning by a length. The win was his 8th from 11 outings in total and he too looks to be one to follow this year.

Busan Friday: Friday’s banker bet of the day was sure to be Perdido Pomeroy. Unbeaten after three easy victories, the US import was sent off the long-odds on favourite for the 1400M Class 2 race 11. Unfortunately for favourite backers, jockeys Kim Yong Geun on Perdido Pomeroy and You Hyun Myung on second favourite Made Winner – arguably the track’s two leading riders – came out of the gate like a pair of boy racers in stolen Avantes with neither being prepared to give ground.

Made Winner would suffer first, starting to fade at the top of the home straight adn then Perdido Pomeroy himself, giving way with a furlong to go as Makoto Okabe took full advantage on Darkest Night. Perdido Pomeroy would eventually finish 3rd.

That race aside, You Hyun Myung put in a good shift on Friday, riding four winners across the afternoon. Two of them were for foreign trainers with Thomas Gillespie’s Mujeok Sinhwa scoring in race 4 and Bart Rice’s Wonil Rose the 40/1 winner of race 7. It was also a good day for Peter Wolsley with his first-time starter Smart Valor taking race 1 and Nuri Bulpae race 8.

Seoul Saturday: Things were rather low-key throughout the 12-race card in the capital on Saturday. Standout performer was Dongbanguisaeachim, who got her 4th win from her last 5 starts when taking the class 2 race 11. A five-year-old mare, Dongbanguisaeachim, although always a regular minor prize-money winner, enteres last November with a record of 2 wins from 24 starts. Four months on and it’s 6 from 29.  Earlier inthe day, Djordje Perovic rode his regulation winner guiding Taeyangwang to victory in race 10.

Next Sunday we have big race action at Seoul in the shape of the Donga Ilbo Cup, and 1800M Listed contest for fillies and mares while at Busan, the feature handicap has attracted entries from a substantial number of the track’s best-known horses including Beolmaui Kkum, Gumpo Sky and Triple Nine. We’ll see how many of them declare on Wednesday.

Vicar, 1999 Florida Derby Winner & Sire of Korean Classic Winners, has Died

Vicar has died, aged 20, at the KRA Jeju Stud Farm. The cause of death, as per the Korean Studbook, has been recorded as a “throat obstruction”. He passed away on January 24th. 

Vicar

Vicar 1996-2016

Vicar [Wild Again – Escrow Agent (El Gran Senor)] was a solid racehorse in the United States. Handled by Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger, Vicar won 4 of 17 outings including victories in what was then the Grade I  Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Florida Derby, both at Gulfstream Park, in 1999.

He would go on to compete in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint later that year without success and wouldn’t actually win another race before retirement in mid-July of 2000 having won in excess of $800,000.

Vicar didn’t meet with a huge amount of success at Stud in the United States and was sold to the Korea Racing Authority in 2006. He would prove to be a good match for the Korean breeding program. Covering for the first time in 2007, his first foals hit the track in 2010 when he was 5th on the Leading Sire of Two-Year-Olds list. In each of the next four years, he would end up in 3rd place on the General Sire list.

In 2011, he got winners of two legs of the Triple Crown with Gwangyajeil winning the Korean Derby and Dongseo Jeongbeol the Minister’s Cup. Wonderful Namhae and the filly Joy Lucky would be his chief earners over the next two years before Gumpo Sky, 2nd in last year’s Grand Prix Stakes, took over in 2014 and 2015.

He would finish in 5th in terms of Leading Sire in 2015 and while it is very early days he already lies in 2nd place in the 2016 list after his Gumanseok returned to class 1 winning form in January.

Here is his appearance video, taken in Jeju Island shortly after his arrival in 2007: