Month: March 2016

Busan Friday Race Notes

The weekend’s racing in Korea gets underway on Friday with a ten-race card at Busan. Busan will also hold a card on Sunday while Seoul runs Saturday and Sunday.

Click here for English racecards

See below for notes on simulcast races 4-10:

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:40 

Top trainer and jockey combination on (1) CHALLANHAN ACE, who has come close on both his last two starts and is favoured to make all and score here. (5) GORYEOUI KKUM was 2nd on his debut, well beaten by a good winner but ahead of three of these rivals and can be competitive. One of those beaten ones was (3) SMART KING, who has finished 4th of 5th in each of his five starts to date and can look to improve. (7) TAMNA CHEONHA and (10) RAON BENTREE are the others to look out for. (6) NOBLE WARRIOR makes just his second start after a fill six months out but will obviously need this race.

Favourites: (1) Challanhan Ace (5) Goryeoui Kkum (3) Smart King (7) Tamna Cheonha

Race 5: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:25 

(6) MAD POWER was a good winner on debut last month and while up in both class and distance today, will be among the front-runners here. (9) GOLD SUN and (7) HUIMANG QUEEN were both 4th on their first tries at this level on February 14th and may also be considered; the former was beaten by (14) BYEOLMURI and that one too can overcome the outside gate to be involved. More experienced is (5) SUNDAY ROYAL, who was only beaten a nose having almost made all over 1300M on February 19th and must be respected today.

Favourites: (6) Mad Power (7) Huimang Queen (5) Sunday Royal (9) Gold Sun

Race 6: Class 5 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:15 

A small field but a number have chances. They’re headed by (4) BLACK TETRA, a two-length winner on debut at the end of February and who is up in class here. Going forward out of the gate will be (2) MAGIC LINE and that one is the main danger; he was just beaten a neck over this distance last start and will be strong once more. (6) MAYA COUNTRY has looked much improved since returning from six months out and can go well. (3) DAMYANG CHEONSA and (8) KKEUTPAN JILJU are also ones likely to attract backers.

Favourites: (4) Black Tetra (2) Magic Line (6) Maya Country (3) Damyang Cheonsa

Race 7: Class 4 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 16:05 

Another open contest with (7) BRAVO MARINE looking ready to win after a 2nd and three 3rd place finishes in his four starts to date. Main danger (10) SUPER CHEOLIN is already a winner and while he was beaten by (2) MAERYEOK DEONGEORI on January 31st, he can overturn that form today. (9) IRON TRAIN finished behind both of them that day but back up at a mile here, a distance he won over on Christmas Day, improvement is expected. (5) ACE SINHWA, 5th in that Christmas race and a creditable 6th at 1800M last start, may also be involved.

Favourites: (7) Bravo Marine (10) Super Cheolin (2) Maeryeok Deongeori (9) Iron Train

Race 8: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 17:00 

(5) TOHAMSAN steps up in class following his second win in three starts; a five-length triumph over this distance a month ago. He led almost the whole way that day and has every chance of being successful with similar tactics today. (6) WONIL ROOKIE, half-brother of a winner of some of Korea’s biggest races, returned from eight months out on February 12 to beat (3) GUMPO MIREU by a neck. That was a well-run race and they both step up in class too. Both are likely to also go forward early. If we are looking for something to beat those likely pace-setters, (1) NURI BULPAE is the best contender. He was a class and distance winner a month ago. (4) POKPUNG SINHWA, disappointing last start, can be given another chance here.

Favourites: (5) Tohamsan (6) Wonil Rookie (3) Gumpo Mireu (1) Nuri Bulpae

Race 9: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 17:30 

Two standouts here but (4) MAIN STAY is the pick on his first try at this distance. He beat three of these over a mile on February 19th and should have little difficulty with the extra furlong. The main danger is (7) SAEMSONNEEUNENERGY, who comes in following back to back 2ndplaces at this distance. He will go right back early but has a strong finish. (2) RISING BRAVO was 2nd to Main Stay last month and can push him again while (8) USEUNGIJI, who didn’t go well in that race, can improve today. Wildcard is (1) PILKKOT, down in class after being out of his depth at class 2 but a proven winner at this level.

Favourites: (4) Main Stay (7) Saemsonneeunenergy (2) Rising Bravo (8) Useungiji

Race 10: Class 2 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 18:00 (SIN)

Good race this but (2) APPROACH should have too much. (9) CHEONJI PARK was 4th behind Approach last time and while the weights are further in his favour this time, he will have to improve to overturn that form. A danger is (8) DIFERENT DIMENSION, who looked lively running 2nd when back from a lengthy spell and tries this distance for the first time. (4) SAEROUN BEOPCHIK won a weak class 3 in January and followed it up with a 2nd place to get bumped up in class here but needs to find plenty. (1) WILD BURNING and (7) NOT ANYMORE are the others with hopes of placing.

Favourites: (2) Approach (8) Diferent Dimension (9) Cheonji Park (4) Saeroun Beopchik

Late Show Haemaru Owns SROA Trophy

8/1 chance Haemaru was the winner of the first Korean Group race of 2016, getting up for a last-gasp victory over Segye Ilbo Cup victor Global Fusion in the Seoul Racecourse Owners’ Association Trophy this afternoon.

Punters couldn’t come to any kind of consensus. Magic Dancer ended up sent off as a weak favourite but while he would show close to the front for most of the race he, along with all the early pace-setters; Yaho Sky Cat, Sun Lordly and Always Winner, would fade badly in the home straight.

It would be left to the closers and Global Fusion, the shock winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January with a similar late late show, took control with a furlong to go. His lead looked to be big enough to ensure lightning would indeed strike twice but that was to reckon without Haemaru. Fifth at the furlong pole, he relentless ground down the leader under jockey Choi Bum Hyun and snatched victory in the final strides.

Sotong Sidae, Sun Burster and Seonbong would likewise fly home from the back to occupy the minor prize money positions.

For Haemaru (Vicar), a 5-year-old gelding, it was an 8th career win on his 25th start and first Stakes victory. He was 9th in this race last year. For Jockey Choi Bum Hyun, at one-time the go to man in the weighing room for the big occasions, it was a first return to the Stakes winner’s circle since 2012.

SROA Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 13, 2016

1. Haemaru (KOR) [Vicar – Forest Flower (Timber Country)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 8.6, 2.9
2. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 4.0
3. Sotong Sidae (KOR) [Gold Money – Myeonggahuiye (Black Minnaloushe)] – Park Byeong Yun – 3.1
Distance: Head/2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sun Burster 5. Seonbong 6. Always Winner 7. Yaho Sky Cat 8. Singyu Gangja 9. Best Guy 10. Gumanseok 11. Goldholic 12 Magic Dancer 13. Power City 14. Impetus 15. Raon Morris 16. Sun Lordly

Down at Busan, Beolmaui Kkum (Wildly Magic) cemented his return to the top of racing on the south coast, beating Gamdonguibada (Werblin)for a second consecutive time. over 1400M. There was a length between the pair on the line and they were split by Darkest Night (Ghostly Minister), who recorded a very solid 2nd place on his first try at class 1.

SROA Trophy – Full Preview Of First Korean Graded Race of 2016

Sunday sees the first Graded race of 2016 at Seoul in the shape of the local Group 3 Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy. A full field of sixteen will line up for the 1200M sprint.


Global Fusion was the rather unlikely winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January

Six of them ran in the Segye Ilbo Cup on January 31st with the first two home that day – Global Fusion and Always Winner coming home as an 1800/1 exacta that day. This time there are set to be strong challenges from the likes of Sotong Sidae, Power City and Magic Dancer in what is set to be a nice competitive race.

Here is a full rundown of the field. All are Korean bred and all will carry 57kg with fillies and mares receiving a 2kg allowance (Name [Pedigree] Age Sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) – Jockey):

SROA Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 13, 2015 (16:40)

1. Impetus [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky] 6 H (30/7/3/8) – Jo Jae Ro
4th behind Seonbong last start over 1400M, he is a solid class 1 competitor and has good closing speed. Generally slow away, the minor money is a realistic aim here.

2. Yaho Sky Cat [Peace Rules – The Relentless Cat] 4 G (8/4/1/0) – Djordje Perovic
He’s won 4 of 8 so far but yet to strike any higher than class 3. A disappointment in the Segye Ilbo Cup, where he was unable to get forward early, he has plenty to find here. Needs a good start.

3. Magic Dancer [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic] 6 H (25/10/4/2) – Jo Sung Gon
This former big Stakes winner has perhaps seen better days but landed a creditable 4th in the Segye Ilbo, his 2nd race back after a spell. He got forward early and gave little away late on and that performance puts him in contention here. A chance.

4. Sun Lordly [Vicar – Stormcloudrising] 7 M (32/6/4/2) – Hwang Soon Do
She’s only raced four times since winning the JRA Trophy last May and has shown very little. Even the jockey booking suggest she is a big outsider.

5. Global Fusion [Menifee – Morning Red Sky] 7 G (36/7/3/6) – Yoo Seung Wan
The 66/1 winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup, lfying home from well off the pace to get up by a neck. Similar tactics are expected here but while a bit more respect is due today, the odds are against a repeat.

6. Sotong Sidae [Gold Money – Myeonggauihuye] 5 G (28/7/4/6) – Park Byeong Yun
He may end up as favourite. It’s been a long time since he was entered in a sprint but he is one of the top horses at the track. The Grand Prix distance was too much for him last start but he comes in fresh today. He goes back early and has very solid closing speed. A real chance.

7. Haemaru [Vicar – Forest Flower] 5 G (24/7/3/4) – Choi Bum Hyun
A consistent placer in 2015, he hasn’t started this term quite so well and was disappointing at 1400M last start. Ideally would be ridden closer to the front today – he ran a close 2nd when put into contention early over 1400M in December and improvement is possible here.

8. Gumanseok [Vicar – Perfect Storm] 7 G (42/11/6/8) – Lee Chan Ho
Came back into form with a pair of unexpected victories in December and January but didn’t go well in a tough race three weeks ago. Capable at sprint distances in the past, he should settle in midfield and makes for an interesting outsider.

9. Goldholic [Volponi – Lovely Memories] 4 C (21/6/4/4 – Lee Joon Chel
Mixes in elite company for the first time following three wins in his last five starts. Led from gate to wire over 1800M last time out and while it will be harder to get to the front here, he shouldn’t be too far away. This is a big step up though.

10. Power City [Archer City Slew – Power Bull] 5 G (17/9/2/2) – Park Tae Jong
3rd behind Global Fusion and Always Winner in the Segye Ilbo last month, he is a proven big race winner. Likely to settle in the middle of the field,he has strong finishing speed and he will be one of the favourites.

11. Always Winner [Always Winner – Hallat’Eukkeup] 4 G (15/4/4/2) – Kim Dong Soo
Just beaten a neck by Global Fusion in the Segye Ilbo and three lengths clear of Power City, that was Always’s Winner’s first try at the top level. He led almost the whole way that day and will try similar today. A chance he will get home in front this time.

12. Seonbong [Duality – Megabuck Gal] 4 C (17/6/6/0) – Moon Jung Kyun
6th in the Segye Ilbo Cup having raced prominently early. He may not get to the front today but he should be close by, has a good turn of speed and is capable of going well.

13. Best Guy [Didyme – Madam Winette] 6 G (11/5/5/1) – Ji Ha Ju
He’s only raced eleven times and has never finished worse than 3rd, winning on five occasions. Facing this level of competition for the first time, he does have the fastest time at this distance of any of those who go here and while the odds are this will be his first time outside the placings, he’s not to be ruled out.

14. Singyu Gangja [Mckenzie Pass – Tamna Bibari] 4 G (16/6/4/3) – Lim Gi Won
Another one up in class and allowed to take his chance following a class 2 win over 1400M last month,. He made all that day and will try to get forward here. He will be one of the outsiders though.

15. Raon Morris [Yankee Victor – Thunder By Night] 5 H (16/6/3/2) – Ham Wan Sik
Winner of last year’s Selangor Turf Club Trophy, he followed up with a 2nd place over this distance at class 1. Not especially competitive in two starts since, he will need to find a bit more here

16. Sun Burster [Officer – Coin D’Or] 4 C (11/6/2/2) – Yuri Takahashi
An up and coming one, he’s won six of eleven to date and came from well off the pace to snatch 2nd in a quick race over 1300M at the end of January. He’ll likely be patiently away again to day from the outside gate and is another interesting outsider.

Busan Friday Review

A pair of US imports, Tongil Sidae and Dongbang Daero provided the stand-out performances at a chilly but sunny Busan on Friday.

Tongil Sidae (Munnings), racing at a mile for the first time, continued his impressive start to his career recording a strong two-length victory in the class 2 race 10. Always prominent under jockey You Hyun Myung, the three-year-old gelding ran on to record his third victory in five starts.

One race earlier, Dongbang Daero (Curlin), who got his maiden win at the ninth attempt at the end of January, quickly followed up with another, once more at 1800M. Carrying top weight, the four-year-old comfortably held off the challenging of the promising Sinhang (who had previously been narrowly beaten by Tongil Sidae), to claim race 9 by just over a length.

Despite getting beaten on hot favourite Smart Gentleman in race 8, You Hyun Myung was jockey of the day with three winners while it was a mixed day for Ikuyasu Kurakane. The Japanese rider claimed race 1 on 5/1 shot Golden Leo but then got left in the gate in race 7 after the well fancied Raon Santos reared up and ran off without him. Makoto Okabe was also among the winners, partnering perennial placer Seorabeol Gongju to victory over Smart Gentleman in the aforementioned race 8.

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

Sunday March 13
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Raecourse: 6 races from 13:00 to 17:05

Busan Friday: Race By Race Preview

This Sunday sees the first Korean Graded Race of 2016 in the shape of the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy. Sixteen runners will come under orders for the six-furlong sprint and we’ll have a full preview on Saturday. The weekend’s racing, however, gets underway on Friday with a ten-race card at Busan.

Busan Racecourse

Dynamic Busan!

English racecards can be found here

The first race is at 11:40 and the last is at 18:00. Races 4-10 will be simulcast and below are brief notes on each of those races (times local Korean time):

Race 4: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40 

(9) YUSEONG STAR was 3rd over class and distance a month ago and is one of a number of contenders for this very competitive race. (7) BIGBANG BIG was beaten into 2nd by (6) MEGA HEART in January but overturned that form last time and should be involved once again. Another danger is (3) PENTA HEELS, up in class following a maiden win over 1000M on February 19th. That was a much improved performance and she has potential for more. (1) UNFLAGGING HEART and (12) MOMENT are the others to consider.

Favourites: (9) Yuseong Star (3) Penta Heels (7) Bigbang Bid (1) Unflagging Heart

Race 5: Class 4 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:25 

(5) THE QUEEN has two wins from four outings. She made all to win over this distance in a very quick time last start and despite bbeing up in class here, will be hard to beat. (2) DAEHOYEOJANGGUN comes in following a strong of 2nd and 3rd place finishes, generally behind decent horses and can place again while (12) ARION METAL showed some promise in two 4th place finishes in his first two starts last autumn and returns from a spell here. (3) GREEN MIREU, 2nd at the distance last time, can also go well.

Favourites: (5) The Queen (2) Daehoyeojanggun (12) Arion Metal (3) Green Mireu

Race 6: Class 4 / 1200M Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:15 

Each week at this time of the year, we mention that we must pay close attention to Korean bred horses running in races open to foreign bred horses as they will usually be stronger. With that in mind, (2) SUPER STORM and (9) JIBONG STAR are the ones to watch. The former gets the verdict although the latter did beat four of these over 1000M last month. Another pair of Korean breds, (4) KKEUTPAN DAEJANG and (8) JAYU DAERO are next best. Among the debut-makers, (12) GUMALLI, from the track’s top stable was quick in trials and looks the best although (10) PHILIP AND GIRAFFE, encouraging on debut, can be given another chance despite a disappointing second start.

Favourites: (2) Super Storm (9) Jibong Star (12) Gumalli (8) Jayu Daero

Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 16:05 

Three come in here off a win last start. (3) RAON SANTOS and (4) MINE are both up in class after maiden wins but both were emphatic enough to suggest they will be  competitive at this level. The former is favoured at this stage. The third is (1) WONIL ROSE. She was a class and distance winner on February 19th by a nose and while she does carry an extra 3kg today, she can be competitive once more. Back in 4th behind Wonil Rose that day was (6) DANCING CAT; she has a weight advantage today which will see her with plenty of support to overturn that form. (9) SEONGHO JEONGSANG is yet to win in ten but has been 2nd on three occasions including last time out over this distance.

Favourites: (3) Raon Santos (1) Wonil Rose (6) Dancing Cat (4) Mine

Race 8: Class 3 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 17:00 

(11) SMART GENTLEMAN is up in class following three consecutive wins but there is little to fear here and he could very well make if four in a row today. (2) SEORABEOL GONGJU narrowly dodged the winner’s circle in four short-priced outings but nevertheless finds herself up at class 3 today and will probably conspire to be narrowly defeated once again. (12) YESURI MYEONGUN was disappointing last time at 1400M but has beaten plenty of these at this distance already this year and will beat plenty today too. (8) TANK POWER can go better dropped back to 1200M today while (6) SMILE QUEEN could only manage 6th on her first try at this class at the end of January and can go better here. She finished ahead of (13) GRACE who was a winner at class and distance in January.

Favourites: (11) Smart Gentleman (2) Seorabeol Gongju (12) Yesuri Myeongun (6) Smile Queen

Race 9: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 17:30 

A class and distance winner, beating four who go here, on his last start, (6) DONGBANG DAERO does carry an extra 4kg today but is still capable of making it two in a row. (10) BADA DOSI was 2nd that day and given the shift in weights, may well be favourite. Another danger is (2) SINHANG. He’s won two from five before today and tries two turns for the first time. He will go forward from the gate and if he stays, he has solid claims. (4) NAGASINDA was 4th behind Sinhang last time and should be looking to at least match that here. The very experienced (11) STAR WARP is unlikely to be winning this but could sneak into a place.

Selections: (6) Dongbang Daero (10) Bada Dosi (2) Sinhang (4) Nagasinda

Race 10: Class 2 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 18:00 

An up-and-comer, (13) TONGIL SIDAE is up in class following his second win in four starts on February 14th and can take full advantage of joint-bottom weight on his first try at this distance today. He should be too good for these. The rest are all going to need to find improvement in recent starts (4) HEUKGANGJA, likely to join Tongil Sidae in an early lead, looks the best of them with (2) POKPUNG CHOEGANG, (8) SINHEUNG GOSU and (11) PUREUN ACE others who can go well.

Favourites: (13) Tongil Sidae (4) Heukgangja (8) Sinheung Gosu (11) Pureun Ace

New Holland Set For Seoul

Dean Holland has been officially licensed to ride in Korea. The Australian jockey has an initial four-month license, which became effective on March 1 and will run until the end of June. He is expected to start riding in the middle of this month.


Dean Holland (Pic: Ross Holburt)

27-year-old Holland began his apprenticeship in Adelaide before moving to Victoria at the age of 18 to work under top trainer David Hayes. It was back in South Australia though, at Morphettville Racecourse, where he recorded his biggest winner to date, partnering Tanby to victory in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup in March 2015. He also won the Group 1 Australasian Oaks on Small Minds at the same track in 2010 and has ridden in excess of 500 career winners.

Holland replaces Nicola Pinna, who finished his four months just before the Lunar New Year holiday. Pinna faced difficulties in terms of making weight and also with riding through the coldest time of year in Korea. Holland, still riding in Australia this week and not scheduled start riding until mid-March, as well as being able to do 50kg, is unlikely to have to deal with those two issues.

A number of Australians have ridden in Korea in the past, mainly at Busan. When the south coast track opened, three Australians were granted licenses; Mark Newnham, Nathan Day and Garry Baker. While the former two didn’t stay long, Baker ended up riding for an extended period and won some big races along the way. Nathan Stanley also enjoyed moderate success in 2011. As for Seoul, although Danny Craven rode full time short period in 2008, the experience of Australian riders has mostly been confined to jockey challenges and international races with Noel Callow winning two races and the overall challenge in 2013.

There are currently two other foreign jockeys riding at Seoul. Djordje Perovic is in top form at the moment and lies in 2nd place in the 2016 Jockey Championship with 15 winners, while Yuri Takahashi, who was doing very well at the end of last year, has suffered from a lack of quality mounts in recent months. Regardless, he has still managed to pick up 6 victories so far this year.

At Busan there are currently three Japanese jockeys; Ikuyasu Kurakane, Nozi Tomizawa and Makoto Okabe as well as Italian Pasquae Borelli.

Dean Holland is the son of jockey Darren Holland and is not to be confused with Briton Darryll Holland, who rode very successfully at Busan for a year between 2013 and 2014.

Because you can never have too many Deans – Busan has Dean Russell, a jockey trainer – another Australian, Brian Dean is set to become Seoul’s first foreign Trainer. While still at the moment sending out runners in Singapore, this Dean is in the process of setting up his stable, having been initially granted 18 boxes in the capital. Although there have to date been four foreign trainers active in Korea, all of them have been at Busan and Dean’s debut on a hitherto complacent capital backstretch is eagerly awaited.

*Thanks to Ross Holburt for pointing out that while Darren Hayes may or may not train some horses on his off-days, it is David Hayes who is the Melbourne Cup winning trainer. This has now been amended!

Chang Se & Ottug Ottugi Land Oaks Trials, Doraon Hyeonpyo Wins Again

Chang Se and Ottug Ottugi ran out the dominant winners of the Sports Seoul and GC Trophies at Seoul and Busan respectively and to head into the Spring Classics as the top rated 3-year-old fillies.


Chang Se was restless in the Sports Seoul winner’s circle

At Seoul, Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup winner Waikiki was scratched from the Sports Seoul leading Daehan Cheonwang and Chang Se to be sent off almost as co-favourites. In the end though it was Chang Se all the way as she led from gate-to-wire under apprentice jockey Lee Hyeon Jong to win by four lengths on the line.

Sports Seoul Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 201

1. Chang Se (KOR) [Forest Camp – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 2.6, 1.6
2. Meni Music (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Music (Songandaprayer)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.8
3. Sidaeyeowang (KOR) [Vicar – Fier Time (Fiercely) – Djordje Perovic – 2.0
Distances: 4 lengths / 1.25 lengths – 7 ran

In the GC Trophy at Busan, Ottug Ottugi fully justified punters’ confidence in backing her into odds-on as she made all to romp home by six lengths under Oh Kyoung Hoan. Second favourite, the previously unbeaten Hoseungjibyeok, was a disappointment, beating only on home.

GC Trophy – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 2016

1. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 1.9, 1.3
2. Yuseong Tiger (KOR) [Discreet Cat – Comarille (Deputy Commander)] – Kim Dong Young – 4.1
3. Santa Gloria (KOR) [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] – Pasquale Borelli – 6.3
Distances: 6 lengths / 1.5 lenghts – 6 ran

In other news, Doraon Hyeonpyo (Colors Flying) continued his impressive run of form, lugging top weight around 1800M in Busan’s feature and not only getting up in the final strifes to win by a nose, but breaing the track record for the distance at the same time. Champion Juvenile back in 2014, Doraon Hyeonpyo had a middling first half to his three-year-old season but really stepped up as the year drew to a close and has now won four in a row to become one of the top rated horses in the country.

Sunday Filly Classic trials: Full Preview

The current cream of the domestic bred three-year-old filly crop are in action at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday with the running of a pair of early season classic trials, the Sports Seoul Cup in the capital and the Gold Circle Trophy on the south coast.

Ottug Ottugi

Ottug Ottugi goes in Busan’s early Oaks trial

Unsurprisingly the fields are small but nevertheless interesting. Seoul on Sunday runs 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00 while Busan runs 6 from 13:00 to 17:05.

English Racecards can be found here. Entry to the racecourse is free for all punters on Sunday to compensate for the loss of four races due to the weather (among a number of issues) last Sunday.

Here’s a full rundown of the fields in both trials. All are three-year-old fillies and all will carry 55kg.

Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey

GC Trophy (Special) – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 2016 (16:10)

1. My Alice [Limitless Bid – Allie’s Premo (Alex’s Pal)] (3/2/1/0) JB Mun – Ikuyasu Kurakane
A possible front-runner here, she’s done little wrong so far although is tried at the distance for the first time. Four-length winner last start.

2. Yuseong Tiger [Discreet Cat – Comarillo (Deputy Commander)] (4/2/1/0) DS Bang – Kim Dong Young
The most likely to be happy to sit back and let others lead, she was an easy five-length winner last time over 1300M and can go close.

3. Steal The Show Why [Whywhywhy – Steal The Show (Cat Thief)] (8/2/2/1) KY Baik – You Hyun Myung
A four-length winner at class 5 over 1300M last time beating one who went on to win very smartly on Friday, she will sit just off any early pace.

4. Hoseungjibyeok [Didyme – Everything Nice (Elusive Quality)] (3/3/0/0) BE Kang – Song Keong Yun
Unbeaten and a class 4 winner at this distance beating the well-thought of Evangeline last time. She will want to settle in midfield and will be second favourite.

5. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] (6/4/1/0) YK Kim – Oh Kyoung Hoan
This is the favourite, however her only previous try at 1400M – the Breeders’ Cup in Seoul, she did not stay on for this distance. We are three months on now and we will give her another chance. She sets the pace and she is the favourite.

6. Santa Gloria [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] (4/1/0/1) KY Baik – Pasquale Borelli
The outsider of the field, she has been beaten by Yuseing Tiger and is yet to perform at anything higher than class 6. The only one for whom a win would be a big shock.

Sports Seoul Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 2016 (16:40)

1. Chang Se [Forest Camp – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] (7/3/2/1) JW Park – Lee Hyeon Jong
She’s won three of seven and beat imported opposition at class 4 last time. Tries the distance for the first time but will stay. Could lead and in the absence of Waikiki is the likely favourite.

2. La Reine [Menifee – Souther Splendour (Southern Halo)] (2/1/0/0) YJ Choi – Jo Sung Gon
A winner on debut in an event where all were previously unraced, she showed nothing next up and is an outsider here.

3. Sidaeyeowang [Vicar – Fier Time (Fiercely)] (4/2/0/0) JW Park – Djordje Perovic
Two wins and two fourths and has been beaten by Meni Money, she will need to find something here. Likely to sit behind the early lead.

4. Ujuchoegang [Creek Cat – Sonoray (Gone West)] (3/0/0/0) HS Seo – Bang Choon Sik
An outsider, she;s one of two yet to win and it’s hard to see her doing so here.

5. Meni Music [Menifee – Morning Music (Songandaprayer)] (7/3/1/1) YG Park – Park Eul Woon
At one time believed to be the pick of the crop, she has stuttered as the competition has grown stronger. Goes at this distance for the first time, she will probably look to lead but others will be favoured.

6. Argo Queen [Creek Cat – Lunar Colony (A.P. Indy)] (6/0/1/1) BJ Choi – Kim Dong Soo
Along with Ujuchoegang, this one hasn’t wn and she probably won’t here either. Still at class 6 and not much to recommend.

7. Daehan Cheonwang [Forest Camp – Seonju Jangsu (Happy Jazz Band)] (5/3/1/0) HJ Bae – Lim Gi Won
Can be forgiven her most recent try in January, she is a winner at this distance at class 5. She will sit just behind any early pace and may be considered.

8. Waikiki [Pico Central – Wyvern (Didyme)] (6/2/2/0) JH Ha – Park Byeong Yun

Seoul Saturday Review: Lucky Light Breaks El Padrino’s 1400M Record

Well the temperatures were springlike but the rain was monsoon-season-like. And the weather created the conditions under which it was possible for Lucky Light to claim the Seoul Racecourse 1400M track record, setting a mark two tenths of a second quicker than that of the Singapore’s El Padrino in the 2014 Asia Challenge Cup.

Sent off the 5/1 third-favourite in the class 2 race 11, Lucky Light (Rockport Harbor), a four-year-old gelding, went to the lead straight out of the gate and never looked seriously threatened as he ran on to win by eight lengths on the line. It was his sixth win in fourteen starts. Goodness knows how fast the 2014 version of El Padrino could have gone in such conditions.

Moon Se Young rode Lucky Light and it was but one of five winners the champion jockey rode on a day when the track was racing very fast. The up and coming pair of Super Start (Strike Again) in race 7 and Miso Wangja (Cowboy Cal) in race 10 being the other standouts.

On the subject of up-and-comers, Winners Glory (Strike Again) was 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup race, Korea’s top juvenile contest last November and today took on two turns for the first time in the 1700M race 8. And mighty impressive he was too, making all under Kim Dong Soo to win easily. Winners Glory is not currently among the nominations for the first leg of the Triple Crown in Busan next month but may play a role on the Classic trail at some point.

One who is nominated for that KRA Cup Mile at Busan next month is Cheonji Storm (Admire Don). He also had his first try at two-turns today, also at 1700M although it was one class higher at class 3. It didn’t go so well. Sent off the strong favourite, Cheonji Storm pulled hard in the early stages of the race and never looked truly comfortable as Daegeoni (Menifee) came through in the home straight to take victory by a length.

Racing returns to Seoul tomorrow when both the capital track and Busan host early Oaks trials. Entry to the racecourse is free tomorrow to make up for the four races that were lost to the weather last Sunday.


Seoul Saturday: Race By Race Preview

Has Spring sprung? Last Sunday saw the final two races at Seoul called off due to snow and while at Busan on Friday, the most useful bit of gear would have been a canoe and paddle such was the rain, temperatures all of a sudden are in the high teens. The rain is set to hit Seoul in time for Saturday’s card but there will still be plenty going on.


Just two days previously, this was under half a foot of snow – could be underwater on Saturday

There are 11 races from 10:50am to 18:00. English racecards can be found here. See below for comments on overseas simulcast races 4-11:

Race 4: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 12:00 (SIN)

All filly & mare affair first up and (9) KATIE STAR is strongly favoured to get her second win in three starts. A good winner at this distance on debut, she was 2nd over 1200M on her first try at this level at the end of January and will surely go one better this time. (2) NEW NANCHO has a 5th and a pair of 4ths in three tries at this level and will benefit from the in-form Djordje Perovic in the saddle. (7) SAMJEONG GUARDIAN disappointed on her first try at this class but gets another chance here. She finished behind (1) NAREUSYA QUEEN last start and that one, along with (4) SUNDAY DREAMER are the others to look out for.

Favourites: (9) Katie Star (2) New Nancho (7) Samjeong Guardian (1) Nareusya Queen

Race 5: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 12:50 (SIN)

(2) DONGCHONUI GUY comes in looking for a hat-trick of victories and he can do it but it won’t be easy. (1) DAECHEON FOCUS, a winner at this distance already, looks to be the main danger and these two up and comers will both look to get forward straight from the gate. (7) SWEEP ICHEON is yet to win in twelve outings but enters having come close recently while (4) OUR CAT generally runs at five furlongs and looks an interesting entry here. (8) PERFECT BIC C and (9) CLEANUP SEED are others to take into consideration.

Favourites: (2) Dongchonui Guy (1) Daecheon Focus (7) Sweep Icheon (9) Cleanup Seed

Race 6: Class 5 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40 (SIN)

Another competitive affair with (7) GEUMA BALIOS under champion jockey Moon Se Young set to be slightly favoured following a good 2nd place last start. He tries this distance for the first time while (1) CURRICLE didn’t go well in one previous attempt but comes in after a strong 3rd over 1300M in January and can be competitive. (3) WHIZ RUN and (5) GWANGSOK can improve on recent starts while (10) RECKLESS, 4th behind Geuma Balios at odds in excess of 200/1 last time, will be much shorter today and could compete for a place.

Favourites: (7) Geuma Balios (1) Curricle (3) Whiz Run (10) Reckless

Race 7: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:30 (SIN)

Up in class after back to back wins but shrewdly entered against imported opposition, there is little reason to oppose (5) SUPER START. He’s the only one of these with winning experience; he has led gate to wire in both those recent victories and will look to do so again. If we are to oppose him then we need to find up and comers with potential to improve. (1) KAIZEN FORCE and (13) KODIAK LOVE come closest to fulfilling that requirement while (12) TOTAL WALKER and (14) SMART HULK may also receive some backing.

Favourites: (5) Super Start (13) Kodiak Love (1) Kaizen Force (14) Smart Hulk

Race 8: Class 4 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 15:30 (SIN)

(8) WINNERS GLORY is on the Classic trail having been 3rd in the Champion Juvenile race last November. He got his three-year-old season off to a solid start with a comfortable win over 1400M last month and races around two turns for the first time today. He is the favourite. (6) AYERS ROCK beat (5) KING CREEK CAT as they ran 2nd and 5th over this distance on February 13th and those two look to be the main dangers here, the latter having already won twice at this distance. (4) CLEAN UP KING was last on his first try at 1700M in January but can go better today while (7) STRONG FIELD , returning for the first time since November, is also to be considered.

Favourites: (8) Winners Glory (6) Ayers Rock (5) King Creek Cat (4) Clean Up King

Race 9: Class 3 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 16:00 (SIN)

This race also sees one of those on the Classic trail as the top pick. (3) CHEONJI STORM didn’t go well in the Juvenile Championship race despite being very well backed. He has a win and a 2nd in two starts since, both at 1400M and takes on two turns for the first time today. He is likely to go forward and should he stay on, he has an excellent chance. To beat him, the others will all need to find something above their recent form with (1) DAEGEONI and (5) SEONUP looking the most likely. (2) LUCKY HEART, another front-runner, and (6) ROYAL VICTORY are others with claims on a place.

Favourites: (3) Cheonji Storm (5) Seonup (1) Daegeoni (2) Lucky Heart

Race 10: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 16:30 (SIN)

(6) MISO WANGJA has two wins and two 2nd places from four outings prior to today and while this is his first try at 1800M, he was quick when only beaten a neck over 1700M at the end of January and in this company is very difficult to oppose. He will be the strong favourite. It’s tough to make a case for the others but (7) THE SSEN CHAMP has won at the distance before and can be in the hunt while (4) HUGHES ROAD is inconsistent but should be placing here. (5) JINMYEONG GANGHO and (9) CONCORDE II are others who can be competitive.

Selections: (6) Miso Wangja (7) The Ssen Champ (4) Hughes Road (9) Concorde II

Race 11: Class 2 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 17:00 (SIN)

Open contest to finish with, we’ll go with (7) RAON RUSA after he beat three of these when getting his second consecutive 2nd place in January. It’s not with a huge amount of enthusiasm though as there are plenty of others capable. One of those he beat last time is (9) CHEONYEONUIGIPPEUM, who has won at the distance before and has a significant weight advantage. (3) GUMPO YEOJANGGUN also looks nicely in and can improve on recent starts while (1) HAERANGANGJA and (13) LUCKY LIGHT should appreciate the opportunity for a crack at this distance. Open race and there could be some value to find.

Favourites: (7) Raon Rusa (9) Cheonyeonuigippeum (13) Lucky Light (1) Haerangangja