Horses in training in Hong Kong, Japan, the UK, France, UAE and Singapore have been nominated to run in the inaugural Keeneland Korea Cup and Keeneland Sprint at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 11, the Korea Racing Authority announced on Saturday.
Preliminary nominations closed last Friday and eight international horses have been accepted into each race. They will be joined by up to eight Korea-trained runners. For the first time, Hong Kong, France, the UK, Ireland and the UAE are set to send runners to Korea.
Among the best known names are Hong Kong’s Gun Pit, who goes for the Cup against Japan’s Chrysolite and Great Britain’s Franklin D, a winner at Glorious Goodwood only last month. To add to the international theme, one of the French horses in the big race is the Moroccan bred star Famous Mark.
The Sprint, while less valuable, has also attracted well-known names. Hong Kong’s globe-trotting Rich Tapestry is entered alongside another Santa Anita Sprint champion, Wild Dude, who has recently been moved to Ireland.
Keeneland Korea Cup (1800M) Total Purse: 1 Billion Korean Won
Famous Mark (MOR) [Mr. Sidney – Empreinte Celebre (Peintre Celbre)] 4 year-old colt
A Moroccan bred who won all six of his races at Rabat and Casablanca before joining up with Pascal Bary in France. He has since finished 3rd in a Listed race on dirt in Sweden.
Gun Pit (AUS) [Dubawi – Magic Tori (Ali-Royal)] 6-year-old Gelding
The dirt superstar of Sha Tin dirt, he’s practically unbeatable on his favourite surface. He managed a 2nd at Meydan in March before struggling on World Cup night. A previous trip to Chukyo at this distance didn’t work out but if he takes to the sand the way he does the dirt, he’s the one to beat.
Chrysolite (JPN) [Gold Allure – Chrysoprase (El Condor Pasa)] 6-year-old Gelding
A five-time Stakes winner, most recently claiming his second Diolite Kinen at Funabashi in March and was 3rd in the Group 3 Heian Stakes at Kyoto in May.
Infantry (NZ) [Tavistock – The Nightingale (Stravinsky)] 4-year-old Gelding
He’s won four of eleven career starts and has a win and a 2nd in his last two both over a mile. He will tackle 1800M for the first time.
Order Of The Sun (AUS) [Encosta De Lago – Sequin (Lure)] 6-year-old Gelding
4th behind Quechua in the Chairman’s Trophy, his most recent win came at this distance in February. He is a front runner.
United Arab Emirates
Gold City (IRE) [Pivotal – Storm Lily (Storm Cat)] 7-year-old Gelding
A winner of two from ten in the UK before relocating to the UAE in 2013. Finished 2nd behind Frosted at 1800M on the dirt at Meydan in February
Need To Know (SAF) [Western Winter – Promisefrommyheart (Elliodor)] 8-year-old Gelding
Winner of four in the UAE, he scored back to back 2nd places on the Meydan turf this January.
Franklin D (USA) [Medaglia d’Oro – Kissed By A Star (Kingmambo)] 4-year-old Colt
Winner of the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood in July. That was his second consecutive win having landed a Newmarket handicap two weeks previously.
Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200M) Total Purse: 700 Million Korean Won
Love Spirit (GB) [Elusive City – Indian Maiden (Indian Ridge)] 6-year-old Gelding
An also ran in the Group 1 Prix Maurice De Gheest at Deauville in August, he does have seven wins to his name. Trainer Louis Baudron has recently returned from a stint in Australia so is well acquainted with international racing
Ross Castle (IRE) [Bushranger – Bulrushes (Byron)] 3-year-old Colt
Young sprinter who has wins this year at Chantilly and Maisons Lafitte to his name.
Rich Tapestry (IRE) [Holy Roman Emperor – Genuine Charm (Sadler’s Wells)] 8-year-old Gelding
A seasoned globe-trotter, he’s won at Santa Anita in the USA and twice at Meydan in Dubai, most recently in February this year.
Super Jockey (NZ) [Sandtrap – Pennies In Heaven (Pompeii Court)] 8-year-old Gelding
Beat Rich Tapestry when 2nd in the 2015 Golden Shaheen at Meydan; he was 5th in this year’s race Good – if limited – record on dirt.
Wild Dude (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Courtly Choice (Doneraile Court)] 6-year-old Horse
The Florida bred has spent his career in the United States. He won the Group 2 Kona Gold Stakes over six and a half furlongs on the dirt at Santa Anita in May, his 8th win in 22 career starts. He was 6th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Moved this summer to training in Ireland.
Grape Brandy (JPN) [Manhattan Café – Wine And Rose (Judge Angelucci)] 8-year-old Horse
A three-time Stakes winner earlier in his career, he was 3rd in the Negishi Stakes at Tokyo in January and 2nd in the Tokyo Sprint at Ohi in April.
Super Winner (AUS) [Kaphero – Millie Rose (Testa Rossa)] 5-year-old Horse
He beat three Korea-trained horses when winning the KRA Trophy at Kranji last year. Has four wins in seven starts in 2016. Usually settles just behind the early speed.
United Arab Emirates
Art Wave (IRE) [Art Connoisseur – Musical Review (Jade Robbery)] 5-year-old Horse
Winner of an all-weather race in the UK before moving to the UAE in 2014. Landed three consecutive wins at Jebel Ali around the turn of this year.