Month: November 2016

Saturday/Sunday Race Times (November 26/27)

It’s turned quite cold across the Korean peninsula this past week. Nevermind though, there are plenty of punting opportunities to warm up with over the next couple of days.

Race Snow

Winter is coming! No snow yet, though (Pic: Ross Holburt)

There are class 1 races at Seoul on both days. The horse with the unfortunate typo, Goreous Dream, goes in search of his 9th win on what will be his 10th start in the final race on Saturday and confirm his position as the top sprinter at Seoul. A sprint accounts for the main event at Busan on Sunday too as Jeju Governor’s Cup winner Indian Star makes her return to her home track.

English race cards are here.

Saturday November 26
Seoul Racecourse: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 11:50 to 16:10

Sunday November 27
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:40 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:35 to 17:00

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 25)

It’s been a busy week off the track in Korean racing with the US racing media reporting Take Charge Indy is the latest stallion to be Jeju Island bound. Racing gets back underway at Busan on Friday with 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00.

English race cards are here. Notes on overseas simulcast races 4-11 are below:

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:35

(2) TIMELESS was 4th of 12 on debut over 1000M at the end of last month. She finished strongly that day and is favourite to score over an extended distance here. The main danger is (10) HWANGGEUMBIT JILJU, who debuted unimpressively in June but returned much more strongly last month to actually beat Timeless on October 28th. (5) ALSO POWERFUL showed improvement last month and can be considered while (11) DESTINY and (12) JIBONG YEONGUNG also look capable of finding the money here.

Selections: (2) Timeless (10) Hwanggeumbit Jilju (11) Destiny (5) Also Powerful
Next Best: 12, 1
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 2, 4, 10
Start-200M: 4, 2, 11, 3, 12
200M-Finish: 2, 5, 7, 1, 8

Race 5: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:20 

(1) REALLY ONE has just one win from eleven but two 2nd places among his last three outings an on October 28th was beaten only by the very promising Evergreen Tree at this distance with a couple of others here behind him He’ll be a front-runner, has a strong finish and should take this. One of the ones he beat last time was (8) TIGER SLAM, 4th in that race on what was his first try at this level and he can continue his development today. (9) GOLD FLYING was an unexpected winner last time and while up in class, will get more respect today while the ever so slightly disappointing (4) MISS CANBERRA and the unlucky (6) MOHAVE WANGJA, who did manage to get his maiden win last time out, are the others to watch.

Selections: (1) Really One (8) Tiger Slam (9) Gold Flying (6) Mohave Wangja
Next Best: 4, 10
Rating: 1=6, 8, 3=9
Fast Starters: 4, 8, 9
Start-200M: 8, 10, 4, 5, 9
200M-Finish: 8, 1, 6, 2, 4

Click  “More” for the rest…

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Voting Underway For Grand Prix Stakes 2016

Voting is underway for invitations to the 2016 Grand Prix Stakes which is set for Seoul Racecourse on Sunday December 18. Fifteen horses from Seoul and seventeen from Busan are on the ballot for the 2300M contest which will have a maximum field size of sixteen and could well be bereft of any previous winners of the traditional season-ending finale.

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Bold Kings beat Gumpo Sky and Clean Up Joy in a terrific Grand Prix last year. The winner is retired but the 2nd and 3rd are expected to line-up again (Pic: KRA)

The race is based on Japan’s season-ending Arima Kinen in which entry is also decided by a punters’ vote although admittedly, on a much smaller scale. Voting is open for registered users of the KRA’s homepage (www.kra.co.kr) and runs through until Monday November 28.

Horses expected to score highly in the vote from Seoul include KRA Cup Classic winner Clean Up Joy and Ttukseom Cup winner and Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup runner-up Bichui Jeongsang. From Busan, President’s Cup winner Triple Nine and Triple Crown winner Power Blade will of course score highly enough to receive invitations but there will be plenty of votes too for the likes of Beolmaui Kkum, Heba, Gumpo Sky, Diferent Dimension, Dongbang Daero and now, possibly after her Sunday win, Ms. Margaux. Here is the full list of horses on the ballot paper (2016 Stakes winners listed first):

Seoul

Miso Wangja (YTN Cup)
Bichui Jeongsang (Ttukseom Cup)
Clean Up Joy (KRA Cup Classic)
Touch Flying (Ilgan Sports Cup)
Winner Red
Space Port
Halla Chukje
Meni Music
Mighty Gem
Unbeatable
Theme Deunggeuk
Clean Up Cheonha
Cheonjeok
Muhudaeje
Heart Roy

Busan

Power Blade (KRA Cup Mile, Korean Derby, Minister’s Cup)
Gamdonguibada (Busan Ilbo Cup)
Triple Nine (Owners’ Cup, President’s Cup)
Beolmaui Kkum (Busan Mayor’s Cup)
Santa Gloria
Dynamic Dash
Mainstay
Success Story
Tohamsan
Miracle Line
Dongbang Daero
Diferent Dimension
Ms. Margaux
Heba
Gumpo Sky
Beolmaui Sin
Goliath Marine

If Gamdonguibada doesn’t make it in – and unless a lot of invitations are declined, there’s a strong chance she won’t – this will be the first Grand Prix in recent years not to feature a previous winner. Gamdonguibada won the race as a three-year-old all the way back in 2012 and is the only past champion still in training. 2013 winner Indie Band, 2014’s Gyeongbudaero and last year’s champion Bold Kings have all been retired.

In fact, the last time there were no previous winners in the starting line-up was 2003, when the race was won by Tempest West (Silent Tempest). Defending champion Bohamian Butler (Patton) was entered but was a late scratching on the day – he never ran again.

“Rivals” On Show / Park Jae I Wins In Australia / Imran Gets 10 Days

The villainous foreigner looks directly into the camera, eyes obscured by dark glasses no doubt in an attempt to disguise malign intentions. Meanwhile, the stout defender of Korean honour gazes wistfully, but determinedly, into the middle distance, face bathed in an almost saintly glow.

petekyk

There’s a good little exhibition running right now in the small museum at Seoul Racecourse called “The Rival” which attempts to build up some of the rivalries ongoing in racing in Korea. Peter Wolsley and Kim Young Kwan was the natural choice for the trainers while for jockeys, it is Moon Se Young and Kim Young Geun  so if you’ve ever wanted to see Moon Se Young’s schoolboy pictures, then a) why? and b) now’s your chance.

To keep things current, for horses, current stablemates Triple Nine and Power Blade were chosen (as opposed to say, Subsidy and Bally Brae) while it’s Menifee and Ecton Park for sires. The museum is located behind the Luckyville Grandstand on the Parade Ring side. It’s free entry and only takes a couple of minutes to look around. This particular exhibition runs until December 30th.

In other news, Busan apprentices Jin Kyum and Park Jae I are currently in Australia to gain overseas experience and Park was among the winners at Port Macquarie Racecourse in New South Wales on Tuesday afternoon. 20-year-old Park, who debuted in 2015 and rides off a 2kg claim with 21 winners to date in Korea, partnered 5-year-old mare Tiaconi to a two-length victory in the 1000M race 7 for owner/trainer Brett Bellamy (h/t Michael Cox):

Not such happy news for jockey Imran Chisty. The Indian rider has picked up a ten-day ban for his ride on Monday Money in race 4 at Seoul last Sunday. The fast finishing 5/1 chance just failed to get up for 2nd with Stewards of the view that slightly more vigour on the part of the jockey would have overcome the nose deficit. Because Seoul only races two days each week, it means the suspension doesn’t expire until Christmas Day.

Ms. Margaux Lands Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup For Irish Trainer Thomas Gillespie

 Ms. Margaux, so often runner-up over her career,got it right in spectacular style at Busan Racecourse this afternoon. The five-year-old mare got the better of Ttukseom Cup winner Bichui Jeongsang in a stretch duel to win the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, and hand a first Korean Group win to Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie.

Ms. Margaux (Midnight Lute) a class 1 winner at the 2000M distance in September, was sent off as favourite for the final race in the series which is held to decided the Champion filly or mare of the year, having been 6th in both the two shorter legs. Surprise KNN Cup winner Supreme Magic was 2nd favourite and Queens’ Tour veteran New York Blue 3rd in the market.

Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi showed the way early along with perennial fast-starter Halla Chukje and well-fancied Seoul raider Touch Flying. Bichui Jeongsang and and Ms. Margaux both made ground in the back straight and around the home turn and as the leaders faltered, they led into the straight.

It was one-on-one from then on and under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Ms. Margaux kicked clear in the final furlong to take the honours by just over a length on the line. FIve lengths behind Bichui Jeongsang, the unheralded Mighty Gem put in a huge run to edge New York Blue out of 3rd place in a photograph.

thomas

First Korean Group winner – Thomas Gillespie (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Ms. Margaux was a $15,ooo purchase at the September yearling sales at Keeneland in 2012. Today she took her earnings to in excess of $700,000. She’s had quite a remarkable career, most of it spent with Peter Wolsley before transferring to Thomas Gillespie this season. She took thirteen races to get her maiden win but finished 2nd or 3rd in all of the previous 12. In 29 starts she has only finished outside the money on five occasions with a total of ten 2nd places and eight 3rds. Today she got by far the biggest of her four wins.

It was another group success for jockey Kim Yong Geun, who remains in punters’ bad books after Perdido Pomeroy’s performance against Ottug Ottugi last month but who once again ends up in a big race winner’s circle. For Thomas Gillespie, it is a 35th winner since debuting at Busan last summer. Gillespie maintains a win-rate of almost 14% and his horses find the top three well over 40% of the time. He’s proven a very solid addition to the training ranks at Busan.

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – November 20, 2016

1. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.6, 1.2
2. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] – Jo Sung Gon – 3.3
3. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] – Kim Hye Sun – 12.2
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. New York Blue (USA) 5. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) 6. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 7. Hay Queen (USA) 8. Silver Wolf (AUS) 9. Santa Gloria (KOR) 10. Touch Flying (KOR) 11. Supreme Magic (USA) 12. Halla Chukje (USA) 13. Naesarang Damyang (USA)

Queens’ Tour Final Leg: Runner-By-Runner Preview

The 2016 “Queens’ Tour” to find the champion filly & mare of the year comes to an end at Busan this afternoon as 13 go in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. And it could be a big day for Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie with his Ms. Margaux set to be among the favourites for the race. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:35 to 17:05 and 11 at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00. English race cards are here.

ms_marg1.jpg

Ms. Margaux won at Busan in September. She goes in the final leg of the Queens’ Tour today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Here’s a full run-down of the field. Click “More” at the bottom for previews of Busan races 4 & 6:

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – Sunday November 20, 2016 (16:15)

1. Santa Gloria (KOR) [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] 3 (11/3/1/2) – Seo Seung Un
5th in the Korean Oaks behind Ottug Ottugi, she was 4th in the Jeju Governors Cup behind the same filly and Touch Flying. Little to suggest that this distance will suit but we’ll call her an interesting outsider.

2. Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player (Montbrook)] 5 (31/5/6/2) – Lee Hyeok
A front-runner who’s likely to set the pace, she won a strong class 1 rce at Seoul over this distance in April before running 2nd to Bichui Jeongsang in the Ttukseom Cup. Two disappointing outings since mean she won’t be strongly backed here.

3. Hay Queen (USA) [Hold Me Back – Jacks Touch (Touch Gold)] 4 (19/4/6/2) – Park Eul Woon
2nd in last year’s KNN Cup and 5th in this race, she struggled in the Ttukseom Cup this year and doesn’t enter in the greatest of form. She’ll be among the outsiders.

4. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] 4 (15/5/3/3) – Kim Hye Sun
Solid class 1 competitor at Seoul although her only outing since July was a disappointing spin around 1800M at the end of Sepembr. She looks up against it here.

5. Touch Flying (KOR) [Colors Flying – Jeongtongseong (Lassigny)] 4 (11/6/3/0) – Jo Jae Ro
Probably Seoul’s best chance, she won four consecutive races across the spring and early summer including making all over 1800M in the listed Ilgan Sports Cup. 2nd to Indian Star in the Jeju Governors Cup last time, beating Ottug Ottugi and Santa Gloria. She’ll set the pace and could pull off a surprise.

6. Supreme Magic (USA) [Looking At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] 4 (16/5/3/2) – Yonekura Satoshi
The shock winner of the KNN Cup warrants respect here as does her 6th place in the Korea Sprint in September. She is a closer and while the distance is new for her, she has to be given a chance.

7. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) [A.P. Warrior – Leagacy’s Silver (Robyn Dancer)] 4 (18/7/1/2) – Song Jae Chul
Winner of a couple of decent races earlier this year, she finished the lowest in the KNN Cup among those who return today. An also-ran in the KRA Cup Classic last month, she’s among the outsiders here. Stablemate of Hay Queen.

8. Naesarang Damyang (USA) [Super Saver – Marina De Chavon (Exploit)] 4 (18/2/2/3) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
A stablemate of Touch Flying and she is very much the second-strong. Still at class 3 level in Seoul, it’s tough to see her making much of an impact here.

9. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] 5 (26/7/10/2) – Lim Sung Sil
She fell in last year’s KNN Cup and didn’t return to action until May this year. Yet to return to the winner’s circle but she’s raced in tough company 3rd in the Ttukseom Cup and 2nd in the KNN, she will once more be a danger here.

10. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] 3 (14/7/3/1) – Choi Si Dae
She hasn’t won in four starts since winning the Korean Oaks in July. All of those outings have been in top company, including the Korea Sprint but despite the Oaks win over 1800M, there is little to suggest she suits 2000M. That said, her quality should see her beat plenty of these and she has a chance. As always she will will try to lead from the gate.

11. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] 5 (23/8/5/3) – Jo Sung Gon
A closer, she won the Ttukseom Cup in June butgot a bad trip in the KNN Cup in July before struggling in the Korea Sprint in September. It’s not going to be easy for her here but she can’t be completely ruled out.

12. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Oratorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] 4 (12/5/3/1) – Yoo Seung Wan
4th and 5th in the Ttukseom and KNN Cups respectively, she was then an easy eight-length winner of a class 1 race at Seoul at the end of August She hasn’t raced since then so comes in fresh, will sit handy and has a chance.

13. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] 5 (28/3/10/8) – Kim Yong Geun
A convincing class 1 winner over this distance in dreadful conditions in September before finishing runner-up to former stablemate Macheon Bolt over 1400M a month ago. She is a closer and at 2000M, she is the one to beat.

For races 4 & 6 click “More”

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 19)

12 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:50 to 18:00. English race cards are here and notes on races 5-12 are below:

Race 5: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40  

Two stand-outs here. (4) WHIZ SPARK was all over the place last time out, finishing the race on the grandstand running rail yet still managed 3rd place. She was sent back to trial, which she came through comfortably and has to be fancied here. If she fails to run in a straight line again, (3) SAMJEONG MAGNUM looks most likely to take advantage. She was slightly disappointing on her first try at this class a month ago but wasn’t beaten by much and gets another chance here. The top two look superior but (5) GINNY ACE, 6th behind Whiz Spark last time, can improve while solid runs are capable from (6) SILVERGRAY CAT and (8) HAENURI.

Selections: (4) Whiz Spark (3) Samjeong Magnum (6) Silvergray Cat (8) Haenuri
Next Best: 6, 9
Rating: 4=6, 5, 9, 3
Fast Starters: 4, 5, 6
Start-200M: 6, 4, 5, 3, 2
200M-Finish: 9, 10, 5, 3, 2

Race 6: Class 4 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:25

Competitive race and it’s about time (9) RAON ROUIS added to his two victories on what will be his tenth career start here. Last time out at 1200M he led until the closing stages before being well-beaten by a good winner and back at 1000M today, he can lead all the way. Also looking to lead will be (8) DAESEONG MALLI, who beat five of these when finishing 2nd on what was just her second career outing on October 22nd and she can continue her development here. (5) PICO TIME is up in class following a dominant four-length win over the distance last month. She has a strong finish and will one to watch out for in the closing stages. (3) NABOM CASTLE comes in looking for softer opposition after a couple of chastening outings at domestic class 4 and may improve while (6) APPALACHIA BOM perhaps hasn’t shown his best yet.

Selections: (9) Raon Rouis (8) Daeseong Malli (5) Pico Time (3) Nabom Castle
Next Best: 6, 1
Rating: 3, 4=8=9, 1
Fast Starters: 2, 6, 8, 9
Start-200M: 8, 9, 6, 3, 7
200M-Finish: 1, 4, 5, 12, 8

Click “more” to read on…

Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:10  (more…)