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…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 18)

It’s the final leg of the 2016 Queens’ Tour to determine this year’s champion filly or mare at Busan on Sunday, but before that there is a busy day of action on Friday. There are 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00

English race cards can be found here. See below for notes on races 4-11:

Key
Rating: Top five official rated
Fast Starters: Expected to lead the race early
Start-200M: Fastest average time for the first 200M (up to 6 most recent races)
200M-Finish: Fastest average time for the final 200M (up to 6 most recent races)

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

Two stand-outs here looking to get their maiden wins at what for both of them is the fourth time of asking. (9) NAMBANG JEONSEOL is favoured. He debuted all the way back last year before immediately suffering a setback and didn’t return until September. A 4th and 3rd in two starts since returning in reasonable company suggest he should be favourite to claim this (8) CAPI RUN is the main danger having shown promise in his own three outings and has an apprentice jockey taking a significant amount of weight off. They should account for the quinella with (1) WINNING ALL, (2) PUREUN GANGJA and (6) SONATILLED looking best of the rest.

Selections: (9) Nambang Jeonseol (8) Capi Run (2) Pureun Gangja (1) Winning All
Next Best: 6, 4
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 4, 5
Start-200M: 5, 4, 9, 1, 8
200M-Finish: 6, 7, 9, 5, 2

Click “More” to show full article…

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Jockey Woes: Lee Chan Ho Struck-Off / Pasquale Borelli Suspended For 12 Months

Lee Chan Ho, one of the most promising young jockeys at Seoul and who guided Choegang Schiller to victory in the 2015 Asia Challenge Cup, has had his license to ride in races cancelled. The sanction, announced last Friday, is due to off-track incidents and is not related to racing or integrity.

Born in 1992, Lee Chan Ho debuted as a 21-year-old in June 2013 and quickly made an impression, riding out his apprentice claim in double-quick time. He partnered Wonder Bolt to 2nd place behind El Padrino in the inaugural Asia Challenge Cup in 2014 and returned to win the race one year later on Choegang Schiller.

That would be his only Group race winner although he also had Listed success in the Herald Business and Nonghyup Chairman’s Cup races in 2015 as well as this year’s Seoul trial for the Jeju Governor’s Cup. In total, he rode 179 winners from 1343 rides.

Like a number of jurisdictions in Asia, Korea has strict policies relating to conduct away from the racecourse as well as on it and unfortunately, it seems Lee Chan Ho fell foul of these one time too many.

Meanwhile Pasquale Borelli’s time at Busan is at an end. The Italian jockey had been under investigation for his ride on Yeonggwanguihunter at Busan on October 28th. The 2-year-old colt was sent off as odds-on favourite but finished a tailed-off last with Borelli adjudged by stewards to have restrained the horse. Borelli maintained that he believed the horse to be feeling an injury but a post-race veterinary exam showed no sign of lameness.

Ultimately, Borelli was handed a 12-month suspension which almost certainly means he has ridden his last race in Korea.  Borelli debuted at Busan in October 2015 and in his year riding at the South Coast track, recorded 38 winners from 319 mounts.

Here’s the race in question, the horse is number 9:

Tough Night In Tokyo

It was another chastening night in the dirt for Korean runners in Tokyo as Bichui Wangja and Ubaki were unable to make an impact in the 4th running of the Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse on Tuesday evening.

ubaki

The parade ring was about as good as it got (Pic: KRA)

Since Watts Village won the inaugural running of the race in 2013, things haven’t been easy for the Korean contingent in Tokyo each autumn in the same way that it has been tough for the NAR runners who travel to Seoul for the Korean-based leg of the challenge each year.

This time around, Korean hopes took an early blow when Oreuse, the top-rated among the three who travelled, pulled up lame at trackwork on Monday morning and had to be scratched. That left Ubaki and Bichui Wangja flying the flag and Japanese punters sent them off as 8th and 10th in the betting respectively for the 1200M test over Ohi’s right-handed course.

After a long delay while Satono Diplomat was scratched, market-leader Looks That Kill (Wildcat Heir) set the early pace and along with Gaudy (Precious Cafe) put several lengths into the field in the early stages as the Korean pair, having drawn outside gates, struggled to get into the early prominent positions required.

Those two on the early speed would lead all the way but it would be Gaudy, under veteran jockey Fumio Matoba who would get up eight on the line to snatch victory.  Bichui Wangja and Ubaki  trailed home towards the rear of the field.

Gaudy, an 8-year-old horse, was 5th in the betting and was winning for the 9th time on his 58th career start. As for Matoba, the “Emperor of Ohi” was winning a 2nd Japan/Korea race, having claimed the very first one, the 2013 SBS Goodwill Cup at Seoul aboard Tosen Archer. Now pushing 60-years-old, Matoba’s style is not one that gets taught in the world’s jockey academies these but once in full flight, it can be very effective at Ohi.

There’s no disgrace on the ones who went and gave it a go and while the results over the past couple of years have been a touch disappointing, the exchange remains a valuable one, giving trainers and grooms (although this year not jockeys) experience of taking horses overseas to race, something that is vital to the long term development of Korean racing.

The Interaction Cup concludes overseas racing for Korean horses this year. Next up is the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the New Year. Success Story, who did so well at the Carnival last year, won’t be returning but a number of top names have applied for stable allocation.