Month: December 2016

Busan New Year’s Eve Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 31)

2016 concludes with a bumper New Year’s Eve Saturday card at Busan. There are 15 races from 10:50 to 18:00. They include two big races, one for 2-year-olds and one for 3-year-olds to see the year out with. No live racing at Seoul or Jeju but the racecourses are open for the Busan simulcast. There is no racing in Korea on New Year’s Day.

English race cards are available here. Notes on races which will be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 6: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:25

(4) FREE CARE is up in class following her maiden victory, achieved by making all to score by four lengths over 1000M a month ago. She’s also up in distance for the first time but has every chance of winning again. (10) DINAH is yet to win in four outings but has never finished worse than 3rd and should keep that record going here while (12) TAEYANGUI SINHWA was 3rd on his first try at this level two weeks ago and can continue to develop here. Darryll Holland taking the mount makes (8) MADEIN MYEONGSEONG attractive to continue his recent run of placings while (3) VICAR SARANG and (5) ONLY BLUE are others to consider.

Selections: (4) Free Care (10) Dinah (8) Madein Myeongseong (12) Taeyangui Sinhwa
Next Best: 3, 5
Rating: 8, 5=12, 4, 6
Fast Starters: 6, 4
Start-200M: 8, 12, 4, 6, 7
200M-Finish: 4, 1, 10, 8, 6

Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:50

Thomas Gillespie’s (4) PARTY AGAIN comes in following 4th place in the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Cup in November and will be strongly favoured to return to winning ways on what will be his first try at 1300M. (1) ADELE ACE is yet to win in three outings but finds himself up in class and distance following two 3rd place finishes and a 2nd and can continue to place here – he should get an easy lead early – while (5) SONATILLED stepped up to a mile for his first attempt at this class three weeks ago and can improve on the 5th he managed that day. (2) MANGANG and (7) BEONGGEULBEONGGEUL others to look out for.

Selections: (4) Party Again (1) Adele Ace (5) Sonatilled (7) Beonggeulbeonggeul
Next Best: 2, 3
Rating: 4, 5, 7=9, 1
Fast Starters: 1
Start-200M: 1, 6, 11, 4, 8
200M-Finish: 4, 1, 7, 9, 5 (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 30)

Seoul takes a weekend off and all tracks take Sunday off so it’s to Busan for Friday and Saturday racing to round out the 2016 season in Korea. There are 8 races at Busan on Friday from 11:55 to 18:00 (and plenty of pony races from Jeju).


Darryll Holland returns to Busan (Pic: Ross Holburt)

UK jockey Darryll Holland, who had a successful year at the track in 2013-2014 returns to Busan this week. He has three rides on Friday with a further eight on Saturday. English race cards are here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 3: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:05 

Competitive race but while (9) PARTY TONIGHT is yet to win in four outings and up in class, he’s favoured to score here. He was just beaten a head on his first start at this distance a month ago having started poorly. If he can get away better here, he should be tough to beat. (6) MR. SPENDING beat (7) BAEKDUBONG as the pair raced 2nd and 4th over this distance on December 2nd and the former especially should be a danger again today while (1) DANCING STAR comes in following back to back 3rd place finishes, the first of them at class 1, and will be backed. (4) WINNING GILI and (5) YOUARE THE CAPTAIN look best of the rest.

Selections: (9) Party Tonight (1) Dancing Star (6) Mr. Spending (5) Youare The Captain
Next Best: 5, 7, 2, 12, 11
Rating: 1, 5, 2=11, 7
Fast Starters: 1, 7, 9
Start-200M: 9, 3, 1, 7, 8
200M-Finish: 7, 9, 10, 8, 1 (more…)

Dubai World Cup Carnival 2017: Korea’s Contenders At Meydan

Five Korea-trained horses arrived at Meydan on Christmas Eve to begin preparations for their campaigns at the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival. Horse Of The Year Triple Nine and Triple Crown winner Power Blade have been joined on the trip by Diferent Dimension, Seoul Bullet and Main Stay. They will be hoping to emulate the feats achieved by Success Story, who managed two 3rd placed finishes at the 2016 Carnival. 


Horse Of The Year Triple Nine leads the Korean contingent in Dubai (Pic: Alex Cairns/TheWinningPost)

Diferent Dimension (USA) [Into Mischief – Pardon My Sarong (Souvenir Copy)] 4-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Larkspur Thoroughbreds (Kentucky), Owner: Mun Kyung Sook, Trainer: Peter M. Wolsley
Race Records: 15(9/2/2)
The only US bred among the Korean contingent. It’s not a spelling mistake, he’s named after a lyric in a Katy Perry song (or something like that, I’m told) and was a $30,000 purchase from OBS in April 2014 (having previously gone through Keeneland as a yearling). He’s won at distances up to 1800M but could go further. He was 3rd last month at 2200M but was giving 7kg to the pair who beat him and should be fresh having not been able to get a run in the Grand Prix. He’s saddled by Australian trainer Peter Wolsley.


Diferent Dimension (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] 4-year-old Colt
Breeder: Isidore Farm (Korea), Owner: Choi Byeong Bu, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 20(11/7/1)
As a three-year-old, he was 2nd in both of the final two-legs of the Triple Crown before asserting his talent with victory in the Presidents Cup. He’s now a two-time winner of that race having successfully defended his title this autumn and accordingly, Triple Nine was this past weekend crowned Horse Of The Year in Korea for 2016. He finished 3rd in the Korea Cup and 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes and has comfortably defeated Power Blade on three consecutive occasions.


Triple Nine arrives (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] 3-year-old Colt
Breeder: Kim Jung Du (Korea), Owner: Kim Hyeong Ran. Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 13(8/3/1)
He was the Champion Juvenile of 2015 he then dominated the three-year-old division in 2016, comfortably winning all three legs of the Korean Triple Crown. He has gone on to show his class against older horses with 4th place in the Korea Cup, 2nd in the President’s Cup and 3rd in the Grand Prix, the latter over 2300M. Triple Nine has finished ahead of him in all three of those races. In the middle of those races, he dropped down to 1400M to beat Seoul Bullet in a valuable race at Busan.


A blurry Power Blade on the Meydan track (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Main Stay (KOR) [Tale Of The Cat – No Bull Baby (Indian Charlie)] 3-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Nokwon Farm (Korea), Owner: SH. Baek, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 16(9/3/0)
Classed as a Korean bred as he was imported in-utero when his dam was purchased for $32,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale. As such he wasnt eligible for the three-year-old Classic races but has gone on to establish himself as one of the top sprinters in Korea with four wins from his last five starts. He is yet to run in Stakes company but has run and won at distances of up to a mile. Comes in having beaten Seoul Bullet narrowly over 1400M in December.


Main Stay arrives (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Seoul Bullet (KOR) [Peace Rules – Wild Guess (Wld Rush)] 5-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Kim Chae Hyung (Korea). Owner: Cho Tae Man, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: KOR: 10(7/2/0) USA: 4(0/0/1)
He’s had an interesting career having spent the first year of it in the United States where he ran four times for one 3rd place in Florida and even managed to get claimed out of a race at Gulfstream. He was claimed back and returned to Korea where he promptly won his first six starts. He was then sidelined for fifteen months before finally returning to action this summer. He pushed Power Blade all the way over 1400M in October before winning a class 1 race at the same distance very handily. Narrowly defeated by Main Stay last time out.


Seoul Bullet strolls at Meydan (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Havlik Off The Mark On Christmas Day

It hasn’t taken Jan Havlik long to get off the mark in Korea. The Slovakian jockey debuted at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday and within 24 hours he had ridden his first winner, striking on board 10/1 chance Yeongung Geonmu (Exploit) in race 4 on Christmas Day.

That success enabled the 42-year-old Havlik to pick up a number of spare rides later in the day and he came very close to scoring again on another long shot, 22/1 Strong Road in the day’s final race, only to be denied by Mighty Gem, 3rd in last month’s Busan Governor’s Cup, right at the end. Saturday had been up and down for the newcomer as while he gt some good runs out of horses with low expectations, he had to miss his final mount of the day after suffering a injured toe. He was fit again in time for Sunday though.

Havlik and Djordje Perovic had previously been rivals for several years in Europe and with the early breakthrough will do no harm at all for the “Slovak Moore” as he seeks to emulate the “Serbian Frankie” at Seoul.

*In the weekend’s valuable 2-year-old races, Meni Bracing (Menifee) took Saturday’s contest for Korean-bred juveniles while US bred Dolkung (Afleet Alex) took the one for the imports on Sunday.

Christmas Day Racing At Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (December 25)

Christmas Day sees a bumper day of racing in Seoul with 15 races from 10:40 to 18:00. English race cards can be found here.


Notes on races 6-15 are below. It’s going to be cold and crisp but dry day. Christmas Day at the races in Seoul is surely something everybody should do once!

Race 6: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:30 

(1) DREAM SUN was a creditable 4th behind three decent ones over 1300M at the end of last month and should have too much here. (3) HAWK EYES, who returned from a lengthy spell to run 2nd over 1000M on December 3rd, can go close again while (2) GONSEOL and (11) CLAY SHOOT are also capable of going close while (4) HWANGGEUM NEUGDAE returned from six months off in the race behind Dream Sun last month, looked like he needed the race and can go better here.

Selections: (1) Dream Sun (3) Hawk Eyes (2) Gonseol (4) Hwanggeum Neugdae
Next Best: 11
Rating: 1, 12, 3=6, 4
Fast Starters: 4, 11
Start-200M: 11, 4, 12, 7, 6
200M-Finish: 1, 3, 6, 5, 9

Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:00 

(1) SIMCHEONG SADAL got his maiden win at the third attempt last start. He’s had two months off since and is up in class today but will be favourite to score once more. (8) DAEJANGGEUM has come close in several tries at this level and should be looking to get close once more while (9) GIANT TEUKGEUP may be up in class despite being without a win but can get among the places again after consecutive 2nd place finishes. (3) FLYING STORM and especially (10) SPASTAR have too proven their competitiveness at this level and are not to be discounted.

Selections: (1) Simcheong Sadal (10) Spastar (8) Daejanggeum (9) Giant Teukgeup
Next Best: 5, 3, 11
Rating: 10, 1, 7, 5, 8
Fast Starters: 1, 7, 8
Start-200M: 1, 7, 8, 9, 2
200M-Finish: 3, 5, 10, 11, 12 (more…)

Saturday Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (December 24)

It’s Christmas Eve! So what better to do than get out on the punt? Plenty of opportunities to do so today as well with a bumper 15-race card at Seoul Racecourse.

Big card, big fields and Slovakian jockey Jan Havlik makes his Korea debut with five rides. English race cards are here. Notes on overseas simulcast races 5-15 are below:

Race 5: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:25 

Just the one win in eleven to date but a solid 3rd place at class and distance in a decent contest a month ago makes (2) CLEAN UP WHISTLE favourite to take this. The draw should allow her to get on the early speed and make all. (4) SHINE QUEEN and (5) NHA TRANG have both shown ability and this level and can compete while (3) GOLDIE EARTH and (11) BLACK POINT are both up in class following maiden victories last time out with the latter looking more equipped here.

Selections: (2) Clean Up Whistle (4) Shine Queen (5) Nha Trang (11) Black Point
Next Best: 3, 9
Rating: 4=5=11, 2=3
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 10
Start-200M: 2, 10, 1, 4, 11
200M-Finish: 4, 11, 9, 5, 6

Race 6: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:10 

After two consecutive 2nd place finishes, just beaten a nose last time out, (7) GEUMTAEPUNG can go one better today. He’s only won one of nineteen so far but can sit handy early, finish well and looks the one to beat. (3) GEUMGOKSEONG did actually beat him over 1200M in September and has been solid into starts since as well so must be considered while (6) NEW WHY FI and (8) J BAEK both enter following victories, the latter at this class and distance. (1) LIM FARM was an unexpected 2nd last start, just beaten a neck and will be better supported today.

Selections: (7) Geumtaepung (6) New Why Fi (3) Geumgokseong (8) J Baek
Next Best: 1, 5
Rating: 2, 8, 3, 6, 7
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 5
Start-200M: 5, 2, 3, 6, 7
200M-Finish: 3, 11, 8, 6, 7 (more…)

Lee Yang Ho Inaugurated As KRA Chairman

The Korea Racing Authority has its 35th Chairman as Lee Yang Ho was inaugurated at a ceremony at Seoul Racecourse on Wednesday morning.


New KRA Chairman Lee Yang Ho speaks at his inauguration ceremony on Wednesday (Pic: KRA) 

Lee replaces Hyung Myung Kwan, who left the Authority earlier this month. As is normal in the public sector in Korea, Lee, whose appointment was approved by the Presidential Office at the end of last week, was an external candidate.

Lee Yang Ho was born in Gumi in North Gyeongsang Province in 1959 and graduated from Yeongnam University in 1982. He completed a Masters degree at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand in 1992. A career civil servant, Lee has spent the vast majority of his working life in the Ministry of Agriculture, the branch of government under which the KRA is administered, rising to a senior position.

Lee, who speaks good English, has been appointed to run the Racing Authority for a three-year term.


The big screen at Seoul Racecourse welcomes Lee Yang Ho’s appointment on Wednesday (Pic: Jo Kim)