Month: January 2017

Power Blade Set For Stiff Meydan Test

Power Blade will need to be at his best as he faces a stern examination in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge in the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan this Thursday night.

The 2016 Korean Triple Crown winner was an encouraging 3rd on his Dubai debut three weeks ago but steps up in both distance and in opposition for this week’s 1900M test. It’s the 2nd leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge and the top four place-getters from the first leg, run over a mile on the Carnival’s opening day on January 5th, all return.

The winner that day was Le Bernadin and the 8-year-old is set to be favourite here. Long River, Lindo Amor and Gold City ran 2nd to 4th and all three try their luck again. Fitzgerald ran poorly that day but prior to that won back to back non-Carnival races at Meydan while Second Summer is a Graded Stakes winner in the USA. Storm Belt showed little in his Carnival race three weeks ago but is a Meydan winner while Chile bred Furia Cruzada makes her Dubai debut but has solid form in Europe.

Despite being some way behind the winner and runner-up on January 12, Power Blade ran on very nicely for 3rd and hopes are high that he will at least be competitive once more as he becomes the first Korea-trained horse to compete at Group level at the Carnival. With the pattern of races on the deep Seoul and Busan sand being different to that on the Meydan dirt, the horses have taken some time to adapt and have tended to lose a bit of ground in the middle parts of the races, but with Pat Cosgrave, who has partnered most of the Korean runners so far this Carnival in the saddle once more, this can be overcome.

It’s now two weeks since Main Stay scored the breakthrough that Korea had been waiting for, comfortably landing a 1200M handicap. It wasn’t a strong race but crucially it was the first time a Korean horse was actually expected to win and with the pressure on, he delivered. It was a huge relief for all concerned and that hugely enjoyable evening – on which Triple Nine also ran a big race in 2nd over 2000M – helped to finally put to rest some nagging doubts, especially at home, as to whether horses from Korea really belonged at the Carnival. Now we know they do, if Power Blade runs to his best, another placed finish isn’t out of the question.

Seoul Bullet, 4th in Main Stay’s race, is recovering from a slight injury but the the other three Korea-trained horses are all likely to race over the next couple of weeks. Peter Wolsley’s Diferent Dimension, who ran well but weakened late on behind Power Blade on January 12 is expected to try his luck on turf while Main Stay and Triple Nine will return to the dirt within the next two weeks.

Power Blade runs in race 5, the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 at 20:50 Dubai time on Thursday evening. Click here for the full race card.

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Always Winner Makes All In Segye Ilbo Cup

Sunday saw the first listed race in Korea of 2017 and there was something of a shock as 20/1 chance Always Winner made all to land the valuable 1200M test.

It was a race that always looked rather open with the favourites having plenty of question marks against them and so it proved as under Lim Gi Won, Always Winner (Creek Cat) hit the front early – as he always does – and gave the rest simply too much to do, winning by a comfortable three-lengths on the line. Another 20/1 shot, Best Guy, came home 2nd with 13/1 Global Fusion completing an unlikely trifecta.

Of the favourites, Haemaru was best in 4th but it was another chastening experience for Gorgeous Dream who won eight of his first nine but is now winless in his last three. He came home in 7th, one place below recent frequent nemesis Yaho Sky Cat.

Always Winner is a five-year-old gelding and he was winning for the 6th time in 23 starts. He won the JRA Trophy race last year which encouraged connections to take him to Kranji in Singapore for the KRA Trophy the following month. That didn’t go well and not only is the Segye Ilbo by far his biggest triumph, it’s his first victory since returning to Korea,

At Busan, there was a Championship Series race over 2000M and the honours went to Dongbang Daero (Curlin), who got the best of a photo finish ahead of Tariat Tale.

Segye Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Jan 22, 2017

1. Always Winner (KOR) [Creek Cat – Hallat’Eukkeup (Land Rush)] – Lim Gi Won – 20.3, 4.8
2. Best Guy (KOR) [Didyme – Madam Winette (Danehill)] – Kim Cheol Ho – 4.8
3. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 3.7
Distances: 3 lengths/2 lengths – 12 ran

There is no racing at all in Korea this coming weekend as all three tracks take a break for the Lunar New Year Holiday. Racing returns on Friday February 3.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 22)

Sunday sees the first Listed race of the season in the shape of the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul. It’s attracted a full field and headlines an 11-race card in the capital from 10:40 to 18:00. There’s action too at Busan with 6 races from 12:35 to 17:05.

English race cards can be found here. Notes on all races to be simulcast overseas below:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 10:40

(4) PERFECT SOCKS was totally unfancied on debut in November but came a good 2nd. She’s had two months off since and has to be favourite for this. As he’s run already and didn’t disgrace himself, (5) YES YOU CAN will be 2nd favourite. Of the eight the debut-makers. (6) SILVER LION and (12) HERO KING look the most promising.

Selections (4) Perfect Socks (5) Yes You Can (6) Silver Lion (12) Hero King
Next Best 2, 7, 11
Rating
Fast Starters  
Start-200M 4, 7, 5, 2
200M-Finish 4, 5, 2, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 11:05

(6) TOUR ROSE was much improved second-time out Christmas Day over this distance and she’s the pick to score here. The other contenders are all stepping up to this distance for the first time. (7) LEAD QUEEN was 2nd in a weaker than average class 6 but did little wrong so can be considered although (3) AMAZONAS looks a little easier to recommend. (11) NEW HIGH TIME also looked promising while (2) DANSEONG RUBY has run on well in her past two and may appreciate the step up.

Selections (6) Tour Rose (3) Amazonas (7) Lead Queen (11) New High Time
Next Best 2, 8, 4
Rating
Fast Starters 3, 5, 6
Start-200M 7, 3, 11, 12, 9
200M-Finish 3, 11, 9, 10, 6

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 11:30 (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 20)

Busan horses were in action at the Dubai World Cup Carnival overnight at Meydan with Main Stay a winner over 1200M and Triple Nine a valiant runner-up over 2000M. More on that to follow but back home the South Coast track hosts 11 races on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00.

English race cards are here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

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

(8) CAPI RUN beat (7) GOLDEN TROPHY as the pair raced 2nd and 3rd over this distance in a very similar race two weeks ago and they should be battling it out again, this time for the win. Golden Trophy has been favourite for both his last two starts and he’s favoured to get it right this time. Those two stand out but (6) TIME CASTLE comes in after a reasonably encouraging 3rd place last time while (1) HIGH SPEC and (4) K O BARAM may improve on recent outings.

Selections: (7) Golden Trophy (8) Capi Run (6) Time Castle (1) High Spec
Next Best: 4, 11
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 1, 9, 11
Start-200M: 12, 1, 8, 11, 7
200M-Home: 4, 6, 2, 7, 5

Race 5: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 14:20

(3) YEONGGWANGUICOUNTRY ran poorly over 1000M, beaten by a couple of the others here, a month ago but had shown talent before that and gets another chance today stepped up to 1300M for the first time. (5) NAMBANG JEONSEOL beat three of these at the distance three weeks ago and must be considered while the more experienced (2) KING CODE enters following back to back 4ths and can seek a career-best finish here. (7) MACH IMPACT and (8) EGSEU BAND also should not be ignored.

Selections: (3) Yeonggwanguicountry (5) Nambang Jeonseol (2) King Code (8) Egseu Band
Next Best: 7, 11
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 3, 7, 12
Start-200M: 12, 3, 5, 7, 8
200M-Home: 11, 3, 2, 6, 5 (more…)

Triple Nine, Seoul Bullet & Main Stay All Go At Meydan Thursday

It was Power Blade and Diferent Dimension last week, this time it’s the turn of rest of the Korean stable at the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival to make their Meydan debuts. Triple Nine, Seoul Bullet and Main Stay will all run at the Carnival meeting on Thursday evening (early Friday in Korea).

triple-nine-2-alex-cairns

Triple Nine is among the Korea contingent going at Meydan Thursday night (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)

Triple Nine will take part in the 2000M race 4 while Main Stay and Seoul Bullet will try their luck at 1200M in race 6. Pat Cosgrave, who rode Power Blade to 3rd place last week, partners both Triple Nine and Main Stay while Tadhg O’Shea will ride Seoul Bullet.

Race 4 (20:15): Meydan Sobha – 2000M Handicap – USD 125,000

 

As it was for Power Blade last week, Triple Nine’s race looks very competitive. The trouble is that as joint top-rated, he will be carrying 60kg which is 1.5kg more than he has ever carried in an actual race and 3kg heavier than he has won at in Korea. Nevertheless, Triple Nine remains a best-priced 5/1 2nd-favorite with most odds-makers. Favourite with those same odds-makers is Godolphin’s Fog Of War who hasn’t raced since September 2015 but there’s little to choose between a whole host of them. Munaaser won this race last year but doesn’t enter in tremendous form. The Mikael Barzalona ridden Hunting Ground is sure to be well backed as is Doug Watson’s Etijaah.

Race 6 (21:25): District One – 1200M Handicap – USD 125,000

meydanrace6better

Race 6 is a similarly tricky puzzle. Both Korea-trained horses carry light weights in what doesn’t look a very intimidating field. Main Stay defeated Seoul Bullet over 1400M at Busan last month although the latter did stumble coming out of the gate. The Sweden-trained Giftorm is currently favourite having performed creditably at Meydan last year and winning a Swedish G3 in the Spring. The rest don’t appear to have a lot of solid recent form to go on although Shaishee, Indianapolis and Spirit Quartz have all recorded decent times, if not finishes, so at the strong risk of tempting fate, if there is a solid pace, the Korean-pair have a chance.

For those watching from Korea, it will be a late night with race 4 set for 1:15am Seoul time and race 6 coming under orders at 2.25am.

Moon Se Young, Kim Hye Sun Join Top Class Line-Up For Macau “Mixed Doubles” Challenge

Korean Jockeys Moon Se Young and Kim Hye Sun are in Macau where they will participate in the inaugural Mixed Doubles Jockey Challenge at Taipa Racecourse this coming Saturday January 21.

moon-se-young

Moon Se Young (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The concept for the day involves six pairs of riders – one male, one female – from six different countries, however they will be paired with a partner from another country for the purposes of the challenge. The challenge takes place over three races on the turf on Saturday afternoon, with mounts having been drawn at random. The pair scoring the highest number of combined points will be crowned winners.

kim-hye-sun

Kim Hye Sun (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Moon Se Young, who has been Seoul’s dominant jockey in recent years, has been paired with Australian rider Katelyn Mallyon. Kim Hye Sun, who holds the record for most wins here by a female jockey teams with Champion Singapore jockey Manoel Nunes.

The legendary Yutaka Take and “Idol Jockey” Nanako Fujita represent Japan. Take will team up with Brazil’s Jeane Alves de Lemos while Nanako partners with Hong Kong-based French jockey Olivier Doleuze.

American jockey Jacqueline Davis rides with New Zealand’s Andrew Calder while Ireland’s Emily Finnegan completes the line-up alongside local Macau-based Luis Corrales.

For more information about the Jockey Challenge, see the article on the Macau Jockey Club website here.

For racecards for Saturday’s meeting at Taipa click here.

 

 

(Late) Weekend Round-Up: Final Boss Starts 2017 Well At Seoul

Korea’s reigning champion juvenile made his first appearance as a three-year-old last Sunday and it was a winning start as Final Boss stepped up to two-turns and comfortably saw off his class 3 opposition.

Despite winning the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup in October, Final Boss (Menifee) was still sent off as a 12/1 chance in the Breeders’ Cup (the top juvenile race in Korea) at the beginning of December with punters favoring horses from Busan, where the winners of the vast majority of big races in Korea over the past few years are trained. However, Final Boss was far too strong in the closing stages that day and entered 2017 as the early favourite for the big Classic races.

While there is a long way to go, Final Boss did nothing to change that on Sunday and while it took him a while to get to the front, once he got into gear in the closing stages, the result wasn’t in doubt for long. The margin on the line was almost two lengths and after five consecutive wins, sterner tests await.

* At Busan, Perdido Pomeroy (Pomeroy) got back to winning ways in Sunday’s feature. The colt had been without a victory since his triumph in the SBS Korea/Japan Cup last June but under apprentice Jung Do Yun, the four-year-old led from gate to wire in the 1400M race, seeing off the closing Tongil Sidae with plenty to spare.

* It was another good weekend for much of the foreign contingent with Bart Rice and Peter Wolsley sending out winners as usual while jockeys Djordje Perovic, Jan Havlik, Marcello Belli, Darryll Holland, Yonekura Satoshi and Francisco Da Silva all found the winner’s circle at least once.