Month: April 2017

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Preview (April 30)

Plenty going on at both Seoul & Busan on what is set to be a beautiful Spring Sunday in Korea. 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. English race cards are here. Notes on overseas simulcast races below:

Race 9: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

1. FRUGAL GAME – Struggled in three starts at this level since a class 4 win last October.

2. VIVA TRINITY – Last, well back behind Anyang Lion on latest run.

3. ARGO HWANGGEUMKKOT – Last in both tries at this level since class 4 win in January.

4. REWARD HIGH – Solid 3rd place over 1400M on April 8th and regular money winner (more…)

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 29)

Saturday at Seoul sees 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. English racecards can be found here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million 

1. YEOKDAE CHOEGANG – Class 6 winner over 1000M in November. Just one start since, 7th of 12 in February. First try at further than the minimum today.

2. COLORS TROUBLE – Back to back 2nd place finishes, both at this class. Solid chance here.

3. MIRACLE MAN – Struggled on first attempt at class and distance at the beginning of the month but can be given another chance.

4. GUTONGSA – Stepped up to 1700M for first try at this level in March. Should be more comfortable stepped back in trip today. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 28)

There are 10 races at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards can be found here. Notes on all overseas simulcast races are below:

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million 

1. NEPTUNE – Offered little in two prior starts.

2. GAO – Ran twice last autumn without distinction and returned in similar fashion a month ago.

3. ONNURI GANGJA – Much improved 2nd place last start. Not sure where that came from but it stands him in good stead here and he’ll be one of the favourites.

4. RICH BOLT – 6th of 11 last time was above expectations. First try at the distance today. (more…)

Choegang Schiller Back Winning, New Citadel Continues To Rise

He was the toast of the nation back in 2015 when he overcame El Padrino to become the first locally-trained winner of the Asia Challenge Cup and on Sunday Choegang Schiller finally returned to the Seoul Racecoure winner’s circle for the first time since that glorious day.

It had been setback after setback for Choegang Schiller since his Challenge Cup win with only five starts to his name since with the best result being 2nd place in the SBS Korea/Japan Cup last June. However, he returned from his latest setback in February with a strong 2nd to Parang Juuibo, who also returned on Sunday and he was sent off as the 2nd favourite for the 1200M feature.

Favourite was Always Winner but the Segye Ilbo Cup and Owners’ Trophy winner was forced to use up too much energy getting to his preferred front position from the outside gate, leaving him with nothing left in the closing stages. That set the race up beautifully for Choegang Schiller, who had been kept handy by apprentice jockey Kim Tea Hun, and he ran on powerfully to score by over two lengths. The fast early pace also benefited Dynamic Jilju and long-shot Holiday Dream who came home 2nd and 3rd, while Brian Dean’s Jangsanjewang, partially responsible for that pace, stayed on for a gutsy 4th.

Choegang Schiller (Artie Schiller), a six-year-old gelding, moved on to 8 wins from just 19 starts. Another go at the SBS Korea/Japan Cup in early June looks the obvious next step.

This time last week, we were getting excited about the performance of King Of Ace. The Busan-based US import moved on to three wins from three starts with an easy class 3 victory over a mile on Good Friday. On Sunday at Seoul, another three-year-old US import put in a performance worthy of note.

Before the race punters fancied that import to be Cheongdam Dokki but in the event, it was New Citadel (With Distinction) who burnished his credentials with a surprisingly dominant class 2 win over 1800M. Cheongdam Dokki had beaten New Citadel when the pair were juveniles last autumn and while the latter had already won at this distance, he was carrying an additional 5.5kg this time. No matter. The pair briefly came together at the top of the straight but from then on, New Citadel was far too good, romping away to win by six-lengths.

The next time we see New Citadel will be at class 1 as his rating was bumped up 13 points as a result. Should connections be feeling ambitious, the Busan Mayor’s Cup ‘would be a sporting, if unlikely target.

One US import who did lose a bit of her luster at the weekend was Haeya. The US-bred filly won four from four up to this January before coming down lame. She returned in Busan’s Sunday feature, up to class 1 for the first time. While she showed on speed for much of the race, ultimately, she would finish 4th as Doraonpogyeongseon (Kantharos) came through late to land his 6th victory on his 12th career start.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Always Winner, Haeya Among Those In Action

Always Winner headlines a big Sunday of racing in Seoul (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) while down at Busan (6 races from 12:40 to 17:05), the hitherto unbeaten Haeya returns to action for the first time since January.

Always Winner

Always Winner winning the Owners’ Cup in March (Pic: KRA)

Always Winner was a a solid if unspectacular sprint handicapper as he entered his 5th year in January. However, 2017 has found him find top form with gate to wire victories in both the Segye Ilbo Cup in January and the Group 3 Owners’ Association Trophy in March. Both times he’s been allowed off at big prices but he’s bound to get more respect from punters this time.

That’s not to say it will be easy as Choegang Schiller, El Padrino’s conqueror in the 2015 Asia Challenge Cup looks ready to hit form once more while the likes of Parang Juuibo, Dynamic Jilju and Brian Dean’s Jangsanjewang can’t be ruled out.

At Busan, the feature sees unbeaten US import Haeya (Flatter) race at class 1 for the first time having won all four of her races to date. She was last seen in January but breezed through a barrier trial last week looking in very good shape. She may not be favourite though for the 1400M feature with Doraon Pogyeongseon, a winner at class and distance, beating no fewer than seven of those who return again for this race, last month.

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

Race 9: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

1. VALLEY STAR – Unimpressed in latest two but is carrying significantly less weight today.

2. MR. MOUNTAIN – Three 2nd place finishes at this level and while he disappointed when well backed last start, he’s worth another go today. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 21)

The weekend’s racing gets underway at Busan on Friday where there are 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards – now complete with silk colours – are here.

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million 

1. MEISTER – Two starts so far, one last September and one a month ago. Offered little.

2. BOUND KOREA – Not beaten many in three outings but improvement possible.

3. MISWICK MYEONGUN – First start since last October. Finished last in recent trial. (more…)

Clean Up Joy Takes Care Of Business

Clean Up Joy struck once more in emphatic fashion with an easy win in the Herald Business Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Pre-race betting suggested that this would be little more than an exceptionally well-paid workout for Clean Up Joy and so it proved as the 2017 Grand Prix Stakes winner took command of the race turning for home and ran on for a four-length win.

Clean Up Joy and stablemate Shamrocker were separated at the finish by Sinjo Daehyeop who ran on for a very solid 2nd place.

The win was Clean Up Joy’s 13th and came on his 23rd start. The six-year-old gelding was a $14,000 purchase from the 2yo sales at Ocala in 2013.  He’s now won approximately $1.5Million in prize money.

Herald Business Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – April 16, 2017

1. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeux Danseur) – Djordje Perovic – 1.1, 1.0
2. Sinjo Daehyeop (USA) [Summer Bird – Cupid’s Revenge (Red Ransom)] – Moon Se Young – 2.1
3. Shamrocker (USA) [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.4
Distances: 4 lengths / 6 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Haemaru (KOR) 5. Best Run (USA) 6. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) 7. Strong Road (KOR) 8. Seonbong (KOR) 9. Cheonjeok (USA) 10. Royal Jibbly (USA)