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…)
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.
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 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.
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)
Grand Prix Stakes winner Clean Up Joy makes his second appearance of 2017 with the five-year-old set to be hot favourite to win the Herald Business Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
Clean Up Joy won last year’s Grand Prix (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)
Clean Up Joy (Purge) was a dominant winner on his seasonal reappearance in February and with Djordje Perovic on board, will be expected to make short work of nine rivals over 2000M. The Herald Business is the highlight of an 11-race card at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:35.
So cherry blossom season has been and gone and Seoul Racecourse returns to the man business of racing! Saturday sees 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. English racecards can be found here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas can be found after this rather fetching picture:
They are nice, aren’t they?
Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
1. SEONGBULOREUM – Holds a class and distance win but just dropped off of late. 9th behind Aema Bisang latest start.
2. TODAY WINNER – Class and distance winner in February. Sent up to 1300M for his reappearance but it didn’t work. Much better chance today.
3. V KHAN – Started very greenly but has figured out what to do in his latest two. Looks not far from a maiden win. It could come here. (more…)
King Of Ace provided the standout performance on an otherwise low-key Good Friday card at Busan. The three-year-old American import maintained his 100% record with a dominant showing in the class 3 race 9.
Having won his previous two starts by a combined 11-lengths, the Kwan Seung Joo trained colt was always going to be strong favourite for the mile-long test and having assumed command of the race early under jockey Jo Sung Gon, King Of Ace never looked like being beaten, running on to win by a margin of his choosing; 7 lengths in the end.
Pangpang Hero, down in class today was a surprise 2nd while Peter Wolsley’s Cottinpickingood, the mount of Darryll Holland got up for 3rd. They might as well have been running a different race to King Of Ace though, a $50,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton last year, who confirmed his status as one of the Busan track’s hottest properties.
In other races, it was a good day for South African trainer Bart Rice. His gelding Que Sera Sera (Concept Win) provided the banker of the day, comfortably scoring in race 2 under in-form Cypriot jockey Marios Mina. Later on, Fivefold (Ecton Park) got the better of Thomas Gillespie’s Segi Gangja for the second time in race 8. Like King Of Ace, Fivefold is now three for three.