The Korean Derby is now behind us and we won’t be getting a Triple Crown winner this year. We have to wait until July to see if impressive Derby winner Final Boss can win the Minister’s Cup too but in the meantime, we have a big month ahead of us. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up in June and July in Korean racing.
June International Weekend (Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th)
The big one is of course the Korea Cup & Sprint in September but to mark the start of summer, the first weekend of June sees plenty of good racing. On the Saturday there will be excahnge races with the Selangor Turf Club, Turkey Jockey Club and China Horse Industry Association before two big group races on Sunday:
Sunday June 4 – SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3 – Sprint Series), Seoul: The 2nd leg of the Sprint Series doubles up as this year’s edition of the Korea vs Japan race. Success Story won the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the series, and he is expected to be in Seoul to try to make it two out of two in advance of the final leg, the Korea Sprint, in September. Last year’s winner Perdido Pomeroy is also expected to be there but with Power Blade now likely to stay home and Busan Ilbo 2nd place-getter Seoul Bullet spelled, Busan’s challenge is not as strong as usual. That gives opportunities to Seoul horses including Brian Dean’s Choegangja, who is 5 for 5 for the Aussie handler and could well give Dean a chance to return to his old haunt of Kranji for the KRA Trophy in July.
Sunday June 4 – Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2 – Queens Tour), Seoul – The Queens’ Tour to decide the year’s champion filly or mare gets underway with the shortest race of the series, the 1400M Ttukseom Cup. This division is not especially strong at the moment and favourites are likely to include last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup winner Indian Star and KNN Cup winner Supreme Magic.
Sunday June 11 – Korean Oaks (KOR G2) Busan – There were 27 early entries for the fillies’ Classic and we’ll get a clearer picture in the next week or so. Nevertheless, Ice Marine is set to be favourite. She won a valuable trial for the race in March and while her 6th place in the KRA Cup Mile meant she didn’t go for the Derby, she’s the standout so far. Plenty of unexposed ones could test her though.
They’re followed by:
Sunday June 28: Sports Chosun Cup (L) Seoul
Sunday July 9: Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) Busan – Informally known as the “Summer Grand Prix” it is, ater the Oaks, Busan’s 2nd most valuable race of the year. This year it will be run over 1800M. Past winners include Dangdae Bulpae, Tough Win (twice) and Gamdonguibada.
Sunday July 16: Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) Seoul – There’s no Triple Crown on the line this year but the final Classic of the year still has its intrigues. Final Boss’s Derby win was rated lower than that of Power Blade last year so can he burnish his credentials before taking on older, proven horses later in the season?
Sunday July 23: KNN Cup (KOR G3) Busan – They step up to a mile for the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour.
Sunday Jul 30: Ilgan Sports (L) Seoul
The nightracing season is shorter this year than last. From June, Friday meetings at Busan will switch to their night race times. Seoul will run Night meetings on Saturdays and twilight meetings on Sundays in July and August only.