Month: June 2017

International Sunday: Preview (June 4)

It’s a Group race double-header at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Black-type is up for grabs in the Ttukseom Cup while one race later it is Korea vs Japan in the SBS Sports Sprint. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

Success Story Busan Ilbo 2017

Success Story winning May’s Busan Ilbo Cup (Pic: KRA)

Both races are part of a series. The Ttukseom Cup gets the “Queens Tour” for fillies and mares underway while the SBS Sports Sprint is the 2nd leg of the “Sprint Series” which will culminate in the international Korea Sprint in September.

The winner of the first leg of the Sprint Series returns here and could well be favourite. Success Story made his name with a pair of 3rd place finishes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2016 and having returned to winning ways over 1800M in February, got the better of a strong field in the Busan Ilbo Cup on the south-coast last month. Only one other participant from that 1st leg tries his luck again; that’s Perdido Pomeroy, who won this race last year but has struggled for form since.

Japan sends two. Kimon Avalon, who finished 5th in the race last year, returns to the peninsula to try again but there will be more attention paid to 6-year-old mare Party Dress who operates at JRA level at home. It’s the Korea-based one that will be fancied though with 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller, in-form Doraonpogyeongseon and Brian Dean’s Choegangja all set to be well-backed.

The Ttukseom Cup, named after the district of downtown Seoul that was home to the racecourse before it moved to its present site in the satellite city of Gwacheon, is one of six Korean races included in this year’s international “Blue Book” and there are ten fillies and mares vying for the Black Type it confers – not to mention a 228Million Won first prize.

US import Haeya went down to her first defeat in April but looks to be the one to beat in the 1400M test. Form comments below:

Race 8: Class Open (1400M) Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) / KRW 400 Million

1. INDIAN STAR – Stakes winner at this track last October. Narrowly beaten last time out at this distance, she’s a fast starter and should be in the mix at the end.

2. MIGHTY GEM – Ended last year in great form but hasn’t looked right in three starts so far this term. Strong finisher but looks up against it here.

3. HAEYA – Suffered her first defeat in April, fading late on. That was her first start since January after lots of setbacks. If she’s right, she will be hard to beat.

4. GOLD BLUE –Won consecutive races in January and February but two subsequent class 1 starts have been at long distances. Very strong finisher, so long as she doesn’t leave too much to do, she could be in the hunt late on. (more…)

International Weekend: Saturday Review

Korean racing’s first international weekend of 2017 got underway on Saturday and while the main events are tomorrow, there was plenty of action in the three exchange races and it was two young US imports who produced the stand-out performances.

Dolkong

Dolkong & Djordje Perovic return to scale after winning the Turkey Cup

First was the China Horse Industry Association Trophy and it resulted in a gate to wire victory for filly Kiliui Yeowang (Adios Charlie). The filly, a $33,000 purchase from the OBS June Sales last year maintained her 100% on what was her 3rd start, seeing off the challenge of Spirit Of Hansen by just over a length.

Next up was the Selangor Turf Club Trophy which despite only attracting a field of eight generated plenty of betting interest. Ultimately, the 1800 contest would come down to a photo finish which saw the slight betting favourite The Queen Silver (Officer) win by a head.

The Queen Silver is a five-year-old mare and was winning for the 6th time on her 25th start. Kim Dong Soo rode.

The final exchange race was with the Turkey Jockey Club and this year, to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations between Turkey and South Korea, the race was this year simply called the “Turkey Cup”. It also produced the performance of the day by three-year-old US import Dolkong.

Dolkong (Afleet Alex) was a $35,000 purchase as a two-year-old and had won two of his five starts prior to today, setting some impressive times along the way. Today was impressive too as Dolkong shook off the attentions of favourite Cheongdam Dokki with a furlong to run and cruised clear to win by four lengths on the line. He’ll be one to watch later this year.

Sunday sees a double helping of Group race action with the Ttukseom Cup and the SBS Sports Sprint.

Da Silva Makes The Breakthrough

Antonio Da Silva has broken his maiden in Korea. The Brazilian jockey opened his account with  last to first effort on 7/1 chance Gutongsa in race 6 at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday afternoon.

Gutongsa (Spring At Last) was Da Silva’s (called Antonio Davielson in the race card) 12th mount since debuting full-time last weekend. He rides Hidden Indian in the Group 2 Ttukseom Cup on Sunday.

The win was also a first for new trainer Jun Seung Kyu on what was just his second every starter.

* Da Silva’s win comes a day after Korean Champion jockey Moon Se Young rode his first winner in Singapore. Moon guided the Alwin Tan trained Thunder Cat to a last gasp victory in the closing race 9 at Kranji on Friday night. Full result and race video here.

Turkey Cup, SLTC, CHIA Trophies Headline Day 1 Of Seoul International Weekend

It’s 60 years since South Korea and Turkey established diplomatic relations and to mark that, the Turkey Cup is one of three big races Day 1 on Saturday of the first of two International weekends at Seoul Racecourse this year (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00). 

Turk

Flags fly at a previous Turkey Cup day

In additional to the Turkey Cup, there are also the annual exchange races with the Selangor Turf Club and China Horse Industry Association. English racecards are here. Here are notes on the four key races:

Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) “Cargill Agri Purina” / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 15:35

1. CHARISMA QUEEN – Started to get the hang of this level in her latest two. Led last time but did fade to 5th.

2. TOUR ROSE – Since a 7th place on debut, she’s never been any worse than 2nd. Comprehensive class and distance winner last start, she’s very much the one to beat here.

3. SAEJAE SARANG – Surprise class and distance winner in February, he’s not shown many signs of following up in three efforts since.

4. DRAGON VILLAGE – Generally beats a few but generally finishes behind a few more. Outsider.

5. MAMBO CHEONHA – Comes in off three consecutive 6th place finishes and hasn’t achieved any better than that in six attempts at this class.

6. NEONEUN ACE – The main danger to the favourite, he enters off back to back 2nd place finishes. Runs best when on the early speed and another 2nd is more than possible.

7. JAMNYONG – Slightly disappointing 4th when well backed on May 7th. Generally runs on though and is in the placing frame here. (more…)

King Of Ace Makes It Four From Five

King Of Ace is one of the hottest properties in Korean racing right now and after his more than creditable 3rd place in last month’s Busan Ilbo Cup, he got back to winning ways in Friday’s feature at Busan.

King Of Ace [Malibu Moon – Cintarosa (Grand Slam)] was a $50,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton last November and didn’t debut until this February. He won his first three races with considerable ease, impressing to the extent that he was allowed to take his chance against some of the best sprinters in the country in the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the Sprint Series, on May 7th.

While Success Story and (just about) Seoul Bullet got the better of him that day, he beat a whole host of big names in running 3rd. Instead of going to the second leg of the Series, Sunday’s SBS Sprint in Seoul, King Of Ace was instead bumped up to 1800M for Friday’s class 2 Busan feature.

King Of Ace didn’t have it all his own way but was able to kick clear in the final furlong and hold off Triple Nine’s little sister Black Sapphire, to who he was giving 5kg away, by just under a length. He’s now won four from five.

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 2)

Evening finishes get underway at Busan this Friday. There are 10 races from 14:55 to 21:00. (Seoul will switch to evening finishes in July and August but will retain its daytime schedule on weekends throughout June). Hot prospect King Of Ace is the top attraction on the day, looking for his 4th win in 5 starts in race 6.

English racecards can be found here. Notes on races for overseas simulcast are below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million 

1. NEW TREND – 8th in both outings so far. Steps up to 1200M for the first time. From the top stable so don’t rule out a big improvement on first start since March.

2. UICHEONGEOM – First-time starter. Didn’t catch the eye in trials.

3. KKEUTPAN TURBO – 7th of 11 in slow race on debut two weeks ago but ran on well and extra furlong may suit.

4. ALECTO – Improved 6th on second start and could improve again.

5. GHOST WARRIOR – Offered few clues in running 9th of 12 on debut. First start since March. (more…)