Month: April 2018

Silver Wolf Beats Power Blade in Sprint Series 1st Leg

Champion mare Silver Wolf downed Power Blade in a stretch battle to win the Busan Ilbo Cup, the 1st leg of the 2018 Korean Sprint Series at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

Power Blade was sent off the hot favourite but with a slightly more favourable draw, jockey Kim Dong Soo kept his nerve and kept Silver Wolf on the rail where she was able to gain valuable lengths on her rival as they rounded the turn. Power Blade meanwhile went wide around the field and had significant ground to make up in the straight.

Make it up he did and when Silver Wolf took the lead from early front-runner Perdido Pomeroy, Power Blade was right there. He got to within a length and no more, however, as Silver Wolf held on for what may not have been the richest win of her career but was certainly the best.

More to follow on the race over the next couple of days.

Busan Ilbo Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – Sunday April 29, 2018

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Kim Dong Soo – 6.0, 1.4
2. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Lee Hyo Sik – 1.1
3. Doraonpogyeongseon (USA) [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.6
Distances: 0.5 lengths/4 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Perdido Pomeroy (USA) 5. Paran Juuibo (USA) 6. Saengil Gippeum (USA) 7. Morning Daero (USA) 8. Dynamic Star (KOR) 9. Success Story (KOR) 10. Party Again (KOR) 11. Macheon Bolt (KOR) NR: Cheonha TOngil (KOR)

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Sunday Seoul & Busan: Power Blade vs Silver Wolf – Race-By-Race Preview (April 29)

The road to the Korea Sprint begins at Busan on Sunday and the Sprint Series gets underway with a heavyweight clash as Grand Prix Stakes winner Power Blade faces Queens’ Tour champion Silver Wolf over 1200M in the Busan Ilbo Cup. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 and 11 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.

Power Blade Owners

Power Blade (Pic: KRA)

After spending the first part of 2017 in Dubai where he placed in Group 2 company, Power Blade ran 2nd to Japan’s Graceful Leap in the Korea Sprint. He went on to finish the year in style, winning a memorable Grand Prix Stakes over the longest race distance in Korea, 2300M, in December.

Although he skipped Dubai this year, the Busan Ilbo is his first start of 2018 but he went through trials in March and earlier this month, looking in good shape and he will be very hard to beat on Sunday.

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Silver Wolf (Pic: KRA)

Entering in good form though is Silver Wolf. The Aussie-bred 6-year-old mare by Orotorio, was 5th in the Korean Sprint and finished back down the track in the Grand Prix but has been spectacular in everything else though. She made a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour series last year, including two wins at Busan and has begun her year with facile wins in the Donga Ilbo Cup in February and then in a handicap tune-up at this distance a month ago. Both Lee Hyo SIk on Power Blade and Kim Dong Soo on Silver Wolf are likely to employ similar tactics and ride patiently and it could be quite the finish.

There is plenty of other talent in the field too. Success Story and Perdido Pomeroy will likely set a hot early pace and the favourites will have to come past them while the dangerous Doraonpogyeongseon and Morning Daero are there as well.

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

After getting it all wrong on debut in January, (12) BAEKSAN FORCE was a much improved 2nd over the distance on March 25th. The wide draw shouldn’t matter, and she should have far too much for her rivals here.  It’s just three-year-old fillies here and (4) GONG SAN has made a promising start, especially her 3rd place at 1300M on April 1st. She drops to the minimum distance for the first time today and looks the clear second-favourite. (2) HIN BYEOL and (9) I’M HAPPY have shown some glimpses of ability too while among the five first-timer starters, (10) L CHOICE looks the most progressive for now having won her trial last month.

Selections (12) Baeksan Force (4) Gong San (10) L Choice (2) Hin Byeol
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 4, 8, 9, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Six debut-makers and six with at least one start behind them make up this race which is comprised of three-year-old colts and geldings. For the most part, we’re going to favour experience. (7) GANGHWA CHONGGAK and (12) HANSEN VOLT have the most of it with three starts apiece and both have a 3rd place finish to their names as well. Ganghwa Chonggak’s was at this distance while Hansen Volt steps up in trip for the first time and both can go well. (3) HANIL DALBIT was a good 5th on debut all the way back in January, It has been fifteen weeks since we saw him but if he runs the same way he did that day, he should be competitive. (10) MYEONGJIN MAN was a bit disappointing on debut, having won a trial leading up to it. Hopefully he will have come on for the experience and can improve here. We’d best pick one of the newcomers as well and (5) SOMETHING DELIGHT is the standout.

Selections (12) Hansen Volt (7) Ganghwa Chonggak (3) Hanil Dalbit (5) Something Delight
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 4, 5, 7

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) JUNGDONG JIJON has come close on a number of occasions, beaten only by some good horses in the tail end of last year and then running (admittedly a distant) 3rd behind Dokdo Jigi and Chambit on his only start of 2018 so far on April 1st. He surely has a win in him at some point and it could be here. Should he manage to get beaten again then (12) HAMBAK MISO was just a neck behind him in that April 1st race and could overturn the form while both (2) KING POSE and (11) GARA GARA GA are up in class following very useful wins at 1300M and 1200M respectively and should go close here. (4) MONEY ZIF was an also-ran in that April 1st race behind Jungdong Jijon but is worth another chance for a place today.

Selections (3) Jungdong Jijon (11) Gara Gara Ga (2) King Pose (12) Hambak Miso
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 6, 7, 8, 10

Race 4: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) BLACK WIND come in seeking a hat-trick of wins following consecutive victories at 1000M, the latter of which was at this level. Her only previous try at further than the minimum distance didn’t go well but she looks ready for another go in this all-filly event. (10) BRAVE UP seemed to lose her way a bit at the end of last year but her latest two starts have been very encouraging with a 3rd and a 2nd, the latter at this distance and she could very well be the one to beat. (8) CHOROK JILJU beat three of these on the way to (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 28)

There are 11 Saturday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

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David Breux could be among the winners on Saturday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(7) MENI BLADE came up a little short when favourite on debut a month ago, finishing strongly but just running out of track over 1200M. She’s up to 1300M today and will take some beating. (4) SUJEBI was 6th that day and is one who could potentially give Meni Blade a run for her money although the main danger is likely to be (8) SANTOS. True, his only previous start at this distance was his worst performance to date but he ran nicely at 1000M last month, should be on the pace here and can improve. (3) MACH SEUNGNI and (5) MEGA CITY look best of the rest.

Selections (7) Meni Blade (8) Santos (4) Sujebi (5) Mega City
Next Best 3, 6
Fast Start 4, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Pretty weak maiden this although that does make it quite interesting betting-wise. (3) RAON GANGHO is the pick following and improved 4th at the distance last time out. He was a full seven-lengths behind the winner but all three who beat him that day are better than what he faces here – the 3rd place-getter went on to win last week. (9) KHENDUM POWER beat three of these on his was to 5th place at the distance on April 1st and should beat plenty again. That too was a better race than this and he should improve his finishing position. Luigi Riccardi’s (12) GAJA GAJA started badly and never became involved on her latest effort three weeks ago but showed some ability the time before that and could go close. (2) KAY ONE ahould be on the early speed and looks best of the rest.

Selections (3) Raon Gangho (9) Khendum Power (12) Gaja Gaja (2) Kay One
Next Best 11, 5
Fast Start 2, 9, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) GLOBAL QUEEN won on debut all the way back on Christmas Day 2016. She didn’t race again for fifteen months. However, when she finally came back on March 25th this year, she ran very well, finishing 2nd at class and distance and has a very good chance of winning this all-filly contest from the front. (10) MAGIC ROAD certainly caught the eye when running out a seven-length winner on debut on March 31st. She’s up in class here and should have claims again. (12) MENI SMART won over 1300M on her second career start in January. Lameness forced her to be scratched from a planned outing last month but fit again, she should go close here and can overcome the wide draw to get on speed early. (2) ROYAL BRONZE is more experienced and can be competitive in this company. (9) FOREVER WINNER was an all-the-way winner at 1300M on March 3rd and while she is up in class and back in trip, she too can go close.

Selections (4) Global Queen (10) Magic Road (12) Meni Smart (2) Royal Bronze
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 12

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) GULCHARMNAMUSUP beat (12) RAON RRIMER as the pair finished 1st and 2nd on what was both their debut outing at 1000M on January 20th. Since then, Raon Primer secured another 2nd place at that distance which got her promoted to this level and then followed up with a close 3rd at this level over 1300M on March 25th. That was a decent race and her performance that day is enough to give her the slight edge here. For her part, Gulcharmnamusup has run just once since that day in January, finishing a creditable enough 4th again at 1000M on early March. He steps up in trip for the first time and should be in the frame again. Both will face a stern test from (1) GUREUM SONJITHAE. Like Raon Primer, he is yet to get a win but now has three 2nd place finishes including last time out four weeks ago. (2) KKEULEOJUNEUN SON has been a frustrating (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 27)

Grand Prix Stakes winner Power Blade will return to action at Busan on Sunday when he takes on top mare Silver Wolf in the Busan Ilbo Cup. Prior to that though, the South-Coast track hosts a ten-race Friday card from 11:30 to 18:00.

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Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Not a bad little maiden this, which is restricted to three-year-olds and two of the three first-timers catch the eye. Top trainer Kim Young Kwan sends out (8) WORLD DAY. The first foal out of his dam, a winner of five of twelve races at Busan, he was a strong winner of a trial at the end of March running nicely through the line and a debut at 1200M should suit perfectly. He’ll be expected to win. Also debuting having won a trial is (2) GWANGHWAMUN SIDAE and while it has taken him a while to get to the track for an actual race, he should go well first-up here too. Of the ones with experience, both (5) PEACE RIDER and (9) BAENGNYEON DAERO come in having run 2nd in their respective latest starts and both should be in at least the placing hunt again. (4) B.K. UNO has a 4th and 3rd from two outings to date and steps up from the minimum distance for the first time with every chance of going close.

Selections (8) World Day (2) Gwanghwamun Sidae (5) Peace Rider (9) Baengnyeon Daero
Next Best 4, 12
Fast Start 1, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(6) SEOLGWANGHWA ran poorly when favourite over a mile last start on April 6th, getting away badly and suffering for it later. She was favourite for a reason though, having been narrowly beaten a nose at this distance in March. Back in trip today, she’s worth another chance. (5)  YEONGGWANGUI CHIC returned from a lengthy spell to run a good 4th at this distance on March 30th and while she’s not the fastest of starters, she has a strong finish and should be close again. The rest of these are all going to need to show lots of improvement. (4) SOJUNGHAN GIRL has demonstrated some ability and could challenge for the places as could (8) HEUGSEOL GONGJU. The intriguing one is (2) NEPTUNE, who last ran just one day shy of a year ago. He had shown no ability at all in three starts at that time but trialled up sharply – albeit in a heat that was made quick by the presence of Power Blade and Doraonpogyeongseon – and he’s the wildcard here.

Selections (6) Seolgwanghwa (5) Yeonggwangui Chic (4) Sojunghan Girl (2) Neptune
Next Best 8, 10, 3
Fast Start 4, 6

Race 3: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(8) GANGHAN JILJU was a close 4th at class and distance last time and while he is yet to finish any better than 3rd, looks to be an improving type and could go very close today. (9) GOLDEN JOY and (6) SMART BANK came home 2nd and 3rd when they raced each other at class and distance on March 30th and both should be in the hunt again with Golden Joy once more the more favoured of the pair. (4) GAO landed a career-best 2nd place at the distance on April 6th with a couple of these further back down the track. It wasn’t expected at all buy he must be given some respect this time. It’s not often that horses in Korea make their debuts at a mile but that’s what (2) JEONGSU SIDAE is doing. He won a trial in good order earlier this month and could very well get an easy lead in this race. Whether he stays is another matter, but he is the wildcard here.

Selections (8) Ganghan Jilju (9) Golden Joy (6) Smart Bank (2) Jeongsu Sidae
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 2

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Bart Rice’s (8) QUEEN THE QUEEN has never been worse than 3rd in five efforts so far, all of them at this distance. She was a strong 2nd to a good winner at this class last start on April 1t and has every chance of making all in this all filly/mare contest. She’s favourite but (4) SWEET MEMORY was just a nose behind her in that April 1st race. It was Sweet Memory’s first try at this class following her maiden win and she has every chance of winning at this level too. (6) MAJOR ANGEL and (7) PULL OFF are both up in class after their own maiden wins with Major Angel looking the better equipped to immediately be competitive. (10) TANGO AND TANGO finished 3rd behind Major Angel back at the beginning of March and followed up with another 3rd later that month. Accordingly, she (more…)

Cheongdam Dokki Takes Care Of Business

Cheongdam Dokki eased to victory in the Herald Business Cup on Sunday, dismissing seven rivals, including Clean Up Joy, in the most facile of manners.

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Cheongdam Dokki and Lim Gi Won in the clear (Pic: Ross Holburt)

It was only Cheongdam Dokki’s second outing of 2018, having beaten Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker over the same distance in January. That time there had been something of interest in that Shamrocker had taken the favourite on for speed early. Futile, but momentarily interesting. He didn’t do it again and in a race utterly devoid of any tension, Cheongdam Dokki eased to his ninth win on his fourteenth career start. Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker chased him home with Sinjo Daehyeop in 4th.

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Lim Gi Won partnered Cheongdam Dokki for the first time (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Bigger tests surely await although it is hard to imagine anything at Seoul challenging him, certainly up to 2000M. Having taken both the KRA Cup Classic and now Herald Business off Clean Up Joy, he could well add the YTN Cup to his name in late May – Clean Up Joy won that last year too. The Busan Metropolitan Mayor’s Cup could be interesting, as he would likely run into Power Blade – also owned by Kim Byeong Jin. The big target though, must be September’s Korea Cup.

Herald Business Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – April 22, 2018

1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] – Lim Gi Won – 1.4, 1.1
2. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeux Danseur)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
3. Shamrocker (USA) [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] – Jang Chu Youl – 2.2
Distances: 2.5 lengths / 1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sinjo Daehyeop (USA) 5. Wonder Bolt (USA) 6. Cheonjeok (USA) 7. Storng Road (KOR) 8. Space Port (USA)

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Cheongdam Dokki / Race-By-Race Preview (April 22)

He’s currently the most exciting horse in Korea and on Sunday, Cheongdam Dokki (To Honor And Serve) will line up against seven rivals – six of whom he’s beaten before – in the Herald Business Cup over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse. He faces Clean Up Joy, who won the race last year, as well as Sinjo Daehyeop and Shamrocker. The Herald Business is race 9 on an eleven-race card at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. At Busan, there are six races from 12:40 to 17:05.

Cheongdam Dokki

See below for Busan Selections:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Competitive opener and (5) SONGAM JEUNE beat a couple of these on her way to a solid 2nd place on what was just her second start on March 24th and has every chance of matching or even bettering today. She’ll be on pace early alongside (7) BAEKDUI TAEYANG, himself a good 2nd at the distance last time and likely to be well supported. The one to beat though might well be (1) HAENGBOK STAR. He’s come 4th and 3rd in his two prior outings and the extra half furlong today may be what he needs to get home in front. (9) GANADORA and first-time starter, the modestly named (3) THE KING, are others who can go close.

Selections (5) Songam Jeune (1) Haengbok Star (3) The King (7) Baekdui Taeyang
Next Best 9, 4
Fast Start 5, 7, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old fillies only here and almost any of them could win. Simon Foster’s (3) SURFING POINT ran poorly on debut but improved last time. David Breux returns to the mount today and she has as much of a claim as any of them. (7) BETTINA and (2) MORAN DONGBEAK came home 2nd and 4th respectively when they raced each other at this distance back in January. Bettina races for the first time since then here while Moran Dongbeak has gone on to put in another couple of promising performances and both may be considered here. (6) STAR LIST did little on debut but could improve today while (8) ENJOY MY SHOW has a 2nd place to her name and could repeat in what is a very modest contest.

Selections (3) Surfing Point (7) Bettina (2) Moran Dongbeak (6) Star List
Next Best 8, 4, 12
Fast Start 4, 5, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-olds only and it’s another rather weak maiden. There is, however, an interesting debut-maker in the shape of (3) PRINCE OF SUN. He’s a half-brother to US based Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Mind Your Biscuits and has trialled up impressively. His Korea-based half-brother Baeksan Yeowang hasn’t exactly pulled up trees so far but Prince Of Sun could well have enough to win this. (6) GANGSANUI ACHIM and (11) STRONG LIGHT both come in off 3rd place finishes last time in very similar strength races to this, so both should be looking to at least repeat. (10) RAON OPTIMUS races for the first time since running reasonably well over 1700M in January and can be considered for improvement. (12) RUSSEL showed his first signs of potential ability when running 5th of 12 in an admittedly slow race at this distance a month ago and is another one to take into consideration.

Selections (3) Prince Of Sun (6) Gangsanui Achim (10) Raon Optimus (11) Strong Light
Next Best 12, 5
Fast Start 5, 7, 8, 11

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Decent race with plenty entering having shown very solid recent form. The pick of them though is (3) WOOSEORA ICHEON who just came up short when favourite at class and distance on March 24th, his second consecutive runner-up finish. He is well drawn once more to get on pace early and can complete the job this time. (4) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG and (11) BOLD SHINING also come in having performed strongly at this class in their latest efforts and they should be close. Jeongsang Dolpung’s most recent was 2nd at 1000M and he looks ready to take on a longer trip today. Three of the field are up in class following maiden wins last time although for (5) RULE OF SUM, that was a full fourteen months ago. The pick of the up and comers is (10) FRENCH STAR, who also tries further than the minimum distance for the first time.

Selections (3) Wooseora Icheon (4) Jeongsang Dolpung (11) Bold Shining (10) French Star
Next Best 6, 12, 5
Fast Start 2, 4, 10

Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A couple of standouts here although both will need to bounce back from slightly below-par showings last start. (6) YAHO SMART CAT won his first two races but could only manage 4th on his first try at both this class and at further than the minimum distance on March 24th. Hopefully he can have come on for that and can return to top form today. (more…)

Afleet Again, 2011 Breeders’ Cup Marathon Winner, Has Died

Afleet Again, longest shot on the board when winning the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs in 2011, has died at Stud in Korea. The 11-year-old was struck down with colic and passed away on April 12th. 

Afleet Again [Afleet Alex – Lucky Again (Wild Again)] won one race as a juvenile, over 1700M, at Philadelphia Park and won again at the same track at the start of his three-year-old campaign in February 2010 before going on to score in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct later that Spring.

Although he managed some decent placings, Afleet Again wouldn’t win again for the rest of that season or during the first ten months of his four-year-old campaign and arrived at Churchill Downs for the Marathon as the 41/1 outsider. Under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Afleet Again came down the outside to win handily from Birdrun and Giant Oak.

He ran once more a month later, finishing 4th of 6 in the Valedictory Stakes at Woodbine before being retired and sold to Korean interests.

In Korea, Afleet Again stood privately at a place called “Happy Farm”, which is home to a band of broodmares and a couple of others stallions including Australian-bred Delago Brom. Among his two crops that have so far made the track, Afleet Again is yet to get any real stars but a good proportion of his progeny have been winners and in line with expectations in terms of the quality of mare he received.