Month: April 2018

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 14)

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

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

Small field of three-year-old maidens but several have chances. (1) HALLA DAERO has shown progress in two starts so far. He led until the just over a furlong out last time before weakening and could well get a very soft lead once more today. (5) L CAR will be expected to do much better today than on his debut five weeks ago. That day he began badly and raced ungenerously to the extent he was ordered back to trial. He performed very well in that subsequent trial, putting in a fast time. (9) SO ARA DAEWANG wan a creditable enough 6th of 12 on debut a month ago and can build on it here. (4) GANGHO GAECHEOK similarly showed enough on his first try to suggest he has some ability.

Selections (1) Halla Daero (5) L Car (9) So Ara Daewang (4) Gangho Gaecheok
Next Best 7, 2
Fast Start 1

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

Maiden fillies only and it’s fair to say none of the eight will be expected in the Korean Oaks later this year. We’ll go with (7) HYEONGMA PUBU on the simple grounds that having run just the once, she’s done the least amount wrong. She actually ran reasonably well in a respectable time over the distance on March 11th and if she has come on at all, should beat most of these (3) YONGUI JUDO steps back in trip following some reasonable efforts at 1300M and should get close. (8) CHEONGDAM QUEENS was an encouraging 5th on debut all the way back last September and while she hasn’t come close to matching it in just three starts since, she does have the advantage of being quick out of the gates and should get the lead here. She’ll be challenged early by (5) SEOUL STAR who looks best of the rest along with (6) CHUKJE MAKIT.

Selections (7) Hyeongma Pubu (8) Cheongdam Queens (3) Yongui Judo (5) Seoul Star
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 5, 8

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

The second division of the maiden fillies and it’s not much stronger than the first. It does involve one or two who have experience of finishing in the money though. Top choice is (1) SOKBO ONGJU, 3rd over 1300M on March 18th having led for part of race. Back in distance today, she’ll look to lead early again and won’t need to hold on for so long this time. (3) STAR SOCKS also has a 3rd to her name, achieved on debut on Christmas Eve. She followed it up with a 4th and while she was pretty poor last time, well back behind (8) CHAPEL QUEEN, she’s worth another chance today. Chapel Queen has actually raced once since then, just two weeks ago, but it was at 1200M and she never got involved. She too can get another chance back in trip here. (5) MJ JILJU improved slightly on her second career start last month and she can continue her upward trajectory today, likely looking to challenge Sokbo Ongju and Star Socks on the early speed.  (7) KAILLUM YEOJE is the sole debut-maker. She did nothing wrong in a March trial and has a top jockey on so watch the market with her.

Selections (1) Sokbo Ongju (5) MJ Jilju (7) Kaillum Yeoje (3) Star Socks
Next Best 8, 9
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 6

Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The maidens keep coming thick and fast (although speed is perhaps something not in plentiful supply). (2) CHOIN DAEBO will be favourite and should win having run a good 3rd on debut despite not starting especially well. He’ll be close to the early pace here and the extra furlong should suit. The main dangers look like being a pair of first-time starters. Both (4) PALPAL VICTORY and (8) BURUI GORI trialled up nicely in March, (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 13)

It’s Friday! It’s Busan! There are 10 races on the South Coast this Friday with the first at 11:30 and the last at 18:00.

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Trainer Kim Young Kwan (2nd from right – Pic: KRA) saddled Divide Wind to win the KRA Cup Mile last Sunday. It was the dominant trainer’s 38th Korean Group winner. Kim only sends out four runners at Busan on Friday but three of them will be expected to win: SPOT in race 1, SUN DAY in race 5 and HI SEXY in race 10. Here are the previews:

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

(12) SPOT has run 3rd on both starts so far and surely makes the breakthrough today. This looks a softer maiden than his previous two and despite having the widest gate, Kim Young Kwan’s colt should be on speed early and have far too much. (8) EVELYN was 2nd on debut all the way back last November. She returns today having trialled up well enough two weeks ago and is surely the main danger although (9) MYEONG GONGJU was promising enough on debut at the end of February and could improve. (1) KWAEHAN SINGANGJA overcame a poor start to run 5th behind Spot last time and should be looking to better that today while of the three debut-makers, (11) SUPER GOLD looks the most likely to attract interest first-up.

Selections (12) Spot (8) Evelyn (1) Kwaehan Singangja (11) Super Gold
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 9, 12

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

(2) USEUNG TEN hasn’t been too far away in any of his six races to date and while he has looked a little one-paced, could well have enough to prevail here. He most likely won’t lead early but can be handy and steadily improve. Hanse filly (8) BAEKDU QUEEN improved into 3rd place last start over 1200M and can continue her upward trajectory today. She’ll be expected to be on the early pace alongside (1) GEODAEHAN WONSEOK who recorded her best finish so far when 5th of 12 over this distance two weeks ago and can be in the hunt for even better today. Aside from those we’re really looking for ones who can show things they’ve not managed to do so far. Of them, Useung Ten’s stablemate (4) EONJENA SEUNGNI and (7) SECRET MEMORY, who races at further than the minimum distance for the first time, are perhaps the most likely.

Selections (2) Useung Ten (8) Baekdu Queen (1) Geodaehan Wonseok (7) Secret Memory
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 1, 5, 8

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

Small but competitive three-year-old maiden here. (1) TEXAS SIDAE was sent off as favourite for a similar contest on March 23rd but didn’t perform well, coming home in 3rd place, a head behind (5) EL DRAGON. He started poorly that day and never looked wholly fluent but is probably worth another chance here. El Dragon outperformed expectations that day but she can build on it here and can go close again. (2) DAEHO MYEONGGA went well in 4th on what was his first try at this distance a month ago and will be expected to be on the early pace here with chances of going all the way. (3) GAMDONGUI SUNGAN stumbled out of the barriers last time out but still finished only about half a length behind the second place-getter. He steps up to a mile for the first time. So too does (4) GANGHAN JILJU, who is a slow starter, but has run on well in both his latest two efforts at 1300M and could appreciate the additional trip today.

Selections (3) Gamdongui Sungan (1) Texas Sidae (2) Daeho Myeongga (5) El Dragon
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 2, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Just beaten a head when favourite over 1000M last time, (1) HOTHAE steps up in trip for the first time today and will be hot favourite to score. He came out of the widest gate that day but from the inside today, should get on to the lead early and it would be a big surprise were he not to win. (3) NOPIGOM NAREUSYA finished behind Hothae two starts ago when the pair raced 7th and 4th over 1000M but went really well over 1300M on his latest start four weeks ago, just going down by a neck in a tight three-way finish. He can (more…)

Divide Wind Roars In To Win KRA Cup Mile

If there is a Korean Triple Crown winner in 2018, then his name is Divide Wind. The Menifee colt beat out stablemate and favourite Ecton Blade to win the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

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Divide Wind wins the KRA Cup Mile (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Divide Wind entered the race having won his latest three with ease, including the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup, a trial for this race, a month ago. In the parade ring and on the way to the gate he was the clear standout of the field, ahead of the champion juvenile Ecton Blade, who started to sweat up on what was a chilly Spring afternoon.

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Divide Wind beats Ecton Blade in the Cup Mile (Pic: Ross Holburt)

After the start was delayed to allow Gaon Champ to be backed out of the stalls and checked over, it was Gaon Champ himself who took command early along with previously unbeaten filly Yeongcheon Derby. Their challenges would fade though as Ecton Blade and Divide Wind came into contention at the top of the stretch.

With World Sun also c losing at speed, Divide Wind ended up too strong for Ecton Blade and took the win by three-quarters of a length on the line. Yeongcheon Derby was 3rd while Mask was Seoul’s best finisher in 4th.

It’s yet another big race 1st and 2nd for trainer Kim Young Kwan.

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Sunday April 8, 2018

1. Divide Wind (KOR) [Menifee – Grand Pass (Grand Slam)] – You Hyun Myung – 4.2, 1.3
2. Ecton Blade (KOR) [Ecton Park – Vyng Ty Grr (Regal Intention)] – Lee Hyo Sik – 1.2
3. World Sun (KOR) [Officer – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.8
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Mask 5. Yeongcheon Derby 6. Gaon Champ 7. Mone Flying 8. Yeonggwanguiwinner 9. Yeonggwangui Champ

The 21st Korean Derby, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown, will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday May 13th as the curtain-raiser to the Asian Racing Conference, which kicks off in Seoul the following day.

KRA Cup Mile 2018 – Full Preview

For race-by-race previews of the 11-race Sunday card at Seoul, click here

The 2018 Korean Triple Crown kicks off at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon with the KRA Cup Mile – “The Korean 2000 Guineas”. Nine runners set out hoping to emulate the feat of Power Blade two years ago, when he swept all three jewels to become the first winner of the Triple Crown in its current format. Now a five-year-old Power Blade remains in training and it’s his stablemate and namesake, Ecton Blade, who is set to begin as favourite.  

Ecton Blade

Ecton Blade won the Breeders’ Cup in December and will be favourite for the Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

Ecton Blade was a dominant winner of the Breeders’ Cup, Korea’s top juvenile race, last December, and was an impressive eight-length winner on his only start of 2018 so far. A two-time winner already at this distance, he is going to be tough to beat. Trainer Kim Young Kwan once more has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal. He’s won this race three times already and in addition to Ecton Blade, also sends out Divide Wind, comfortable winner of the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup, a trial for this race, a month ago. Punters will surely send them off as favourite and 2nd favourite.

Divide Wind

Divide Wind (Pic: KRA)

Seoul sends down three runners and two of them look to have credible chances. Mask and Gaon Champ came home 1st and 2nd in the capital track’s trial for this race and while it was Mask who prevailed that day, Gaon Champ, who was unbeaten going into that race, has a good chance of overturning that form today. World Sun and Yeongcheon Derby round out the ones who seem to have credible chances, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that in this race anything can happen – last year’s winner, Indian King, started at odds of 70/1.

Mask Gaon Champ

Mask defeated Gaon Champ in the Sports Seoul Cup (Pic: KRA)

Race 5: Class Open (1600M) – The KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) / KRW 500 Million  

1. YEONGGWANGUIWINNER – Took five attempts to get his maiden win but has gone on to add two more including making all at this distance last time. 3rd behind Yeongcheon Derby at a mile in January. Likely to want to be on the early speed.
2. YEONGCHEON DERBY – The only unbeaten one in the field, the filly hasn’t raced since comfortably winning at this distance in January, beating Yeonggwanguiwinner in the process. A bit of a wildcard, she is a stablemate of World Sun. She has made all to win all three so far. She will try to get to the front from the gate.
3. MASK – Impressive winner at 1700M in January and then ran down and defeated Gaon Champ over 1400M in the Sports Seoul Cup a month ago. Has won from the front and from just off the pace. Likely to take a sit here, a place will be a minimum aim.
4. MONE FLYING – Started very promisingly but seemed to lose her way a little before coming back into form with a very good win over 1300M at Seoul in February. This seems a very tough ask though. Generally settles in the middle of the field.
5. GAON CHAMP – Looked a huge talent when romping home in his first three. Returned to action in the Sports Seoul Cup last month when he was run down by Mask in the closing stages. Up to a mile for the first time, he can overturn the form on Mask, but it would be a surprise – though not impossible – were he to beat the Busan favourites. Has led his races so far and will surely look to do so again.
6. WORLD SUN – The first of these to make a stake a claim as a juvenile winning the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup ahead of Ecton Blade last October. Ecton Blade returned the favour in the Breeders’ Cup and World Sun was a lacklustre 3rd to Divide Wind in the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup, his only start of 2018. Jockey Lim Sung Sil may well be happy to take a sit at the back of the field and if the others go too fast, there is a chance it could open up for him.
7. YEONGGWANGUI CHAMP – Three wins from six and 3rd on first try at this distance at class 4 last month. Yet to be tested in this kind of company though and likely has plenty to find. Expected to settle in the middle of the field.
8. ECTON BLADE – Runner-up to World Sun in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup but a commanding winner of the Breeders’ Cup in Seoul to become Champion Juvenile. Recorded an effortless win on first try at this distance on solitary start of 2018 so far. Stablemate of Divide Wind and very much the favourite, he will look to be on speed from the start.
9. DIVIDE WIND – Well back in the Breeders’ Cup but has been gone on to record three straight victories, including at this distance in January, and was impressive when comfortably scoring in the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup over 1400M. Stablemate of Ecton Blade and likely to be the primary danger. Tactically versatile but probably content to let others to lead early here.

Verdict: It does look like Kim Young Kwan has done it again as he goes into the first leg of the Triple Crown boasting the favourite and second-favourite. Of his pair, (8) ECTON BLADE is the one to beat. The Champion juvenile has only raced once in 2018 so far, scoring in facile fashion over a mile in February but he arrives at the Cup Mile reportedly in even better shape and ready to win. Stablemate (9) DIVIDE WIND has really impressed in three starts since an underwhelming performance in the Breeders’ Cup and looks the main danger. (3) MASK and (5) GAON CHAMP came home 1st and 2nd in last month’s Sports Seoul Cup – although the order was somewhat of a surprise – and the two raiders from the capital are certainly capable of finding the places, even if they will have to raise their game to beat the favourites. (6) WORLD SUN looks best of the rest.

Selections (8) Ecton Blade (9) Divide Wind (5) Gaon Champ (3) Mask
Next Best 6, 2
Fast Start 1, 2, 5, 8

Race 4: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Trainer Kim Young Kwan and jockey Lee Hyo Sik will partner with the favourite in the KRA Cup Mile and they do so here too. (2) SIGANUI JIHYE ran 2nd when favourite at class and distance just two weeks ago. He led from the gate that day and held on until being passed in the closing stages. She should be on speed again today and this time should go all the way. (6) WIN GO MAN pulled off a surprised win over a mile three weeks ago beating (4) MUJEOK SINHWA and (3) USAIN NUT in the process. Win Go Man needs a little but more respect today but up at this distance, Usain Nut at least – and possibly Mujeok Sinhwa too – should really be overturning that form. (1) ITSAGAINT WARRIOR was a very useful 2nd on his first try at this distance in February and comes in fresh after eight weeks out. (8) BRAVO MARINE moves back up to this distance after some positive recent showings and could be in the placing frame.

Selections (2) Siganui Jihye (3) Usain Nut (1) Itsagaint Warrior (8) Bravo Marine
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 1, 2, 7

Race 6: Class 1 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

Hard to look past the Kim Young Kwan and Lee Hyo Sik combination again. (7) FINEST WARRIOR has won three of five starts so far and the Majestic Warrior gelding finds himself up at class 1 for the first time. His wins have been impressive though and the manner especially of his latest two suggest he has little to fear here. He should be close to the pace early and can win. (1) GASOK ENGINE was 3rd behind Drop The Beat and Haeya in a well-run race at this distance last time. He’s beaten a number of these in recent starts and should push the favourite close here. (2) MUJEOK WONDERFUL was a close at hand 4th in that race and can go well again too. (8) STEALTH has been up and down in recent starts but was 2nd on his last try at this distance in January in a better race than this and can’t be ruled out. (9) BANJIUI JEWANG enters after back to back competitive 3rd place finishes and can aim to at least match those today.

Selections (7) Finest Warrior (1) Gasok Engine (8) Stealth  (2) Mujeok Wonderful
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 1, 7, 9, 10

Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 8)

It’s KRA Cup Mile Day! However, there is also the matter of an eleven-race card at Seoul to get stuck into. The first race is at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. Cup Mile Preview will be in a separate post above:

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

(8) DORAON ACHIM HAE was 2nd to a good winner last start on March 11th and should have too much for this field of three-year-old maidens. He should get to the lead early and will be hard to beat. (5) ROYAL PRINCE was 4th in that same race and probably has the best chance of getting close to the favourite along with two others who come in off the back of 4th place finishes last time, (6) DAE UNHA and (7) FINE HEART, both of whom were racing for just the second time. (1) JUMBO CAPTAIN also ran in that March 11th race and didn’t go well but he has shown ability before, landing a 2nd place finish at the distance in February and could improve today.

Selections (8) Doraon Achim Hae (5) Royal Prince (6) Dae Unha (7) Fine Heart
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 1, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(8) MIR PARK has shown improvement across three starts so far, culminating in 2nd place at the distance on March 3rd. She came from well back that day and if given a slightly better chance this time, she can win this all-filly maiden. Also improving is (11) VALLEY MOON. She is still yet to win after fifteen starts but has been getting closer and comes in following a career-best 2nd at the distance on March 10th, beating a couple of these in the process and she can get close again. (1) GOLDEN WEDDING and (3) ARGO UNIQUE also enter in reasonably promising form although the latter was some way back behind Mir Park last time, while (4) SPECIAL GOLD steps up in trip for the first time following a good 4th at 1000M last time.

Selections (8) Mir Park (11) Valley Moon (1) Golden Wedding (4) Special Gold
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 3, 8, 10, 12

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

(7) KING EXPLOIT may still be a maiden, but he was only narrowly beaten in a fast race at class and distance on March 10th and with a similar performance could take some beating this time. He’ll sit close to the early lead and should be too strong late on. Plenty of others in the hunt though. (6) CALLING KING and (3) SEUNGRI NARAE came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance last month and both can get close again. (2) BULSA BULPAE interestingly steps back in trip following some good efforts at 1700M, including her maiden win, and she shouldn’t be far away. (4) ARES THUNDER is up in class as a result of an all the way win at this trip last time. He’ll likely try to lead again and should be a factor.

Selections (7) King Exploit (3) Seungri Narae (2) Bulsa Bulpae (4) Ares Thunder
Next Best 6, 1
Fast Start 3, 6, 7, 4

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

(2) OK DEURIM was a surprise winner at this distance last time and is accordingly up in class today. There really isn’t much to fear here, however, and she has every chance of making it two in a row. (6) JEJUI BARAM hasn’t found things easy in two starts at this level since her maiden win in January but could be worth another chance today with the services of David Breux for the first time. It’s slim pickings among the rest so we really are looking for something to improve. (1) LUCKY MISS hasn’t gone well in two starts at this level but comes in off two months off and could be capable of reproducing the form she showed on debut last October. (3) NEW WORLD STAR and (5) DAESEONG RUBY are other possibles.

Selections (2) Ok Deurim (6) Jejui Baram (1) Lucky Miss (5) Daeseong Ruby
Next Best 3, 10, 7
Fast Start 1, 2, 6

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) SUPER SOCKS made all to win at the distance on debut in January before trying to repeat the trick when stepped up to 1300M for his first reappearance a month ago. He (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 7)

Cup Mile Eve sees 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.  And the start of the Seoul Racecourse Cherry Blossom Festival! Here are the previews:

cherry blossom

It’s cherry blossom season in Seoul…

 

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

We’ll go with experience here and (4) BODEURAM has the most of it. A much-improved 2nd on what was her fourth start on March 10th was good enough to suggest that she has a win in her sooner or later and it could well come here. (8) CHILJONG CHILGEUM similarly improved last time, also coming home 2nd at this distance and he looks to be the main threat although (3) ROMAN BLADE can improve on a decent enough 6th on debut when she just weakened a little late on. (7) CHEONGDAM JEPAE has also shown glimpses of ability across two efforts so far while (5) ARGO ROCKET looks pick of the debut-makers.

Selections (4) Bodeuram (8) Chiljong Chilgeum (3) Roman Blade (5) Argo Rocket
Next Best 7
Fast Start 3, 7

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

Another set of three-year-old maidens although this is the weaker of the two divisions. (2) NAMYEOGUI HANEUL may only have finished 7th of 12 on debut a month ago but showed a decent turn of foot and can have come on for it. We’ll make her the marginal pick here. (7) ULTRA MISSILE showed improvement on his second start at the end of February and can continue to make progress today. Of the others who have race before, (1) GWACHEON HERO and (5) UDDUGI perhaps have the best chance of improving while among the two first-timers, (8) SOL PARANG is the pick.

Selections (2) Namyeogui Haneul (8) Sol Parang (7) Ultra Missile (1) Gwacheon Hero
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 7

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Another maiden but this time it’s age open. (9) BEST BULLET was a decent enough 3rd in a slightly stronger contest than this four weeks ago at the distance and is favoured to make the breakthrough here. He’ll be on the early speed along with (6) SEUNGNI PLUS, who hasn’t been too far away in his latest appearances and can be involved in the business end of the race. (3) BAEKDU POWER beat a couple of these home when finishing 2nd in an admittedly weak contest over 1700M last month and should beat plenty again. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 6)

It’s the first weekend of the Triple Crown! Nine will line up in the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on Sunday but before that we have a 10-race Friday card from 11:30 to 18:00. Japanese jockey Yuri Takahashi, who rode at Seoul in 2015 and 2016, makes his Korean return.

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It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

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

Three-year-olds only and just three of them have raced before. Of them, (4) MIRACLE ALICE ran well enough for 6th of 12 after a slow start on debut two weeks ago while (8) ROYAL CLUB achieved the same finish position on her first-time a month ago. Both should be in the frame for improvement today. It’s one of the debut-makers that will be favourite though (5) YES POWER looked sharp when winning a trial only last week and if he brings that form to the track could take some beating. (11) HWANSANG DOKJU too showed some speed when trialling up and trainer/jockey combination will make for plenty of backers. (2) NAEGA DAESE too looks to have some potential first-up.

Selections (5) Yes Power (4) Miracle Alice (11) Hwansang Dokju (8) Royal Club
Next Best 2, 3
Fast Start 5, 7, 10, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

More maidens here although all of them have raced at least once. (4) S S YOUNG has been odds-on favourite for both her starts so far and has come up short both times, finishing 2nd and 3rd. She’ll be well-backed again, but this time may not be favourite and may once again have to settle for a place. That’s because (1) FELAROF looks the one to beat. An improved 2nd on what was his second start in February, he returns from six weeks off, should be on pace early and can go all the way. (3) B.K. UNO raced greenly on debut a month ago but still managed 4th and if she has learned a bit from that can improve today. (11) MAJOR THUNDER and (12) STAR WOMAN also look to be getting better and can compete here.

Selections (1) Felarof (4) S S Young (3) B.K. Uno (12) Star Woman
Next Best 11, 2
Fast Start 1, 4, 8, 11

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Tricky one this but (1) PARK MINISTER stepped up to this distance for the first time all the way back in February and ran a good 2nd, beating a couple of these in the process. She’s not raced since so comes in fresh, Jo In Kwen stays aboard and she has as much chance as any here. It took (7) HOPEFUL SIMON a long time to get to the track but the manner in which he debuted last month gives some reasons to be hopeful. The four-year-old ran on well for 2nd over 1200M and could go close here. (3) PEACE RIDER overcame a poor start to run 3rd last start and the extra half furlong ay benefit. (5) BREAKING NEWS and (11) PERFECT BOSS, the latter racing at further than the minimum distance for the first time, are others who may come into play.

Selections (1) Park Minister (7) Hopeful Simon (3) Peace Rider (11) Perfect Boss
Next Best 5, 8
Fast Start 5, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) SEOLGWANGHWA just went down by a nose in a much-improved performance over 1300M on March 9th. Like the majority of these, he is up to a mile for the first time today and it could be exactly what he needs to get his maiden win. (5) BELLAMY GONGJU has also been getting closer lately and while she was a distance 2nd to a good winner two (more…)

Korean Triple Crown 2018: All The Cup Miles So Far

The Korean Triple Crown season is upon us with the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile, set to be run at Busan this coming Sunday, April 8th. We’ll have a full preview of the big race in the forthcming days but in the meantime let’s take a look back at all previous runnings of the Cup Mile.

Indian King

Indian King won the KRA Cup Mile in 2017 (Pic: KRA)

 

The track configuration at Seoul Racecourse has never allowed for races to be run at a distance of a mile – although this is set to change within the next year – so, when the Busan Racecourse was designed, that was to be a key feature. The track was completed in 2004 and the first Cup Mile, held on a Friday in September 2005, was won by US import Siseon Jeap (Precise End).

The following year the race got a name change, the KRA Chairman’s Cup and a distance change to 1800M. Golding (Gold Alert), who would continue to be a stalwart at Busan until 2011, took the honours. In 2007, it was back to being the Cup Mile and Luna (Concept Win) landed the biggest win of her career. Australian jockey Garry Baker became the first of three foreign riders to date to have won the race.

In that same year, J.S. Hold won all three races of the Seoul Triple Crown but for 2008 Busan horses were invited to take part for the first time and the track invited to host the first leg. As a result, the Cup Mile was shifted to the first Sunday in April. Here is a list of the winners every year since then and what’s become of them:

2008: Rainmaker [Revere – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – The 3/1 favourite won the race by two and a half lengths but then finished last in the Derby and would never win a race again. He suffered some injury setbacks and was finally retired in 2010. He was registered for breeding and covered the occasional mare but was ultimately retrained for Equestrianism.

2009: Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – The first of two superstar winners, she was a 16/1 outsider (the first and possibly only correct tip ever given on this blog’s twitter feed!) and despite behind the scenes shenanigans with Eiki Nishimura getting jocked off in favour of Jo Sung Gon, she went on to win the Korean Derby. Long odds-on favourite for the Korea Oaks. she was caught on the line by Pang Pang and then, at 80% fitness, ran 3rd in the Minister’s Cup when trying to seal the Triple Crown. Until Power Blade, she was the only Cup Mile winner so far to go on to win the Derby. Sangseung Ilro won two more Stakes races as a 4-year-old before being retired for broodmare duties. One of the best fillies ever produced in Korea.

2010: Money Car [Newsprint – Pinocchio (Big Sur)] – The first of just two winners from Seoul, he came into the Cup Mile with 5 wins from 6 starts and was a dominant 11-length winner. Odds-on favourite for the Derby, he looked home and hosed a furlong out but was run down on the line by Cheonnyeon Daero. He only ran once more, his career ended by injury. Out at pasture for a few years, he was registered for breeding in 2013 and occasionally covers mares at Hyunma Farm on Jeju Island.

2011: Soseuldaemun [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] – This was a 3-year-old crop that, filly Useung Touch and solid handicapper Singgereounachim aside, didn’t really live up to its early promise. Toshio Uchida, “Mr. Pink” rode 7/1 chance Soseuldaemun to a 2-length win but the colt didn’t travel well to Seoul for the Derby and, 20 kilos lighter, finished 7th. He only raced twice more, with a very solid 3rd in the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo followed by a return to Seoul for the Minister’s Cup where he was last of 14. Not registered for breeding, he was retired to Myeongsin Farm on Jeju.

2012: Gyeongbudaero [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – One of the finest Korean-bred racehorses who is only now peaking. He was Busan’s champion Juvenile in 2011 and was the 3-length winner of the Cup Mile. A month later, he finished 3rd in the Derby, just a length behind Jigeum I Sungan and was 3rd behind the same horse in the Minster’s Cup. The same year, he was also 3rd in the President’s Cup. 13 of his 29 starts have come in Stakes races and it was in 2014 where he rose to the very top of Korean racing. Having won the President’s Cup at Seoul in November, he returned to win the biggest race of all, the Grand Prix Stakes, that December.

2013: Sting Ray [Forest Camp – Straight Cash (Straight Man)] – A victory at the time for the Korean breeding program with dam Straight Cash being a winner of the JRA Trophy in Korea. Sting Ray was the odds-on favourite for the Cup Mile and duly won by 4-lengths. He finished 6th in the Derby a month later and went on to be a solid class 1 handicapper befire his eventual retirement in April 2017.

2014: Cheongnyong Bisang [Volponi – Miss Alwuhush (Alwuhush)] – The 20/1 chance filly became Seoul’s second winner of the KRA Cup Mile when taking a 2-length victory last year. Another filly, Queen’s Blade, had been sent off as the odds-on favourite and she would come good a month later in the Korean Derby in Seoul with Cheongnyong Bisang back in 4th. Blighted by injury, he was inexplicably sent to the United States, where his story took a quite unexpected turn.

2015: Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba)] – 2nd behind Doraon Hyeonpyo in the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup, Rafale begin his three-year-old campaign with a win but only managed 4th place in his final prep for the Cup Mile. Nevertheless, it was enough for him to be sent off as co-favourite with Doraon Hyeonpyo for the big race. Under You Hyun Myung, he struck the front late on and beat Doraon Hyenpyo by half a length. That would be as good as it got for Rafale as he finished 3rd in the Derby and then 5th in the Minister’s Cup before tendinitis brough a premature end to his career after just ten starts and five wins. He remains alive at Sinhwa Farm on Jeju Island.

2016: Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Champion juvenile the previous year, Power Blade was odds-on favourite for the Cup Mile, obliging by four-lengths and swept to all three legs of the Triple Crown with supreme ease. He went on to represent Korea at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2017, placing at Group level before returning to Seoul to run 2nd in the Korea Sprint and then to win the Grand Prix Stakes.

2017: Indian King [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] – British jockey Darryll Holland became the fourth foreign jockey to win the Cup Mile, guiding 75/1 outsider Indian King to a narrow win having taken the initiative early in the race. He ran solid 4ths in both the final two legs of the Triple Crown but suffered an injury setback shortly afterwards. He has recently returned to training.

Final declarations for this year’s race will be made on Wednesday. A full preview of the big race will follow.