Racing in Korea moves on to a summer schedule from this coming weekend. Up until the first weekend of September, Friday racing will be from 2:30pm until 9pm and Saturday from 2pm to 9pm. Sundays will remain on the normal daytime schedule of 10:45am to 6pm.
Night racing at Seoul (Pic: KRA)
So from Friday July 6 to Sunday September 2 inclusive:
Fridays: Busan / Jeju – 14:30-21:00 Saturdays: Seoul / Jeju – 14:00-21:00 Sundays: Seoul / Busan – 10:45-18:00
Each of the three tracks will also take one weekend off during this time. Jeju will be off on July 27/28 which means Busan will run an extended card on the Friday and Seoul will run an extended card on the Saturday.
Seoul is off on August 4/5. Jeju will run an extended card on Friday while Busan will run on Saturday and Sunday. That means there will be no international simulcast on the Friday.
Busan takes its weekend off on August 10/12. Jeju again runs an extended Friday card while Seoul does the same on Sunday. Once more that means no international simulcast on the Friday.
Racing under the lights at Seoul on a warm summer’s Saturday evening is quite the experience so do be sure to check it out if you have the chance.
Cheongdam Dokki ventured outside of Seoul for the first time but the four-year-old made himself right at home on the South-Coast, beating a strong set of rivals to win the Group 3 Busan Mayor’s Cup on Sunday afternoon confirming his status as the top-rated horse in Korea.
Cheongdam Dokki & Lim Gi Won winning the Busan Mayor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)
Sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 1800M race, often called the “Summer Grand Prix” such is its usual strength, Cheongdam Dokki broke from the widest gate was unable to get to his favoured position on the lead. That was because King Of Ace got out much the quickest and under Franco Da Silva went on to set the pace. Aboard Cheongdam Dokki, jockey Lim Gi Won was happy enough to let the leader get on with it and settled at the front of the chasing pack with Cheonji Storm and 2nd favourite Triple Nine just behind him.
As the field entered the home straight, King Of Ace began to weaken and Cheongdam Dokki assumed command and while fellow Seoul-raider Cheonji Storm threatened to mount a challenge, Cheongdam Dokki comfortably saw him off in the final furlong to win by three-lengths on the line. Triple Nine, a three-time President’s Cup winner and former Horse of the Year, hit top gear late in the race but could only come home in 3rd place one ahead of last year’s winner I’m Your Father.
It was a breakout performance from Cheonji Storm, who was 6th in the 2016 Korean Derby behind eventual Triple Crown winner Power Blade, and who has matured greatly since missing seven months of last season. Triple Nine, making just his second start of 2018 ran well but was always likely to be too late reaching top speed to challenge Cheongdam Dokki over 1800M.
The win took Cheongdam Dokki, an American import by To Honor And Serve, to 11 wins from 16 career starts and was his second Korean Group race triumph following his victory in last autumn’s Group 2 KRA Cup Classic. He is unbeaten in 2018 with his last defeat coming in December’s Grand Prix Stakes over 2300M. It also gave him a new domestic rating of 130, the highest of any horse since the rating system in its current form began and Cheongdam Dokki is now surely on a path to face the ultimate test in Korean racing – taking on the international visitors in September’s Keeneland Korea Cup.
Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 1, 2018
1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] – Lim Gi Won – 1.4, 1.0 2. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Johan Victoire – 2.9 3. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5 Distances: 3 lengths / 3 lengths Also Ran: 4. I’m Your Father (USA) 5. Buhwarui Banseok (USA) 6. Saengil Gippeum (USA) 7. King Of Ace (USA) 8. Dongbang Daero (USA) 9. Champ Line (KOR) 10. Iron Train (USA) 11. World Number One (USA) 12. Cheonjeok (USA) 13. Winner Red (USA)