Month: November 2018

Ace Korea Downs His Seniors In Kookje News Cup

Ace Korea produced a breakout performance to win the Kookje News Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The three-year-old dominated a field containing some of the nation’s best sprinters as he cruised to a two-and-a-half length victory.

Ace Korea - KRA

Ace Korea (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Always set to be a battle of the up and comers against the established stars, the five-year-old Doraonpogyeongseon, recognised as the current top one-turn horse in Korea was sent off as slight favourite ahead of Ace Korea with Today and champion mare Silver Wolf also well supported. Ultimately Ace Korea was untouchable.

He didn’t even get off to the best of starts. While Perdido Pomeroy looped the field to take an early lead, Ace Korea stumbled out of the gate slightly with jockey Jo Sung-gon coming perilously close to slipping out the side. He held on and Ace Korea was quickly into stride and on the shoulder of the leader. When Perdido Pomeroy inevitably faded in the home straight, the young colt took things up and was a winner all the way.

Silver Wolf rallied home for a good 2nd with 80/1 chance Morning Daero grabbing an unlikely 3rd, a head in front of Today. Doraonpogyeonseon endured a difficult trip and once he finally found some room it was too late, and he could only manage to come home in 5th place.

An American import by Smiling Tiger and out of the Broken Vow mare Queen Rolex, Ace Korea is trained by Australian Peter Wolsley, who with the win moved onto a remarkable 497 winners in Korean racing. Ace Korea has accounted for six of them now and while this is his first triumph in Listed company, he had already dropped a big hint as to his potential when 5th in the international Korea Sprint in September having briefly led the race close to home.

A trip to the Dubai World Cup Carnival is a potential next step for Ace Korea. With his trainer still convinced we haven’t seen the best of him yet, he could provide a lot of interest come the New Year.

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Sunday Busan & Seoul: Kookje News Cup Day Race-By-Race Preview (November 18)

Doraonpogyeongseon faces off against Silver Wolf in a potentially electric renewal of the Kookje News Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The pair are joined by up and coming prospects Today, Ace Korea and King Of Ace in what could turn out to be one of the highlights of autumn. There are 6 Sunday races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 while at Seoul there are 11 from 10:45 from 18:00. Here are the previews with (unusually) Busan first. Horse by horse for the big race as well as for Seoul races 9-11:

SIlverWolfKNN1

Can Silver Wolf rise back to the top of the Sprint division on Sunday? (Pic: KRA)

Busan Race 1 Selections: 1, 3, 5, 7
Busan Race 2 Selections: 5, 12, 1, 3

Race 3: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) PARK MINISTER only managed 6th of 8 last time at class and distance and was beaten by (8) WHITE POINT, among others. Nevertheless, it was his first try at this class and he didn’t run badly. He’s worth another go today. (4) YEONGGWANGUI SIDAE is up in class following two smart wins over 1300M. She’s up to a mile for the first time as well but she should be able to overcome both of those things and can be dangerous. (6) BUGYEONG BOLT moves up in class too, in his case following a very good 2nd over 1300M last month. It’s his first try at a mile as well but it could well suit. It’s been a long time since (7) DONGBANG BULPAE’s solitary win but he comes in following back to back 2nd places at this class over 1200M and 1400M and he has previously gone well at this distance. He won’t be far away.

Selections (1) Park Minister (4) Yeonggwangui Sidae (7) Dongbang Bulpae (6) Bugyeong Bolt
Next Best 8, 10
Fast Start 6, 7, 9

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

(6) A PURE GOOD MAN ran out a three-length winner at class and distance on October 7th. He carries an additional 4.5kg today, and he has been a touch inconsistent, but he should have enough to see off this field. (4) MR. KOREA returned from four months off to pull off a somewhat unexpected win at the distance a month ago. His reward is to move up in class but he’s very nicely weighted and may challenge for the places. The favourite may face stiffer competition from (1) MYEONGSIN POWER and (3) GAMUNUI YEONGGWANG. The former ran well for 5th in a tougher race than this last time while the latter is second up after five months off and should improve. (8) CHIEF TIME was 6th behind A Pure Good Man last month but has since run a solid 3rd at 1000M and may get closer today.

Selections (6) A Pure Good Man (1) Myeongsin Power (3) Mr. Korea (3) Gamunui Yeonggwang
Next Best 8, 11
Fast Start 6, 7, 11

 Busan Race 5: Kookje Shinmun Cup (Listed) 1400M Weight for Age / KRW 350 Million

  1. WINNER RED – Recent form doesn’t read well although he should go better than he did when here for the Mayor’s Cup in July. Only start since 7th of 12 in class 1 handicap at Seoul and 7th would be an excellent result here.
  2. DROP THE BEAT – A winner at this distance in March before injuries kept him out for six months. Returned with 7th of 9 behind Ace Korea, Morning Daero and Perdido Pomeroy at 1200M on October 21st. Needed that run and distance should suit more here but more to find.
  3. SPEED MARK – Returned from six months off to run a good if unexpected 3rd behind King of Ace at this distance on September 16th. Top jockey gets on but plenty more is going to be needed here.
  4. TODAY – Looked set to become Korea’s top sprinter before being beaten by Doraonpogyeongseon in the SBS Sports Sprint in Seoul in June. Ran well for 3rd at Kranji a month later before struggling in the Korea Sprint in September. Don’t rule out a return to form and looked very fast in a trial last week.
  5. RICH YEOJANGGUN – Won five of her first six starts but has stalled since reaching class 2. Last ran here in August when 10th of 16 in the KNN Cup over a mile and it would be a surprise if she finished much higher than that today.
  6. DORAONPOGYEONGSEON – The top sprinter in Korea. A two-time winner of the SBS Sports Srpint and twice placed in the Korea Sprint. 2000M was an ask too much on last month’s KRA Cup Classic at Seoul but back at one turn today, if he runs to his best, he may be too good.
  7. ACE KOREA – 5th place-getter in the Korea Sprint and with the potential to usurp Doraonpogyeongseon at the top of the sprinting ranks. Didn’t get off to the best of starts on return to Busan last month but still overcame it to run a fast time in victory at 1200M. That looks to be his best trip with his only prior try at 1400M ending in 2nd place at class 3. He’s come on since then and he’ll be on pace here, that final furlong is going to be testing though.
  8. CITY STAR – Began the year with back to back runner-up finishes in Listed and Graded company but didn’t race again until last month when he completely blew the start and finished last over 1200M. Evident talent but hard to back.
  9. SILVER WOLF – Swept all before her last year but it’s been harder this term. Ran 3rd here to Doraonpogyeongseon at a mile in the Owners’ Cup before running a good 4th behind Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine in the KRA Cup Classic last month over 2000M. First run at 1400M in over a year, she gets a couple of kilos from most, is reasonably well drawn and with luck in running she can win.
  10. SINGIPARANG – Still at class 2 and yet to win at that level. This will be very challenging for him.
  11. KING OF ACE – Won at class 1 over this distance in September and then repeated the feat when pushed up to 1800M three weeks ago. Both times he was getting weight from rivals and he hasn’t got the ideal draw here. This is a big test for him but he looks to be getting better and better. If he gets to the front early, he has a chance.
  12. CHEONJEOK – Always takes his chance in listed or graded races but does tend to find himself overmatched. That will be the case here too.
  13. MORNING DAERO – Ran 2nd to Ace Korea at 1200M on October 21st which was a big uptick in form for him. Plenty more to find here though and he won’t be among the fancies.
  14. PERDIDO POMEROY – At one time set to become the top sprinter around, he just seems to have lost a little bit of pace recently. Always races in tough company and comes in having been 3rd to Ace Korea last month.
  15. BAEDARI BOBAE – Comes in off the longest losing streak of any of these at nineteen starts since his last win and that looks sure to be extended. Was dropped out of class 1 and despite one or two creditable recent performances, shows few signs of returning.

Verdict: 3rd in the Korea Sprint at 1200M and winner of the Owners’ Cup at a mile earlier this year, (6) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON has marked himself at as the Gold-Standard for horses in Korea over one-turn. A line can be drawn through the KRA Cup Classic last month as it can be for (9) SILVER WOLF too, although she ran rather well for 4th. Up until then, Doraonpogyeongseon had her number this year but she remains a fine sprinter and can’t be ruled out. The presence of those two makes this race a big litmus test for the up and comers. Peter Wolsley’s pair of (7) ACE KOREA and (11) KING OF ACE especially. If the race was at 1200M, Ace Korea could well be favourite but the extra furlong will be the big test here. The distance will suit King Of Ace very well and he could well pull off a surprise. The other main contender is (4) TODAY. Earlier this year he looked set to wrest the sprinting crown away from Doraonpogyeongseon but the older horse has since bested him twice at 1200M. Don’t rule him out here though.

Selections (6) Doraonpogyeongseon (7) Ace Korea (11) King Of Ace (9) Silver Wolf
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 2, 4, 11, 14

Race 6: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

It didn’t happen for (1) SUN DAY when sent to Seoul for the Jeju Governor’s Cup last month where she suffered her second defeat in six starts. Her previous one came on her only foray up to a mile and it’s interesting to see her sent up to 1800M for her Busan return. She has plenty of talent though and shouldn’t be ignored. It may be safer though to side with a couple who have already demonstrated ability at this class over at least a mile. (4) WONDERFUL MEMORY fits the bill having run a very good 2nd in a tough race on October 19th, beating a couple of decent ones along the way. It will be interesting to see how his front-running style works for him at 1800M, but he looks to have potential for more. (3) MORNING KOREA beat a couple of these on his way to 4th place at class and distance on October 14th. He’s only won one of nineteen but is rarely far from the money. (2) I’M YOUR MOTHER and (10) DAEHO MYEONGGA are others who could come into play.

Selections (4) Wonderful Memory (1) Sun Day (3) Morning Korea (10) Daeho Myeongga
Next Best 2, 7
Fast Start 1, 4, 5

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) CHONGAL GACHI returned from eight months off to run 5th over this distance on October 21st, running after a slow start to finish ahead of three of his rivals here. His manners were poor that day but he should have come on for that run and could well prevail here. (9) RAON BULPAE finished 6th in that race, less than a length behind Chongal Gachi and can challenge again today. (7) AQUA STROM makes a comeback of his own today following five months out. He was going well before the layoff and trialled (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 17)

Saturday racing is in Seoul where there are 12 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Johan Victoire - Korea Racing Authority.jpg

Johan Victoire rode 7 winners last weekend – he could get some more this Saturday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) GLOBAL CHEONHA was an improved 4th on his second career start a month ago. He’s shown the most of these in terms of speed and he can finish on top here. (1) DALLYEORA GWANGSAN led for much of her latest start at 1300M ultimately finishing 3rd. The step back in trip should suit and she should lead again. (5) VICAR BRACING was 5th in that same race and also looks to have scope for improvement. (6) NAMJJOK NARA and (9) LEISUER KING are both more experienced and while a win may be unlikely, both are capable of finding the money in this kind of company.

Selections (7) Global Cheonha (1) Dallyeora Gwangsan (5) Vicar Bracing (6) Namjjok Nara
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 1, 2

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here with only three of the twelve having raced before. We’re going to value that experience though and put two of those three on top. (7) KING OF SUNDAY and (12) FULL MOON SKY came home 5th and 4th in their respective first outings in October. King Of Sunday posted the faster time and with a more favourable draw to get the lead, is the slight top pick here with Full Moon Sky a clear second choice. The first-timers don’t really set the pulse racing although (2) PRIMA NIKE looked useful in his trial and may well go to the lead here. (3) RECOVERY TAP and (4) SUN OF THUNDER are the others who look to have the most potential to go well first up.

Selections (7) King Of Sunday (12) Full Moon Sky (2) Prima Nike (4) Sun Of Thunder
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 2, 7, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens although this time eight of the twelve have prior racing experience. A few of them have gone well too with both (2) THANK YOU MOTHER and (11) HOMECOMING having run 2nd on their respective debuts. Thank You Mother was perhaps the slightly more impressive and is likely to be favourite hee. (4) CHODONG BOBAE and (9) BIG PRO also showed ability in their first starts and both have claims to improve here. (12) GAL IP made her solitary start all the way back in July. It didn’t go terribly well but she’s subsequently been through a number of trials and can improve here. Of the first-timers here, a watching brief is probably the most prudent course of action with (3) YAHO WHITE CAT being the best looking at this stage.

Selections (2) Thank You Mother (11) Homecoming (4) Chodong Bobae (9) Big Pro
Next Best 12, 3
Fast Start 2, 3, 10, 11

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Yet more juvenile maidens but this time it’s fillies only with four racing for the very first time. (5) MISS GELLA has raced twice and on the second of those showed some ability, only beaten half a length into 2nd place over this distance on October 14th. She led for much of that race, will be on pace again and can win this time. (7) WONDERFUL PANGPANG was 3rd that day a full four-lengths behind Miss Gella but showing enough improvement from her debut to suggest she has more to offer. (9) MONEY POCKET was a promising 3rd on debut despite racing greenly and can build on it here while (2) GOLD PARTY got bumped about a bit at the start of her latest outing and ultimately weakened having previously raced well on debut. OF the first timers, (4) SYDNEY MONEY looks the pick.

Selections (5) Miss Gella (2) Gold Party (4) Sydney Money (7) Wonderful Pangpang
Next Best 9, 11
Fast Start 2, 5, 7, 11

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) BLUE FIRE was sent off as favourite for his latest outing on October 27th but having led from the gate, weakened in the home straight. He may not have to work very hard here though to get the lead again and is worth another chance. (1) K ZONE secured his best finish in thirteen starts last time when running (a distant) 2nd at this distance. He has been getting steadily closer and shouldn’t be far away today. (3) GEUMBIT (more…)

Busan Friday: Francois Herholdt Debuts & Race-By-Race Preview (November 16)

Francois Herholdt will take his first mounts in Korean racing on Friday’s card at Busan. The South African jockey begins an initial four-month license with three rides across the eleven-race meeting on the South Coast which runs from 11:30 to 18:00.

Silver Wolf Power Blade Busan Ilbo 2018

It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

The globe-trotting rider has ridden in several countries amassing over 1000 winners in a career which began as an apprentice in Durban in 1989 and has taken in spells in Singapore, Dubai, Mauritius, France and Saudi Arabia as well as his native South Africa. Herholdt has ridden six Group winners in South Africa as well as notching up several more in neighboring Zimbabwe and was Champion Jockey in Mauritius in 2004. Earlier this year, the 44-year-old travelled to Ng’ong Racecourse in Nairobi to win the Kenya Derby on Freewheeler. Herholdt is well prepared for the challenges of making it in a new country and is finding his feet having arrived in Busan earlier this month.

“I was a bit lost the first two days but I’m a quick learner” said Herholdt “I’m really looking forward to riding on Friday”. He gets underway in race 1 where he partners the previously unraced two-year-old My Hero for trainer Cho Young Bae but it is another first-timer starter, Fusion Park in race 2 for fellow South African Bart Rice, that perhaps offers Herholdt his best chance of hitting the board on his first day.

Even if it takes a bit longer, he is prepared. “I’ve been watching a lot of the racing here and am very excited to start. My goals are to do well and I’m very confident that I will”. Herholdt will be joining Franco Da Silva as one of only two overseas jockeys currently full-time at Busan and who in his two years so far at the track has a Korean Derby victory among his almost 120 winners.

Da Silva may well be the man to follow on Friday too as he has ten rides across the day, including Jumbo Blade in the feature race 5. The Mineshaft colt steps up to class 2 for the first time having run out a four-length winner on his latest start to move to three wins from seven total outings and looks to have plenty more in the tank to enable him to win the 1800M handicap:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Maidens to begin with and five of the twelve are making their racecourse debuts. We’ll start with the experienced ones though and (5) GOLD TICKET improved to 2nd place on what was his third career start a month ago, beaten less than a length at this distance but a good winner. He’s well drawn here to lead and can go all the way. (11) YEONGSEONG STAR has raced twice so far, finishing in 3rd place on both occasions. She’s led until close to home both times and so long as she doesn’t have to use up too much effort getting to the front from gate 11, she can go close again. (4) SEUNGNI DAEJANG raced three times in the Spring recording two 3rd places of his own. He subsequently had some respiratory problems that resulted in surgery and he makes his return here having trialed adequately but unspectacularly at the end of last month. He could go well. Of the first-timers, both (2) SPARKLE and (8) HALLA HWANGHU caught the eye in trials and should go well first-up in what is quite limited company.

Selections (5) Gold Ticket (2) Sparkle (11) Yeongseong Star (8) Halla Hwanghu
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 2, 5, 8, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with just two of the twelve having raced before. This two debuted together on October 19th and while (11) I AM CHAMPION did nothing, beating just one home, (3) DOCTOR THUNDER ran rather well, coming back in 3rd place, running on nicely after a slow start. That may be enough to make her favourite here. Peter Wolsey and Jo Sung Gon combined for plenty of winners last week and they could get off to a god start this week too with (2) NAKITA. She’s the pick of the first-timers having looked competent trialing with experienced racehorses last Saturday. (5) YEONGSEONG HOPE and (8) MAN OF THE MATCH both won their trials, the latter in more impressive fashion, and both will also be well backed here. Bart Rice’s (10) FUSION PARK also looked like he knows what he’s doing and could go well first-up under South African jockey Francois Herholdt, who is making his Busan debut today.

Selections (2) Nakita (3) Doctor Thunder (8) Man Of The Match (10) Fusion Park
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 1, 2, 7, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens and this time five of the twelve have raced before. And all five of them acquitted themselves very reasonably indeed. Bart Rice’s (4) GOOD DANCER ran a good 2nd on debut a month ago, showing prominently and briefly leading close to home before being headed. A week later it was a similar story for (6) GABO DAY, who led almost the whole way around on his first appearance before ultimately having to settle for 3rd. Both were promising and the additional trip should suit. Good Dancer is marginally favoured between them (8) REVERSE SWEEP debuted at this distance and while he was a well-beaten 2nd, he did nothing wrong and can build on it here. (9) SEONGSAN POWER too raced well for 3rd on his racecourse bow on October 12th, also at 1300M and should be in the frame again. The one they’ll all need to beat though is first-timer starter (7) TRUE VALOR. Half-brother to some very useful racehorses, he’s looked strong and fast in two trials so far and could well come out on top first-up.

Selections (4) Good Dancer (7) True Valor (6) Gabo Day (8) Reverse Sweep
Next Best 9, 12
Fast Start 4, 6, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) MAKGANG YEOGEOL was just beaten a nose on what was her fourth career start three weeks ago. She steps up in trip for the first time here, should be on pace early and could go one better today. (3) CHEONNYEONUIJILJU also has a 2nd place to his name and he too tries further than the minimum for the first time today. (5) GIPPEUM DAY has raced at this distance before and while it didn’t go well, it was a full ten months ago. She returned form a long lay-off with a decent 2nd place over 1000M in October, beating a couple of these along the way and should go close here. (1) BAENGNICHONG and (2) TIZ LINE, the latter making just his second start having debuted in a tough race in (more…)

Triple Nine, Cheongdam Dokki Among Grand Prix Nominations

Twenty-eight horses have been nominated for the Grand Prix Stakes, the traditional season-ending finale which is set for Seoul Racecourse on Sunday December 9th and will be run over the longest distance in use in Korean racing, 2300M. They include the now four-time President’s Cup Champion Triple Nine as well as Busan Mayor’s Cup and KRA Cup Classic victor Cheongdam Dokki and Korea Cup 2nd place-getter Dolkong.

Power Blade Grand Prix Fnish1

Power Blade won the Grand Prix in 2017 but is now retired althoough the other two horses in shot – Dongbang Daero & Cheongdam Dokki, could be back for another go (Pic: KRA)

With last year’s winner Power Blade having been retired this summer, there is only one previous Grand Prix winner among the nominations. That’s Clean Up Joy, who triumphed in the 2016 edition and would be tackling the race for the fifth time. For Triple Nine, 3rd last year, it would be fourth attempt with his best finish being 2nd to Clean Up Joy in 2016.

Ten of the nominated horses are trained at Seoul, including Cheongdam Dokki, Clean Up Joy and Dolkong, while the remaining eighteen are from Busan. The maximum field size for the race is sixteen. Busan-trained horses joined the race for the first time in 2009 and have won six of the subsequent nine runnings.

All four foreign trainers based in Korea are represented at this stage. Peter Wolsley, who won the race with Bold Kings in 2015 has put forward Ppudeut and Royal Ruby while Thomas Gillespie has Great King and Champ Line. Along with Dolkong, Simon Foster has nominated Choego Money while Bart Rice is set to once again send Buhwarui Banseok, who finished very strongly for 5th place a year ago.

First run in 1985, the Grand Prix remains the race every Korean owner, trainer and jockey wants to win. It’s place in the calendar at the end of the year and its unusual distance as well as until recently being one of the few Korean Group 1 races not restricted to locally-bred horses make it a unique challenge with the winner traditionally almost always becoming Horse Of The Year. That’s not necessarily the case these days but even in the Korea Cup era, the Grand Prix still hasn’t lost its luster.

Three horses have won the race twice. Po Gyeong Seon in the 1980s, Ka Shock Do in the 1980s and Dongbanui Gangja in the 2000s and the list of winners is a roll call of the biggest names in Korean racing over the past three decades. In addition to the two-time winners, such luminaries as Subsidy, Mister Park, Tough Win and of course Power Blade have come home in front in December. For all his achievements, Triple Nine is yet to add his name to the list. It might be fourth time lucky this December. Here’s the full list of preliminary nominations:

SEOUL
Cheonji Storm
Singgeureoun Geom
Wild Thunder
Cheongdam Dokki
Clean Up Joy
Tosconova Cat
Road Winner
Ultra Rocket
Dolkong
Choego Money

BUSAN
Champ Line
Great King
Baekmunbaekdap
Today
Triple Nine
Saengil Gippeum
Ppudeut
Royal Ruby
Buhwarui Banseok
Stealth
Indian King
Hello Venus
Jumbo Blade
Good Casting
Adeleui Chukje
World Sun
Dongbang Daero
Wooa

Sky Bay Lands Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup / Victoire Bags Seven / Gaon Champ Steps up

Sky Bay ran out the emphatic winner of the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the 2018 Queens’ Tour at Busan last Sunday. The three-year-old US-bred filly ran away from the field in the home straight to win by five-lengths and secure a first Group race victory for trainer Lee Shin Young.

Sky Bay - KRA

Sky Bay was sent off as favourite for the 2000M test and was prominent throughout. While other early pace-setters Blue Flag and Catch Nine gave way, the Adios Charlie filly was too strong and fast-finishers Seouri Byeol and Damyang Hwanho never looked like getting close. With Sky Bay not having competed in either of the first two legs of the Queens’ Tour, 4th place-getter Cheongsu Yeogeol, winner of the Ttukseom Cup and 2nd in the KNN Cup, was crowned the overall Series winner

Sky Bay [Adios Charlie – KK’s Kitty (Yes It’s True)] was a $95,000 purchase from the OBS 2017 Spring Sale of two-year-olds and has now won five of her nine races. It is the biggest win of trainer Lee Shin Young’s career as she becomes the first Korean female trainer to saddle a Group winner.

For jockey Lee Chan Ho, one of the most naturally gifted riders Korea has produced but who has seen his career weighed down somewhat by suspensions for off-track issues, it was a second Group winner following Choegang Schiller’s triumph in the 2015 Asia Challenge Cup.

Speaking of jockeys, up at Seoul it was a sensational weekend for Johan Victoire. The French rider rode three winners on Saturday and then managed to top that feat on Sunday, partnering four more for a total of seven across the weekend.

Victoire, who is seventeen months into his Korean sojourn, has now ridden 73 winners from 729 rides in the country.

While Sky Bay’s win was impressive, the performance of the weekend, however, may have been up in Seoul. In the very last race on Sunday, Gaon Champ stepped up to class 1 for the first time and completely dominated, running in the second fastest time of the year over 1400M for an untroubled length-and-a-half victory.

Gaon Champ (Ecton Park) is a three-year-old colt whose only defeats so far have come at the hands of Mask, in the Seoul Classic trial back in March, and then in the KRA Cup Mile at Busan when he played up in the gates beforehand. He moves on to six wins from eight total starts and will hopefully be one to look out for in the bg sprints next year. He’ll probably not get the opportunity to carry just 51kg again though.

Queens’ Tour Finale Day – Sunday Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (November 11)

The Queens’ Tour concludes at Busan on Sunday afternoon with fifteen fillies and mares linig up for the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 as well as 11 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews along with horse by horse for the big race:

Cheongsu Yeogeol Ttukseom Cup - KRA

Cheongsu Yeogeol won the Ttukseom Cup in June, the 1st leg of the Queens’ Tour and was 2nd in the KNN Cup (Pic KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Weak maiden to begin with so a good opportunity for plenty of these who otherwise wouldn’t come close to a win. (5) JEONGMUN K has been getting better across five starts so far and comes in off a decent 3rd in a better race than this last time out. He has as much chance as any here. (6) GOD OF SOCKS registered a 3rd place on debut back in July and while he hasn’t yet managed to match that. He doesn’t look completely bereft of ability and should be on pace early today. (4) REIGN too showed improvement last time and should get close here while (1) KING N I and (7) ROAD MAN are slightly lesser prospects but can challenge for the places.

Selections (6) God Of Socks (5) Jeongmun K (4) Reign (1) King N I
Next Best 7
Fast Start 3, 6

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maiden here with all except one having raced before. (4) ACE SOLONGO is one of three who have raced twice and she comes in off a close 2nd place over 1000M a month ago. She ran on well and could benefit from stepping up in trip for the first time. The increased distance may also benefit (2) DOKDO YA, who ran 5th in debut last month finishing off well. (7) GEOM HONG debuted at this distance four weeks ago and ran well for 4th. He started well that day before dropping back and then rallying and today could be on pace. (8) STRIDE UP was 2nd – albeit a fair way behind the winner – when up to this trip for his second start. (5) WONDER BRACING ran very greenly on debut all the way back in August but still managed to finish 3rd. He’s had some time off so it’s a fresh start today and with Antonio Da Silva taking the mount, he can go close.

Selections (4) Ace Solongo (7) Geom Hong (5) Wonder Bracing (2) Dokdo Ya
Next Best 8, 6
Fast Start 7

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

(7) BEST EVER was a five-length winner on debut on October 14th, coming from just off the pace to score impressively at this distance. He’s up in class here and will need to improve but the manner of that win suggests there is more to come. (2) MAPAEBONG was a similarly impressive class 6 winner in August and beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd place on his first try at this level last month. He looks the main danger here. (5) JEWANGUI BYEOL returned from more than six months off to run a creditable 5th at this distance at the end of September. He should come on for the run here. (10) DUSON WANGJA and (12) STAR LIST remain maidens but both come in off the back of useful 2nd places at class and distance and both have a chance to repeat.

Selections (7) Best Ever (2) Mapaebong (5) Jewangui Byeol (10) Duson Wangja
Next Best 12, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) MAJJABEUN SON was a slightly unexpected winner at class and distance on September 29th, coming from off the pace to record his maiden win at the seventeenth time of asking. She only carries and extra couple of kilos today and Johan Victoire remains aboard and a repeat can’t be ruled out. (1) TRIPLE HAPPY took to this distance well when sent up for the first time last start, running out a close 2nd. He’ll join Majjabeun Son in looking to close strongly. That pace could be set by (2) FLYING JOY who can have a line drawn through his latest effort as he was impeded by a riderless horse and who has shown he can be competitive at class and distance. (3) SISPUMA WINNER and (9) ONNURI ALBA are others to take into account.

Selections (6) Majjabeun Son (1) Triple Hapy (2) Flying Joy (3) Sispuma Winner
Next Best 9, 8
Fast Start 2, 7

Busan Race 1 Selections: 4, 1, 11, 6

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

This isn’t a very strong race so attention needs to be paid to (6) DONGSEO GADEUK, whose 6th place at the distance last time was in stiffer company, He was some way behind the winner but not far off 3rd and can go very close here. (7) POX RANGER remains a maiden but ran well at this distance last time out and should be in the hunt while (4) GEOBOOGI MANSE similarly can be given another chance after a lackluster showing last time out, with good form leading up to it. (2) SO ARA DAEWANG and the up (more…)