Month: November 2018

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…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 10)

There are 12 races at Seoul on Saturday running from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews: 

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

Very ordinary maiden to begin with. (8) FINAL CAPTAIN and (5) CHANGSEONG ILHO have come the closest of these with both having a 3rd place to their name, the latter at this distance. Final Captain may be preferred here though. He didn’t go especially well on his first try at this distance last time but had a poor start and ran on well after. (1) PINEAPPLE MARK has raced four times in useful company so far and should improve here. (6) JEOKTO BIMA led for much of his first try around this distance last start only to blow up late on and she should have come on for that.

Selections (1) Pineapple Mark (8) Final Captain (6) Jeokto Bima (5) Changseong Ilho
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 6, 8

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

Juvenile maidens only here and six of the eleven are racing for the very first time. Taking the experienced ones first though and (11) SENTOSA looks to have a good shout here. She debuted in a valuable race in August before returning with a decent 3rd place at this distance a month ago. The widest gate may not be ideal but with a little improvement, she can win this. (10) BARAMEUL GEURIDA too did nothing wrong when 5th on debut back in September and returns here following nine weeks off. The rest of the likely ones come from among the first-timers. (7) CHARON BLADE is chief among them. She won a trial in fine fashion at the end of August and while it’s taken her a while to make it to the track, her stable is bang in form now and she should go well. (3) SUNSHINE TEUKGEUP and (6) WIND RIVER are others who showed some promise in trials and it may be worth watching out for them in the market.

Selections (7) Charon Blade (11) Sentosa (10) Baraeul Geurida (6) Wind River
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 3, 7, 10, 11

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

More juvenile maidens – eleven of the twelve are fillies and only three have raced before. As ever, we’ll start with the experienced ones and of the trio, only (1) HAE SAEM CHAN did much on debut, running 4th of 11. That was all the way back in August but it still might be enough to see her to favourite status here. The only trial winner was (9) MATCH QUEEN. She’s a half-sister to Hansen Glory who has been pretty useful in seven starts so far and will be well-backed first-up here. (10) LUXURY TOWN and (8) WONDERFUL WARRIOR trialed up together finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. There was four-lengths between them and that will be reflected in their odds today but both can go well. (7) SPEED FLYING is another to take note of. Trainer Song Moon Gil has had an uncharacteristically quiet time recently but could get back in form here.

Selections (1) Hae Saem Chan (9) Match Queen (10) Luxury Town (8) Wonderful Warrior
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 9, 10, 11

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(2) CHEONGDAM JEPAE returned from five months off in September and has run well twice since, both at this distance. He’s drawn well to get on speed today and he can go all the way. (3) LUCKY SOCHEON has only raced twice but she’s shown promise, improving to 3rd in the latest of those. She’s started slowly and run on well both times and the additional trip today should suit. (4) HEUNG BUJA did nothing wrong when stepped up to this distance for her second start last month and she too can continue to improve here. (7) STEEL RUN’s one previous effort at 1300M didn’t go well but she comes in here off her best finish to date when 2nd at the minimum distance a month ago and could be better this time. (8) M.J. TOWN is another with the potential to improve.

Selections (2) Cheongdam Jepae (3) Lucky Socheon (4) Heung Buja (7) Steel Run
Next Best 8, 9
Fast Start 2, 4, 5

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

(2) BODEURAM had a hard time when sent up to 1200M last start but back at the minimum today, should be much better. He has a win and a 2nd place from his latest two outings at this trip and looks dangerous here. (10) FANTASTIC QUEEN and (9) DOUBLE A came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on October 13th in what was arguably a slightly stronger race than this. Both met a bit of (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 9)

There is group race action at Busan this coming Sunday with the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. the final leg of the Queen’s Tour, but before that things get underway with an 11-race card on Friday from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

RH7_2434

It’s Friday. It’s Busan!

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

A step up in trip could well be what (1) RACING GALLOPER needs and that’s what he gets after three decent but unspectacular spins at 1000M. He’s not shown much in the way of speed but has run on each time and can win here. (3) KEEP GOING already has a 2nd place to her name at this distance in what was perhaps slightly tougher company than this and she has very solid claims too. Those two are the standouts although (6) HUNTER PARK and (10) TONGIL HANGUK have shown some potential and could get close while (2) GIDAEHAE actually managed to finish ahead of Racing Galloper when they faced each other in August. That form was overturned when they next met but an improved showing can’t be ruled out.

Selections (1) Racing Galloper (3) Keep Going (2) Gidaehae (6) Hunter Park
Next Best 10, 7
Fast Start 1, 7, 10

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

(2) GEUMA GHOST was set to be favourite two weeks ago when she dumped her jockey on the ground on the way to the gate. That confidence among punters was caused by her 2nd place on debut in September and while she’s up in trip here, if she manages to make it to the start, she should be on pace early and can go close. The biggest danger is (4) GIRL CRUSH. She made an inauspicious debut in February and then didn’t return until August. She’s been very solid in three subsequent outings with two 3rds and a 5th and looks to have a win in her sooner or later. (1) EDGE OF WINNER made a comeback of her own two weeks ago and while she only managed an indifferent 7th of 12 over 1000M, she most likely needed the run and today’s trip should suit more. (10) GOLDUI INYEON resumes today off a spell and is another who has proven herself competitive at this distance.

Selections (4) Girl Crush (2) Geuma Ghost (1) Edge Of Winner (10) Goldui Inyeon
Next Best 9, 8
Fast Start 2, 3

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

A full field of juvenile maidens and seven of the twelve are making their racecourse debuts here. Among the ones who have raced before, (3) FOX COLORING is the only one to have raced twice, improving into 4th on the latest of those and she can be expected to run solidly today. (2) SAND TIGER ran a decent 5th on debut a month ago and will also be well backed here. Aside from that pair, it’s the first-timers who will be expected to go well. (6) MABEOP CHEOREOM won a trial in a fast time last month and if she brings that kind of form to the races, she’ll go very close. (11) SAMBA RHYTHM wasn’t too far away in the very same heat and she too can go well first up. (8) FUNKY and (9) B.K. SOUND also trialed up together, Funky emerging on top and both of those should be in the hunt for at least some minor money. As ever with this kind of race, keep an eye on the market for clues.

Selections (6) Mabeop Cheoreom (8) Funky (2) Sand Tiger (3) Fox Coloring
Next Best 11, 9
Fast Start 2, 7, 9

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

It should be hard to recommend a twenty-six race maiden to win any race but this race does look to be (7) DANCING BLAZE’s to lose. She comes in off the back of consecutive runner-up finishes, beating three of these along the way last time and this could well be her day. So it could too for (8) FELICE. He’s also a maiden, in his case after eleven attempts and while he was one of those beaten by Dancing Blaze a month ago he returned just two weeks ago and ran a good 4th at this distance. He tends to leave himself a bit much to do but he’s not without ability. (3) B.K. MARINE was a winner at this distance in August (beating Dancing Blaze) and should be on pace early. (4) LUCKY ADELE steps up in class after coming close on each of her first four outings and shouldn’t be out of his depth here. (9) REALLY ONE looks best of the rest.

Selections (7) Dancing Blaze (8) Felice (3) B.K. Marine (4) Lucky Adele
Next Best 9, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 4, 10

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

(8) K PLUS WON is up in class following a 4th and a pair of 2nd place finishes from three starts so far. He looks nicely in here, should get on pace from the starts and can go all the way. (3) JAESAENGMYEONGNI ran a good 2nd over class and distance on October 19th, just missing out by a nose. He’ll be ridden patiently again and can be a danger late on. (5) ROYAL CLUB was a touch disappointing last start on October 12th at 1200M. He entered that race following two very close 2nd and 3rd place finishes in August and September and is well worth another chance here. (11) SWEEP MAN actually finished ahead of Royal Club in that October 12th race and can look to match the 4th he managed that day.

Selections (8) K Plus Won (5) Royal Club (3) Jaesangmyeongni (11) Sweep Man
Next Best 7, 12
Fast Start 6, 8, 12

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

(5) SPOT survived an inquiry to keep a narrow victory over 1200M on October 26th. It was his second win in six starts in what has been a bit of an interrupted career to date. (more…)

Triple Nine Lands Sensational 4th President’s Cup

Triple Nine galloped his way in to Korean racing history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon as he cruised to an unprecedented fourth consecutive win in the President’s Cup. The six-year-old struck the front a furlong and a half from home and eased to a dominant six-length win to eclipse the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae, who won three straight editions of the nation’s biggest race for domestically-bred horses between 2012 and 2012.

IMG_20181104_171144_543.jpg

Triple Nine in the President’s Cup winner’s circle

At a packed Seoul Racecourse on a bright autumn afternoon, Triple Nine was sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 2000M test which for the past fifteen years has decided the Champion Korean bred horse of the year and has also been when the season’s three-year-old Classic winners face the best older horses for the first time. So that was to be this time with Ecton Blade and World Sun, winners of the Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup respectively both taking their chance.

 Neither was able to show very much. Ecton Blade, a stablemate of Triple Nine, was hindered by a wide draw and was scarcely involved while World Sun, a closer, did eventually arrive on the scene but far too late. Other fancied contenders Cheonji Storm and Gangtoma also offered little. Instead it was left to Gasokbulpae, more noted as a sprinter and sent off at odds in excess of 90/1 and who set a game pace throughout, and Yaho Sky Cat, a 130/1 outsider to get the closest, eventually finishing in 3rd and 2nd respecitively. Another long-shot, Ultra Rocket was 4th.

They might as well have been in a different race to Triple Nine. Kim Young-Kwan’s stable star settled in midfield and gradually improved down the back straight before being shaken up by jockey Lim Sung Sil on the turn for home. From then on it was inevitable and Triple Nine duly took a stranglehold on the race in the home straight.

 The margin on the line was six-lengths, the greatest in Triple Nine’s President’s Cup. The time was his second quickest, half a second slower than last year’s. Then though he had Power Blade to contend with. While this year’s competition may not have been the strongest, the sheer consistency of Triple Nine over the past three years, as well as his exploits in Dubai in 2017, surely takes him to the top of the all-time ranks of Korean-bred horses, even ahead of Power Blade.

 Bred by Isidore Farm on Jeju Island, Triple Nine has won 14 of his 30 races in Korea and placed 3rd and 4th in the first two editions of the Korea Cup. For trainer Kim Young-Kwan it was a record fourteenth Group 1 winner while for jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a fifth G1. Three of those have now been on Triple Nine in the President’s Cup while he matched his mount’s achievement having also ridden Indie Band to win the race in 2013.

It may not be over yet. The Grand Prix Stakes is a possibility next month and given Triple Nine’s career to date, a return next year for a previously unthinkable fifth President’s Cup is surely not impossible.

 

Triple Nine Bids To “Winx” The President’s Cup: Race-By-Race Preview (November 4)

Triple Nine will be seeking to enter the history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday as the three-time President’s Cup (KOR G1) winner, bids to add an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the top Group 1 race for Korean-bred horses. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 plus 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Here are the previews with horse-by-horse notes for the President’s Cup which is race 9 on the program at Seoul, scheduled to be off at 16:45″

Triple Nine KRA

Can Triple Nine make it into the President’s Cup winner’s circle for the 4th time? (Pic: KRA)

Last year, Triple Nine equaled the great Dangdae Bulpae’s record of the consecutive President’s Cup victories which were achieved between 2010 and 2012. Unlike Dangdae Bulpae, who was retired after an unsuccessful tilt at the 2013 edition, the Kim Young-kwan-trained six-year-old will be a firm favourite to write his name into Korean racing folklore.

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

(1) SAEROUN CAPTAIN just missed out by half a length when 2nd at this distance on what was his fourth career start at the end of September. He led until almost the very end that day and this time can get home on top. (6) HWANSANGUI BIT didn’t do himself justice over 1300M last start but should be better dropped back to the minimum today and is likely to join Saeroun Captain on the early pace. (7) SONGAM BARBIE has only raced twice, improving to 2nd on the latest of those a month ago, just beaten a neck and she can go close as well. (5) JEONGSANG GOLD was 5th in that race, overcoming a difficult start and is another who looks on the up.

Selections (1) Saeroun Captain (6) Hwansangui Bit (7) Songam Barbie (5) Jeongsang Gold
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 1, 3, 6

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

Juvenile maidens here and only one of them has ever raced before. That was (5) GOLD PERILLA and based on that one race, we’ll leave him well alone. (1) COILRO enters as the only trial winner and while his time wasn’t the quickest, he looked competent and the Simon Foster/Antonio Da Silva combination could be enough to make him favourite. Fastest in trials was (4) HAMYANG SANSAM. She’s half-sister to plenty of average racehorses and could well have a win in her at this level. (2) BANJIUI HAMSEONG caught the eye too when running 3rd in his heat at the end of September. With a top jockey on board, he’ll attract money too. (8) BEST HILL and (10) VICTORY KING could also go well first-up. As ever in this type of race, the market may be the best guide.

Selections (1) Coilro (4) Hamyang Sansam (2) Banjiui Hamseong (10) Victory King
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 2, 5, 12

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

(7) WONDERFUL TRUTH was a nice-looking six-length winner over 1000M on debut on October 6th and while she’s up in both class and distance today, she’s worth putting on top again in this all-filly contest. She should be able to get to the lead from gate 7 and can go all the way. (8) FLYING HERA remains a maiden but goes well at this trip and was 3rd in arguably a slightly stronger race than this at the distance on September 9th and she’ll be one of the dangers, as will another maiden (6) RAON MIRACLE. She has plenty of experience at this level and her recent forms reads well. (3) GOLDSTAR HILLS has been around the block a few times and drops back in trip today and into the frame while (9) RISING SOCKS acquitted herself well running 5th in a similar race to this last time and can build on that here.

Selections (7) Wonderful Truth (8) Flying Hera (3) Goldstar Hills (6) Raon Miracle
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) WINT SEVEN ran 3rd on debut in August and after having a couple of minor hoof problems returned to trial in October in which he as extremely impressive. He’ll be one of the shortest-priced favourites of the day and should win. He’s one of only five of the twelve who have raced before and among the other experienced ones, only (6) CAMPING MANIA really convinced and she’ll be a danger. Of the first-time starters, (4) SAMAE (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 3)

It’s the eve of the President’s Cup where on Sunday Triple Nine will look to secure his historic 4th straight victory. Before that, there is a 12-race card at Seoul on Saturday from 1:45 to 18:00:

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Mighty Ssing will be heard to beat in race 11 at Seoul on Saturday

 

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

A rather weak maiden to kick things off and (6) ANGELA, one of only two in the race to have a 2nd place finish to her name, could be the one to take the opportunity to get her maiden win. That 2nd came behind Surfing Point, who has since won again at a higher level and she can win here. The other one with a runner-up finish in their record is (5) SCARLET PERFECT. She’s been a bit ordinary in three subsequent starts but should have enough about her to be competitive today. (4) PARRHESIA got badly bumped about at the start last time but recovered well to run and encouraging 4th and he can improve today. (1) SINUI CHUKBOK and (3) I’M HAPPY are others who may improve.

Selections (6) Angela (4) Parrhesia (5) Scarlet Perfect (1) Sinui Chukbok
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 1, 9

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

Five of these raced each other over the distance on October 7th filling out 2nd to 5th. (9) BINNANEUN RUBY came out the best of them that finishing a couple of lengths ahead of (5) GEOTAP. Both those tow look nicely in here and it’s Geotap who perhaps has the potential to improve. (1) PUNGMUNEURO ran a solid enough 4th last time out on October 6th, his best finish to date and she looks as though she could get even closer today. (7) REAL GANGJA was a much improved 3rd over 1200M at the end of July. He comes in after fourteen weeks off and up to 1300M for the first time, which may suit. (12) WHITE FLOWER looks best of the rest.

Selections (5) Geotap (1) Pungmuneuro (9) Binnaneun Ruby (7) Real Gangja
Next Best 12, 8, 4
Fast Start 2, 4, 10

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

Maiden juveniles only here with five of the eleven racing for the very first time. Starting with the experienced ones though, (4) GAON FORCE ran 2nd over 1000M on October 6th on what was his second career start. He tackles further than the minimum distance for the first time here and is probably the one to beat. (1) SSOARAUTS came 3rd in that same race, a full five-lengths back on what was her racecourse debut. It was promising enough and the way she ran on suggests the enhanced trip will suit. (10) DANGDAE ROYAL debuted at this distance in September, running 3rd and should be a factor too as should his stablemate (6) RULES ICHEON, who has done nothing wrong across two outings to date. Only one of the debut-makers really catches the eye. That’s (7) LUMINESCE, who impressed in a trial a month ago and if he brings that kind of showing to the races, will go very close.

Selections (4) Gaon Force (7) Luminesce (1) Ssoarauts (6) Rules Icheon
Next Best 10, 3
Fast Start 6, 10

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

(2) POP STREET got his maiden win on his second career start in January but then didn’t reappear until last month. He ran very promisingly on his return, finishing 3rd at this distance behind a couple of useful looking types. He is well drawn to get the lead here and can go all the way. (4) RAON SIRIUS drops back in trip having run 3rd at 1300M on October 7th. He finished in the same position on his last try at this distance too in a fast time back in August and he looks to be the main threat. (1) SUJEBII held his own on his first try at this level, running 5th of 11 on a wet track and can go well here too. (6) LUCKY BONGHWA remains a maiden but returned from five months off with an encouraging performance at the end of September and is another who should be in the hunt.

Selections (2) Pop Street (4) Raon Sirius (6) Lucky Bonghwa (1) Sujebi
Next Best 8, 5
Fast Start 2

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Imported juveniles going here with four of the ten racing for the first time. Among the other six though, we have an already proven winner in the shape of (6) ULTRA PUNCH, who achieved one of the fastest times of the year so far in scoring over this distance on October 6th. The time was no doubt assisted but the wet track but nevertheless, it’s enough to afford him favourite status here. Four-lengths adrift in 2nd that day was (3) EAST KWAENAM, who was making his debut. That was encouraging and followed a trial win in September. He’s favoured to get closest once more. (1) PHOENIX WOLF raced very greenly on her debut three weeks ago to the extent a warning was placed against her. She previously won a trial in quick time so evidently has some ability and if she fixes her manners, we may see a big improvement. (5) WUJEONGUI HYANGGI didn’t get the best of trips in her debut the same day and is another who could show more. Of the debut-makers, (10) M J POWER, a trial winner at the end of September, looks the most promising.

Selections (6) Ultra Punch (3) East Kwaenam (1) Phoenix Wolf (5) Wujeongui Hyanggi
Next Best 10, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 6, 10

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

(11) HAEDEULMOE got his maiden win over this distance in early September, scoring by six-lengths. He ran 2nd on his first try at this level four weeks ago, beaten by Baeksan Meniqueen, who has plenty of potential herself, and he can overcome the wide draw to get on pace and win here. (1) RAON JAMES is up in class following his own maiden win in September. It was even more eye-catching as he prevailed by a full eight-lengths and (more…)

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

While Triple Nine’s bid for a fourth consecutive President’s Cup on Sunday is the undoubted headline of the week, there’s plenty to keep us ocupised while we wait. The weekend’s action gets underwat at Busan on Friday where there are 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00:

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You Hyun Myung already leads the Busan jockey standings and with a number of his rivals in Seoul for the President’s Cup, can make further gains on Friday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

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

(5) TROPHY COLLECTOR has run 3rd in his latest two outings, both at this distance and he looks set fair to get his maiden win here. He hasn’t been the fastest of starters so far but is well drawn here to get a good early position and should be too strong. (3) BUGYEONG DANDY was a much-improved 2nd – and only beaten a neck – at this distance three weeks ago and is the expected main danger while (4) BAENGNICHONG and (8) HWANGGEUMIBITMASAENG have both shown signs of figuring things out in their respective latest outings with the latter stepping up to this trip for the first time today. (1) HANEOLUI BIT is the wildcard. He races for the first time since April but looked very competent in a trial two weeks ago and could go well first-up.

Selections (5) Trophy Collector (3) Bugyeong Dandy (1) Haneolui Bit (4) Baengnichong
Next Best 8, 6
Fast Start 5, 8

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

Small field but it’s restricted to juvenile maidens so there’s a big prize on offer. Four of the eight are racing for the first time but it looks to be between two of the ones who have prior experience. (7) TOHAM ACE was a solid 4th on debut at 1000M on September 28th, finishing off very nicely in a manner which suggests the additional trip today can only be beneficial for him. He has solid claims here. (8) TRUE KING also ran 4th on debut and then followed up with a 3rd on his second start. Both those were at 1000M and he too looks the type who can appreciate further. It’s a toss-up between the two and which one to go for may come down to how they look pre-race but for now we’ll side with Toham Ace. The other two with experience haven’t offered much so for next bests we’ll go with debut-makers. (1) TITLE CODE looked good in a trial earlier this month while (4) DONGBANG WARRIOR actually finished ahead of Toham Ace when they qualified together at the beginning of September. As ever, watch the market for clues.

Selections (7) Toham Ace (8) True King (1) Title Code (4) Dongbang Warrior
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 1, 4, 7

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

The second heat of the juvenile maiden sees another set of four first-timers taking on four with experience. (5) RAON ARES ran 4th on debut in a decent time on October 5th. He was close to the pace throughout and today is nicely drawn to lead from the gate and all the way. Of the others with experience, only (4) B.K. VICTOR offered much on debut although (8) THUNDER RAIN looked much better when trialing up again earlier this month after finishing last on debut, so we’ll turn to the first-timers to find some competition. (2) FLYING DANCER has looked good across a number of trials, acquitting himself well in amongst experienced racehorses a couple of weeks ago in the same heat as Thunder Rain. It’s a top trainer and jockey combination and he can begin his career in a positive manner here.

Selections (5) Raon Ares (2) Flying Dancer (4) B.K. Victor (8) Thunder Rain
Next Best 6
Fast Start 2, 4, 5

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Yet more juvenile maidens this time with just two making their racecourse debuts. However, it’s fair to say that none of the ones with experience have been especially impressive so (1) POWER TOUCH, from the track’s top stable and with a bang in-form jockey aboard, has to be taken very seriously indeed. True, he was no better than average in trials but his stable rarely leaves their best in the mornings and he’ll be well-backed here. There’s a fresh start for (8) GEUMGANG CHILBO. She was favourite on debut in August having won a trial but was slowly away and scarcely involved. She comes back over two months later and should be a different prospect here. (3) DOCTOR WEEK didn’t do too much wrong when 7th of 12 on his debut at the end of last month and the prognosis is for improvement today, while (7) DAMYANG CHOEGANG is another who could potentially go better than he did first-up.

Selections (1) Power Touch (8) Geumgang Chilbo (3) Doctor Week (7) Damyang Choegang
Next Best 2, 5
Fast Start 1, 7

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

(2) MORNING BRAVO debuted all the way back in October of 2017 in very indifferent fashion. He didn’t reappear until August of this way, by which time he had been gelded, and he has been much better, running up consecutive 2nd place finishes., both at this distance. That does mean that he is up in class for the first time here but he looks to have scope for more improvement in him and he could win today. (7) BUGYEONG STORY is also still a maiden having been promoted to this level with back to back runner-up finishes in August and September. She ran a solid 3rd on her first try at this level on October 7th and should be close again here. (3) MUCHO and (5) GOLDEN KNIGHT have both proven competitive at this class already and have claims on going close. (9) HOPEFUL SIMON, a stablemate of Golden Knight, is yet another who has been promoted while still a maiden but shouldn’t be out of his depth at this level.

Selections (2) Morning Bravo (7) Bugyeong Story (5) Golden Knight (3) Mucho
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 7

Race 6: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Maiden juvenile imports compete for a big prize here and four of them are racing for the first time. They’ll have a hard time beating (1) CURLIN TIME though. The colt was 2nd on his debut in a fast race at this distance and it would be a surprise if he didn’t have far too much here. He doesn’t look particularly vulnerable but he did of course get beaten as favourite on his debut and on the off-chance he does come up short again, first-timers, (more…)

Can He Make It Four In A Row? Triple Nine’s President’s Cups So Far

A year ago, Triple Nine emulated Dangdae Bulpae in winning the President’s Cup for the third consecutive year. Now the six-year-old has a chance to enter unchartered territory as he bids to take home the trophy an unprecedented 4th time.

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Triple Nine (Picture: Alex Cairns)

It’s not only never been done in the President’s Cup before but it would be a first time in any Korean Group Race. Here are his wins so far:

2015 – Reward at least after Classic near-misses

Having finished 2nd in the Korean Derby to Yeongcheon Ace and 2nd in the Minister’s Cup to Rock Band, Triple Nine beat both his fellow three-year-olds to more than make amends for missing out in the Triple Crown races. Under Lim Sung-sil, Triple Nine was sent out as slight faovurite and stalked the early leaders before unleashing in the home straight to score by three-lengths from Rock Band and outsider Ildeung Hanghaesa.

2016 – Putting his Stablemate, the Triple Crown winner, firmly in his place

Stablemate Power Blade had won all three legs of the Triple Crown but he was no match for Triple Nine, who two months earlier had also finished ahead of him in the inugural Korea Cup. The younger horse could get no closer than three-lengths on the line as Seo Seung-un steered Triple Nine to a comfortable win. Success Story, who had run well at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at the stand of the year came home in 3rd place. Two months later, both Triple Nine and Power Blade would themselves jet off for successful stints in Dubai.

2017 – Beating Power Blade Again

With Power Blade having recently finally started to get the better of his rival, most pundits were of the opinion that this time there would be a changing of the guard. Not a bit of it as with Lim Sung-sil up once more, Triple Nine collared Power Blade with a furlong to go, zipping by him as if he was wasn’t there to claim his hat-trick by two-legnths on the line. The board ended up identical to that od 2016 with Success Story once more in 3rd.

Dangdae Bulpae won three consective President’s Cups between 2010 and 2012 but while he did attempt a fourth in 2013, it proved a race too far as he finished 10th of 16 as Indie Band took victory and was retired afterwards. Both Indie Band and Dangdae Bulpae are now retired at Isidore Farm on Jeju Island – the farm where Triple Nine was foaled.

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Dangdae Bulpae now has his own bronze statue at Busan Racecourse (although his greatest wins were at Seoul he, just like Triple Nine, was trained on the South Coast). Triple Nine’s statue is already assured. If he wins on Sunday, it may just be in Gold.