Month: January 2019

Today Passes Weighty Test But Spring Back Stunned By 100/1 Shot At Seoul

Today was a revelation in the Grand Prix Stakes running a big – and unexpected – 3rd behind Triple Nine and Cheongdam Dokki. And at Busan on Sunday, the one-time confirmed sprinter burnished his two-turn credentials by winning the class 1 feature handicap over 2000M, despite carrying top weight of 60kg.

He was made to work for it though as under jockey Lee Hyo-sik, Today duelled for the entire length of the home straight with Great King, himself 5th in the Grand Prix and getting 4kg in weight from the favourite this time. Having come together with two furlongs to go they went back and forth all the way to the line. Neither Lee nor Great King’s partner Kim Hye Sun had any idea who had won but it was Today who had his nose down at the right time. A stride either side of the line, Great King was in front.

A winner of ten of his first twelve starts, Today went to Kranji in Singapore and ran 3rd over 1200M last July before being an also-ran in the Korea Cup in September. He ran 4th to Ace Korea in a Listed race in November before his unexpected appearance at the Grand Prix. It seems that at five-years-old, his near-future at least is at the further distances.

Up at Seoul, the banker favourite of the day was defeated as Spring Back went down as a heavy odds-on favourite in race 10. The three-year-old Gemologist gelding began his career so impressively last year but today couldn’t overcome 100/1 shot Super Socks who struck the front late and ran on to win by a length for Italian trainer Luigi Riccardi.

In the concluding feature at Seoul, another favourite was beaten as Panorama Show, a very solid winner last time out, had a poor day at the office. It was, however, slightly less of a shock than Spring Back’s reverse as the very good Gangtoma came on strong late to register victory. For the four-year-old Testa Matta gelding, it was a seventh win in thirteen career starts and his first at class 1.


Racing returns to Korea next weekend when the first Listed race of the year will be run. The Segye Ilbo Cup over 1200M will take place at Seoul on Sunday.


Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 20)

Sunday sees a big day of racing at both Seoul (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and Busan (6 races from 12:40 to 17:05). Today, who ran so well for 3rd in the Grand Prix Stakes in December, headlines Busan’s feature, while Spring Back and Panorama Show are both in action at Seoul.


Today, seen here at the Korea Sprint – he’s since transformed into a stayer (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Today was thought of as a sprinter until that Grand Prix Stakes when over 2300M, he still looked like winning with just a furlong to go. He ultimately finished 3rd but it seems as though his immediate future lies at racing around two-turns. He headlines Busan’s Sunday Class 1 feature over 2000M but he is going to have to defy an impost of 60kg if he is to see off a very good looking field, that also includes Grand Prix 5th place-getter Great King (who Today is giving 4kg to) and Today’s own stablemate Baengmunbaekdap (who gets 8kg).

At Seoul, Spring Back gets the chance to rekindle his early precocious form in race 10 while Panorama Show looks to make it six wins from nine starts in the class 1 finale. Here are the Seoul notes while Busan selections are below:

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

Three-year-old maidens to kick things off with and nine of the twelve have prior racing experience. Among them, (1) SANGGAM CHEONGJA ran 4th on debut in a decent time a month ago and from gate 1 can get away well with chances of going all the way. (3) BORN ANGEL and (12) CHAMP K have both raced three times and both have shown steady improvement to the point that a win would come as no great surprise, with Born Angel perhaps the more likely here. (8) SPEED BELLE did nothing wrong on debut either and can go close. For the pick though, we turn to a first-time starter. (2) CHOIN BOLT was all set to be well-backed on a scheduled debut last November but was found to be lame. He’s fit now and won a trial for the second time at the start of this month. Moon Se Young is aboard and there’s plenty to like.

Selections (2) Choin Bolt (1) Sanggam Cheongja (3) Born Angel (8) Speed Belle
Next Best 12, 9
Fast Start 1, 8, 12

Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A maiden winner at this distance in November, (6) SATO ROYAL came out on the wrong end of a three-way photo-finish for 2nd place on her first try at this level on December 22nd. She’s well drawn to get on pace early today and if she runs to her best, the only photograph that will be required is the win picture. (12) KKEULEOJUNEUN SON stubbornly remains a maiden after fourteen attempts but is by no means a bad horse. She ran well for 3rd place over 1000M in early December looks ready to come back up to this trip today. (3) MAMKKEOT DALYEO was a winner over 1700M in November before running poorly at the same distance a month later. He’s inconsistent but capable. (4) AQUA STROM is up in class having come from behind to win over this distance on December 16th. He’s two starts into a comeback following five months out and looks to have more progress in him (2) BLESSING ROAD is getting to grips with this level and is another who can challenge for the places.

Selections (6) Sato Royal (12) Kkeuleojuneun Son (4) Aqua Strom (2) Blessing Road
Next Best 3, 10
Fast Start 2, 6, 11

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

(1) JILPUNGGACHI was an eye-catching five-length winner over this distance on just his second start a month ago. He is up in class here and will need to improve in what is testing company here, but he can step up and can win, almost certainly trying to make all. (2) TRI THUNDER was a winner on debut in September and has followed up with a 5th and a 3rd in two subsequent outings at this level. A strong finisher, he has claims here. As does (5) BACK TO BACK who is down in trop today having beaten four of these over 1300M last month. He was 2nd the last time he ran at this distance and can aim to at least match that today. (7) WINT SEVEN was one of those behind Back To Back last time and he should be better back down in trip here. (11) FINAL STORM perhaps best of the rest.

Selections (1) Jilpunggachi (7) Wint Seven (2) Tri Thunder (5) Back To Back
Next Best 11, 9
Fast Start 1, 3, 7, 10

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

(1) PRO HAMSEONG was the winner of a fast race at class and distance on what was just his second outing on December 16th. He made all and while he carries more weight today, should be repeating. Carrying the same amount of weight today and entering with almost identical form from two starts is (3) UNCLE OH. He was slightly less impressive when scoring his maiden win last time but did the job well enough an is the primary danger. (4) TOP BRAIN struggled on his first start after being gelded in early December, weakening badly late on to the extent he was sent back to trial He looked very good in that trial and can go much better today. (2) CUPID GUY and (8) MAGIC ROAD are others in the placing hunt.

Selections (1) Pro Hamseong (3) Uncle Oh (4) Top Brain (8) Magic Road
Next Best 2
Fast Start 1, 4

Race 5: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens here with eight of the twelve having raced before. Of those, (3) SOMETHING NOBODYNO ran well for 2nd place on debut on December 15th and with a similar performance today, will be the one to beat. (9) DAECHEON VOW also came home as runner-up on her first start a day later and while she perhaps has more to find, can be a danger. (2) STORM FORCE has raced twice, registering 4th and 3rd place finishes, both at this distance and she can continue her solid start here. (12) BLADE STORM has also proved competent over two starts so far and is another who can place. Of the debut-makers, (10) GEUMA SUPREME “won” the slowest trial imaginable in December and could spring a surprise.

Selections (3) Something Nobodyno (9) Daecheon Vow (2) Storm Force (12) Blade Storm
Next Best 10, 5
Fast Start 3, 9, 12

Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) WONDERFUL DIXIE made all to score by four-lengths at this distance on his third career start on December 22nd. He’s up in class here but can get on top early and could well win again. (4) CHEONROK was the one who got closest to him that day and in recording his second runner-up finish, also finds himself up in class. There’s nothing to be too afraid of here and he should be competitive. (9) SA SA ran 4th on her first try at (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 19

There are 13 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00:

(단신2) 출발 참관 프로그램 (2)

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

Three-year-old maidens to kick things off with precisely half the field having raced before. Of those experienced ones, two have shown ability. (11) DIA PARK has finished 3rd in both of two starts, having raced prominently each time while (9) RAON PATRICK was much improved when 5th on his second attempt in December. Both will be contenders here. Among the debut-makers, (1) BEST STAR looked very good in trials two weeks ago, making all to win his heat. An unfashionable jockey booing may put some off but if he brings that trial form to the races, he’ll probably win. (8) ROYAL GHOST and (10) SUHO also showed promise in trials and can go well first-up.

Selections (1) Best Star (9) Raon Patrick (11) Dia Park (8) Royal Ghost
Next Best 10, 3
Fast Start 4, 9, 11

Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(2) CRAZY WIKI has been getting closer across five outings to date, running a very solid 4th on his latest outing on December 15th, He isn’t the quickest of starters, but if he can work his way into a good position from a nice draw, this could be his day. (1) TRIPLE KHAN is the main danger. He has a best of 3rd from three starts so far, all at this distance. He’s shown decent speed and if he gets to the front early, will be hard to get past. (5) HEUNGBOK DREAM already has a win to his name, scoring over 1200M last October. He hard a hard time in tricky company on re-appearance but this should suit nicely, and he can challenge Triple Khan for the early lead. There are a couple of debut-makers. (4) SOULY MAJESTIC showed a good turn of foot in trials and can be backed first-up.

Selections (2) Crazy Wiki (5) Heungbok Dream (1) Triple Khan (4) Souly Majestic
Next Best 9, 8
Fast Start 1, 5, 8

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

A full field of twelve maidens with just one debut-maker. But that’s the one we need to deal with first because (7) ACHIEVE put in one of the most eye-catching trials of last month, cruising home eleven-lengths ahead of the rest of his heat. Moon Se Young partners him for his debut today and with punters having let the former champion jockey win on a first-time starter at longs odds last week, he’s likely to be very well backed here. (5) WHITE FLOWER is probably the best of those with experience. She ran a good 2nd at this distance on November and was a useful 4th last time out. She comes in after seven weeks out and should go close. (6) MONEY SHARP has also not been too far away in recent starts and looks good for at least a place while (10) HAE WANG improved considerably on his latest outing and steps up in trip for the first time. (3) GWANGPOK JUHAENG is best of the rest.

Selections (7) Achieve (5) White Flower (10) Hae Wang (6) Money Sharp
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 3, 7, 9, 10

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

Three-year-old maiden fillies only here. (7) BLACK PARTY raced very keenly on debut in December which did her no favours at all, but she still finished in 5th place. She’s clearly got ability and with improved manners today, she can win. (3) SAENAE VICTORY improved last time out, registering a good 3rd place. She’s not the fastest of starters but can finish strongly. (5) REIGN races for the first time since a 2nd place back in November. That wasn’t the strongest of races, but it was at this distance and she can challenge for at least the places again. (1) IRON HEART has made progress across his three efforts to date and can continue here. (8) COMPLETE MOTION did nothing wrong when 4th on debut and is another in the money hunt.

Selections (7) Black Party (3) Saenae Victory (5) Reign (1) Iron Heart
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 2, 4, 8, 11

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Four of these raced each other at this distance on December 16th. (9) A ONE HAMMER was favourite that day and led for much of the way around, just weakening in the final furlong and allowing two to come by. One of those was (7) CHA MARU, who finished 2nd, a length ahead. Both will be in contention here and we’ll go for A One Hammer to overturn that form. (4) KING N I ran 5th in that race and can aim to match or better that here but a stronger challenge may come from one who didn’t go that day. That’s (6) BINNANEUN RUBY, who enters off the back of a good 4th place finish in a stiff filly only contest at this distance a month ago. She’s still a maiden after fourteen starts but seems to be figuring things out. (2) FOR J.K looks best of the rest.

Selections (9) A One Hammer (6) Binnaneun Ruby (7) Cha Maru (4) King N I
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 5, 7, 8

Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Fillies and mares only. (3) DONGBANG JIJU took a couple of races to get to grips with this level but has a 4th and a 3rd from her latest two and steps up to two-turns for the first time with every chance it may suit. She’s likely to be on pace from the start and can go all the way. It’s a really competitive race though. (4) DAESEONG RUBY’s recent work has all been over 1000M so it’s a big step up for her today. Jockey booking is positive though and she will be backed. (7) CHEONGCHUN YEOLCHA and (8) SONGAM GONGJU both have experience at this distance, and both have performed well at it. That’s true too for (2) GEOBOOGI MANSE, who races for the first time since running 3rd over this distance in November and who is another one who should be considered here.

Selections (3) Dongbang Jiju (4) Daeseong Ruby (8) Songam Gongju (7) Cheongchun Yeolcha
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start 1, 3, 4

Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Strong race. (7) DAEGUN ILGAL stepped up to this distance on December 15th to record his second runner-up finish in four career starts. He ran on nicely behind a good winner and could well go one better today. (5) EMORY SOCKS was 3rd in that race, just half a length back and also finishing strongly. She’s carrying a very light weight here and can go close again. (6) GEUMSEOK DOLPA is likely to be a big danger. A winner over 1300M in November, he’s up to this trip for the first time and his running style suggests it will suit. (3) HANYANG GONGJU comes in following a 2nd and a 4th in her latest two, both at class and distance and she’ll be close again. (8) FINE HEART and (9) LONG HITTER others to take into consideration.

Selections (6) Geumseok Dolpa (7) Daegun Ilgal (3) Hanyang Gongju (5) Emory Socks
Next Best 8, 9, 1
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 8

Race 8: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(10) GYORYONG UNU hasn’t had the best of luck over his five starts to date but when he has been good, he has been very very good, and he made all to win by fourteen lengths at this distance on December 9th. He’s up in class today but if he gets a clean run, he should win again. There are a couple of good rivals here though. (3) ACE SOLONGO has won his latest two, both over 1300M and both by five-lengths and he will be a big danger as will the similarly in-form (12) MIREU STORM, who has won three in a row dating back to last August. It would be a surprise if the three of them don’t complete the trifecta but (1) GULCHARMNAMUSUP and (7) GEUMA THUNDER could slip into the placings as well.

Selections (10) Gyoryong Unu (3) Ace Solongo (12) Mireu Storm (1) Gulcharmnamusup
Next Best 7, 6
Fast Start 1, 3, 10, 12

Race 9: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

After showing poor manners when 4th in November and then having a hard day at the office when drawn wide in tough company in December, this should be a much better day for (4) FIGHTING HERO. From gate 4 he should be on pace early and can go all the way. (10) THE FINAL closed out 2018 with a solid 4th place in a similar test to this on December 16th and should be looking to better that here. (8) RAON KEVIN is up in class having won comfortably over 1000M on December 2nd. That wasn’t a strong race, and this is his first time over 1300M, but he should cope. (3) MASYA, starting for the first time since running 3rd at class and distance in October, and (5) HANIL MAGIC, look best of the rest.

Selections (4) Fighting Hero (10) The Final (8) Raon Kevin (3) Masya
Next Best 5, 11
Fast Start 4, 8, 11

Race 10: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(2) BENEDICT enters off the back of a win and a 2nd place from his last two starts, with the runner-up finish coming at class and distance on December 23rd. He’s giving plenty of weight away here but is very much the one to beat. Main danger is (1) FIGHTING LANGFUHR, who remains a maiden but has shown plenty of ability and was 2nd in a very fast race over 1000M in November. He ran well for 5th on his first try at this distance last time and should be a big factor here. Speaking of factors, (9) KEY FACTOR is still seeking a maiden victory but managed his best finish to date when 3rd over this distance last month and can build on that today.  (8) SUPER TRICK and (11) DONGBANG JIJON are others who could go close.

Selections (2) Benedict (1) Fighting Langfuhr (9) Key Factor (8) Super Trick
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 2, 7, 9

Race 11: Class 3 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

Fillies and mares only. (8) BEST YEJI beat (1) BLUE MA STAR by a length hen the pair finished 2nd and 4th over 1700M on December 23rd. Back down at 1300M today, that form is likely to be overturned and Blue Ma Star could well win. She’ll come from the back as will the two other main hopes here, (5) TO GO WIN and (7) LOVE IT. Both enter in solid recent form and despite both being maidens, it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of them was to shed that tag here. (11) WOMAN VOLT beat three of these on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on December 8th and should be in the placing hunt here. (6) GAON QUEEN ran poorly that day but can be given another chance.

Selections (1) Blue Ma Star (5) To Go Win (7) Love It (11) Woman Volt
Next Best 6, 12
Fast Start 4, 6, 9, 10

Race 12: Class 2 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

(11) LION ROCK ran well across three starts between September and December last year (despite being well back in the President’s Cup behind brother older Triple Nine. He ran 3rd in a good race over 1800M on December 1st and up at 2000M today, can return to the winner’s circle for the first time since last April. (2) JISANGMYEONGRYEONG and (8) WONDERFUL JACKPOT are both up in class having both registered back to back victories in their latest two outings. Both stretch out to 2000M for the first time as well with Wonderful Jackpot the one most likely to push the favourite close. (6) HWANGGEUM BISANG and (9) TIZ PLAN are two others who could cause an upset.

Selections (11) Lion Rock (8) Wonderful Jackpot (9) Tiz Plan (8) Jisangmyeongryeong
Next Best 6, 10
Fast Start 1, 10

Race 13: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) GUREUM WANGJA had a tough time when trying this class for the first time last month bringing to an end a four-race win streak. He got caught in kickback and lost plenty f ground late on. He’s better than that though and is worth another chance today. (2) PHILLANIKE and (12) GLOBAL NEWS came home 2nd and 3rd when they raced each other at class and distance at the beginning of December. The former came back out and ran creditably enough in a stiff race just before Christmas and both can go close today. (1) MONEY CAMP has proven competitive at this level and has solid placing chances while (4) RAON ROCKY is up in class after a good win last time and shouldn’t be out of his depth.

Selections (7) Gureum Wangja (2) Phillanike (1) Money Camp (12) Global News
Next Best 4, 6
Fast Start 1, 10


Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 18)

It’s Friday! It’s Busan! There are 11 races on the South-Coast from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:


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

A filly maiden to begin with and having run well for 3rd on debut in October at this distance, (9) SILLAUI MISO was long odds-on favourite when stepped up to 1300M a month later. She led early but weakened to 4th in the final furlong. Back down in trip today, she should go close. (4) B.K. SOUND improved to 2nd place on what was her second outing on December 14th. She too will be looking for a fast start and is the main danger and likely favourite. The solitary four-year-old in the race, (12) SWEET PARK returned from ten months out to run a good 2nd place at this distance three weeks ago and she can aim to at least match here. (5) BROWN PIE and first-time starter (11) ECTON SMILE, a stablemate of B.K. Sound, are others who can compete for at least places.

Selections (9) Sillaui Miso (4) B.K. Sound (12) Sweet Park (5) Brown Pie
Next Best 11, 8
Fast Start 1, 4, 9, 12

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

More maidens, three-year-olds only this time. (5) THUNDER RAIN has improved across three starts so far and while he came up slightly short when favourite on December 14th, he ran well enough to suggest that a win isn’t far away and really, it should be here. (3) GOLDEN SHARP has three 5th places finishes, and a 6th from four outings so far. He’ll be expected to join the favourite in contesting the early lead and at a minimum should be getting his best placing to date here. (8) DAEHO JILJU and (9) SILVER BEST have both hinted at some ability across a pair of starts each and are in the placing frame.

Selections (5) Thunder Rain (3) Golden Sharp (8) Daeho Jilju (9) Silver Best
Next Best  6, 4
Fast Start 3, 5

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

Maidens here with just four of the nine having raced before. (1) MERCI CHERIE debuted over 1300M finishing 3rd having raced prominently throughout. Down to the minimum trip today, he only needs a bit of improvement to be right in the mix here. He’ll need to beat (5) LUCKY NUMBER ONE. Kim Young Kwan’s filly led for much of the way around 1300M last time only to finish 3rd. That was her best to date and it would be a surprise if she doesn’t better that here. Among the first-time starters, (6) PAGEUKCHEON won a trial in late December and should go well first-up. (2) HOLIDAY PARIS and (3) FINAL RULES also went well in their respective heats. As ever with races like this, keep an eye on the market.

Selections (6) Pageukcheon (1) Merci Cherie (5) Lucky Number One (3) Final Rules
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 3, 5, 6

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

(6) MR. COLORS returned from five months off to run a solid 3rd place over this distance on December 30th. That was an uptick in form, and he could well keep it going here. He’ll be on pace along with main rival (10) GREAT WIN. He ran 3rd on debut a month ago over 1000M and should have come on for the run. (7) CHOEGANG CLEAR ran well for 4th at this distance last time and should be aiming to at least repeat while the experienced (3) SERENDIPITER may still be a maiden after twenty-four attempts but his recent form reads well and he’s likely to be there or thereabouts. (4) HURRICANE BAY returns for the first time since last September and a trial victory a month ago gives cause for optimism about possible improvement.

Selections (6) Mr. Colors (10) Great Win (7) Choegang Clear (4) Hurricane Bay
Next Best 3, 9
Fast Start 4, 5, 6, 10

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

(9) DOCTOR WEEK has come close in his latest two outings, both of which were arguably in tougher company than this. He has a 2nd place at the distance and is likely to be ridden forward here. He should win. (11) YEONGSEONGFIGHTING ran well on debut and while he was beaten a full ten-lengths into 2nd place by promising filly Nakita, he beat a couple of the others who go here and ran through the line in a manner that suggests he will appreciate the additional distance today. (1) ACE BOOM was 4th in that race on what was (more…)

Richard Oliver Set For Busan Debut Friday

There’s a new face in the overseas jockey ranks in Korea as Great Britain’s Richard Oliver prepares to embark on an initial four-month license at Busan Racecourse this weekend.


Not that there’s been much time for acclimatization for Oliver, who showed up at the racecourse fresh off the plane on Wednesday – coincidentally declarations day – and left having been booked for two rides, one each on Friday and Sunday. “They were a last-minute pick-up, I was there for my orientation. I wasn’t initially planning to ride this week!”.

Last minute or not, the twenty-seven-year-old Oliver has landed on his feet, as he gets the leg-up on talented filly Core Blade for trainer Kang Eun-Seok in Friday’s class 2 finale. Core Blade has won four of ten starts so far and while up in class and back in trip, will be among the favourites in the seven-furlong test. It’s a whirlwind start but for the 27-year-old, the journey to Korea has been some years in the making.

“I found out about Korea when I was an apprentice riding in California in 2016, (and read a news article) naming it as an up and coming ‘racing superpower’ and it kind of stuck in my head.” A native of Great Britain, Oliver chose to go to the USA to complete his apprenticeship and make his breakthrough as a jockey and has subsequently ridden winners in France, Germany, Bahrain and Mauritius, as well as back at home.

The chance to come to Korea and get a foothold in Asia was always at the back of his mind though. “I heard more and more about it but wasn’t at a stage in my career where I’d proven qualified to come here until now, so I applied and waited.”

During the wait, Oliver has built a successful career and comes in having experienced a standout 2018 during which he won feature races in both France and the UAE. However, the jockey rates his recent stint in Mauritius as his favourite memory to date: “I think my best day came on my first day riding in Mauritius where I had a treble. This was particularly satisfying as I was competing in a highly competitive environment with leading riders from South Africa, Australia and the USA”.

It will be competitive too at Busan and Oliver, who can ride at 52kg, joins Franco Da Silva and Francois Herholdt, who make up the small overseas contingent at the track. He’s set himself ambitious but achievable targets. “I want to maintain a respectable strike-rate throughout my time here, ride as many winners as possible and would like to hold a spot among the top five riders”.

Richard Oliver’s Korean debut will come in the very last race of Friday’s 11-race card at Busan which runs from 11:30 to 18:00 local Korea time. He’ll get a further taste of the Busan track on Sunday afternoon when he partners New Jack Swing in race 2.

Ecton Park Dethrones Menifee As Leading Sire In Korea

After six years of dominance, Menifee’s reign at the top of the Leading Sire in Korea list is over as Ecton Park wrested away his crown in 2018. Buoyed by the late season form of Triple Nine, the Isidore Farm stallion ended the year almost a Billion won in front of his KRA Stud Farm rival. 

leading general sire 2018

See the full list:

Menifee finished in 2nd place and had the most individual winners at 56. Officer was in 3rd place ahead of Peace Rules and the late Sharp Humor. Hansen roared into the top 10 for the first time in 7th place and took the honours for most wins (72). Pegasus Stables’  Thunder Moccasin, with just two crops on the track, was the break-out star, finishing the year in tenth place on the list.

Another notable performance came from Nokwon Farm’s Testa Matta in 15th who like Thunder Moccasin, only debuted in 2017 and whose Chief-Earner was Korean Derby runner-up, Mask.

Five imported stallions had their first Korean crops make the track and Any Given Saturday took the Leading First Crop Sire title although with only a small number of runners, the performance of Japanese import Federalist was noteworthy.


As a racehorse, Ecton Park [Forty Niner – Daring Danzig (Danzig)] ran 12th in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, which was won by Charismatic. A certain Menifee was 2nd. That same year he went on to win the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga abd the G1 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs among a total of eleven top three finishes in Graded Stakes company.

Ecton Park  was imported to Korea in 2009. Even before his first Korean crop hit the ground, he had made an impact on Korean racing with his 2007 foal Mister Park, who was imported in-utero, scoring a record-breaking seventeen consecutive race victories between 2009 and 2011.  Even prior to that Summit Party (now a successful broodmare herself) had won five of eleven starts including the JRA Trophy and Segye Ilbo Cup, while another filly Miss Ecton, won the Busan Ilbo Cup in 2008.

He has been standing privately at Isidore Farm since arriving and has gradually become established – no easy thing to do when competing for mares with the KRA stallions. He finished 2nd in the Leading Sire race in 2015 and 2017 and 3rd in 2016. While Triple Nine has been his biggest earner, he also sired the precociously talented Indie Band, who won both President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes aged 3 in 2013 but had his career cut short six months later through injury.

In terms of the future, Ecton Park, who like Menifee is now 23, had relatively small books of 23 and 37 in 2017 and 2018, compared with Hansen at 92 and 96 across the same period and Thunder Moccasin 53 and 83. In 2020, the first Korean progeny of Colonel John, who covered 133 mares in 2017 and 108 last year, will hit the track. There will be new names at the top soon (although after a few years of slowing down, Menifee went back up to 132 in 2018).

As ever, there were losses in 2018. In the long term, Bob And John was intended to take over the mantle as Isidore Farm’s flagship sire but sadly he succombed to laminitis in December. Captain Coltish, Delago Brom and Cielo Gold were among other stallions who passed away in Korea in 2018.

Buhwarui Banseok To Make Carnival Debut Thursday

The Dubai World Cup Carnival 2019 continues and this Thursday it’s the turn of Buhwarui Banseok to take his chance. The Bart Rice trained 6-year-old runs in race 5, a handicap over 2000M on the Meydan turf.


There are a total of eleven runners with Godolphin providing no fewer than six of them but Buhwarui Banseok looks to have landed in a good spot compared with Ace Korea and Dolkong who faced group opposition on their respective debuts earlier this month. He is the only one in the field to be racing on turf for the first time but that may suit in the same way that it did another Korea-trained runner, Diferent Dimension, two years ago.

How he takes to the surface and the likely unfamiliar race pace will be crucial but Buhwarui Banseok has proven himself competitive amongst the best company in Korea. He will have South African jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe aboard and has drawn the outside gate 11.


Trainer Bart Rice sporting a fine jacket at Meydan (Pic: KRA)

In addition to the Godolphin half-dozen, US trainer Kenny McPeek’s Harlan Strong makes his Carnival debut as does Ed Dunlop’s Dark Red. Aside from the UAE-based runners Earnshaw, Jaaref and Big Challenge, there’s not a lot of recent form to go on. Buhwarui Banseok’s latest outing was in the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December when he finished 13th of 16 over 2300M but he was a very good winner of a stiff 1800M handicap at Busan in October. The wide draw shouldn’t affect him too much as he doesn’t need to lead and he generally runs on well. In total, the American bred horse, who is by Tizway, has won eight of his twenty-eight starts.

It’s a first Carnival runner for trainer Bart Rice who has been based at Busan since the end of 2013. Rice has saddled 150 Korean winners with a win strike rate of 13.4% and 36% of his runners finishing in the top three.

The race will come under orders at 8:50pm local UAE time on Thursday which is 1:50am on Friday morning in Korea.