Day: January 12, 2023

Haengbok Wangja & King Of The Match set for Dubai Debuts on Friday

Two Korea-trained horses are set to make their Dubai World Cup Carnival debuts this week with both Haengbok Wangja and King Of The Match among eleven declared for the inaugural Thunder Snow Challenge over 2000M on the dirt at Meydan on Friday.

Now six-years-old, HAENGBOK WANGJA (USA) [Daredevil – First Installment (Broken Vow)] is a winner of eight of twenty-two career starts and won the Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1) in 2021. With the emergence of Winner’s Man and Raon The Fighter, he didn’t go on to have the dominant 2022 that some predicted, instead going winless in six starts but managed 5th in the Korea Cup (1800M I-G3) and 4th in the KRA Cup Classic (2000M KOR-G2).

Purchased by the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association for $30,000 at the 2019 Ocala Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds, Haengbok Wangja is a half-brother to US-based Group 3 placed Bourbon Cowboy (by Cowboy Cal). He is owned by Lee Bang-hoon, who has been an owner since 2006 and has had 38 winners in that time. Haengbok Wangja’s Grand Prix was his first Group winner.

Haengbok Wangja is trained by Park Youn-gu. Training since 2004 he has sent out 337 winners from 4,280 starters. He won his first Group race with Joy Lucky in the 2013 G3 Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup with the same filly following up in the G3 SROA Chairman’s Trophy a year later. He won the G3 Jeju Governor’s Cup with Lead Money in 2018 before Haengbok Wangja became his first G1 winner.

KING OF THE MATCH (USA) [Cairo Prince – Fought The Fight (War Front)] is a five-year-old who has win five of fifteen races at distances up to 1800M. Although he is yet to win over 2000M, he did run 2nd to Raon The Fighter in the KRA Cup Classic (2000M KOR-G2) in October and also managed 4th in the Korea Cup, both times finishing ahead of Haengbok Wangja.

Owners D R M City have 24 winners from 97 starters. Their first group winner arrived last month when juvenile Speed Young won the Breeders’ Cup (1400M KOR-G2) at Busan.

King Of The Match’s trainer Kim Young-kwan is no stranger to the Dubai Carnival, having brought several to Meydan in the past, including Main Stay, a winner in 2017. Licensed since 2004 Kim has more winners than any other trainer in Korean history with 1406 from 6331 starters. He is a twelve-time Champion Trainer at Busan and hassaddled more Group winners than any other trainer in Korea.

Both Haengbok Wangja and King Of The Match will need to be forgiven their respective latest outings in the Grand Prix Stakes on December 11th when both were well down the field. For King Of The Match the distance was perhaps too far while Haengbok Wangja was out of sorts. Reports on the ground suggest that both have acclimatized to Meydan well. Dane O’Neill will ride Haengbok Wangja while Tadgh O’Shea, the ten-time UAE Champion jockey, is aboard King Of The Match.

The race is race 6 on the 7-race Friday night Carnival program at Meydan with a post time in Korea of 1:55am Saturday morning.

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

The weekend’s racing gets underway at Busan on Friday with 10-races from 11:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens with six of the twelve racing for the very first time. After a promising trial, (7) STAR FURY debuted over this distance on December 11th and having settled midfield, worked home well for 2nd place. He was well beaten by a good winner but should have derived benefit from the experience and he looks the one to beat here. (5) MORNING FLOW made his first appearance over 1000M on December 9th and was on pace throughout ultimately coming home in 3rd. He should have come on for that and with some natural improvement can be in the mix here. Among the first timers, (10) ROCK POWER is the standout. He won a December trial in a good time when running on pace and he can put in a bold showing first up here. (4) U PING and (6) HAERANG JANGGUN among others in the frame.

Selections(7) Star Fury (5) Morning Flow (10) Rock Power (4) U Ping
Next Best6, 2
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 10

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

After an inauspicious debut in November, (4) BLACK VOLT returned on December 9th and put in a much better run for 2nd over 1000M when midfield and then handy. The additional trip shouldn’t be an issue and he can go one better today. (2) DAHAMKKEDALLIJA debuted in that December 9th race and after a shaky start veritably flew home for 3rd behind Black Volt. He should be better for that run, the extra 300M should suit and plenty will back him to overturn the form on Black Volt. (10) JEOLDAE BOSS has a 3rd and a 4th from his latest two, the latter in a good time over 1200M. He is done no favours by the draw but can be a danger here. (5) UNMATCHED has run 5th in both starts so far, settling back and running on and should be aiming to better that here. Solitary debut-maker (9) THEIA has been through several trials, posting fair times, and this isn’t intimidating company to debut in.

Selections(4) Black Volt (2) Dahamkkedallija (10) Jeoldae Boss (5) Unmatched
Next Best9, 1
Fast Start8, 10, 11, 12

Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Tricky race. (4) GOODY will probably be favourite based on the 3rd and 2nd place finishes he has secured at 1200M. Last time out he drew wide and didn’t feature until late on but he comes into a better gate today and there isn’t much in the way of early speed so he may get an easier run. He has as much chance as any. (3) PLAY THE INDY was a much-improved 2nd last time when second-up following eight months out. He should be on pace here and may be peaking fitness wise. (7) TOP FRIEND has shown steady progress across the outings so far. He has gone well back on each occasion before running on and the slight step up in trip may be in his favour. (5) JEONGMUN CHITA and (6) SPECIAL JOHN among others in at least the placing hunt.

Selections(4) Goody (3) Play The Indy (7) Top Friend (5) Jeongmun Chita
Next Best6, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 4

Busan Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(2) ARTHUR KING IJI was a beaten favourite over 1400M on December 16th when on pace and leading for much of the way. He comes up further in trip today and from a good draw should be on pace or handy and he is very much worth another chance. (10) DALLILLAEYO has improved across three starts so far and has finished off his races very well. He looks like he needs a but of distance and the step up to the mile can suit. That could be the case too for (11) YEOSU TORNADO. He is yet to finish better than 4th in eleven appearances but he has shown signs recently of figuring things out and can be challenging  late here. (8) HAMAN BAEKISAN enters off a runner-up finish over this distance on December 9th and with the same apprentice jockey keeping the weight down, can go close again. (1) INDIE BULPAE is the wildcard, returning to action more than six months after his sole race start.

Selections(2) Arthur King Iji (10) Dallillaeyo (11) Yeosu Tornado (8) Haman Baekisan
Next Best1, 12
Fast Start2, 4, 10, 12

Busan Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(8) YEONGGWANGUI ACE ran out a gate to wire winner over this distance at what for him was start number two on December 4th. He comes up in class today but the Hansen colt looks to have plenty of scope for more improvement and he will be the one to beat. (1) NICE DAY almost went all the way over 1300M at this class on December 11th, ultimately being passed in the closing stages for a narrow loss. He’s back in trip today to the distance at which he picked up his only win so far and from a good draw he should be on pace and can be in this a long way. (3) TAP STAR races for the first time since last July but he looked well when making all in a trial on Christmas Eve and if he can bring that form to the races, he can be competitive in this company. (7) HANGANG SAVER and the up in class (10) HANEUL SEUNGNI are among plenty of others who can enter the calculations.

(more…)