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Apprentice Kim Tae-hui In Top Form In Seoul

Who is the leading jockey at Seoul Racecourse since the start of June? Moon Se-young or Kim Yong-geun perhaps? Or maybe former champion Antonio Da Silva or the legendary Alan Munro? It’s none of them. Instead, it is second-year apprentice Kim Tae-hui, who has partnered seven winners in the timeframe, one ahead of veteran Jang Chu-youl with perennial champion Moon one further back following his four winners at the weekend.

Apprentice Kim Tae-hui has 7 winners since the start of June (Pic Ross Holburt/KRA)

True, there are some unusual circumstances. The plethora of Graded races in June meant weekends away in Busan for some of the leading jockeys, including Moon Se-young, who also saw a suspension lead to him only taking eleven rides in the capital all month.

Nevertheless, it is a remarkable achievement by apprentice Kim, especially given that she missed four months of the season through injuries sustained in a bad race fall in January. Having only debuted in July of last year, that means she only has approximately eight months of race riding experience and has still only had 172 race rides.

Although all jockeys, including apprentices, went freelance at the start of 2022, Kim Tae-hui has continued to benefit from support from Song Moon-gil, who has a strong arsenal at his disposal. However, it isn’t a simple matter of getting horses with a chance and Kim is making sure she converts these opportunities into the best possible placing more often than not. Since her debut, her overall win rate is 10% with a 20% quinella and 27% place rate.

Kim’s ability to ride a sound tactical race was on display on Saturday with her win on Smart Jeonsa in race 6, which she made look very simple indeed:

Kim Tae-hui isn’t the only youngster making an impression at Seoul. Lim Da-bin, a year ahead of her, has already ridden out his apprentice claim, while Kim A-hyun, also a 2020 starter is making good progress too, shedding 2kg from claim. She too is generally making the most of opportunities when they arise, as shown on her confident ride to win on favourite Tap Quality in race 7 on Sunday. Both Lim and Kim A-hyun are also in the top-ten for the period since June 1st.

Two new apprentices, Lee Sang-gyu and O Su-cheol have been licensed as of the start of this month and are expected to make their racing debuts soon.

Summer Race Schedule To Begin July 1st – 9pm Finishes Friday & Saturday

Racing will switch to its summer schedule from this coming weekend, Friday July 1st, running until the the weekend that ends on Sunday August 28th. During July and August, racing on Fridays and Saturdays will have a mid-afternoon start with the final race at 9pm. The Sunday schedule will remain unaffected.

Evening racing is to return after a two year hiatus

Typical schedules will be as follows:

FRIDAY

Busan Racecourse: 7 races from 15:35 to 21:00

Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 14:10 to 20:00

SATURDAY

Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 14:50 to 21:00

Jeju Racecourse: 6 races from 14:00 to 17:45

SUNDAY

Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:45 to 18:00

Busan Racecourse: 7 races from 11:35 to 17:05

There will be free entry to all racecourses on the weekend of Friday July 1st to Sunday July 3rd.

Nominations Open For Overseas-Trained Horses for Korea Cup and Korea Sprint 2022 (Sunday September 4)

Preliminary nominations for overseas horses are open for the the Korea Cup and Korea Sprint, which return to the calendar for the first time since 2019 and will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 4th.

Both the Cup (1800M) and the Sprint (1200M) have a prize fund of KRW 1 Billion (about US$800,000 at current exchange rates). As the race is invitational, all shipping fees are covered for invited horses as well as travel and accommodation for connections:

Minister’s Cup 2022 – Full Preview of the Final Leg of the Triple Crown

The Korean Triple Crown of 2022 reaches its climax on Sunday afternoon and while the Triple Crown itself isn’t on the line, champion three-year-old honours very much are as KRA Cup Mile winner Captain Yankee and Derby winner Winner Star are among a full sixteen-strong field in the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2).

Winner Star won the Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Captain Yankee was a 40/1 winner of the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile (1600M KOR-G3) at Busan on April 17th, launching a late run to thread through leaders Complete Value and Seungbusa to score. Winner Star was an impressive winner of the Derby (1800M KOR-G1) at Seoul on May 15th, swooping from a handy position and winning by two lengths from Seungbusa and Captain Yankee.

This time they have an additional furlong to contend with as well as a maximum field of sixteen. In addition to Winner Star and Captain Yankee, Seungbusa, with a 3rd and a 2nd from Cup Mile and Derby returns, as does Complete Value, last year’s champion juvenile, who was sent off as favourite for both races, finishing 2nd and 6th. A bold showing in the final leg can’t be ruled out from the son of Girolamo and he could end up being sent off as favourite again.

Wow Wow and Tiz Barows produced strong Derby performances and may appreciate the additional distance while among those who skipped one or both of the first two legs of the series, Beomi Naeyeo Onda and Burui Geom look perhaps the most likely to step up.

Beomi Naryeo Onda will be ridden by Franco Da Silva, one of four foreign jockeys to have rides in the race. Djordje Perovic will partner Winner Star, as he did in their Derby success, while Johan Victoire will be aboard Tiz Barows, and David Breux on Nubi Gangja.

The Minister’s Cup is race 8 on a 10-race program at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Here is the horse-by-horse:

1. FLYING THE CHAMP [Cowboy Cal – Thebignbadestbunny (Smart Strike)]

5(2/1/1) KRW 62,800,000

O: Kim Hyeong-sun T: An Woo-sung J: Park Jae-i

Class 5 winner over 1400M at Busan before stepping up to 1800M at class 4 and running 2nd to Burui Geom. Top jockey comes up from Busan to ride him and a money finish is possible.

2. TEN BAGGER [Cowboy Cal – Sugar Victory (Peace Rules)]

9(2/0/0) KRW 45,800,000

O: Kim Myung-sik T: Kang Sung-o J: Lim Da-bin

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Winner Star Lands Djordje Perovic Second Derby Win

Winner Star closed late to overhaul Seungbusa and win the 25th running of the Korean Derby (1800M KOR-G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, and in doing so, gave jockey Djordje Perovic his second win in the biggest of the three-year-old Classics.

Winner Star wins the Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Just as in the KRA Cup Mile, Complete Value was sent off as favourite, ahead of the first jewel’s winner Captain Yankee. As expected, Seungbusa set the pace, and the Sports Seoul Trophy winner was in it for a long way as Complete Value stalked handy and looking as though he was ready to make a move.

It never happened. In the home straight, Seungbusa pressed on, and while Complete Value’s challenge waned, Winner Star ran on down the outside of the field, striking the front in the final furlong, and went on to win by two-lengths.

Captain Yankee’s late charge saw him come home in 3rd while Tiz Barows was an excellent 4th. Another Triple Crown series newcomer Wow Wow was 5th ahead of Complete Value in 6th.

Winner Star sees off Seungbusa (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Winner Star was the only horse in the starting gate to have already won over the distance and after the race, winning jockey Djordje Perovic stressed the importance of that to in-house broadcaster, KRBC.

“His (Winner Star’s) previous experience at nine-furlongs was the key. The Derby was the target and so we prepared really well. We focused on the tactics for the race and where we needed to be in the final stage. It worked out perfectly.”

On a day where there were more racegoers in Seoul Racecourse than at any other time since before the pandemic, Perovic had a message for his fans: “I am so grateful for the support from racing fans here and I am very happy I can repay them by winning this race.”

Perovic went on to acknowledge the bumper Sunday crowd, who had taken advantage of the traditional free entry on Derby Day with the total attendance as big as for a Korea Cup. Perovic previously won the Derby on Save The World in 2020 at a pandemic-enforced deserted Seoul Racecourse. “I actually don’t think I have ever raced in front of so many people as were here today. It was brilliant.”

For Perovic himself, it was yet another milestone. The Serbian jockey nicknamed the “Balkan Wolf” last month overtook Ikuyasu Kurakane to become the most successful foreign jockey in terms of winners in Korean racing history. Winner Star was his 350th race win in the country. He now joins Park Tae-jong, Moon Se-young and Kim Yong-geun as the only riders to have won the Korean Derby more than once.

(Pic: KRA)

As Perovic noted in his interview, Winner Star was the (joint) most experienced runner in the race and the only one to have previously won at the distance, having already raced against older horses on plenty of occasions. That’s why the Derby was only his third win on his eleventh career start. Winner Star is by Concord Point and is out of Jangguneui Huye, who did her racing in Korea and is herself by Korean bred stallion Gaeseon Janggun (by Duality). He was bred by his owner Kang Hoon-pyo and is trained by Baik Kwang-yeol, who previously won the Derby in 2015 with Yeongcheon Ace.

Winner Star’s damsire, Gaeseon Janggun, won the Minister’s Cup in 2008. Winner Star will get a chance to emulate that as the final leg of the Triple Crown is the 2022 Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday June 12th.

ROAD TO KOREA SPRINT BEGINS SUNDAY WITH RAON THE FIGHTER SEEKING PERFECT ELEVEN

After a two-year enforced hiatus, the Korea International races are to return in September and the local contenders take their first step towards the first weekend in September as ten of the nation’s fastest gallopers line up for the Busan Ilbo Sprint (1200M – KORG3) on Sunday afternoon, the first leg of the three-race series that concludes with the International Korea Sprint.

The winner of the last Korea Sprint to be held in 2019, Blue Chipper, takes his place in the gate. But it is a sign of the strength of the race that the six-year-old, who went on to run 3rd in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita, won’t be in the top two of the betting, despite a bullet trial at the end of last month.

Instead, most eyes will be on Raon The Fighter, the brilliant Bayern four-year-old, who is yet to be tested in ten starts, all of which he has won effortlessly. He has usurped Eoma Eoma, who had the misfortune to emerge on the scene just as racing was closing down in early 2020 and he dominated when racing for the reduced prize money on offer in behind-closed-doors racing. He did though win last October’s SBS Sports Sprint and at five, still has plenty to offer.

East Jet is a Graded Stakes winner at sprint distances too and will be another at the head of the market, while along with Blue Chipper, the up-and-coming Yeongung Louis heads Busan’s challenge. Here is a run-down of the field.

1. EAST JET (KOR) [Strike Again – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)] – A Group winner, he began the year running 2nd to Raon First in the Segye Ilbo Cup, having led for much of the way around. He then stepped up to 1400M when he, alongside Eoma Eoma, had a testing day at the office.

The 1200M suits him better, he draws the inside gate and while a place chance might be realistic, he will be in this a long way.

2. EOMA EOMA (USA) [Algorithms – Lignite (Run Away And Hide) – A winner of ten including the SBS Sports Sprint. Disregard his last start on March 20th, when on a very wet track he uncharacteristically settled midfield and while he did make up ground in the straight, appeared to hang in a little and was well back behind the winner, Dixie Again. The time before, on January 9th, he ran 4th behind Raon The Fighter when giving away plenty of weight, and ahead of Dixie Again. He is nicely drawn today and at level weights, things might be closer

3. YEONGUNG LOUIS (USA) [Violence – Don’t Stop To Shop (Unbridled’s Song)] – an up and comer having won his last 2 starts, the last in Class 1. He is better known as a 1400m horse but has won over 1200m at lower levels At his last start on March 27th, which was at 1400M he was an excellent five-length winner over a field that contained, Doctor Carson and the former champion sprinter Doraonpogyeongseon, both of whom go again in the Busan Ilbo. If there is too much pace up front, Yeongung Louis may be the closer and while he is very much up in class, he could measure up.

4. RAON THE FIGHTER (KOR) [Bayern – Clarinda (Empire Maker)] – The current hottest property in Korean racing. He has been flawless in ten starts so far, winning them all and is now only seven short of equaling the all-time record for consecutive wins. He has run super times at this distance, eased down and at his latest start on February 20th, he overcame gate thirteen to ease to the front and win by eight lengths from one of today’s rivals, Dixie Again. The time before on January 9th, he comfortably beat a field containing Eoma Eoma and Dixie Again. He likes to race forward so and will be very hard to beat from a nice draw.

5. MIRACLE DREAMING (KOR) [Federalist – Miracle Worker (Menifee)] – Not a prolific winner but he has fifteen top-three finishes from twenty starts. Enters off a good 3rd place at this distance at class 1 level in February behind Daemangui Gil and Heat Yegam when on pace throughout. He has run solid times, but it is hard to see him being able to run the kind of time that would be needed to beat some of today’s rivals.

6. DORAONPOGYEONGSEON (USA) [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] – A two-time SBS Sports Sprint winner, the nine-year-old perhaps has his best days behind him but he is still able to run a good race, as evidenced by his 3rd place over 1400M at class 1 in January. He settles midfield or further back and runs home strong, but he will probably find himself with far too much to do against this kind of speed.

7. SINGSING MARY (USA) [With Distinction – Amylimehouse (Limehouse)] – The probable longest shot on the board and the only mare in the race. She is still at class 2 but there is space in the race, and she takes her chance here. It is a very slim chance. Does get a 2kg allowance on the rest of the field.

8. DIXIE AGAIN (KOR) [Ecton Park – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – A winner of eight from sixteen, he took a while to get to grips with class 1 level but ran (a distance) 2nd to Raon The Fighter at this distance in February, before upsetting Eoma Eoma and East Jet on a wet track over 1400M on March 20th. He was getting plenty of weight in those races and today will ne harder. Half-brother to multiple Korean Graded winners Beolmaui Kkum and Kkakjaengi.

9. DOCTOR CARSON (KOR) [Hansen – Carson’s Cat (Mountain Cat)] – He came to prominence in a series of wins over Blue Chipper when well weighted in handicaps throughout last spring and summer during the reduced prize-money racing season but has just come up a little short in the biggest races at level. At his last start, he was 4th behind Yeongung Louis at 1700M. He has run fast times for the distance and can be competitive but minor money would be a good result.

10. BLUE CHIPPER (USA) [Tiznow – Dixie City (Dixie Union)] – The 2019 Korea Sprint winner and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile 3rd placegetter has had his setbacks over the past couple of years but showed he remains a force on his day with victory at 2000M at class 1 level in January. He hasn’t raced since but stormed home in a trial on a wet track on March 26th. The draw is unkind, but the quality is there and at level weights, don’t rule out a good run.

Selections: (4) Raon The Fighter (2) Eoma Eoma (1) East Jet (3) Yeongung Louis

The Busan Ilbo Sprint is race 5 on the six-race card at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and has a post time of 15:55 local time.

Captain Yankee Swoops To Claim First Leg Of Triple Crown

40/1 chance Captain Yankee swooped late to cut down the favourites and claim the first leg of the 2022 Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean 2000 Guineas) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Captain Yankee wins the Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

With the fancied Aspen Taeyang a late scratching due to a hind leg injury, last year’s Champion Juvenile Complete Value was sent off as hot favourite for the 1600M first jewel, ahead of Winner Star, with Man Of The Year and Seungbusa the only other two in single digits in the markets.

When the race began, Beolmaui Star got the best of the start from gate number one and was joined on the early pace by Man Of The Year and Complete Value with Seungbusa looping across from gate ten to join them. Captain Yankee meanwhile sat in midfield as the front-runners set a fair pace.

The lightly raced Beolmaui Star would quickly weaken while Man Of The Year was always wide and never convincing and as the leaders entered the home straight, his challenge faded, leaving Seungbusa and Complete Value up front alone.

At that point it seemed it would be a duel of stamina between Seungbusa and Complete Value; a battle that only Complete Value could win. He did, seeing off Seungbusa with just over a furlong remaining. Victory seemed a formality but that was to reckon without the long-shot Captain Yankee, who began to rally and then close in on the leading two.

Captain Yankee would ultimately come through the gap between Complete Value and Seungbusa and go on to win by a full two-lengths on the line. Complete Value was 2nd with Seungbusa a further length and a quarter back in 3rd. It was a full eight-lengths back to the fourth placegetter, Unju Hero.

Winning jockey Jo In-kwon told in-house broadcaster KRBC that while he was confident in his horse, it wasn’t plain sailing: “I knew the pace would be very fast, but those leaders were so far ahead at one point that I thought that we would end up too far back and he might give up.”

“He hates kickback so I kept him wide and out of the sand and that gave us more to do, but just when I thought it might be too much, he responded so well and gave me his very best.”

Jo In-kwon is widely considered one of Korea’s most accomplished riders, but this was only his second Group winner since being licensed in 2008. It was his first big race win of any kind since 2012, when he was a fresh-faced rookie, about to go away to do his compulsory national service.

Now a grizzled thirty-five-year-old family man, Jo In-kwon admitted that he was nervous as Captain Yankee closed to victory: “I was very excited in the final furlong, but I tried to keep calm and make sure that we made no mistakes.” They did not, although it must be noted the jockey was deservedly – and perhaps leniently – fined half a million Won for his excessive and unnecessary whip use in the closing stages.

On pulling up, Jo sent a personal message to his young children, which was picked up by the on-board microphone he was carrying. “Yes, that was lucky, wasn’t it?” he laughed, referencing how the onboard “jockey cam” in the race was supposed to be carried by Moon Se-young, before Aspen Taeyang was found lame. Jo In-kwon offered to carry the camera, despite being on a 40/1 chance.

Captain Yankee is by Old Fashioned, who stands privately in Korea at Challenger Farm. He is out of Can’t Rezist (by Action This Day) and was bred by Lee Kwang-lim. The Cup Mile was his sixth race start and his fourth career win.

The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Korean Derby over 1800M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday May 15th.

Grand Prix Stakes 2021 – All The Runners Preview

The temperature will be several degrees below zero and dusk starting to fall on Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon when Moonhak Chief bids to become the first horse since Dongbanui Gangja more than a decade ago to record back-to-back victories in Korea’s historically most prestigious race, the Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1-2300M). CLICK HERE FOR RACE-BY-RACE PREVIEW OF ALL SEVENTEEN SUNDAY RACES AT SEOUL & BUSAN.

Moonhak Chief won the Grand Prix 2 years ago (Pic: KRA)

With no race last season, it’s now two years since Moonhak Chief followed up his 2019 Korea Cup victory by scoring by a length and a half that December. Only two of the rest of that day’s field return, Cheongdam Dokki and the retiring Dongbang Daero, but a host of new challengers have arisen in the meantime, meaning Moonhak Chief is going to need to be at his very best if he is to retain his crown.

Peter Wolsley won this race with Bold Kings in 2016 and the Australian trainer saddles Mr. Afleet this time, fresh off his triumph in the KRA Cup Classic back in October. That’s day’s close runner-up Haengbok Wangja is another leading contender and given the way he was finishing in the Classic, may even start as the favourite.

The President’s Cup, the top race restricted to Korean-bred horses, has provided two winners in recent years with Indie Band in 2013 and Gyeongbudaero in 2015 and the 2021 winner Simjangui Godong also takes his chance, as does proven Group winner Tiz Plan.

Touch Star Man, who won two legs of last year’s Triple Crown series, will be attendance, representing trainer Kim Young-kwan, who has won the race five times.

The Grand Prix Stakes is race 8 on Seoul’s 10-race Boxing Day card. Here is a full run down of all sixteen runners:

1. CHEONGDAM DOKKI (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] – His 4th attempt at the race with his best being 2nd in 2018. An excellent winner at 1800M in October before a flat performance in the KRA Cup Classic. He then ran 5th to Moonhak Chief back at 1800M on November 27th. Only returned to work last week and while there is no doubting his quality, this looks a very hard ask. Great draw though.

2. GALLOP CURLIN (USA) [Curlin – Colona (Pulpit)] – Gets his chance following a good win over 1800M at class 2 level earlier this month when midfield and running on. Tactically versatile and well-drawn but this is a big step up into the unknown in terms of distance and competition.

3. MOONHAK CHIEF (USA) [Pioneerof The Nile – Tallulah Lula (Old Trieste)] – Winner of the last edition of this race two years ago having won the Korea Cup that September. Seventh in the Cup Classic but returned to the winner’s circle on November 27th comfortably scoring over 1800M although he did get spooked by the finishing line light and stopped very quickly. At his best he is the one to beat.

4. CRAZY CONTI (USA) [Constitution – Ghostly Darkness (Ghostzapper)] – Came from well back to run a strong 3rd over 2000M at Busan two weeks ago in his first start since September. Beaten by Mr. Afleet and Touch Star Man in the summer so there is form for him to overturn here but he may appreciate the distance.

5. GEUMA ACME (KOR) [Hongji – Ms. Travelin (Lycius)] – A super 2nd in the President’s Cup to Simjangui Godong, coming from off the pace. Yet to win at higher than class 3 is a concern when stepping into this company, but the additional distance can suit. Alan Munro, who rode him in his last three starts, rides Jjang Kong instead.

6. HUNCH (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Sergeant O-Rourke (Forestry)] – Wasted a great draw by blowing the start in the Cup Classic, won by stablemate Mr. Afleet, in what was his first start since August. He has won at class 1 over 2000M in a fast time though and with a clean getaway can be competitive but may not be ready to beat the elite just yet. Minor money chance.

7. JJANG KONG (USA) [Tizway – Carietta (Stephen Got Even)] – Runner-up to Cheongdam Dokki in October before running a 3rd in the Cup Classic when handy all the way and battling on to the line. He likes it race close to the lead, so the draw works out well. He’s stubborn enough to get the 2300M and it would be no surprise seeing him in the minor money.

8. HAENGBOK WANGJA (USA) [Daredevil – First Installment (Broken Vow)] –  up and comer having just been promoted to class 1 before running a great race in the KRA Cup Classic when on the pace and wide most of the way and momentarily leading at the 200m and coming again at Mr. Afleet the finish. It was a super effort, and plenty will back him to win here.

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Korean Derby 2021 – Horse-By-Horse Preview

The second leg of the delayed 2021 Korean Triple Crown takes place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon when eleven runners go to post for the Korean Derby (KOR G1). CLICK HERE FOR THE REGULAR RACE-BY-RACE PREVIEW.

The top five placegetters from the first jewel in the Crown, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan a month ago, all return including Heat Yegam, the all the way winner of what was by some margin, the fastest Cup Mile on record.

Heat Yegam has drawn barrier five and will be hot favourite to score again but Heungbaragi, Chief Indy, Mr. Indie and Winner’s Man all return in a bid to prevent the Take Charge Indy colt from going one step closer to emulating Power Blade and sweeping the Triple Crown. Local racing media in Korea is confident they won’t, with twelve out of fifteen racing publications placing Heat Yegam on top.

Moon Hyung-chul, representing trainer Bang Dong-suk, said after the barrier draw on Thursday that Heat Yegam is ready. “It’s his first time traveling to another track to race but he’s adapted well, he works well, and we don’t need to do very much with him. (The Derby) is an extra furlong but that shouldn’t be a problem for him.”

Heungbaragi put in a huge race in the Cup Mile, overcoming barrier fifteen to run on strongly. Trainer Lee Joon-chel, who actually rode him in his first few races before taking up his trainer’s license this summer, laughed wryly when he drew the widest gate. “My foreman says he is in as good a shape as he has seen him. When he won at 1800M he led all the way and that won’t be easy to do but there are many ways to win a race and we will just have to see what happens on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it.”

Lee certainly knows about winning. In just forty-two starts since getting his license, he has already sent out eight winners.

Winner’s Man was sent off as second-favourite in the Cup Mile and tried matching Heat Yegam for speed early on, only to end up weakening for 5th. The Musket Man colt has though raced and won twice at the Derby distance of 1800M, whereas Heat Yegam goes further for a mile for the first time.

Kim Ji-min, representing trainer Choi Ki-hong, reckoned punters didn’t see the best of Winner’s Man at the KRA Cup Mile. “He has done well at 1800M before and while Heat Yegam was very good in the Cup Mile, I think Winner’s Man is going well now and we are looking forward to it. As for rivals: “Obviously Heat Yegam and Heungbaragi are very strong, but I was very impressed with Chief Indy at the Cup Mile, especially as he was first-up after a layoff; 3rd place was a really strong performance.”

The Korean Derby will be run over 1800M and is race 8 on Seoul’s Sunday card with a post time of 17:05 KST. Here is a full run-down of the field.

1. MR. INDIE [Indie Band – Candace Gold (Seeking The Gold)] – A winner of three from six including over this distance at class 4 level. In the KRA Cup Mile, he was ridden hard early to get a position settling on the fence in midfield. He stayed on the rails saving ground, into the straight and kept fighting in the straight to maintain a clear 4th in a strong run. The Wolsley stable is in fine form, Seo Seung-un stays aboard, and he can go close.

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Raon Fillies First & Pink On Top At Seoul & Busan

It’s becoming an unwelcome habit that we are posting these things days late, but it was a pair of “full” sisters ( I dislike that term, for some reason), who took top honours at Seoul and Busan last Sunday. Four-year-old Raon First took out Seoul’s Class 1 feature while a year here junior, Raon Pink won the Luna Stakes, the first leg of the 2021 Filly Triple Crown. Both are by Musket Man and out of the Southern Image mare, Pink Candy.

Raon First (Pic: KRA)

Raon First was a champion as a juvenile and has since gone on to establish herself at class 1 level, running 2nd to Dia Road in a Graded race for fillies and mares last year and finishing 2rd in her latest two, including behind Eoma Eoma. In all those races she had led, only to be taken down close to the line every time.

On Sunday though, Raon First would be no sitting duck. acing up and comers Legend Day and Carving Cross, among others, Raon First was drawn wide but instead of being ridden up hard to the pace, after being slightly slow away, Choi Bum-hyun in the saddle took a sit behind the lead and waited patiently. Choi made his move on Raon First at the top of the straight, punching through a gap with ease and the filly ran on to score by a length and a half in a fast time for the 1400M.

Outsiders Cupid Guy and Myeongpum Chukje chased Raon First home in 2nd and 3rd with Legend Day and Carving Cross both enduring poor days at the office and in the case of the latter especially, seeing their chances of qualification for any of the late season Stakes races diminishing. For Raon First it was seventh win in fourteen starts as she stakes her claim to succeed Dia Road as the top filly or mare in training in Seoul.

At Busan, younger sister Raon Pink was imperious in the Luna Stakes. Sent off as favourite in a sixteen-strong field of three-year-old fillies, who had thirty-six race victories between them coming in, Raon Pink jumped well and slowly worked to the lead and was comfortable in the pace she set. On the corner she slipped away and on straightening went well clear and was strong to the finish under Park Tae-jong. Jedi was 2nd and Smart Officer, who missed the break an excellent 3rd as Seoul fillies swept the top five finishing positions.

Raon Pink now moves on as favourite for the Korean Oaks, back at Busan over 1800M on November 14.