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Korean Racing Arrives At USA ADW’s This Weekend

Korean racing takes another step forward in terms of worldwide accessibility this weekend with American punters being able to legally bet the races for the first time after the KRA entered into a distribution agreement with Sky Racing World. The first meeting to be covered will be Busan on Sunday August 6 (evening of Saturday August 5 in the USA).

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Local Korean Promotion of the races going into the USA

So far over 70 wagering outlets, including most of the major Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) companies, have signed up to offer betting on the Korean races. As commingling is still not allowed in Korea, bets will go into a sepearate pool operated by PGI International (a joint venture between Phumelela Gold International and Tabcorp Europe).

Every Korean raceday (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) is scheduled to be shown with races that take place up until 17:30 Korean time being on offer for wagering. The races will be streamed live on Sky Racing World’s website with the coverage, as it is for SRW’s Australia, New Zealand and South Africa pictures, geo-blocked outside North America.

This Sunday, the first 11 races of the bumper 15-race Busan card will be shown.

For more information see Sky Racing World’s Website here.

Johan Victoire Makes Winning Start / Choegangja, Zentenary Labour At Kranji

Plenty went on over the weekend including business being as usual for the Korean runners in the annual KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore, Silver Wolf essentially wrapping up the Queens’ Tour after just two legs and French jockey Johan Victoire making quite the impression on his first weekend in the saddle at Seoul 

It was a good weekend for a foreign jockey to arrive in Seoul what with a number of the track’s leading riders such as Kim Yong Geun and Choi Bum Hyun being at Busan to ride in the KNN Cup, Djordje Perovic still being indisposed and an ongoing inter-union dispute leading some jockeys not to ride for certain stables.

It took Johan Victoire precisely one race to show what he was capable of, guiding debut-maker Icheon Ssal (Capital Spending) to victory in Saturday’s opening maiden. While the 30-year-old couldn’t add another winner from his seven further rides across the weekend, he did get a 2nd and a 3rd as well as plenty of admiration from onlookers. It looks like Victoire will be busy over the forthcoming weeks. Check out the report and pictures on the official site.

While Silver Wolf (Orotorio) put in quite a run at Busan to cruise to the KNN Cup in a time just 0.3 seconds outside the track record for a mile, the Korean pair in Singapore for the annual KRA Trophy at Kranji on Sunday fared less well. In fairness, to Zentenary, that he beat any horses at all is to his credit but Choegangja was undoubtedly disappointing, breaking adequately enough but quickly weakening and finishing a tailed-off last in the race which was won by Distinctive Darci.

Choegangja had gone into the race looking in peak condition, according to trainer Brian Dean, but came back reportedly fine but having suffered a heat-stroke. Perhaps there is something in that given that in his only two races in warm weather last year he came 3rd of 10 and last of 9, both at class 3 before re-appearing in the cool of November and going on to win five in a row, then missing the break and coming last when things warmed up this June. Anyway, the search goes on for a Korean horse to go to Kranji in June and make an impression. Maybe next year.

This weekend Busan takes its one-week summer vacation so only Jeju runs n Friday. Seoul and Jeju will run on Saturday and just Seoul on Sunday.

Choegangja & Zentenary Set for Kranji KRA Trophy

Two Korea-trained horses, Choegangja and Zentenary, are in Singapore for the annual running of the Korea Racing Authority Trophy which will be held over 1200M at Kranji this coming Sunday. As in previous years, the race will be broadcast live – without betting – at Seoul & Busan Racecourses during the local Sunday afternoon cards.

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Choegangja, on his way to victory last year, is in Kranji (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The Korean contingent has generally not found this race to be easy and this year looks set to be no exception as they face a strong local challenge attracted by the S$250,000 purse. Zentenary has drawn gate 1 while Choegangja will break from gate 8. Here’s the field (full card at the Singapore Turf Club website here):

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This year there’s no excuse for lack of local knowledge as both horses are in the care of Brian Dean, the former Singapore based trainer who has just finished up training in Seoul. Additionally, unlike previous runnings of this race, it was decided this time to put local Kranji-based jockeys on board the two horses and accordingly Oscar Chavez, who partnered El Padrino in his second Asia Challenge Cup at Seoul Racecourse in 2015, will ride Choegangja while Malaysian Kasim A’Isisuhairi gets the leg-up on Zentenary.

Choegangja (USA) [Silver Train – Sweet Sizzle (Distorted Humor)]

The pick of the two, he blossomed after moving to Brian Dean at the tail-end of his three-year-old season, winning five races in a row and moving from class 3 to class 1 in the process. He finally came unstuck when missing the break in the SBS Sports Trophy at the start of June, resenting the kick-back and ultimately finishing last but can be forgiven for that. A US bred, Choegangja was a $40,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton 2-year-olds in training sale in May 2015.

Zentenary (USA) [First Defence – Celestic (Sky Classic)]

A $30,000 buy from OBS 2-year-olds in training sale in 2013, the now 6-year-old has won 6 of his 31 starts with one of them coming at class 1, an all-the-way effort last Christmas Eve. He’s been up and down in six outings in 2017 with two 3rd places being the best including last time out on June 18th, over this distance of 1200M.

 

Brian Bows Out Of Seoul

Brian Dean has left Korea. The Australian trainer completed his time at Seoul Racecourse at the end of June.

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Brian Dean has left Seoul (Pic: KRA)

At the beginning of 2016, Dean was handed the questionable privilege of becoming the first foreign trainer to be licensed in Seoul.

Plenty had already been based at Busan, the newer of the two thoroughbred tracks in Korea since Peter Wolsley arrived 10 years ago, but while the capital track had been hosting international jockeys for almost a decade, no trainers had yet been licensed at the country’s principle venue.

After being officially licensed in March, Dean set about his business building up his stable and sent his first runners out to trial in April of last year. All three of his trial entrants that day won their respective heats. Putting horses in official barrier trials – something most trainers only do if they are required to have a horse re-qualify for racing (more…)

Apprentice Kim Deok Hyeon Wins On First Day

Not a bad start to his career for apprentice Kim Deok Hyeon. He made his debut on at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday with two rides and in the second of those, coolly produced 12/1 chance Samjung Tapit at the perfect moment to snatch victory.

Kim is one of three new apprentice jockeys at Seoul this year. The other two, Kim Hyo Jeong and Lee Dong Jin debuted last week and are awaiting their first successes.

Da Silva Makes The Breakthrough

Antonio Da Silva has broken his maiden in Korea. The Brazilian jockey opened his account with  last to first effort on 7/1 chance Gutongsa in race 6 at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday afternoon.

Gutongsa (Spring At Last) was Da Silva’s (called Antonio Davielson in the race card) 12th mount since debuting full-time last weekend. He rides Hidden Indian in the Group 2 Ttukseom Cup on Sunday.

The win was also a first for new trainer Jun Seung Kyu on what was just his second every starter.

* Da Silva’s win comes a day after Korean Champion jockey Moon Se Young rode his first winner in Singapore. Moon guided the Alwin Tan trained Thunder Cat to a last gasp victory in the closing race 9 at Kranji on Friday night. Full result and race video here.

Coming Up In Korean Racing

The Korean Derby is now behind us and we won’t be getting a Triple Crown winner this year. We have to wait until July to see if impressive Derby winner Final Boss can win the Minister’s Cup too but in the meantime, we have a big month ahead of us. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up in June and July in Korean racing.

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All being well, Derby Winner Final Boss will aim for July’s Minister’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

June International Weekend (Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th)

The big one is of course the Korea Cup & Sprint in September but to mark the start of summer, the first weekend of June sees plenty of good racing. On the Saturday there will be excahnge races with the Selangor Turf Club, Turkey Jockey Club and China Horse Industry Association before two big group races on Sunday:

Sunday June 4 – SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3 – Sprint Series), Seoul: The 2nd leg of the Sprint Series doubles up as this year’s edition of the Korea vs Japan race. Success Story won the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the series, and he is expected to be in Seoul to try to make it two out of two in advance of the final leg, the Korea Sprint, in September. Last year’s winner Perdido Pomeroy is also expected to be there but with Power Blade now likely to stay home and Busan Ilbo 2nd place-getter Seoul Bullet spelled, Busan’s challenge is not as strong as usual. That gives opportunities to Seoul horses including Brian Dean’s Choegangja, who is 5 for 5 for the Aussie handler and could well give Dean a chance to return to his old haunt of Kranji for the KRA Trophy in July.

Currently there are two Japan-trained entrants for the race; Kimon Avalon who ran a solid 5th in the race last year, and Party Dress, a winner of 5 from 21, both trained by Arayama Katsunori.

Sunday June 4 – Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2 – Queens Tour), Seoul – The Queens’ Tour to decide the year’s champion filly or mare gets underway with the shortest race of the series, the 1400M Ttukseom Cup. This division is not especially strong at the moment and favourites are likely to include last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup winner Indian Star and KNN Cup winner Supreme Magic.

Sunday June 11 – Korean Oaks (KOR G2) Busan – There were 27 early entries for the fillies’ Classic  and we’ll get a clearer picture in the next week or so. Nevertheless, Ice Marine is set to be favourite. She won a valuable trial for the race in March and while her 6th place in the KRA Cup Mile meant she didn’t go for the Derby, she’s the standout so far. Plenty of unexposed ones could test her though.

They’re followed by:

Sunday June 28: Sports Chosun Cup (L) Seoul
Sunday July 9: Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) Busan – Informally known as the “Summer Grand Prix” it is, ater the Oaks, Busan’s 2nd most valuable race of the year. This year it will be run over 1800M. Past winners include Dangdae Bulpae, Tough Win (twice) and Gamdonguibada.
Sunday July 16: Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) Seoul – There’s no Triple Crown on the line this year but the final Classic of the year still has its intrigues. Final Boss’s Derby win was rated lower than that of Power Blade last year so can he burnish his credentials before taking on older, proven horses later in the season?
Sunday July 23: KNN Cup (KOR G3) Busan – They step up to a mile for the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour.
Sunday Jul 30: Ilgan Sports (L) Seoul

Night Racing

The nightracing season is shorter this year than last. From June, Friday meetings at Busan will switch to their night race times. Seoul will run Night meetings on Saturdays and twilight meetings on Sundays in July and August only.