Race Reviews

Clean Up Joy Takes Care Of Business

Clean Up Joy struck once more in emphatic fashion with an easy win in the Herald Business Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Pre-race betting suggested that this would be little more than an exceptionally well-paid workout for Clean Up Joy and so it proved as the 2017 Grand Prix Stakes winner took command of the race turning for home and ran on for a four-length win.

Clean Up Joy and stablemate Shamrocker were separated at the finish by Sinjo Daehyeop who ran on for a very solid 2nd place.

The win was Clean Up Joy’s 13th and came on his 23rd start. The six-year-old gelding was a $14,000 purchase from the 2yo sales at Ocala in 2013.  He’s now won approximately $1.5Million in prize money.

Herald Business Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – April 16, 2017

1. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeux Danseur) – Djordje Perovic – 1.1, 1.0
2. Sinjo Daehyeop (USA) [Summer Bird – Cupid’s Revenge (Red Ransom)] – Moon Se Young – 2.1
3. Shamrocker (USA) [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.4
Distances: 4 lengths / 6 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Haemaru (KOR) 5. Best Run (USA) 6. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) 7. Strong Road (KOR) 8. Seonbong (KOR) 9. Cheonjeok (USA) 10. Royal Jibbly (USA)

King Of Ace Has A Good Friday At Busan

King Of Ace provided the standout performance on an otherwise low-key Good Friday card at Busan. The three-year-old American import maintained his 100% record with a dominant showing in the class 3 race 9.

Having won his previous two starts by a combined 11-lengths, the Kwan Seung Joo trained colt was always going to be strong favourite for the mile-long test and having assumed command of the race early under jockey Jo Sung Gon, King Of Ace never looked like being beaten, running on to win by a margin of his choosing; 7 lengths in the end.

Pangpang Hero, down in class today was a surprise 2nd while Peter Wolsley’s Cottinpickingood, the mount of Darryll Holland got up for 3rd. They might as well have been running a different race to King Of Ace though, a $50,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton last year, who confirmed his status as one of the Busan track’s hottest properties.

In other races, it was a good day for South African trainer Bart Rice. His gelding Que Sera Sera (Concept Win) provided the banker of the day, comfortably scoring in race 2 under in-form Cypriot jockey Marios Mina. Later on, Fivefold (Ecton Park) got the better of Thomas Gillespie’s Segi Gangja for the second time in race 8. Like King Of Ace, Fivefold is now three for three.

Always Winner All The Way Again

He did it in January in the Segye Ilbo Cup and today in Group company, Always Winner once more got the jump on the field and scored an all the way victory in the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy.

Always Winner Owners

Always Winner and Park Eul Woon return to scale having won the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy

Always Winner was sent off as a 20/1 outsider in the Segye Ilbo but hit the front early to beat a decent field that included four who returned to face him again. This time he was a little bit more respected, punters making him the 7/1 fourth choice.

Today under Park Eul-woon, Always Winner once more broke the best and found the front form the gate and once more it was a lead he would not relinquish as he ran on to win by half a length. Coming 2nd was favourite Cheonji Storm who, while expected to be on pace instead went right to the back of the field before flying home down the outside. A few more strides and he would have won – and surely will will plenty later this year.

Best Guy, 2nd in the Segye Ilbo, put in another creditable run in 3rd while Gorgeous Dream returned to some semblance of form in 4th. There was no luck for Brian Dean’s Jangsanjewang, however, who gave it a good go tracking Always Winner early in the race but just couldn’t get home.

Always Winner, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Shim Seung-tae was winning for the 7th time in 24 races.

Owners’ Association Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 12, 2017

1. Always Winner (KOR) [Creek Cat – Hallat’Eukgeup (Land Rush)] – Park Eul Woon – 7.8, 2.7
2. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.5
3. Best Guy (KOR) [Didyme – Madam Winette (Danewin)] – Kim Cheol Ho – 3.4
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 3 lengths – 13 ran

Seven-Timer Satoshi Shines & Holland Returns With A Double

The 2016 season wrapped-up at Busan on Saturday and it was a great end to the year for much of the foreign contingent at the south coast track. The returning Darryll Holland landed a double for Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice while Thomas Gillespie trained a double and Francisco Da Silva rode a winner. Star of the show though was Japanese rider Yonekura Satoshi who ended up in the winner’s circle on no fewer than 7 occasions on the 15 race card.

Holland, who resumed regular riding at Busan on Friday following a two and a half year absence, got off the mark on Sunday in race 4, guiding Peter Wolsley’s Secret Marine (Sea Of Secrets), a 5/1 chance, to a seven length win. Holland would go on to win the day’s feature race, a valuable test for three-year-olds, on Bart Rice’s Buhwarui Banseok (Tizway), who beat Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi by two-lengths. The victory – and a later one for Wonil Gangja (Cowboy Cal) in race 15, the final race of the year – capped a superb year for the Rice stable which has seen him finish in 5th place in the Trainer Premiership. Only Kim Young Kwan and Peter Wolsley had a better strike-rate and a top-three finish is surely on the agenda in 2017 for the South African handler.

Da Silva’s win was on the promising Shunsuke Yoshida owned colt Wonder Wall (Chapel Royal) in race 8 while the Gillespie-trained winner of race 7, Party Again (Singing Saint), was one of four victories on the day that took jockey Seo Seung Un to joint-1st in the Jockey Premiership on 104 wins for the year, level with You Hyun Myung. The weighing room is about to become a lot more competitive with Seoul jockeys Ham Wan Sik, Jo In Kwen and former Busan champion jockey, Jo Sung Gon, all set to ride full time at the track from January with only Kim Yong Geun headed in the opposite direction to the capital.

No-one finished the year in better form though than Yonekura Satoshi, who put on a sparkling display on Saturday. The highlight of his seven wins in the valuable 2-year-old race when he guided US import Drop The Beat (Mad Flatter) to a comfortable win over five rivals. He also teamed up with Thomas Gillespie to get 7/1 chance Great Song (Songangaprayer) home in race 14.

His closing day heroics meant Satoshi ended the year on 39 winners for 5th place in the standings. With a top line-up of overseas jockeys and now, possibly for the first time at Busan, some real depth in the domestic jockey ranks too, the first few months of 2017 are set to be an exciting time.

Clean Up Joy Wins The 2016 Grand Prix Stakes

Clean Up Joy downed Triple Nine and Power Blade to win the 2016 Korea Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

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Clean Up Joy & Ham Wan Sik win the 35th Grand Prix Stakes (Pic: KRA)

Two-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine was sent off as the odds-on favourite with Clean Up Joy splitting him and his stablemate, Triple Crown winner Power Blade, in the betting market.

And while Beolmaui Kkum set the early pace he was surprisingly joined at the front right away by Clean Up Joy – generally a bad starter but here away very keenly from the outside gate. This was bad news for the field with the most proven stayer in the race already at the front.

Clean Up Joy looked strong all the way around. Just as in the Korea Cup, Beolmaui Kkum’s race was over early and it was left to Triple Nine and Power Blade to give chase in the home straight. However, Clean Up Joy was away. His five-length advantage at the top of the stretch was down to under two on the line but jockey Ham Wan Sik had time to ease up and pose for the cameras as they passed the line.

Triple Nine was 2nd, besting Power Blade for the third time in a row before they both head to Dubai later this week. Goliath Marine ran a huge race in 4th while the ever honest Heba came home an excellent 5th.

Clean Up Joy (Purge) is a 5-year-old gelding. He was  $14,000 purchase from the OBS June 2013 Two-Year-Old sales. The Grand Prix was his 11th win on his 21st career start and took him to career earnings of over US$1.25Million. It was a career highlught win for both trainer Song Moon Gil and jockey Ham Wan Sik.

It also saw the Grand Prix being won by a horse trained at Seoul for the first time since Tough Win’s triumph in 2011 and means that whatever happens, the traditional season-ending finale will be run in the capital once more next year.

Grand Prix (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2300M – Dec 18, 2016

1. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeaux Danseur)] – Ham Wan Sik – 5.5. 1.7
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.0
3. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.1
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Goliath Marine (KOR) 5. Heba (USA) 6. CLean Up Cheonha (USA) 7. Success Story (KOR) 8. Dongbang Daero (USA) 9. Unbeatable (USA) 10. Speace Port (USA) 11. Gumpo Sky (KOR) 12. Halla Chukje (USA) 13. Cheonjeok (USA) 14. Winner Red (USA) 15. Muhudaeje (USA) 16. Beolmaui Kkum (USA)

Tough Night In Tokyo

It was another chastening night in the dirt for Korean runners in Tokyo as Bichui Wangja and Ubaki were unable to make an impact in the 4th running of the Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse on Tuesday evening.

ubaki

The parade ring was about as good as it got (Pic: KRA)

Since Watts Village won the inaugural running of the race in 2013, things haven’t been easy for the Korean contingent in Tokyo each autumn in the same way that it has been tough for the NAR runners who travel to Seoul for the Korean-based leg of the challenge each year.

This time around, Korean hopes took an early blow when Oreuse, the top-rated among the three who travelled, pulled up lame at trackwork on Monday morning and had to be scratched. That left Ubaki and Bichui Wangja flying the flag and Japanese punters sent them off as 8th and 10th in the betting respectively for the 1200M test over Ohi’s right-handed course.

After a long delay while Satono Diplomat was scratched, market-leader Looks That Kill (Wildcat Heir) set the early pace and along with Gaudy (Precious Cafe) put several lengths into the field in the early stages as the Korean pair, having drawn outside gates, struggled to get into the early prominent positions required.

Those two on the early speed would lead all the way but it would be Gaudy, under veteran jockey Fumio Matoba who would get up eight on the line to snatch victory.  Bichui Wangja and Ubaki  trailed home towards the rear of the field.

Gaudy, an 8-year-old horse, was 5th in the betting and was winning for the 9th time on his 58th career start. As for Matoba, the “Emperor of Ohi” was winning a 2nd Japan/Korea race, having claimed the very first one, the 2013 SBS Goodwill Cup at Seoul aboard Tosen Archer. Now pushing 60-years-old, Matoba’s style is not one that gets taught in the world’s jockey academies these but once in full flight, it can be very effective at Ohi.

There’s no disgrace on the ones who went and gave it a go and while the results over the past couple of years have been a touch disappointing, the exchange remains a valuable one, giving trainers and grooms (although this year not jockeys) experience of taking horses overseas to race, something that is vital to the long term development of Korean racing.

The Interaction Cup concludes overseas racing for Korean horses this year. Next up is the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the New Year. Success Story, who did so well at the Carnival last year, won’t be returning but a number of top names have applied for stable allocation.

 

Triple Nine Bests Power Blade To Retain President’s Cup

Triple Nine pulled clear of stablemate and Triple Crown Power Blade to convincingly retain his President’s Cup title at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

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Triple Nine wins the President’s Cup (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)

Triple Nine had previously got the best of Power Blade by four lengths as the pair ran 3rd and 4th behind Japan’s Chrysolite in September’s Billion Won Korea Cup and while the circumstances of that race were rather unusual, punters sent the older colt, who convincingly beat Rock Band in last year’s race, as the slight favourite with Success Story the only other one of the ten-strong field to be backed to any extent.

Success Story would, as ever, show the way in the 2000M race, Korea’s equal-richest, along with the Derby, that is restricted to locally bred horses. Racing for the first time since being gelded, the 5-year-old brought the field along with Power Blade right on pace beside him while Triple Nine, under Seo Seung Un for the first time, settled in his usual midfield position.

Jockey Seo asked Triple Nine to improve as they rounded the final turn and the 4-year-old effortlessly glided up alongside the leaders. Into the home straight and Success Story was the first to fall out of contention leaving the stablemates to go stride for stride until the furling pole. Entering the closing stages, however, Power Blade’s challenge wilted and Triple Nine pulled clear to win by a commanding five lengths on the line. Success Story was a further four back in 3rd.

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Triple Nine waiting to be brought out for the post-race presentation (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)

In yet another assertion of the southern-track’s superiority when it comes to quality,  Busan horses accounted for the first five place-getters with Baedari Bobae running 4th and Zettabyte, 2nd in both of the final two legs of the Triple Crown coming home in 5th.

The victory was Triple Nine’s 11th in 19 career starts to date. He has never finished any worse than 4th. Neither has Power Blade and the pair of them are both potential entries for the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the New Year although it is possible the Grand Prix Stakes next month could be the agenda for one or both of them. For jockey Seo Seung Un it was a first Korean Group 1 winner. For trainer Kim Young Kwan, it was a 10th.

The President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – November 13, 2016

1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.8, 1.0
2. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.1
3. Success Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.7
Distances: 5 lengths / 4 lenghs
Also Ran: 4. Baedari Bobae 5. Zettabyte 6. Cheonji Storm 7 .Sotong Sidae 8. Pinot Noir 9. Top Fighter 10. Impetus NR: Brig