Race Reviews

Jangsan Power Clings On In Ilgan Sports Cup

Jangsan Power led from the gate and clung on desperately until the wire to win the listed Ilgan Sports Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

The Ilgan Sports this year was for horses rated 80 or less and up-and-comer Big Trio was sent off as favourite having won his last three with considerable ease. It was not to be for the three-year-old though with French jockey Johan Victoire needing to get after his mount early and Big Trio ultimately offering little in the straight.

Instead it was another three-year-old who took the honours. Jangsan Power had set the early pace in the Korean Derby in May, leading until just before the furlong pole when he ran out of steam and ended up only beating one home. He stepped back to 1700M for his reappearance last month and made all and was sent off the 5/1 second favourite for the Ilgan.

Once more Jangsan Power made all but he had to see off a last gasp challenge from My Blade who gobbled up his lead in the closing stages to the extent that a photograph was needed to tell them apart. It went Jangsan Power’s way by a nose but a couple of strides later, it wouldn’t have. Gaia Thunder was in close attendance in 3rd.

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On the line, Jangsan Power still had a nose in hand of My Blade

Jangsan Power moves on to five wins from nine starts. For trainer Park Jae Woo it was his third Listed or Special race winner. For jockey Lim Gi Won it was his second following his victory on Always Winner in the Segye Ilbo Cup in January.

Ilgan Sports (L) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – July 30, 2017

1. Jangsan Power (KOR) [Menifee – City Bird (Carson City)] – Lim Gi Won – 5.5, 2.2
2. My Blade (KOR) [Pico Central – Smart Advice (Smart Strike)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.4
3. Gaia Thunder (KOR) [One Cool Cat – Now Cope With This (Tiznow)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 4.0
Distances: Nose / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Kawon 5. Perfect Shine 6. Raon Morris 7. Big Trio 8. Yeongnong 9. Royal Victory 10. Haetbinna

Seoul will take next weekend off but Busan will return for a rare Saturday card on August 5th and a bumper 15-race card on Sunday August 6. For the first time next Sunday, Korean racing will be available for betting in the United States, distributed to ADW’s through Sky Racing World. More on that in the coming days.

Silver Wolf Adds KNN To Ttukseom In Busan Romp

Plenty doubted her but today at Busan, Silver Wolf answered in emphatic fashion, crushing her rivals in the KNN Cup to add to her Ttukseom Cup last month and put herself withing touching distance of a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour series.

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Silver Wolf & Yoo Seung Wan win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

There was an enforced jockey change with Djordje Perovic being indisposed and also the nagging doubt that Haeya only allowed herself to be caught in the Ttukseom Cup because she had set off early in the race in pursuit of a couple going too fast. Haeya was duly sent off the odds-on favourite with Silver Wolf in excess of 7/1 on the Korean tote.

The early but not unexpected scratching of Ottug Ottugi meant there was going to be one less on the early speed but as it was, Gaenari, under Kim Yong Geun set off from gate 13 like the proverbial scalded cat, looped the field and had three lengths on the rest withing a furlong. Concerningly for favourite backers, Haeya, this time with Ham Wan Sik on board, gave chase with Silver Wolf and Yoo Seung Wan tracking her every move.

So they remained until the straight until Gaenari, inevitably, ran out of steam (she would equally inevitably finish last). With her out of the way though, it was Silver Wolf took charge with Haeya having nothing to give. The race was won a furlong and a half from home and the Aussie-bred 5-year-old cruised home with a winning margin of five lengths.

That nine lengths wasn’t to Haeya. She found herself caught by the game Mighty Gem, who dispelled the ever-present doubts about her soundness by running on tremendously to go from 10th to 2nd in the home straight and snatch the big runner’s-up purse. Another pair of outsiders, O.K. Yeondap and The Queen Silver came home next to make it four Seoul horses out of the top five.

Silver Wolf [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] was a $40,000 purchase from Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2014. Today was her 7th win in 16 career starts and takes her to over 800 Million Korean Won in Prize money. For trainer Song Moon Gil, it was his 3rd Group race win – his others coming through Clean Up Joy in last year’s Grand Prix and of course, Silver Wolf in the Ttukseom Cup. It is jockey Yoo Seung Wan’s first Group win. His previous biggest victories had come with a pair of wins in the Segye Ilbo Cups of 2013 and 2016.

The final leg of the Queens’ Tour is the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup which will run at Busan on November 12th. A lot can happen between now and then and it will be over 2000M. Nevertheless, that just means Silver Wolf has an extra few months to get even better. A clean sweep could very well happen.

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Silver Wolf in the KNN Cup winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

KNN Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 23, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 8.3, 1.8
2. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] – Kim Hye Sun – 12.6
3. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxaholic (Macho Uno)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.1
Distances: 9 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. O.K. Yeondab (USA) 5. The Queen Silver (KOR) 6. Gold Blue (JPN) 7. Supreme Magic (USA) 8. Black Sapphire (KOR) 9. Santa Gloria (KOR) 10. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 11. Steal The Show Why (KOR) 12. Queen’s Queen (KOR) 13. Queen Two Hearts (KOR) 14. Gaenari (CAN). NR: Ottug Ottugi (KOR)

33/1 Yeonggwanguihunter Wins Minister’s Cup

There was a surprise in the Minister’s Cup as outsider Yeonggwanguihunter (Colors Flying) raced to victory in what was the final leg of the 2017 Korean Triple Crown at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Derby winner Final Boss was sent off as favourite for the 2000M test but just like in the Cup mile, he didn’t feature until far too late after a pedestrian (to put it generously) pace was set in the early stages on a track that was beginning to dry out following a weekend of rain.

Cup mile winner Indian King performed admirably, joining outsider Wild Thunder on what passed for the early speed and staying on well for 2nd place. Daeho Sidae built on disappointing runs in both Cup Mile and Derby to come home a close 3rd. Royal Ruby, 2nd in both first two legs ran well in 4th.

The day belonged to Yeonggwanguihunter though whose jockey Lim Sung Sil opted to loop the field in the back straight, something that transpired to be the key move. They struck the front a furlong out and comfortably saw off the late challenges to win by half a length on the line.

Yeonggwanguihunter began the race a 33/1 chance. He’d won three of his ten previous starts at no higher level than class 4 and at no greater distance than 1300M. He took his chance here following 3rd place in an 1800M class 3 handicap a month ago.

For trainer Lim Keum Man, it was a second Group winner following Yeongung Manse in the 2009 Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. For jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a seventh group success.

Yeonggwanguihunter [Colors Flying – Cheers Again (Awesome Again)] was bred by Kim Hae Buk. His dam, Canada-bred Cheers Again was a $17,000 purchase from Keeneland’s October 2007 Breeding Stock sale. Yeonggwanguihunter is her fifth foal to race in Korea with four of them having won at least one race. She has a yearling by Eurosilver and recently produced a foal by Chapel Royal. Both are colts.

Busan provided the first four home on the day with Final Boss leading home the Seoul representatives in 5th. Final Boss surely remains the most naturally gifted of this crop. Will he produce later in the year?

Minister’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – July 16, 2017

1. Yeonggwanguihunter (KOR) [Colors Flying – Cheers Again (Awesome Again)] – Lim Sung Sil – 33.7, 6.5
2. Indian King (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] – Ham Wan Sik – 3.3
3. Daeho Sidae (KOR) [Simon Pure – Ara Mireu (Didyme)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.8
Distances: 0.5 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Royal Ruby 5. Final Boss 6. Wild Thunder 7. America Power 8. Uju Star 9. Jejui Haneul 10. Bright Star 11. Teukbyeol Star 12. Choegang Jeollyeok

Geombit Gangja Wins Sports Chosun 2017

A bit late but catching up on last week’s action, Geombit Gangja won the Sports Chosun Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon:

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Geombit Gangja & Choi Bum Hyun win the Sports Chosun Cup (Pic: KRA)

Geombit Gangja, a four-year-old gelding, was sent off as favourite for the 2000M listed race and having settled at the rear of the field, came through strongly in the closeing stages under jockey Choi Bum Hyun to claim victory. It was another big race win for in-form trainer Song Moon Gil.

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Singer Hong Jin Young joined in the winner’s circle on one of her regular racecourse appearances (Pic: KRA)

It was Geombit Gangja’s 6th victory on his 15th career start.

Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – June 18, 2017

1. Geombit Gangja (KOR) [Ingrandire – Tandia (Two Punch)] – Chi Bum Hyung – 3.3, 1.6
2. Royal Victory (KOR) [Exploit – Guryeongnyeong (Revere)] – Song Jae Chul – 2.0
3. Haetbinna (KOR) [Didyme – Chowonui Kkum (The Groom Is Red)] – Jan Havlik – 10.1
Distances: 1.5 lengths / 2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. I Am For You 5. Kawon 6. Yeongnong 7. Gaia Thunder 8. Chowon Gangta 9. Perfect Shine 10. Dongchonui Guy

Silver Wolf Wins Ttukseom Cup While Last-Gasp Doraonpogyeongseon Claims SBS Sports Sprint

Sunday was a big day of Group race action at Seoul and it ended with Silver Wolf taking the Black Type win in the Ttukseom Cup followed by Doraonpogyeongseon getting the best of the tightest of three-way finishes to the SBS Sports Sprint.

Silver Wolf (Orotorio) started as second-favourite for the Group 2 Ttukseom Cup, the first leg of the Queens’ Tour that will decide the year’s champion filly or mare, and she and the one ahead of her in the market, Haeya, turned things into a two-horse race as they entered the straight.

As it turned out, Silver Wolf was just too strong, gaining the upper hand just over half a furlong out and running on to win by two lengths. Gaenari came home in 3rd just ahead of the fast finishing Gold Blue.

Australian bred Silver Wolf was a A$40,000 purchase from the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2014. She finished 4th in this race last year and today was making just her second start of 2017. In total it was her 6th win on her 15th career start. It was a first Korean group race victory for Serbian jockey Djordje Perovic and another milestone in his burgeoning partnership with trainer Song Moon Gil (of Clean Up Joy fame).

One race later was the Group 3 SBS Sports Sprint. Punters ignored most local pundits and sent off Japanese visitor Party Dress off as the favourite ahead of 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller and Success Story, who won the first leg of the Sprint Series, the Busan Ilbo Cup, at Busan last month.

It wasn’t to be for the Japanese pair, with neither Party Dress nor Kimon Avalon being involved and coming home in 8th and 12th respectively. Not was it for Success Story who showed early but weakened to 7th. Instead, it was 60/1 outsider Parang Juuibo who looked like he was about to produce a shock upset as having always been close to the speed, he struck the front just over a furlong out and kept on going.

He came so close. Choegang Schiller flew home in pursuit under Perovic on the outside but in between them came Doraonpogyeongseon. The line arrived with all three together but the photo showed the narrowest of narrow wins for the 4-year-old Doraonpogyeongseon.

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Doraonpogyeongseon’s (centre) nose is just in front on the line

The game Parang Juuibo clung on to 2nd ahead of Choegang Schiller. A full four-lengths behind, 90/1 outsider Best Guy brought home the rest.

Doraonpogyeongseon [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] was a US$50,000 purchase from the OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds at Ocala in 2015. It was the four-year-old’s 13th career start and his 7th win. Trained by Min Jang Ki, he’s a stablemate of Success Story. For jockey Ham Wan Sik, it was a successful return to Seoul where he rode Clean Up Joy to win the Grand Prix Stakes last December.

“Doraon” means “Again” or “Return Of” while “Pogyeongseon” was the name of a horse who ran in Korea in the 1980s, winning the Grand Prix Stakes in 1985 and 1986.  That was held at Ttukseom. Maybe someday, there will need to be a Doraon Silver Wolf, or even a Doraon Doraonpogyeongseon.

How they finished:

Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) 1400M – Seoul Racecourse – June 4, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Djordje Perovic – 4.6, 1.7
2. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxaholic (Macho Uno)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.3
3. Gaenari (CAN) [Philanthropist – Happy To Be Home (Langfuhr)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 5.2
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 8 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Gold Blue (JPN) 5. Mighty Gem (USA) 6. Indian Star (KOR) 7. Holiday Dream (USA) 8. Supreme Magic (USA) 9. Bear Queen Trophy (USA) 10. Hidden Indian (USA)

SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3) 1200M – Seoul Racecourse – June 4, 2017

1. Doraonpogyeongseon (USA) [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] – Ham Wan Sik – 10.2, 1.8
2. Parang Juuibo (USA) [With Distinction – Spicy Souffle (French Deputy)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 15.7
3. Choegang Schiller (USA) [Artie Schiller – Changeable (Miswaki)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.5
Distance: Nose / Nose
Also Ran: 4. Best Guy (KOR) 5. Perdido Pomeroy (USA) 6. Dynamic Jilju (USA) 7. Success Story (KOR) 8. Party Dress (JPN) 9. Geuma Rapid (AUS) 10. Always Winner (KOR) 11. Wonder Bolt (USA) 12. Kimon Avalon (JPN) 13. Choegangja (USA)

Champ Line’s Busan Streak Extends To Five

Champ Line saw off a competitive Class 1 field to record his 5th consecutive win at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The Thomas Gillespie trainee was prominent throughout and ran on to win the Championship Series event by a comfortable length and a half.

Now a five-year-old, Champ Line [Curlin – Unbridled’s Pride (Unbridled)] debuted back in the summer of 2014. He could only manage 9th on his first outing but immediately proceeded to rack up five straight wins which got him promoted all the way up to class 2. For a time it looked like he had, like so many others, found his level just shy of the elite but then an injury in September 2015 saw him off the track and spelled for nine months.

On his return, Champ Line was moved to Thomas Gillespie and a 2nd place on his first start back was followed up by his sixth victory which saw him promoted to class 1. A 3rd and a 4th followed before he launched into this current streak in December. Sunday’s victory was the eleventh of his career from a total of twenty starts and puts him well clear on top of the Championship Series “Road To the Grand Prix” table.

On the subject of the Championship Series, Seoul’s Sunday feature also qualified and it saw Areumdaundonghaeng, the 2015 YTN Trophy winner, come out on top.

Areumdaundonghaeng (A.P. Warrior) was sent off at odds of 17/1 with Cheonji Storm and Winner Red both favoured but not able to do it as Areumdaundonghaeng beat the always game Winning Andy in a tight finish at the end of 1800M.

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)