Racing Reviews

Morfhis Downs Dokki Blade, Eoma Eoma To Upturn Sprint Ranks In Shock SBS Win

Morfhis  swooped late to score a stunning victory in the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul, diving home to deny Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma under a fine steer from jockey Johan Victoire.

SBS Sports Sprint 2020

Morshis gets up to debu Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma in the SBS Sports Sprint

Busan Ilbo Cup top two Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ renewed hostilities disputing the lead in the early stages of the six-furlong G3 race, the second leg in the 2020 Korea Sprint Series.

Gaon Champ would quickly capitulate at the top of the stretch and it seemed upstart Eoma Eoma would pose the only threat to Do Kki Blade. That was to reckon without Morfhis whose stunning late show saw him duck inside to snatch victory at the death by a head.

Morfhis is a five-year-old American bred gelding by Stephen Got Even and and out of the Rubiano mare Chinchilla. He was a $150,000 purchase from the OBS 2017 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds. The win was his eighth in twenty-three runs and takes him on to career winnings of KRW 739 Million. For jockey Victoire it was his second Korean Group win following his success on Dolkong in last year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup while it was a first for trainer Lee Gwan-ho.

The win was notable on a number of fronts. Morfhis, who up until now was seen as a solid dependable class 1 campaigner with a strong finish who specialises at seven-furlongs, now finds himself in the top echelon of Korean sprinters and a serious contender for September’s Korea Sprint (should that race take place).

It also provided the rare sight of a top level Korean sprint race by a horse coming from well off the pace. While Doraonpogyeongseon, who won this race in both 2017 and 2018, was by no means a front-runner, he would usually emerge from a relatively handy position. Two furlongs out on Sunday, Morfhis was still in 11th place.

While beaten, Do Kki Blade confirmed his place among the elite and still has every chance of going on to claim the overall Sprint Series win but another big story coming out of the race was the emergence of Eoma Eoma. The three-year-old entered the race having not had to face a serious challenge in three prior outings yet despite drawing an unfavourable gate, only went down by less than half a length on the line after an excellent ride by Song Jae-chul.

Gaon Champ and Simjangui Godong both had off-days but will be expected to bounce back while the ever awkward Global Captain missed the start before running on well. At their best, all three can be winning chances in future feature races.

The calendar may now be up in the air for all these horses. The Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy was originally supposed to be the first leg of the Sprint Series in March. It is now tentatively scheduled for August 23rd. Then there is the Korea Sprint itself, still scheduled for September 13th.

Whatever happens in terms of the schedule, there is plenty to look forward to with these sprinters.

Cheongdam Dokki Monsters YTN Cup Rivals In Record Busting Romp

For the second time in a month, Cheongdam Dokki savaged his rivals over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday, claiming an easy win in the G3 YTN Cup and in the process broke Dongbanui Gangja’s eleven-year-old track record for the distance.

Just four weeks after his dominant victory in the Herald Business Cup and facing a largely similar set of opponents, Cheongdam Dokki was always set to be a prohibitive favourite in a race which served as the second leg of the “Stayer Series”. And just as he did in the Herald, he stamped his authority on the race right from the start, crossing from gate eight under jockey Park Tae Jong and straight into the lead.

At his best, Cheongdam Dokki’s cruising speed is so superior to his local rivals at least in the absence of Moonhak Chief – that there was never a danger of him doing too much too soon and being caught. Instead he continued to run away from them, recording a nine-length winning margin on the line and taking six tenths of a second off the mark set by Dongbanui Gangja in the Owners’ Association Trophy in June 2009.

Behind Cheongdam Dokki, Tiz Plan and Shamrocker came home 2nd and 3rd in a repeat of the Herald Business trifecta. Buhwarui Banseok ran 4th.

The final leg of the Stayer Series is the G2 Busan Mayor’s Cup which is currently scheduled for August 16th at the slightly shorter distance of 1800M. All being well, Cheongdam Dokki would then likely be pointed to the Korea Cup on September 13th, the KRA Cup Classic on October 11th and then conclude his year taking another crack at a race that so far eludes him, the Grand Prix Stakes.

A six-year-old American-bred gelding by To Honor And Serve and out of Elusive Gold (by Strike The Gold), Cheongdam Dokki has now won 15 of 29 career starts for prize money of just over KRW 2.8 Billion.

YTN Cup Day Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (July 19)

It’s Dokki Day in Seoul! Cheongdam Dokki roared back into form winning the Herald Business Cup a month ago. On Sunday afternoon he faces familiar rivals in the G3 YTN Cup. The YTN is the feature on a 14-race Sunday program which runs from 10:25 to 18:00, There is also a 5-race card at Busan. Here are the previews:

Dokki YTN.jpg

Cheingdam Dokki beat Tiz Plan, Shamrocker (hidden) and Rock Hard Seven in the Herald Business. All four return in the YTN (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Twelve juvenile maidens go around in the opener with all but one racing for the very first time. This is one of those occasions, however, when we need to side with experience because (10) OXFORD KING put in an extremely encouraging debut on June 21st, finishing in 2nd place at this distance. The Summer Front colt previously posted trial times that were quicker than any of the first-timers here have managed and despite the wide draw, he should win. As for those first-timers, (3) BRIGHT VICTOR won her trial leading all the way and can be expected to push for the early lead here from a favourable draw. (1) K N TEUKGEUP looked comfortable in his heat when recording a useful time and the trainer/jockey combination will ensure he has plenty of support first up. (9) THE KING BLADE and (11) ROYAL YEONGGWANG are others to keep an eye on.

Selections (10) Oxford King (1) K N Teukgeup (3) Bright Victor (9) The King Blade
Next Best 11, 8
Fast Start 2, 3, 7, 10

 

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The Korean-bred three-year-old gallopers line up in the second event. (5) ROCK BEAT looks hard to beat after finishing second on debut last start behind Wonderful Storm, when clocking a quick time. The filly sat on speed last start, barrier five will allow rider Ha Jung-hun to let his mount roll forward and ask her for an effort at the top of the straight. (8) AFLEET MARINE finished just behind Rock Beat last start finishing third in the same event. The filly settled further back however before making up ground in the second half of the race. (4) SPRING COME resumes after finishing second back in February before the hiatus. The chestnut trialed up in fair style, with a good draw he should get an economic run and is capable of filling a place. (6) LEGEND WIN drops back to the five furlongs after finishing third behind Yaho Golden Cat last start. He tried to lead throughout last start, we imagine the tactics here will be to work forward early and try and hold off the late runs of his opposition.

Selections (5) Rock Beat (8) Afleet Marine (4) Spring Come (6) Legend Win
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 5, 6

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Competitive maiden for three-year-olds here. (3) GRACE QUEEN ran a good 3rd on debut on June 20th at this distance and although well back behind a good winner, showed progress from her trials and she looks like she’ll be in the winner’s circle before too long. She’ll be aiming to get on pace from the start and she can win. (1) K.N. POWER ran 5th in the same race and also has scope for improvement. Across her trials and debut she’s looked like she may want further but will be competitive again in this company. (4) BEST FAMILY was slightly slower in her debut on June 21st but rallied well for 4th and can build on that today. Draw a line through the performance of (9) EAST ONE three weeks ago as he stumbled at the start and never really recovered. He has found the minor placings a couple of times already though and should go close here. (11) MAY BLUE looks to be figuring things out and ran a strong 3rd at this distance two weeks ago. The draw does her no favours but if she overcome that to get a forward position, she has more than a chance. (2) POTENTIAL ENERGY caught the eye when winning a June trial and looks set to improve.

Selections (3) Grace Queen (1) K. N. Power (11) May Blue (9) East One
Next Best 2, 4, 12
Fast Start 3, 4, 11

 

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million 

Another bunch of three-year-old gallopers line up in the fourth, this time going over the 1400m. (3) OLD BLADE looks the one to beat after showing a good turn of foot last time out to finish second behind Blue K. She should appreciate the services of Moon Se-young combined with the minor step up to the 1400m. (12) THE DREAM looks next best after sitting on speed when resuming and finishing second to Top Seed. The chestnut will have to overcome the outside gate early to be given a winning chance. (2) POWER MUSIC hit the line well last start when fifth in the event that Old Blade lined up in. If the filly can settle closer she can run into the money. (6) THUNDER WIND looks next best after finishing second behind Meotjin Seungbu. The time was not overly quick but he appears and each way commodity in the race.

Selections (3) Old Blade (12) The Dream (2) Power Music (6) Thunder Wind
Next Best 5, 8
Fast Start 4, 12

 

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) BALBATU steps up in class having secured his maiden win at the third time of asking over 1200M on June 20th. He actually started poorly that day, spotting his rivals a few lengths with a lazy start but went on to run them down pleasingly and that suggests the increase in trip won’t trouble him unduly today. (7) SPEED HEUKRYONG drops back in trip having run 2nd to Milky Sherry over 1700M on June 20th. He put in a strong front-running performance in that race and can be expected to be on speed again with solid claims to be involved at the business end of the race. (5) LUXURY CAPTAIN has a track record of being a bit of a pain to deal with as he proved two weeks ago when starting badly and then racing ungenerously throughout. He does have a bit of talent about him though and with improved manners can be a danger. (1) GOD OF SOCKS resumes for the first time since the restart and is another with ability in this company. (8) BARAMUI MISO and (9) FLYING JOY others in the placing frame. There is very little early speed engaged here so the latter of that pair may find it easy to get to the front.

Selections (4) Balbatu (7) Speed Heukryong (1) God Of Socks (8) Baramui Miso
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 1, 9

 

Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The three-year-old imports line up in the second event as they all look for their maiden victory. (2) ARA ROSE resumed in good style last time out when clocking a quick time to finish second behind Geuma Mystic. She positioned behind the speed last time out before hitting the line strong, a similar performance from a handy draw should see her go close. (4) WORLD TOP resumes after a good trial in April. At his last start he finished third behind Babel Hit over the 1200m, back in February. He sat closer to the speed at his second start which he should be able to do so once again with a good draw. (7) HWANHUIUI BANSEOK lines up for his first race start after a couple of trials. They clocked a fair time in his most recent trial suggesting he can run into the money. (1) ROYAL PENNANT comes out of the same race as Ara Rose where the chestnut finished fifth, yielding some ground in the straight. If he can show some improvement, he can collect a cheque.

Selections (2) Ara Rose (4) World Top (7) Hwahuiui Banseok (1) Royal Pennant
Next Best 8, 5
Fast Start 1, 4

 

Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

The fillies and mares will line up against each other in the sixth where there is plenty of speed engaged. (5) JEONGSEONG STAR resumes after an encouraging first preparation. The filly placed on numerous occasions before being promoted to this grade, where she broke maiden status last start over the 1200m. She trialed up in fast time in April and looks ready to put her best foot forward fresh. (11) GOOD WONDER looks one that will (more…)

Do Kki Blade Downs Gaon Champ In Busan Sprint Duel

Gaon Champ gave everything but ultimately Do Kki Blade was just too strong as the sprinting pair turned the Busan Ilbo Cup (KOR G3) into a two-horse war on Sunday afternoon.

Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ finished 2nd and 3rd behind Simjangui Godong in a blanket finish to January’s Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul. While that day’s winner was also present on the south coast today, along with a vast amount of the nation’s sprinting talent, it quickly became clear that only two horses were going to dispute the finish.

Gaon Champ and Alan Munro briefly managed to get on  terms and almost touch the lead in the final furlong, but  Kim Yong-geun was able to extract another effort from Do Kki Blade and the four-year-old ultimately pulled clear to take the line half a length in front of his rival. King Of Glory came home 3rd a further three lengths in arrears, while Simjangui Godong could only manage 6th.

“I’m very proud of him” winning jockey Kim told KRBC after the race. “Coming in he was still a class 2 horse with the lowest rating in the race, but he was going up against all the established class 1 sprinters. Then to make it worse he got the really bad draw in gate 14.”

Kim, who was winning the race for the first time despite having ridden at Busan for most of his career before relocating to Seoul three years ago, knew the start would be important: “I felt there was a lot of speed in the race so I couldn’t afford to be chasing but then he jumped out so well and I saw we had a chance to get across so I decided to go for it. Once we hit the straight, I knew he had plenty left.”

Veteran trainer Park Dae-heung, who last year finally captured a Korean Derby with Wonderful Fly, was also winning the race for the first time and he was full of praise for his jockey: “I thought the race could be lost at the start so I was disappointed with the draw. I told Kim Yong-geun it was up to him to use his judgement and he did it perfectly.”

The Busan Ilbo Cup, like all racing in Korea at the moment, was held behind closed doors and with the absence of any legal remote betting in Korea, local fans were completely shut out and unable to even watch the race on TV. Both winning jockey and trainer addressed that situation.

“I value this win of course” said Kim Yong-geun. “It would have been far more exciting if we could have had our fans inside the racecourse though. I felt this was a very good race and I would have loved for them to have been able to watch it live. (Covid-19) has been hard on all of us but I keep the fans in my mind all the time.”

Trainer Park echoed those sentiments: “I have had a lot of time to think during the shutdown and I realise how important our racing fans are. Just to be racing is a start and we must do it, but it isn’t the same. I want all our fans to know we race for them and want to see them soon.”

Gaon Champ will get his chance for revenge on Do KKi Blade when the Sprint Series heads up to Seoul for the SBS Sports Sprint in July, a race which will be the final tune-up for September’s International Group 3 Korea Sprint.

* At Busan on Friday, the star of the show was Pro Consul. The Peter Wolsley trained colt has had an interrupted career but looked superb when dominating a class 1 field in the concluding Mile Handicap, winning by a full eight-lengths under Seo Seung-un. Pro Consul is a US import by Freedom Child, who was himself imported to Korea earlier this year. The four-year-old moves on to five wins from nine starts and into contention for big races later this year.

 

 

Sensational Cheongdam Dokki Silences Sceptics In Herald Business Hat-Trick

Cheongdam Dokki rolled back the years, crushed all-comers and silenced the sceptics by completing a sensational hat-trick in the Herald Business Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

The six-year-old’s most recent win prior to Sunday was the exact same race, run in April last year with the race being re-scheduled this term after the Covid-19 forced suspension of racing.

Cheongdam Dokki was transferred back to Park Jong-kon after his most recent run in December last year.

Trainer Park was Cheongdam Dokki’s original handler, preparing the chestnut for his first nineteen career starts, yielding thirteen wins.

Park Tae-jong was aboard the six-year-old Sunday, when the flashy type brought up his third win in the listed feature.

Cheongdam Dokki was asked to work forward early by jockey Park, eventually taking up the role of pacemaker.

The To Honor And Serve gelding maintained the lead in the back straight, travelling strongly before being asked to improve at the top of the Seoul home straight.

Heuk Jeonsa, World Today and Great King all sat on speed in the race whilst Tiz Plan’s rider Johan Victoire improved his position in the middle stages of the 2000m feature.

As the field balanced up for the run home the only danger to Cheongdam Dokki was Tiz Plan but Victoire and his mount were unable to bridge the gap, with Cheongdam Dokki winning by four lengths.

Triple Nine and World Today appear to be the disappointments to come out of the race, both finishing well beaten.

The ever reliable Shamrocker, partnered by Alan Munro, came home 3rd in the race for the third time in three years with Bart Rice’s Rock Hard Seven coming home in 4th under Francois Herholdt.

The next staying feature to take place will be the YTN Cup in July where last year’s Korea Cup winner Moonhak Chief is nominated to make a return.

Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Moonhak Chief, nemesis of Cheongdam Dokki last year, is back in work having recovered from a fetlock injury that ruled him out of Sunday’s feature.

 

Round-Up

– Potentially on his way to the YTN Cup is Buhwarui Banseok. Bart Rice’s seven-year-old warhorse scored a superb all the way win over 2000M in Busan’s feature Class 1 handicap on February. Despite giving significant weight to most of his rivals, Buhwarui Banseok dominated throughout, shrugging off lighter weighted pretenders with ease to win by a remarkable five-lengths under jockey Seo Seung-un.

– Buhwarui Banseok’s victory meant that all three foreign trainers were on the board at Busan on Friday, with Peter Wolsley and Thomas Gillespie both training two winners apiece.

– The 2019 Korean Oaks winner Deep Mind has had an interrupted career since winning the fillies’ Classic. She offered little in two starts earlier this year but put that all behind her when romping away with Busan’s Sunday class 2 feature over 1800M.

– On Saturday at Seoul the star of the show was Morfhis, who like Buhwarui Banseok at Busan a day earlier, defied a high impost to see off an excellent class 1 field. Johan Victoire brought the five-year-old Stephen Got Even gelding through just in time to roll Gangtoma on the line in the seven-furlong Class 1 feature with Lil’ Patron and Spring Back a further two-lengths in arrears. Morfhis moves on to 7 wins from 22 starts, however, four of those successes have come at Class 1.

– Also, on Saturday, Ji Yong-cheol reached a career milestone when he became the fourth trainer in local racing history to saddle 900 winners. The landmark win came when three-year-old filly Milky Sherry took out the 1700M race 13. Only Kim Young-kwan and Park Dae-heung, along with the now retired Shin Woo-chul, have trained more winners in Korea.

– In breeding news, the Korean Mainland Breeders’ Association will hold its second Two-Year-Old sale of 2020 at the KRA Jangsu Stud Farm this coming Tuesday (June 23rd). A total of 72 lots are being offered with juveniles by Hansen and Take Charge Indy among those likely to be in demand. The

the sale will be streamed live on the KRBC YouTube channel from 10am (KST).

The catalogue can be found online at

http://studbook.kra.co.kr/neweng/html/eng_auction_list.jsp

Dia Road Downs Silver Wolf In Donga Ilbo Cup

It’s happened – she’s been beaten by a filly. Super mare Silver Wolf saw her hopes of a third consecutive victory in the Donga Ilbo Cup dashed in the Seoul snow by her own stablemate as Dia Road swept home to claim glory in the Listed event.

Dia Road Donga Ilbo

Dia Road in the Donga Ilbo Winner’s Circle

Having brushed aside the distaff division in all three legs of the Queens’ Tour for the second time in 2019, Silver Wolf did conclude last year with an uncharacteristically lacklustre performance against the boys in the Grand Prix Stakes in December.

While back in restricted company on Sunday, Silver Wolf wasn’t quite the overwhelming favorite she has been in these kinds of events in recent times. She was sent off as market leader but only narrowly ahead of Dia Road and last year’s Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup winner Clear Geom.

For a moment in the home straight it looked as though any concerns were unwarranted as Silver Wolf loomed up on the shoulder of Dia Road, who had led from the start, and briefly went past.

It didn’t last. Under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Dia Road fought back immediately and, with a 5kg weight advantage, pulled away to win by a full three-lengths on the line. Long shot Hwa Gi came in 3rd a further five-lengths adrift of Silver Wolf.

Dia Road, a four-year-old filly by Captain Coltish and out of the Menifee mare Gieongnal Geunal, moves on to six wins from seven starts with her only defeat coming at the hands of Clear Geom in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. Like Silver Wolf, she is trained by Song Moon-Gil and has been similarly sensibly campaigned.

As for Silver Wolf, she didn’t lose much in defeat, putting in a game effort while giving away considerable weight in blizzard-like conditions. She may still pose a formidable test for the younger fillies later in the year.

Dia Road and Silver Wolf could well clash again this summer when the Queens’ Tour gets underway with the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul on July 5th.

Gaon Champ & Triple Nine Both Beaten But Bigger Challenges Await

Listed action returned to Korean racing this past weekend with the Segye Ilbo Cup kicking off the 2020 feature race schedule at Seoul on Sunday afternoon. And it was last year’s champion three-year-old Simjangui Godong who prevailed, defeating Do Kki Blade and favourite Gaon Champ in a tight three-way finish. Meanwhile down at Busan, four-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine returned following a thirteen-month absence but was unable to overcome a 60kg impost in the class 1 Handicap.

Simjangui Godong Segye Ilbo

Simjangui Godong (number 12) gets up to deby Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Racing for the first time since running an excellent 3rd in last year’s Korea Sprint over the same 1200M distance, Gaon Champ was sent off as favourite for the Segye Ilbo Cup. For a first-up effort, he ran very well, recovering from a slightly sluggish start to put in a strong effort, briefly heading the field a furlong out.

He would be reeled in though as first Do Kki Blade and then ultimately Simjangui Godong swept past at the death with Simjangui Godong getting up to win by a head. It was a fine performance from Simjangui Godong, who was dropped back to six-furlongs for the first time having ended last season in big Stakes races around two turns, including a 3rd place in the President’s Cup that along with his runner-up finish in the Derby, secured him Champion Three-Year-Old honours.

It is likely that all three place-getters will next be targeted towards the SROA Chairman’s Cup, at the same distance on March 15, which is the first Group race of the year. It’s also the first leg of the Sprint Serie and it would be no surprise if  Gaon Champ overturns the form that day.

Returning from an even longer absence was Triple Nine. He didn’t race at all as a seven-year-old with his most recent appearance before Sunday coming in his victorious effort in the Grand Prix Stakes in 2018.

Such is his rating though that Triple Nine was assigned 60kg to carry in the 2000M handicap – 8kg more than any other in the race. With his customary late speed, Triple Nine almost defied the handicapper but it wasn’t to be as Jumbo Blade and New York Mangchi clung on to dispute a photo-finish – Jumbo Blade taking it by a neck.

Given the ansence and the weight, it was an excellent performance by Triple Nine and – his notoriously problematic fetlock issue permitting – one he can build on. At set weights there are still not many in Korea you would back against him.

Further down the ranks, things are looking quite promising. A couple of weeks ago, US import Mark Story (Dreamlicious) took his record to three wins from three starts, all of which had been achieved in fast times and in a facile manner. Last Saturday it was the turn of fellow American-bred Eoma Eoma (Algorithms) to burnish his credentials. The $60K purchase made his second start in Saturday’s race 8 and stepping up to 1300M, won by as many as he pleased, finishing just half a second outside the track record despite being eased down in the final furlong. Both look potentially the real deal and their inevitable meeting will be eagerly awaited.

 

 

Weekend Round-Up: Juvenile Series, Wonderful Fly Beaten, Foreign Successes

The 2019 Juvenile Series got underway on Sunday with Seoul and Busan both hosting their opening legs. The two tracks have separate 1st and 2nd legs before coming together for the finale at Busan on the first Sunday in December.

Both the Gold Circle Trophy at Busan and the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul had heavy pre-race favourites, but only one of those obliged with Save The World cruising to an easy victory on the South Coast. The Menifee colt moved onto three wins from three starts with an untroubled six-length score.

At Seoul, however, odds-on chance Choegang Team came up short as Roller Blade (Officer), who Choegang Team beat by six-lengths the last time they met, responding the better under pressure under jockey Kim Yong Geun, and running on to win by almost three lengths.

But never mind about next year’s three-year-olds, we still don’t have a clear picture about who’s the best of the current crop. Things were no clearer by the end of Sunday when Korean Derby winner Wonderful Fly and runner-up Myeongpum Chukje faced each other again over the Derby distance of 1800M at class 2 level in the concluding race 11.

At the top of the stretch, the pair of them were four-lengths clear of the rest and looked set to duel to the line. Could we finally get some idea as to who was the best locally bred three-year-old, at least in Seoul? No. Both capitulated in the stretch run leaving filly Clear Geom (Clear Attempt) to run through and claim the spoils.

Clear Geom was the surprise winner of the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the “Triple Tiara” to decide Champion filly back in June. In that race, she ran down the previously unbeaten Dia Road, who finally returned to the track for the first time since that day in a successful effort over 1400M on Saturday. In a division with no standout, Clear Geom perhaps now has as much claim as any to be considered the best of them.

As for the foreign contingent, Richard Oliver partnered Hwaranguichampion to victory in race 4 at Busan on Friday, while Bart Rice’s talented Adios Charlie colt Ssonsal registered his third victory from seven starts in race 10. The Rice Stable followed up on Sunday with another promising one, Good Dancer, who registered his fourth win from eight attempts, in race 2.

Ioannis Poullis was also among the winners on Sunday, keeping his partnership with top trainer Kim Young-kwan going for at least another week by winning race 3 on Power Touch. The Nokwon Farm bred colt is the first foal to make the track out of former Champion filly Useung Touch. One race later it wasn’t such a good result for Peter Wolsley’s Mr. Afleet, with the colt, stepped up to 1800M as he sought a fifth win on his sixth start, unable to run down B.K. Gambol – a filly he was giving 5kg to – coming up short by a head.

Possibly the biggest foreign success of the weekend though belonged to Richard Oliver, who closed out Sunday’s card riding Core Blade to a battling win over 1400M at class 1. The filly – who back in January was the British jockey’s first ride at Busan – held off a resurgent Hello Venus to take the line by a head. Core Blade’s dam Soseono is half-sister to Subsidy, who was one of the top horses in Seoul in the early 2000s.

Alan Munro and Antonio Da Silva both rode winners at Seoul over the weekend while new French trainer Tony Castenheira saw his first Korean runner, Choegang Singi, run a good 2nd in Sunday’s race 5. Castenheira opened his stable last month and currently has nine horses under his charge.

Finally, it’s well done to Lee Dong-jin, who is the latest jockey to shed his apprentice claim. Lee rode two winners on Saturday’s Seoul card to take his career tally to 40 and in the process lose his final kilogram allowance. Lee, who debuted in 2017 has a strike rate of approximately 7% from 560 mounts. He’s proven adept at positioning horses and is strong in the finish so a promising career could beckon.

Coming up this weekend, it’s a Korea Cup rematch as Moonhak Chief makes a quick return to the track to once again face Cheongdam Dokki and Dolkong in Sunday’s KRA Cup Classic.

We also expect to get confirmation of whether Korea Sprint winner Blue Chipper is going to ship to Santa Anita for a potential tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Mile – he’s already listed as a potential starter, along with Ambassadorial – the UK-trained runner who performed so well for 3rd in the Korea Cup. Right now, the odds are that he will.

Sensational Blue Chipper Smashes Mile Record On Way To Owners’ Cup Romp

Blue Chipper announced his arrival in the elite tier of Korean and then some as he left a Group 3 field trailing in the distance in the Owners’ Cup at Busan Racecourse this afternoon, demolishing the previous track record for the mile by over a full second for good measure.

Blue Chipper debuted back in September of 2017 but would only race twice more over the next fifteen months as a succession of injuries kept him off the track. However, since returning in April this year, he’s managed to stay fit and reeled three dominant wins, moving up to class 1 along the way.

Those victories led him to be sent off as favourite for the Owners’ Cup, ahead of defending champion Doraonpogyeongseon and Ace Korea. Ultimately it was no contest.

Away well, Blue Chipper showed immediately at the front of the field and while he didn’t start to extend until they came off the turn, once he did, the others were unable to match and the final margin of ten-lengths on the line could have been significantly further had jockey You Hyun-Myung so desired.

Blue Chipper’s stablemate Baengmunbaekdap pipped King Of Glory for a distance 2nd.

Blue Chipper now moves on to 6 wins from 7 starts. Today was his first crack at a mile and so long as he stays sound, he now must surely be a big prospect for either the Korea Cup or Korea Sprint at Seoul in early September.

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 19)

Friday racing is at Busan with 9 races from 14:30 to 21:00. Monsoon season has begun so heavy rain is a possibility:

RH7_2448

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

The first on the card has eleven maidens engaged to go over the short course. (2) USEUNGUI PARANGSAE looks the one to beat coming off a second-placed performance on debut. The filly was beaten just over a length when trying to lead throughout. The time was reasonable for this grade so expect her to lead and to win. (7) FORVER RUNNER is another filly having her second start. She showed early speed last time before shortening stride in the straight. She will be better for the run so expect some improvement. (10) ROYAL SOLDIER drops back to the 1000M after finishing midfield over 1300M last time out. His debut over the short course was encouraging when running a good time. (11) KKEUTPAN CLOSER looks best of the rest after finishing 5th last time out. Ioanis Poullis will be legged aboard the chestnut for his third start.

Selections (2) Useungui Parangsae (7) Forever Runner (10) Royal Soldier (11) Kkeutpan Closer
Next Best 6, 8
Fast Start 2, 3, 7, 10

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Nine two-year-olds will go over the minimum distance in the second event of the card. (6) MISS ADELE is the only horse with some racing experience. She was extremely green on debut when running down the home straight where she only went down by a neck. She sat three-wide throughout and based on her gutsy effort she should be hard to beat. (2) SAVE THE WORLD looks the main threat. The Menifee colt ran a handy 1.01.7 when finishing 2nd in his trial over 1000M. Top rider You Hyun-Myung rode him then and will be legged aboard for his debut run. (1) DONGTEUJA DAY was impressive in his trial. The Strike Again colt sat on speed and responded well when asked in the straight after being headed. They ran 1.03.5 on a dry track and there appeared to be no more left in the tank. (3) BLUE EMBER ran a similar time of 1.03.5 in her qualifying trial. She looks a place chance in a speedy affair.

Selections (6) Miss Adele (2) Save The World (1) Dongteuja Day (3) Blue Ember
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 1, 2, 6

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

The three-year-olds will battle it out over 1300M. (2) BANJIUI JILJU was sent out favourite last time out and was gunned down by Turbo Speed to finish 2nd. She was drawn wide on that occasion and will appreciate and easier run from gate two today. (4) SUNDAY GLORY ran an impressive time when 2nd behind Ever Champion last start. He has speed to burn so look for him to lead from a good draw. He will have the polished services of You Hyun-Myung. (10) TITLE CODE finished 2nd last time out over this distance. He was well beaten but his consistency has been good, and he can figure with the right run. (8) RAON FLYING looks a place chance as he lines up for his fourth start.

Selections (2) Banjiui Jilju (4) Sunday Glory (10) Title Code (8) Raon Flying
Next Best 11, 7
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

The fourth event has a filed of eleven three-year-olds going over the middle distance. One runner that looks like he will appreciate the step up in distance is (2) SAMSEONG DOKKI. He debuted over 1300M in mid-June and ran on well from the tail posting a fast sectional to finish 4th. Francois Herholdt will ride him again and don’t be surprised if he settles midfield or worse. (11) MORNING TAEYANG has each-way claims in the race. The Colors Flying three-year-old wasn’t beaten far last time out when 4th over 1300M (8) LISTEN TO ME was much improved last time out. The Peace Rules gelding sat behind the speed before finishing 3rd behind Daeheung Sidae. (7) TWO TWO CAPTAIN is looking to break maiden status at his tenth start. He placed for the first time over this distance last time out. Tough race for punters.

Selections (2) Samseong Dokki (11) Morning Taeyang (8) Listen To Me (7) Two Two Captain
Next Best 6, 10
Fast Start 8

Race 5: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Punters have several chances to decipher through in the fifth on the card. (10) EL DRAGON had a torrid run last time out and can bounce back with the right run in this (more…)