Racing Reviews

Ace Korea Downs His Seniors In Kookje News Cup

Ace Korea produced a breakout performance to win the Kookje News Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The three-year-old dominated a field containing some of the nation’s best sprinters as he cruised to a two-and-a-half length victory.

Ace Korea - KRA

Ace Korea (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Always set to be a battle of the up and comers against the established stars, the five-year-old Doraonpogyeongseon, recognised as the current top one-turn horse in Korea was sent off as slight favourite ahead of Ace Korea with Today and champion mare Silver Wolf also well supported. Ultimately Ace Korea was untouchable.

He didn’t even get off to the best of starts. While Perdido Pomeroy looped the field to take an early lead, Ace Korea stumbled out of the gate slightly with jockey Jo Sung-gon coming perilously close to slipping out the side. He held on and Ace Korea was quickly into stride and on the shoulder of the leader. When Perdido Pomeroy inevitably faded in the home straight, the young colt took things up and was a winner all the way.

Silver Wolf rallied home for a good 2nd with 80/1 chance Morning Daero grabbing an unlikely 3rd, a head in front of Today. Doraonpogyeonseon endured a difficult trip and once he finally found some room it was too late, and he could only manage to come home in 5th place.

An American import by Smiling Tiger and out of the Broken Vow mare Queen Rolex, Ace Korea is trained by Australian Peter Wolsley, who with the win moved onto a remarkable 497 winners in Korean racing. Ace Korea has accounted for six of them now and while this is his first triumph in Listed company, he had already dropped a big hint as to his potential when 5th in the international Korea Sprint in September having briefly led the race close to home.

A trip to the Dubai World Cup Carnival is a potential next step for Ace Korea. With his trainer still convinced we haven’t seen the best of him yet, he could provide a lot of interest come the New Year.

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 10)

There are 12 races at Seoul on Saturday running from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews: 

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Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Very ordinary maiden to begin with. (8) FINAL CAPTAIN and (5) CHANGSEONG ILHO have come the closest of these with both having a 3rd place to their name, the latter at this distance. Final Captain may be preferred here though. He didn’t go especially well on his first try at this distance last time but had a poor start and ran on well after. (1) PINEAPPLE MARK has raced four times in useful company so far and should improve here. (6) JEOKTO BIMA led for much of his first try around this distance last start only to blow up late on and she should have come on for that.

Selections (1) Pineapple Mark (8) Final Captain (6) Jeokto Bima (5) Changseong Ilho
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 6, 8

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

Juvenile maidens only here and six of the eleven are racing for the very first time. Taking the experienced ones first though and (11) SENTOSA looks to have a good shout here. She debuted in a valuable race in August before returning with a decent 3rd place at this distance a month ago. The widest gate may not be ideal but with a little improvement, she can win this. (10) BARAMEUL GEURIDA too did nothing wrong when 5th on debut back in September and returns here following nine weeks off. The rest of the likely ones come from among the first-timers. (7) CHARON BLADE is chief among them. She won a trial in fine fashion at the end of August and while it’s taken her a while to make it to the track, her stable is bang in form now and she should go well. (3) SUNSHINE TEUKGEUP and (6) WIND RIVER are others who showed some promise in trials and it may be worth watching out for them in the market.

Selections (7) Charon Blade (11) Sentosa (10) Baraeul Geurida (6) Wind River
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 3, 7, 10, 11

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens – eleven of the twelve are fillies and only three have raced before. As ever, we’ll start with the experienced ones and of the trio, only (1) HAE SAEM CHAN did much on debut, running 4th of 11. That was all the way back in August but it still might be enough to see her to favourite status here. The only trial winner was (9) MATCH QUEEN. She’s a half-sister to Hansen Glory who has been pretty useful in seven starts so far and will be well-backed first-up here. (10) LUXURY TOWN and (8) WONDERFUL WARRIOR trialed up together finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. There was four-lengths between them and that will be reflected in their odds today but both can go well. (7) SPEED FLYING is another to take note of. Trainer Song Moon Gil has had an uncharacteristically quiet time recently but could get back in form here.

Selections (1) Hae Saem Chan (9) Match Queen (10) Luxury Town (8) Wonderful Warrior
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 9, 10, 11

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(2) CHEONGDAM JEPAE returned from five months off in September and has run well twice since, both at this distance. He’s drawn well to get on speed today and he can go all the way. (3) LUCKY SOCHEON has only raced twice but she’s shown promise, improving to 3rd in the latest of those. She’s started slowly and run on well both times and the additional trip today should suit. (4) HEUNG BUJA did nothing wrong when stepped up to this distance for her second start last month and she too can continue to improve here. (7) STEEL RUN’s one previous effort at 1300M didn’t go well but she comes in here off her best finish to date when 2nd at the minimum distance a month ago and could be better this time. (8) M.J. TOWN is another with the potential to improve.

Selections (2) Cheongdam Jepae (3) Lucky Socheon (4) Heung Buja (7) Steel Run
Next Best 8, 9
Fast Start 2, 4, 5

Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) BODEURAM had a hard time when sent up to 1200M last start but back at the minimum today, should be much better. He has a win and a 2nd place from his latest two outings at this trip and looks dangerous here. (10) FANTASTIC QUEEN and (9) DOUBLE A came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on October 13th in what was arguably a slightly stronger race than this. Both met a bit of (more…)

Triple Nine Lands Sensational 4th President’s Cup

Triple Nine galloped his way in to Korean racing history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon as he cruised to an unprecedented fourth consecutive win in the President’s Cup. The six-year-old struck the front a furlong and a half from home and eased to a dominant six-length win to eclipse the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae, who won three straight editions of the nation’s biggest race for domestically-bred horses between 2012 and 2012.

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Triple Nine in the President’s Cup winner’s circle

At a packed Seoul Racecourse on a bright autumn afternoon, Triple Nine was sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 2000M test which for the past fifteen years has decided the Champion Korean bred horse of the year and has also been when the season’s three-year-old Classic winners face the best older horses for the first time. So that was to be this time with Ecton Blade and World Sun, winners of the Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup respectively both taking their chance.

 Neither was able to show very much. Ecton Blade, a stablemate of Triple Nine, was hindered by a wide draw and was scarcely involved while World Sun, a closer, did eventually arrive on the scene but far too late. Other fancied contenders Cheonji Storm and Gangtoma also offered little. Instead it was left to Gasokbulpae, more noted as a sprinter and sent off at odds in excess of 90/1 and who set a game pace throughout, and Yaho Sky Cat, a 130/1 outsider to get the closest, eventually finishing in 3rd and 2nd respecitively. Another long-shot, Ultra Rocket was 4th.

They might as well have been in a different race to Triple Nine. Kim Young-Kwan’s stable star settled in midfield and gradually improved down the back straight before being shaken up by jockey Lim Sung Sil on the turn for home. From then on it was inevitable and Triple Nine duly took a stranglehold on the race in the home straight.

 The margin on the line was six-lengths, the greatest in Triple Nine’s President’s Cup. The time was his second quickest, half a second slower than last year’s. Then though he had Power Blade to contend with. While this year’s competition may not have been the strongest, the sheer consistency of Triple Nine over the past three years, as well as his exploits in Dubai in 2017, surely takes him to the top of the all-time ranks of Korean-bred horses, even ahead of Power Blade.

 Bred by Isidore Farm on Jeju Island, Triple Nine has won 14 of his 30 races in Korea and placed 3rd and 4th in the first two editions of the Korea Cup. For trainer Kim Young-Kwan it was a record fourteenth Group 1 winner while for jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a fifth G1. Three of those have now been on Triple Nine in the President’s Cup while he matched his mount’s achievement having also ridden Indie Band to win the race in 2013.

It may not be over yet. The Grand Prix Stakes is a possibility next month and given Triple Nine’s career to date, a return next year for a previously unthinkable fifth President’s Cup is surely not impossible.

 

Dae Wan Ma & King Socks Claim Seoul & Busan Juvenile Crowns – Set For December Clash

Juveniles took centre-stage at Seoul and Busan on Sunday as each track hosted its 2nd-leg heat of the Juvenile Series. At Seoul Dae Wan Ma produced a gutsy fightback to win the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, while in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup on the South Coast, it was King Socks who prevailed in style.

Dae Wan Ma Dokki Blade Gwacheon Mayor's Cup - KRA

Dae Wan Ma (yellow cap) gets up to deby Do Kki Blade (Pic: KRA)

Dae Wan Ma entered the Seoul race with 2 wins and a disqualification to his name, the latter coming in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup last month when despite being 1st over the line, he was thrown out after causing another horse to unseat his rider coming out of the gates.

Under Antonio Da Silva, the Colors Flying colt was quickly on the lead but seemed to be beaten when collared by second-favourite Do Kki Blade with a furlong to run. Dae Wan Ma though looks to be made of stern stuff as he rallied up the inside rail to get back on terms and ultimately get his neck in front on the line. Myeongpum Chukje was a full five-lengths back in 3rd place.

Dae Wan Ma will now head to the Breeders’ Cup on the first week of December, the final leg of the Juvenile Series, as Seoul’s top hope. There he will face King Socks, who had an altogether easier time in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon. While Busan’s field was smaller it was no less competitive with the eight youngsters having already combined for 13 wins from 20 total starts.

Lion Sun set the early pace with filly Top Of World going with him. Once they hit the straight, however, neither were any match for the Kim Young-kwan-trained Officer colt as King Socks came alongside the leaders two furlongs out and cruised away to win by eight-lengths on the line under jockey Lee Hyo-sik. Yeonggwangui Secret passed an exhausted Lion Sun and Top Of World to snatch 2nd.

In other noteworthy performances across the weekend, the exciting World Day (Ecton Park) moved onto six wins from seven starts, making all to win Friday’s class 2 feature at Busan over 1800M while also at the Southern track, King Of Ace ran out a comfortable winner of Sunday’s class 1 handicap for Australian trainer Peter Wolsley. The US-bred colt by Malibu Moon burst onto the scene last year winning his first three races before being interrupted by injury but has now won his latest two and looks set to finally fulfil his potential.

Lead Money Wins Battle Of Greys In Jeju Governor’s Cup

Last Sunday’s Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul turned out to be the battle of the greys and with the pre-race favourites failing to fire, it was left to Ilgan Sports winner Lead Money to lead hime Sinui Myeongryeong to land a 280/1 exacta.

Oaks winner Special Stone was sent off the slight favourite in the G3 contest over 1400M but she was scarcely involved, ultimately finishing 6th.  Meanwhile the well-backed pair of Seouri Byeol and Ice Marine closed strongly for 3rd and 4th but were never in the hunt for the win.

Instead it was a two-horse race by the furlong pole and Lead Money (Exploit) ran on to comfortably defeat Sinui Myeongryeong (Hansen) by half a length on the line. It was the four-year-old’s fifth career win.

At Busan, the notable performance of the weekend came in Sunday’s feature as Ace Korea, the 5th place-getter in the Korea Sprint, returned to action at his home track and despite missing a step at the start, ran on to comfortably win over 1200M. He is definitely going to be one to watch in 2019:

 

 

 

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 12)

It’s Friday! It’s Busan! 11 races on the south coas from 11:30 to 18:00:

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Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(3) HOPEFUL SIMON came up short when favourite over 1300M two weeks ago, leading early but weakening for 4th. Today he drops back to a distance at which he beat a few of these on his way to 3rd place at month ago and he is favoured to make the breakthrough. (11) DREAM CAT and (9) HARVEST GOLD finished 4th and 5th behind Hopeful Simon in that September 7th race and both look like being top rivals here. (4) WONDERFUL WINGS was an improved 4th on her latest start four weeks ago and can continue to make progress today. (6) SUNDAY GLORY was a touch disappointing on his second career start two weeks ago. It was three months after going well on debut and he is worth another chance here.

Selections (3) Hopeful Simon (11) Dream Cat (6) Sunday Glory (9) Harvest Gold
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 3, 4, 10, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juveniles only here and four of the eight have raced before. Among them, (8) K PLUS WON is set to be favourite. He was 4th on debut in August and followed it up with 2nd place, just beaten half a length, on his return four weeks ago. He should have too much here. (6) MIGHTY POWER has a 2nd and a 3rd place from her own two outings to date. She was beaten three-lengths by K Plus Won last month but she is expected to be the main danger here and it’s possible she could overturn the form. Of the debut-makers, (1) CHODONG RUSH and (2) DAEHEUNG SIDAE both trialled up well and have to potential to make a positive start here.

Selections (8) K Plus Won (6) Mighty Power (1) Chodong Rush (2) DaeheungSidae
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 3

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens with four of the nine having raced before. (1) DAEJI CHAMP debuted inauspiciously in July but returned last month to run a much-improved 2nd, beaten by the well thought-of Glitter. He should be on the early pace here and it would be a surprise were he to be beaten. (5) JANGSAN JOY didn’t do much wrong when 6th on debut at this distance at the end of August and looks bound to improve here, while (9) B.K. GAMBOL steps up in trip for the first time having run a good 3rd over 1000M last month and it may suit. Of the first-timers, (7) WONDERFU EI won his trial but (2) REVERSE SWEEP was perhaps the more impressive, running through the line in a fast time and this looks an ideal debut-spot for him.

Selections (1) Daeji Champ (2) Reverse Sweep (5) Jangsan Joy (9) B.K. Gambol
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 1, 9

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(5) GIRL CRUSH debuted all the way back in May 2017 and wasn’t heard from again until July of this year. She’s run well in two starts back, finishing 3rd in both, beating a couple of these along the way and she looks set to get her maiden win today. (6) TOJONG CHAMP looks to be figuring things out with a 2nd and 3rd from her latest two, both at this distance and last time beating three she faces again here. She should get close.  (12) HUNTER PARK ran 3rd at 1000M at the end of August. He’s already gone well at this distance in the past and has claims today. (4) P.K. NINE and (11) INTERCEPTOR look best of the rest.

Selections (5) Girl Crush (6) Tojong Champ (12) Hunter Park (4) P.K. Nine
Next Best 11, 7
Fast Start 10

Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Tricky contest here with plenty in the hunt. (3) MACH RANGER ran 2nd in a in a good race at class and distance on September 16th, beating three of these in the process. He’s not the fastest of starters so may need some luck but if he gets a clear run, he can go very close here. Bart Rice’s (8) FELICE remains a maiden after nine attempts but has three runner-up finishes to his name and was a good 3rd at this distance last month. Today could be his day. (1) COMING AGAIN returned from almost a year out last month and ran creditably with improvement expected today. (5) EOMBEULLANG was a winner on debut in July and while she hasn’t found it easy in two subsequent outings, she drops to the minimum trip for the first time today and can improve. (2) DANCING BLAZE, a much- (more…)

Cheongdam Dokki Bounces Back To Retain KRA Cup Classic

Cheongdam Dokki successfully defended his KRA Cup Classic crown at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, taking victory on the 2000M Korean Group 2 event by two-and-a-half lengths and taking the first steps to putting defeat in the Billion Won Korea Cup International race last month firmly behind him.

Dolkong was a morning scratching, the Korea Cup runner-up having injured the frog of his hoof in a gallop this week. Although close to making the race, discretion proved the better part of valour and he was withdrawn as a precaution with the future in mind but that still left a high-quality field for Chongdam Dokki to defeat if he was to bounce back from the humbling he received when trying to match Japan’s London Town for pace in the Cup.

Defeat them he did. Sent off at long odds-on, Cheongdam Dokki led from the gate under jockey Lim Gi-won, who was restored to the mount, and looked a winner every step of the way. Triple Nine, racing for the first time since finishing 3rd behind him in the Busan Mayor’s Cup three months ago, hit his top gear late to come home 2nd while three-year-old US import Munhak Chief (by Pioneerof The Nile) scored a very promising 3rd.

Champion mare Silver Wolf came home 4th but there was no luck for two-time SBS Sports Sprint winner Doraonpogyeongseon, who ended up 6th of the 8 on his first try at 2000M.