Racing Reviews

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:

RH7_2448

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…)

Advertisements

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.

Seouri Byeol Stuns Special Stone In Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup

Just when it seemed as though Special Stone was set fair to claim the title of Champion three-year-old filly of 2018 by backing up her Korean Oaks win in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, up popped 10/1 chance Seouri Byeol from the rear of the field to deny her in emphatic fashion.

Seouri Byeol - Korea Racing Authority

Seouri Byeol beats Special Stone in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Seouri Byeol had finished similarly quickly in the filly Classic at Busan in July but that day found two too many to pass and had to settle for 2nd as Special Stone dominated. At the top of the stretch this time, Special Stone cruised into the lead as pace-setter and betting favourite Blue Flag started to weaken and under jockey Kim Jeong-jun, seemingly had the race at her mercy.

That was reckoning without Seouri Byeol, however. Last with two furlongs to run, Park Eul-woon found a gap and his filly found top gear. Though still trailing with half a furlong to run it was clear she had the momentum and shortly after, she had the race, winning by no fewer than 4 lengths on the line from Special Stone. Nike Street, last in the Oaks, came home 3rd with a tiring Blue Flag 4th.

A filly by the Japanese-bred sire, Limitless Bid, Seouri Byeol was wining for just the fourth time on what was her twelfth start. Her colours, those of owner Kim Sun-sik, were last seen in the Stakes race winner’s circle on Final Boss after the 2017 Derby. It was a first big race win for her trainer Kim Dong-chul, a former jockey who gained his license in 2016. For jockey Park, it was his fourth success on a Group race.

At Busan, King Of Ace returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year. The American import by Malibu Moon won four of his first five starts in the first half of 2017 before suffering a bad injury. Although he returned at the beginning of this year he hadn’t quit been able to recapture his old form but he looked good when leading gate-to-wire to win the south-coast track’s feature handicap over 1400M.

Japan Doubles As London Town & Moanin Win Keeneland Korea Cup & Sprint

For the second year running, Japanese-trained horses emerged victorious in the Keeneland Korea Cup & Sprint. For London Town in the Cup, it was just as much of a procession as last year but in the Sprint, Moanin had to battle all the way to the line to see off a valiant challenge from Hong Kong’s Fight Hero.

London Town - KRA

Too good. London Town with Dolkong a distance 2nd (Pic: Ross Holburt/Korea Racing Authority

While his form coming into the race hadn’t been quite as imperious as last year, once he stepped onto the sand of Seoul, London Town stepped up. Local bettors remembered him too, sending the five-year-old by Kane Hekili off as the prohibitive favourite in a field that was reduced to fourteen, due to the scratching of Ennobled Friend.

Cup Presentation - KRA

Korea Cup Presentation (Ross Holburt/Korea Racing Authority)

London Town was drawn wide and this time he was taken on early by Korea’s big hope Cheongdam Dokki under Manoel Nunes. However, ridden by Yasunari Iwata, London Town asserted his dominance in the back straight going past Cheongdam Dokki and then stretching the field out as he galloped away around the home turn. The race was essentially over with the only questions being who would run 2nd and whether London Town would break his own track record.

The answer to the second question was “yes” with London Town shaving one-tenth of a second off the 1800M mark he set a year ago. The answer to the first was Dolkong as the Simon Foster trained four-year-old finished strongly up the rail, abeit a full fiteen-lengths in arrears. Clean Up Joy also finished well for 3rd place ahead of a tiring Cheongdam Dokki and the very game British challenger Forest Ranger.

Korea Sprint - KRA

Moanin (far side) sees off Fight Hero (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Moanin won the Sprint but had to work hard under Kanichiro Fujii as Fight Hero pushed him all the way to the line after the pair had come from well-back. Korea’s Doraonpogyeongseon was 3rd with US-trained Chublicious in 4th and up and coming local hope Ace Korea in 5th.

The official attendance on course at Seoul Racecourse was 39,228. Local betting turnover on the Sprint was KRW 4,062,473,800 and KRW 5,154,087,500 on the Cup.

Moanin Joe Fujii - Ross Holburt KRA

Joe Fujii and Moanin (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Gaon Champ Wins Again At Seoul

He may not be running in next week’s Korean Sprint but GAON CHAMP continued his march up the one-turn ranks with an effortless win over six-furlongs at class 2 level at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Gaon Champ KRA

Gaon Champ and Manoel Nunes win at Seoul (Pic: Ross Holburt for Korea Racing Authority)

GAON CHAMP missed the kick slightly but it scarcely mattered. Under jockey Manoel Nunes, the Ecton Park colt was quickly back on pace and comfortably left behind his flailing rivals in the home straight, the margin on the line three-lengths from runner-up GAMGYEOGUI SUNGAN although it could easily have been double.

It was only Gaon Champ’s fourth start of 2018 and only his seventh in total with injury setbacks having limited his appearances but after racking up his fifth win in such convincing fashion, class 1 is on the agenda next time. It will be more than a year until he potentially gets a crack at a Korea Sprint Crown, though.

Saturday at Seoul saw an American import producing the stand-out performance. Pioneerof The Nile colt MOONHAK CHIEF was 6th of 12 behind Cheongdam Dokki in the YTN Cup in May, before finishing runner-up behind fellow up-and-comer OP Seven over 1400M in July. In Saturday’s 1800M feature, however, he landed his maiden class 1 win, coming nose-to-nose with seasoned top-level winner GAEULI JEONSEOL in the home straight before easily shaking him off to win by two-and-a-half lengths. Still with scope to improve, Moonhak Chief moved on to six wins from eleven career starts.

Or was it the standout performance of the day? In Saturday’s concluding race 12, another US import SPRING BACK made just his second career appearance. The 2-year-old Gemologist gelding had won his first start over 1000M in July and proceeded to romp home once more, this time at 1400M. The winning time – set in a class 3 event – was faster than all but one class 1 race at that distance this year. His next start will be watched closely.

At Busan, Sunday’s feature race was won by CAPTAIN FORCE. An also-ran in the final leg of the Triple Crown in Seoul in June, the Kim Young Kwan trainee returned to winning ways in style, making all over 1800M for his first class 1 victory.

Next weekend is the highlight of the Korean racing calendar, the Keeneland Korea Cup and Sprint, two big international invitational races. Ten challengers from overseas have travelled to Korea to take in the locals in this year’s events.

Ecton Blade Enjoys Happy Busan Homecoming

Ecton Blade made his Busan homecoming a successful on Sunday afternoon as the Korean Derby winner ran out a four-length winner of the track’s feature handicap.

The last time he raced at home on the south-coast, Ecton Blade finished a close 2nd in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown before heading to Seoul where he was an easy winner of the Derby. He couldn’t follow up in the final leg, the Minister’s Cup, but is already assured of Champion Three-Year-Old honours. And while Sunday’s seven-furlong race wasn’t against the most taxing of opposition, the Kim Young-kwan trained colt showed he has plenty of potential for further success.

Under Franco Da Silva, Ecton Blade was quickly away but soon found himself under pressure from Tapipoint and Banjiui Jewang. In the straight, however, he quickly shook them off to run out a comfortable winner to move on to a career total of 6 wins from 11 starts.

On Friday evening, things didn’t go quite so well for another of this year’s Classic winners. World Sun finished 3rd in the KRA Cup Mile and 5th in the Derby before winning the Minister’s Cup. He was sent off an even-money favourite for his return to Busan in the night’s feature class 2 handicap but came up short in 3rd place as Master Win dominated for an all the way victory over 2000M.

Master Win (Peace Rules) was racing at Class 2 for the first time following an eye-catching eleven-length score over 1800M at the end of June. Friday’s win was only the three-year-old colt’s fourth in eleven career starts but he’s a horse that looks to be getting better and better.

At Seoul, Sunday’s most valuable race was a special juvenile contest for graduates of the Jeju Breeze-Up Sale. Only two of the field had raced before and one of the newcomers was a hot favourite going into the race. That was Limitless Bid colt Gyoryong Unu but while he led into the straight, he failed to hold off the fast-finishing Strike Again colt Bal Roe Ja, who took home the big prize by just over a length at odds of 20/1.

On Saturday, Seoul’s 1400M track-record-holder Sanggam Mama (Peace Rules) roared back into top form in the class 1 sprint feature. Coming out of gate 11 he looped the entire field to race into a big early lead and never looked like being caught, ultimately coming home eight lengths in front long-shot Ace Runner, who in turn edged favourite Winner Gold into 3rd.

The victory was Sanggam Mama’s first since his four-race win streak, which included that track record, came to an end late last autumn and moved the six-year-old onto 9 wins from 28 starts. It also saw jockey Antonio Da Silva to a late treble on the day. The Brazilian rider repeated that feat on Sunday, kicking home another three winners early in the card.

Haeya Finally Earns Big Race Glory in KNN Cup

Haeya has finally done it. The five-year-old mare whose career has been a litany of injury and other setbacks won the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour the KNN Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon to secure her first Group race triumph.

Haeya’s distant 3rd behind Silver Wolf in this race last year was her only previous experience of racing at a mile and while punters sent her off as slight favourite, there was plenty of doubt as to whether she could lead the whole way round – even in the absence of a clear star like Silver Wolf.

As it was, Haeya, drawn from gate 1, got to the front as usual but this time didn’t let go. Cheongsu Yeogeol and Ice Marine flashed home late but couldn’t quite get there, Haeya holding on by just under a length on the line.

1. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxholic (Macho Uno)] – You Hyun Myung – You Hyung Myung – 2.6, 1.4
2. Cheongsu Yeogeol (USA) [Run Away And Hide – Fan Appeal (Lear Fan)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.9
3. Ice Marine (KOR) [Officer – Runkerry Point (Giant’s Causeway)] – Song Keong Yun – 4.3
Distances: 0.75 lengths / Head
Also Ran: 4. Damyang Hwanho (USA) 5. GOld Blue (JPN) 6. Bright Star (KOR) 7. Ace Spinning (KOR) 8. I’m Your Mother (USA) 9. Shark Run (USA) 10. Rich Yeojanggun (KOR) 11. Hello Venus (KOR) 12. Rocket Queen (KOR) 13. Aceui Seonmul (KOR) 14. Yeonghui Sidae (KOR) 15. Sojunghan Somang (USA) 16. Uju Star (KOR)