Racing Reviews

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 22)

It’s Owners’ Cup weekend in Busan and Moon Se-young is among the Seoul jockeys in town for Sunday’s big race in which he will be partnering Raon The Fighter. He’s riding on the Friday card which has 7 races from 15:35 to 21:00. Here are the previews:

It’s Friday. It’s Busan

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(4) SPECIAL WIND stepped up to this distance at start number five on June 26th and overcame a wide draw to get to the lead, ultimately finishing a close 2nd. He comes into a much better gate today, can get an easier run early, and looks the one to beat. (6) GUREUMSOK SANCHAEK returned from six months out to run a solid 4th of nine at 1200M on June 10th. He ran through the line pleasingly enough, should strip fitter for the run and the additional distance can suit. (2) YONGCHEON comes in off his best performance to date when 4th behind Special Wind on June 26th. He draws well again and can go close. (1) ORANGE STAR and (10) DOCTOR KHALIFA are among other placing hopes.

Selections(4) Special Wind (6) Gureumsok Sanchaek (2) Yongcheon (1) Orange Star
Next Best10, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(1) STAR MATTA looks to have potential. He’s been well-backed in all three starts so far and while he hasn’t quite met expectations yet, he hasn’t run badly and comes in off a useful enough 5th of ten over 1400M on July 1st. You Hyun-myung climbs aboard and while that means he doesn’t get the benefit of an apprentice claim this time, he draws well and has a chance. (6) VIEW AMAZING is the only one in the field to have placed already, something he did two starts back when 2nd over 1400M. He too steps up to a mile for the first time and it may well suit. He probably starts favourite. (3) EURO STAR too may appreciate the additional trip. She has hinted at ability in recent appearances. (2) DANGDAE BLUE and (5) MEOTJIN HARU other potentials for the minors.

Selections(1) Star Matta (6) View Amazing (3) Euro Star (2) Dangdae Blue
Next Best5, 4
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 6

Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(4) SSAEKSSAEGI returned from five months out to run a good 3rd over this distance on June 19th when handy throughout. He should have benefited from that run, can sit on pace again and can win. The probable pace-setter is (5) FUNNY LIFE. She has finished in the top-four in all but one of her five starts so far at distances up to 1300M and she should be in this a long way. (6) SUPER CRACK has the fastest time among these for the distance. He can settle back and run on here and should be a danger at the business end of the race. (2) ZET CASH comes back in trip after recent efforts over 1400M that include a runner-up finish two starts back. He draws nicely and looks a place chance. (9) WONDERFUL SMARTY another in the minor money hunt.

Selections(4) Ssaekssaegi (5) Funny Life (6) Super Crack (2) Zet Cash
Next Best9, 3
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 6
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Calm Strong Claims KNN Cup as Raon First Well Beaten

23/1 chance Calm Strong led from gate-to-wire and held off the closing pack to win the KNN Cup (1600M KOR-G3), the third leg of the 2022 Queens’ Tour at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, with hot favourite Raon First well back down the field.

Calm Strong (right) hold off Wish Me to win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

Making just her tenth career start, Calm Strong bounded out of gate eight and into the lead while Raon First, dwelt slightly and was slowly away, having to settle in an unfamiliar rear position.

While Raon First did improve to 2nd place by the top of the straight, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to be her day, her customary acceleration was missing and she dropped back through the field, ultimately finishing 8th.

With You Hyun-myung aboard, Calm Strong was able to hold off the determined late challenges of Wish Me and Yeonggwangui Time, taking the line a neck to the good. Filly Triple Crown winner Golden Power was 4th.

Calm Strong is a three-year-old USA-bred filly by Bayern and out of the Broken Vow mare Diva’ Seastar. Imported as a yearling, she is owned by Lee Hae-lan and trained by Kang Hyoung-gon. Sunday’s victory was just her third but takes her career earnings to KRW 329 Million (US$250,000).

As for Raon First, jockey Choi Bum-hyun reported that having loaded first, his mare had to wait a long time in the gate and then didn’t get away well. He said that having got up to join the leaders, she didn’t maintain her momentum in the way that he expected. An initial veterinary examination found no obvious issues.

The Queens’ Tour goes on hiatus again now until the end of autumn when the fourth and final leg will be the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) once more at Busan on Sunday November 27.

Next weekend Busan takes centre-stage again with the Owners’ Cup (1600M KOR-G2). It’s a race that has in the past been won by the likes of Dangdae Bulpae, Triple Nine, Power Blade and Blue Chipper. Raon First’s stablemate, Raon The Fighter, is expected to run.

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 9)

The summer racing season continues at Seoul on Saturday with a 10-race afternoon and evening card that runs from 14:50 to 21:00. Here are the previews:

The lights will be on at Seoul Raecourse again this Saturday evening

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

Juvenile maidens here with five of the seven racing for the first time and one of the two experienced ones is set to be hot favourite. That’s (2) WORLD KING MAN, who produced a strong 2nd on debut on June 18th over this distance when sitting behind the speed and running on in a good time. He was well beaten by a good winner but showed enough to suggest that he won’t need to improve very much to take some beating here. The other experienced one is (6) ARGO TAP, who ran out of steam in the closing stages having led for much of the way around on May 28th. He should have come on for that run and with a good apprentice jockey taking significant weight off, he can get closer. Pick of the first timers is (1) TOHO SKY. He significantly improved on his second trial, leading all the way around in a fair time. He draws nicely to get a good early position here and can be in this a long way. (4) GEUMBITMA and (7) RAON FOREST others to look out for first up.

Selections(2) World King Man (6) Argo Tap (1) Toho Sky (4) Geumbitma
Next Best7, 3
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 6

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Three-year-old maidens. (6) CHAPEL PRINCESS is the one to beat. She has a 4th and a pair of 5th place finishes from three starts so far, all at this distance and in the process has registered a faster time than any of the others in the race. On her latest outing she led and beat a couple of today’s rivals and from a fair draw should be on pace again and go all the way. (9) TANSAN beat a couple of these when 4th on debut in April and then ran a creditable 5th on her reappearance on June 4th. She has gone well back both times before running on and that style suggests the draw isn’t an issue and she can be a danger in the closing stages. After that pair, the form drops off significantly. (1) VINCERO KING with the benefit of a claim and the inside gate looks the logical third-pick while it’s possible (5) HANGANG HERO and (2) BEST FALCON could improve.

Selections(6) Chapel Princess (9) Tansan (1) Vincero King (5) Hangang Hero
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start2, 4, 6, 7

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Tricky maiden with many offering light claims but few convincing. (10) WONDERFUL MUSIC looks as good as any. She has a 4th and a 5th from two outings so far and while her times have been nothing special they can measure up here. Her running style suggests the draw isn’t a problem and with a bit of improvement she could win. (5) CHANCELLOR is the only one of these to have placed, something he achieved two starts back over this distance, and that should be enough to send him off as favourite here. From a good draw, he’ll be on pace. (9) THUNDER NURI has the best time among these at the distance, recorded on a sloppy track in March, and while her subsequent form hasn’t been convincing, she may be worth an each-way interest here. (3) GRACE LEE, who raced twice indifferently last year, could be a better prospect this time, having won a June trial, and (1) SUMMER ACE others in the frame.

Selections(10) Wonderful Music (5) Chancellor (9) Thunder Nuri (3) Grace Lee
Next Best1, 6
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 10

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Fillies only here and it’s hard to look far past (5) HIDDEN BLADE. Having trialed up well at the second attempt in April, she debuted on June 4th and ran a close 3rd in a good time at this distance having settled midfield and ran on. She should have come on for that experience and with some natural improvement today, she should win this. (6) LUCKY INDY didn’t get off to a good start on her latest appearance on April 17th when beaten by a couple of today’s rivals. The time before though she was an on pace 2nd and having returned from a couple of months off and with a better break, she can get close today. (3) ZELOS was a much-improved 2nd on June 12th at this distance. From a good draw, she can keep her momentum going today. (9) RALLY QUEEN and (4) GEOSEN GANGJA others who can place.

Selections(5) Hidden Blade (6) Lucky Indy (3) Zelos (9) Rally Queen
Next Best4, 2
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 6

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) INVICTUS was a good winner over 1200M at class 6 level three starts back and has subsequently run competently enough for 4th and 5th in two tries at this level over 1400M and 1300M. She stays at the same weight, draws a nice gate, and has claims here. The main danger is (7) BYEORAK. His solitary win came at this distance in January and he comes in having run a class and distance 5th on his latest start on June 18th. Moon Se-young climbs aboard and he is sure to have backers today. (5) THE FAVORITE once again won’t have that status but while she is yet to win in seven attempts, she has five top-four finishes. She likes to be on pace so draws well and carries a light weight. (8) CHADOL RUN comes up in class having secured her maiden win over 1200M a month ago and along with (6) LONDON QUEEN can be considered for the minors.

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Winner’s Man Completes Stayer Sweep

It’s long been known as the “Summer Grand Prix”, and this year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup (1800M KOR-G2) didn’t disappoint as Winner’s Man completed a clean-sweep of the Stayer Series at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, propelling him one step closer to a clash with the internationals in September’s Korea Cup while also confirming a generational change at the elite level of Korean racing.

Despite having won the first two legs of the Stayer Series, the Herald Business Trophy (2000M KOR-L) and the YTN Cup (2000M KOR-G2), Winner’s Man was only sent off as second-favourite for the nine-furlong Mayor’s Cup as punters backed Grand Prix Stakes winner Haengbok Wangja to avenge his YTN defeat.

As it turned out, the perils of anything but a low draw in a big field over the 1800M at Busan, what with its short run to the first turn, ensnared Haengbok Wangja as following a slightly below par jump from the gate, Haengbok Wangja found himself pushed wide on the first corner and trailing the field. While he would ultimately record the second fastest final furlong time of all of them, it was in vain, and he finished 9th.

Winner’s Man wins the Mayor’s Cup (KRA)

That left double Classic winner and runner-up to Winner’s Man in the 2021 Derby, Hit Yegam, to claim the early lead with Winner’s Man matching him stride for stride. They would remain that way until the home straight when Winner’s Man finally shook off old rival Hit Yegam, who was the colt who beat him to Champion Three-Year-Old honours last year, and Winner’s Man strode away for a three-length win.

The always prominent Simjangui Godong ran on powerfully for 2nd with up and coming four-year-olds Success Macho and King Of The Match in in 3rd and 4th. Hit Yegam, after his early exertions, was 5th.

“I’m really happy” winning trainer Choi Ki-hong told national broadcaster KBS, which screened the race live on their N Sports channel.  “The race played out exactly as we had planned but that was only possible due to the hard work of everyone at the stable who made sure everything was right for Winner’s Man today.”

“(Jockey) Seo Seung-un really played his part too, he gave Winner’s Man the perfect ride. It’s a huge achievement for the horse and for us to win all three races in this series and we’ll make sure to keep Winner’s Man happy and plan carefully for what is to come next”.

Ultimately that could be the Korea Cup (1800M-G3) in Seoul on September 4th with the international race set to return for the first time since 2019. On today’s evidence, Winner’s Man is at least worth a chance against overseas opposition and with Korean-bred runners occupying six of the first seven places in the Mayor’s Cup, there is little to fear, either in the international race or in the imminent resumption of imported racehorses.

The Mayor’s Cup also signaled a confirmation of the changing of the guard. Simjangui Godong was the only horse older then four in the top five and the only three runners aged seven or above, occupied the last three places. Longest shot on the board Super Socks was one of those but he was at least in touch with the field.

That wasn’t the case for Cheongdam Dokki and Blue Chipper. The latter bled for the second time in as many races and while he was a winner as recently as January and Dokki as recently as last autumn, it seems that retirement is the best option for both champions now.

Winner’s Man is now where Cheongdam Dokki and Blue Chipper were when they were four years old. The future is a bright one.

Race Video (English): https://youtu.be/4jRRxWA53Zc

Winner’s Man Jockey Cam: https://youtu.be/t0KB5hLmVhY

Captain Yankee Adds Minister’s Cup to Cup Mile

Captain Yankee produced a late burst of speed to deliver an emphatic win in the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday, adding to his KRA Cup Mile victory in April and all but confirming his status as Champion Three-Year-Old.

Captain Yankee and Jo In-kwon acknowledge the Seoul Racecourse crowd (Pic: KRA)

Having finished 3rd in the Derby, Captain Yankee was sent off as third in the betting market behind that day’s victor Winner Star while punters also kept faith with Complete Value, the beaten favourite in both the Cup Mile and Derby.

As he had done in both previous Triple Crown races, Seungbusa set out to make all, allowing jockey Jo In-kwon to settle Captain Yankee in midfield and steadily improve as the sixteen-strong field made their way off the back and towards the final turn in the ten-furlong test.

The distance was new for every horse in the race and Seungbusa, who had battled on well for 3rd in the Cup Mile and 2nd in the Derby, this time gave way with just under two-furlongs to run as Complete Value struck the front. His lead would be short-lived though and once Captain Yankee pounced at the furlong pole, there was only going to be one winner.

Flying The Champ, who didn’t run in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown closed strongly for 2nd, three-lengths behind the winner, while Complete Value held on for 3rd ahead of Saryeoni First. The 94/1 outsider appeared on the scene from nowhere having been last for most of race but posted a final furlong time quicker than any other runner including the winner. Winner Star was never a factor and finished in 7th.

Captain Yankee is by Old Fashioned, who stands privately in Korea at Challenger Farm. He is out of Can’t Rezist (by Action This Day) and was bred by Lee Kwang-lim. The Minister’s Cup was his seventh race start and his fourth career win.

The Minister’s Cup win saw Captain Yankee’s new rating stand provisionally at 80 which will mean he will be able to race at least once at class 2 level. That’s the same as Touch Star Man was awarded following his Minister’s Cup win in 2000M and they both had similar form coming into the race.

With the Triple Crown series coming to an end, so too do Graded races restricted to three-year-olds. A return to Seoul for November’s President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) is the probable long-term target for Captain Yankee.

Next Sunday, the Sprint Series continues with Eoma Eoma set to return in the SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3) at Seoul Racecourse. Raon The Fighter is not expected to run, but Black Musk, who came over the top to win the SROA Chairman’s Sprint last month, as well as East Jet and 2020 winner Morfhis are all in line for starts.

Golden Power Sweeps Filly Triple Crown while Raon First Dominates Ttukseom Cup

Raon First asserted her authority atop the filly and mare ranks at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday with a dismissively easy win in the Ttukseom Cup (1400M KOR-G2) and in doing so, moved closer to what seems an inevitable victory in the Queens’ Tour. A potential new foe has appeared, however, as a day earlier on the same track Golden Power completed a clean sweep of the filly Triple Crown with a similarly comprehensive triumph in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3).

Golden Power and Choi Si-dae return to scale (Pic: KRA)

Returned to its early spot on the calendar, the filly Triple Crown – or “Triple Tiara” as it is known locally – was a three-way affair throughout the series between the only fillies who really looked up to the task at this stage; Golden Power, who secured narrow wins in the Luna Stakes (1600M KOR-L) and the Korean Oaks (1800M KOR-G3), and rivals Raon The Spurt and Chamjoeun Chingu, who filled out the placings in both those races.

Mindful of the extended trip, punters couldn’t split Golden Power and Raon The Spurt, the latter having finished off very well in the Oaks and sent them off as practically co-favourites in Saturday afternoon’s Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup.

Outsider Lunar Silver bounded out of the gate and led for most of the way around but as they got down to business in what was unchartered territory distance-wise for the entire field in the home straight, the usual suspects amassed at the front.

Then Golden Power took control. She struck the front just inside the final furlong and eased clear to score by four-lengths on the line from Raon The Spurt in 2nd with the fast finishing Eunseong Winner edging out Chamjoeun Chingu for 3rd.

Golden Power is by Afleet Express and is out of Cherokee Sheikh (by Cherokee Run). Owned and bred by Song Boing-chul, she is trained by Kwon Sung-ju at Busan and was ridden in all three legs of the filly Triple Crown, by Choi Si-dae. She now has five wins from ten starts.

A likely target next year for Golden Power is the Queens’ Tour and potential meeting, with Raon First, who on Sunday all but wrapped up victory in this year’s series with two races to spare by winning the Ttukseom Cup as easy as her triumph in the Segye Ilbo.

Raon First was an easy winner of the Ttukseom Cup (Pic: KRA)

Sent off as an almost un-bettable favourite in the local market, Raon First settled in 2nd place early with jockey Choi Si-dae content to allow second-favourite Wish Me, who was drawn much better, to set the pace. That’s how it remained until the home straight and once Choi asked for an effort, Raon First’s superior acceleration took her to the lead and away from the field.

Wish Me held on for a battling 2nd place four-lengths behind the winner, while Lady Kelly also stayed on well for 3rd.

Raon First is by Musket Man and is out of Pink Candy (by Southern Image). She was bred by her owner Son Chun-soo and is trained by Park Jong-kon at Seoul, who trains the majority of the “Raon” horses. The Ttukseom Cup was Raon First’s eleventh win from eighteen starts.

The third leg of the Queens’ Tour is the KNN Cup (1600M KOR-G3) which will be run at Busan on Sunday July 17th. The series then goes on hiatus for four months before the concluding race, the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) on Sunday November 27th, also at Busan. Next weekend the focus returns to the three-year-old colts and the final leg of their Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2). The winners of the first two-legs, Captain Yankee (KRA Cup Mile) and Winner Star (Korean Derby) are both expected to be in the starting gate at Seoul Racecourse this coming Sunday.

Black Musk Beats Raon The Fighter In Sprint Series 2nd Leg

The unthinkable has happened again. The once unstoppable Raon The Fighter went down to his second consecutive defeat as Black Musk swooped in the final stride to claim victory in the SROA (Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association) Trophy (1200M KOR-G3), the second leg of the Sprint Series at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

At the very end, Black Musk got up (Pic: KRA)

Raon The Fighter had excuses for his reverse at the hands of Eoma Eoma in the first leg of the Series, the Busan Ilbo Sprint, last month. With that day’s winner currently on the sidelines, Raon The Fighter, who had previously racked up ten consecutive victories, was once more sent of as a hot-favourite among the eleven-strong field.

Just as he did in Busan, the favourite would take a bump coming out of the gate as Raon The Fighter and Black Musk came together, while Hit Yegam, the double-Classic winner from last year, bounded away and into an early lead. As he was in the Busan Ilbo, after that early setback, Raon The Fighter was ridden up hard to join the leader and the two of them hared off around the turn running wide and opening up a four-length lead on the field.

Despite those early exertions, it seemed as though this time Raon The Fighter would not be denied as Hit Yegam gave way approaching the furlong pole, but it quickly became apparent that he needed the line. Morfhis seemed to be the immediate danger, the 2020 SBS Sports Sprint winner barreling down the inside under Johan Victoire. The initially unseen and real danger though was Black Musk.

Leading just one as they entered the home straight, Black Musk went wide and moved through the gears under jockey Yoo Seung-wan. He and Morfhis, on opposite sides of the track, launched their challenge and with Raon The Fighter on the ropes, it was just a matter of whether they would run out of track. Morfhis did run out of track, passing Raon The Fighter a stride after the line. Black Musk though, got there right when it mattered, and came home the 28/1 winner.

Black Musk is a four-year-old American-bred colt by Flat Out and out of Upjumpedthedevil (by Tizdejavu). He was a $10,000 purchase by Rice Horse Stables at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearlings sale before being sold to Korean interests for $35,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales delayed Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in June 2020.

Owned by Kim Han-su and trained by Kim Dong-gyu, Black Musk is now a winner of eight of thirteen starts. For his trainer, it was a second win in this race after Cheonji Storm took the honours in 2018, when the race was restricted to Korean-bred runners only. It was Kim Dong-kyun’s third group success in total with the other one coming with Meni Hero in last November’s Owners’ Cup at Busan – a race over a mile in which Black Musk led, but ultimately finished last. For jockey Yoo Seung-wan, it was a ninth Group race win. Six of those previous ones were on the great mare Silver Wolf.

Morfhis rolled back the years in 3rd while again, Raon The Fighter didn’t really lose much in defeat. At the Busan Ilbo last month, he stumbled coming out of the gate and then ran hard and wide and this time, after a bump, he was ridden very hard to compete with Hit Yegam. Hindsight is a luxury, but both Lee Hyeok on Raon The Fighter and You Hyun-myung on Hit Yegam may feel that the early and prolonged speed duel was mutually destructive.

It could easily have been twelve out of twelve for Raon The Fighter, but with two runner-up finishes, he could still end up winning the series if he can go one better in the final race.

The third and final leg of the Sprint Series is the SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday June 12th. The leading finishers in the series will be expected to take their chance in the International Korea Sprint (1200M-G3) on September 4th. Don’t rule out Raon The Fighter, but don’t rule out Black Musk either.

Golden Power Wins Korean Oaks To Move One Step Away From Tiara Sweep

Golden Power moved to within just one race of sweeping the Filly Triple Crown, as the Luna Stakes winner snared the second jewel in the crown, The Korean Oaks (1800M KOR-G2) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Golden Power holds off Raon The Spurt to win the Korean Oaks (Pic: KRA)

The fillies who filled out the top three-places in April’s Luna Stakes, ultimately turned it into a three-way affair in the Oaks as well. Chamjoeun Chingu, nailed on the line last month, was sent off as favourite under Moon Se-young and she would set the pace.

Golden Power, after coming from almost last to first in the closing stages of the Luna, was ridden much more forward this time by jockey Choi Si-dae and immediately tracked the leader.

Raon The Spurt, instead of being ridden hard for the lead like she had been in past races, was settled gently from the widest gate by Choi Bum-hyun and gradually made progress up to 3rd.

By the top of the straight, Chamjoeun Chingu and Golden Power had opened a significant lead on the rest and when Golden Power came past her rival with a furlong and a half remaining, the race looked settled. That was to reckon without Raon The Spurt, however, who moved through the gears in the home straight and suddenly the gap was vanishing alarmingly quickly.

The line came in time though with Golden Power still a neck to the good when it mattered, with Chamjoeun Chingu a further two-and-a-half lengths in arrears in 3rd. There were nine-lengths more back to Eunseong Winner in 4th and then a further nine to a thoroughly outclassed rest.

Winning jockey Choi Si-dae felt the opening part of the race – very different from that in the Luna – today was key to the win. “Last time (in the Luna) the start wasn’t satisfactory” he told in-house broadcaster KRBC. “This time she started great, got into a good position and that was the main reason she could win the race today.”

As for her prospects of sweeping all three legs of the “Tiara” as the filly Triple Crown is known, Choi was non-committal but simply stated: “She got better today. Even better than she was last month. I am looking forward to it.”

That final race is over 2000M, and it is hard to imagine Chamjoeun Chingu posing Golden Power too many problems at the extended trip, even on her home track at Seoul. Raon The Spurt’s run was intriguing as for the first time in any of her races, she wasn’t ridden to lead. While the draw may have had a lot to do with that, it paid off and way she finished makes her a fascinating prospect back at Seoul

With regard to the rest, Wonderful Raise was backed into fourth-favourite, but having begun brightly, was on the end of severe interference at the first corner after Chamjoeun Chingu tightened onto Shy Dragon who in turn came together with Wonderful Raise, who had nowhere to go. The latter was shuffled back in the pack and lost interest in racing after that. Moon Se-young, aboard Chamjoeun Chingu was given a four-day suspension.  Wonderful Raise can perhaps therefore have a line drawn through her last place.

Eunseong Winner, though too far back, posted a final furlong time only one-tenth of a second slower than that of Raon The Spurt and she may pose more of a danger at Seoul.

Golden Power is by Afleet Express and is out of Cherokee Sheik (by Cherokee Run). She is owned by her breeder, Son Boing-chul of Winner’s Farm, and is trained by Kwon Sung-ju

The final leg of the Filly Triple Crown is the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) which will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday June 4. Next weekend Seoul hosts the twenty-fifth running of the Korean Derby (1800M KOR-G1).

Captain Yankee Swoops To Claim First Leg Of Triple Crown

40/1 chance Captain Yankee swooped late to cut down the favourites and claim the first leg of the 2022 Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean 2000 Guineas) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Captain Yankee wins the Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

With the fancied Aspen Taeyang a late scratching due to a hind leg injury, last year’s Champion Juvenile Complete Value was sent off as hot favourite for the 1600M first jewel, ahead of Winner Star, with Man Of The Year and Seungbusa the only other two in single digits in the markets.

When the race began, Beolmaui Star got the best of the start from gate number one and was joined on the early pace by Man Of The Year and Complete Value with Seungbusa looping across from gate ten to join them. Captain Yankee meanwhile sat in midfield as the front-runners set a fair pace.

The lightly raced Beolmaui Star would quickly weaken while Man Of The Year was always wide and never convincing and as the leaders entered the home straight, his challenge faded, leaving Seungbusa and Complete Value up front alone.

At that point it seemed it would be a duel of stamina between Seungbusa and Complete Value; a battle that only Complete Value could win. He did, seeing off Seungbusa with just over a furlong remaining. Victory seemed a formality but that was to reckon without the long-shot Captain Yankee, who began to rally and then close in on the leading two.

Captain Yankee would ultimately come through the gap between Complete Value and Seungbusa and go on to win by a full two-lengths on the line. Complete Value was 2nd with Seungbusa a further length and a quarter back in 3rd. It was a full eight-lengths back to the fourth placegetter, Unju Hero.

Winning jockey Jo In-kwon told in-house broadcaster KRBC that while he was confident in his horse, it wasn’t plain sailing: “I knew the pace would be very fast, but those leaders were so far ahead at one point that I thought that we would end up too far back and he might give up.”

“He hates kickback so I kept him wide and out of the sand and that gave us more to do, but just when I thought it might be too much, he responded so well and gave me his very best.”

Jo In-kwon is widely considered one of Korea’s most accomplished riders, but this was only his second Group winner since being licensed in 2008. It was his first big race win of any kind since 2012, when he was a fresh-faced rookie, about to go away to do his compulsory national service.

Now a grizzled thirty-five-year-old family man, Jo In-kwon admitted that he was nervous as Captain Yankee closed to victory: “I was very excited in the final furlong, but I tried to keep calm and make sure that we made no mistakes.” They did not, although it must be noted the jockey was deservedly – and perhaps leniently – fined half a million Won for his excessive and unnecessary whip use in the closing stages.

On pulling up, Jo sent a personal message to his young children, which was picked up by the on-board microphone he was carrying. “Yes, that was lucky, wasn’t it?” he laughed, referencing how the onboard “jockey cam” in the race was supposed to be carried by Moon Se-young, before Aspen Taeyang was found lame. Jo In-kwon offered to carry the camera, despite being on a 40/1 chance.

Captain Yankee is by Old Fashioned, who stands privately in Korea at Challenger Farm. He is out of Can’t Rezist (by Action This Day) and was bred by Lee Kwang-lim. The Cup Mile was his sixth race start and his fourth career win.

The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Korean Derby over 1800M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday May 15th.

Kim Hye Sun Lands A Treble In International Exchanges

Kim Hye-sun is no stranger to setting records, yet at Busan on Sunday afternoon, the jockey they call “Super Peanut” turned heads again, riding the winner in all three of the International Trophy Exchange races at the southern track.

Kim Hye Sun and Burning Party (Pic: KRA)

None were favourite. Things kicked off in race 4, the Selangor Turf Club Trophy. Seungni Magicqueen was sent off as the favourite, but it became apparent she wasn’t traveling smoothly on the turn for home and it was Kim Hye-sun on 4/1 chance Unju Eutteum (by Distorted Humor) who capitalized, going on to score by five-lengths with Seungni Magicqueen finishing in 3rd behind stablemate Alpha Star.

Next up was the China Horse Industry Association over 1400M. Copy That and Franco Da Silva were sent off as odds-on favourites but after showing near the front early, they didn’t threaten, and Ilnyeom Tongcheon (by Old Fashioned) came through under Kim Hye-sun to win by a full four-lengths.

The final race on the program was the Tokyo City Keiba Trophy, which being over 1800M and restricted to fillies and mares, only attracted a field of eight. Among them though, was established class 2 winner Queen Of The World, who was accordingly sent off a slight odds-on favourite.

Queen Of The World dipped when coming out of the gates and while she quickly made her way to the front, she was never convincing. Kim Hye-sun and Burning Party (by Bodemeister) took the lead on the final turn and never relinquished it, coming home three-lengths on front of runner-up Adele Pupil, with Queen Of The World in 3rd.

Having long since ridden the most winners of any female jockey in Korea, as well as being the first woman to ride a Korean Classic winner in the 2017 Oaks, Kim Hye-sun returned to race riding last year, ten months after giving birth to her son, and now lies 3rd in the Busan Jockey’s Premiership. She is a serious contender for the title.

There were also two Trophy races at Seoul.  The Jockey Club of Turkey Trophy was won by favourite Spot Flatter (by Cowbow Cal), who sat handy to the lead under jockey Ham Wan-sik before running on for a commanding three-length win.

The final big race of the day was the Gold Circle (South Africa) Trophy, a filly and mare test over 1800M. While Saryeoni Queen, an established class 2 campaigner, was sent off as favourite, she failed to fire, and it was left to the four-year-olds from last year’s Filly Triple Crown trail to contest the top honours. 

Queens Tour, a 6/1 chance, ran out the winner beating Rubicon by just under a length with Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup winner Eodigana a further five back in 3rd. Queens Tour was a first big race winner for jockey Jo Sang-beom.

English Race Videos:

SLTC Trophy: https://youtu.be/yWvkMl9NOCw

CHIA Trophy: https://youtu.be/XgXpOubFGaE

TCK Trophy: https://youtu.be/tfkvOItVjps

TJK Trophy: https://youtu.be/3GGqwqCKYHU

Gold Circle Trophy: https://youtu.be/1IEskEnsRMU