The Korean Derby

Korean Derby 2013: The Runners And Riders

It’s a massive weekend of racing at Seoul. The JRA Trophy gets things underway on Saturday afternoon and then on Sunday, it’s the big one.

Sting Ray and Kim Dong Young win the KRA Cup Mile - They are the Derby faovurites (KRA)

Sting Ray and Kim Dong Young win the KRA Cup Mile – They are the Derby faovurites (KRA)

A full field of 16 will line up for the Korean Derby. They are headed by KRA Cup Mile winner Sting Ray, who travels up to the capital looking to win the second-leg of the 2013 Triple Crown.

Three foreign jockeys have rides. Yukio Abe doesn’t look to have much chance on Last Mudae but Joe Fujii on Speedy First and Darryll Holland on Fantastic Jazz both look to have claims. Meanwhile, Australian trainer Peter Wolsley seeks to win his first Korean Classic race with Amell’s Atom.

With more wins behind them as a group than any previous Korean Derby, it is set to be a very interesting race. K-Pop girl group Sistar will be on hand to provide pre-race entertainment.

Saturday May 18
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including the JRA Trophy at 16:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday May 19
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the Korean Derby at 16:35
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:05

Here’s the full list of runners and riders with pedigrees, race records and trainer:

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 19, 2013 – 16:35

1. Awesome Tiger [Exploit – Variety Lady (Variety Road)] (7/4/1/0) Lee Shin Young – Cho Kyoung Ho
Promising colt who won at class 3 over the distance last time out although will need to find more improvement still here. One of a pair of runners giving Korea’s first female trainer Lee Shin Young her first Derby entrants.

2. Joy Lucky [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] (3/3/0/0) – Park Yoon Gyu – Seo Seung Un
Only debuting in February, there is still something of an unknown quantity about her, however, everything she’s been asked to do she has done very well including a win over the distance at class 4 last start.

3. Sting Ray [Forest Camp – Straight Cash (Straight Man)] (9/4/4/1) – Kim Jae Sub – Kim Dong Young
The KRA Cup Mile winner and therefore the likely favourite especially as the increased distance will also be in his favour – he’s already won over 1900 metres. If he runs anything like his best, he will be very difficult to beat.

4. Yapung [Menifee – Wild Life (Wild Again)] (10/3/2/1) – Kim Sang Suk – Chae Gyu Jun
Last year’s champion Juvenile has shown little this term. He was heavily beaten in the Cup Mile and there is little to recommend him here.

5. Suseong BR [Volponi – Storm Cat’s Kitten (Irish River)] (8/3/2/1) – Park Jong Kon – Shin Hyoung Chul
A well-beaten 3rd behind Brig last time out and it’s hard to suggest backing him to reverse that. Has consistently placed but in weaker company.

6. Heungnyong Bisang [Ft.Stockton – Miss Alwahush (Alwahush)] (11/4/1/1) – Kim Jeom Oh – Jo In Kwen
Over the winter he was one of the Derby favourites but while he began the year with a class 4 win over the distance, he form has dipped culminating in a poor run in the Cup Mile. Will need a lot of improvement if he is to compete here.

7. Brig [Menifee – Delicias (Deputy Minister)] (8/5/1/0) An Byung Ki – Moon Se Young
The mount of last year’s winning jockey Moon Se Young skipped the Cup Mile and comes into the race with back to back class 3 wins over the distance to his name. He won’t be favourite but he has a chance.

8. Unhae [Ingrandire – Silver Meteor (Creator)] (7/3/1/2) Park Byoung Il – Lee Sang Hyeok
Another who comes into the race after consecutive wins at 1800 metres albeit at a slightly lower lever. A place may be the most realistic hope.

9. High Five [Creek Cat – Nams Gulch (Gulch) (10/4/1/1) Oh Moon Sik – Choi Si Dae
Has won at Busan over 1800 metres in a fast time. Stepped up to class 2 last time and was finished a creditable, if uninspring, 3rd. Not one of the favourites but could cause some problems.

10. Titan [Creek Cat – Shar Baby (Talinum)] (8/3/3/2) Lee Shin Young – Ham Wan Sik
One of few in the field to have made it up to class 2, Lee Shin Young’s second runner is a half-brother of last year’s Derby runner-up Nobel Pokpung. He hasn’t actually won at higher than class 4. Always there or thereabouts, he usually finds one or two just a little bit quicker and that will probably be the case here too.

11. K Tap [Menifee – Summit Party (Ecton Park)] (6/4/1/1) Bae Sae Sun – Park Tae Jong
Like favourite Sting Ray, K Tap’s dam also won the JRA Trophy. K Tap himself hasn’t yet run as a 3-year old, his last appearance being his 2nd place in the Breeders’ Cup last November. Prior to the he won the Gwacheon Mayor’s Stakes. He was very talented as a 2-year-old but it is difficult to back him after such a long lay-off when there are so many capable opponents.

12. Major King [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)] (6/4/1/1) Kim Sang Suk – You Hyun Myung
He was 3rd over the distance in a class 2 race last time ending a run of 4 consecutive wins. A real talent, he has a strong chance to give his sire Pico Central a Derby win in the year of his untimely death.

13. Speedy First [Menifee – Speedy Deedy (Victory Gallop)] (5/4/0/1) Kim Young Kwan – Kanichiro Fujii
Cracking little filly who has won her last 4 starts. Untested at distances greater than 1500 metres, the Oaks in August may be a more realistic target, however, while a win may be asking too much, she shouldn’t be discounted.

14. Last Mudae [The Groom Is Red – White Aloa (White Muzzle)] (13/1/4/1) Ji Yong Cheol – Yukio Abe
Still at class 4 after 13 starts, there seems little to suggest that he is going to rectify that here.

15. Amell’s Atom [Menifee – Amell (Boston Harbor)] (10/4/3/0) Peter Wolsley – Jo Sung Gon
4th in the KRA Cup Mile, he dead-heated for victory in his last start. A talented horse, he has an outside chance of giving Aussie Peter Wolsley his first Derby winner. Champion jockey Jo Sung Gon gives up a weekend of rides at Busan to partner him, which is a good sign.

16. Fantastic Jazz [Menifee – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (7/4/0/3) Kim Young Kwan – Darryll Holland
3rd in the KRA Cup Mile, the half-brother of 2008 Korean Derby winner Ebony Storm has since been moved from Peter Wolsley’s stable to that of Kim Young Kwan. Hasn’t won at further than 1300 metres but looks to have a lot more to give. Darryll Holland, who was second on Raon Boss in the KRA Cup Mile, gets his 1st Korean Derby ride.

Jigeum I Sungan Seizes His Moment To Win The Korean Derby

Jigeum I Sungan ended Gyeongbudaero’s Triple Crown bid with a cool one-length win in the 15th Korean Derby at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

This is their moment: Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young in the Derby winner’s Circle

Sent off fourth in the betting, and ridden by Moon Se Young, Jigeum I Sungan made his move as the field entered the home straight and, while KRA Cup Mile winner and favourite Gyeongbudaero looked menacing on the outside and briefly hit the front with a furlong to go, Jigeum I Sungan was always travelling the better and was superior in the sprint.

Gyeongbudaero was even pipped for second as Nobel Pokpung, seemingly tailed off in the back straight suddenly appeared from nowhere under Japanese jockey Narazaki Kosuke to end up as the winner’s nearest challenger.

Done enough – Nobel Pokpung looms large but Jigeum I Sungan won’t be caught

It was a first Derby victory for jockey Moon Se Young and also for trainer Ji Young Cheol. Thirty-one year old Moon is the runaway leader of this year’s jockey championship and previously won the 2007 Grand Prix Stakes on Bally Brae. He’s married to KRA TV Announcer Kim Ryeo Jin and the couple celebrated with their baby daughter in the winner’s circle. As for Ji, a former jockey and now twenty-five year veteran trainer, although he has saddled Stakes winners before, this was by far the biggest.

Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) finished 5th in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, last month. Up until then, however, he had been showing consistent improvement with every start. Translated into English, his name means “This Is The Moment” and is taken from the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” (in Korean the “I” in the middle of his name is pronounced as “ee”).

Moon Se Young returns to scale after winning his first Derby

So J.S.Hold remains the sole winner of the Korean Triple Crown for at least another year. Gyeongbudaero gave it a go, but it wasn’t to be today. The surprise of the race was Nobel Pokpung and, while Narazaki Kosuke put in a good ride, it is tempting to speculate on just how close he might have got to the winner had he not been left with so much to do.

Good Time ran to form in fourth but the five fillies were disappointing, Powerful Miss G, the first one home in seventh while Cheoneun, so impressive three weeks ago, was last.

For the second consecutive year, a Seoul horse has won the Derby. However, Busan horses filled out the next three places and when this generation reconvenes for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in September, they will surely be back to challenge once more.

For now though, the stage belongs to Jigeum I Sungan. This is his moment. This is his day.

The Korean Derby (KOR.G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 20, 2012

1. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – 7.6, 1.9
2. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme – Shar Baby (Talinum)} – Narazaki Kosuke – 6.1
3. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.3

Winning Owner: Choi Sun Ryoung, Trainer: Ji Young Cheol, Breeder: Kim Sun Sik
Distances: 1 length / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Good Time 5. VIva Cat 6. Mega Tsunami 7. Power Miss G 8. Pillip 9. Grand Teukgeup 10. Dream Tower 11. Jjak Kkung 12. Dolpung Jilju 13. Pico Bout It 14. Cheoneun

Weekend Preview: The Korean Derby – Runners And Riders

Full Field Of Fourteen For Classic / JRA Trophy Heads Supporting Card

It’s the big one! The 15th Korean Derby is at Seoul Race Park this Sunday when Gyeongbudaero will seek to claim the second jewel in the 2012 Triple Crown following his victory in last month’s KRA Cup Mile. It won’t be easy. Good Time, Viva Cat and Cheoneun are among several with solid claims in what looks a competitive race. See below for a full run-down of the field.

Gyeongbudaero, seen here winning the KRA Cup Mile, heads the Korean Derby field (Pic:KRA)

It’s a big weekend of racing. It’s become a tradition that the feature race on the Saturday before the Derby is the JRA Trophy and this year is no exception as US import Grand Niner puts his unbeaten record on the line. Meanwhile at Busan, another unbeaten import Smoking Gun, headlines Sunday’s feature race. Other than that though, on what is set to be a beautiful weekend, it’s all about the Derby.

Here’s what’s happening when and where and then scroll down a little further for the Derby field:

Friday May 18

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday May 19

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including the JRA Trophy at 16:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10 including the Jeju Owners’ Association Trophy at 14:45

Sunday May 20

Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including The Korean Derby at 16:15
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45

The Derby brings together nine fillies and five colts. Eight are from Seoul while six have travelled up from Busan. Here is a full list of the runners and riders, with pedigrees and race records:

The Korean Derby (KOR.G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 20, 2012 – 16:15

1. Dream Tower (KOR) [Forest Camp-Hurricane Warning (Thunder Gulch (9/4/2/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
The most expensive horse of his generation at the two-year old sales last year, he was second to Gyeongbudaero in the KRA Cup Mile after leading for most of the way. In with a chance but will need to improve if he is going to reverse that result.

2. Good Time (KOR) [Yehudi-A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (9/3/3/0) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Champion Juvenile of 2011, he was favourite going into the Cup Mile but was a disappointing fifth. He should like the step up in distance though having beaten Gyeongbudaero oer 1800M in March. Will hae plenty of supporters.

3. Grand Teukgeup (KOR) [Menifee-Saratoga Campaign (Mt.Livermore)] Filly (8/5/1/0) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
The filly skipped the Cup Mile and, while she’ll be more fancied for the Oaks, she could be an outside bet here. The distance will be no problem and she won smartly over a mile last time out. That Jo Sung Gon comes to Seoul to ride her is also strongly in her favour – Jo stays home unless he thinks he’s going to win.

4. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee-Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] (9/5/2/0) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
After his impressive KRA Cup Mile win he has to be favourite, but he is vulnerable as he disappointed on his only previous outing at 1800M. He’s improved since then though and if he’s on form, he’ll be very difficult to beat.

5. Cheoneun (KOR) [Forest Camp-Naha (Silver Buck)] Filly (10/6/1/0) – Lee Dong Kug (Seoul)
She’s been frustrating this year. Dreadful in the Cup Mile but then very impressive when winning a class 2 race at Seoul at the end of last month. Indeed, KRA Cup Mile apart, she is the only runner to have won at such a level so far. The distance is perfect for her, but which Cheoneun will show up?

6. Powerful Miss G (KOR) [Revere-Miss Geology (Jade Hunter)] Filly (7/1/3/1) – Kim Young Jin
A late entry and little to recommend her. Out of her depth here.

7. Pico Bout It (KOR) [Pico Central-Bee Quick About It (Rizzi)] (7/2/3/1) – Ji Ha Ju (Seoul)
A colt that has slipped in under the radar this year. He was a solid second over 1700 metres last time out although the horse who beat him, Cheonseung, is hardly a world-beater. His time was quick that day but he’ll need to find more to be competitive here.

8. Mega Tsunami (KOR) [Cielo Gold-Asia II (Sky Classic)] (10/1/4/3) – Shin Hyoung Chul (Seoul)
Another outsider, he knows how to be involved in the business-end of races although this is likely to be too tough an ask.

9. Jjak Kkung (KOR) [Forest Camp-Fab Four (Yes It’s True)] Filly (6/3/0/3) – Lee Sang Hyeok (Seoul)
An encouraging third in her first attempt around two-turns last time out but in much weaker company. One for the Oaks.

10. Viva Cat (KOR) [Creek Cat-Babaria (Engagement)] (7/5/0/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
Fourth in the Cup Mile after two very impressive wins at Seoul. Back on his home track, he should be able to give Gyeongbudaero plenty to think about and under Cho Kyoung Ho, he’s a genuine contender.

11. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire-Solmaru (Mujaazif)] (10/3/4/1) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
A horse who has been getting better with every run, he was fifth in the Cup Mile. Could offer some value and he should go close. Certainly has the best name in the race.

12. Pillip (KOR) [Pico Central-Dancing Dot (Durgam)] (9/3/2/2) – Yukio Abe (Busan)
Surprise second place oer the distance at class 2 last time out saw him get his passage here. Yukio Abe rode him that day and accompanies him to Seoul. An outsider to keep an eye on.

13. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme-Shar Baby (Talinum)] (8/3/2/1) – Narazaki Kosuke (Busan)
Second to Geumdda over a mile last time out and has won over this distance. He’ll benefit from having Narazaki Kosuke in the saddle.

14. Dolpung Jilju (KOR) [Didyme-Alder Gulch (Gulch)] Filly (9/3/1/1) – Kim Hae Sun (Seoul)
Won the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup last autumn but hasn’t trained on well this year. Eleventh in the Cup Mile and it would be a surprise if she was to be able to compete here. Jockey Kim Hae Sun will become the first female rider to contest the Korean Derby.

Korean Derby D-4: All The Winners So Far

Gyeongbudaero Bidding To Become 15th Winner Of Korea Classic

The Korean Derby, which will be run at Seoul Race Park this coming Sunday is a relatively recent addition to the Korean racing year. Except for an enforced stoppage during the Korean War, racing has been running on the peninsula continuously since the 1920’s but while those early years saw horses racing each other, it wasn’t exactly the kind of horseracing we’re familiar with today. Many horses weren’t even thoroughbred and there was little point in having a Derby for three-year olds.

Gwangyajeil in the Korean Derby Winner’s Circle. His owner and breeder, the late Im Sang Yun (left) also bred Triple Crown winner J.S.Hold

The establishment of a domestic thoroughbred breeding industry and the introduction of the private ownership of race-horses – and therefore prize money – led to the creation of big Stakes races in the late 1980’s and early 1990s, Finally in 1998, the Derby was run for the first time. In 2007, the Korean Triple Crown Series with inaugurated with the Ttukseom Cup, Derby and Minister’s Cup making up the three Classic races. Indeed, in that first year, J.S. Hold took the lot. The following year, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan replaced the Ttukseom Cup as the first jewel in the crown and, while Sangseung Ilro won the first two legs in 2009, no horse has since swept all three.

In the fourteen editions run so far, nine colts and five fillies have taken the prize which for its first three years was run over just seven furlongs before moving up to its current nine in 2001. When the first crop of foals to be sent to race exclusively at Busan reached three-years of age in 2008, the Derby – and other major Stakes races – became open to horses from both Seoul and Busan. Since then, raiders from the South have won three out of four times and in Gyeongbudaero, have the favourite for this year’s edition.

Here are all the winners with pedigree and jockey:

2011: Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – He skipped the KRA Cup Mile and went straight to the Derby. It paid off as he was an easy winner. Injury meant he only ran twice more and was retired to Stud at the end of his three-year old season. Bred by the late Im Sang Yun, who also bred J.S. Hold.

2010: Cheonnyeon Daero [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – Park Geum Man – Money Car, winner of the KRA Cup Mile was sent off the favourite but got sucked into a speed duel with the sprinter Seonbongbulpae in the early stages. Still, the favourite had a considerable lead entering the final furlong. He was spent though, and Cheonnyeon Daero, a 30/1 shot, chased him down and caught him on the line. Money Car was never the same again and only ran once more. Cheonnyeon Daero went on to finish second in the Minister’s Cup – the final leg of the Triple Crown. A horse with a bad case of seond-itis – he finished 2nd 14 times during his career, he was retired in early 2012 and will go to Stud.

2009: Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Jo Sung Gon
– The filly, a shock winner of the KRA Cup Mile a month earlier made it two in a row for Busan. She couldn’t maintain her form over the whole year, however, and went down to a shock defeat in the Oaks in August before returning for a creditable third in the Minister’s Cup, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown in October. Went on to win two more Stakes races as a four-year old before being retired from racing in January 2011 for broodmare duties. She has been bred to Menifee.

2008: Ebony Storm [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Shim Seung Tae – Two years ago was the first time that Busan’s best three-year olds were invited up to Seoul to contest the Derby and it was one of those visitors, Ebony Storm, the longest shot on the board, who took victory in a monsoon downpour. Ebony Storm is still running as a seven-year old, specialising in distances of up to a mile.

2007: J.S. Hold [Ft. Stockton – Hwangsangjiljoo (Passetreul)] – Moon Jung Kyun – Widely considered the best Korean bred horse ever. J.S. Hold landed the inaugural Triple Crown injuring himself in the final race and not returning to the track. He retired with nine wins from ten starts and is now at Stud.

2006: Baengnokjeong [Slew O’Green – Lesu Run (Proper Reality)] – Hwang Soon Do – The rank outsider at over 80-1 on Derby day, Baengnokjeong was at the time, the longest priced horse to win the Derby.

2005: Saebyeok Dongja [Fiercely – Cheongpa (The Rodgers Four)] – Chun Chang Ki – Raced on at the top-level for three more years. His jockey, Chun Chang Ki became a trainer and sadly lost his fight against cancer earlier this month.

2004: Mupae Gangja [Didyme – A Heun A Hop Kan (Kinsky)] – Kim Hyo Seob – One of the top colts of this decade, Mupae Gangja won ten of his sixteen races including the Chairman’s Trophy and Minister’s Cup along with the Derby in 2004.

2003: Habidongju [Silent Warrior – Kahwa (Zoffany)] – Park Tae Jong – The last filly to win until Sangseung Ilro in 2009.

2002: Haeam Janggun [Didyme – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Lim Dae Gyu – Ronde foaled her second Derby winner in as many years with this filly who won eight of her fourteen races and gave the late Lim Dae Gyu a Derby victory.

2001: Haetpit Maeul [Mujaazif – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Ji Ha Ju – Starting a run of three consecutive years of filly triumphs was Haetpit Maeul. Now a broodmare with some success.

2000: Haekdol’pung [Lost Mountain – Swift Diplomacy (Nice Pirate)] – Park Tae Jong – Korea’s most successful ever jockey got his second straight Derby win on the favourite. It was tight though, with Haekdol’pung getting the verdict in a three-way photograph. Sire Lost Mountain died in 2009.

1999: Manseokkkeun [Fiercely – Komplication (Kris. S)] – Park Tae Jong – Yes, he really did have three consecutive ‘k’s in his name. Park Tae Jong got the first of his three Derby winners on the colt whose sire, Fiercely, died in 2009.

1998: Useung Yegam [Happy Jazz Band – Man Jang Dae()] – Song Seok Hen – Nine of the 14 runners in the first Derby were fillies and the favourite Useung Yegam, whose dam wasn’t even in the studbook, took the honours by a length.

* For more videos see Fallight’s YouTube page. This post is a slightly updated version of the one posted in corresponding Derby build-ups over the past couple of years.

Gwangyajeil Wins The Korean Derby

Vicar Colt Ends Soseuldaemun’s Triple Crown Hopes

Gwangyajeil is the winner of the 2011 Korean Derby. The pre-race favourite overcame the valiant effort of filly Useung Touch to claim the second leg of the Korean Triple Crown by two and a half lengths.

Oh Kyoung Hoan and Gwangyajeil in the Derby Winner's Circle

In what was the most open looking Derby field for years, Gwangyajeil was sent off the very slight 4/1 favourite ahead of Singgereounachim and Double Light. As expected though, it was the Busan based filly Useung Touch who set the early pace and got to the first corner in the lead. KRA Cup Mile winner Soseuldaemun, rated as a 6/1 chance, ran into trouble right away and found himself at the back of the field as they rounded the first corner. However, Toshio Uchida on board, Soseuldaemun caused a stir in the back stretch as he joined fellow Busan challenger World Winner in coming right around the outside of the field to join the front-runners. Gwangyajeil and Oh Kyoung Hoan meanwhile sat safely in the middle of the pack.

Gwangyajeil leads Useung Touch to the line in the Korean Derby

Rounding the final corner, Useung Touch still had the lead while Uchida found himself four wide on Soseuldaemun. Now it was time to strike for Gwangyajeil. Shifting to the outside at the top of the stretch, he went past Soseuldaemun as if he wasn’t there. Shoot In and Double Light similarly saw their challenge collapse. The battling Useung Touch was the last to succumb but once Gwangyajeil had her collared with a furlong to go, there was to be only one winner. The filly held on for second from the fast finishing Singgereounachim and outsider Champion Belt.

Soseuldaemun – who had lost 26 kilos since his KRA Cup Mile win – finished in seventh, once place behind Double Light. Well-fancied Geuma Champ was a disappoiting thirteenth while bringing up the rear was 2010 Champion juvenile Sun Hero, who played up in the paddock before the race and is looking increasingly difficult to control.

Oh Kyoung Hoan doesn't have to do this every day

Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] now has a record of five wins from his seven starts. Vicar, whose foals had long been popular with Korean buyers at American sales, was imported to Korea in December 2006. Gwangyajeil’ s triumph means that he has a Classic winner among his first crop of foals to reach the racetrack. As for jockey Oh Kyoung Hoan, while he did win the Grand Prix Stakes in 2004, this will surely go down as his biggest victory to date. For trainer Lim Bong Chun it is by far and away his biggest success.

It is also a welcome victory for Seoul. The capital city hosts the Derby but hasn’t provided a winner of it since the race was opened up to competition from Busan in 2008. Could the tables be turning at last> We’ll find out when this crop of three-year olds re-convenes back at Seoul in October for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown. With Soseuldaemun’s defeat, a Triple Crown won’t be on the line, but plenty else will be.

Korean Derby (KOR.G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 15, 2011

1. Gwangyajeil (KOR) [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 4.4, 1.9
2. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] – Choi Si Dae – 3.0
3. Singgereounachim (KOR) [Exploit – Singgereoun (Mr. Adorable)] – Jo In Kwen – 2.0

Distances: 2.5 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Champion Belt 5. Daeseung Yegam 6. Double Light 7. Soseuldaemun 8. World Winner 9. Yeongung Icheon 10. Prime Galloper 11. Shoot In 12. Choeonji Horyeong 13. Geuma Champ 14. Sun Hero

* Down at Busan today, names from Derby’s past were present. 2010 winner Cheonnyeon Daero faced 2009 runner-up Namdo Jeap in the first of co-feature events but they were both upstaged by Joe Murphy trained Udeumji, who beat them into the minor placings in a tight finish.

In the second co-feature, Yeonseung Daero, fifth in Sangseung Ilro’s 2009 Derby, scored the fourteenth victory of his illustrious career with yet another victory over foreign bred opposition. This time, he got the better of Daldeongi and track stalwart Crafty Louis by a neck on the line.

If Gwangyajeil goes on to have the same sort of career as Cheonnyeon Daero, Yeonseung Daero or even Namdo Jeap, he’ll be quite a horse.

Not this year: Toshio Uchida and Soseuldaemun won't be winning the Triple Crown

Soseuldaemun Faces Tough Task In Open Derby

Korean Derby 2011: Final Preview

It’s Derby Day and this race is anybody’s. Soseuldaemun comes to Seoul on Sunday to attempt to win the second leg of the 2011 Triple Crown in the 14th Korean Derby. He’ll have thirteen out to stop him.

The Seoul Racecourse paddock is ready for the 14th Korean Derby

Does a competitive field mean we have a weak crop of three-year olds this year? We’ll decide that at the end of the season, for now we can savour the prospect of a genuinely unpredictable race. It’s going to be a gorgeous day – albeit slightly breezy – and there’s sure to be a massive crowd in attendance.

Here’s the final run-down of the runners, pedigrees, race records, riders and a comment on their chances:

Korean Derby (KOR.GI) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 15, 2011 – 16:35

1. Shoot In [Exploit – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – (5/3/2/0) – Shin Hyoung Chul
Half-brother of last year’s winner Cheonnyeon Daero, he was a late entrant and is improving all the time. Won’t be among the favourites but could spring a surprise after taking the lead early on.

2. Singgereounachim [Exploit – Singgereoun (Mr. Adorable)] (9/3/1/2) – Jo In Kwen
Won so easily last time out that there’es surely more to come. A strong chance.

3. Useung Touch [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (Filly) (6/3/1/1) – Choi Si Dae
An unknown quantity at this distance, the filly will be at long-odds. She’ll start quickly and is the fastest horse in the race, but will she stay?

4. Sun Hero [Menifee – Strategic Reward (Bold Revenue)] (9/4/2/1) – Moon Se Young
Last year’s champion juvenile is proving tough to handle in races at three and a dreadful performance in the Cup Mile makes him hard to recommend for anything more than an outside chance at a place.

5. World Winner [Yankee Victor – Wakired (Red Ransom)] (11/2/3/2) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
Although untried at the distance, it shouldn’t be a problem but despite winning his last two, has shown nothing to suggest he’s capable of he massive improvement required to win here.

6. Soseuldaemun [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] (10/3/3/1) – Toshio Uchida (Busan)
The KRA Cup Mile winner and on-course for the Triple Crown. He will be well-fancied and with Uchida on board, cannot be discounted.

7. Yeongung Icheon [Concept Win – Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] (9/3/2/1) – Park Tae Jong
Jockey Park has won the Derby twice before but it would be a major surprise if he added another here.

8. Champion Belt [Exploit – Telegraph Road (Royal Academy)] (6/2/2/2) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
An intriguing late entry, his dam also produced the very talented Blue Pin and Northern Ace, and his two recent wins suggests plenty more to come. Could be worth an each-way bet at decent odds.

9. Daeseung Yegam [Silent Warrior – Tolp’ung-Yegam (Land Rush)] (10/3/1/1) – Kim Myoung Sin (Busan)
Too inconsistent to recommend here. Will be one of the outsiders.

10. Cheonji Horyeong [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (9/2/3/1) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Half-brother to 2008 winner Ebony Storm and fourth in the Cup Mile, many believe there is plenty more to come from Cheonji Horyeong. Should be there or thereabouts.

11. Geuma Champ [Vicar – Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] (7/2/3/1) – Jung Ki Yong
A month ago it was Geuma Who? But an impressive second behind Super Rich last month has put him right into contention. Has looked fantastic in trackwork and will have a lot of backers.

12. Double Light [Menifee – Iruda (Glorify)] (8/3/3/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho
All around the most complete looking horse. Second in the Cup Mile, he will most likely be the favourite.

13. Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] (6/4/0/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
An impressive winner of his last two starts, if he’s on form, he has every chance

14. Prime Galloper [Strodes Creek – Apple G (Carson City)] (7/3/4/0) – Hwang Soon Do
Some decent performances behind him but nothing to suggest he can beat some of the better known names. An outsider.

So, who’s it going to be? This is a very open race so there is plenty of scope for betting. Gyongmaman will be losing a little bit of money on likely outsiders Champion Belt and Useung Touch. While he’ll be watching to see if any of Double Light, Soseuldaemun, Gwangyajeil or Geuma Champ offer any unexpected value, he will be sure to have a win bet on Singgeureounachim.

Sunday May 15

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:05 (including the 2011 Korean Derby at 16:35)
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:00

Weekend Preview: The Derby

Soseuldaemun travels to Seoul to to attempt to secure the second leg of the 2011 Triple Crown as he takes on a full field in the Korean Derby at Seoul Race Park this Sunday.

Soseuldaemun and Toshio Uchida Head The Derby Field (Picture: KRA)

The KRA Cup Mile winner is one of six challengers heading north from Busan to take on the best the capital has to offer.

While starting as an outsider in the Cup Mile, he’ll be among the favourites as he bids to come one race closer to emulating the great J.S. Hold in sweeping the Triple Crown.

Here is the full list of runners, pedigrees, race records and riders:

Korean Derby (KOR.GI) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 15, 2011 – 16:35

1. Shoot In [Exploit – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – (5/3/2/0) – Shin Hyoung Chul
2. Singgereounachim [Exploit – Singgereoun (Mr. Adorable)] (9/3/1/2) – Jo In Kwen
3. Useung Touch [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (Filly) (6/3/1/1) – Choi Si Dae
4. Sun Hero [Menifee – Strategic Reward (Bold Revenue)] (9/4/2/1) – Moon Se Young
5. World Winner [Yankee Victor – Wakired (Red Ransom)] (11/2/3/2) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
6. Soseuldaemun [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] (10/3/3/1) – Toshio Uchida (Busan)
7. Yeongung Icheon [Concept Win – Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] (9/3/2/1) – Park Tae Jong
8. Champion Belt [Exploit – Telegraph Road (Royal Academy)] (6/2/2/2) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
9. Daeseung Yegam [Silent Warrior – Tolp’ung-Yegam (Land Rush)] (10/3/1/1) – Kim Myoung Sin (Busan)
10. Cheonji Horyeong [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (9/2/3/1) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
11. Geuma Champ [Vicar – Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] (7/2/3/1) – Jung Ki Yong
12. Double Light [Menifee – Iruda (Glorify)] (8/3/3/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho
13. Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] (6/4/0/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
14. Prime Galloper [Strodes Creek – Apple G (Carson City)] (7/3/4/0) – Hwang Soon Do

We’ll have a final run-down of all the challengers and their chances, along with predictions, on the blog on Saturday evening.

Saturday sees the JRA Trophy at Seoul – full run down of runners and riders tomorrow – while on Sunday at Busan, last year’s Derby winner Cheonnyeon Daero is in action.

Here’s what’s happening when and where this weekend:

Friday May 13

Busan Race Park: 9 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday May 14

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 17: 40 (JRA Trophy at 16:30)
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:30 to 18:00

Sunday May 15

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:05 (Korean Derby at 16:35)
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:30 to 17:00

Korean Derby – All The Winners So Far…

2011 Sees Fourteenth Running of Korean Classic

The Derby is a relatively recent addition to the Korean racing year. Except for an enforced stoppage during the Korean War, racing has been running on the peninsula continuously since the 1920’s, however, the calendar as we know it today only really started to take shape in the 1980’s. The Ilgan Sports Cup and the Grand Prix started things off with both being run for the first time in 1985.

Busan's Cheonnyeon Daero wins the 2010 Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The introduction of the private ownership of race-horses – and therefore prize money – accelerated the creation of big Stakes races in the 1990s and finally in 1998, the Derby was run for the first time. In 2007, the Korean Triple Crown Series with inaugurated with the Ttukseom Cup, Derby and Minister’s Cup making up the three Classic races. Indeed, in that first year, J.S. Hold took the lot. The following year, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan replaced the Ttukseom Cup as the first jewel in the crown and, while Sangseung Ilro won the first two legs in 2009, no horse has since swept all three.

In the thirteen editions run so far, eight colts and five fillies have taken the prize which for its first three years was run over just seven furlongs before moving up to its current nine in 2001. Since horses from Busan became eligible for the Derby in 2008, they have won it three times in a row and in Soseuldaemun, winner of the KRA Cup Mile, they have one of this year’s favourites.

Here are those winners with pedigree and jockey:

2010: Cheonnyeon Daero [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – Park Geum Man – Money Car, winner of the KRA Cup Mile was sent off the favourite but got sucked into a speed duel with the sprinter Seonbongbulpae in the early stages. Still, the favourite had a considerable lead entering the final furlong. He was spent though, and Cheonnyeon Daero, a 30/1 shot, chased him down and caught him on the line. Money Car was never the same again and only ran once more. Cheonnyeon Daero went on to finish second in the Minister’s Cup – the final leg of the Triple Crown – and is in good form this year. In fact, 30 minutes before this year’s Derby gets underway at Seoul, he’ll be running in the feature race at Busan.

2009: Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Jo Sung Gon
– The filly, a shock winner of the KRA Cup Mile a month earlier made it two in a row for Busan. She couldn’t maintain her form over the whole year, however, and went down to a shock defeat in the Oaks in August before returning for a creditable third in the Minister’s Cup, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown in October. She was retired from racing in January 2011 and has been bred to Menifee.

2008: Ebony Storm [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Shim Seung Tae – Two years ago was the first time that Busan’s best three-year olds were invited up to Seoul to contest the Derby and it was one of those visitors, Ebony Storm, the longest shot on the board, who took victory in a monsoon downpour. Ebony Storm is still running as a six-year old, specialising in distances of up to a mile.

2007: J.S. Hold [Ft. Stockton – Hwangsangjiljoo (Passetreul)] – Moon Jung Kyun – Widely considered the best Korean bred horse ever. J.S. Hold landed the inaugural Triple Crown injuring himself in the final race and not returning to the track. He retired with nine wins from ten starts.

2006: Baengnokjeong [Slew O’Green – Lesu Run (Proper Reality)] – Hwang Soon Do – The rank outsider at over 80-1 on Derby day, Baengnokjeong was at the time, the longest priced horse to win the Derby.

2005: Saebyeok Dongja [Fiercely – Cheongpa (The Rodgers Four)] – Chun Chang Ki – Raced on at the top-level for three more years and his jockey Chun Chang Ki became a trainer after a battle against cancer.

2004: Mupae Gangja [Didyme – A Heun A Hop Kan (Kinsky)] – Kim Hyo Seob – One of the top colts of this decade, Mupae Gangja won ten of his sixteen races including the Chairman’s Trophy and Minister’s Cup along with the Derby in 2004.

2003: Habidongju [Silent Warrior – Kahwa (Zoffany)] – Park Tae Jong – The last filly to win until Sangseung Ilro in 2009.

2002: Haeam Janggun [Didyme – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Lim Dae Gyu – Ronde foaled her second Derby winner in as many years with this filly who won eight of her fourteen races and gave the late Lim Dae Gyu a Derby victory.

2001: Haetpit Maeul [Mujaazif – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Ji Ha Ju – Starting a run of three consecutive years of filly triumphs was Haetpit Maeul. Now a broodmare with some success.

2000: Haekdol’pung [Lost Mountain – Swift Diplomacy (Nice Pirate)] – Park Tae Jong – Korea’s most successful ever jockey got his second straight Derby win on the favourite. It was tight though, with Haekdol’pung getting the verdict in a three-way photograph.

1999: Manseokkkeun [Fiercely – Komplication (Kris. S)] – Park Tae Jong – Yes, he really did have three consecutive ‘k’s in his name. Park Tae Jong got the first of his three Derby winners on the colt whose sire, Fiercely, died in 2009.

1998: Useung Yegam [Happy Jazz Band – Man Jang Dae()] – Song Seok Hen – Nine of the 14 runners in the first Derby were fillies and the favourite Useung Yegam, whose dam wasn’t even in the studbook, took the honours by a length.

* For more videos see Fallight’s YouTube page. This post is a slightly updated version of the one posted in correspondong Derby build-ups over the past two years.

Korean Derby 2011: First Look At Contenders

D-13: Sixteen Remain in The Running For The Big One

We’re less than two weeks away from one of the highlights of the season. The 2011 Korean Derby, the second leg of the Triple Crown Series, takes place at Seoul Race Park on Sunday May 15. It’s Seoul vs Busan as the best three-year olds on the peninsula face one another for the prestige of being called the best of their generation. The President’s Cup may be more valuable and the Grand Prix more prestigious. But the world over, when you think of flat thoroughbred racing, you think of the Derby. So it is in Korea too

Who will follow Cheonnyeon Daero into the Korean Derby Winner's Circle?

Sixteen horses remain in the running at this stage although at least two of these will be cut before the final line-up is declared on the Thursday before the race to leave a maximum field size of fourteen. Nine are from Seoul and seven are from Busan.

Listed is the name, pedigree and race records. I’ve also taken a guess at the likely jockey; these should be quite accurate for the entrants from Seoul but given that there’s very little logic in who rides what at Busan at the best of times, I’d be surprised to get even two out of the possible seven correct!

As per Korean Derby rules, all entrants were both bred and foaled in Korea:

Korean Derby (KOR GI) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – Sunday May 15, 2011

Seoul

Sun Hero [Menifee – Strategic Reward (Bold Revenue)] (9/4/2/1)
Winner of the Breeders’ Cup and therefore Champion Juvenile of 2010. He’s won over the Derby distance already this year but struggled to eighth place in the KRA Cup Mile. Likely Jockey: Moon Se Young

Prime Galloper [Strodes Creek – Apple G (Carson City)] (7/3/4/0)
One of the last foals of late sire Strodes Creek to reach the track, he’s been first or second in all his starts to date. Second in both his starts around two turns he’s finished slowly both times which may be a concern. Likely Jockey: Hwang Soon Do

Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] (6/4/0/0)
Didn’t go to the KRA Cup Mile and is yet to run over the Derby distance but has looked impressive in back to back recent wins. Will be fancied. Likely Jockey: Oh Kyoung Hoan

Kakamega [Gold Money – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] (9/3/1/2)
One of the few to have a Korean bred dam so a win would be good for Korean racing. In the money in all his nine starts and has won at two turns. Likely Jockey: Moon Se Young is his regular rider and may pick him over Sun Hero. Park Byoung Yun has also ridden him twice but it coud go to a third jockey.

Yeongung Icheon [Concept Win – Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] (9/3/2/1)
A half-brother to 2009 Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup winner Yeongung Manse, he first came to attention by winning a race in a blizzard just before racing was abandoned for the day back in January. He’s certainly tough but isn’t proven around two turns and was beaten by filles Legal Lady and Ruby Queen last time out. Likely Jockey: Park Tae Jong

Geuma Champ [Vicar – Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] (7/2/3/1)
A bit of a surprise entrant, he put in a strong performance when finishing second to four-year old Super Rich over the Derby distance in April looking impressive in the process, albeit in a slowly run race. Likely Jockey: Jung Ki Yong

Double Light [Menifee – Iruda (Glorify)] (8/3/3/1)
Second in the KRA Cup Mile, will be looking to go one better on his home track. Shouldn’t have a problem with the distance and will be well-fancied. Likely Jockey: Cho Kyoung Ho

Singgereounachim [Exploit – Singgereoun (Mr. Adorable)] (9/3/1/2)
Didn’t win as a two-year old but bounded into the Classic picture by beating then Triple Crown front-runner Ophelia back in February. Recovered from a disappointing run in the KRA Cup Mile by winning by ten lengths on his return this month. Will be among the favourites: Likely Jockey: Moon Jung Kyun rode him in his first few starts but Jo In Kwen has ridden him in his last three and would be the logical choice to keep the ride for the Derby.

Absolute [Commendable – Tai Chi (Quest For Fame)] (7/3/0/2)
An outsider and although he ran a solid third behind Yeongtap and Lucky Box in April, he’d need to improve a lot to challenge here. Likely Jockey: Park Byeong Yun has ridden him in every race so far.

Busan

Dongseo Jeongbeol [Vicar – Rendezvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] (6/3/1/0)
Won at the distance on Cup Mile day in April and, given past experience, no Busan horse who does that can be discounted. That said, there are better colts joining him on the trip north. Likely Jockey: In his six starts, he’s been ridden by five jockeys. Could be anyone. Lim Sung Sil is the only one to ride him twice.

World Winner [Yankee Victor – Wakired (Red Ransom)] (11/2/3/2)
He took ten races to break his maiden but then immediately followed it up with another win to get him his shot here. However, he’s never gone further than seven furlongs and has a lot to find to be in contention. Likely Jockey: If Jo Sung Gon can’t get on one of the others, he’ll probably ride this, Unless there’s more money to be made in the feature race back home at Busan on Derby day.

Soseuldaemun [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] (10/3/3/1)
By virtue of winning the Cup Mile, he’s the one to aim at here. He wasn’t favourite that day and he possibly won’t be here either. Nevertheless, he’s the front-runner right now. Likely Jockey: While Eiki Nishimura was jocked off Sangseung Ilro two years ago after winning the Cup Mile on her, that’s unlikely to happen to Toshio Uchida. If he wants the ride, he’ll be on it.

Cheonji Horyeong [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (9/2/3/1)
A full brother (I hate that phrase) to 2008 Derby winner Ebony Storm, he was fourth in the KRA Cup Mile. Untried at longer distances so a little bit of an unknown quantity. No-one thought Ebony Storm had the pedigree to get the distance so he started the Derby as the longest shot on the board, but we all know what happened during that downpour three years ago. If it rains, he’s worth a punt. Likely Jockey: Chae Gyu Jun

Useung Touch [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (Filly) (6/3/1/1)
One of just two fillies entered, she was a shock third in the Breeders’ Cup last year when starting at 100/1. Continuing her form as a three-year old she was fifth in the KRA Cup Mile. Likely Jockey: Choi Si Dae

Daeseung Yegam [Silent Warrior – Tolp’ung-Yegam (Land Rush)] (10/3/1/1)
Hasn’t been seen since running a disappointing twelfth in the Cup Mile and was inconsistent before that. An outsider. Likely Jockey: Many have ridden him, Jo Chang Wook rode him in the Cup Mile.

Cyclone [Concept Win – Bakuachi (Debonair Roger)] (filly) (6/2/3/0)
The second filly, Cyclone has no form to speak of having never gone further than 1300 metres. It would be a major shock if she was to feature. Likely Jockey: Jo Sung Gon has ridden her to both of her victories although it’s questionable as to whether he would come all the way to Seoul if he was to be riding her in the Derby. Unless they know something I don’t – which is highly possible…

Much more to come on the Derby over the next two weeks!

Derby Weekend Round-Up

While Cheonnyeon Daero’s stunning last-gasp win in the Korean Derby was the big story of the weekend, there was plenty of other action with Gippeumnuri the star as she landed the Japan Racing Association Trophy.

Gippeum Nuri wins the JRA, Yoo Sang Wan up - Pic: Ross Holburt

As we reported on Saturday, the AJC Trophy and HRI Trophy races were won by Yeopungjudo and Cheot Insang respectively. Fallight now has the videos of both races:

AJC Trophy – Yeopungjudo

HRI Trophy – Cheot Insang

On Sunday, the warm-up act for the Derby was the JRA Trophy. Traditionally a race which features the best of the up and coming imports at Seoul, it was won in impressive style by third favourite Gippeumnuri. The three-year old American bred filly led from gate to wire to take victory by three lengths.

Gippeumnuri [Eurosilver – Regatta Queen (Danzig Connection)], third in February’s Segye Ilbo Stakes, now has a record of four wins from seven starts and looks a real force for the future:

The weekend ended on a downbeat note, however. The build-up to the Derby had been all about the showdown between Money Car and Northern Ace – with a likely cameo from Seonbongbulpae. While Money Car was being turned over by Cheonnyeon Daero in the final few metres – possibly as a result of Seonbongbulpae’s pressure in the opening stages – Northern Ace was nowhere to be seen.

Sensing something was wrong with his previously unbeaten mount, jockey Moon Se Young eased the colt in the home straight and, clearly distressed, immediately dismounted. The vet arrived and the diagnosis was not long coming; a fracture to his left foreleg and a potentially golden career cruelly curtailed.

Northern Ace pulled up after the Derby (Pic: Roar)