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Sunday Seoul: KRA Cup Classic Day – Race-By-Race Preview (October 7)

It’s KRA Cup Classic Day in Seoul and Cheongdam Dokki can begin to put his Korea Cup disappointment behind him as he is set to start as favourite to successfully defend the crown he won last year. There are 11 Sunday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Here are the Seoul previews with horse by horse comments for the KRA Cup Classic:

Cheongdam Dokki Mayor's Cup Lets Run Park Busan

Cheongdam Dokki goes in the KRA Cup Classic

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

(1) JEOKTO BIMA has shown progression across three starts so far and enters with back to back 4th place finishes. Drawn in gate 1, she steps up in trip for the first time, should be prominent early and can win this. (9) GEOTAP too races for the fourth time today and ran creditably at this distance last time. She should also be on pace early and can go close. (10) GOODCHOICE is more experienced and does have a 3rd place to his name and while a touch one-paced, can improve on the 5th he recorded at this distance last start. (3) BINNANEUN RUBY and (8) FOR J.K. are others who can improve among modest company here.

Selections (1) Jeokto Bima (10) Goodchoice (9) Geotap (8) For J.K.
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 1, 8, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) HANEULEUL DALRIDA started badly and received a heavy bump which he never really recovered from when well-fancied over 1300M on September 1st. He drops back in trip today to a distance at which he was 2nd in July and with a clean start today, will be the one they need to beat in what is another weak contest. (7) SCARLET PERFECT also has a 2nd place at this distance and wasn’t too far away last time. (9) SOKBO WANGWI has been knocking on the door for some time now and is another who shouldn’t be far away. (10) STAR SOCKS is inconsistent but has offered some glimpses of ability. She races for the first time since June and should challenge for the early lead. There are two debut-makers and in a race with a distinct lack of talent in it, they must be given due consideration. Of the pair, (6) GOOD MOUNT seems the more likely to make an impact first-up.

Selections (1) Haneuleul Dalrida (7) Scarlet Perfect (9) Sokbo Wangwi (6) Good Mount
Next Best 10, 3
Fast Start 1, 8, 10

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

Juvenile maidens here and seven of the twelve have raced before, each of them just the once. The favourites are among them. (1) SENTOSA debuted in a valuable race for Breeze-up Sales graduates and ran reasonably well over 1200M. She was prominent early and dropping back to 1000M today may suit. (9) ACE SOLONGO and (10) WONDERFUL DIXIE both finished 3rd on their respective debuts, both at this distance and both can build on it here. (4) M.J. TOWN was a close in attendance 5th on her first attempt in what was a decent race on September 2nd and she too looks likely to improve. Among the first-timers, (8) IRON HEART and (12) BIG PRO looked best in trials.

Selections (1) Sentosa (4) M.J. Town (9) Ace Solongo (10) Wonderful Dixie
Next Best 5, 2
Fast Start 1, 5, 10, 12

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) CHANGPA is yet to win, with a 4th and two runner-up finishes from three efforts to date but despite being up in class here, this could be her day. She has run on well in each of her outings so far and the additional furlong may suit in a race that is not much stronger than the average class 6. Indeed, her main rival is set to be another one up in class in the shape of (12) SABA KINGDOM, who ran out a five-length winner over 1000M on September 9th. He made all that day and will be trying to overcome the widest draw and the step up in trip to repeat here. Among those with experience of this level, (2) DAECHEON HERO and (4) SOKDO SHINHWA should be improving on the 6th and 7th places they recorded when they raced each other at 1000M on September 1st while (11) SPECIAL WINNER drops back in trip following a hard time at 1700M a month ago and can come into consideration.

Selections (7) Changpa (12) Saba Kingdom (2) Daecheon Hero (11) Special Winner
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 1, 2, 12

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

(1) TAURUS ran a good 2nd at this distance on what was his first try at this level on August 26th. He’s yet to finish outside the top two in three starts so far and he should maintain that record here. (3) BAEKSAN MENIQUEEN stepped up to this class and (more…)

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (September 8)

Saturday racing at Seoul sees 12 races from 10:45 to 18:00 and the eve of the Korea Cup and Sprint includes a number of international exchange races which are being contested for big prizes. The Melbourne Cup Trophy will be on display at Seoul Racecourse as part of its annual Tour.

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It’s almost Keeneland Korea Cup & Sprint again!

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

(4) GOLD SEUTAK beat (11) SURFING POINT as the pair of them came home 3rd and 4th over this distance on July 7th. Gold Seutak has raced once since then finishing 6th in what was actually a very tight finish four weeks ago. Surfing Point could turn the tables today. The one they both need to beat is (2) FAPP CAT. She looks like she is finally figuring things out and recorded her best finish to date when 2nd over his trip in a similarly week race to this three weeks ago. She’s not very quick but might not need to be here. (5) SCARLET PERFECT also has a 2nd place to her name and could be involved while among the three first-time starters, (1) STRIDE UP looks the pick at this stage.

Selections (11) Surfing Point (2) Fapp Cat (4) Gold Seutak (1) Stride Up
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 6, 8, 10

Race 2: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

An all the way winner on debut in June, (4) SHANGHAI JORDAN could only manage 3rd place as favourite when stepped up to this class for her second appearance at the end of July. Although she got within three-lengths of the winner she was slowly away and never looked like being a threat. She’s drawn well today and should be returning to the winner’s circle. (8) MISS PYEONGCHON ran a solid 3rd place last time over 1300M and drops back in trip today. She’ll be a danger. (10) PERFECT SOCKS is a winner at this level already but has been lightly races since. She last ran in early June finishing 4th of 8 at this distance and looks nicely in here. (1) DOUBLE A and (3) VICTORY STAR are others who can compete for the placings.

Selections (4) Shanghai Jordan (8) Miss Pyeongchon (10) Perfect Socks (1) Double A
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 3, 5, 9

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

Juvenile maidens and just two of them, (4) JEOKTO BIMA and (6) PARRHESIA, have raced before. Of the pair, Jeokto Bima was an improved 4th on her second start on August 19th and she will be among the favourites here. First-time starters are likely to be favoured though, principally (3) TRI THUNDER, who romped home by seven-lengths in a trial at the end of July. If he runs similarly today, he should be able to get to the lead and maintain it all the way through. (7) BARAMEUL GEURIDA also looked competent in trials, going round comfortably in a decent time in mid-August and he can be given a chance first up, as can (11) WONDERFUL DIXIE.

Selections (3) Tri Thunder (7) Barameul Geurida (4) Jeokto Bima (11) Wonderful Dixie
Next Best 6, 5
Fast Start 3, 7, 10

Race 4: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A winner of two from four, (7) DOKDO JIGI returns from five months off, up in class but looking ready to add to his win-column. He looked good in a fast trial in August and should have too much here. (9) L CAR has won three out of six and while he put in a lackluster effort at class and distance a month ago is worth another try today. (4) CHEONHA HYEONGGUK ran a creditable enough 5th over 1300M on August 11th and drops slightly back in trip today. He won at this distance on July and should be in with at least a chance of the places here. (2) OUR CAT and (6) HEUNG BARAM look best of the rest.

Selections (7) Dokdo Jigi (9) L Car (4) Cheonha Hyeongguk (2) Our Cat
Next Best 6, 3
Fast Start 3, 6, 7, 8

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

He’s finished 4th and 2nd in his two starts to date and (3) CHANGSEONG LUCKY shouldn’t require much in the way of luck to make his maiden breakthrough here. He can get off to a fast start and lead all the way. (4) SPHAERA runs best when she gets on pace early and starting from just outside the favourite, that’s what she’ll be trying to do today. She could stay on for a place. (5) HARD PRINCESS and (6) GEUMBIT HWANHYANG both come in off the back of fair efforts and they too should be looking for a place. (1) GANGSANUI ACHIM the best of a limited rest.

Selections (3) Changseong Lucky (5) Hard Princess (6) Geumbit Hwanhyang (4) Sphaera
Next Best 1
Fast Start 3, 4

Race 6: Class Open “Horse Racing Ireland Trophy” (1400M) Allowance / KRW 100 Million

Valuable prize here and lots enter in good form but it would be a surprise if (9) GALAXY POWER didn’t run out the winner. There was no disgrace in being beaten six lengths by the excellent Gaon Champ over 1200M last start and while he is yet to win at this distance, he ran a close 2nd in the CHIA Trophy in June. (3) CALLIOPE was 4th behind Galaxy Power in April but has come on since then, winning his latest two including one at this distance. He’ll be on pace early and can be a danger to the favourite. (14) CLEAN UP TEUKGEUP was an also-ran in the Korean Derby but returned to form running a close 2nd over 1800M in July. He drops back in trip today and is in with a chance. (1) YAHO SMART CAT was a good winner at this distance last start and will join Calliope on the early speed while (12) WONDERFUL CHAMPION is up in class following a victory at (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 13)

It’s Oaks weekend at Busan and while the big race is on Sunday, things get underway with a 10-race Friday card from 14:30 to 21:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(4) OCEAN PHOENIX ran a decent race on debut at this distance at the start of June and should come on here with solid claims to win. He’ll settle behind the early leaders and can finish well. (7) ROYAL CLUB started poorly and then suffered in kickback when relatively well-supported last time. He has shown ability though and if he can get away to a good start today, he can go very close. (1) BAEKDU JANGSU offered precisely nothing across his first two outings but was a much-improved 2nd when tried at this distance for the first time four weeks ago and he can build on that here. (3) GIJEOGUIMYEONGSEONG ran very promisingly on debut all the way back last September but only ran once more before being out for nine months. He trialled up well at the end of June and can be backed first-up. There are two debut-makers and of them, (9) GOLD TREE has a top trainer/jockey combination and looked competent in trials.

Selections (4) Ocean Phoenix (7) Royal Club (3) Gijeoguimyeongseong (9) Gold Tree
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 7

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

Two-year-old maidens here hence the enhanced prize-money. Just two of them have run before and (7) POWER WINDY is likely to be strong favourite. He ran a very solid 3rd on debut in a similar race three weeks ago and the experience should see him in good stead. He led in that race from the gate and can do so again – without being caught this time. (6) TROPHY COLLECTOR debuted in the same race on June 22nd and while he only beat three home, didn’t run badly after a slow start and he can improve here. Of the first-timers, (5) FRIDAY is from the track’s top stable and is out of a Korean Derby winner and will get some backing. Others impressed a little more in trials though, with (2) SINBIHAN YEOIN and (4) YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT looking most likely.

Selections (7) Power Windy (2) Sinbihan Yeoin (5) Friday (6) Trophy Collector
Next Best 4, 1, 3
Fast Start 1, 7

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

Since returning from five months off in early June, (3) INTERCEPTOR has run well twice, coming 3rd over this distance three weeks ago, beating a couple of these in the process. He’s one of a number with a chance in this competitive contest. (4) THE FACT and (6) HORTENSE too come in off the back of 3rd place finishes on what was their respective second and first starts. Both should be firmly in the frame here. Hortense is likely to be on the early pace along with (7) ROYAL BLUE. Thomas Gillespie’s colt has been close in four of his five starts so far and just missed out by a nose at 1200M on June 1st. He can go well here under a brand-new apprentice, who is claiming 4kg.  (8) MIRACLE ALICE hung outwards throughout her last start but still managed to finish 5th and with manners no doubt better today, she can get closer.

Selections (4) The Fact (3) Interceptor (6) Hortense (8) Miracle Alice
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 1, 6, 7, 8

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

After a nondescript trial, (6) VICAR BLADE ran on very nicely for 2nd on debut over 1200M, pushing the talented Christiano all the way to the line. It’s been seventeen long weeks since then, but he returns here surely ready to get his maiden win. He’s not necessarily going to be a fast starter but with the extra half-furlong today, should have too much. (9) PEACE RIDER finished four lengths behind Vicar Blade that day. He’s race three times since and has acquitted himself well each time and can get close once more. Aside from those two, we’re looking for improvers. (10) HWANGGEUM BEOLMA did indeed improve last start, registering a 4th place at this distance in what was arguably a deeper field than this and can aim to at least match today. (2) GEODAEHAN WONSEOK and (5) GOLDUI INYEON should contest the early lead and both are capable of staying involved at the business end of the race.

Selections (6) Vicar Blade (9) Peace Rider (10) Hwanggeum Beolma (2) Geodaehan Wonseok
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 2, 5

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

Bart Rice’s (11) CLEVER WILLIE was a five-length winner on what was his second career start – a full nine months after the first – on June 24th. It was at this distance and while he is up in class and will be coming out of the widest gate, he’s very much the one to beat here. (4) DANCING BLAZE was a touch unlucky in running last start four weeks ago but still finished a very creditable 5th, proving he can be competitive at this class and he can build on that here. (5) HAEDONG YEOGEOL remains a maiden after twenty-two attempts but comes in off the back of a 3rd and a 4th in her latest two, both at class and distance (more…)

New Citadel Beaten On Return / Great King Rules At Busan

New Citadel was sent off as odds-on favourite on his return after six months out with a leg injury, but even though expected main rival Shamrocker was a late scratching, the four-year-old could only manage 3rd as Special Runner ran out the winner of Sunday’s Class 1 feature race at Seoul. The winner was ridden by Johan Victoire, completing a treble on the day for the French jockey.

An American import by With Distinction, New Citadel had won six of eleven prior starts in an injury-disrupted career and got closest to superstar Cheongdam Dokki in the KRA Cup Classic last autumn. His latest setback had seen him out since January, but punters believed he would have little difficulty seeing off a small field over 1800M. He was scarcely a factor though as Special Runner saw off the challenge of Wonder Bolt by half a length with New Citadel a further four-lengths adrift.

It was Special Runner’s first try at class 1 and seventh victory in total. For jockey Johan Victoire, it was a third winner on Sunday having earlier partnered Jungle Beat to victory in race 3 for Australian trainer Simon Foster and also guided filly Ecton Sinhwa to an easy win in race 8.

Victoire wasn’t the only foreign jockey to enjoy a successful weekend with Brazilian pair Antonio Da Silva and Manoel Nunes both among the winners at Seoul while Fergus Sweeney continued his impressive strike-rate at Busan. It wasn’t just foreign riders in the winner’s circle either as Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie’s Great King won Busan’s class 1 Sunday feature. The four-year-old Majestic Warrior colt was sent off as 5/1 chance for the 2000M “Road to Group 1” race and struck the front a furlong out to go on to score by a length and a half from Stealth and favourite Captain Force. It was Great King’s sixth career win and 25th of the year for Gillespie who lies joint 3rd in the Busan Trainers’ Premiership.

While New Citadel was unable to return to form at Seoul, on Friday at Busan there was a successful comeback. Ice Marine won last year’s Oaks trial at Busan and was sent off as favourite for the fillies’ Classic. She only finished 7th of 16 that day, returned lame and didn’t race again for almost an entire year. Having made a nondescript comeback on June 8th, she was rated no better than a 16/1 chance for Friday’s competitive Class 2 feature but, under jockey Song Keong Yun she flashed home late on the outside to pip Taeyangui Sinhwa by a neck on the line. If she can maintain that form, Ice Marine may be an interesting addition to the older filly and mare ranks, a division that isn’t especially strong.

 

This coming weekend, attention turns to the current crop of three-year-old fillies with this year’s Korean Oaks being run at Busan on Sunday.

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 23)

There are 11 Saturday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

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It’s Saturday! It’s Seoul!

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

(4) YOLO enters after back to back 3rd places at the distance and seems to be figuring things out and beat a couple of these last time. He gets out of the gate well and if he can get to the lead then he’ll be the one to beat. The in-form Antonio Da Silva partners (7) RAON PRO SENSE, a much improved 2nd at 1200M last time. He should be on pace early too and can go well again. (6) JOEUN NADEURI and (9) BEST HUNTER both enter improved showings. The former was 4th behind Yolo last time while latter is a five-year-old who has only run twice but could yet eke out a decent career. (2) MIDAS CHIEF is another with scope for improvement.

Selections (4) Yolo (7) Raon Pro Sense (6) Joeun Nadeuri (9) Best Hunter
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 4, 7, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Take Charge Indy is one of the most exciting young stallions to be imported to Korea in recent times to the extent that some back in the USA have lamented his sale. His first Korean crop is yet to take to the track but in the meantime, we have a foal of his, (2) LUCAS, who was imported in-utero, making her debut here in this valuable juvenile contest. Lucas took a couple of trials to get her bearings but showed some ability in a heat at the end of May and has as much chance as any here, likely looking to lead from the start. (5) WINNING BLADE was half a length behind Lucas in that trial and can also go well first up. (11) ULTRA CHAMPION was faster than both of them in his trial and the Gemologist gelding will have plenty of backers of his own. (1) DAE WAN MA and (6) RAON JAMES are others who caught the eye in trials. As ever with a race like this, watch the market for additional clues.

Selections (2) Lucas (5) Winning Blade (11) Ultra Champion (1) Dae Wan Ma
Next Best 6, 7
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 11

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

(10) FAST FASHION beat a couple of these on his way to 2nd place over 1700M four weeks ago. That was his first start since early February and he looked a much better prospect. Back down in trip today, he looks a solid contender. (2) BRAVO ILSIN comes in having recorded his best finish to date in 3rd over this distance on May 20th. He was able to get to the front for the first time that day and similar tactics will be expected here. (3) ROAD MAN too enters off a career-best 2nd three weeks ago, albeit beaten seven-lengths by a good winner and he should get close. (4) GOLD STREET, 5th behind Fast Fashion last time, and (11) DAE CAIN are others who should be in at least the placing frame.

Selections (10) Fast Fashion (2) Bravo Ilsin (3) Road Man (11) Dae Cain
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 2, 6

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

She’s registered a 3rd and a 2nd from her latest two, both at class and distance, and it’s hard to see anything stopping (5) JEJUI BARAM from getting her second career win here. She’s well drawn to get out of the gate on top and she should then take some beating. The very experienced (3) LITTLE LIGHT has run well for 3rd in each of her two most recent efforts and she can go close again while (4) FANTASTIC QUEEN was well back behind Jejui Baram last time but is better than that and can get closer today. (7) J.S STORM remains a maiden but his latest 6th of 12 was in tougher company than this and he can target a place. (9) BLUE ANNA is up in class following her maiden win a month ago and she too can be competitive.

Selections (5) Jejui Baram (3) Little Light (4) Fantastic Queen (9) Blue Anna
Next Best 7, 8
Fast Start 5, 7, 8

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(12) ARGO ROCKET has reached class 4 in double-quick time after a pair of victories, both at this level. She’s got talent but she’s going to have to improve if she is to maintain her 100% record here. (3) MAGIC ROAD is up in class too, following two wins and a 2nd place (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 28)

There are 11 Saturday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

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David Breux could be among the winners on Saturday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(7) MENI BLADE came up a little short when favourite on debut a month ago, finishing strongly but just running out of track over 1200M. She’s up to 1300M today and will take some beating. (4) SUJEBI was 6th that day and is one who could potentially give Meni Blade a run for her money although the main danger is likely to be (8) SANTOS. True, his only previous start at this distance was his worst performance to date but he ran nicely at 1000M last month, should be on the pace here and can improve. (3) MACH SEUNGNI and (5) MEGA CITY look best of the rest.

Selections (7) Meni Blade (8) Santos (4) Sujebi (5) Mega City
Next Best 3, 6
Fast Start 4, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Pretty weak maiden this although that does make it quite interesting betting-wise. (3) RAON GANGHO is the pick following and improved 4th at the distance last time out. He was a full seven-lengths behind the winner but all three who beat him that day are better than what he faces here – the 3rd place-getter went on to win last week. (9) KHENDUM POWER beat three of these on his was to 5th place at the distance on April 1st and should beat plenty again. That too was a better race than this and he should improve his finishing position. Luigi Riccardi’s (12) GAJA GAJA started badly and never became involved on her latest effort three weeks ago but showed some ability the time before that and could go close. (2) KAY ONE ahould be on the early speed and looks best of the rest.

Selections (3) Raon Gangho (9) Khendum Power (12) Gaja Gaja (2) Kay One
Next Best 11, 5
Fast Start 2, 9, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) GLOBAL QUEEN won on debut all the way back on Christmas Day 2016. She didn’t race again for fifteen months. However, when she finally came back on March 25th this year, she ran very well, finishing 2nd at class and distance and has a very good chance of winning this all-filly contest from the front. (10) MAGIC ROAD certainly caught the eye when running out a seven-length winner on debut on March 31st. She’s up in class here and should have claims again. (12) MENI SMART won over 1300M on her second career start in January. Lameness forced her to be scratched from a planned outing last month but fit again, she should go close here and can overcome the wide draw to get on speed early. (2) ROYAL BRONZE is more experienced and can be competitive in this company. (9) FOREVER WINNER was an all-the-way winner at 1300M on March 3rd and while she is up in class and back in trip, she too can go close.

Selections (4) Global Queen (10) Magic Road (12) Meni Smart (2) Royal Bronze
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 12

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) GULCHARMNAMUSUP beat (12) RAON RRIMER as the pair finished 1st and 2nd on what was both their debut outing at 1000M on January 20th. Since then, Raon Primer secured another 2nd place at that distance which got her promoted to this level and then followed up with a close 3rd at this level over 1300M on March 25th. That was a decent race and her performance that day is enough to give her the slight edge here. For her part, Gulcharmnamusup has run just once since that day in January, finishing a creditable enough 4th again at 1000M on early March. He steps up in trip for the first time and should be in the frame again. Both will face a stern test from (1) GUREUM SONJITHAE. Like Raon Primer, he is yet to get a win but now has three 2nd place finishes including last time out four weeks ago. (2) KKEULEOJUNEUN SON has been a frustrating (more…)

Korean Triple Crown 2018: All The Cup Miles So Far

The Korean Triple Crown season is upon us with the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile, set to be run at Busan this coming Sunday, April 8th. We’ll have a full preview of the big race in the forthcming days but in the meantime let’s take a look back at all previous runnings of the Cup Mile.

Indian King

Indian King won the KRA Cup Mile in 2017 (Pic: KRA)

 

The track configuration at Seoul Racecourse has never allowed for races to be run at a distance of a mile – although this is set to change within the next year – so, when the Busan Racecourse was designed, that was to be a key feature. The track was completed in 2004 and the first Cup Mile, held on a Friday in September 2005, was won by US import Siseon Jeap (Precise End).

The following year the race got a name change, the KRA Chairman’s Cup and a distance change to 1800M. Golding (Gold Alert), who would continue to be a stalwart at Busan until 2011, took the honours. In 2007, it was back to being the Cup Mile and Luna (Concept Win) landed the biggest win of her career. Australian jockey Garry Baker became the first of three foreign riders to date to have won the race.

In that same year, J.S. Hold won all three races of the Seoul Triple Crown but for 2008 Busan horses were invited to take part for the first time and the track invited to host the first leg. As a result, the Cup Mile was shifted to the first Sunday in April. Here is a list of the winners every year since then and what’s become of them:

2008: Rainmaker [Revere – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – The 3/1 favourite won the race by two and a half lengths but then finished last in the Derby and would never win a race again. He suffered some injury setbacks and was finally retired in 2010. He was registered for breeding and covered the occasional mare but was ultimately retrained for Equestrianism.

2009: Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – The first of two superstar winners, she was a 16/1 outsider (the first and possibly only correct tip ever given on this blog’s twitter feed!) and despite behind the scenes shenanigans with Eiki Nishimura getting jocked off in favour of Jo Sung Gon, she went on to win the Korean Derby. Long odds-on favourite for the Korea Oaks. she was caught on the line by Pang Pang and then, at 80% fitness, ran 3rd in the Minister’s Cup when trying to seal the Triple Crown. Until Power Blade, she was the only Cup Mile winner so far to go on to win the Derby. Sangseung Ilro won two more Stakes races as a 4-year-old before being retired for broodmare duties. One of the best fillies ever produced in Korea.

2010: Money Car [Newsprint – Pinocchio (Big Sur)] – The first of just two winners from Seoul, he came into the Cup Mile with 5 wins from 6 starts and was a dominant 11-length winner. Odds-on favourite for the Derby, he looked home and hosed a furlong out but was run down on the line by Cheonnyeon Daero. He only ran once more, his career ended by injury. Out at pasture for a few years, he was registered for breeding in 2013 and occasionally covers mares at Hyunma Farm on Jeju Island.

2011: Soseuldaemun [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] – This was a 3-year-old crop that, filly Useung Touch and solid handicapper Singgereounachim aside, didn’t really live up to its early promise. Toshio Uchida, “Mr. Pink” rode 7/1 chance Soseuldaemun to a 2-length win but the colt didn’t travel well to Seoul for the Derby and, 20 kilos lighter, finished 7th. He only raced twice more, with a very solid 3rd in the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo followed by a return to Seoul for the Minister’s Cup where he was last of 14. Not registered for breeding, he was retired to Myeongsin Farm on Jeju.

2012: Gyeongbudaero [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – One of the finest Korean-bred racehorses who is only now peaking. He was Busan’s champion Juvenile in 2011 and was the 3-length winner of the Cup Mile. A month later, he finished 3rd in the Derby, just a length behind Jigeum I Sungan and was 3rd behind the same horse in the Minster’s Cup. The same year, he was also 3rd in the President’s Cup. 13 of his 29 starts have come in Stakes races and it was in 2014 where he rose to the very top of Korean racing. Having won the President’s Cup at Seoul in November, he returned to win the biggest race of all, the Grand Prix Stakes, that December.

2013: Sting Ray [Forest Camp – Straight Cash (Straight Man)] – A victory at the time for the Korean breeding program with dam Straight Cash being a winner of the JRA Trophy in Korea. Sting Ray was the odds-on favourite for the Cup Mile and duly won by 4-lengths. He finished 6th in the Derby a month later and went on to be a solid class 1 handicapper befire his eventual retirement in April 2017.

2014: Cheongnyong Bisang [Volponi – Miss Alwuhush (Alwuhush)] – The 20/1 chance filly became Seoul’s second winner of the KRA Cup Mile when taking a 2-length victory last year. Another filly, Queen’s Blade, had been sent off as the odds-on favourite and she would come good a month later in the Korean Derby in Seoul with Cheongnyong Bisang back in 4th. Blighted by injury, he was inexplicably sent to the United States, where his story took a quite unexpected turn.

2015: Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba)] – 2nd behind Doraon Hyeonpyo in the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup, Rafale begin his three-year-old campaign with a win but only managed 4th place in his final prep for the Cup Mile. Nevertheless, it was enough for him to be sent off as co-favourite with Doraon Hyeonpyo for the big race. Under You Hyun Myung, he struck the front late on and beat Doraon Hyenpyo by half a length. That would be as good as it got for Rafale as he finished 3rd in the Derby and then 5th in the Minister’s Cup before tendinitis brough a premature end to his career after just ten starts and five wins. He remains alive at Sinhwa Farm on Jeju Island.

2016: Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Champion juvenile the previous year, Power Blade was odds-on favourite for the Cup Mile, obliging by four-lengths and swept to all three legs of the Triple Crown with supreme ease. He went on to represent Korea at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2017, placing at Group level before returning to Seoul to run 2nd in the Korea Sprint and then to win the Grand Prix Stakes.

2017: Indian King [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] – British jockey Darryll Holland became the fourth foreign jockey to win the Cup Mile, guiding 75/1 outsider Indian King to a narrow win having taken the initiative early in the race. He ran solid 4ths in both the final two legs of the Triple Crown but suffered an injury setback shortly afterwards. He has recently returned to training.

Final declarations for this year’s race will be made on Wednesday. A full preview of the big race will follow.