Moon Se Young Set For Kranji Debut Friday

Multiple-time Korean Champion Jockey Moon Se Young will finally make his Singapore riding this Friday in the evening meeting at Kranji Racecourse.

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Moon Se Young is accustomed to winning. He faces his biggest challenge in Singapore (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Moon, who was granted his Singapore work permit two weeks ago, arrived too late for declarations for last week’s meetings in the Lion City but gets his first opportunities on Friday with two rides. First he’ll partner Gin Go Gin in race 2 for trainer Alwin Tan, known to Korean punters for his handling of inaugural Asia Challenge Cup winner El Padrino.

Later on in race 8, Moon will be on Board Walk for trainer Ricardo Le Grange. He’ll be referred to as SY Moon in the Singapore race card.

Moon’s license will run until August 7. Singapore Turf Club’s Michael Lee conducted an interview with the jockey on his arrival at Kranji.

Bart Rice Tops 100 Winners At Busan

Bart Rice has reached a well-deserved landmark. The South African trainer saddled his 100th Korean winner at Busan Racecourse last Friday.

Rice had been on 99 winners since mid-April having had some near-misses but it only took until the first race on Friday to put that right as filly Jeonsaui Huye (Peace Rules) justified her odds-on tag to land her maiden victory under Chae Sang Hyun. Win number 101 wasn’t far off too as the same jockey guided Que Sera Sera (Concept Win) home in front in race 6.

The third foreign trainer to be licensed in Korea following Peter Wolsley and Joe Murphy, Rice arrived at the end of autumn 2013 and spent time building up his stable before sending out his first runners in late January 2014. He won with his first starter:

That established an impressive strike rate that has continued right up to the present day. Jeonsaui Huye was Rice’s 632nd Korean starter making for a win rate that stands now at 15.8% overall and 18.8% for the past year. No fewer than 40% of his runners in the past year (and 37.4% overall) have placed in the first three. He was 5th in the Trainer’s Championship in 2016 and currently lies in 7th place this term.

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Bart Rice and assistant trainer Pam Rice along with Joe and Young Sook Dallao at Busan Racecourse 

Rice has also been involved with what is a new concept in Korea – foreign ownership – saddling winners for both Joe Dallao and Barry Irwin. The Team Valor green and red aren’t the only famous colours his string sport, however, as top Korean owner Choi Byung Bu (of Triple Nine fame) has also sent a horse Rice’s way; Triple Five, who the trainer took to Kranji in Singapore to run in the KRA Trophy last year.

Bart Rice, who will turn 41 later this year, now has 33 horses under his care at Busan. He may be yet to win a Stakes race but that is surely only a matter of time and along with fellow expat trainers Peter Wolsley and Thomas Gillespie (and recently joined by David Miller), Rice is contributing to significantly raising the standard of competition at Busan. That’s true for jockeys too as apprentice Choi Eun Gyeung, the first Korean female rider to be assigned at Busan for many years, has landed on her feet in being attached to Rice’s stable.

So it’s 101 up for Bart Rice. He has a horse in his stable called “For Bart“. While that particular one may not have done a lot in his only start to date, there are likely to be plenty more happy owners over the next 100.

 

Final Boss Wins The 2017 Korean Derby

Final Boss came wide and late but ended up scoring a remarkably convincing victory in the Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

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All alone, Final Boss and Choi Bum Hyun win The Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Out of sorts in the Cup Mile at Busan last month and at the back of the field for much of the Derby, last year’s Champion Juvenile Final Boss came through very late and very wide to claim victory. Royal Ruby was 2nd with American Power just pipping Cup Mile winner Indian King to repeat his Cup Mile 3rd place.

Royal Ruby was sent off as the slight favourite. The Peter Wolsey trainee had come desperately close to catching Indian King in the Cup Mile and punters clearly felt that Sunday’s extra furlong would suit. It was not to be once more. Nor would it be for Indian King himself who despite being pushed slightly wide on the first turn, rallied well and raced prominently to end in 4th.

It was the unconventional stretch run of Final Boss that was the story. He was last as they sighted the line just over two furlongs out. On the race video, you can’t see him until they are within a furlong on the finish. By this time he is front having shifted all the way over to the stands-side rail. Generally, horses that do that lose. And get sent back to trial to improve their manners. Final Boss just ran on and on and had three lengths on Royal Ruby on the line.

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – May 14, 2017

1. Final Boss (KOR) [Menifee-Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 6.6, 2.0
2. Royal Ruby (KOR) [Chapel Royal – Red Ruby (Yehudi)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.3
3. American Power (KOR) [Ecton Park – White Angelica (Quiet American) – Francisco Da Silva 1.5
Distances: 3 lengths / 1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Indian King 5. Adele Ace 6. Taeyangui Sinhwa 7. Daeho Sidae 8. Muhan Yeoljeong 9. Jangsan Power 10. Lion Rock

Final Boss [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] provided his sire, Menifee, with his 5th consecutive Korean Derby winner. His dam, Sinsok Dolpa, ran 23 times in Korea for 2 wins. She was bred in Japan. Final Boss is her 4th foal to make the track with two of the other three having been winners. She has a two-year-old Rock Hard Ten filly called Raise Me Up set to begin racing this year and a yearling by 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (the last non-Menifee to win the Derby).

Jigeum I Sungan was also saddled by trainer Ji Yong Cheol. That colt would go on to claim the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown, as well and Final Boss is now surely favourite to go on to repeat that feat. Ji has been training since 1986 and has won plenty of big races. Jigeum I Sungan has been his best so far but Final Boss looks very exciting – especially if he can learn to run in a straight line.

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Final Boss with connections in the Derby winner’s circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

For jockey Choi Bum Hyun, it was a first Derby. The 38-year-old won the Grand Prix twice on Dongbanui Gangja in 2008 and 2009 but this was his first success in any of the three-year-old classics.

So Seoul wins the Derby for the first time since 2012 and only the third time since Busan horses began competing in 2008. The best of the three-year-old crop will reconvene in Seoul on July 16th for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown. Before that, the fillies Classic – the Korean Oaks – is at Busan on June 11th.

 

 

Seoul Derby Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 14)

Sunday is Korean Derby Day 2017! (preview here). There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. There is also a 6-race card at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. English racecards can be found here. Notes on Seoul races below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

1. SUN SMART – Improved 3rd last time and big chance to go better here.

2. ILDEUNG YEOGEOL – Never better than 5th in seven outings. Looks fifth choice today too.

3. MINDEULRE CHUKJE – Slight improvement in three goes to date. Needs more here.

4. CHODONG RACE – 5th on debut a month and can have come on for it. (more…)

Korean Derby 2017 – Preview

A confident Darryl Holland couldn’t have been more emphatic: “I wouldn’t swap my mount” the jockey declared as he prepared to partner Indian King in Sunday’s Korean Derby (KOR G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The KRA Cup Mile winner heads into the race looking to add the 2nd leg of the 2017 Korean Triple Crown to the first jewel he won at Busan a month ago.

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Indian King and Darryll Holland winning the KRA Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

Meeting the media, Holland bristled at any suggestion that the 75/1 Indian King’s Cup Mile victory was down to chance. “I don’t think there was any fluke about the win because he did it the hard way”, he said of Indian King taking up the running a long way out and staying on to win by half a length from the fast closing Royal Ruby. Nor will the distance or the outside gate be an issue: “We’ve got one furlong more to go and I don’t think that will present a problem…I don’t think the gate is a big problem. I’ve rode in enough big races all around the world to overcome it.”

Nevertheless, as much as Holland praised his horse, many observers felt at the time that the decisive factor in the race was the jockey himself and Indian King isn’t expected to start as favourite for Sunday’s showpiece. Royal Ruby, runner-up in the mile, returns again and the Peter Wolsley trained colt is set to be a big danger again as is 3rd placed American Power whose jockey Francisco Da Silva senses an opportunity to turn things around: “There was only half a length between Indian King and my horse. Royal Ruby was there as well and I expect those three to fight again. 1800M is no problem”.

In the Cup Mile those three were five lengths clear of pre-race favourites Daeho Sidae and Final Boss. Cypriot jockey Marios Mina will get the leg up on Daeho Sidae for the first time and was in good spirits. “My horse is in great condition and training very well” said Mina, “the last race wasn’t the best of him”. It wasn’t the best of Final Boss either who didn’t enjoy travelling to Busan and arrived in the parade ring looking a shadow of the horse who had won his two tune-up races in explosive fashion but may be better back on home sand. Here’s that Cup Mile:

There are ten runners in total in the Derby:

1. Lion Rock – He was undefeated heading into the Cup Mile but stumbled coming out of the gate and was never involved. There is still a feeling that we may not see the best of him until later this year. He’s a full-brother to Triple Nine, who ran at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. If he gets away ok this time, he is expected to sit handy.

2. Daeho Sidae – Commanding wins over 1800M and a mile saw him sent off as slight favourite in the Cup Mile but he wasn’t able to reproduce the kick in the home straight that he has shown before and ended up 4th. Better is possible. Likely to settle in the rear of midfield.

3. Taeyangui Sinhwa – A stablemate of American Power, he didn’t run in the Cup Mile. A good winner over 1400M a month ago, this is his first try at further so there are some unknowns and he is the second string. Was beaten by Indian King in March. In his races so far, he has settled in midfield.

4. Adele Ace – A stablemate of Daeho SIdae he gets to take his chance having scored a seven-length win over a mile on April 7th. It was all the way down at class 5 though and it was his maiden triumph. Looks to have plenty to find. He has tended to settle handy or in midfield.

5. American Power – Just a head behind Royal Ruby in the Cup Mile on what was just his second start of the year having been surprisingly beaten in the first of them. He won all three as a juvenile. From Busan’s top stable, he will be very well supported and may start as favourite. Not usually the quickest of starters, it’s his first try at the distance but he should get back.

6. Final Boss – Last year’s champion juvenile didn’t look himself at Busan for the Cup Mile but despite that, he still finished off the race very well, quicker than all but Royal Ruby and American Power in the final furlong having travelled poorly for the first half of the race. He won at this distance with dismissive ease in February. It will be important to see him in the parade ring. Expected to be on the early pace today.

7. Muhan Yeoljeong – A touch unlucky in the Cup Mile, never really finding a run and ending up in 7th place, he had been very impressive in beating some useful horses over a mile in his preparation. 3rd behind Final Boss and Daeho Sidae in the Championship Juvenile race last December. Runs best when on or close to the early speed.

8. Jangsan Power – He didn’t go to the Cup Mile but won three consecutive races between January and March. 3rd on his first try at 1800M last time, running on well. Most likely be ridden in a forward position today.

9. Royal Ruby – There weren’t high hope of him as a 2-year-old but he won three races in a row to begin 2017 including twice at this distance beating some good horses along the way. Almost got up in the Cup Mile. Barrier is irrelevant as he’ll get back and Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley has a big chance of winning his first Derby. He will likely settle towards the rear of the field.

10. Indian King – The Cup Mile winner may not start as favourite but don’t rule him out. He ran on strongly at the end having led for a decent portion of the race. As before he’ll most likely settle in midfield and if the opportunity comes, there’s no reason why he can’t take it.

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

It’s Derby weekend! The big race is at Seoul on Sunday afternoon and we’ll have plenty of build up over the next couple of days. Before that, however, there is the regular Friday card at Busan to negotiate and it features 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards can be found here while notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

1. JIBONG YEONGUNG – Decent 4th over 1200M in March but well back behind Sharp Bell last start.

2. CHOEGANG BOLT – Last of nine on debut in February and sent back to trial. Nothing special in the trial but the yard is to be respected so improvement today is possible.

3. SHARP BELL – Much improved 4th latest over a muddy track on April 7th. Could look to match or better that here.

4. JUNE MORNING –2nd at 1200M a month ago on just her second start, running on nicely. Strong chance here.

5. MADOBIYEON – Offered little in six starts so far although his most recent, a 5th of 11 on first try at this distance, was his best to date.

6. CHEONGCHUN DAERO – 4th in a slow race in January but last of 11 on only subsequent outing three weeks ago. (more…)