Eunha Chelma, Ice Marine Impressive Winners Of “Tiara” Step Races

Some markers were laid down among the 3-year-old filly ranks on Sunday as Eunha Chelma and Ice Marine respectively dominated the Sports Seoul and Gyeongnam Sinmun Cups at Seoul and Busan.

Eunha Chelma entered uneaten with two wins from two and maintained her 100% record by accelerating away from the field in the final furlong to win by three lengths from Brian Dean’s Rocket Queen.

Sports Seoul Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 5, 2017

1. Eunha Chelma (KOR) [Vicar-Intouchable (Elusive Quality)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 4.0, 1.8
2. Rocket Queen (KOR) [Vicar-Starletbound (Gone West)] – Jeong Jeong Hee – 1.2
3. Amazonas (KOR) [Officer-Happy Queen (Revere)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 2.1
Distances: 3 lengths / Nose – 10 ran

At Busan, Ice Marine was already a known quantity having been 2nd in Busan’s top juvenile race (also called the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup) last October before having an off-day at Seoul in the Breeders’ Cup race in December. She began her 3-year-old campaign with a win over 1200M a month ago and headed into Sunday’s race as the odds-on favourite.

Ice Marine didn’t disappoint as she led every step of the way to record a very comfortable 6-length win on the line.

Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup (Listed) – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 5, 2017

1. Ice Marine (KOR) [Officer-Runkerry Point (Giant’s Causeway) – Song Keong Yun – 1.7, 1.2
2. Morning Baramse [Simon Pure-D’Lovely Cat (Unbridled’s Song)] – Jo In Kwen – 5.2
3. Happy Gongju [Officer-Happy Jo (Johannesburg)] – Yonekura Satoshi – 1.9
Distances: 6 lengths / 0.75 lengths – 11 ran

In other 3-year-old news at Busan, Peter Wolsley’s Royal Ruby (Chapel Royal) continued his impressive progress. He landed his third consecutive win and second at 1800M. He beat a decent class 4 line-up, winning a photo finish by a nose from Triple Nine’s little sister, the Thomas Gillespie-trained Black Sapphire.

Stakes action returns to Seoul this coming Sunday with the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy, the first Korean Group race of 2017.

Choegangja Four For Four For Brian Dean

Brian Dean looks to have a lively one on his hands. Choegangja stepped up to class 1 at Seoul for the first time on Saturday afternoon and and absolutely blitzed by no means hopeless set of rivals over 1200M. Swedish jockey Shane Karlsson was in the saddle.

Choegangja (Silver Train) is a four-year-old gelding who had shown promise but not a whole lot else, winning one out of six starts before he was transferred to Brian Dean last autumn. Since then he’s been unstoppable, winning four out of four and transitioning from class 3 to class 1 in the process. Yesterday, he got the jump on the field and never looked back, leading home Canada-bred filly Gaenari by four lengths in a quick time. If he continues his progress, he’ll be a Korea-sprint contender come September.

Aussie trainer Dean continues to get results under the no doubt challenging circumstances of being the first foreign trainer at Seoul. Only 3 of the 51 trainers at Seoul have sent out fewer horses than Dean in 2017 so far and yet he finds himself up in 9th place in the the Trainer Premiership with a vastly superior Win, Place and Show strike-rate than any other handler at the track. Owners may start to take note.

As for Karlsson, he too is showing useful figures. Choegangja was his 4th Korean winner (he won on him last start too) – all of them for Dean. Other trainers may wish to take note of that too.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Preview (March 5)

Fillies take centre-stage at Seoul & Busan on Sunday as the most promising 3-year-olds race for big prizes in the Sports Seoul and Gyeongnam Sinmun Cups. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

English racecards can be found here. Notes on the three overseas simulcast races are below:

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million

1. MR. FORTUNE – Winner of 3 from 5 including one at this class. First time around two turns but can make all. Big chance. (more…)

Triple Nine & Power Blade Set For Stern Super Saturday Tests

Power Blade and Triple Nine take to the Meydan dirt one final time tonight as they become Korea’s first representatives on “Super Saturday” at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Triple Nine has a 2nd and a 4th to his name in Carnival races so far while Power Blade has run 3rd in both of his starts. Tonight they are operating at another level altogether.

Power Blade will run in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar over a mile (Race card):


The race is not quite as strong as it could have been but Power Blade still looks up against it. Heavy Metal, who comfortably beat Power Blade in his first Meydan run, returns and looks as dangerous as ever while the even higher rated Polar River and Le Bernardin also take their chances. Stormardal and Godolphin’s Alabaster also can’t be ruled out. Power Blade is available at 16/1 with most operators and given the way he gamely runs on, that might be worth something each-way.

Just over an hour later, Triple Nine has an even tougher assignment as he takes part in a Group 1 3rd leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge at 2000M (Race card):

tn3 Japan’s Lani is the most recognisable name on the list but the 3rd place-getter in last year’s Belmont Stakes won’t necessarily be favourite. Furia Crizada and Second Summer were 1st and 2nd  in the second leg of the challenge last month (with Power Blade 3rd). Triple Nine closed very strongly in his first Meydan outing but was a little one-paced and failed to change leads running on for 4th in his second. He is surely better than the 33/1 being offered by most operators.

Tonight is another hugely significant moment as Power Blade and Triple Nine run in these races on merit. If they can pull off a surprise and hit the board, it would be wonderful. If not, the way they and the other Korean horses have run at the Carnival before tonight has already ensured that Korea will be back next year.

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 4)

Moon Se Young is Singapore-bound in the next few weeks and Seoul’s champion jockey has the ideal opportunity to put himself in the shop window as he gets on a number of likely favourites on Saturday’s Seoul card which will be simulcast to Singapore. There are 11 races from 10:40 to 18:00.


Open for business: Moon Se Young (Pic: Ross Holburt)

English racecards are here. Notes on simulcast races below:

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

The soon to be Singapore-bound champion jockey Moon Se Young has found himself in a tussle this year with Djordje Perovic and the pair go head to head here on the two fancies. Perovic partners (9) GEUM BONGHWANG, who is already established at this level and comes in following decent 3rd place at class and distance last time. Moon may just have the edge though with the up in class (12) JINGYEOGUI CHEONMA, a four-length winner at this distance on February 4th and seemingly with plenty of potential. (4) YAHO GIANT was an unexpected winner at this class on January 8th and must be respected here while (3) BAEKSAN ISLAND and (7) THANKS BEAN are others who could go close. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 3)

Racing is back at Busan on Friday with 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards are here and notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 4: Class 6 / 1600M / Allowance / KRW 22 Million

1. JIBONG YEONGUNG – Yet to win in 14 but a 2nd and a 4th among latest four.

2. FOR BART – Debut-maker from, of course, Bart Rice. Few clues from trials but interesting to start a mile. Give him a chance.

3. YOSUL KING – 4th of 7 only creditable performance to date. Outsider.

4. BAY KINGS – Shown little either side of a six-month break between 2nd and 3rd starts.

5. MEISTER GO – Much improved 2nd ahead of two of these on first try at a mile a month (more…)

Easy For Clean Up Joy At Seoul While Success Story Gets Back Where He Belongs

Grand Prix Stakes winner Clean Up Joy went to the races for the first time in 2017 on Sunday afternoon and 6-year-old didn’t disappoint, utterly crushing a class 1 field to win a Championship Series race over 2000M. Meanwhile at Busan, Korea’s 2016 Meydan hero Success Story finally returned to the winner’s circle.

Clean Up Joy made short work of Triple Nine and Power Blade, both currently at this year’s World Cup Carnival in Dubai, when winning the Grand Prix over 2300M in December. Sunday’s field was much weaker but Clean Up Joy had shunted them all out of the handicap and was giving a minimum of 8kg weight advantage – the only time he lost at Seoul in 2016, he was giving the same weight away.

It made little difference as, with Djordje Perovic on board for the first time, Clean Up Joy made short work of his opponents, sprinting away in the straight to win by an eased down five lengths. Clean Up Joy is now Korea’s leading contender for the Korea Cup race in September.

Down at Busan, Success Story finally returned to where he belongs for the first time since late 2015. 

Success Story stunned Korean racing watchers by landing two 3rd place finishes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival last year (famously behind – a long way behind – California Chrome on the second occasion) and paved the way for five Korean horses to participate at Meydan this time around. Since returning to Korea he has raced in some of the biggest races, generally coming close but not breaking through.

Finally on Sunday he found himself at an ideal distance – 1800M – in a race where he would get an easy lead and where the main danger (Ms. Margaux) was a closer carrying more weight. Success Story duly obliged, leading every step of the way and still eight lengths clear on the line.

Triple Nine and Power Blade are now preparing for Super Saturday at Meydan. They may both have bested Success Story during the past year, but were it not for his exploits, neither would likely be there this time.