Beolmaui Kkum

Sunday Preview: Nonghyup Trophy At Seoul / Beolmaui Kkum At Busan

Sunday is a big day of racing across the peninsula with good quality match ups at both Seoul and Busan. The unfortunately named Goreous Dream goes after what would be his eighth win on his ninth start in Seoul’s Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy while Beolmaui Kkum, such a disappointment in last month’s Korea Cup, headlines Busan’s feature.

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Beolmaui Kkum quickly led the Korea Cup but quickly faded. He returns to action on Sunday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Formerly for fillies and mares, this year the Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy has been repackaged as a race for 3-year-olds. And at Seoul, Goreous Dream (yes, he really is actually called “Gorgeous Dream” in Korean, it seems to be a typo but we’re going to go with it anyway) looks a talent, at least at sprint distances. He’s going to be the strong favourite to keep his record going in the 1200M Nonghyup.

Beolmaui Kkum went out like a train in the Korea Cup at Seoul last month but quickly ran out of steam and handed the race on a platter to the two Japanese visitors. There’s a jockey change today with an apprentice coming in to take some weight off but it still won’t be easy for Beolmaui Kkum in the 1800M race 6. Dongbang Daero, Supreme Magic – 6th in the Korea Sprint – and the ever-reliable Heba will also go.

At Seoul there are 11 races from 10:40 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 from 12:50 to 17:00. English race cards are here. Three races will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2 for betting on the TAB, including the Nonghyup Trophy. Notes on those below:

Race 8: Class 3 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 14:45

(3) KODIAK LOVE will be the strong favourite here. He didn’t get the greatest of trips in a tough race over this distance on October 2nd but if he can get on speed early today, he has every chance of going all the way in what is slightly weaker company. (9) POWER AND SPEED returned from a full ten months off in September to record an unexpected win at domestic class 4. She’s up in class today but has a strong finish and looks to be the main danger. Also up in class is (10) BARAM SOGEURO. He didn’t disappoint with an all the way win over 1300M and while the draw is less favourable today, he’s should be competitive. (5) SKY JEWANG has a 4th and a 6th from two outings at this level and can build on those today while (1) TAEYANGBYEOL looks best of the rest.

Selections: (3) Kodiak Love (9) Power And Speed (10) Baram Sogeuro (5) Sky Jewang
Next Best: 1, 6, 7
Rating: 3, 10, 4=8, 6
Fast Starters: 3, 4, 5, 10
Start-200M: 4, 3, 6, 10, 5
200M-Finish: 7, 9, 3, 5, 8

Race 9: Class 1 / 1200M / Allowance (3yo only) – The Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy / KRW 120 Million / 16:35

He may be a typo in the registry but (8) GOREOUS DREAM has proved a very effective sprinter on the track. The Sharp Humor colt has won seven of his eight outings to date, almost all of them having led from gat to wire and he will be hot favourite to do exactly the same here. (1) SUN ROK comes in having won his last two and drops back to this distance for the first time since last year. He’s won seven of ten and is a danger. Under the same ownership as Sun Rok (although a different trainer), (5) GWANGBOK CHILSIP is another talent who drops back to a sprint distance for the first time in many months and must be taken seriously. (7) SUSEONG CAPTAIN and (3) SHAMROCKER too will appreciate the distance with the former likely to challenge Goreous Dream and Gwangbok Chilsip for the early lead. It’s a competitive race with seven of the eight having claims (it’s hard to make a case for the still maiden Hwanggeum Cheonha), but the favourite should be too good.

Selections: (8) Goreous Dream (5) Gwangbok Chilsip (1) Sun Rok (7) Suseong Captain
Next Best: 3, 6, 4
Rating: 8, 5, 3, 1, 7
Fast Starters: 5, 7, 8
Start-200M: 8, 2, 7, 5, 6
200M-Finish: 3, 6, 7, 1, 4
Race 10: Class 3 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 17:30

Small but competitive field here with two standouts. (3) WINNERS GLORY looked like he was heading to the top earlier this year but hasn’t managed to build on a 4th place in the Korean Derby. He managed another 4th in the Ilgan Sports Cup in July but his only race since then was a disappointing run over 1400M. He gets another chance here though and should be on speed throughout. Among those beating Winners Glory in that 1400M race was (2) SEOMGWANGI. He was recording his third consecutive 2nd place finish that day but with champion jockey Moon Se Young back in the saddle, he should also be on speed early and can go one better today. He’s the pick. (4) DIXIE PLOIT, a half-brother to a Derby winner, is up in class following a smart win over this distance last month and looks best of the rest. He’ll come from off the pace as will the next best (7) GRAND PNYX and (8) CARDIFF HWANHUI.

Selections: (2) Seomgwangi (3) Winners Glory (4) Dixie Ploit (8) Cardiff Hwanhui
Next Best: 7
Rating: 7, 2, 6=8, 3
Fast Starters: 2, 3
Start-200M: 2, 3, 7, 1, 5
200M-Finish: 4, 3, 1, 2, 5

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Beolmaui Kkum Wins Big At Last

He is one of the most naturally gifted horses to have ever run in Korea and on Sunday afternoon in the rain at Busan, Beolmaui Kkum finally came right on the big stage, defeating a host of other top names in Korean racing to win the Busan Mayor’s Cup.

He didn’t just win it, Beolmaui Kkum romped it, taking advantage of the soaking wet conditions and a favourable draw to get the early lead and dominate the race, stretching away from the field to win by a full five lengths on the line.

Pre-race favourite Triple Nine was 2nd ahead of Success Story who had to settle for yet another 3rd place finish. Clean Up Joy was Seoul’s best finisher in 4th with the Peter Wolsley pair of Macheon Bolt and Bold Kings defying poor draws and the unsuitable distance to come home in 5th and 6th respectively. Last year’s winner and this year’s 3rd favourite Gamdonguibada had a disappointing race and ended up 12th of the 16.

It was Beolmaui Kkum’s 16th win in 27 outings but his first Group race triumph. Arguably over-trained and over-raced in the early part of his career, he was sent off as favourite in the 2013 Grand Prix at Seoul but faded badly, something that would be repeated in subsequent big races. Six months off after last year’s running of this race though seems to have extremely beneficial. Since returning, Beolmaui Kkim had won 2 out of three races with his only defeat coming at 1200M in the first leg of the Sprint Series.

He therefore came in fresh and with the track condition favouring front runners and the distance not leaving the likes of Triple Nine any margin for error, punters ended up kicking themselves for allowing Beomaui Kkum to start at odds approaching 20/1.

For jockey Kim Yong Geun it was another big race win in what is shaping up to be a great year with the prospect of Power Blade completing the Triple Crown later this month. For owner Lee Jong Hun it was profitable two minutes as well – he also owns Success Story.

Beolmaui Kkum [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Girl (Wild Event)] is a 6-year-old horse. He was a $20,000 purchase from the Fasig Tipton Kentucky yearling sales in 2011. The winning time was a new track record. Could Beolmaui Kkum go up to Seoul and repeat the trick at the same distance in the Korea Cup in September?

Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 3, 2016

1. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) [Put It Back – Wild DIxie Gal (Wild Event)] – Kim Yong Geun – 19.9, 5.1
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.3
3. Successs Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] – Paolo Aragoni – 3.4
Distances: 5 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Clean Up Joy (USA) 5. Macheon Bolt (KOR) 6. Bold Kings (USA) 7. Dymanic Dash (USA) 8. Winning Andy (USA) 9. Space Port (USA) 10. Heba (USA) 11. Gumpo Sky (KOR) 12. Gamdonguibada (USA) 13. Rush Forth (USA) 14. Damyang Chukje (USA) 15. Dongbanjaui Gijeok (USA) 16. Clean Up Cheonha (USA)

Success Story 3rd as Gamdonguibada Wins Busan Ilbo Cup

Success Story was sent off the slight favourite on his return to racing in Korea but just like in his two starts at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, he had to settle for 3rd as Gamdonguibada romped to a five-length victory in the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the 2016 Korean Sprint Series at Busan this afternoon.

The race was expected to be dominated by a pace duel between Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum, both fast starters and difficult to split at the head of the market. That would always be fine for Gamdonguibada who was well-backed by punters who suspected she might be able to take advantage of the favourites potentially over-racing early.

Gamdonguibada did exactly that. However, others were not content to let the favourites dictate and Indian Star, Daepungnyeon and Perdido Pomeroy shot out of the gate leaving Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum back in an unfamiliar 4th and 5th as the race settled down.

Entering the straight, Beolmaui Kkum offered nothing and while Success Story rallied, he had too much to find as Gamdonguibada and Choi Si Dae went through the gears and cruised away from the field, racing on for a dominant five-length win on the line. Perdido Pomeroy and Kim Yong Geun ran on for a strong second with Success Story and Paolo Aragoni a further three lengths back in a strung-out finish.

Gamdonguibada (Werblin) is a quite remarkable mare. A $31,000 purchase at the Ocala Two-year-old sale in 2011, she won the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup and then the Grand Prix Stakes, Korea’s most prestigious race as a three-year-old. She didn;t win any Stakes races in 2013 but then as a five-year-old in 2014 she won two legs of the Queens’ Tour for fillies & mares to be crowned the series champion. Connections (thankfully) rejected the bonus that was on offer to retire her immediately for breeding and brought her back in 2015.

Gamdonguibada won the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup, Busan’s richest race for older horses before running poorly in Singapore at 1200M just three weeks later.There was talk once more she would be retired. She wasn’t.

The win is yet another for the Kim Young Kwan training machine that continues to churn out winner after winner at Stakes level. The next leg of the Sprint Series is the SBS Korea/Japan race at Seoul in early June. The final leg is, of course, the Korea Sprint on International Day on September 11th. Gamdonguibada has staked her claim to be there.

Sunday Race Notes: Busan Ilbo Cup

Success Story, Beolmaui Kkum, Gamdonguibada, Gumpo Sky, New York Blue. And more. The first leg of the K-Sprint Series which, will culminate in the Korea Sprint on International Day in September, takes place at Busan on Sunday in the shape of the Busan Ilbo Cup and there is a star-studded line-up.

Beolmaui Kkum

Beolmaui Kkum faces Success Story in the Busan Ilbo (Pic: Ross Holburt)

There is also a full card of racing at Seoul where the first race is at 10:50 and the last at 18:00. Busan runs from 13:00 to 17:05. The Cup is one of three races from Busan which will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2. English language race cards are here. Notes on the three Sky races:

Busan Race 3: Class 3 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 14:30 (KST)

A small but competitive field and (3) IN THE BACK enters the slight favourite following a 2nd place at class and distance on April 17th. He is from Busan’s top stable and has finished no worse than 2nd in any of his last eight starts. He will try to lead from gate-to-wire. The main danger is (8) SAENA. She hasn’t won since last June when she was successful at class and distance but enters with solid form behind her and she beat two of these when finishing 2nd over 1400M last month. Being back at a mile today should suit. (5) SANBANG TRAIL was 4th in that same race as Saena last month and should at least match that today with (1) JOKWANG and (7) MORNING GANGJA perhaps the best of the rest.

Selections (3) In The Back (8) Saena (5) Sanbang Trail (1) Jokwang
Next Best 7, 4, 6
Outsiders 2
Fast Starters 3, 5

Busan Race 4: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 15:20 (KST)

While suffering a severe case of second-itis – he’s never won but has been runner-up in each of his last four outings – (11) DAEJONGCHEON is the pick to finally get it right today. This is by virtue of his having beaten three of these when just going down by a neck over 1400M on April 3rd. He tries this distance for the first time. If Daejongcheon is to find one too quick again – and let’s face it, he might – the Bart Rice-trained (4) GIANT HOLD looks the most likely candidate. A class 4 winner at a mile in March, he was 3rd at this distance, beating Aussie-bred (7) STAR WARP, last time out. There is more Australian interest in this as Peter Wolsley saddles the lightly-raced (9) TURNPIKE. This is just his fifth start and he was beaten by Daejoncheon last time but he may appreciate the extra distance today. (10) SEMPER FI should also enjoy being back at 1800M and should be close with (5) GEOCHIMEOPSI and (6) NAGASINDA the more wildcard choices.

Selections (11) Daejongcheon (4) Giant Hold (9) Turnpike (10) Semper Fi
Next Best 6, 7, 5
Outsiders 1, 2, 3, 8
Fast Starters 6, 10, 11

Busan Race 5: Class Open – The Busan Ilbo Cup (Korea Sprint Series 1L / 1200M / Weight for Age / KRW 300 Million / 16:15 (KST)

(1) SUCCESS STORY is the marquee name here. Last seen running 3rd to California Chrome over 2000M at Meydan in February (in a prep race at the Carnival, not the actual World Cup race) he makes his return home in a hugely competitive 1st leg of the Korean Sprint Series. Success Story is capable at any distance between 1000 and 2000M and he has claims under Italian jockey Paolo Aragoni, but he may well not even be the favourite. That’s because his owner also enters (3) BEOLMAUI KKUM, the highest rated horse in Korea right now. Winner of fifteen of his twenty-five races, he is unbeaten in two races since returning from a six-month spell. A powerful starter, he will take on Success Story for the early lead and has every chance of beating him. (7) GAMDONGUIBADA has been beaten by Beolmaui Kkum in both her last two starts but remains dangerous as does (11) GUMPO SKY, who only ever races in tough company and is intriguingly dropped back to 1200M for the first time since he was a three-year-old. He usually goes forward but may let the others get on with it here. (10) PERDIDO POMEROY takes a big leap up in class but has plenty of potential while (9) NEW YORK BLUE, a very good sprinter in the past is the wildcard returning from seven months out. She looked sharp in trials.

Selections (3) Beolmaui Kkum (1) Success Story (7) Gamdonguibada (10) Perdido Pomeroy
Next Best 11, 9, 5, 4
Outsiders 2, 6, 8
Fast Starters 3, 1, 4

Late Show Haemaru Owns SROA Trophy

8/1 chance Haemaru was the winner of the first Korean Group race of 2016, getting up for a last-gasp victory over Segye Ilbo Cup victor Global Fusion in the Seoul Racecourse Owners’ Association Trophy this afternoon.

Punters couldn’t come to any kind of consensus. Magic Dancer ended up sent off as a weak favourite but while he would show close to the front for most of the race he, along with all the early pace-setters; Yaho Sky Cat, Sun Lordly and Always Winner, would fade badly in the home straight.

It would be left to the closers and Global Fusion, the shock winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January with a similar late late show, took control with a furlong to go. His lead looked to be big enough to ensure lightning would indeed strike twice but that was to reckon without Haemaru. Fifth at the furlong pole, he relentless ground down the leader under jockey Choi Bum Hyun and snatched victory in the final strides.

Sotong Sidae, Sun Burster and Seonbong would likewise fly home from the back to occupy the minor prize money positions.

For Haemaru (Vicar), a 5-year-old gelding, it was an 8th career win on his 25th start and first Stakes victory. He was 9th in this race last year. For Jockey Choi Bum Hyun, at one-time the go to man in the weighing room for the big occasions, it was a first return to the Stakes winner’s circle since 2012.

SROA Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 13, 2016

1. Haemaru (KOR) [Vicar – Forest Flower (Timber Country)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 8.6, 2.9
2. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 4.0
3. Sotong Sidae (KOR) [Gold Money – Myeonggahuiye (Black Minnaloushe)] – Park Byeong Yun – 3.1
Distance: Head/2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sun Burster 5. Seonbong 6. Always Winner 7. Yaho Sky Cat 8. Singyu Gangja 9. Best Guy 10. Gumanseok 11. Goldholic 12 Magic Dancer 13. Power City 14. Impetus 15. Raon Morris 16. Sun Lordly

Down at Busan, Beolmaui Kkum (Wildly Magic) cemented his return to the top of racing on the south coast, beating Gamdonguibada (Werblin)for a second consecutive time. over 1400M. There was a length between the pair on the line and they were split by Darkest Night (Ghostly Minister), who recorded a very solid 2nd place on his first try at class 1.

66/1 Global Fusion Stuns In Segye Ilbo Cup

The 2016 Principal Race program got underway at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon and the majority of punters were left frustrated as 66/1 chance Global Fusion emerged the winner of the six furlong Segye Ilbo Cup.

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Global Fusion in the Segye Ilbo Cup winner’s circle

On a bright but chilly afternoon in the Korean capital, Seonbong was sent off as a warm favourite but while he wasn’t too far off the early pace, which as expected was set by Kim Dong Soo on Always Winner, he would fail to be involved at the business end of the race.

Always Winner would battle on well but while the well-backed Power City would come with a late run, quicker than them all would be Global Fusion. A 7-year-old gelding, Global Fusion hadn’t visited the winner’s circle since the New Year’s Commemorative race all the way back in 2013.

Under Yoo Seung Wan, Global Fusion broke from gate 7 and settled towards the rear of the 12-strong field. Still in eighth place entering the home straight. His finish though was too strong as he passed first Magic Dancer and finally Always Winner close to the line.

It was a seventh win in total for Global Fusion and for jockey Yoo Seung Wan, his 2nd Segye Ilbo Cup, having partnered Indian Blue to victory three years ago (when the race was  for fillies).

Segye Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Jan 31, 2016

1. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky] – Yoo Seung Wan – 67.6, 8.9
2. Always Winner (KOR) [Creek Cat – Halla’Teukgeup] – Kim Dong Soo – 6.6
3. Power City (KOR) [Archer City Slew – Power Bull] – Park Tae Jong – 1.6
Distances: Neck/3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Magic Dancer 5. Forty Cure 6. Seonbong 7. Geomtan 8. Long Speed 9. Royal Star 10. Lion Star 11. Yaho Sky Cat 12. Portray

At Busan on Sunday afternoon, Beolmaui Kkum, for some time ranked as the number one horse in Korea, returned to the track for the first time in over six months in winning fashion. The six-year-old beat Gamdonguibada and Cowboy Son in a high class 1400M race in track-record-equaling time.

All Smiles For 500-up Kim Ok Sung As Sing Sing Cat Rolls Back The Years

It’s taken him 28 years but Kim Ok Sung grinned his way to his 500th career winner at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday and fittingly he did it aboard one of the grand old campaigners of the track, as Sing Sing Cat returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2013.

Kim Ok Sung...500-up

Kim Ok Sung…500-up

It doesn’t sound hugely impressive but in actual fact it is. For many of those 28 years, Kim Ok Sung was, like every other jockey, restricted to five rides per week. He is one of very few jockeys of his generation who have managed to last more than ten years in the saddle in a fast changing racing environment where the young jockeys are far better trained than those who went before. He is 6th on the all-time winner’s list.

If you had to choose a jockey to spend an evening on the soju with, it would probably be Kim Ok Sung. If you had to choose a jockey to bet your mortgage on in a race, it probably wouldn’t be Kim Ok Sung. Popular with punters with his man of the people routine and his ability to always be quick with a quip in retort to a heckle in the parade ring he has, to put it diplomatically, sailed close to the wind with the Stewards on a number of occasions.

Yet somehow, he always manages to come out the other side and Saturday’s 500th win was typical. Riding 50/1 shot Sing Sing Cat, Ok Sung unexpectedly gunned him out of the gate into the lead and essentially pulled down the pants of the rest of the field who never got back on terms, the jockey punching the air as he and his mount crossed the line still a full 5 lengths clear of the rest. Champion jockey Moon Se Young was the first to congratulate him.

Kim Ok Sung is nicknamed the “Smile Jockey” due to his ever-present Cheshire Cat grin. His biggest win was all the way back in 1996 when he won the Grand Prix Stakes on Hula Mingo. The grin was widened on Sunday when he rode winner number 501.

A mention is due of Sing Sing Cat (D’Wildcat) too. He was a 50/1 winner on Saturday but back in 2012 he stunned Tough Win to claim victory in the KRA Cup Classic. A regular money winner since, the 7-year-old was recording his 12th win on his 41st start.

Down at Busan, top-rated horse in the land Beolmaui Kkum slumped to his second consecutive defeat. This time it was Cowboy Son (Cowboy Cal) who won Busan’s Sunday feature race with Oreuse (Smoke Glacken) returning from a year out running 2nd and beating Beolmaui Kkum into 3rd.

Now attention shifts to the Korean Derby. We are just five days away!