Best Captain

Weekend Preview: Winter Has Arrived

There’s just one week to go until the traditional finale of the Korean racing year, the Grand Prix Stakes and the weather in Korea has suddenly turned cold. Very cold.

We could be seeing scenes like this at the track soon

We could be seeing scenes like this at the track soon

While last Saturday, punters were basking in temperatures in the low teens (celsius), things plunged below freezing on Sunday night and haven’t warmed up since. We keep on racing though and there is a busy weekend in store.

Joe Fujii returns to the saddle after five months on the sidelines through injury. The Japanese rider has plenty of live chances among his eleven rides across the weekend.

There will also be plenty of well-known horses on show, with four class 1 races across the weekend.

At Seoul, Fly Top Queen seeks to get her stuttering career back on track again in Saturday’s feature after two very disappointing runs. She’ll have it all to do once more against some decent sprinters over 1400M. On Sunday Best Captain, second in the President’s Cup a month ago, heads the weights in the big handicap.

Busan has class 1 events on both Friday and Sunday. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday December 5
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 10 races from 13:30 to 17:20

Saturday December 6
Seoul Racecourse: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 10 races from 12:20 to 17:40

Sunday December 7
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

Gyeongbudaero Wins President’s Cup At Third Attempt

The expressway between Seoul and Busan is called “Gyeongbu”. Given that so much big race prize-money has disappeared down that road from the capital, it is perhaps appropriate that a horse called Gyeongbudaero, returned back South with the biggest prize of them all in the President’s Cup yesterday.

Gyeongbudaero (far side) just edges Best Captain in the President's Cup (Pic: KRA)

Gyeongbudaero (far side) just edges Best Captain in the President’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Now five-years-old, Gyeongbudaero won the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown in 2012.

He followed it up with a third place in the Korean Derby and that year’s President’s Cup. Last year he would come back to Seoul and finish second. This year he finally got it right in the nation’s richest race.

It was another Busan raider, Hangangui Gijeok, who was sent off as the pre-race favourite, with Magic Dancer also ahead of Gyeongbudaero in the betting. And it was Magic Dancer who set much of the early pace with the favourite and Ganghae, a shock third in the Minister’s Cup, in close attendance.

This would turn out to be a race for the closers though and as first Ganghae disappeared and then Hangangui Gijeok Magic Dancer began to wane, it was Gyeongbudaero and outsider Best Captain who took full advantage. They would battle all the way to the line but it was Gyeongbudaero who got there first by a head.

Magic Dancer came home three lengths back in third ahead of Hangangui Gijeok with Derby and Oaks winning filly Queen’s Blade in fifth.

It was a tenth career victory for Gyeongbudaero and his fourth Stakes win. Twelve of his twenty-seven starts have been in Stakes company and he is now approaching the KRW 2 Billion mark in prize-money won.

If connections want it, they will be sure of getting an invite back to Seoul next month for the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes. Gyeongbudaero’s sixth place in last year’s race is one of only two occasions to date on which he has been out of the money.

President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – November 9. 2014

1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 6.7, 1.9
2. Best Captain (KOR) [Revere – Onethindime (Tactical Advantage)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 4.9
3. Magic Dancer (KOR) [Forest Camp – Woldly Magic (Peterhof)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.7
Distances: Head / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Hangangui Gijeok 5. Queen’s Blade 6. Haneuli Chubok 7. Gumpo Sky 8. New And Best 9. Gwanggyo Bisang 10. Success Story 11. Gumanseok 12. Heukgisa 13. Ganghae

* So yet another big race win for Busan and it is the southern track that looks likely to take the honours when horses from the two tracks clash again next Sunday – this time on the South Coast – in the Gyeongnam Owners’ Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour.

Road To Prince Drives On At Busan

The final weekend of racing before the Korean Derby saw low-key cards at both Seoul and Busan although there were one or two notable performances.

Even as Best Captain made it 3 from 3, lots of minds were on next week at Seoul today

Lots of minds were on next week at Seoul today

Win of the day went to Road To Prince (Pico Central) in the feature race at Busan. The 4-year old colt recorded his 8th victory in 12 starts with a crushing 9-length win over Tamna Ace (Thunder Gulch) under Joe Fujii. A late-starter, Road To Prince didn’t run as 2-year old but is turning into a very fine racehorse.

Seoul’s feature race was a less than exciting affair but saw a first class 1 win for filly Chowon Yeoje (Forest Camp). She led home Super Rich (Osumi Jet) and favourite Special Win (Tahamkke) by just over a length at the end of the 10 furlong handicap.

Earlier in the day, there was a maiden win for 3-year old US import Jijonui Sinsegi (Leroidesanimaux). The colt made his only previous start last year before getting injured but was on good form today taking the 6-furlong race 5 by a considerable margin.

Also impressive was locally bred colt Best Captain (Revere-Onethindime) who remains unbeaten after landing his 3rd victory in race 8. It’s too late for the Derby but, if he continues to show this kind of development, he may well be a contender come the final leg of the Triple Crown in October.

Now, however, attention focuses on next week’s Korean Derby.
KRA Cup Mile winner Sting Ray (Forest Camp) will be travelling up from Busan and will be the likely favourite to take his second Classic of the year. We start the build-up very soon.