Bichui Wangja

Tough Night In Tokyo

It was another chastening night in the dirt for Korean runners in Tokyo as Bichui Wangja and Ubaki were unable to make an impact in the 4th running of the Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse on Tuesday evening.

ubaki

The parade ring was about as good as it got (Pic: KRA)

Since Watts Village won the inaugural running of the race in 2013, things haven’t been easy for the Korean contingent in Tokyo each autumn in the same way that it has been tough for the NAR runners who travel to Seoul for the Korean-based leg of the challenge each year.

This time around, Korean hopes took an early blow when Oreuse, the top-rated among the three who travelled, pulled up lame at trackwork on Monday morning and had to be scratched. That left Ubaki and Bichui Wangja flying the flag and Japanese punters sent them off as 8th and 10th in the betting respectively for the 1200M test over Ohi’s right-handed course.

After a long delay while Satono Diplomat was scratched, market-leader Looks That Kill (Wildcat Heir) set the early pace and along with Gaudy (Precious Cafe) put several lengths into the field in the early stages as the Korean pair, having drawn outside gates, struggled to get into the early prominent positions required.

Those two on the early speed would lead all the way but it would be Gaudy, under veteran jockey Fumio Matoba who would get up eight on the line to snatch victory.  Bichui Wangja and Ubaki  trailed home towards the rear of the field.

Gaudy, an 8-year-old horse, was 5th in the betting and was winning for the 9th time on his 58th career start. As for Matoba, the “Emperor of Ohi” was winning a 2nd Japan/Korea race, having claimed the very first one, the 2013 SBS Goodwill Cup at Seoul aboard Tosen Archer. Now pushing 60-years-old, Matoba’s style is not one that gets taught in the world’s jockey academies these but once in full flight, it can be very effective at Ohi.

There’s no disgrace on the ones who went and gave it a go and while the results over the past couple of years have been a touch disappointing, the exchange remains a valuable one, giving trainers and grooms (although this year not jockeys) experience of taking horses overseas to race, something that is vital to the long term development of Korean racing.

The Interaction Cup concludes overseas racing for Korean horses this year. Next up is the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the New Year. Success Story, who did so well at the Carnival last year, won’t be returning but a number of top names have applied for stable allocation.

 

Se Young’s Super Six

Champion jockey Moon Se Young was in imperious form at Seoul on Sunday, riding the winner in 6 or the 10 races on the card.

Moon Se Young

Moon Se Young

As has been mentioned many times on this blog, the standard of riding in Korea has been getting better and better over the past few years.

Seo Seung Un, while not the champion, was undoubtedly the jockey of the year in 2013 by virtue of his outstanding performance with limited firepower.

Lee Chan Ho, a first year apprentice is showing great potential, while Jo In Kwen pushed Moon all the way last year.

However, if there was any doubt as to who is the number one in the weighing room, it was dispelled today. All his mounts had chances and Moon brought them home with ruthless efficiency.

Those wins included both co-feature races, firstly with Brig (Menifee), a 4-year-old who was 4th in the Korean Derby last year and looks set to fulfil his potential this time around.

Then there was Bichui Wangja (Roman Ruler), a 4-year-old American import who held off two long shots to record his 5th career win. Seo Seung Un had ridden Bichui Wangja in all his previous outings before today. With Moon being available though, the ride went to him.

A smile would be nice: Even after Bichui Wangja give s him his 6th winner of the day, Moon Se Young is in no mood for celebration

A smile would be nice: Even after Bichui Wangja give s him his 6th winner of the day, Moon Se Young is in no mood for celebration

Earlier in Moon’s haul was Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton). The only Korean bred horse to win a race in the United States returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 4 outings, winning race 6 by a nose. He’ll be in class 2 company next time out.

Down at Busan, we have some quality riders too although with Jo Sung Gon off to Macau, most of them are now foreign.

Joe Fujii and Darryll Holland both picked up where they left off from Friday by riding winners. Fujii added to his Friday four-timer by scoring a routine win on hot favourite Not Anymore (Casino Prince) in race 4. It was a 3rd win from 7 starts for the Aussie filly who has never finished worse than 3rd.

Two races later, Holland, who rode a double on Friday, landed the feature race for the 2nd time in as many meetings, guiding Grand Teukgeup (Menifee) to a comfortable win over 7 furlongs.