Blue Chipper

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 4)

It’s going to be a wet one! The monsoon season arrived in Korea during racing on Saturday and it’s expected to keep on raining for the foreseeable future. There are Sunday cards at Seoul (9 races from 11:00 to 18:00) and at Busan (6 races from 11:30 to 16:30). Blue Chipper faces Doctor Carson once more at Busan while at Seoul there is a heavyweight clash too in the shape of Heuk Jeonsa vs Dia Road. Here are the previews:

It’s been a while since we had some really foul weather

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million

Three-year-old fillies get proceedings underway. (6) MODERN TIMES comes in off a good 2nd on debut when after a bump at the start she showed speed to be on pace and ran on well. She twitched her tail a little every time the jockey urged her forward with the crop but responded well to hands and heels. Hopefully she has learned from that and can improve here. (3) NAMSAN CHOCOLATE has improved at every start and showed a nice effort last time when 2nd over 1000M showing plenty of speed to be at the front and finishing off pleasingly. She returns to the filly ranks today, gets a nice barrier and her jockey’s confidence will have been buoyed by a good win last week. (4) HAPPY DAY has placed in two of three starts to date. Her latest was her first since last summer and she could well have come in for it. (2) MAGIC TIDE’s worst finish to date was at this distance but she hung in at the start and took a bump before finishing well and may be worth some though. (5) PRINCESS SOCKS is the only filly in the field with a win to her name and comes into the calculations based on that.

Selections(6) Modern Times (3) Namsan Chocolate (4) Happy Day (2) Magic Tide
Next Best5
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 6

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(7) AMAZING FOOT is set to be favourite here. He has two runner-up finishes from four starts so far, his latest being a fast race over 1000M on a wet track when he led for much of the way around. He’ll be on speed again here and can go all the way this time.  (2) SEOBU WONDERFUL made an inauspicious start to his career but went back to trial in June and looked a very different prospect. From a good draw, expect to see him on speed here. (1) KING BID has been knocking on the door for a while. He was a good 2nd over 1300M two starts back before leading and then weakening late over 1400M last start. Back in trip today and drawn on the inside can help him go close. The rest of the form in this race is patchy but (5) OMEGA GIRL and (9) QUICK WIND, the latter like Seobu Wonderful having shown promise in a trial since her latest race, which was all the way back last summer, are others to consider.

Selections(7) Amazing Foot (2) Seobu Wonderful (1) King Bid (9) Quick Wind
Next Best5, 10
Fast Start1, 2, 6, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) SAENAE WIN looks ready to win after placing at his last two starts. He has tended to be a little bit slow away, but his most recent performance was good one and with a little bit of luck today, he can make the breakthrough. (9) K N LIGHT is a winner at 1200M already. He has had to work hard from wide draws to get to a decent position and has perhaps paid for it in the later stages of his subsequent two races, but he looked well when winning a June trial and can go close here. (4) MAIN OF KING is worthy of consideration based on his last start over 1200M when he settled well back in the field in the field then ran on really well and doing his best work near the finish.  (8) GEUMA FLAWLESS has been there or thereabouts in recent starts. He met some interference early last time out over 1200M and then settled back before running on strong in the straight. 1300M should suit and with an easier run he can be competitive again. Solitary debut-maker (3) KING CRUSH trialed up in 2nd place behind K N Light and has every chance of going well on his racecourse debut.

Selections(1) Saenae Win (9) K N Light (4) Main Of King (8) Geuma Flawless
Next Best3, 11
Fast Start1, 4, 7, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million

(4) RUN FIGHTER has a 3rd and a 2nd to his name from two starts so far, both times coming from off the pace and finishing off well. Those races were at 1200M and 1400M respectively so he splits the difference today and under the in-form Perovic can find a nice sport from a good barrier and be too strong late on. The main danger is (7) WINNER STAR. He’s raced just the once so far when he jumped midfield then settled handy and ran on for 2nd behind Wonder Blade. He should have come on for that experience and the additional half furlong today may suit.   (1) FANTASTIC LEADER has two 3rd place finishes and while he only managed 6th on his first try at this distance last start, he draws better today and can be competitive. (2) USEUNG MELODY and (9) CROWN KING STAR are others with the potential to improve.

Selections(4) Run Fighter (7) Winner Star (1) Fantastic Leader (2) Useung Melody
Next Best9, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 7, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(2) K BLADE is perhaps due a change of luck after three 3rd place finishes at distances out to 1300M. Her racing pattern is to be handy or on the pace and a nice draw here puts her into prime contention. (1) JEONGMUN PRINCE can have his latest start disregarded and instead we’ll look to his previous effort over 1400M when soon after the start he knuckled over but regained his footing before settling near the back and then working home very well for 3rd. He should be in contention here. (6) CHEONDUNGSEJA is the least experienced in the race with five prior outings, but he is showing improvement with a last start 3rd over 1000M. Going out to 1300M here may be a query but his racing pattern to date has been to settle midfield to handy which may suit the longer trip. (8) YEONGUNG DAEMA comes into the picture having been close at his last two starts. Last time over 1300M he was only fairly away but ran on well in the straight. (9) BIG RED the best of the rest.

Selections(2) K Blade (1) Jeongmun Prince (6) Cheondungseja (8) Yeongung Daema
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million

(7) MUJEOK BULPAE tops all the indicators here. Fastest average first furlong, fastest average final furlong, fastest time at this distance. That latter record was recorded two starts back when beating a few of these when 2nd to Adele Pupil on a wet track and he followed up with another runner-up finish when dropped back to 1200M on June 13th. He carries top weight but should be too good. (5) TEAM SKY was well back behind Mujeok Bulpae two starts ago from a horrible draw but stepped up to a mile last time and made all for a narrow win. Ioannis Poullis isn’t likely to hang about here so expect him to lead again and be in the finish. (4) CHOEGANG LIGER was very slowly away last start before rallying for 6th. He is better than that and has placing claims here along with (6) ROCK PEGASUS and (8) YEONGGWANGUIRUNNER.

Selections(7) Mujeok Bulpae (5) Team Sky (4) Choegang Liger (8) Yeonggwanguirunner
Next Best6, 2
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 9

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million

(8) THE QUEEN JUSTICE ran a good race on her first try at this class when she settled midfield and ran on wide in the straight over 1300M. She comes back to 1200M after a seven-week freshen up and looks nicely in here. The faovurite will be (4) MORNING HILL. He was a good winner of his opening two races but weakened having led over 1400M on his first try at class 5 level on June 5th. Back at 1200M and very nicely drawn, he has every chance of returning to winning ways. (9) CHEONBISEONG comes in after a good 2nd when he settled handy to the leaders and then ran on well on the rails beating a number of these in the process. The draw isn’t ideal but he looks a placing chance. Further back in that race was (6) GREEN POKJU. We’ll give that filly another chance based on her win to starts back at class 6 level when she made all over this distance. (10) STREET GANGJA another in at least the placing frame.

Selections(8) The Queen Justice (4) Morning Hill (9) Cheonbiseong (6) Green Pokju
Next Best10, 2
Fast Start4, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million

(8) SUCCESS MACHO has won both his starts so far in fine fashion with front running performances over both 1200M and 1300M with winning margins of six and five-lengths respectively. He is up in both class and slightly in distance today, but neither should present any issue and he will be hotly favoured to complete a hat-trick of victories. (1) DONGBANUI SIJAK also comes up in class in her case after a less spectacular, but commendably solid start to her career. She comes in after a good 2nd in a fast time to Miss Indie over 1300M and the additional half furlong may suit under a light weight. (2) WONDERFUL KING is yet to score in ten attempts but has four runner-up finishes ad was a decent 4th at this class and distance having led last time out. He draws nicely and can be on pace early. (6) WONDERFUL JAZZ comes up in class and in distance after a decent win over 1200M on June 12th. He can sit on the pace or handy and can be competitive at this level. (9) CHEONNYEONUIGUREUM another with placing hopes.

Selections(8) Success Macho (1) Dongbanui Sijak (2) Wonderful King (6) Wonderful Jazz
Next Best9
Fast Start1, 2, 6, 8

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million

(5) RAPIDO ARES gets the nod here. Disregard her latest start when she was caught a little wide early from less-than-ideal barrier. She had good form prior to that when on the pace or settled in a handy position and today’s draw helps her chances. (1) LOVE RACE is competitive at most distances. She has tended to get back in her races but from the inside gate here, Antonio Da Silva may opt to have her handy and she comes into the calculations. (6) MONEY SILK is a hard horse to get too enthused over but, in this field, he is a genuine place chance based on times he has run. Last time he was wide but still ran on and should go better here. It’s been a while since (8) MAMMA ROMA placed but she does seem to prefer this distance, and this isn’t the toughest of races. He racing pattern is to settle midfield and run on, she has light weight and looks a money chance. (3) IL MARE mixes his form but is another one who in this company, can aim for a money finish.

Selections(5) Rapido Ares (1) Love Race (6) Money Silk (8) Mamma Roma
Next Best3, 9
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 6

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 45 Million

It’s rare in Korea for a horse to tackle 1800M at just his second start but (8) GEUMA STORMING is a four-year-old who went through a good number of trials before making his debut at a mile on June 13th and running a very creditable 2nd having led for much of the race. He should have learned a bit from the experience and is from the track’s top stable. He looks to have an excellent chance of winning here. (9) SEUNGNI TOUT was a last start winner at a mile on May 22nd. That was his maiden win but he has finished in the top four in seven of nine attempts to date and is set to be one of the main dangers here, most likely sitting handy and then running on. That day in May he beat (10) TWO TWO CARLTON, who himself was a class and distance winner in April (with Seungni Tout in 4th). Two Two Carlton likes to settle midfield so the draw should not be a problem. With Perovic taking the ride, there was a chance in tactics on (4) DOCTOR SKY and it did the trick has with a front-running performance he recorded a good 2nd over a mile in a fast time and that brings him into contention here. (5) TOP BEST the best of a competitive rest.

Selections(8) Geuma Storming (9) Seungni Tout (10) Two Two Carlton (4) Doctor Sky
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 8

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million

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Blue Chipper Sunday Busan & Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (June 6)

Blue Chipper will have the chance to avenge his loss at the hands of Doctor Carson as the two of them face off again in the feature race at Busan on Sunday afternoon. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:05 to 17:00 and 10 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. The Seoul meeting will be held behind closed doors while there will be limited in person attendance at Busan. Unfortunately, the Daegu City Government has ordered the off-track betting location in that city to be closed as the Coivd alert level in that region has been raised to join Seoul, Gyeonggi and Jeju at “level 2”. Off-track centres in Busan Gwangju, Changwon and Cheonan remain open for limited in-person attendance which must be pre-booked. Here are the previews:

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

This is a race with little exposed form, so we’ll go out on a limb with (4) RUN TO GOAL. She ran well enough over the 1200M last time after stumbling out of the barriers and then copping a bump off the horse on her outside. After meeting interference in the straight she still ran well. She’s well drawn again and with more luck should be in the finish. The favourite will be (9) M J QUEEN on the grounds that she has won a race. That was on debut and while she hasn’t looked like following up in three starts since, she was prominent last time being passed just before the finish. The drop back to 1000M may suit. (10) ECTON JILJU showed improvement at start number two and is another who may appreciate the opportunity to race at five furlongs. (2) SAENAE HWANGJE and (8) TAEYANGTAGO are others whose form is not perhaps as bad as it first looks.

Selections(4) Run To Goal (9) M J Queen (10) Ecton Jilju (8) Tayangtago
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) GEOLJAK WOMAN can be considered here having been placed over 1200M and getting a good barrier. Draw a line through her last start when she was inconvenienced at the start before working home very nicely. A clean getaway today puts her right in the finish. Likely betting favourite is (6) BEST CHEONSANG. She’s been consistent across her four starts so far and with the best first furlong average time of any of these, should relish the chance to compete over five furlongs for the first time. (10) JILJU BORN has raced at this distance already and did rather well at it, finishing 4th on debut back in January. Las time out he raced green and wide before eventually finding his feet on the fence and that experience may have done him some good. He has a chance. (9) JEONGMUN JIJON was 4th last start behind a runaway winner. That was an improvement on his previous two efforts, and he won’t need to be too much better to go close here. (3) GLOBAL STORM the best of the rest.

Selections(1) Geoljak Woman (6) Best Cheonsang (10) Jilju Born (9) Jeongmun Jijon
Next Best3, 5
Fast Start3, 6, 10, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(3) CHEONGDAM TANK comes in with solid form and at het last start was a narrow 2nd over today’s distance on a wet track. She settled in a handy spot and made up good ground that day and from a better barrier here looks the one to beat. (4) SILVER DRAGON has hit form recently and was doing his best work late on last time out over 1200M. That suggests he is ready for another crack at the slightly further trip today and he should go close. Like Cheongdam Tank, (10) LAST BOSS also enters having run 2nd at this distance on his latest start. He came from an outside barrier to settle close to the pace that day, running on strongly and a repeat puts him in the finish again. (8) YEONGUNG DAEMA showed improvement last time despite being away awkwardly and then running wide. A more mature run here makes him a solid each-way hope. (11) WONDERFUL TYCOON did nothing too wrong when 4th on debut last start and is another who can make progress here.

Selections(3) Cheongdam Tank (4) Silver Dragon (10) Last Boss (8) Yeongung Daema
Next Best11, 12
Fast Start3, 5, 10, 12

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here. (1) PUREUN JANGMI is going to be favourite here. She’s a Kim Young-kwan trainee who having won her trial ran 3rd when favourite on debut. Improvement will be expected on that, and it would be no surprise were she to make her breakthrough here. We’re going to take her on though. (12) SEUNGNI MAGICQUEEN went one better on her debut, finishing in 2nd place to a good winner and recording the fastest time any of these have managed so far at the distance. The draw is not ideal, but it wasn’t the first time around either and with a bit of improvement she has every chance. Both (2) BYEOLI TTEUNE and (11) SAEMANGUIVISION both showed improvement at their respective latest starts each registering a career best 2nd place. They look the next best contenders for the money with Saemanguivision the slightly preferred of the pair. There are two debut-makers and (14) ALIVE QUEEN looked competent enough in two trials and can go well first up despite the wide draw.

Selections(12) Seungni Magicqueen (1) Pureun Jangmi (11) Saemanguivision (14) Alive Queen
Next Best11, 6
Fast Start1, 9, 10, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

(2) CHEONMA TODAY is a winner of three from seven and was a super all the way victor over this distance last start. Ostensible she is up in class here but in normal times would have been a number of races back. Add in the nice barrier and she can win again. Favourite will probably be (4) CATCH CHARM. She won her first two and then last start when up in class led while pulling hard before battling on for 5th. That was her first outing in more than four months so she may well have got the bad manners out of her system, and she can improve here. If she does, she has a winning chance. (6) OLD SPECIAL comes up in class after an all the way score at this distance last time. He may not get things his way quite so easily this time what with there being plenty of other early speed too, but he should still be competitive. (3) RUBICON got her maiden win at start six last time, and she too steps up in grade today. She seems to run well whenever she draws a good barrier and doesn’t need to cross, so she can also be in the finish. (9) SHOWMAKER another in the placing frame.

Selections(2) Cheonma Today (4) Catch Charm (6) Old Special (3) Rubicon
Next Best9, 12
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(4) WILD INDIE is set to be hot favourite here. He came from well back to run 2nd on debut over 1300M before stepping up to a mile and repeating the trick, running 2nd to a good winner. He’s a half-brother to Beolmaui Kkum and Kkakjaengi, Korean Stakes winners both, and he surely breaks through today. (5) B J’S TERMS was one of those rare horses in Korea who began their career at a mile and all of his three starts so far have come at the distance. He is another who seems to like to come from well back and he did exactly that to beat a few of these when 3rd last time out. He can continue his progress today. (2) DIA FORCE ran 4th behind B J’s Terms on his first try at a mile four weeks ago and can aim to match or better that today while (6) KING BROTHER, 5th in the same race, and (9) MINYEO GEOMGAEK are others in the placing hunt.

Selections(4) Wild Indie (5) B J’s Terms (2) Dia Force (6) King Brother
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start3, 6, 7, 8

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

(5) OXFORD KING picks himself really based on two consecutive wins in good times, beating several of these in the process in the most recent one. He made all both times and while he does carry more weight today, is drawn nicely to repeat. (8) DIA KEY ran 3rd to Oxford King on May 1st and meets him on 2.5kg better terms today which can bring him closer. He likes to settle midfield and run on and similar will be expected today. (6) RAON DIA has been 3rd in both starts at this class. Whether drawn inside or out wide, she sits handy and finishes strong and she should be firmly in contention for at least a place today. (3) DALRINEUN BITKKAL comes up in class and back in distance following a good win over 1400M a month ago. Both of his wins have come when he has led or been in a handy position and he can comfortably sit behind what should be a good pace here and try to take advantage in the closing stages. (9) MONEY CHAMP the best of the rest.

Selections(5) Oxford King (8) Dia Key (6) Raon Dia (3) Dalrineun Bitkkal
Next Best9, 2
Fast Start5, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

(9) BEASTLY scored back-to-back class 6 wins in December and April both times leading almost the whole way around. He stepped up to this class three-weeks ago and though sent off favourite couldn’t quite get to where he needed to be from a wide draw ultimately finishing 4th. The step up in trip should be fine and he can return to winning ways today. (10) FLAT BABE has raced three times and has three runner-up finishes to her name. She too is up in class but has already registered the fastest time among any of these who have previously tackled the distance and another 2nd place should be the minimum aim. Continuing the theme of those up in class is (1) CHOEGANG LIGER. He has run consistently solid times and can be competitive at this level. (5) INDIAN PARTY and (8) WONDERFUL KING are others in placing contention.

Selections(9) Beastly (10) Flat Babe (1) Choegang Liger (8) Wonderful King
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start4, 8, 9, 10

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

Fillies and mares only here and (1) LOVELY K will be a warm favourite. Two starts back she registered a good win in a fast time over the 1200M before running 4th over 1400M when she got within a length of the winner despite being inconvenienced in the home straight. She can settle handy here and is the one to beat. (9) CHALLENGE SOCKS is a last start winner at this distance at class 5 level. She doesn’t tend to show a lot of early speed, but she ran on well under a confident ride for a win that was easier than the margin suggests. Down in weights, she should be right in this. Disregard the last start of (2) MJ POINT is perhaps worth some thought. In her races she has settled midfield and run on well and both the draw and step up in trip may benefit today. It’s been more than a year since she last ran, and she’ll definitely need this but (3) TIZ ROSE has plenty of ability and trialed up adequately. She could make for an interesting outsider. (11) LIONETTE is still relatively unexposed and was a solid 4th at start number two a month ago and is another with placing hopes.

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Round-Up: Morfhis Latest Star Defeated / Min Jang Gi Hits 500 / Yeongcheon Racecourse Progress / June Attendance Update / Dortmund on Insta

Morfhis became the latest big name horse in Korea to be beaten while giving away a considerable amount of weight under handicap conditions. Simjangui Godong was the beneficiary at Seoul last Sunday as Morfhis joined the likes of Blue Chipper, Moonhak Chief and Tiz Plan in going down to defeat while conceding 8kg to his rivals.

Simjangui Godong (KRA)

With the current Covid restrictions on attendance plus the absence of online wagering, Korean racing’s income has been devastated over the past sixteen months. and with prize funds having dried up, there are currently no Listed, Stakes or Graded races. Therefore the only option to keep racing going for the top horses is to run handicaps and with the top rated horses putting the others out of the handicap scale, some huge weight imbalances have become inevitable.

Blue Chipper was beaten by a spritely Doctor Carson on May 2nd while later in the month at Seoul Tiz Plan ran 2nd to Brigadier General before the 2019 Korea Cup winner Moonhak Chief trailed home in 4th place behind Heuk Jeonsa. Over 1400M last Sunday, Mofhis gave it a good shot but at such a weight disadvantage was no match for Simjangui Godong, the 2020 Segye Ilbo Cup winner. Blue Chipper and Doctor Carson will meet again this coming Sunday with both declared for Busan’s class 1 event over 1400M. An apprentice jockey claiming 3kg has been booked for Blue Chipper this time.

Min Jang Gi (KRA)

In other news on the track, trainer Min Jang Gi reached the milestone of 500 career winners last Sunday. The trainer saddled Winning Dancer to victory in race 4 at Busan. Min, who took Success Story to the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2016, is currently trainer of Blue Chipper.

Yeongcheon Racecourse Makes Breakthrough

More than eleven years after it was first announced and six years after it was initially due to open, work is finally set to get underway on Yeongcheon Racecourse, the nation’s third thoroughbred track. With the granting of a building permit this week, construction will now be allowed to begin.

Computer image of the planned Yeongcheon Racecourse

The much delayed project received a huge boost earlier this year when an extension to the Daegu subway line number 1 was announced in the 4th National Railway Network Construction Plan. This would include a stop within walking distance of the racecourse site, bringing mass transit to what is currently a hard to reach location. The latest scheduled opening date for Yeongcheon Racecourse, which will feature Korea’s first turf track, is now September 2024.

Busan Reopens To Customers But Jeju Closes Again

Punters were welcomed back to the Busan Racecourse as well as the city’s two off-track-betting locations last week as social distancing restrictions in the city were lowered to level “1.5”. However, Jeju Island, which saw over 1 Million flight passengers arrive during April with many more expected over the summer months, has accordingly raised its own level to “2”, the same level as Seoul and the surrounding regions, meaning that while racing can continue on Jeju, customers cannot attend.

That means that for the first weekend in June, seven locations are open, all with restricted attendance. They are Busan Racecourse (1,419 attendees permitted), Busan Dong-gu OCB (383), Busan Yeonje OCB (480), Gwangju OCB (919), Daegu OCB (505), Changwon (196) and Cheonan (634). All attendance must be pre-booked on the MyCard app.

Dortmund Joins Insta

Great Hill Farm, which stands new American arrivals Dortmund and Flashback, as well as locally bred stallion Magic Dancer, has joined instagram and has started posting regular pictures and English language updates about their star new import. Their instgram id is “greathillfarmnow”.

Round-Up: Blue Chipper & Tiz Plan Beaten, Jangsu Sales Results, 2020 Losses, Jeju Selections for Friday May 7

Both Blue Chipper and Tiz Plan met their matches at Busan and Seoul last weekend. While both were beaten by good horses, it was more the weight advantage they were giving away that saw the two (literal) heavyweights trail home 2nd in their respective features on Sunday.

With minimal income entering into the industry for more than a year now, there are currently no Listed or Stakes races races for the top horses to compete in. That means they need to take part in handicaps where they will, naturally be giving a lot of weight away. Blue Chipper conceded 9kg to the up and coming Doctor Carson (Hansen), who continued to burnish his reputation as he defeated the champion by a length over 1200M

It was a similar story at Seoul for Tiz Plan. He too was game but was unable to match the finish of Brigadier General (Tapit), an Australian-bred five-year-old, who came past him in the closing stages to score by three-quarters of a length. Both Blue Chipper and Tiz Plan received 2nd place prize money of 15 Million Won ((US$13,317), a far cry from what they would have expected to have been competing for in normal times.

The grim state of affairs was apparent Jangsu Breeze-up sale last week, one of the main Juvenile sales to take place on the mainland, where business was sluggish. Just thirteen of the fifty-three lots offered reached the minimum reserve price of 10 Million Won. Overall it was a slight improvement on last year but well down on the same sale two years ago in terms of numbers sold and in average price, with purchasers uncertain if and when their horses will ever be able to run.

The Testa Matta colt (Pic from screengrab of the sale feed)

The sale-topper was a colt by Testa Matta and out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Coulis De Fraises., bred by Nokwon Farm and bought for 60 Million Won by owner Park Cheol-geun. He fetched almost double the next best, an Old Fashioned filly out of Revereduction (by Revere).

Meanwhile, local media has been reporting that financial figures for Korean “Public” (i.e. government run) companies for 2020 are out and they are, to put it mildly, not good. The Korea Racing Authority swung from a 144.9 Billion Won (US$128.8 Million) profit in 2019 to a 436.8 Billion Korean (US$338.3 Million) loss in 2020 caused by a total collapse in wagering revenue after February. The loss surpassed that even of the Incheon Airport Corporation whose own Covid crisis saw a loss of 423 Billion Won last year.

Racing has been kept going at reduced prize money levels by using “Emergency Reserve” funds, However, local media has reported that these will be finally exhausted in July. Barring something unexpected happening, there seems little prospect on restrictions on attendance at the racecourses and off track betting sites being lifted to an extent that would allow a break-even point to be reached any time soon so it appears the only hope of saving the industry in any recognizable form lies in the legalization of online sales of betting tickets.

Racing continues though so let’s turn attention to the weekend where we will have the same schedule as recent weeks. Jeju will run a pony race meeting on Friday while Seoul and Busan will run thoroughbred-meets on both Saturday and Sunday. The only betting outlets open will be those in Jeju, Daegu, Gwangju, Changwon and Cheonan (advance reservation by My Card app required). Here are some selections for Friday’s Jeju Pony meeting:

Race 1: 7, 6, 2, 8

Race 2: 3, 8, 1, 4

Race 3: 5, 3, 9, 10

Race 4: 9, 6, 2, 4

Race 5: 8, 4, 7, 6

Race 6: 7, 2, 3, 9

Race 7: 7, 1, 12, 8

Race 8: 2, 11, 4, 8

Race 9: 7, 3, 8, 5

Race 10: 12, 3, 9, 2

Race 11: 12, 2, 3, 5

Race 12: 7, 1, 10, 9

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Blue Chipper, Tiz Plan – Race-By-Race Preview (May 2)

Two of the biggest names in Korea racing will be in action on Sunday. Blue Chipper headlines Busan’s 6 race card (from 12:50 to 17:00) while Tiz Plan goes in the feature at Seoul (10 races from 10:45 to 18:00). Both meetings will be staged behind closed doors although betting outlets at Jeju, Daegu, Changwon, Cheonan and Gwangju are open to pre-booked punters. Here are the previews:

Blue Chipper, seen here in another era, goes on Sunday

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fourteen maidens go around here. (5) CHOEGANG JANGSAN is the first foal out of 2014 Korean Derby and Oaks winning filly Queen’s Blade. He wasn’t ready when he first trialed in January, after which he was gelded. He then put in a more assured and workmanlike performance when having another go in a good time two weeks ago. He should go well first-up in modest company. (2) MORNING FLASH was well back in the field last start before running on well late for 7th. He was wide the time before but ran on resolutely for a close 3rd. He draws well here and is worth some thought. (6) BANGTAN YEOGEOL has shown improvement across three starts so far, running on strong last time and looks a placing hope while (13) KOREA GIJEOK too has hinted at ability and while he may need some luck in running, shouldn’t be dismissed. (11) HOUYHNHM another in the placing frame.

Selections(5) Choegang Jangsan (2) Morning Flash (6) Bantan Yeogeol (11) Houyhnhnm
Next Best13, 10
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here. (4) LEAD VOCAL was a winner at her last start in fine style when she led on a very wet track. She led by a large margin and while it was cut, she drops back in trip today which could suit even more and she is a real chance. (1) RUBICON has finally drawn a decent gate. She’s had to deal with wide draws in three of her starts so far and last time overcame gate 14 to work home strong for 2nd place. She has very solid claims of making her breakthrough today. (12) CHOEGANG BLACK ran a great race on a wet track on debut. She drew in the car park and slightly fly-jumped on exiting the barrier but still ran on for 2nd. The draw doesn’t help her much again but the experience might. (8) MISS ELITE is constant at this class and distance and while she doesn’t leap off the page as a winner she has enough form to suggest a place line. (5) CHEONGDAM TANK drops back in trip after a god 2nd over 1400M last start and should also be in the calculations.

Selections(4) Lead Vocal (1) Rubicon (12) Choegang Black (8) Miss Elite
Next Best5, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 10, 13

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

Three standouts here. (1) WINNER IS WELL has own both starts so far and comes in having bolted up last start when handy early and then wide and fighting his jockey because he wanted to go faster. The lightly-raced five-year-old steps up to 1400M and can settle handy here with strong claims to make it three in a row. (5) K N MENIQUEEN got her maiden win two starts back and might have won last time as well had the barriers been reversed with the ultimate winner. She ran on well for 2nd and while up in class and trip today, has plenty going for her. So too does (6) BIG RIVER. She ran a nice 2nd last start when on pace at class and distance beaten only by the very promising Winner Templar. She will run on strong here. (10) MANSE is never far away at the finish and looks like he has another win in him at some stage. If he can settle a bit closer to the action today, he should be in the frame.

Selections(1) Winner Is Well (5) K N Meniqueen (6) Big River (10) Manse
Next Best11, 9
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 11

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only to kick off the Busan card. There is going to be a strong favourite in (10) GOLD LUCK. She’s run on strong for 2nd in both her latest two starts, beaten by reasonable winners on both occasions and recording by some margin the best pair of times of any of these for the distance. She can settle handy again and should be winning. The rest of them all need to step up. (13) USEUNG GANGJA was 6th behind Gold Luck last start following on from a 5th on debut. She’s been improving at the line on both occasions and can be aiming to place here. (3) MACH ROAD hasn’t done too much wring in two outings to date and like Useung Gangja has been finishing off her races well. She draws well here and can be competitive. Draw a line through the latest effort of (9) WONDERFUL SMILE. She got sent back to trial after it and she looked decent enough when requalifying two weeks ago. There are two first-time starters and of the pair, (5) IRON GIRL looks best equipped first-up following a positive trial.

Selections(10) Gold Luck (13) Useung Gangja (5) Iron Girl (9) Wonderful Smile
Next Best3, 8
Fast Start2, 10, 13, 14

Seoul Race 4: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

(5) LOVELY K shapes up as a real contender here following a good win on a very wet track on March 28th. She raced handily and ran on late indicating the extra furlong will be no trouble. (4) ANYANG OXEN has serious claims of his own. He loves the 1400M, getting his solitary win at it two starts back and then beating a couple of these at the end of March running a super time on an admittedly fast track. He has a better barrier today as he likes to be close to the pace and with any luck at all, he will be right in the finish. (1) EAGLE EAGLE is still a maiden but has shown good consistency in his recent appearances. He likes to lead and the inside draw should help him in that aspect and he must be considered for at least another place. (13) MOONHAK DREAM ran 4th behind Anyang Oxen on March 28th. He is another maiden but the Gemologist colt has also been a consistent placegetter at shorter distances and looks a fair shout for some money again. (14) JANGSAN TANK perhaps best of the rest.

Selections(5) Lovely K (4) Anyang Oxen (1) Eagle Eagle (13) Moonhak Dream
Next Best14, 11
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 13

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Competitive race. (2) NEW FIRE is probably a worthy favourite with a 4th and a 3rd from his first two efforts at 1000M and 1400M respectively. He beat three of today’s rivals last time coming from midfield to run 3rd to Mr. Indie and he can make his breakthrough today. (5) CHOEGANG LIGER remains a maiden after eleven attempts but is rarely far away and he has been very consistent of late. He was 4th behind New Fire last start from a wide draw and is tactically versatile so will probably sit handy here and run on. (4) FIRST CHANCE has shown promise in his first two outings, acquitting himself well in decent looking company and he can continue to make progress today, most likely from on the pace. (12) SHINING HILL and (13) SKY MORE are others who should come into the calculations.

Selections(2) New Fire (5) Choegang Liger (13) Sky More (12) Shining Hill
Next Best4, 6
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 13

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

We can draw a line through the latest effort of (8) HEUNGROK DAEBU at what proved a too much too soon 1800M. Instead, we’ll focus on his class and distance victory two starts back in a good time. That win had been coming and he can return to successful ways today. (5) BULGULUI RUNNER also needs his last start disregarded. In his case he was badly hampered at the start so we will look to his prior win at this distance. Although he has run on strong in his latest two, he seems to get better results when in a handy position and he’s well drawn to do that today. This isn’t an especially strong race so (9) QUANTUM JUMP is another who can be forgiven his latest. He has since trialed up well and is worthy of another chance here. (4) DANGCHAN SERYEOK and (6) LIONETTE are others in the hunt.

Selections(8) Heungrok Daebu (5) Bulgului Runer (9) Quantum Jump (4) Dangchan Seryeok
Next Best6, 14
Fast Start8, 11, 12, 14

Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(2) LUCKY BREAK was a last start winner at class and distance with a prominent run form a wide draw. While that win came from nowhere, she warrants respect here and nothing else in the field has matched the time at the distance that she recorded so a repeat isn’t impossible. We’ll take her on though with (4) YEONGWON POWER. He too had an uptick in form when stepped up to a mile last start when 2nd to Haenam Hammer, coming from well off the pace. Expect similar tactics today and he could be too strong late on. (8) MAJOR FORCE has run on well a couple of times, hinting that he might take to running at this distance well and should be aiming for a career best finish so far here. (5) GOLD MAGIC another in the placing frame in what can be described as a modest affair.

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Blue Chipper Back On Top At Busan

Blue Chipper returned to the winner’s circle at long last at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon as Korea’s 2019 Breeders’ Cup hero registered an effortless class 1 win over seven-furlongs.

With the Covid-induced financial crisis still biting, Sunday’s Busan feature was contested for a 1st prize of just KRW 24 Million (US$21,400). Nevertheless, in addition to Blue Chipper the race also attracted the likes of Ssonsal, the up-and-coming sprinter who came in off the back of four consecutive wins, as well as multiple winner King Of Glory and Dubai World Cup Carnival alumnus Today among a full field of fourteen.

None stood a chance as under jockey Djordje Perovic and coming out of gate five, Blue Chipper quickly assumed command of the race, before motoring away from the field in the home straight. Ssonsal, who had to overcome the widest draw, got closest, finishing three-lengths in arrears.

It’s been a long way back for Blue Chipper, who last tasted victory in the Korea Sprint (KOR G1) at Seoul Racecourse in September of 2019. Knowing that he held a Breeders’ Cup nomination, connections then opted to take a chance on him in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup First Mile at Santa Anita where, under an enterprising Flavien Prat ride, Blue Chipper finished 3rd behind Spun To Run and Omaha Beach.

Blue Chipper was then pointed at the Dubai World Cup Carnival and a tilt at the Goldolphin Mile. Disaster struck, however, when on arrival he was found to have travel sickness, the complications of which ruled him out of competing at Meydan.  By the time he was passed fit to fly, he returned to a Korea where racing, with no legal remote betting, was amid the still ongoing Covid crisis.

Having returned to training in December – and moved to trainer Min Jang-ki’s stable – Blue Chipper was given a low-key return to racing in February in a race which had no legal betting markets either at home or overseas. Going over a mile he showed at the front early but visibly tired in the final furlong ultimately ending up in 5th. He came out of that race in good order though and the improvement was there for all to see on Sunday.  

Where to next is the million-dollar (hopefully not the 24 Million Won) question for Blue Chipper. Now six-years-old, the Tiznow gelding seems unlikely to travel again given the risks involved and with no confirmed Stakes schedule for Korea as the pandemic continues to squeeze prizemoney, it may be some time before he even gest to face the likes of Seoul-based rising-star Eoma Eoma in Korea.

Other News

Jockey Kim Hye-sun rode her first winner back since returning from maternity leave just a week ago. The thirty-two-year-old, who is married to fellow jockey Park Jae-I, partnered Haeundae Bada to victory in race 1 at Busan on Sunday.  It was career victory number 284 for Kim, who is the most successful female thoroughbred jockey in Korean history. She rode Jejui Haneul to victory in the Korean Oaks in 2017.

In the three-year-old ranks, Winner’s Man returned to winning ways at Busan on Saturday. The Musket Man colt was beaten by the very good Golden Winner on his first try around the Korean Derby distance of 1800M last month and while he suffered another scare this time around, he had enough about him to hold off long-shot Man Of Top by a head at class 3 level for his first success around two turns. Winner’s Man now has a record of five wins and two runner-up finishes from seven starts.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (April 4)

Blue Chipper was 5th on his return to racing after more than a year out. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile 3rd place-getter is in action again at Busan on Sunday tackling 1400M in the feature race on the south coast. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:05 to 17:00 and 10 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Both meetings will be held behind closed doors. Here are the previews:

Blue Chipper goes at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(9) MORNING HILL was an impressive winner first up on February 28th making all in a fast time. He stretches out to 1200M today but if he has come on at all from that performance, he will take some beating here. The main danger is set to be a first-time starter. (4) YES I CAN trialed well, running on strong for 2nd place in his heat in a competitive time. The 1200M should suit and he can go well. (11) BORAQUEEN has fair form over her three outings to date. She led last time before battling on for 5th and is likely to improve off that run. (10) MODERN GOLD drifted well back in the field on his first start but got himself together to come home quite well and could sneak into a place. (2) YEONGWANUI HAENGJIN hasn’t pulled up many trees in two starts so far but previously showed some speed in a trial and the engagement of a top jockey today suggests improvement is expected.

Selections(9) Morning Hill (4) Yes I Can (11) Boraqueen (10) Modern Gold
Next Best2, 1
Fast Start1, 2, 9, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

There’s not a whole lot of exposed form here so (7) TEUKGWON might be the one to go for. He’s only raced twice and was a good 4th on debut before being on pace on his first attempt at 1200M back in January and battling on for 5th. He’s had a couple of months off since and should be right in the thick of things today. (3) SINUI ADEUL was in a handy position on his latest start before being hampered and losing ground. Disregard that and instead go on his two 4th places prior to that and he comes into contention. Also in contention is (4) THUNDER K. He has hinted at some ability and races for the first time since November having trialed well. The apprentice claim and the good draw put him in the calculations. (8) ROSEDAY MARINE is also in the hunt as is solitary debut-maker (9) BEOWULF.

Selections(7) Teukgwon (3) Sinui Adeul (4) Thunder K (8) Roseday Marine
Next Best9, 6
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here and there are two previous winners among them. (9) YULONG STAR was a good winner two starts back at 1200M before running a good 4th last start when worked hard to get on the pace before battling on gamely. An apprentice claim takes 3kg off his back and puts him right in the mix. (8) JOYFUL K came home 5th in the same race having been quite wide before making good ground late. She won at 1200M last November and is at least worthy of a place line today. The one they both need to beat is (2) SARYEONI QUEEN. She recorded a 3rd and a 2nd in two starts last summer and while she hasn’t raced since August, she trialed adequately enough in February and has every chance first-up from a great draw to lead. (3) MISS ELITE and (7) NONGBON RAK are others in at least the placing frame.

Selections(2) Saryeoni Queen (9) Yulong Star (8) Joyful K (3) Miss Elite
Next Best7
Fast Start2, 7, 8, 9

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies get the Busan card underway and there’s going to be a warm favourite. (3) FLAT BABE came close to making all on debut over 1400M back in January, just getting overhauled in the closing stages by Looking Cat. Back in trip today but well drawn and with Perovic remaining aboard, she looks hard to beat. Draw a line through the latest effort of (4) HAEUNDAE BADA. She’s been back to trial since and her previous efforts suggest she should be aiming to place here. Similarly, (6) CHONGMA HWANGHU and (7) ENOUGH both hinted at ability on debut to the extent that we can overlook their respective latest showings and give them another chance here. There are five first-time starters and (1) MAGIC HILL and (11) AREUMDAUN GAMDONG both looked competent enough in trials.

Selections(3) Flat Babe (4) Haeundae Bada (1) Magic Hill (6) Cheonhma Hwanghu
Next Best7, 11
Fast Start1, 3, 6, 14

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) ULTRA KING come sin off a good 3rd place at start number four when after showing good speed, he led a similar field for a time and fought on well. From the inside gate he should get an easier run today and is the one to beat. (3) BRAVO MAY came home in 4th place in that races continuing his record of always being there or thereabouts. That should be maintained today although once more he is likely to find one or two too quick. (4) CURRERECUS has the form to be in the finish. He beat three of these on his way to 2nd place in a good time over 1400M last start and with a good draw today, he is worth considering. (6) OFFICER COMMANDING was 5th but close to the winner last start in a good time at the distance. She also has a 2nd over 1300M and is firmly in today’s frame. (8) ROYAL YEONGGWANG the best of the rest.

Selections(1) Ultra King (4) Currerecus (3) Bravo May (6) Officer Commanding
Next Best8, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 8, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(11) WILD BLUE is the one to beat here. He has two 2nd place finishes and a 4th from his three outings so far, running on strong in each. He steps up slightly in trip which should be to his benefit and if Perovic can find a handy spot for him, he should be too strong. (14) GREAT GO remains winless but has been consistent across her eight outings to date. She led for much of the way around last start before running 2nd over 1400M and while the widest gate isn’t ideal, she can overcome it to go close. (5) PICTURE JASPER ran a good 3rd on debut, running on strong over 1000M and looks poised to build on that today. (9) FIRST WIND is the only prior winner in the field and while his latest two have been a touch disappointing, he shouldn’t be overlooked. (13) KING BID another in the hunt.

Selections(11) Wild Blue (5) Picture Jasper (14) Great Go (9) First Wind
Next Best13, 12
Fast Start3, 9, 11, 13

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

(1) CATCH CHARM is a winner of two from two so far and is yet to see the rear of another horse at any time in her racing career. She is up in class here but she has won at this distance already and the inside barrier and Moon Se Young up again make her hard to beat. (2) STAR WARS is similarly up in class here, in his case following a win and two runner-up finishes. He comes down in the weights as well which should help his placing claims. Also with significant claims, at least on a place is (7) SEO E BEONJJEOK. He has won at this distance and was a close 2nd last start when handy but wide. She’s not been worse than 5th in her four outings and she should at least maintain that record. (4) GIVEN RUNNER and (9) SUN OF STORM are others with solid placing claims.

Selections(1) Catch Charm (2) Star Wars (7) Seo E Beonjjeok (9) Sun Of Storm
Next Best4, 13
Fast Start1, 6, 12, 14

Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(9) DUMUSAN was a last start winner, breaking through at start number five. His form prior to that had only been fair but fair is enough to go on top in this modest contest. He’s generally slow away but has a nice turn of foot and so long as he doesn’t give them too much of a head start, should have too much. (11) WONDERFUL SECRET ran 4th behind Dumusan last start, sticking to task well. He’ll try to get to the front here and should still be around at the business end of the race. (7) CHEONGDAM DRIVE has a couple of 3rd place finishes to his name and that’s enough to put him in the placing frame again today with the likes of (5) DIVINE QUEEN and (6) BABEL STAR also capable of picking up a minor cheque.

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Eoma Eoma Super at Seoul but Blue Chipper Upset on Busan Return

Eoma Eoma began 2021 the way he left off in 2020 with an easy Class 1 win over 1400M at Seoul, but Blue Chipper could only manage 5th place in his long awaited return to action at Busan as Mr. Afleet took out the feature race on the south coast.

Seoul’s feature class 1 event was essentially a Group race run under handicap conditions over 1400M. With Morfhis having taken out the SBS Sports Sprint last summer as well as a pair of full prize-money class 1 races, his rating had risen to the extent that he had to carry 60kg as was giving away 8kg to all of his prominent rivals.

Morfhis was game coming through late as usual to finish in 4th place, but he was always going to struggle to catch Eoma Eoma who, under Moon Se Young, led from gate to wire to score by three-lengths from Do Kki Blade in 2nd and Jjang Kong in 3rd.

For Eoma Eoma it is now six wins from eight starts and punters and fans alike will be desperately hoping that circumstances will allow he and Morfhis – along with the likes of East Jet – to clash at level weights for a big prize at some point this year.

At Busan, Blue Chipper was making his return to racing for the first time since running 3rd in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

It wasn’t to be for the now six-year-old who missed all of his five-year-old season after getting travel sickness on the way to the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Blue Chipper led out of the gate in the Mile-long Busan feature, which like the races at Seoul, was being contested for reduced prize-money, but started to tread water once they entered the home straight.

Mr. Afleet, trained by Peter Wolsley and ridden by Seo Seung-un, went on to win the race by four-lengths from Core Blade.

For Blue Chipper, who missed his planned final gallop earlier in the week due to heavy rain, a mile was always going to be a tough ask first up and so long as he pulls up without any issues, perhaps little should be read into his performance. There will hopefully be bigger things to come for him later in the year.

Blue Chipper Returns To Racing On Friday

After fifteen months off the track, Blue Chipper will return to racing on Friday afternoon at Busan Racecourse. The now six-year-old hasn’t competed since finishing 3rd behind Spun To Run and Omaha Beach in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

Blue Chipper returns to action at Busan on Friday

It’s all very different to how his homecoming was supposed to be as Blue Chipper lines up the favourite in what is a strong class 1 race handicap over a mile but which, due to the straightened circumstances that Korean racing finds itself in due to the Covid-19 pandemic putting a stop to legal betting, can only offer a KRW 28 Million (US$25,000) to the winner.

After his 3rd place in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile, Blue Chipper returned briefly to Korea before being shipped to Dubai for a campaign at the 2020 World Cup Carnival. Calamity struck on arrival though with Blue Chipper diagnosed with shipping fever, something he would fail to shake off to the extent that he could race. It was June until he could get a flight back to Korea and after a spell at the Jansgu Farm, he returned to training just in time to see the pandemic halt local racing again.

Blue Chipper trialed up nicely in January and having had plenty of setbacks across his career, is accustomed to producing first-up. He is the track record holder over a mile at Busan and even if not 100% race ready, will be expected to dispatch a field containing the dangerous Doraonpogyeongseon, World Power and Mr. Afleet. Now in the stable of Min Jang-ki, he will be ridden by Serbian jockey Djordje Perovic.

No Stakes or Graded races have yet been confirmed this year in Korea but providing Blue Chipper comes through this test in good shape, it is thought likely that the Korea Cup , should it go ahead in September, would be the ultimate aim. He is not expected to be asked to travel overseas again.

The race is the concluding race 10 at Busan on Friday and is scheduled to jump at 3.20pm Korean time. The international simulcast will be from Seoul throughout February so the race will not be screened live either inside or outside of Korea. However, the race video will be uploaded within ten minutes of the conclusion of the race at the KRA’s official website and the “KRBC Race” YouTube channel.

Blue Chipper En-Route to LA & Planned Breeders’ Cup Start

Blue Chipper flew out of Incheon Airport late on Monday evening en-route to Santa Anita and a planned start in the delightfully named Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on November 2. If all goes to plan, he will be the first Korea-trained runner to participate in a Breeders’ Cup race.

Blue Chipper Owners Cup

Blue Chipper (Pic: KRA)

Having traveled up from Busan last week, Blue Chipper spent four days in pre-export quarantine in the International Isolation Stables at Seoul Racecourse (the same ones that the international horses are stabled in during the Korea Cup & Sprint) before departing from nearby Incheon Airport at 11:50pm on Monday evening, scheduled to arrive at LAX on Monday evening US time.

Blue Chipper [Tiznow – Dixie City (Dixie Union)] was bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp. He was selected and purchased at Keeneland by Busan-based trainer Bart Rice on behalf of owner Choi Byeong-bu. Now he’s a four-year-old gelding who has won seven of his eight lifetime starts. He was a four-length winner on debut as a juvenile at Busan in September 2017, trained by Rice.

He then suffered what is to date his only defeat when last in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup, Busan’s top race for imported two-year-olds. Blue Chipper ran once more that year, returning to winning ways with a three-length score on New Year’s Ever over 1200M.

Blue Chipper did not race again for more than a year with a number of setbacks meaning he spent almost his entire three-year-old year spelled, with only occasional trips to the racetrack to trial. He finally returned to action in April of 2019, now in trainer Kim Young-kwan’s stable, and picked up where he left off, scoring by thirteen-lengths over 1200M.

That win was followed up by two more with a combined winning margin of eighteen lengths before Blue Chipper tackled a Korean Graded race for the first time, the Busan Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) at the end of July. It was his first try at a mile but that didn’t trouble him as he romped away from a high class field to win by ten-lengths in track-record time.

International weekend was up next at Seoul and Blue Chipper was sent to the 1 Billion Won Keeneland Korea Sprint (KOR G1) back down at 1200M. Despite being drawn in gate 13, he was sent off as favourite and duly made it to the pace early. He would eventually shake off local rival Gaon Champ and run on to win by a length and a half becoming the first locally-trained horse to win the Korea Sprint.

Seemingly out of challenges in Korea for the time being, and with connections aware that he was registered for the Breeders’ Cup as a weanling, Blue Chipper will now be taken overseas and will move back up to a mile for his biggest challenge. If he adapts to the Santa Anita dirt, he’s not to be taken lightly.

Having had positive experiences with international jockeys on Korean horses at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, the decision was made to engage a Santa Anita-based rider and Flavien Prat, who won the race on Battle Of Midway in 2017, has accepted the ride.

How good is Blue Chipper? We don’t yet know and that’s basically why he is going. What we do know is that Bart found a good one that day at Keeneland and a number of seasoned observers of Korean racing have told this blog that he is the best horse they have seen run in Korea. While they are very different types of horse, that includes the Dubai star, Dolkong.

He will be up against it at Santa Anita. The dirt is very different to the sand he has experienced in Korea – although his sire, Tiznow, and damsire Dixie Union, did finish 1st and 2nd at Santa Anita in the Affirmed Handicap back in 2000. Then there is the obvious medication issue – there are no plans for Blue Chipper to run on lasix. That’s all without taking into account his opponents, among whom is expected to be Omaha Beach and Mr. Money. All through his brief career so far, Blue Chipper has stepped up.