Breeders’ Cup

Roller Blade Takes Clean Sweep In Juvenile Series

Roller Blade kept out of trouble in a wet and wild Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) at Busan Racecourse, emerging strongly up the rail to become Korea’s Champion Juvenile of 2019.

Roller Blade had previously won both of Seoul’s preliminary legs of the Juvenile Series and therefore completed a clean sweep with his Busan success. Drawn on the inside, the Officer colt kept out of trouble and stayed on the rail to win by two and a half lengths from K N Road on the line.

Save The World had won Busan’t first two legs of the Series and with home advantage was sent off as pre-race favourite. From a wide draw though, he missed the start and scarcely looked a factor. Run of the race though perhaps came from Determination, who overcame a heavy bump in the early stages and then a very wide stretch run, to finish strongly for 3rd.

So Roller Blade is Champion juvenile and the crop – with the addition of Doctor Carson and Raon First, who were very impressive in winning other valuable two-year-old races last week, looks in a good way heading towards the Triple Crown trail next year.

Full recap of the series to follow on the KRA International Facebook page

Breeders’ Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (December 1)

The year’s top juveniles are set to face each other in the Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) at Busan on Sunday afternoon. Seoul’s champion Roller Blade takes on Busan’s Save The World along with twelve others over 1400M, with the winner to be crowned the nation’s Champion two-year-old of 2019. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 while at Seoul there are 11 from 10:45 to 18:00.

Roller Blade

Roller Blade is in Busan for the Breeders’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

Here is the horse by horse guide to the Breeders’ Cup with Seoul’s race by race and selections for the remainder of the Busan card below:

  1. ROLLER BLADE – A winner of four from five so far including both of Seoul’s first two juvenile series legs, making all both times. He’s drawn well on the inside again and while he, like all the others here, is in unchartered territory at seven furlongs, he’ll surely stay on without issue. A big chance.
  2. K N ROAD – Just the one win from five but he ran 3rd in both Munhwa and Nonghyup Trophies, getting much closer in the latter. He seems to be improving and he is one who is set to benefit for the increase in distance today. A top jockey travels with him and he can go close.
  3. MARK ONE – No concerns about staying the distance with this one. If anything, it could be too short as he broke his maiden over a mile last month. He led all the way and has a big race jockey on board. Outsider but not without a chance of some money.
  4. MAN OF THE FIELD – He ran 3rd behind Save The World in the Breeders’ Cup Trial last month but was some way in arrears so has plenty to make up. He runs on well though so should appreciate the step up in trip and can run into some money again.
  5. YEONGCHEON JILJU – Half-brother to 2015 Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace as well as a couple of other talented runners. His two wins have come at 1400M and he’ll handle the distance well. Deeper waters today and others are faster but he can come from off the pace and finish well.
  6. DETERMINATION – Looks a potential star in the making. After running 3rd on debut, he’s since won three in facile fashion including up at 1700M. Currently rated ten points below Roller Blade and Save The World, if those two end up going too fast, he’ll have plenty left late on to make his move.
  7. MENI HERO – Gets to take his chance after a spectacular success over 1300M at the end of October. It was only at class 5 but he absolutely blitzed them to register his maiden win. Obviously this is much harder but he’s drawn well to get on speed again and could cause problems.
  8. AFLEET YOUNG – Comes in off two nice wins over a mile, the most recent at class 5, coming from just behind the speed on both occasions. He’s shown a decent turn of foot as well but back at 1400M, others are favoured.
  9. TOP DAY – The only horse in the race from top trainer Kim Young-kwan. After winning his first two races very tidily, he’s struggled in three attempts since. Two of those were behind Save The World and he only managed 7th in the Breeders’ Cup trial. He will attract some support due to the stable and his dam is a Korean Derby winner but this looks a stretch. We’ll likely see him in contention in the Spring Classics.
  10. CHOIN GANGJA – Ran on very nicely from well back to end up 4th in the Nonghyup Trophy last month, He’s consistently posted competitive times and looks to be a progressive type who will only get better as the distances get longer. He has a real placing chance here.
  11. SAVE THE WORLD – The only one to come in with an unbeaten record having won his four races by a combined margin of twenty-one lengths. His latest was a comfortable score in the Breeders’ Cup Trial on October 27th beating Doctor Carson – who went on to win last week’s Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup – very easily. He has home advantage and he will be a deserved favourite.
  12. DONGTEUJA DAY – Beaten by Save The World on debut before winning his next two to earn a crack at the Breeders’ Cup Trial. Didn’t show up that day, weakening into last place. Gets another chance here but will be an outsider

Here are the Seoul Previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A big day of racing kicks off with the two-year-olds lining up over the 1300m. (5) NEW MOON WARRIOR looks the one to beat coming off an impressive debut. The Peace Rules gelding bounced out of the gates well in his first run but couldn’t rein in the leader Power Tower. They ran a fast time and the step up to the 1300m should suit. (8) DAESUNG QUEEN is having her third career start. She has placed at both outings to date including a well beaten third last time out. This is her second run over the 1300m and she will take improvement out of her last run. (6) BAEKDUSAN CHEONJI will need to improve to be a winning chance but is in the mix to fill a place. Connections of the Hansen colt will be looking for improvement of his last run when finishing midfield over the 1300m. (11) BEST TAP ran home fairly last time out when finishing fifth behind Dynamic Punch. At his first start he finished third over the five furlongs. At both starts to date he hasn’t clocked fast times but he is one that can fill a place.

Selections (5) New Moon Warrior (8) Daeseung Queen (6) Baekdusan Cheonji (11) Best Tap

Next Best 2, 1

Fast Start 5, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another batch of two-year-olds will line up in the second but this time over the five furlongs. It is hard to go past the performance of (10) EAST ONE when looking at the times they posted last start. The son of One Cool Cat finished fourth behind Gyoryongdeuksu when running 62.2 for the 1000m. None of his counterparts in this assignment have posted a time close to his and based on that he looks the one to beat. He looks best suited to be ridden positively out of the gates and be on speed. (8) WANGINHAENGCHA handed in a nice trial performance when not over-exerted. Lee Dong-Ha has been riding well of late and he will have a good chance to finish in the money in this race. (3) SPEED BIRD is another that trialed fairly when qualifying. His dam was a handy Canadian-bred mare who won over $500k US in the states. Watch with interest as he takes to the track for the first time.

Selections (10) East One (8) Wanginhaengcha (3) Speed Bird (4) My Member

Next Best 6, 9

Fast Start 8, 10

Race 3: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

One of the best bets on the card will line up in the third over the 1200m. (8) MARK STORY made a lasting impression when blowing his rivals away on debut. The import ran a fair trial when not overly asked for but followed that up with an impressive debut win clocking 59.5 for the 1000m on a dry-rated track. We suggest his counterparts look at his head behind the gates because if all goes to plan, they’ll only see his backside in the run. (7) LORD BAN ran a fair race when debuting over the 1300m. He sat on speed and

(more…)

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 27)

Seoul and Busan both host their respective 2nd legs of the 2019 Juvenile Series on Sunday with the best in both races qualifying for the final at Busan on the first Sunday in December. There is an 11 race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews:

Roller Blade

Roller Blade won the 1st leg of the Juvenile Series at Seoul (Pic: KRA) 

 

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Maiden juvenile fillies to kick things off and all twelve of them are racing for the very first time. (9) BOHEMIAN MUSIC is the only trial winner among them, taking her heat by leading all the way back in September in a decent time and she’ll be among the top line of favourites here. Fastest though in trials was (7) ROAD RAN. She too led all the way until the closing stages and under Moon Se Young could well start favourite. (3) SONGAM PLAYER took part in a slowly-run heat but ran on very competently and can go well first up here while (8) CHEONJI YEOGEOL also hinted at ability. (11) SOSEONO LEGEND is out of Soseono, a filly who ran well in Korea and has a top trainer/jockey combination aboard.

Selections (9) Bohemian Music (7) Road Ran (3) Songam Player (11) Soseono Legend
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 4, 7, 8, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Not the strongest of maidens here. There were six months between his first and second starts and (3) GOOD MOUNT returned to run 4th at this distance on September 28th. He’ll most likely be on the early pace here and won’t need much improvement to win. That’s true too of (8) JOLLY ROGER, an improved 4th on his third start last month. He led for much of that race and is in weaker company here. (7) PRETTY JOY races for the first time since February. And trialled up adequately enough to suggest she has a chance first-up here. (5) GWACHEON ACE and first-time starter (11) ULTRA ANNIE are others who should be in the hunt.

Selections (3) Good Mount (8) Jolly Roger (7) Pretty Joy (11) Ultra Annie
Next Best 5, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Competitive maiden. (7) CHOEGANG MAGIC gets the decision having run 2nd and 3rd in his latest two, at this distance and at 1700M. He’s likely to be among the early leaders here and could have too much. (9) ROYAL REMEMBER ran an improved 4th at this distance last month and should join Choegang Magic on the early speed and pose the biggest threat. (10) BEST LUCKY showed some progress on his latest outing and may appreciate the increase in trip today while (12) CHEONNYEONUI GODO has finished 4th in each of his last three starts and coule well finish 4th again today. (4) SOUTHERN MAN looks best of the rest.

Selections (7) Choegang Magic (9) Royal Remember (10) Best Lucky (12) Cheonnyeonui Godo
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 4, 5, 7, 9

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Banker favourite of the day time. (2) KING OF RULES may still be a maiden, but he’s finished as runner-up in four of eight starts so far, beaten by useful ones each time. From gate 2, he should lead from the start and would be a big surprise where he to not finally make the breakthrough here. (5) LUCKY BEOPJEON is in a similar position having finished as runner-up behind TK Day and Stretto, both talented juveniles. He’s up in class here but does have a win in him sooner or later.  (10) BAEKSAEK GWANGCHAE ran 2nd on his first try at this level on September 29th and should be competitive here too. (1) KAHINAH and (11) SOLGAEBARAM look best of the rest.

Selections (2) King Of Rules (5) Lucky Beopjeon (10) Baeksaek Gwangchae (1) Kahinah
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 2

Busan Race 1 Selections: 5, 1, 10, 11

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1300M) handicap / KRW 60 Million

(8) SPEEDOM was an emphatic five-length winner on debut over 1000M on September 21st. He’s up in distance today but looks to have plenty more in him and he can make it two from two today. (3) CHEMI BLUE remains a maiden after thirteen attempts but comes in having finished as runner-up in each of his latest three, just beaten a nose last time. He’ll be on pace from the start and today looks as good a chance as any he has had so far. (4) MUNHAK REWARD showed some progress on what was his second start a month ago, running 3rd and can build on that today. (5) EOMAMUSI was a good maiden winner last start and should be competitive. (9) SOULY MAJESTIC looked sharp when winning a trial last week and is the wildcard.

Selections (8) Speedom (3) Chemi Blue (4) Munhak Reward (5) Eomamusi
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 3, 5, 8, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Having debuted last November, it wasn’t until September 27th that (11) YEONGSEONG HOPE finally returned to the track. It was a winning return though, as he scored by three-lengths over 1000M. He’s up in class and distance today but should be equal to both and is favoured to win again. (4) AMOR FATI got his maiden win at the fourth time of asking a month ago. It was at this distance and he made all. He’ll try to get to the lead right away today and looks the main danger. (8) NAEGA SAEGANGJA enters with recent form reading well and should be challenging for a place, as should (3) DONE IT MY, who may be a twenty-nine-race maiden but is capable of finding the money in this type of company. (9) GIDAEHAE another in the hunt.

Selections (11) Yeongseong Hope (4) Amor Fati (3) Done It My (8) Naega Saegangja
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 4, 7, 8, 11

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Tricky race but (4) HWANGGEUM DOYAJI looks the pick. She may only have been 5th last start but she was only half a length off 4th and ran on strongly. Today marks her firs try at 1700M and it may well suit. (3) CITY CHAMP is still a maiden after twenty-six starts but comes in having raced well lately with a 3rd and a 2nd from his most recent two, both at this distance. He should be placing again. (6) INDIAN BOSS and (1) CHEONJI MYEONGJANG came home 3rd and 4th respectively when they raced each other over 1300M on September 29th and both should be aiming for some money here. (11) CHOEGANG SINGI, up in class today, looks best of the rest.

Selections (4) Hwanggeum Doyaji (3) City Champ (11) Choegang Singi (6) Indian Boss
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 2, 5, 10

 Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(6) WONDERFUL COUNTRY ran out a good class and distance winner just two weeks ago. As a result, he carries an additional 4.5kg today but if anything, the competition is not as strong as it was that day and another win is possible. (5) DAEHO JILJU enters in similarly good form with a win and runner=up finish from his latest two and should be a threat while (3) YEONGGWANGUI CHEER is better than his latest couple of outings suggest and back in trip today, can get closer. There are two wildcards. Both (1) SPEED FURY and (7) TANGENT are returning from lengthy spells on the sidelines and both looked well in trials.

Selections (6) Wonderful Country (5) Daeho Jilju (1) Speed Fury (7) Tangent
Next Best 3, 12
Fast Start 2, 3, 6, 11

Seoul Race 7: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(3) VICAR BRACING enters having completed a hat-trick of victories in his last three starts, the most recent of which was at class and distance and four in a row is not (more…)

Seoul & Busan Sunday – Breeders’ Cup Day: Race-By-Race Preview (December 2)

Korea’s champion juvenile will be crowned on Sunday as the Juvenile Series comes reaches its conclusion in the Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) which this year, for the first time, is being run at Busan. 13 line up including the winners of both Seoul and Busan’s primary races, Dae Wan Ma and King Socks. There is a 6 race-card at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 and an 11-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.

Dae Wan Ma Dokki Blade Gwacheon Mayor's Cup - KRA

Dae Wan Ma (1) and Do Kki Blade are at Busan to take on King Socks in the Breeders’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

  1. YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT – Never got going in the Gimhae Mayor’s. Two good wins prior to that. Not a fast starter and additional trip today may suit.
  2. TOP OF WORLD – 4th in Gimhae Mayor’s having led and tired off a stiff early pace. Three for three prior including at 1300M. Likely to lead and has a chance.
  3. WONDERFUL EVIL – Well beaten by Do Kki Blade in August but has won his latest two. Will need more here. Settles midfield.
  4. DAE WAN MA – Beat Do Kki Blade by a neck in the Gwacheon Mayor’s. Only defeat so far a DQ. Will be on pace and is one of the favourites.
  5. MIGHTY POWER – Beaten nine-lengths by King Socks on debut but has since won two of three including at a mile. Distance no issue and could be a wildcard.
  6. KING SOCKS – Dominant eight-length winner on the Gimhae Mayor’s having sat behind the fast early pace. Only defeat was on debut. Favourite here and can win.
  7. RULES ICHEON – Takes his chance having got his maiden win on his third start a month ago. Stablemate of Dae Wan Ma. Big outsider.
  8. DAEJI CHAMP – Eye-catching scores at 1300M and 1200M in his latest two, making all both times. This is much tougher.
  9. PRECEDE –Stablemate of King Socks with just two starts. Won on debut over 1000M then was beaten a head at 1300M at the end of October. Never rule out the trainer.
  10. GWONTOJUNGLAE – One win from three over 1000M. 4th place at 1300M last time makes him hard to recommend.
  11. DO KKI BLADE – Just beaten a neck by Dae Wan Ma in the Gwacheon Mayor’s. Looks to be getting better and distance should suit under likely patient ride.
  12. YEONGGWANGUI SECRET – 2nd to King Socks in the Gimhae Mayor’s, albeit beaten eight-lengths, was his first defeat. Placing chance.
  13. MYEONGPUM CHUKJE – Won his first two before running 3rd to Dae Wan Ma and Dokki Blade in Gwacheon Mayor’s. More to find.

Verdict: The winner’s of the two second legs at Seoul and Busan, (4) DAE WAN MA and (6) KING SOCKS will be favourites to battle it out here with King Socks on his home track slightly favoured. (2) TOP OF WORLD and (11) DOKKI BLADE may both appreciate the extra distance today and can be competitive while (7) RULES ICHEON and (9) PRECEDE may be the surprise packages.

Selections: (6) King Socks (4) Dae Wan Ma (2) Top Of World (11) Dokki Blade

Busan Selections

Race 1: 2, 3, 1, 9
Race 2: 8, 12, 9, 7
Race 3: 5, 8, 3, 4
Race 4: 1, 2, 7, 8
Race 6: 3, 2, 7, 8

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to begin with and six of the eight have prior experience. (6) WIND RIVER was by some margin the best on debut, running a good 3rd over this distance on November 10th. It was a decent time and a similar performance should see her home on top today. One of the others have really impressed although (9) FULL MOON OCEAN did nothing wrong for his 6th and can improve today. Similarly (3) RAON KEVIN can be given another chance having finished 7th of 12 on his own racecourse bow. That leaves the two debut-makers as contenders. (5) MISS SUNSHINE looks the best of them, running well in a trial just last week. (2) DAEJI YEOGEOL also looked competent enough in her heat and can go well first-up.

Selections (6) Wind River (5) Miss Sunshine (9) Full Moon Ocean (3) Raon Kevin
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 8, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juveniles seeking their first win with seven of them having raced once before. The one of those with the best finishing position on debut was (10) CHEONNYEON VIKING, who ran 2nd in a filly-only maiden at this distance all the way back in August. She should be in the mix again, but it wasn’t a fast race that day and she will need to improve. (9) SLING STONE ran faster in 5th on his debut last month and the recency of that perhaps makes him a better bet while (3) VICTORY KING beat a couple of the others who go here on his debut four weeks ago and should beat plenty of them again. However, for our pick we are turning to a newcomer. (8) RAON STORM looked like he meant business when running strongly in a trial at the end of October and if he brings that form to the races, he should win. Another first-time starter (4) YEOKDAE CHOEGO will also be well-backed first-up having won a trial. Watch the market with both for additional clues.

Selections (8) Raon Storm (9) Sling Stone (10) Cheonnyeon Viking (4) Yeokdae Choego
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 8, 9, 10, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here and having beaten a couple of these on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on November 4th, (8) RAON SERENA is favoured to prevail here. She’s yet to win in four outings but has never been worse than 3rd and she can come out on top today, most likely leading all the way. (3) EOMJI YEOWANG and (2) DANGDAE SONYEO chased Raon Serena home that day in 4th and 5th and they may well be the ones who pose the greatest threat here although they do have almost three lengths to make up.  (1) KKEULEOJUNEUN SON remains a maiden but is capable if finding the places in this kind of race while the same is true of (7) NAMJJOK NARA, another maiden but up in class today after a useful 3rd last time out.

Selections (8) Raon Serena (2) Dangdae Sonyeo (1) Kkeuleojuneun Son (3) Eomji Yeowang
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 2, 8, 9

Race 4: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(3) MIREU STORM has won two of her three starts so far and is up in class today looking for a hat-trick. Both her wins have come at this distance and both by leading from gate to wire and she is well-drawn for a good start and a repeat. This is a stiff test though and the primary danger – and possible favourite – is (6) CHAPEL ACE. He’s a class and distance winner and while he hasn’t been exceptional in recent outings, he comes in off a good 4th last time and looks set to got well here. (1) RAON ZEUS drops back significantly in trip following a couple of chastening experiences at 1700M and should be much better today. (5) SERA KHAN won at this distance at class 5 in September and while he only managed 6th on his first try at this level in October, he can improve today. (12) BOMBI’S KING ran a good, if slightly unexpected, 2nd last time out (the jockey got fined for returning half a kilo heavier than he weighed out) and could aim for a place again.

Selections (3) Mireu Storm (6) Chapel Ace (1) Raon Zeus (5) Sera Khan
Next Best 12, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 7, 9

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

(9) YEOGEOL VISION came up in class following a 2nd place and a win from her first two starts before running 3rd on her first try at this level on November 4th. She’s up in trip today but she’s run on well each time and it may suit her very well. (8) LUCKY BONGHWA remains a maiden after eight attempts but since returning from five months out has registered a 4th and a 3rd in two outings and may be considered to go even better here. (1) DAE BYEONHWA’s recent form reads well and he should have placing claims. (5) CAMP TOUCH and (6) HANEULEUL DALRIDA, the latter up in class after a solid maiden win over this distance a month ago, are others in the hunt.

Selections (9) Yeogeol Vision (8) Lucky Bonghwa (6) Haneuleul Dalrida (1) Dae Byeonhwa
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 3, 6

Race 6: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(12) DARK PLAYER has run twice so far recording a 3rd and a 2nd. He’s run well on both occasions and with a bit more progress today, he can find his way to the winner’s circle. He’ll have to overcome the widest draw, but he looks capable. (9) PRIMO has been very solid of late, going down by a nose in July, a neck in August and a half-length in (more…)

Ecton Blade Claims Top Juvenile Crown

Two years ago, Power Blade won the Breeders’ Cup to become champion juvenile of his crop. Seven months later he was a Korean Triple Crown winner. On Sunday at Seoul Racecourse, the same connections sent out Ecton Blade and he too returned as the top two-year-old of his generation.

Ecton Blade, the latest product of the Kim Young Kwan training machine, was sent off as third-favourite for the 1400M Breeders’ Cup. Market leaders were World Sun and Choinma who had each won both their big prep races at Busan and Seoul respectively, Ecton Blade finishing a cool four-lengths adrift of World Sun in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup at the end of October.

World Sun behaved badly on the way to the gate and proved a tough ride in the race itself too. He found himself in a good position coming off the turn but never managed to make it into top gear ultimately coming home in 5th. Choinma ran better though and ultimately got the closest to Ecton Blade as a fast finishing 2nd place.

Having already won over a mile, the distance was never going to be an issue for Ecton Blade and jockey Ham Wan Sik was happy to sit 3rd in the early stages as Global Line and Sinui Myeongryeong set the pace. He took over at the top f the stretch and never looked like being caught. Choinma was solid in 2nd while Sinui Myeongryeong stuck on for a very good 3rd to finish the best of the three fillies in the contest.

Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – December 3, 2017

1. Ecton Blade (KOR) [Ecton Park – Vying Ty Grr (Regal Intention)] – Ham Wan Sik – 8.5, 2.0
2. Choinma (KOR) [Menifee – Kkummaeul (Curia Regis)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.4
3. Sinui Myeongryeong  (KOR) (Hansen – Strawberry Rose (Dr Fong)] – 3.9
Distances: 1.5 lengths / 1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. King Jjang 5. World Sun 6. Gyeongjuui Durebak 7. Divide Wind 8. Global Line 9. Wonderful Jackpot 10. Icheon Ssal 11. Sin Stealth 12. Okay Queen

Ecton Blade has now won three out of five starts. Owned by Power Blade owner Kim Hyung Ran, he’s trained by Kim Young Kwan. It’s early days but this two-year-old crop certainly looks stronger and deeper than the one a year ago so we will hopefully be set for an exciting Triple Crown season in 2018.

In other races, Tohamsan (Kwaedo Nanma) returned to winning ways in Busan’s feature. The Korea Sprint also-ran was giving his rivals plenty of weight in the 1200M handicap but cruised to an easy victory, his first since May.

Breeders’ Cup Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (December 3)

Korea’s top juveniles clash on Sunday afternoon with a big Prize and Champion 2-year-old status on the line in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul Racecourse. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

Choinma Gyeonggi

Choinma has won both his lead-up races for this but faces a tough challenge from Busan’s World Sun in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

Both World Sun and Choinma enter having won both of their home track’s two lead-up races for the Breeders’ Cup and the pair are likely to be 1st and 2nd favourite but as ever, it looks a competitive race. Both 2015 winner Power Blade and 2016 winner Final Boss, went on to win the Korean Derby as three-year-olds. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

It’s hard to oppose (1) NAM SON. He’s been 2nd and 3rd in his two outings to date and drops back to the minimum distance at which he showed good speed on debut in October. He won’t necessarily lead from the gate but he really should be leading when they hit the wire. Filly (12) SEONGBUL CHAMP has shown a bit of promise too, improving across her two starts to date and narrowly missing out on 2nd last time. She should at least achieve that today. (4) SEOUL STORY was behind Seongbul Champ on debut and can improve here while (11) PALDO GANGTA and (5) GLOBAL NEWS, the latter being quick in his trial, are others to look out for.

Selections (1) Nam Son (12) Seongbul Champ (4) Seoul Story (5) Global News
Next Best 11, 9
Fast Start 4, 5, 8, 12

Race 2: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

The 5th that (7) RAON ACE managed last start was less than half a length away from being a 2nd and a similar performance today should see him home on top. (12) MACHA BUCHA had a hard day at the office in one of the stiffest class 5’s we’ve had at Seoul in a long time three weeks ago but can be given another chance today. (2) SPECIAL LIGHT is up in class following a win over 1300M on November 5th and can be competitive. (3) RAON ROCKY returns from almost five months off and trialled well while (6) CHODONG RACE steps back in trip following a couple of unsuccessful attempts at 1700M and can be better today.

Selections (7) Raon Ace (12) Macha Bucha (3) Raon Rocky (2) Special Light
Next Best 6, 10
Fast Start 6, 9, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million 

Up in class having won his latest two (albeit one in the stewards’ room), (6) MAGIC TEN is the one to beat once more. He has an enforced jockey change today but can still win, likely coming from just off the early pace. (2) SUPER PUNCH was a winner at class and distance last start and while he carries an extra 3kg today should be firmly in the frame once more. (1) BULHUUI SEUNGJA went poorly from a wide gate last time but is worthy (more…)

Final Boss Is Korea’s 2016 Juvenile Champion

Final Boss swept home late to land the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul today and be crowned Champion Korean Juvenile of 2016. The Menifee colt followed up his victory in October’s Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup to land a rare triumph for Seoul-trained horses over their Busan rivals. 

Busan’s Europa, winner of the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup and from the Kim Young Kwan training machine, was sent off as the slight odds-on favourite but while he was well placed entering the home straight, he was able to offer little in the closing stages, coming home in 4th.

Indeed the early pace-setters, Evergreen Tree, Circle Dancer, Athena Thunder and Ice Marine, would all fade as the closers took command late on. Second favourite Daeho Sidae struck the front a furlong out and was joined by the Yonekura Satoshi ridden Muhan Yeoljeong. But on the outside, just as he did in the Mayor’s Cup, Final Boss pounced, jockey Choi Bum Hyun timing things perfectly to go past in sight of the line and take the glory by just under a length.

Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – December 4, 2016

1. Final Boss (KOR) [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 12.4, 3.5
2. Daeho Sidae (KOR) [Simon Pure – Ara Mireu (Didyme)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.2
3. Muhan Yeoljeong (KOR) [Officer – Ridemetothemoon (Malibu Moon)] – Yonekura Satoshi – 4.0
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 1 length
Also Ran: 4. Wonder Wall 5. Europa 6. Indian King 7. Kkumui Silhyeon 8. Meni Bracing 9. Rocket Queen 10. Illyu Star 11. Sunkissed 12. Ice Marine 13. Lead Money 14. Circle Dancer 15. Evergreen Tree 16. Athena Thunder

Final Boss moves on to four wins from six outings and heads into the New Year as Seoul’s big hope to land one of the three-year-old Classics. It’s great news for Seoul, however, it will be tempered by the fact that the next five place-getters were all from Busan.

More to follow…

Sunday Seoul & Busan Preview: Breeders’ Cup 2016 (December 4)

It’s the penultimate Stakes race of the year in Korea on Sunday as the juveniles take their turn to sort out the champion for 2016. A full field of 16 will contest the Breeders’ Cup over 1400M at Seoul Racecourse. The race is the highlight of an 11-race card at Seoul which runs from 10:40 to 18:00 while Busan goes from 12:35 to 17:05.

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Final Boss won the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, Seoul’s Breeders’ Cup trial, in October

Europa and Final Boss, who won Busan and Seoul’s respective trials for this race will both be there to contest the race that Power Blade won a year ago before going on to sweep the Triple Crown as a three-year-old. Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie also saddles his first runner in the capital as the unbeaten Pegasus Farm-bred Evergreen Tree takes her chance.

See here for runner-by-runner form comments. Here for English race cards. And below for brief notes on the three races which will be simulcast overseas.

Race 8: Class 2 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 15:45

(1) WINNERS GLORY is up in class following a three-length win over this distance on October 30th. He carries a light weight here and runs best on or close to the early speed so gate 1 will suit. He has an excellent chance. Gate 12 will suit (12) SINJO DAEHYEOP who beat both (8) DOUBLE LUCKY and (9) VENI WIN when victorious over 1400M in October. A strong finisher, this is his first time around two-turns and he should take to it well. (11) GAIA THUNDER has already shown aptitude for the distance with a 2nd place in September. He’s up in class following a 3rd place last month at 1400M and will be competitive. Already established at this level is (7) LION STAR. He has placed in each of his last four outings and there’s no reason to suggest that run will end here.

Selections: (1) Winners Glory (12) Sinjo Daehyeop (7) Lion Star (11) Gaia Thunder
Next Best: 8, 4
Rating: 12, 10, 7, 9, 8
Fast Starters: 1, 2, 7
Start-200M: 2, 8, 7, 4, 1
200M-Finish: 12, 11, 10, 8, 1

(more…)

Korea Owned J.S. Choice Set For BC Juvenile Turf

It looks like J.S. Choice will run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf this coming Friday. The Todd Pletcher trained colt is owned by none other than the Korea Racing Authority Stud Farm.

I’m not going to claim this news sets the pulse racing to any great extent although the Korea Racing Authority and the racing media in Korea seem to be quite excited about it and there will be a sizable Korean contingent at Santa Anita to watch him. However, ultimately he’s an American horse, who has never set hoof in Korea, trained by an American trainer running in an American race ridden and will be ridden by an American jockey (Kent Desormeaux).

That’s not his fault though and he looks to be a promising horse. J.S. Choice has raced three times so far and having been 5th on his debut at Saratoga in August, he came back out at the same track to win at the second time of asking on September 5. He was then entered for the Group 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont on October 1st and ran 2nd (albeit quite well beaten by Oscar Performance who also runs on Friday) and this has proven enough to allow him to take his chance at Santa Anita.

The experiment is not without merit and is not purely a vanity project. The idea is that he was purchased in the sales having been selected for potential value by the KRA’s “K-Nicks” database and then sent to a top American trainer. He will do his racing in the United States and will then be retired for Stud duties in Korea. Interestingly, he has done his racing on Turf and with the KRA serious about installing a turf track at Seoul – something that would arguably be the biggest development in racing history here and on which work has already begun – stallions who have demonstrated ability on the surface are going to be required and the Authority, Korean horsemen and also punters will all need to become familiar with racing on a surface that was meant to be raced on.

J.S. Choice [Congrats – Oil Empress (Empire Maker)] is named with a nod to 2007 Korean Triple Crown winner J.S. Hold. He runs in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Friday November 4th with an expected morning line of 20/1. I haven’t quite decided if I’ll be setting my alarm for what will be early Saturday Seoul time, but I do really hope he does well.

Korean Breeders’ Cup – Full Preview

Korea’s champion juvenile will be crowned at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon after eleven two-year-olds line up for the Breeders’ Cup.

Ottug Ottugi

Ottug Ottugi won the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup (Pic: KRA)

The winners of both Seoul and Busan’s prep races, the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup and the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup, will both be there and it is set for an interesting race.

Here is a full run-down of all of the runners with [Pedigree] Sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey (Home Track):

Breeders’ Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – November 29, 2015 (15:15)

1. Whiz Speed [Admire Don – Speed Bag (Abagninone)] C (5/1/0/1) Song Moon Gil – Park Tae Jong (Seoul)
He was 5th in the Mayor’s Cup, five lengths behind the winner. His victory came in September over 1200M but it was not an especially strong race and both speed and stamina are open to question. A lot of improvement will be needed if he is to compete here. Expect him to settle in the middle of the field.

2. Major Winner [One Cool Cat – I Am Cruising (Value Plus)] F (3/2/0/1) Jang Se Han – Song Keong Yun (Busan)
She comes in following consecutive victories over 1200M and 1300M, most recently at class 5. She came from just behind the lead on both occasions and will likely try similar here and while she has potential, others will be favoured.

3. Clean Up King [Strike Again – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] C (3/2/0/0) Seo In Seok – Ham Wan Sik (Se0ul)
A half-brother to last year’s winner Doraon Hyeonpyo, he will be an outsider to match his elder’s feat. He does come in following two consecutive wins, beating Whiz Speed in the first of those and Dixie Ploit (half to Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace) last time. He is another that will look to settle just behind any early speed but he is going to have to find plenty to beat this field at this distance.

4. Winner’s Glory [Strike Again – Luck And Fame (Western Fame)] C  (3/2/1/0) Shim Seung Tae – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
He entered the Mayor’s Cup unbeaten in two and led for much of that race only to be defeated by the fast finishing Waikiki on the line. Despite that, he is likely to go try to go forward again, he should be able to cope with the distance and he may be considered.

5. Cheonji Storm [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] C (2/2/0/0) Kim Dong Kyun – Shin Hyoung Chul (Seoul)
The only one of this field to have already won at this distance with a six-length win on October 25th. He was similarly impressive on his debut a month earlier. He scores highly on speed and obviously has no issues with the distance. While he led from gate to wire last time, he came from behind the time before and with some others likely to go forward, he may opt to be patient here. Big chance and he will be well-backed.

6. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] F (3/3/0/0) Kim Young Kwan – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
She comes in unbeaten after three races with victory in the Gyeongnam Sinmun the highlight. She has led from gate-to-wire in all three and is surely likely to go forward again. However, she only just got home last time with stablemate Power Blade almost catching her on the line. It is going to be harder today but she still must be strongly considered

7. Waikiki [Pico Central – Wyvern (Didyme)] F (3/1/2/0) Ha Jae Heung – Park Byeong Yun (Seoul)
The 48/1 winner of the Mayor’s Cup last month when she flew home from the back of the field to get up by half a length from Winner’s Glory. That followed two 2nd places when similar tactics were employed. She certainly showed a decent turn of foot and the distance will suit her. She will go right back once more and she will be nothing like 48/1 this time.

8. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park – Sweetoil (Broken Vow)] C (2/2/0/0) Peter Wolsley – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
A nine length winner on his debut, he was an early scratching from the Gyeongnam Sinmun due to soreness but came back on November 6th to win a 1200M class 5 race by four lengths so he arrives unbeaten. He has won from the front both times but may not wish to take on the early speed this time. The distance should be fine for him, plenty of potential and a big chance.

9. Sunganui Beopchik [Exploit – Arrested Lady (Thunder Gulch)] C (4/1/0/1) Yoo Byung Bok – Kim Eu Soo (Busan)
He was 5th in the Gyeongnam Sinmun but came back out a winner on November 6th over 1200M. That was at class 6 so there is still plenty to prove and he is yet to show much in the way of speed. He won from the front last time but may not go forward here and he will perhaps be the least fancied of the Busan visitors.

10. Gaia Thunder [One Cool Cat – Now Cope With This (Tiznow)] C (4/1/1/1) Park Jong Kon – Park Eul Woon (Seoul)
Sent off in excess of 60/1 in the Mayor’s Cup, he managed a creditable 3rd place coming from the back along with the winner Waikiki who he was a length and a half behind on the line. He previously won a class 6 race over 1200M. He will most likely go back again and try to close but won’t be among the favourites.

11. Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain] C (3/1/2/0) Kim Young Kwan – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
A four length winner on his debut in August he was then stepped up to a mile for his first try at class 5 and finished a very creditable 2nd. He almost managed to run down stable-mate Ottug Ottugi in the final strides of the Gyeongnam Sinmun but the line came just a fraction too soon. This time, with an extra furlong to play with, things could very well be different. He will look to sit behind the early leaders and could very well start favourite.