Breeders’ Cup

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.


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


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.

Weekend Preview

It’s time for the Juveniles to shine at Seoul this Sunday when the best domestic-bred two-year-olds from both the capital and from Busan face off in the “Breeders’ Cup” to decide the nation’s champion juvenile of 2015.


Winter is coming…

For English Racecards Click Here
See here for notes on simulcast races

Last year, the Breeders’ Cup race was won by Doraon Hyeonpyo and his half-brother Clean Up King is among eleven who will line up for the seven furlong test. They also include Ottug Ottugi and Waikiki, who won the prep races for this event at Busan and Seoul respectively.

Unbeaten Banjiui Jewang and 2nd to Ottug Ottugi in the prep race Power Blade are also likely to be well fancied. We will have a full runner by runner preview tomorrow but in the meantime, here are the runners and riders:

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

1. Whiz Speed [Admire Don – Speed Bag (Abagninone)] (5/1/0/1) – Park Tae Jong
2. Major Winner [One Cool Cat – I Am Cruising (Value Plus)] F (3/2/0/1) – Song Keong Yun
3. Clean Up King [Strike Again – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] (3/2/0/0) – Ham Wan Sik
4. Winner’s Glory [Strike Again – Luck And Fame (Western Fame)] (3/2/1/0) – Moon Se Young
5. Cheonji Storm [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] (2/2/0/0) – Shin Hyoung Chul
6. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] F (3/3/0/0) – Choi Si Dae
7. Waikiki [Pico Central – Wyvern (Didyme)] F (3/1/2/0) – Park Byeong Yun
8. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park – Sweetoil (Broken Vow)] (2/2/0/0) – Jo Sung Gon
9. Sunganui Beopchik [Exploit – Arrested Lady (Thunder Gulch)] (4/1/0/1) – Kim Eu Soo
10. Gaia Thunder [One Cool Cat – Now Cope With This (Tiznow)] (4/1/1/1) – Park Eul Woon
11. Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain] (3/1/2/0) – Kim Yong Geun

Temperatures in Korea have dropped a full 10C since last weekend but that is no excuse not to come racing. Here is what is happening when and where across the weekend:

Friday November 27
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:20 to 16:50

Saturday November 28
Seoul Racecourse: 13 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday November 29
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30