Busan Ilbo

Do Kki Blade Downs Gaon Champ In Busan Sprint Duel

Gaon Champ gave everything but ultimately Do Kki Blade was just too strong as the sprinting pair turned the Busan Ilbo Cup (KOR G3) into a two-horse war on Sunday afternoon.

Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ finished 2nd and 3rd behind Simjangui Godong in a blanket finish to January’s Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul. While that day’s winner was also present on the south coast today, along with a vast amount of the nation’s sprinting talent, it quickly became clear that only two horses were going to dispute the finish.

Gaon Champ and Alan Munro briefly managed to get on  terms and almost touch the lead in the final furlong, but  Kim Yong-geun was able to extract another effort from Do Kki Blade and the four-year-old ultimately pulled clear to take the line half a length in front of his rival. King Of Glory came home 3rd a further three lengths in arrears, while Simjangui Godong could only manage 6th.

“I’m very proud of him” winning jockey Kim told KRBC after the race. “Coming in he was still a class 2 horse with the lowest rating in the race, but he was going up against all the established class 1 sprinters. Then to make it worse he got the really bad draw in gate 14.”

Kim, who was winning the race for the first time despite having ridden at Busan for most of his career before relocating to Seoul three years ago, knew the start would be important: “I felt there was a lot of speed in the race so I couldn’t afford to be chasing but then he jumped out so well and I saw we had a chance to get across so I decided to go for it. Once we hit the straight, I knew he had plenty left.”

Veteran trainer Park Dae-heung, who last year finally captured a Korean Derby with Wonderful Fly, was also winning the race for the first time and he was full of praise for his jockey: “I thought the race could be lost at the start so I was disappointed with the draw. I told Kim Yong-geun it was up to him to use his judgement and he did it perfectly.”

The Busan Ilbo Cup, like all racing in Korea at the moment, was held behind closed doors and with the absence of any legal remote betting in Korea, local fans were completely shut out and unable to even watch the race on TV. Both winning jockey and trainer addressed that situation.

“I value this win of course” said Kim Yong-geun. “It would have been far more exciting if we could have had our fans inside the racecourse though. I felt this was a very good race and I would have loved for them to have been able to watch it live. (Covid-19) has been hard on all of us but I keep the fans in my mind all the time.”

Trainer Park echoed those sentiments: “I have had a lot of time to think during the shutdown and I realise how important our racing fans are. Just to be racing is a start and we must do it, but it isn’t the same. I want all our fans to know we race for them and want to see them soon.”

Gaon Champ will get his chance for revenge on Do KKi Blade when the Sprint Series heads up to Seoul for the SBS Sports Sprint in July, a race which will be the final tune-up for September’s International Group 3 Korea Sprint.

* At Busan on Friday, the star of the show was Pro Consul. The Peter Wolsley trained colt has had an interrupted career but looked superb when dominating a class 1 field in the concluding Mile Handicap, winning by a full eight-lengths under Seo Seung-un. Pro Consul is a US import by Freedom Child, who was himself imported to Korea earlier this year. The four-year-old moves on to five wins from nine starts and into contention for big races later this year.

 

 

Busan Ilbo Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (June 28)

The fifteenth running of the Busan Ilbo Cup is the feature race for the weekend with a capacity field of sixteen to face the starter at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. With the postponement of the Chairman’s Cup due to Covid-19, this will be the first leg of the 2020 Korean Sprint Series. There are 5 races at Busan from 12:15 to 15:30 while at Seoul there are 14 from 10:35 to 18:00. Both meetings are closed to spectators.

Segye Ilbo Cup 2020 Finish Simjangui Godong Do kki Blade Gaon Chamo

Simjangui Godong denied Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ in the Segye Ilbo in January. The trio meet again in Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Eight of Seoul’s top sprinters will line up against eight of Busan’s best over the 1200m. The Group Three feature was taken out by Gaon Champ last year, who lines up in the event once again.

The winning trifecta of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January will reunite to face off once more. There was less than half a length covering the first three in the 1200m listed feature with Simjangui Godong (1st), Do Kki Blade (2nd) and Gaon Champ (3rd) completing the trifecta. Last year’s Champion Three-Year-Old Simjangui Godong showed a brilliant turn of foot over the sprint distance after dropping back from the 1800m the start prior. Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ both settled on speed and were gallant up the Seoul straight.

Last start Class One winner Seobu Cat will face his toughest test to date, coming of four successive victories. The four-year-old comes off a dominant two length victory when carrying the featherweight of 51kg, defeating Doraonpogyeongson (2nd/58kg) and Ace Korea (4th/60kg).

Last year’s Korea Sprint runner-up Dia Socks will make the trip to Busan for the feature. The five-year-old comes off a last start fourth behind Global Captain, who is absent from the race. The five-year-old is never the fastest out of the gates, but he did fail to muster early on last start which cost him a closer finish after rattling home late. To make things more difficult, he has been dealt the outside gate but will have the services of Korea’s leading jockey in Moon Se-Young.

M J Power and Morning Daero both come off Class One victories. M J Power saluted over the 1200m in February with just 52kg on his back, he beat home Munhak Winner (3rd/52kg) who will line up in the event as well. Morning Daero comes off a 1400m victory carrying 56.5kg when defeating former KRA Cup Classic Winner Divide Wind (4th/52kg).

King Of Glory was beaten four lengths last start late December over 1200m in Class One grade carrying 56kg, with Hi Sexy finishing well back in the same race. Clean Up Board comes off a last start midfield performance behind Heuk Jeonsa whilst Seongpa and Seongsan Simon saluted in Class 1 events over 1200m and 1400m respectively.

In a wide open version of the Busan Ilbo Cup, Gaon Champ is the on top selection. The five-year-old entire has been so consistent throughout his career to date, winning nine of fourteen and placing on three other occasions. He is drawn to likely find the fence early on, and if not sit at worst one of the fence outside of Seongpa who is a speedy type. His trial in April was encouraging, Lim Gi-won looked statuesque aboard him as he worked home under his own steam to clock a good time. Epsom Derby-winning jockey Alan Munro is the beneficiary of an injured Lim Gi-won and will be legged aboard on Sunday.

Here are previews for all races:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The maidens kick off proceedings on Sunday’s 14 event card. (7) GLOBAL WANGJA looks the one to get punters off to a good start coming off a last start second behind Ganghojeil back in February. The lightly race four-year-old has speedy types drawn either side of him suggesting he should get a trail forward and be able to camp on the leaders’ coattails. (6) PARAN WANGJA is one of those speedy types who will work forward. The Divine Park chestnut was prominent in his debut when placing behind Cheongdam Curling. He completed the 1200m in a slow time on debut but with some improvement he looks an each-way prospect. (3) COIN BLADE hasn’t raced since April last year when finishing third on debut. He trialed in April and the performance couldn’t give us an indication of how he is going. Keep him safe as is if he is sound he could give this a shake. (4) HOEBOK looks next best finishing just behind the placings at his past couple of starts.

Selections (7) Global Wangja (6) Paran Wangja (3) Coin Blade (4) Hoebok
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 5, 6, 8

 

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Maiden fillies go around here. (8) RAON BLOOD improved to 3rd place on what was her fourth outing in February. She’s not the quickest but she plugs away well and against this limited set of opposition, she has fair claims having almost made all in a trial earlier this month. (6) IMPERIAL SILK finished 4th behind Raon Blood last time out and looked similarly well when trialing with seemingly scope for more development. (12) HWA SSI BYEOK has finished no worse than 5th in three outings so far. She has been quite one-paced but just with Raon Blood, that may be enough to see her into some money here. Her recent trial was good enough. (5) WONDERFUL CAT has a runner-up finish at class and distance to her name and must be taken seriously while (9) BAEKDUWA HALLA did nothing wrong when 4th on debut in February, running on strongly over 1000M and looks in the hunt over the additional distance too.

Selections (8) Raon Blood (6) Imperial Silk (9) Baekduwa Halla (12) Hwa Ssi Byeok
Next Best 5, 2, 3
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 8

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The maiden three-year-olds will go over the 1400m in the third with the most experienced gallopers having just the five starts against their name. (6) BLUE CHARM is considered an each-way chance based on his past couple of starts. He finished third behind Punch Power last time out when beaten less than a length. The Tiz Wonderful colt is a strong and leggy type who looks as if he will appreciate the 1400m first up. (9) WILD KINGDOM is a big chance after finishing third behind Dynamic Punch last time out. The Competitive Edge colt has placed twice from the three starts and is one of only a few who can show early speed. (2) ROCK NEWS has been hitting the line better at his past couple of starts. He won his trial in April and further improvement first up is possible. (1) YEONGJU STONE looks next best coming off a last start third when hitting the line strong in the final stages. The chestnut will be aided by an inside draw.

Selections (6) Blue Charm (9) Wild Kingdom (2) Rock News (1) Yeongju Stone
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 6, 9

 

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies only here. (6) SIBERIA made all when odds-on on debut in February for a strong win. She is up in class today and didn’t exactly pull up trees in her trial so while she can win again, there are some question marks. (1) CHOEGANGMA similarly steps up to this distance for the first time. She got her maiden win at 1000M last November and then raced twice at this class finishing 3rd and 2nd beating a few of these in the process. She likes to come from just off the pace and today could be his day again. (4) PRETTY JOY too tries the distance for the first time having run 2nd on her first try at this class in December. Her trial was not as strong as others, however. (10) RAIN K had a hard time on her first start at this level in February when she never got into gear and finished well back but looked much better in a recent trial. If she gets a good start, she can be a factor. The up in class (2) ALL BAEK is another to look out for.

Selections (6) Siberia (1) Choegangma (4) Pretty Joy (10) Rain K
Next Best 2, 3, 4, 11
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 9, 10

 

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

There looks to be a lack of speed engaged in the fifth suggesting the winner will need to be in touch with the leaders at the top of the straight. From an outside draw (12) SAMSEONG VIVA looks one that can work forward and camp on the leaders’ backs. The Tiz Wonderful colt saluted over this distance three starts back, then finished midfield before running second last start behind Jeongsang Dolpung. (3) EAST CHAMP broke through for his first win last start over this distance. He trialed in April and performed only fair but we will include him based on his consistency shown in his four career starts to date. (1) TANK SOCKS has drawn ideally to sit closer to the speed. She comes off a last start fourth when somewhat one-paced to the line. She did win on debut at big odds, suggesting the forced freshen-up may work in her favour. (7) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM is considered an each-way chance based on his last start when third behind Dia Key. The four-year-old has had the sixteen start yielding just the one win and three minor placings, whilst the record is not overly impressive, this isn’t the strongest race.

Selections (12) Samseong Viva (3) East Champ (1) Tank Socks (7) Cheonnyeonui Baram
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 6, 11

 

Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

After getting his maiden win at odds in excess of 60/1 back in January, (3) MR. HANSEN promptly followed up with another victory, this time at 1400M in February. He steps up in class again but is beautifully drawn to be on pace from the start and has every chance of completing his hat-trick here. (11) BEYOND steps up in class and distance following a nice looking win over 1300M back in January. He usually comes from off the pace so if (more…)

Success Story 3rd as Gamdonguibada Wins Busan Ilbo Cup

Success Story was sent off the slight favourite on his return to racing in Korea but just like in his two starts at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, he had to settle for 3rd as Gamdonguibada romped to a five-length victory in the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the 2016 Korean Sprint Series at Busan this afternoon.

The race was expected to be dominated by a pace duel between Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum, both fast starters and difficult to split at the head of the market. That would always be fine for Gamdonguibada who was well-backed by punters who suspected she might be able to take advantage of the favourites potentially over-racing early.

Gamdonguibada did exactly that. However, others were not content to let the favourites dictate and Indian Star, Daepungnyeon and Perdido Pomeroy shot out of the gate leaving Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum back in an unfamiliar 4th and 5th as the race settled down.

Entering the straight, Beolmaui Kkum offered nothing and while Success Story rallied, he had too much to find as Gamdonguibada and Choi Si Dae went through the gears and cruised away from the field, racing on for a dominant five-length win on the line. Perdido Pomeroy and Kim Yong Geun ran on for a strong second with Success Story and Paolo Aragoni a further three lengths back in a strung-out finish.

Gamdonguibada (Werblin) is a quite remarkable mare. A $31,000 purchase at the Ocala Two-year-old sale in 2011, she won the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup and then the Grand Prix Stakes, Korea’s most prestigious race as a three-year-old. She didn;t win any Stakes races in 2013 but then as a five-year-old in 2014 she won two legs of the Queens’ Tour for fillies & mares to be crowned the series champion. Connections (thankfully) rejected the bonus that was on offer to retire her immediately for breeding and brought her back in 2015.

Gamdonguibada won the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup, Busan’s richest race for older horses before running poorly in Singapore at 1200M just three weeks later.There was talk once more she would be retired. She wasn’t.

The win is yet another for the Kim Young Kwan training machine that continues to churn out winner after winner at Stakes level. The next leg of the Sprint Series is the SBS Korea/Japan race at Seoul in early June. The final leg is, of course, the Korea Sprint on International Day on September 11th. Gamdonguibada has staked her claim to be there.

Sunday Race Notes: Busan Ilbo Cup

Success Story, Beolmaui Kkum, Gamdonguibada, Gumpo Sky, New York Blue. And more. The first leg of the K-Sprint Series which, will culminate in the Korea Sprint on International Day in September, takes place at Busan on Sunday in the shape of the Busan Ilbo Cup and there is a star-studded line-up.

Beolmaui Kkum

Beolmaui Kkum faces Success Story in the Busan Ilbo (Pic: Ross Holburt)

There is also a full card of racing at Seoul where the first race is at 10:50 and the last at 18:00. Busan runs from 13:00 to 17:05. The Cup is one of three races from Busan which will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2. English language race cards are here. Notes on the three Sky races:

Busan Race 3: Class 3 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 14:30 (KST)

A small but competitive field and (3) IN THE BACK enters the slight favourite following a 2nd place at class and distance on April 17th. He is from Busan’s top stable and has finished no worse than 2nd in any of his last eight starts. He will try to lead from gate-to-wire. The main danger is (8) SAENA. She hasn’t won since last June when she was successful at class and distance but enters with solid form behind her and she beat two of these when finishing 2nd over 1400M last month. Being back at a mile today should suit. (5) SANBANG TRAIL was 4th in that same race as Saena last month and should at least match that today with (1) JOKWANG and (7) MORNING GANGJA perhaps the best of the rest.

Selections (3) In The Back (8) Saena (5) Sanbang Trail (1) Jokwang
Next Best 7, 4, 6
Outsiders 2
Fast Starters 3, 5

Busan Race 4: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 15:20 (KST)

While suffering a severe case of second-itis – he’s never won but has been runner-up in each of his last four outings – (11) DAEJONGCHEON is the pick to finally get it right today. This is by virtue of his having beaten three of these when just going down by a neck over 1400M on April 3rd. He tries this distance for the first time. If Daejongcheon is to find one too quick again – and let’s face it, he might – the Bart Rice-trained (4) GIANT HOLD looks the most likely candidate. A class 4 winner at a mile in March, he was 3rd at this distance, beating Aussie-bred (7) STAR WARP, last time out. There is more Australian interest in this as Peter Wolsley saddles the lightly-raced (9) TURNPIKE. This is just his fifth start and he was beaten by Daejoncheon last time but he may appreciate the extra distance today. (10) SEMPER FI should also enjoy being back at 1800M and should be close with (5) GEOCHIMEOPSI and (6) NAGASINDA the more wildcard choices.

Selections (11) Daejongcheon (4) Giant Hold (9) Turnpike (10) Semper Fi
Next Best 6, 7, 5
Outsiders 1, 2, 3, 8
Fast Starters 6, 10, 11

Busan Race 5: Class Open – The Busan Ilbo Cup (Korea Sprint Series 1L / 1200M / Weight for Age / KRW 300 Million / 16:15 (KST)

(1) SUCCESS STORY is the marquee name here. Last seen running 3rd to California Chrome over 2000M at Meydan in February (in a prep race at the Carnival, not the actual World Cup race) he makes his return home in a hugely competitive 1st leg of the Korean Sprint Series. Success Story is capable at any distance between 1000 and 2000M and he has claims under Italian jockey Paolo Aragoni, but he may well not even be the favourite. That’s because his owner also enters (3) BEOLMAUI KKUM, the highest rated horse in Korea right now. Winner of fifteen of his twenty-five races, he is unbeaten in two races since returning from a six-month spell. A powerful starter, he will take on Success Story for the early lead and has every chance of beating him. (7) GAMDONGUIBADA has been beaten by Beolmaui Kkum in both her last two starts but remains dangerous as does (11) GUMPO SKY, who only ever races in tough company and is intriguingly dropped back to 1200M for the first time since he was a three-year-old. He usually goes forward but may let the others get on with it here. (10) PERDIDO POMEROY takes a big leap up in class but has plenty of potential while (9) NEW YORK BLUE, a very good sprinter in the past is the wildcard returning from seven months out. She looked sharp in trials.

Selections (3) Beolmaui Kkum (1) Success Story (7) Gamdonguibada (10) Perdido Pomeroy
Next Best 11, 9, 5, 4
Outsiders 2, 6, 8
Fast Starters 3, 1, 4

Gyeongbudaero Blasts His Way To Busan Ilbo Cup

Gyeongbudaero held off a late challenge from an outsider to win the Busan Ilbo Cup this afternoon.

Winner: Gyeongbudaero (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Winner: Gyeongbudaero (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Running at his favourite distance of 1600 metres, the horse who is famous for finishing 2nd or 3rd in the big races made light of his 60kg impost to record his 3rd career Stakes win by a length from My Winner with long-shot All Su leading the rest of the field home 6 lengths adrift.

Gyeongbudaero would have a much better win rate but his connections always seek out the toughest possible opposition for him, generally running in open company rather than in races restricted to Korean bred horses.

He was 3rd in the Korean Derby, Minister’s Cup and President’s Cup in 2012 and followed it up in 2013 with 3rd in this race and 2nd in the President’s Cup.

He’s now 2 for 2 in 2014 with today’s win the 9th from 25 career starts. With Dangdae Bulpae retired, it is between him and President’s Cup winner Indie Band for the title of Busan’s number 1 horse.

It was a very strong run from My Winner in 2nd place. The Peter Wolsley trainee won a listed race last autumn which encouraged connections to take their chance in the President’s Cup. He was last that day and hadn’t run since. Better things could be on the way and he certainly won’t be allowed to start at 20/1 next time.

There was no luck for the foreign jockeys in the race. Joe Fujii, Masa Tanaka and Darryll Holland allentered with fighting chances of the win, However, riding Magic Dancer, Alpha Myeongjang and Grand Teukgeup, they finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.

Busan Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1600M – February 23, 2014

1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 2.3, 1.1
2. My Winner (KOR) [Vicar – Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] – Kim Yong Geun – 4.3
3. All Su (KOR) [Perfect Vision II – Seollimwon (Wheaton)] – Song Keong Yun – 6.5

Distances: 1 length/6 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Magic Dancer 5. Alpha Myeongjang 6. Grand Teukgeup 7. Chima Cheolli 8. Fine Fine 9. Road To Prince

* At Seoul, there was a little bit of an upset on the Classic trail as Cheongnyeong Bisang looked very out of sorts while finishing 7th when favourite in a class 2 handicap over the Derby distance of 1800 metres.

Last year’s Champion Juvenile started the year with a routine win over 1700 metres last month and was favourite to successfully go the extra 100 metres today but never looked like going close.

Meanwhile, it was another good day for Ikuyasu Kurakane. The Japanese rider added to his solitary win yesterday with a double today, taking him to 14 for the year already despite missing the first 6 meetings of the year due to suspension.

Old Favourites Take Big Prizes At Seoul & Busan

Yeonseung Daero grabbed victory in the Busan Ilbo Stakes while in the capital, two-time Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja made light work of the top weight of 62kg to win the feature race.

Yeonseung Daero - Second Stakes win (Pic: KRA)

On the south coast, Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) was sent off favourite for the mile-long Listed Stakes race – Busan’s first of 2012.

And reunited with jockey Jo Chang Wook for the first time since placing fourth in the Minister’s Cup in 2009, the six-year old was always well-placed, entering the home straight in third and then comfortable seeing off the challenge of Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar) and Mulbora (Fiercely) by a full three lengths.

Peter Wolsley’s Khaosan was fifth while Joe Murphy’s Udeumji ran to form in finishing a lowly ninth.

Fifth behind Sangseung Ilro in the 2009 Korean Derby, Yeonseung Daero has gone on to become the most consistent performer of that particular crop of runners. A money-winner in ten Stakes races over his career, today was just his second win at the Listed level, his first coming in last year’s Busan Metropolitan at the expense of Tough Win and Dangdae Bulpae.

His overall win record would surely have been higher than the sixteen from forty starts were it not for the fact that his connections – who also own recently retired 2010 Derby winner Cheonnyeon Daero – took the decision when he reached four-years-old, to only run him against foreign-bred opposition or in Stakes races.

It’s a move that meant not only did he have to carry less weight than he would otherwise have done, has also made for far more competitive races and it is unfortunate that more owners don’t do this with their best Korean bred horses.

Busan Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Sunday Feb 26, 2012

1. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat-Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – Jo Chang Wook – 3.7, 1.6
2. Dongseo Jeongbeol (KOR) [Vicar-Rendezvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] – Song Keong Yun – 1.6
3. Mulbora (KOR) [Fiercely-Winning Design (Beau’s Eagle)] – 4.6

Distances: 3 lengths/Neck
Also Ran: 4. Haneului Chubok 5. Khaosan 6. Isidae Gangja 7. Perfect Made 8. Gamun Daejangun 9. Udeumji 10. Bada Jewang 11. Dongbangmiin 12. Champion Belt 13. Choego Yeongung

Up at Seoul, there was a familiar figure in the winner’s circle after the feature race. Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow) beat out a competitive field to win by half a length from Necromancer (Air Eminem), Captain Cugat (King Cugat) and pre-race favourite Kkakjaengi (Put It Back).

The pacifiers may make him look like a wasp, but Dongbanui Gangja looks back to his old-self

The former double Grand Prix champion and Horse Of The Year was giving at least four kilos to all of his rivals and was coming in to the race off the back of a ten-length humbling at the hands of young phenom Smarty Moonhak in his last outing.

The Dongbanui Gangja we saw on the track today though – and in fairness last time too – was a much more disciplined one than in the past.

He may not seem to have the same kind of explosive finish he had in the past but neither does he go wandering out wide giving himself far more ground to cover than any of his rivals. Today, after Choi Bum Hyun made his characteristic move around the field on Dongbanui Gangja in the back straight, he got on the rail and stayed there until the finish.

It’s good to have him back although with Kkakjaengi disappointing, it looks as though the search goes on to find a horse to join Tough Win and Mister Park as the only credible challengers to Smarty Moonhak this year.

Weekend Preview: Busan Ilbo Cup

Champion Belt, Yeonseung Daero, Dongseo Jeongbeol In First Busan Stakes Of 2012 / Dongbanui Gangja Headlines Seoul

Busan Race Park sees its first Stakes race action of the year on Sunday as thirteen of the track’s best Korean bred older horses line-up for the Busan Ilbo Cup.

Yeonseung Daero - Tough Test in Busan Ilbo Cup

Last year’s Minister’s Cup winner Dongseo Jeonbeol, Busan Metropolitan winner Yeonseung Daero and the current top-rated (without Mister Park) Korean horse at Busan, Champion Belt will all line up for the Mile-Long rrace.

There is foreign interest too as both Peter Wolsley and Joe Murphy have runners. Wolsley saddles Khaosan, who won the Owners’ Cup last year, while Murphy sends out Udeumji, who is without a win since last May but as such, finds himself bottom of the handicap. Meanwhile, Japanese jockey Akane Yamamoto will ride another outsider, Choego Yeongung.

Up at Seoul, Saturday sees former stakes-winners High Point and Triple Seven among the runners in the feature race while on Sunday former double-Grand Prix victor Dongbanui Gangja headlines the main event.

The former champion was handed a comprehensive drubbing by Smarty Moonhak last month and will have to carry top weight of 62Kg in the 2000M handicap. Top filly Kkakjaengi also goes in a full field of fourteen as do a pair of relative newcomers to class 1 level Celebrate Tonight and Mass Media’s Tea.

On the classic trail, we’ll be mostly looking out for colt Nobel Pokpung in race 11 at Busan on Friday and filly Dolpung Jilju in race 9 at Seoul on Saturday.

Here’s what’s happening where and when on what looks set to be another chilly weekend:

Friday February 24

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday Febrary 25

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:20
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday February 26

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:50
Busan Race Park: 8 races from 11:50 to 16:50 including the Busan Ilbo Cup at 15:55.