Busan Mayor’s Cup

Cheongdam Dokki Marches On In Mayor’s Cup

Cheongdam Dokki ventured outside of Seoul for the first time but the four-year-old made himself right at home on the South-Coast, beating a strong set of rivals to win the Group 3 Busan Mayor’s Cup on Sunday afternoon confirming his status as the top-rated horse in Korea.

Cheongdam Dokki Mayor's Cup Lets Run Park Busan

Cheongdam Dokki & Lim Gi Won winning the Busan Mayor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 1800M race, often called the “Summer Grand Prix” such is its usual strength, Cheongdam Dokki broke from the widest gate was unable to get to his favoured position on the lead. That was because King Of Ace got out much the quickest and under Franco Da Silva went on to set the pace. Aboard Cheongdam Dokki, jockey Lim Gi Won was happy enough to let the leader get on with it and settled at the front of the chasing pack with Cheonji Storm and 2nd favourite Triple Nine just behind him.

As the field entered the home straight, King Of Ace began to weaken and Cheongdam Dokki assumed command and while fellow Seoul-raider Cheonji Storm threatened to mount a challenge, Cheongdam Dokki comfortably saw him off in the final furlong to win by three-lengths on the line. Triple Nine, a three-time President’s Cup winner and former Horse of the Year, hit top gear late in the race but could only come home in 3rd place one ahead of last year’s winner I’m Your Father.

It was a breakout performance from Cheonji Storm, who was 6th in the 2016 Korean Derby behind eventual Triple Crown winner Power Blade, and who has matured greatly since missing seven months of last season. Triple Nine, making just his second start of 2018 ran well but was always likely to be too late reaching top speed to challenge Cheongdam Dokki over 1800M.

The win took Cheongdam Dokki, an American import by To Honor And Serve, to 11 wins from 16 career starts and was his second Korean Group race triumph following his victory in last autumn’s Group 2 KRA Cup Classic. He is unbeaten in 2018 with his last defeat coming in December’s Grand Prix Stakes over 2300M. It also gave him a new domestic rating of 130, the highest of any horse since the rating system in its current form began and Cheongdam Dokki is now surely on a path to face the ultimate test in Korean racing – taking on the international visitors in September’s Keeneland Korea Cup.

Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 1, 2018

1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] –  Lim Gi Won – 1.4, 1.0
2. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Johan Victoire – 2.9
3. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5
Distances: 3 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. I’m Your Father (USA) 5. Buhwarui Banseok (USA) 6. Saengil Gippeum (USA) 7. King Of Ace (USA) 8. Dongbang Daero (USA) 9. Champ Line (KOR) 10. Iron Train (USA) 11. World Number One (USA) 12. Cheonjeok (USA) 13. Winner Red (USA)

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Busan Mayor’s Cup: Cheongdam Dokki vs Triple Nine – Busan & Seoul All-Race Preview (July 1)

One of the highlights of the summer racing season takes place at Busan on Sunday when thirteen of the best horses on the peninsula go to post in the Busan Mayor’s Cup (Korean Group 3) over 1800M. They include last year’s winner I’m Your Father, but all eyes will be on the clash between three-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine and the new star on the stable-block, Cheongdam Dokki.

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Cheongdam Dokki

Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine have met once before, in the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December last year. In a remarkable race, Cheongdam Dokki set a blistering early pace but wasn’t quite able to keep it up over the punishing 2300M – the longest distance currently used in Korean racing – and he ultimately finished 4th with Triple Nine running a big race in 3rd. Dongbang Daero, who closed late on and beat both running 2nd to winner Power Blade, is among those who join them on Sunday.

Since that Grand Prix, Cheongdam Dokki has looked invulnerable. He’s raced three times for three facile victories and has been steadily relieving Clean Up Joy, formerly the top-rated horse at Seoul, of the silverware he had amassed in recent years. Having beaten him in the KRA Cup Classic last autumn, Cheongdam Dokki beat Clean Up Joy in both the Herald Business and YTN Cups this Spring, the older horse having won all three of those races the year before. Now in advance of a likely tilt at the Korea Cup in September, he faces a true test, going to Busan to face Triple Nine on his home track. It is a test he will be expected to pass.

(I didn’t have the multi-million dollar studio at my disposal for this one so here’s a 10 minutes on Moviemaker Special!)

Triple Nine remains the benchmark against which all other horses are judged in Korea. He held his own at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at the start of 2017 and returned to beat stablemate Power Blade on his way to a record-equalling third straight win in the President’s Cup. Power Blade would gain revenge in the Grand Prix but Triple Nine lost nothing in defeat that day. He has only raced once in 2018, making a rare foray into the handicap ranks in March and coming away, inevitably, with another victory. He did trial in public last week although offered few clues. The torch may be passed at Busan on Sunday.

Here are Busan’s Race-By-Race Comments including all-horses in the big race. Scroll down for the race-by-race from Seoul:

Race 1: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) SMART DANCER has won her latest two, both at this distance, in front-running fashion and while it means she is rapidly up in class, there is little for her to fear here and she has an excellent chance of making it three in a row. (9) MAY STAR beat (3) BAENGNYEON SONNIM as the pair came home 2nd and 3rd at class and distance on May 27th. Both can go well again with Baengnyeon Sonnim favoured to overturn that form. (1) WONDERFUL SHOW races for the first time in almost a year but has looked competent across a series of trials in the last couple of months and can go well first up. (6) RETURN OF THE KING comes in off a useful 2nd place ahead of three of these on June 10th and can go close again. (8) CHERRY VANQUISH was one of the vanquished that day, but it was just her second outing and she can improve here.

Selections (7) Smart Dancer (3) Baengnyeon Sonnim (8) Cherry Vanquish (6) Return Of The King
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 9, 12

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

Franco Da Silva was on (1) WONDERFUL MEMORY for his only previous win and he should be guiding the Lookin At Lucky colt to another here. He was a decent 3rd last time on his first try at this class and should have too much. (7) JANGHAN JILJU and (11) SAKISAKI came home 2nd and 3rd at class and distance on June 1st and look among the most likely to challenge the favourite although (2) JAEDOYAKUI BANSEOK was an improved 2nd last time out and is well drawn to get to the front from the gate once more. (10) WHITE POINT was disappointing behind Janghan Jilju and Sakisaki but came back out just two weeks ago to run a much better 4th and can look to at least match that today.

Selections (1) Wonderful Memory (2) Jaedoyakui Banseok (7) Janghan Jilju (11) Sakisaki
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 3, 4, 8

Race 3: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(8) WORLD DAY is two for two and the Kim Young Kwan trainee steps up in class and also in distance with solid claims of maintaining his 100% record. This is a significantly stiffer test than what he has faced so far but he should be close to the front from the start and can overcome it. (6) MABEOPUI JILJU and (4) VIVA VICTORY come in having run 2nd and 3rd behind World Day’s stablemate Sun Day at class and distance on May 27th. Both are proven performers at the distance and cause World Day problems. So too can (5) CHOEGANG THUNDER, a winner at the distance in April and 2nd when dropped back to 1300M for his first try at this class three weeks ago. (10) YONGGU is up in class after a surprise win at a mile six weeks ago and while he will need to improve, could be an interesting outsider.

Selections (8) World Day (5) Choegang Thunder (6) Mabeopui Jilju (4) Viva Victory
Next Best 10, 7
Fast Start 1, 2, 4, 8

Race 4: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Eight of the twelve raced each other at class and distance on May 27th (race 4) so we have plenty to go on. The surprise winner that day was (7) YEONGGWANG SEUNGNI, who struck the front late and ran on to win by half a length. She warrants more respect today, but we’ll still fancy her to get beaten. (2) JUSTINE MAGIC led for most of that race, ultimately finishing 2nd in what was his first try at a mile. He should have learned from that and can overturn the form here. (1) DYNAMIC ROOKIE was favourite that day and while he finished well back, is worth another chance today but the other likely ones didn’t run that day. (4) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP is up in class following a convincing win at the distance at the end of April and can be considered while (11) TUFELLO ran a solid 3rd on his first try at this class three weeks ago and should be in the frame as well.

Selections (2) Justine Magic (4) Baengmunbaekdap (7) Yeonggwang Seungni (11) Tufello
Next Best 1, 12
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 12

Race 5: Class Open “The Busan Mayor’s Cup” (KOR G3) 1800M / Weight for Age / KRW 500 Million

  1. IRON TRAIN – Class 2 winner over this distance in May but only beat one home on his first class 1 try three weeks ago. Generally goes right to the back and closes. May pick off a few in the home straight.

 

  1. CHAMP LINE – Thomas Gillespie’s six-year-old is a very consistent type and he beat Buhwarui Banseok and Saengil Gippeum on his way to 2nd at 2000M last time. Usually runs at further than this but he can certainly make the minor money.

 

  1. DONGBANG DAERO – Ran a huge 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes last December but has been a little indifferent in five starts since. Another who perhaps wants a little further to be at his most effective, but he could make a value bet for the places.

 

  1. I’M YOUR FATHER – Last year’s winner returned from seven months out to land a narrow win over King Of Ace over a mile at the beginning of June, finishing very strongly. Fergus Sweeney keeps the mount today and he has a chance of an upset.

 

  1. BUHWARUI BANSEOK – Ran 2nd to Triple Nine at 2000M in March and beat Dongbang Daero and Champ Line at the same distance in April. Champ Line returned the favour last time, but this is a very solid, consistent horse. Another who probably prefers further.

 

  1. CHEONJI STORM – Won the Seoul Owners’ Cup over 1200M in March before crushing a class 1 field by ten-lengths in the capital at the end of April. Lots of talent he is a front-runner who is likely to take on Cheongdam Dokki early. That’s risky but anything could happen.

 

  1. WINNER RED – Only two starts in 2018 so far and was a long way behind Cheongdam Dokki in the YTN Cup last time out. An outsider today.

 

  1. CHEONJEOK – Last home in the YTN Cup at the end of May continuing a run of indifferent form. Little to no chance here.

 

  1. WORLD NUMBER ONE – A stablemate of Iron Train, he was a class 2 winner at this distance in March but has been a touch disappointing in two efforts since. Likely to go right to the back from the gate and may improve late but is an outsider.

 

  1. KING OF ACE – Has suffered from a number of injury setbacks and is two starts into his latest comeback. He ran very well for 2nd to I’m Your Father in a tight finish on June 3rd and makes for an interesting outsider here.

 

  1. TRIPLE NINE – The gold standard in Korean racing. He beat four of these when winning his only start of 2018 to date in March, giving them plenty of weight too. He offered few clues when trialling up half-heartedly last weekend. Superior to all of these except Cheongdam Dokki and were he to win, it would be arguably his greatest achievement yet. He won’t challenge the Seoul horse for the lead but at this distance, neither will he let them get too far away. He often takes some time to hit top gear and that may be his undoing at 1800M.

 

  1. SAENGIL GIPPEUM – Has been beaten by plenty of these in recent starts at varying distances. Plenty of talent and has Busan’s champion jockey on board but will be an outsider here.

 

  1. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – His three outings this year have simply confirmed what we already knew – he is now better than Clean Up Joy. Here he has a chance to stamp his authority on all of Korean racing by beating Triple Nine at his home track. He is stepping back in trip for the first time since last September but even that should be in his favour. The widest gate is perhaps not ideal, but he has the speed to get to the front anyway and it would be a surprise were he not to hold off all-comers – including Triple Nine.

 

VERDICT: (13) CHEONGDAM DOKKI should take a big step towards asserting his hegemony by defeating (11) TRIPLE NINE. He’ll be on pace early and while there is a risk of an early speed battle with (6) CHEONJI STORM, he should have too much to able to cope with this and to see off everything else over 1800M. Cheonji Storm can go well as well as can last year’s winner (4) I’M YOUR FATHER. (2) CHAMP LINE and (10) KING OF ACE make for some potential value.

 

Selections (13) Cheongdam Dokki (11) Triple Nine (4) I’m Your Father (6) Cheonji Storm
Next Best 2, 10, 3
Fast Start 6, 13

Race 6: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Small field to finish with and there are two up and comers here. After a few near misses, (1) UNSEOK has now won three in a row by handy margins and while he’s up in class and slightly in distance today, has every chance of making it four.  (3) GEUMSURYEONG has the best chance of beating him. He’s won three from five and was runner-up in the other two and there could well be more to come. He will lead early and Unseok will have to (more…)

I’m Your Father Wins Busan Mayor’s Cup For New Zealand Trainer David Miller

I’m Your Father pulled off a remarkable win in the Busan Mayor’s Cup on Sunday afternoon, defeating Dubai hero Triple Nine by half a length to give New Zealand trainer David Miller a huge victory in Busan’s biggest race.

Im Your Father Triple Nine

I’m Your Father bests Triple Nine in the Mayor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Grand Prix winner Clean Up Joy was sent off as favourite but despite overcoming gate 2 to get a good start, it was not to be his day. Returning with a swollen hind leg, he looked to have been feeling it for much of the race and had little to offer in the home straight, coming home in 9th place.

The early pace was set by last year’s winner Beolmaui Kkum with Success Story going along for the ride too. At one point beginning the long turn for home, the pair had put almost seven lengths into the field but with Beolmaui Kkum not at the level he once was, it was never likely to last. I’m Your Father and Triple Nine meanwhile sat patiently at the head of the chasing pack waiting for the leaders to come back to them.

They came back at the top of the straight. By this time it was clear that Clean Up Joy was labouring and wouldn’t be taking part in the business end of the race. Success Story lingered longer than Beolmaui Kkum but under Lee Hee Cheon, I’m Your Father struck the front just over a furlong out. Only Triple Nine, under the urging of Jo In Kwen, could go with him but he couldn’t quite get there. I’m Your Father maintained his pace to the line and jockey Lee had time to celebrate as they broke the wire with a half length in hand.

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Lee Hee Cheon returns to scale on I’m Your Father (Pic: KRA)

Saengil Gippeum, Jiljuui Sin and Ms. Margaux all closed deeply to finish 3rd to 5th while Diferent Dimension, like Triple Nine in his first start since returning from Dubai, put in a very creditable 6th. Clean Up Joy aside, Champ Line was perhaps the disappointment of the race. The 5-year-old entered having won his last five but had an off day. Mupae who was also relatively well-backed, reportedly took a knock coming out of the gate and struggled throughout.

For jockey Lee Hee Cheon, it was a 2nd group win following his victory on Never Seen Before in the 2014 Minister’s Cup. Lee doesn’t get a huge amount of opportunities at the elite level but he rarely disappoints when he does – he also rode Macheon Bolt to 2nd place in the Korea Sprint last year.

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Trainer David Miller joins the Mayor of Busan and connections in the winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

As for David Miller, it is a stunning success. He began training at Busan last autumn and has steadily built up his stable but is yet to acquire the kind of firepower needed to achieve sustained success. Nevertheless, his place and show rates are good (12.2% and 20.4% respectively) and his horses have consistently been finishing better than their odds have suggested. His success with I’m Your Father will perhaps put potential owners on alert.

Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 8, 2017

1. I’m Your Father (USA) [Tiznow – Clear Thinking (Awesome Again)] – Lee Hee Cheon – 7.4, 2.5
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Jo In Kwen – 1.7
3. Saengil Gippeum (USA) [Parading – Minnie’s Niece (Quiet American)] – Lee Sung Jae – 9.9
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 6 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Jiluui Sin (USA) 5. Ms. Margaux (USA) 6. Diferent Dimension (USA) 7. Success Story (KOR) 8. Dongbang Daero (USA) 9. Clean Up Joy (USA) 10. Champ Line (KOR) 11. Buhwarui Banseok (USA) 12. Doraonpogyeongseon (USA) 13. Mupae (USA) 14. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) NR: King Of Ace

Next week the big race action moves to Seoul and the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup. Korean Derby winner Final Boss is expected to face the surprise Oaks winner Jejui Haneul over 2000M. 

Busan Mayor’s Cup 2017: Triple Nine & Clean Up Joy (And More!) – Full Preview (July 9)

Last December Clean Up Joy bested Triple Nine to win Korea’s most prestigious race, the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul. Since then Clean Up Joy has harvested listed races against inferior opposition in the Capital while Triple Nine was taken to the Dubai World Cup where despite the Godolphin Mile being a race too far, he managed to acquit himself admirably. There are 6 races at Busan from 13:25 to 17:40 and 11 at Seoul from 11:45 to 19:00

Clean Up Joy YTN Shamrocker

Clean Up Joys wins this year have been dismissively easy. It’s going to be much harder on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Their paths now collide in what is often called the “Summer Grand Prix” over 1800M at Busan. All eyes will be on the start. A notoriously troubled starter, at Seoul Clean Up Joy (Purge) has special dispensation to begin in the widest gate and not having a horse on his outside has settled him down enormously in his most recent appearances. At Busan he is afforded no such special treatment and indeed in last year’s race, he blundered coming out of gate 5 and could only rally late for an eventual 4th. This time he is in gate 2 but most seem to think that under Djordje Perovic, Clean Up Joy can overcome.

As for Triple Nine (Ecton Park), the two time President’s Cup winner has had a rest since arriving back in Korea in April and cantered through a trial last week looking in shape and ready to go. It’s not necessarily a two horse race though. The Thomas Gillespie trained Champ Line (Curlin) enters on a five-race winning streak and only looks to be getting better. He has a great draw and could well be a factor.

Then there are the up and comers. Kiwi trainer David Miller saddles the highly thought-of I’m Your Father (Tiznow) in his first Group race and the colt is not without a chance. Not is Triple Nine’s stablemate Mupae (Paddy O’Prado), who has won five of six starts to date.

It’s set to be the hottest race of the year so far and should offer plenty of clues ahead of the 1 Billion Won international Korea Cup, which will be run over the same distance in Seoul in September. Race cards are here and form comments for the whole card at Busan are below:

Selections: Race 1: 8 2 4 3 Race 2: 11 7 6 1 Race 3: 1 6 4 5 Race 4: 5 2 6 7 Race 5: 2 10 7 1 Race 6: 9 11 2 7
Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. NORTHERN VICAR – Maiden win at the 7th time of asking in April but only beat one home on first try at this class three weeks ago.
2. SWAG – Landed maiden win on Good Friday and was 2nd last start over 1000M. Hasn’t gone well at further than the minimum in the past but in the frame here.
3. MUNHWA DAERO – Up in class following maiden win over 1300M last time. That win had been coming and there’s not too much to fear here. Repeat not impossible.
4. WIDAEHANGWANGGYONG – Yet to win but has come close on several occasion including latest two. Steps back in trip from a mile today and should come close again.
5. CHEONJIGAEBYEOK – Struggled in three efforts since maiden win saw him promoted to this level.
6. RED SIREN – 4th at class and distance last start and should be looking to at least match that today.
7. SEONGGONG PLAN – Not beaten many in four attempts at this level.
8. YEOKJEONUI GIHOE – A winner on his second start on June 9th, beating two who have since gone on to perform well. Up in class and distance today but a real chance.

(more…)

Beolmaui Kkum Wins Big At Last

He is one of the most naturally gifted horses to have ever run in Korea and on Sunday afternoon in the rain at Busan, Beolmaui Kkum finally came right on the big stage, defeating a host of other top names in Korean racing to win the Busan Mayor’s Cup.

He didn’t just win it, Beolmaui Kkum romped it, taking advantage of the soaking wet conditions and a favourable draw to get the early lead and dominate the race, stretching away from the field to win by a full five lengths on the line.

Pre-race favourite Triple Nine was 2nd ahead of Success Story who had to settle for yet another 3rd place finish. Clean Up Joy was Seoul’s best finisher in 4th with the Peter Wolsley pair of Macheon Bolt and Bold Kings defying poor draws and the unsuitable distance to come home in 5th and 6th respectively. Last year’s winner and this year’s 3rd favourite Gamdonguibada had a disappointing race and ended up 12th of the 16.

It was Beolmaui Kkum’s 16th win in 27 outings but his first Group race triumph. Arguably over-trained and over-raced in the early part of his career, he was sent off as favourite in the 2013 Grand Prix at Seoul but faded badly, something that would be repeated in subsequent big races. Six months off after last year’s running of this race though seems to have extremely beneficial. Since returning, Beolmaui Kkim had won 2 out of three races with his only defeat coming at 1200M in the first leg of the Sprint Series.

He therefore came in fresh and with the track condition favouring front runners and the distance not leaving the likes of Triple Nine any margin for error, punters ended up kicking themselves for allowing Beomaui Kkum to start at odds approaching 20/1.

For jockey Kim Yong Geun it was another big race win in what is shaping up to be a great year with the prospect of Power Blade completing the Triple Crown later this month. For owner Lee Jong Hun it was profitable two minutes as well – he also owns Success Story.

Beolmaui Kkum [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Girl (Wild Event)] is a 6-year-old horse. He was a $20,000 purchase from the Fasig Tipton Kentucky yearling sales in 2011. The winning time was a new track record. Could Beolmaui Kkum go up to Seoul and repeat the trick at the same distance in the Korea Cup in September?

Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 3, 2016

1. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) [Put It Back – Wild DIxie Gal (Wild Event)] – Kim Yong Geun – 19.9, 5.1
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.3
3. Successs Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] – Paolo Aragoni – 3.4
Distances: 5 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Clean Up Joy (USA) 5. Macheon Bolt (KOR) 6. Bold Kings (USA) 7. Dymanic Dash (USA) 8. Winning Andy (USA) 9. Space Port (USA) 10. Heba (USA) 11. Gumpo Sky (KOR) 12. Gamdonguibada (USA) 13. Rush Forth (USA) 14. Damyang Chukje (USA) 15. Dongbanjaui Gijeok (USA) 16. Clean Up Cheonha (USA)

Busan Mayor’s Cup: Runner-By-Runner Preview

The Busan Mayor’s Cup is one of the highlights of the Korean racing season and this year’s event, which will be run at Busan Racecourse over nine furlongs on Sunday, has attracted a strong field.

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Bold Kings beat Gumpo Sky and Clean Up Joy in the Grand Prix last December. The top five that day square off again on Sunday

Sometimes known as the “Summer Grand Prix” all top five place-getters from last December’s actual Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul will be in attendance as will Korea’s best known racehorse, Success Story. Seven of the full field of sixteen have traveled down from Seoul for what looks an intensely competitive race.

Here’s a runner-by-runner preview. All will carry 58kg except for the two mares, last year’s winner Gamdonguibada and Heba who will carry 56kg. (Name [Pedigree] Age Sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey)

Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M (Weight for Age) – Sunday July 3, 2016 (16:30)

1. Clean Up Cheonha (USA) [El Corredor – Loh Callado (More Than Ready)] 5 H (18/8/6/2) ST Shim – Lee Chan Ho
5th in the Grand Prix and hasn’t raced since winning at 2000M in January. Came through a trial well last month and he will be handy early but he will be the lesser fancied of the two Clean Ups.

2. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 7 M (35/15/5/8) YK Kim – Choi Si Dae
Winner of this race last year at a mile, she also won the first leg of the Sprint Series in May before being beaten in the 2nd leg at Seoul last month. As good as ever at 7, she’ll likely settle just behind the early speed  and she has a chance here.

3. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] 6 M (41/9/7/3) SJ Kwon – Song Keong Yun
Last year’s champion Mare is yet to win in 2016 and has been beaten by Triple Nine on three occasions already. As we say every time she runs, she would perhaps benefit from a spell but always puts in a solid performance and can find the minor money.

4. Damyang Chukje (USA) [Good Reward – Strategy (A.P Indy)] 7 H (33/6/3/4) HJ Bae – Jo Jae Ro
Has lost to a lot of these in recent starts and looks to be overmatched once more here. Generally slow away he will most likely have too much to do.

5. Clean Up Joy (USA) 5 G [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeax Danseur)] (17/9/5/1) ST Shim – Ham Wan Sik
Seoul’s best horse, he is three for three since finishing 3rd in the Grand Prix nehind Bold Kings and Gumpo Sky last December. He usually settles towards the rear of the field and has a strong finish. He can win this.

6. Dongbanjaui Gijeok (USA) [Half Ours – Feisty Cherokee (Cherokee Run)] 6 H (36/5/6/3) BC Lim – Kim Cheol Ho
Big outsider who finds it tough at class 1 at Seoul so will certainly find it tough here.

7. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) 6 H [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] (26/15/3/2) KY Baik – Kim Yong Geun
Extremely talented but has never quite lived up to it in the big races. Only Clean Up Joy is rated higher.It’s been a long time since he took on this distance, he is a front-runner and he must be considered.

8. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke(Pleasant Tap)] 15/9/5/0) YK Kim – You Hyun Myung
The President’s Cup winner at Seoul last year, he was 4th in the Grand Prix Stakes before avenging Bold Kings back at Busan in March. Surprisingly beaten last time at this distance at the end of May, he is a cut above most of these though. He should settle just behind the early speed and if he runs to his best, he won’t be beaten.

9. Space Port (USA) 6 H [Pleasant Tap – Space City (Carson City)] (43/4/10/3) CK Woo – Yoon Tae Hyuk
A perennial runner-up, he beat Winning Andy last time as the pair raced 2nd and 3rd over 2000M in a Seoul Stakes race. This is much harder though and he will be an outsider.

10. Success Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)} 5 H (19/10/2/3) JK Min – Paolo Aragoni
Two 3rd places at the Dubai World Cup Carnival gained him international recognition but he struggled on his return to Korea behind Gamdonguibada in May. Got a bad start that day, he needs to be on pace early and then save energy. If he can do that, he must be considered.

11. Winning Andy (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Belvedere Miss (Pleasant Colony)] 5 H (31/4/7/6) IS Seo – Jo Sung Gon
Busan’s 2015 champion jockey makes a rare return to the south-coast but it’s unlikely to be a winning one. Solid competitor who can give a decent account of himself but looks overmatched here. Goes right back at the start.

12. Rush Forth (USA) [Rush Bay – Fourth Quest (Norquest)] 6 G (30/5/4/6) DY Hong – Kim Ok Sung
Returned to some semblance of form with a 3rd place over 1200M at the end of May but little to suggest he can be competitive here.

13. Dynamic Dash (USA) [Pleasantly Perfect – See Rock City (Tapit)] 4 C (18/9/5/1) BH Kim – Lee Hee Cheon
He comes in off the back of two superb wins over 1800M beating first Gamdonguibada and then Bold Kings. He was able to come from just off the early pace and lead rounding the home turn both times which won’t be so easy in this crowded field but he’s on the up and is to be respected.

14. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] 5 H (30/10/8/4) SJ Kwon – Lim Sung Sil
He was 2nd to Bold Kings in the Grand Prix but was indifferent in his first three outings this year, losing to six of these in the process. He returned to winning ways last month, beating a small field at this distance. He will be on the early speed as usual.

15. Macheon Bolt (KOR) [Old Fashioned – Beech Bag (Devil’s Bag)] 4 G (12/8/7/1) PM Wolsley – Chae Sang Hyun
This stablemate of Bold Kings has eight wins from twelve including two at class 1. He goes around two turns for the first time, has plenty of potential and could challenge.

16. Bold Kings (USA) [Afleet Express – Bold Arrival (Gilded Time)] 4 C (9/7/1/0) PM Wolsley – Ikuyasu Kurakane
Winner of the Grand Prix Stakes last December after which he was seven for seven. He hasn’t managed to follow up so far this year beaing beaten twice, first by Triple Nine and then by Dynamic DashThe outisde gate didn’t help him last time and probably won’t here eitherbut he looked sharp in a trial last week and can’t be ruled out

Coming Up In July: Evening Racing / Busan Mayor’s Cup / Triple Crown Finale / KRA Trophy At Kranji

Evening racing begins this weekend and will run throughout July and August on Fridays and Saturdays. A busy July also sees the Busan Mayor’s Cup – the biggest race of summer – as well as Power Blade potentially looking to complete the Triple Crown in the Minister’s Cup and three Korean horses heading to Singapore for the KRA Trophy at Kranji.

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Evening racing begins this weekend

The first “evening” meeting will be at Busan this Friday. On Fridays, the first race at Busan will be at 2.30pm and the last at 9pm. Saturdays at Seoul will get underway at 2pm with the final race at 9pm. Sundays this year will remain at their usual time with the first race at Seoul at 10:50am and the last at 6pm. While the initial evening season runs until the end of August it may well be extended this year into September and October.

On the track, the month starts with the big one, the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup, generally billed as the “Summer Grand Prix”. This year’s edition is at Busan this coming Sunday, July 3rd and a high quality field look set to take part including some strong candidates from Seoul. We will have the full line-up here this afternoon and a full preview of the race on Saturday. Last year’s winner Gamdonguibada, Triple Nine, Bold Kings, Clean Up Joy, Clean Up Cheonha and Success Story are all currently entered.

On Sunday 17th, attention will turn to Seoul and the final leg of the Triple Crown in the shape of the Minister’s Cup. Power Blade was the facile winner of the KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby and should he make the starting gate, he will be strong favourite to become the first horse to sweep all three legs of the Crown in its current form. Stablemate and Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi is also among ten entrants at this stage.

The final Group race of the month will be the KNN Cup at Busan on July 24th. It’s the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour which decides the champion filly or mare of the year. The first leg, the Ttukseom Cup, was won by Bichui Jeongsang at Seoul at the beginning of June.

In other news, the KRA Trophy will be run at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore on July 24th and for the second year running, Korea-trained horses will be taking part in the 1200M sprint. The three horses looking likely to travel are Parang Juuibo (With Distinction) and Always Winner (Creek Cat) from Seoul and Triple Five (Girolamo) from Busan. The optimistically named Always Winner won the JRA Trophy at Seoul earlier in June while the Bart Rice trained Triple Five is an up and comer who has won three of six outings to date. Baksuchyeo and Jingyeogui Geojang are others entered.

The KRA Trophy is part of the “Korea Festival” that takes place at Kranji that weekend.