Busan Metropolitan

Busan Mayor’s Sunday – Dolkong, Cheongdam Dokki, Moonhak Chief, New Legend: Race-By-Race Preview (June 30)

Dolkong is back and Korea’s Dubai World Cup Carnival is straight back in the deep-end as he faces a host of the nation’s top horses in the Busan Mayor’s Cup on Sunday afternoon. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 while in Seoul there are 11 from 10:45 to 18:00.

dolkong kra

Dolkong (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Dolkong will have thirteen for company in the race which is often described as the “Summer Grand Prix”. They include last year’s winner Cheongdam Dokki, who comes in having raced surprisingly flat in the YTN Cup last month. That race was won by Moonhak Chief, the up and coming four-year-old, in a dominant performance that may well earn him favourite status here. Also going is New Legend and the ever-reliable Shamrocker.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

A field of twelve line up over the short course in the first including five debutants with trial form to dissect. (12) NONGBUI SUCHEAHWA handed in one of the better trial performances over the 1000m. The filly bounced out of barrier eight and sat three wide before going down a head. She ran 1.02.2 when ridden hands and heels in sloppy conditions. (8) KOOKA CAT is having her third start and drops back to the 1000m after failing to run a strong six furlongs. His debut run over the 1000m was reasonable and this looks a weaker assignment. (5) DASI DUSON finished second in her qualifying trial. She ran a slow time albeit on a dry track when going down a nose. She had more up her sleeve and can provide a forward showing. (7) GOLD HERO looks the best of the rest in an inexperienced field.

Selections (12) Nongbui Sucheahwa (8) Kooka Cat (5) Dasi Duson (7) Gold Hero
Next Best 10, 6
Fast Start 3, 5, 8, 10, 11

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

Not too often we find a Class 5 event as competitive as this event where a case can be made for more than half of the field. (9) RUNNING BOX ran the arms off the clock at her second start when running 59.2 for the 1000m. She is having just her third start and the speedy type finished second over the 1300m at her first start suggesting the 1200m should be ideal. (5) BIG PRO is another that possesses early speed. He looks well weighted in this and from gate five expect the colt to work forward. (4) GENERAL ROSE is yet to finish worse than fourth from four career starts. The consistent type will settle in the leading division and is an each-way chance. (10) SIMON QUEEN broke through at odds last time out when sitting on speed for Moon Se-Young. Kim Hyo-Jung takes over today as the filly has her first run in Class 5 company.

Selections (9) Running Box (5) Big Pro (4) General Rose (10) Simon Queen
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 4, 5, 6, 9, 10

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

Plenty of chances line up in the thirds where a field of twelve will go over the 1300m. (4) JANGGUNUI SIDAE ran on strongly last time out when coming from the tail over 1300m. The in-form Lim Gi-Won will have his first ride on the filly who may be able to settle closer with a better draw today. (5) KING OF EAGLE went over the 1700m last time out when feeling the pinch after trying to lead throughout. The three-year-old ran some fair performances over 1300m prior to last start and can figure in this event. (6) NAE GIRUI BIT has placed at his past two runs over the 1300m. The chestnut has to carry 56kg but his consistency should get him a long way in this type of race. (1) GEUMSUNI STAR is another that’ drops back from the 1700m after failing to run on. The Menifee colt placed behind Set The Pace two starts back over the 1300m.

Selections (4) Janggunui Sidae (5) King Of Eagle (6) Nae Girui Bit (10) Geumsuni Star
Next Best 8, 12
Fast Start 5, 6, 10, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Another field of twelve Class 6 gallopers will go over the 1300m in the fourth on the card. Once again it appears a rather open event with (3) FAMILY PARK looking one of the main chances. The filly is having just her third start coming off a much improved third behind Hwanggeum Doyaji last time out. Alan Munro is back in action this week and will ride her again after he piloted her last start. (2) TO THE VICTORY has placed on two occasions from seven career starts. The Raconteur filly sat third in the run last time out when having to come across from a wide draw. She has finished in the top four her past two starts and with the right run can figure. (4) YAHO M J CAT ran on fairly last time out to pick up a cheque. The Chapel Royal filly may appreciate stepping back up to the 1300m with more maturity on her side. (1) MANSEOK JIGI looks the best of the rest in a race where there could be some large place dividends.

Selections (3) Family Park (2) To The Victory (4) Yaho M J Cat (1) Manseok Jigi
Next Best 11, 12
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A compact field of eight line up in the fifth where they will go over two turns. Last start runner-up (6) SUPER DOKKI looks hard to beat after showing a brilliant turn of foot in similar company last time out. The Animal Kingdom gelding finished behind Uri who looks a nice type going forward. (1) DAEGUN ILGAL resumes from a spell and has placed on three occasions from five career starts. The US import has had a trial coming into this preparation suggesting he will be fit enough. The barrier is a slight concern as he has minimal early speed suggesting he could get shuffled back on the fence. (4) MIGHTY WING ran a better race last time out for the Italian jockey Manuel Porcu. The colt sat on speed before going down a narrow margin behind Fast Fashion. (8) UP LIGHT ran on strongly last time out when the race was all over. Expect him to drop out early once again.

Selections (6) Super Dokki (1) Daegun Ilgal (4) Mighty Wing (8) Up Light
Next Best 5, 7
Fast Start 4

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(5) MAGIC FLYING has raced creditably in four goes at this class since getting his maiden win in February, including to 3rd place to Rock Choice, who won the Minister’s Cup two weeks ago and looks to have a real chance here. (7) GRAND YEONGUNG and (10) EL DRAGON are both up in class having registered maiden wins on their respective latest outings. Both should be competitive at this class with Grand Yeongung perhaps having scope for more rapid improvement at this stage but he is untried at the distance. (3) BUSAN BOLT and (9) EOMJI CHEOK are others with placing chances.

Selections (7) Grand Yeongung (5) Magic Flying (10) El Dragon (9) Eomji Cheok
Next Best 3, 2
Fast Start 6, 7, 8

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A lack of speed is engaged in the fifth and the beneficiary appears to be (9) STRONG VULTURE. Alan Munro will have his first ride on the three-year-old who comes off a (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.


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.


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.

Gamdonguibada Glory At Busan

There was talk she was to be retired after winning the Queens’ Tour last year. Some retirement. Gamdonguibda, a six-year-old mare, romped home ahead of a whole host of big names and reputations to take the glory in the Busan City Mayor’s Cup this afternoon.

Beolmaui Kkum was out of the gate the quickest – no surprises there – and was quickly joined up front by Oreuse and Cowboy Son. However, today would not be a day for the front-runners. Gamdonguibada, under jockey Lim Sung Sil was away well and settled just behind the leaders.

She improved into 5th entering the home straight and as the early leaders fell away, took advantage and sprinted away to win by four lengths on the line. Spring Gnarly, closed from the back to take 2nd while outsider Heba put in a tremendous performace to grab 3rd. Cowboy Son clung on for 4th while pre-race favourite Gyeongbudaero got the final prize money in 5th.

Gamdonguibada was a $31,000 purchase from Ocala in 2011. Today marked her 14th career victory and took her to over US$2Million in prize money at the current exchange rate. She’s won the Grand Prix Stakes and Ttukseom Cup at Seoul as well as the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (twice) and the KNN Cup at her home track of Busan.

Gamdonguibada’s next engagement is scheduled to be at Kranji in Singapore on July 26. Should she go, she will be up against it, dropping down to 1200M and facing a quality of horse she hasn’t before. Tonight though, in terms of prizes and longevity, she is quite simply the most successful filly or mare to have ever run in Korea.

Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 5, 2015

1. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] – Lim Sung Sil – 6.7, 2.3
2. Spring Gnarly (USA) [Master Command – Spring Tide (Unbridled’s Song)] – Kim Yong Geun – 3.7
3. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] – Song Keong Yun – 3.7

Distances: 4 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Cowboy Son (USA) 5. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) 6. Gumpo Sky (KOR) 7. Oreuse (USA) 8. Cinderella Man (USA) 9. Eongmandori (USA) 10. Gumpo Daeseung (AUS) 11. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) 12. Chogwang (AUS) 13. Baksuchyeo (USA) 14. Magic Light (KOR) 15. Hwanggeumjijon (USA)

As for the others, Spring Gnarly made it a one-two for trainer Kim Young Kwan while Gyeongbudaero was late arriving on the scene and is now three races without a win as is Beolmaui Kkum. Oreuse showed at the front early and will surely win plenty of races at shorter distances with the Asia Challenge Cup at Seoul in August the logical target. Cinderella Man was disappointing but will surely be back better.

On the subject of the Asia Challenge Cup, next week we have two trials for it; the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul and the Gukje Sinmun at Busan which is likely to feature Success Story and, making her first start since relocating to Busan, Fly Top Queen. Twilight racing also begins next weekend with the first race at Seoul being 13:00.

Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup: Full Preview

It’s the summer Grand Prix! Fifteen horses will line up at Busan on Sunday afternoon for one of the highlights of summer, the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup.

Tough Win was a two-time winner of the Busan Metropolitan. We'll get a new winner today (KRA)

Tough Win was a two-time winner of the Busan Metropolitan. We’ll get a new winner today (KRA)

Only two have made their way down from Seoul – credit to their connections for having the courage to make the journey – but the home team more than makes up for it with a veritable who’s who of the track’s older horses turning out for the race.

Here’s a full rundown of the field (Name) [Pedigree] Age Sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey):

Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 5, 2015 (16:30)

1. Magic Light (KOR) [Exploit – Savannah Miss (Broad Brush)] 7 H (33/5/5/5) Woo Chang Ku – Youn Tae Hyuk
Well done to connections for actually sending him and saving Seoul from absolute disgrace but he unfortunately has no chance here. He was last in the winner’s circle in October 2012 and hasn’t run at all since January.

2. Cinderella Man (KOR) [Southern Image – Tiza Fast Kat (Tiznow)] 4 G (13/9/3/0) Bart Rice – Jo Sung Gon
A huge chance. After five straight wins he was 2nd to Gumpo Sky but beat Gyeongbudaero and Spring Gnarly over 1800M on May 31. At just 4, he is one of the up and coming stars of Korean racing and he surely has a big race win in him. It could be today.

3. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] 4 C (21/8/7/3) Sung-J Kwon – Kim Dong Young
The winner of that race against Cinderella Man, Gyeongbudaero and Spring Gnarly, he is to be respected. He led from gate to wire that day and back at a mile today will probably try to get to the front early again. He has a chance.

4. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] 6 H (31/12/7/8) Oh Moon Sik – Choi Si Dae
The President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner. He is probably one of the finest racehorses ever produced in Korea and while he hasn’t won his past two races, he has been giving weight. He will be close to the pace and he has a chance of winning yet another big race here.

5. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallacheivement (Smart Strike)] 4 C (17/10/1/2) Lee Sang Young – Jo Chang Wook
He was a very creditable 3rd in this race last year when it was run at 2000M. That becomes even more creditable when you consider that if today’s race was shorter, then he would be very hard to beat. Cowboy Son is a sprinter and against this caliber of opposition, a mile may just be too far.

6. Oreuse (USA) [Smoke Glacken – Heavenly Splendor (Point Given)] 6 H (27/12/4/3) Youn Joo Hyuk – Masakazu Tanaka
A real chance. On his only start so far this year, Oreuse was second to Cowboy Son over six furlongs. Similar to Cowboy Son he is most at home as a sprinter but has won over 1800M too. Likely to be close to the front early on,this is another horse who has a big win in him.

7. Hwanggeumjijon (USA) [Medallist Milady Sadie (Meadow Monster)] 6 G (31/3/2/3) Seo Jung Ha – Lee Dong Kug
The second of Seoul’s contenders isn’t any more likely than the first although his last win was slightly more recent. Not in anything resembling form and unlikely to be competitive here.

8. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] 5 H (22/13/3/2) Baik Kwang Yeol – Nobuyuki Oyama
He always must be considered and he is another who will surely appreciate not giving his opponents as much weight as usual. The highest rated horse in Korea, he likes to lead from the front but it has been very difficult to do that and stay on in recent big races (Jangpung Parang in the Oaks an exception). Japanese rider Nobuyuki Oyama gets a great opportunity in the saddle.

9. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 6 M (28/13/4/6) Kim Young Kwan – Lim Sung Sil
A multiple Stakes winner, she comes in here following her first victory of 2015, beating Heba by two lengths. She drops back to a mile for the first time since winning the KNN Cup last year and will try to come from just off the pace. A chance.

10. Chogwang (AUS)[Lion Heart – Colonial Dancer (Pleasant Colony)] 6 H (33/4/6/5) Min Jang Gi – Park Geum Man
A very consistent money-winner, he comes in following a victory over Eongmandori in a quick race over this distance although he has been beaten by many of the others who go here in recent starts. He won’t be among the favourites but could provide some value for a place.

11. Eongmandori (USA) [Purim – Allbow (Rainbow Blues)] 6 H (30/4/7/4) Koo Young Jun – Nozomu Tomizawa
Beaten by Chogwang last time out, he hasn’t actually won since April 2013 and never at class 1. He won’t win this either and despite being consistently in the money – he beat Gumpo Sky over 2000M in April – will find it tough today.

12. Gumpo Daeseung (AUS) [Shaft – Vicwood Fashion (Bahhare)] 4 C (11/5/2/0) Lee Sang Young – Yang Young Nam
Still a class 2 horse, he takes his chance here but this is a big step up to what he is used to. Plenty of potential to become a class 1 winner at some point surely not today.

13. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperance Hill)] 5 M (31/7/5/1) Sung J. Kwon – Song Keong Yun
Last seen inadvertently smoothing the way for Esmeraldina in the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul, Heba is a consistently reliable race mare who is perhaps one notch below the top level. She has been beaten by most of her rivals here in recent starts and any kind of money finish today would be an achievement.

14. Baksuchyeo (USA) [Bob And John – Say Amen (Pulpit)] 4 G (9/6/1/2) Peter Wolsley – Chae Sang Hyun
Another one making a big step up, Baksuchyeo raced for the first time this year three weeks ago, scoring his first class 1 win in the process. It was over 1400M and took him to 6 wins from 9 career starts but he will be a big outsider today.

15. Spring Gnarly (USA) [Master Command – Spring Tide (Unbridled’s Song)] 5 G (13/8/0/1) Kim Young Kwan – Kim Yong Geun
It’s risky to refer to any horse as being Kim Young Kwan’s second string as they usually have as much chance as the supposed first. However, he was beaten by Gumpo Sky, Cinderella Man and Gyeongbudaero last time out. The only real closer in the field, he has good late speed and can be a danger here.

Nobody Catches 50/1 Outsider in Busan Metropolitan

Nobody Catch Me, a 50/1 shot, landed the Stakes race upset of the year to date with a comprehensive 4-length victory in the Busan Metropolitan City Stakes this afternoon.

Nobody Catch Me and Yang Young Nam win the Busan Metropolitan (Newsis)

Nobody Catch Me and Yang Young Nam win the Busan Metropolitan (Newsis)

In a race run on wet track after an earlier downpour, Gamdonguibada, the 2012 Grand Prix winner and victor of two big Stakes races already this year was sent off the odds-on favourite.

And she looked to be every inch value for that as she set off just behind the early pace-setter, the sprinter Cowboy Son. However, when they arrived in the home-straight, Gamdonguibada, just like when trying to defend her Grand Prix in Seoul last December, had nothing to give, turning her head towards the stands and seemingly going backwards.

That left the way free for Nobody Catch Me, Gamdonguibada’s stablemate in the formidable Kim Young Kwan operation, to make a move. Having been just behind the leaders all the way around, jockey Yang Young Nam was now able to take him to the lead. With a furlong to go, it was clear that indeed, nobody was going to catch him.

The one that came closest was Peter Wolsley’s Cheonji Bulpae. Dead-last as they entered the home straight, jockey Kim Yong Geun weaved his way between horses until he found a clear run and then flew home down the outside of the field. It was a fine run but trainer Wolsley was left to reflect on yet another case of what might have been, just three weeks after his My Winner was also 2nd in the Jeju Governor’s Cup.

Cowboy Son stayed on impressively for 3rd, silencing those who had him down as a pure sprinter who wouldn’t be able to last the distance. Heba came in 4th, with Dynamic Jilju picking up the final bit of prize money in 5th.

It was another miserable race for Seoul-based runners. Sangnyu led home the visitors from the capital in an inglorious 6th place, one ahead of Indian Blue whose formidable closing speed never materialised.

Nobody Catch Me was a $20,000 purchase at the OBS June sale in Ocala in 2012. Now a 4-year-old gelding, this was his 5th win in 16 starts to date. He’s now won nearly half a million dollars in prize money.

For jockey Yang Young Nam, it was a first Stakes win since 2005. For trainer Kim Young Kwan, it was yet another in a seemingly never-ending – or even broken – streak of big race winners. On the backstretch, nobody catches him.

Busan Metropolitan City Stakes (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – July 20, 2014

1. Nobody Catch Me (USA) [With Distinction – Nana’s Babe (Allen’s Prospect)] – Yang Young Nam – 57.2, 5.6
2. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) [Bernardini – Purrfection (Tale Of The Cat)] – Kim Yong Geun – 3.5
3. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallacheivement (Smart Strike)] – You Hyun Myung – 2.7

Distances: 4 lengths / 1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Heba (USA) 5. Dynamic Jilju (USA) 6. Sangnyu (USA) 7. Indian Blue (USA) 8. Cheongchun Bulpae (KOR) 9. Mari Daemul (USA) 10. Russian To Win (USA) 11. Chogwang (AUS) 12. Gamdonguibada (USA) 13. Bichui Wangja (USA) 14. Hwanggeum Jijon (USA) 15. Star Bolt (USA)

Busan Metropolitan City Stakes: Full Preview

The “Summer Grand Prix” is upon us. 15 horses will go to post at Busan on Sunday for what is the fast becoming the most prestigious race of the summer months in Korea, the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup.

Who will follow Tough Win as the Busam Metrpolitan winner? (KRA)

Who will follow Tough Win as the Busam Metrpolitan winner? (KRA)

The Cup – known as the Busan Metropolitan for short – has been Open to horses from both Busan and Seoul since 2009 and has been won by such big name horses as Tough Win (twice), Yeonseung Daero and Dangdae Bulpae. There will be a new name in the winner’s circle this year, however.

Here’s full look at the runners and riders:

Busan Metropolitan City – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – Sunday July 20, 17:15

1. Indian Blue (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gambler’s Passion (Prospector’s Gamble)] 4 F (17/5/4/4) – Ikuyasu Kurakane (Seoul)
A really good filly, she was 4th in the Grand Prix in Seoul last December but was well beaten behind Gamdonguibada at Busan in the KNN Cup. The fastest closer in the field, if Gamdonguibada and the other front-runners go too quickly, too soon, she could have a chance.

2. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 4 M (19/11/3/3) – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
She’s won the first two legs of the Queens’ Tour in imperious style in her last two outings and neither facing the makes nor the step back up in distance will hold any fears here. The 2012 Grand Prix winner is a top quality filly. Lost to Heba at this distance in January when giving away 9kg – that shouldn’t happen here. Huge opportunity for Masa Tanaka replacing the injured Joe Fujii in the saddle.

3. Hwanggeumjijon (USA) [Medallist – Milady Sadie (Meadow Monster)] 5 G (22/2/2/3) – Kim Gui Bae (Seoul)
Nothing to recommend here. His two wins came on his first two starts two years ago. Has never actually made it to regular class 1 racing and he was 12th in this race last year. Connections clearly enjoy the day out at Busan.

4. Chogwang (AUS) [Lion Heart – Colonial Dancer (Pleasant Colony)] 5 H (23/3/5/3) – Kim Hyun Joong (Busan)
A really good-looking 8-length winner last time out at this distance against class 1 horses at odds of nearly 30/1. Unlikely to repeat here but expect him to be challenging for the lead early.

5. Russian To Win (USA) [Mayakovsky – Aristie (Loustrous Bid)] 4 C (14/3/0/1) – Yoon Tae Hyuk (Seoul)
Another from Seoul who’s here for the day out. Was a decent prospect at one time but never really recovered form after a 6-moth layoff last year. Has never graduated from class 2 although usually runs in class 1 company and generally doesn’t do very well. No chance.

6. Bichui Wangja (USA) [Roman Ruler – Quiet Delight (Grindstone)] 4 C (16/6/5/2) – Shin Hyoung Chul (Seoul)
Has two class 1 wins to his name this year and is by no means a bad horse. Likes to come from just off the pace and while he is quick, it’s questionable whether he’ll have enough speed to go past the front-runners here or hold off the likes of Indian Blue late on. Outside chance of a place.

7. Cheongchun Bulpae (KOR) [Milwaukee Brew – Placid Star (Placid Fund)] 5 G (23/12/2/2) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
The first of two for trainer Peter Wolsley. He comes into the race off the back of two consecutive wins at this distance against class 1 Korean bred horses. He’ll face tougher opposition here but is quick enough to compete. Likes to be towards to front early on and then stays on the straight.

8. Star Bolt (USA) [Fusaichi Pegasus – D’Oro Doll (Touch Gold)] 4 F (20/3/6/1) – Park Geum Man (Busan)
Third behind Gamdonguibada in the KNN Cup last time out and will probably be aiming for a similar finish here. Likely to be close to the pacesetters early on but it is questionable whether she will have enough speed to get past them in the home straight. A Place bet.

9. Dynamic Jilju (USA) [Forestry – Beat Your Feet (Dixieland Band)] 3 C (15/5/2/1) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
Hasn’t won in four class 1 starts but has finished in the money on each occasion, second place in the Gukje Sinmun being the highlight. Will expect to challenge for a similar position again. Another who sits just off the lead early on and another who may not be quite quick enough when it counts.

10. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) [Bernardini – Purrfection (Tale Of The Cat)] 5 H (21/10/0/3) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Peter Wolsley’s second entrant was 3rd in the Grand Prix last December and then won his first two starts of 2014 before showing up out of sorts in his most recent two. When he wins, it’s from a spot just behind the leaders, generally hitting the front early in the home straight. There will be plenty of competition for that position but on his day, Cheonji Bulpae can compete with this field.

11. Nobody Catch Me (USA) [With Distinction – Nana’s Babe (Allen’s Prospect)] 4 G (15/4/4/2) – Yang Young Nam (Busan)
Despite his name, trainer Kim Young Kwan’s second entry doesn’t usually lead from the front and then hope no-one catches him. Beaten 7-lengths last time out by resurgent stable-mate Magic Dancer, he still comes in here not without a chance. Tough to see him winning but should be challenging at the business end of the race.

12. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallacheivement (Smart Strike)] 3 C (10/8/1/1) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
The biggest earner to date worldwide for his sire, Cowboy Son is so far only proven up to 1500 metres. He undoubtedly has the fastest sprint in the race but whether he can do that after an extra two and a half furlongs is the big question here. Definitely has class, but will he stay? The dark-horse of the field.

13. Mari Daemul (USA) [Go For Gin – Token Beauty (Gold Token)] 5 H (26/9/4/3) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
The somewhat surprising winner of the KRA Cup Classic last autumn has been in reasonable form this year and comes into the race following a win over 1800 metres last month. Generally comes from off the pace and if he runs to his best, can compete.

14. Heba (USA) 4 F [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper (Temperence Hill)] (21/6/4/1) – Jeong Dong Cheol (Busan)
Scored a win over Gamdonguibada back in January although she had a huge weight advantage that day which she doesn’t have here. Has been in indifferent form since then and will need to step up significantly to compete. Another who will most likely try to come out of the pack as they enter the home straight.

15. Sangnyu (USA) [Borken Vow – Midtown Miss (Yes It’s True)] 5 M (23/5/3/3) – Jang Chuyoul (Seoul)
Was 9th on her last start which was at Busan in the KNN Cup. Hasn’t won for a year and while she has a quick finish, it is highly unlikely to be quick enough to trouble the favourites here.

Busan Metropolitan Stakes: Full Preview

A full-field of 16, including 2 previous winners, will line up for the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Stakes at Busan this Sunday.

Dangdae Bulpae and Jo Sung Gon will look for a 2nd consecutive Busan Metropolitan

Dangdae Bulpae and Jo Sung Gon will look for a 2nd consecutive Busan Metropolitan

The race is sometimes known as the “summer Grand Prix” bringing as it does, the best horses from both Seoul and Busan together in a way that only the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes usually does.

This year, though, Seoul disappoints. Granted, they may well have the winner in the shape of 2010 victor Tough Win but apart from him, all the leading contenders are from the host track. Last year’s champion Dangdae Bulpae returns after a 5 month lay-off while Grand Prix winner Gamdonguibada also takes her chance.

Australian trainer Peter Wolsley, closing in on 200 Korean wins saddles, 2 runners while Darryll Holland, Joe Fujii, Masakazu Tanaka and Yukio Abe al have rides. Here is a full run-down of the runners and riders (Name [Pedigree] Age, Sex, (Runs/1/2/3) – Jockey (Home track):

Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Stakes (KOR GIII) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – Sunday July 28 – 16:40

1. Call Me Tiger (NZ) [One Cool Cat – Hairini (Zabeel)] 6 H (27/4/2/2) – Lee Dong Kug (Seoul)
Hasn’t really made the grade at Class 1 and is without a win in 2 years. Won’t change here.

2. Viva Ace (USA) [Macho Uno – Dancing Lake (Meadowlake)] 5 G (25/11/7/2) – Song Keong Yun (Busan)
Very solid horse who was 2nd to Beolmaui Kkum and ahead of Gamdonguibada in the Gukje Sinmun Cup last start. Knows where the winning line is and could cause problems. Worth looking at if he seems neglected in the betting market.

3. Wild Myeongun (USA) [D’Wildcat – Start Applauding (Jump Start)] 4 C (15/7/4/2) – Lim Sung Sil (Busan)
Big taent who has only been out of the money once. A rather disappointing 4th last time out behind weaker rivals than he’ll face here and is without a win in three. Will have backers though.

4. Lion Santa (USA) [Lion Heart – Santa Fe Strip (Phone Trick)] 5 H (19/11/1/2) – Jo Chang Wook (Busan)
Was injured for 6 months after this race last year. He won his return and has hit the money on his 4 subsequent starts. It is hard to recommend him at 2000 metres though.

5. Prince Kingdom (USA) [Roar Of The Tiger – Special Wife (Husband)] 5 G (22/9/4/1) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
Was in cracking form at the tail-end of 2012 but has struggled to repeat this year. A place is not beyond him but a win seems unlikely.

6. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword] 6 G (28/21/2/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
The Boss. He won this race as a 3-year old in 2010 but disappointed in 2011 and 2012. Lost his Grand Prix title last December but has three easy wins behind him this year. He will top many people’s tickets.

7. Murangae (USA) [Sun River – Merrill Gold (Gold Fever)] 4 G (24/1/6/4) – Yukio Abe (Seoul)
You’d think 26 year veteran trainer Ji Yong Cheol would have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than take Murangae to Busan. His only win was only three starts ago but while he seems a late-developer who runs very consistently, he gets consistently beaten and that won’t change here.

8. Cheongchun Bulpae (KOR) [Milwaukee Brew – Placid Star (Placid Fund)] 4 G (14/8/1/1) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
One of 2 entries in the race by Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley. He has 2 wins from 3 starts to his name at class 1 (including one behind stablemate Ghost Whisper). He is second-string here but Wolsley doesn’t enter his horses where they can’t challenge for money.

9. Blueband Mama (USA) [Purge – Meadowbryte (Meadowlake)] 5 M (27/3/4/2) – Park Si Cheon (Seoul)
Foinavon in the Grand National, Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby. Those 2 would be nothing compared with Blueband Mama winning this race.

10 Wonderful Namhae (KOR) [Vicar – Make That Call (Glow)] 4 C (19/9/2/2) – Tanaka Masakazu (Busan)
A well-beaten 2nd behind Ghost Whisper last time but has plenty of talent. Probably 3 or 4 will be too quick for him here.

11. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] 6 H (29/19/2/2) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
A 3-time President’s Cup winner, holder of the record for most Stakes races won in Korea, arguably the best horse Korea has ever produced and the defending champion. The problem is that he hasn’t run since February due to injury and was touch and go to make it to the start line here. Comfortably won his race trial earlier this month. If he is in form though, at 2000 metres, he is very difficult to beat.

12. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 4 F (13/8/2/3) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
Champion racehorse of 2012 by virtue of winning the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul last December, she started this year a pair of routine victories before turning in an out of sorts 3rd behind Beolmaui Kkum last time out. You can’t be out of sorts in this kind of company and if she runs to her best, she has every chance.

13. Hwanggeumjijon (USA) [Medallist – Milady Sadie (Meadow Monster)] 4 G (12/2/1/3) – Kim Gui Bae (Seoul)
Forget Foinavon and Mine That Bird, we’re into Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson territory if Hwanggeumjijon wins this. His jockey, Kim Gui Bae, has been riding for 34 years. In that time he has ridden just 299 winners. This will not be number 300.

14. Eongmandori (USA) [Purim – Allbow (Rainbow Blues)] 4 C (18/4/4/2) – Kim Dong Young (Busan)
2nd behind Wild Myeongun on his class 1 debut last time out after 2 smart wins at class 2. Is an improving type but looks a little outclassed here.

15. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] 3 C – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
The wildcard. Full brother to Seoul-based Stakes winning filly Kkakjaengi, he beat three of his rivals here to win the Gukje Sinmun Cup last start with Gamdonguibada among those defeated. That was his frist try at class 1 and, while he’s never gone 2000 metres, there’s no reason to think he won’t get it. A potential star.

16. Ghost Whisper (KOR) [Gotham City – Emmy’s Lullaby] 5 G – Darryll Holland (Busan)
Collapsed with heat exhaustion after this race last year and was given the rest of the year off. In wonderful form at the moment though winning his last 3 outings. Must be given respect and if things go his way, under Darryll Holland, he has the ability to pull off what would be the biggest win of trainer Peter Wolsley’s career.

Dangdae Bulpae Stuns Smarty Moonhak, Tough Win in Busan Metropolitan

Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki), the two-time President’s Cup winner, stunned favourites Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) and Tough Win (Yonaguska), to win the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup on a hot and humid night under the floodlights at Busan Race Park this evening.

Smarty Moonhak ran second but Tough Win was a disappointing fourth.

Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup (K.G3) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – July 22, 2012

1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – Jo Sung Gon – 9.7, 1.7
2. Smarty Moonhak (USA) [Smarty Jones – Madeira M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
3. Jumong (USA) [Johar – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] – Ham Wan Sik – 5.1

Distances: 2 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Tough Win (USA) 5. Smoking Gun (USA) 6. Jeonseong Sidae (AUS) 7. Sangseung Geotap (USA) 8. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) 9. Lion Santa (USA) 10. Cheonjidolpung (USA) 11. Adam One (USA) PU. Ghost Whisper (KOR)

Punters sent off Smarty Moonhak as the 1/2 favourite with Tough Win second in the betting market at 3/1 against. Dangdae Bulpae was the next fancied at 9/1.

It was Dangdae Bulpae who was quickest out of the gate, jockey Jo Sung Gon harrying him over to the rail and into the lead heading into the first corner. Smarty Moonhak went with him. A year ago it was Tough Win who followed Dangdae Bulpae into the corner and the two began racing each other far too early and ended up taking themselves out of the race.

This time they settled into a much more sensible – bordering on the slow – pace as they entered the back straight. It was then that things got interesting. As expected, Cho Kyoung Ho asked Tough Win to improve his position and as he did so, everyone else tried too. Entering the home straight, Dangdae Bulpae still had the lead with Smarty Moonhak on the rail and Tough Win coming down the centre.

In the penultimate furlong Cho on Tough Win made his move and looked set to go past everyone. On the rail, Park Tae Jong did likewise on Smarty Moonhak. But Dangdae Bulpae was not for catching. Tough Win’s challenge stalled in the final furlong and he couldn’t improve his position while Smarty Moonhak, while faster than the winner just couldn’t make up the ground, Jumong finishing quickly to split the two favourites.

Jo Sung Gon reacts as Dangdae Bulpae crosses the finish line (Pic: Newsis)

It was a 15th career win for five-year old Korean bred Dangdae Bulpae, and his 7th Stakes victory, a Korean record. While everyone knew he could beat the best Korean bred horses, today for the first time, he beat the imported ones too. Dangdae Bulpae is now a true champion.

Tough Win doesn’t like Busan. He won narrowly two years ago and was badly beaten last year. How much his bleeding attack in his last outing took of him is still unclear but he wasn’t at his best today.

Then there is Smarty Moonhak. He ran well but, when chased after by his jockey for the first time in his career, he couldn’t quite do it. He was well placed in the home straight but surprisingly was found wanting. He will come back to Seoul and will be aimed at the season ending Grand Prix.

So is Smarty Moonhak not as good as we thought or is Dangdae Bulpae better than we thought? Maybe both but a few months ago, most observers had Smarty Moonhak gradually improving throughout the year before winning the Grand Prix in December.

He is ahead of schedule in that regard and is only three years old which in Korea, unlike in other parts of the world where the breeding shed is more important than the racecourse, is still very young. He has a long career ahead of him. With that in mind it is better for us, as fans of Korean racing to celebrate a great performance by an excellent Korean bred horse, Dangdae Bulpae.