Cheon Gu

Cheon Gu 4th As Satono Tiger Wins Ohi Interaction Cup

Urawa-based Satono Tiger was too strong for Cheon Gu and the other Korean raiders as he ensured the honours remained on home soil with a comfortable victory in the Interaction Cup at Ohi last night.

Satono Tiger goes clear (Pic: sanspo.com)

Satono Tiger goes clear (Pic: sanspo.com)

As expected it was Cheon Gu (Old Fashioned) who set the early pace but Satono Tiger (King Kamehameha), a 7-year-old horse who had won seven of his forty-one primarily JRA starts and was top sprinter in the NAR last year, took things up inside the final two furlongs and cruised away for a comfortable victory.

The fast finishing Major Athlete (Daiwa Major) on the outside and Fire Prince (On Fire) on the rail knocked Cheon Gu out of the places in the closing stages with the Seoul trained three-year-old hanging on for 4th. The other two Korea-trained entrants Cowboy Son and Dynamic Jilju finished in 8th and 10th.

See here for race video: https://www.nankankeiba.com/liveon/2015101320120211.do

And a full and comprehensive race report here

Interaction Cup: Korean Horses Race In Japan On Tuesday

Cheon Gu, Cowboy Son and Dynamic Jilju will be racing for Korea under the lights at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo on Tuesday night as they take on a full field of 13 Japanese horses over 1200M in the third running of the Interaction Cup.

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Cheon Gu

And in contrast to last year when Korea didn’t really bring the firepower needed in order to be competitive, there is a feeling that if the horses run to the best then they – especially Cheon Gu – have a chance of making it into the money this time around.

Cheon Gu has been drawn in gate 1 while Cowboy Son and Dynamic Jilju will start from gates 12 and 13. As ever, Yoo Seung Wan will ride Cheon Gu, who is competing in his third consecutive international race having taken part in the KRA Cup at Kranji in Singapore in July and then the Asia Challenge Cup in Seoul in August when he was beaten only by Choegang Schiller and El Padrino. Oh Kyoung Hwan takes the mount of Cowboy Son while Ikuyasu Kurakane has travelled back to his homeland to ride Dynamic Jilju.

The Japanese contenders are sure to expect the Korean horses to look to get out of the gate quickly and look to set a fast pace and then try to hang on. That’s what happened when Watts Village won the first running of this race two years ago and Cheon Gu has indeed gone forward in each of his last two races only to be reeled in.

As for those Japanese runners, as ever they tend to be older and have a lot of experience behind them and a lot of wins between them. Gorski is making his first run at NAR level following a solid JRA career and is likely to be one of the main dangers while Satono Tiger and Maruka Bakken are others who have been racing in stiffer competition and could go well on Tuesday. For a full run-down of the Japanese contenders, see the preview at the excellent Japanracing site here.

Here is the full list of runners and riders with race records:

Interaction Cup – Ohi Racecourse – 1200M – October 13, 2015 (20:15)

1. Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] 3yo colt (8/4/1/2) – Yoo Seung Wan
2. Gorski (JPN) [Neo Universe – Nikiya (Nureyev)] 8yo horse (42/8/3/4) – Seiji Yamazaki
3. Blue Tanzanite (JPN) [Brian’s Time – Keyboogie (Lyphard)] 6yo horse (37/4/1/6) – Takehiro Kashiwaga
4. Fire Prince (JPN) [On Fire – Restive Commander (Commander In Chief)] 4yo colt (30/5/6/1) – Tadanari Konno
5. Kevin Dieu (JPN) [South Vigorous – Little Namura (Ashkalani)] 6yo horse (27/5/3/0) – Tatsuya Sawada
6. Coreles Puma (JPN) [Highbridge Slew – Terano Judi (Adjudicating)] 11yo horse (68/10/8/8) – Takayuki Yano
7. Satono Tiger (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Fabulous Turn (Sunday Silence)] 7yo horse (41/7/6/4) – Seiji Sakai
8. Air Lafon (JPN) [Durandal – Pretty Tidy (Jade Robbery)] 8yo horse (40/12/6/2) – Takumi Kobayashi
9. Kurino Ama Dablam (JPN) [Orewa Matteruze – Lady Mahalo (Forty Niner)] 5yo mare (38/4/4/2) – Naoki Machida
10. Tre Bone (JPN) [Agnes Digital – Heart Full Voice (Mejiro Ryan)] 7yo gelding (41/5/2/5) – Daisuke Mashima
11. Major Athlete (JPN) [Daiwa Major – Splintercat (Storm Cat)] 6yo horse (38/3/96/2) – Taito Mori
12. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallachievement (Smart Strike)] 4yo colt (19/10/2/2) – Oh Kyoung Hwan
13. Dynamic Jilju (USA) [Forestry – Beat Your Feet (Dixieland Band)] 4yo colt (27/6/3/4) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
14. Erimo Feather (JPN) [Sinister Minister – Little Mermaid (Twining)] 5yo mare (26/4/1/4) – Jun Aritoshi
15. Maruka Bakken (JPN) [Kurofune – Famed Grace (Sunday Silence)] 8yo horse (38/7/3/4) – Hidemitsu Sakai
16. Taisei Legend (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Sharp Kick (Mejiro McQueen)] – 8yo horse (39/9/5/2) – Tsubasa Sasakawa

Korean Horses Return Home From Singapore

Three Korean horses who ran in the KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore on Sunday touched back down at Incheon Airport this afternoon.

The race was broadcast live in Korea

The race was broadcast live in Korea

The two Busan horses; Gamdonguibada and Nobody Catch Me, will stop off at the quarantine centre at Jangsu Stud & Training Farm in Jeolla Province, while Seoul-based Cheon Gu has gone straight back to the Seoul Racecourse which has its own quarantine facilities.

As for the race – the S$250,000 KRA Trophy – the horses did ok. Nobody Catch Me was 6th, Cheon Gu 9th and Gamdonguibada 11th in the twelve-strong event with the pack finishing together.

There had been some mildly silly talk in the local racing media here – not exactly discouraged by trainer Kim Young Kwan – about the possibility of one of the Korean horses actually winning the race. However, those of us who were hopeful of a decent performance, but still had nagging fears that they may be left behind in a race that was restricted to Singapore-trained horses with a rating of 90 or lower, were re-assured.

As it was, Cheon Gu led out of the gate and into the home-straight before tiring and being passed. Gamdonguibada, a little predictably for a miler dropping down to six furlongs, took a while to get going and never really fired. However, the pleasant surprise was Nobody Catch Me. Few had given him much chance of beating anything but he finished strongly on the outside to get up to 6th place, just over four lengths behind the winner.

That winner was the modestly-named Super Winner (Kaphero). Super Winner’s jockey, Soo Khoon Beng (more often known as KB Soo) has plenty of history with Korea having had a short stint at Busan in 2008 before returning and winning the Seoul International Jockey Challenge in 2012. Manoel Nunes, who also particiapted in that 2012 event, rode My Lucky Strike (Charge Forward), to 2nd place.

The race was beamed back live to racecourses and OTBs in Korea, the first time for an overseas race. While no betting markets were offered, a good number of the 40,000 crowd at Seoul Racecourse seemed to take an interest. It is to be hoped that those punters will start pushing for an opportunity to watch more overseas racing and for the necessary change in the law to allow legal betting on it. One or two races from places such as Singapore would be an ideal addition to either a Friday card at Busan or a Sunday mixed card.

There are many hurdles still to clear before that can become a reality but getting last Sunday’s race onto Korean screens means the first of those has been successfully navigated. The more exposure there is to high quality overseas racing, the better it will be for development here.

In some ways the result was a good one in that the horses did well enough to mean there is no reason to feel discouraged or embarrassed. And equally, they didn’t do well enough for anybody here to think the job is anywhere near done and there is no need to improve.

The next big event is just a little over a month away in the shape of the Asia Challenge Cup, for which the first nomination stage is this Friday. Nominations are expected from Singapore and Japan while a quarantine protocol has just been concluded in time with the UAE, however, it may be a little too late to get horses racing under that flag this time. The ACC is an invitational race but the KRA Cup Classic, held the same day, is also open to overseas runners this year.

Gamdonguibada, Nobody Catch Me and Cheon Gu Set To Represent Korea In Singapore

Three Korean-trained horses have been nominated to run in the Korea Racing Authority Cup at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore on Sunday July 26.

Gamdonguibada

Gamdonguibada

In what is set to be a quite historic occasion, the race will mark not only the first time Korean horses have run in Singapore but also the first time that an overseas race will be beamed back live to racecourses in Korea.

The KRA Trophy will be run over 1200M on the Kranji Polytrack with a prize fund of S$250,000. Crucially, only Singapore horses with an MRA rating no higher than 90 are eligible and this could make for an interesting race.

Busan’s top trainer Kim Young Kwan will send two horses. The best known is his 2013 Grand Prix Stakes winner and 2014 Queens’ Tour champion mare Gamdonguibada. The other is the 2014 Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup winner Nobody Catch Me. From Seoul, trainer Seo In Seok sends his up and coming colt Cheon Gu.

Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 6yo mare (28/13/4/6/1/1) – She won the Grand Prix Stakes in 2013 and has gone on to become one of the most successful fillies or mares ever to race in Korea. In addition to the Grand Prix, she has won the the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup twice, the KNN Cup and the Ttukseom Cup on the way to earning more than KRW 2 Billion in prize money. After completing a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour races in 2014, she was expected to retire but returned as a 6-year-old and won her most recent race on May 17. She hasn’t run at such short a distance as 1200M since she was a 2-year-old in 2011. Lim Sung Sil is expected to ride her at Kranji.

Nobody Catch Me (USA) [With Distinction – Nana’s Babe (Allen’s Prospect)] 5yo gelding (20/6/4/2/0/0) – The wildcard. He was the winner of the Busan Mayor’s Cup last year at odds of over 50/1 and added one win after that but was a disappointment – and eventual disqualification – from the Grand Prix Stakes last year. He’s only run twice in 2015 and has struggled. However, he may well appreciate running at a sprint distance once more.

Nobody Catch Me won the 2014 Busan Metropolitan (Newsis)

Nobody Catch Me won the 2014 Busan Metropolitan (Newsis)

Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] 3yo colt (6/4/1/1/0/0) – The only one of the three to be based at Seoul Racecourse and the only one who still looks yet to reach his full potential, Cheon Gu has won four of his six starts to date. He was beaten in his only Stakes race when second in the Herald Business Cup over 1400M in May but returned to the winner’s circle in a class 2 race at the same distance last week and is considered one of the brightest imported prospects at Seoul. Yoo Seung Wan is expected to ride him in Singapore.

Cheon Gu will carry 54.5kg, Nobody Catch Me 57.5kg and Gamdonguibada 56kg. While the Korean horses had to be nominated by Monday this week, Singapore based horses have until July 15 to enter the race.

The KRA Trophy will come under orders at 17:15 Singapore time and will be shown live at Seoul and Busan Racecourses during the normal raceday broadcast. No betting markets will be offered in Korea – the law needs to change before that can happen – nevertheless, having permission granted for it is a big step in the right direction. The Singapore Turf Club has been a great friend of Korean racing in recent years and it is fitting that Kranji hosts the first race to be beamed back.

The Singapore Turf Club has been a big supporter of the internationalization of Korean racing

The Singapore Turf Club has been a big supporter of the internationalization of Korean racing

The history of Korean-trained horses racing abroad is extremely brief. Watts Village pulled off a remarkable victory in the Interaction Cup in Japan in 2013 but the following year, the three Korean horses who went fared less well. Meanwhile, Singapore trained El Padrino came to Seoul last August and broke the track record for 1400M in the process of winning the Asia Challenge Cup.

While it remains to be seen what kind of line-up Singapore puts out, the horses nominated from Korea have every chance of acquitting themselves well. Whatever happens, it will be an important milestone in the internationalization of Korean racing.