Cheongdam Dokki

Cheongdam Dokki Makes Winning Return / Munro Lands Four-Timer

Local legal betting resumed on a limited scale in Korea this past weekend and those lucky few admitted into a small number of betting branches in the south of the country were treated on Sunday to two masterclasses beamed live from Seoul Racecourse – one from Cheongdam Dokki and another from jockey Alan Munro.

Making his first appearance as a seven-year-old, Cheongdam Dokki was sent off as a heavy faovurite for Sunday’s feature class 1 handicap over 1800M. With the race run under handicap conditions, Korea’s favourite chestnut was not only giving away 8kg to his thirteen rivals but also had to contend with the widest draw.

Neither mattered a jot. David Breux opted to jump out fast on Sun Lighting giving Park Tae-jong on Cheongdam Dokki a perfect lead across to the head of the field. With five-furlongs remaining, Park allowed Cheongdam Dokki to pass Sun Lighting as the field became ever more stretched out and from then on it was a formality with the son of To Honor And Serve going away to win by five-lengths on the line.

David Breux’s tactics on Sun Lighting were thoroughly vindicated with his mount staying on for an excellent 2nd while there was a pleasing 3rd from the locally bred Mask.

For Cheongdam Dokki it was a seventeenth win on his thirty-second career start and a reassuring statement after he had stuttered a little – but still won – on his final appearance of 2020. He had spent the summer dueling with Tiz Plan, defeating him in the Herald Business and YTN Cups in June and July, before suffering a reverse in the Busan Mayor’s Cup in August.

The 2019 Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Moonhak Chief missed the short 2020 summer season through injury but returned to action at the end of January to thump Tiz Plan by six-lengths. While this year’s Stakes schedule is still to be confirmed due to COVID-19’s continuing interference, the trio of Cheongdam Dokki, Moonhak Chief and Tiz Plan are sure to square off sooner or later. At this stage, Moonhak Chief remains favourite but few will be writing off Cheongdam Dokki.

While Cheongdam Dokki completed a double on the day for veteran jockey Park Tae-jong, another fifty-something put on a riding clinic for those paying attention. Alan Munro began his day with victory on Spot Flatter in race 4 and then came out later in the card to win on both East Ban in race 11 and Lord Ban in race 13, both for owner Lim Jong-geun and trainer Seo Bum-seok.

Munro then completed a four-timer by guiding the very promising Jangsan Missile, an American import by Will Take Charge, to an easy win in race 14. It might have been five as when trainer Tony Castenheira was seeking a late replacement for the indisposed Antonio Da Silva in race 2, Munro was his first port of call. However, the English jockey, not due to begin until race 4, could not be roused from his nap and Kim Dong-soo duly did the business on The King Blade.

In other Seoul news from Sunday, trainer Hong Dae-you, saddled his 300th career winner when filly Grace Queen scored in race 5. Hong gained a license in 2006 with his solitary Group success to date coming a year later with Bally Brae in the 2007 Grand Prix Stakes, a horse he had previously ridden as a jockey.

Next weekend’s racing in Korea is scheduled for Busan on Saturday 27th with ten races and Seoul on Sunday 28th with fifteen races.

Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 21) – “Dokki Day”

Cheongdam Dokki makes his seasonal re-appearance at Seoul on Sunday and the now seven-year-old will have a weighty task to overcome in the Class 1 feature if he is to make a winning start to the season. There are 15-races at Seoul on from 10:45 to 18:00. The meeting is behind closed doors although betting locations in Busan, Jeju, Gwangju, Daegu, Daejeon, Changwon and Cheonan will be open for betting. Here are the previews:

Seasonal reappearance – Cheongdam Dokku

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

A filly maiden to begin with and of the twelve, seven have raced before. They have all been extremely slow, so we’re going to pass on all of them and focus on the debut-makers and if (4) NAMSAN CHOCOLATE brings his trial form into the race itself, he should be winning fairly easily. She finished 3rd in a creditable time and the Tony Castenheira filly can lead all the way from a good draw here. (10) SMART DAEBO was 4th in the same trial not too far behind and that automatically makes her the second pick on debut as well. (2) FIRENZE CASTLE and (8) LOVE ARCH both posted decent enough times when finishing in midfield in their respective heats, while (1) SWEET KAKAO was a little slower but came out of a trial where there wasn’t much pace and she looks to have a good chance of aiming for some money on debut too.

Selections(4) Namsan Chocolate (10) Smart Daebo (1) Sweet Kakao (2) Firenze Castle
Next Best8, 9
Fast Start2, 4, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(9) THE KING BLADE has never been outside the top three in three starts so far and got his maiden win on December 20th at this distance. His winning time was more than a second faster anything else in the field has achieved and he really should be backing up with another win today and complete what should be an early double for trainer Tony Castenheira. (6) GEOSEN DOLPUNG looks next best. He ran a useful enough 4th of fourteen on debut a month ago having previously won a trial. While those two jump off the page of the form guide, not much else does. (7) GRAND FLY ran on to record a creditable enough time on what was his second start on December 19th and that may be enough to put him in contention here. (14) RAON THE CHOEGANG was last in that race but previously showed a bit of speed over 1000M and can be included in the numbers here. In such a weak race, it’s worth looking at the first-timers, and of the pair, (4) MAGIC MANJEOM looks the more likely to make an impact first-up.

Selections(9) The King Blade (6) Geosen Dolpung (4) Magic Manjeom (7) Grand Fly
Next Best14, 13
Fast Start6, 8, 9, 14

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Good little race this and having come close to leading all the way his second start on December 6th, (3) DAEHAN JILJU returns to action here extremely well drawn to get to the lead again this time to hold on.  He’ll be joined on pace by (1) ELITE POWER, who has the fastest time of any of these at the distance. She has tended to weaken late on but looks a potential place line today. (4) GEUMA FLAWLESS is another who looks to be approaching a win.  He ran a solid 2nd place over this distance last start and while a touch consistent should be right in this. The main danger, however, could be (9) GRAND CASTLE. The only one of the fourteen to have visited the winner’s circle already, he stuck on debut last October and followed up with a 3rd and a 2nd. His times have been consistent, and he is another who should be competing for the early lead. (10) CHEROKEE MARINE and (14) NONSTOP CAT are others who are in at least the placing frame.

Selections(3) Daehan Jilju (9) Grand Castle (10) Cherokee Marine (4) Geuma Flawless
Next Best14, 1
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 5, 9

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Another class 6 with one previous winner in it. That’s (9) SEO E BEONJJEOK and he achieved it last time out at start number three, running on strong from midfield for a tight score at 1200M. The additional half furlong today shouldn’t matter, and he can win again. We’re going to look elsewhere though and in particular to (1) SPOT FLATTER. He was well beaten into 2nd by a good winner last time out but ran on well and with Alan Munro remaining aboard, looks to have solid claims to make the breakthrough this time. (2) TEUKGEUP YEOWANG was 3rd in that same race just before Christmas and can get close again here. The only one of the fourteen to have tackled this distance before is (13) BRAVO MAY. He did it in a reasonable time too and then ran 3rd back at 1200M last start. The draw shouldn’t matter, and he has placing chances. In a race in which overseas jockeys should do well, (4) MAGICUI HAMSEONG, to be partnered by David Breux, looks best of the rest.

Selections(1) Spot Flatter (9) Seo E Beonjjeok (13) Bravo May (4) Magicui Hamseong
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 9, 10

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies (and one mare) only here and it looks wide open. We have one previous winner in the shape of (10) GRACE QUEEN, who bested three of these on her way to victory over 1200M on December 20th. Can she do it again? She’ll certainly have her supporters and while she hasn’t tried this distance before, she does have a 3rd place at 1300M. Nevertheless, the runner-up that day (4) ABOUT SOMETHING, has to be strongly considered. She is yet to score in seven but has run very well at this distance and today could well be her day, coming from off the pace. With an extra furlong, she may well have got there last time. (3) SEMYEONG NARAE come sin of a decent 2nd place over 1200M last start. She’s been relatively one-paced so far but sticks to her task well and she may appreciate the additional trip. Similarly, (5) SPEED FLYING doesn’t exactly fly home but does persevere and is consistently close. (9) TELOS has recorded the fastest time of any of these who have tried the distance before and along with (6) REMEMBER WHEN, has place chances here.

Selections(4) About Something (10) Grace Queen (3) Semyeong Narae (9) Telos
Next Best5, 6, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 10

Race 6: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

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Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (November 8)

Sunday sees full cards at Seoul (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and Busan (6 races from 12:40 to 17:00). Cheongdam Dokki headlines Seoul’s class 1 feature race. The race meeting is open to the public, however, there is an attendance cap of 20% and seats must be reserved in advance through the “My Card” app – there is no admission on the gate. Here are the previews:

Cheongdam Dokki goes at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A field of twelve to line up in the first where all but two runners are on debut. Watching the vision of (12) LONDON ACTIVE suggests the Colonel John filly is ready to perform at her first race start. The two-year-old bounced out of the gates in good style in her trial before running through the line in good fashion. The outside draw is a concern, but she should be able to muster quickly and sit on speed. (4) K N MAGIC is another debutant that trialed up in good style. The Kantharos filly clocked a good time on a rain affected track. She is drawn well and should be able to sit just behind the leading division. (5) RAON GARAM appears to be an each-way chance in a field with plenty of unknown ability. She is by the progressive stallion Musket Man whose progeny have been performing well early on in their careers. (8) CHEROKEE MARINE is one of just two gallopers engaged that has had a previous run. The Thunder Moccasin gelding finished fifth behind the very talented East Jet on debut but was beaten from here to Gangnam. 

Selections(12) London Active (4) K N Magic (5) Raon Garam (8) Cherokee Marine
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start8, 12

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maidens go around here with four of the twelve racing for the first time. We’re going to stick with experience though and (3) HAPPY SOCKS perhaps has the edge. The Tiz Wonderful filly ran on very nicely for 3rd behind a couple of promising ones on debut over 1000M in August and the additional furlong should suit. It’s a similar story with (8) LUCKY WORLD who ran very similarly for his own 3rd place on debut and can be expected to run on strongly again and go close. (1) MAGICUI HAMSEONG could only manage 6th but nevertheless put in a fast time on a sloppy track on his August debut and is another who may have some promise. (9) GO GO STAR has raced twice with solid 3rd and 4th place finishes to her name, each time with a contrasting running style and she should be there of thereabouts again.

Selections(3) Happy Socks (8) Lucky World (9) Go Go Star (1) Magicui Hamseong
Next Best7, 10
Fast Start6, 9, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A field of twelve lightly raced maidens will take to the track in the third event. (10) LEGEND WIN is the on top selection albeit he has had six previous attempts to break maiden status. The Old Fashioned colt comes off a last start third when sitting on speed and being passed by a couple quicker in the run home. His opposition today is not overly strong, and he looks like an each-way chance who will get every chance sitting on pace. (12) CHEONJI ULLIM has finished close up at his two starts to date. The three-year-old hasn’t raced since February when he finished fourth behind Ice Punch. He trialed up in a few weeks ago and clocked a good time. The draw is a concern, but he needs to be treated as a winning chance. (5) SPECIAL STORY has notched placings at his past two starts. The filly’s time wasn’t overly fast in these performances, but her competition today looks even. (1) SPEED FLYING comes off successive minor placing during the mid-part of the year. The filly is likely to settle closer to the speed as per last start, from the good draw.

Selections(10) Legend Win (12) Cheonji Ullim (5) Special Story (1) Speed Flying
Next Best3, 7
Fast Start1, 10

Seoul Race 4: Class 4 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) UNCLE BELL made all for a commanding maiden win at start number five back in August with a couple of these a long way back down the track behind him. He’s at the same class today and although he carries a whopping additional 5kg he remains hard to bet against. There are a couple who could beat him though. (4) PINE TOUCH has come close on a number of occasions over his five starts so far and has shown he has a strong finish. The slight step up in trip today may suit. (11) FULL BOOSTER comes in off a last start runner-up finish and if jockey Ueda Masashi can overcome the wide draw to get him close to the pace, he could be in with a shout. (2) SIRIUS A and (8) EAGLE EAGLE are among a number of others who could aim for the places, the latter a strong contender to challenge the favourite for the early lead.

Selections(1) Uncle Bell (11) Full Booster (4) Pine Touch (8) Eagle Eagle
Next Best2, 6
Fast Start1, 8, 11

Seoul Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The maiden gallopers go over the seven furlongs in the fifth event on the card. (9) POWER MUSIC has shown enough previously to suggest she can figure. The Winchester filly has settled both rearwards and on speed in her past couple of starts, from barrier nine she may have to settle midfield or worse. She has placed at two of her past three starts including a last start second over this distance. (7) ONE PUTT handed in a better performance last start back in August when finishing second over this distance. The three-year-old hit the line with gusto and is likely to settle towards the tail once again, before reeling off a good sectional. (8) ACE HAMSEONG is another who has finished close up at his past few starts. His times have been competitive enough to suggest a forward showing, he should be benefited from a lack of early speed engaged in the event. (4) TRUE looks best of the rest in a race where there is no standout.

Selections(9) Power Music (7) One Putt (8) Ace Hamseong (4) True
Next Best5, 12
Fast Start3, 9, 11

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

The speed map for the second looks to be sluggish suggesting riders that wish to work forward should be able to do so. (7) HAPPY WITCH lines up for her third start after a good start to her career in the mid-part of the year. The Officer filly won on debut in June in good time before finishing second over the six furlongs in July. She looks to be one of a few runners who can work forward and sit in the first few in running. (11) DOCTOR GREY has shown that he is capable of reeling off a good sectional. He finished off strongly last time out running into third behind VIP King last time out in August. He looks one to watch as he steps out over a long journey down the track. (10) PARTY LION has not raced since January but trialed up in good style in August. The filly has finished in the top three on three occasions from eight attempts but is yet to break maiden status. The horse looks best suited if Jo In-kwon can get her to work forward early. (4) QUEEN OF ADELE looks next best and one worth including in your novelty bets.

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Tiz Plan Denies Cheongdam Dokki In Busan Mayor’s Cup

Tiz Plan ground down Cheongdam Dokki in a seesaw stretch duel to win the Busan Mayor’s Cup on Sunday afternoon, sealing his first Group level victory and denying Cheongdam Dokki a second sweep of the Korean Stayers’ Series.

Whereas in the first two legs of the Series, the Herald Business and YTN Cups at Seoul, Cheongdam Dokki had simply run away from his rivals and put both races to bed before his , this time jockey Johan Victoire, with a furlong less to worry about, kept Tiz Plan much handier in the early stages and while Cheongdam Dokki did lead, at no time did the gap look insurmountable.

Leading by just over a length at the top of stretch, Cheongdam Dokki was reeled in by Tiz Plan and the two went nose to nose. Dokki briefly regained the upper hand before a final effort from Tiz Plan saw the younger horse draw level once more and finally pull away to win by a length and a half. As usual, Shamrocker came home in 3rd place.

Tiz Plan [Tiznow – Amusing Plan (Pleasantly Perfect)] was bred by Three Chimneys Farm and arrived in Korea as a two-year-old in 2017. His win was his tenth from twenty starts.

For trainer Park Jae-woo, who gained his license in 2011, it was a first Group race victory. Jockey Johan Victoire was winning this race for the second year in a row having been successful on Dolkong a year ago. Victoire also won the G3 SBS Sports Sprint last month.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic preventing any wagering from taking place in Korea and with the Korea Cup accordingly not being run this year, the racing calendar remains somewhat up in the air. However, it is possible that Tiz Plan and Cheongdam Dokki could meet again in the KRA Cup Classic at 2000M in early October.

Cheongdam Dokki Monsters YTN Cup Rivals In Record Busting Romp

For the second time in a month, Cheongdam Dokki savaged his rivals over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday, claiming an easy win in the G3 YTN Cup and in the process broke Dongbanui Gangja’s eleven-year-old track record for the distance.

Just four weeks after his dominant victory in the Herald Business Cup and facing a largely similar set of opponents, Cheongdam Dokki was always set to be a prohibitive favourite in a race which served as the second leg of the “Stayer Series”. And just as he did in the Herald, he stamped his authority on the race right from the start, crossing from gate eight under jockey Park Tae Jong and straight into the lead.

At his best, Cheongdam Dokki’s cruising speed is so superior to his local rivals at least in the absence of Moonhak Chief – that there was never a danger of him doing too much too soon and being caught. Instead he continued to run away from them, recording a nine-length winning margin on the line and taking six tenths of a second off the mark set by Dongbanui Gangja in the Owners’ Association Trophy in June 2009.

Behind Cheongdam Dokki, Tiz Plan and Shamrocker came home 2nd and 3rd in a repeat of the Herald Business trifecta. Buhwarui Banseok ran 4th.

The final leg of the Stayer Series is the G2 Busan Mayor’s Cup which is currently scheduled for August 16th at the slightly shorter distance of 1800M. All being well, Cheongdam Dokki would then likely be pointed to the Korea Cup on September 13th, the KRA Cup Classic on October 11th and then conclude his year taking another crack at a race that so far eludes him, the Grand Prix Stakes.

A six-year-old American-bred gelding by To Honor And Serve and out of Elusive Gold (by Strike The Gold), Cheongdam Dokki has now won 15 of 29 career starts for prize money of just over KRW 2.8 Billion.

Sensational Cheongdam Dokki Silences Sceptics In Herald Business Hat-Trick

Cheongdam Dokki rolled back the years, crushed all-comers and silenced the sceptics by completing a sensational hat-trick in the Herald Business Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

The six-year-old’s most recent win prior to Sunday was the exact same race, run in April last year with the race being re-scheduled this term after the Covid-19 forced suspension of racing.

Cheongdam Dokki was transferred back to Park Jong-kon after his most recent run in December last year.

Trainer Park was Cheongdam Dokki’s original handler, preparing the chestnut for his first nineteen career starts, yielding thirteen wins.

Park Tae-jong was aboard the six-year-old Sunday, when the flashy type brought up his third win in the listed feature.

Cheongdam Dokki was asked to work forward early by jockey Park, eventually taking up the role of pacemaker.

The To Honor And Serve gelding maintained the lead in the back straight, travelling strongly before being asked to improve at the top of the Seoul home straight.

Heuk Jeonsa, World Today and Great King all sat on speed in the race whilst Tiz Plan’s rider Johan Victoire improved his position in the middle stages of the 2000m feature.

As the field balanced up for the run home the only danger to Cheongdam Dokki was Tiz Plan but Victoire and his mount were unable to bridge the gap, with Cheongdam Dokki winning by four lengths.

Triple Nine and World Today appear to be the disappointments to come out of the race, both finishing well beaten.

The ever reliable Shamrocker, partnered by Alan Munro, came home 3rd in the race for the third time in three years with Bart Rice’s Rock Hard Seven coming home in 4th under Francois Herholdt.

The next staying feature to take place will be the YTN Cup in July where last year’s Korea Cup winner Moonhak Chief is nominated to make a return.

Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Moonhak Chief, nemesis of Cheongdam Dokki last year, is back in work having recovered from a fetlock injury that ruled him out of Sunday’s feature.

 

Round-Up

– Potentially on his way to the YTN Cup is Buhwarui Banseok. Bart Rice’s seven-year-old warhorse scored a superb all the way win over 2000M in Busan’s feature Class 1 handicap on February. Despite giving significant weight to most of his rivals, Buhwarui Banseok dominated throughout, shrugging off lighter weighted pretenders with ease to win by a remarkable five-lengths under jockey Seo Seung-un.

– Buhwarui Banseok’s victory meant that all three foreign trainers were on the board at Busan on Friday, with Peter Wolsley and Thomas Gillespie both training two winners apiece.

– The 2019 Korean Oaks winner Deep Mind has had an interrupted career since winning the fillies’ Classic. She offered little in two starts earlier this year but put that all behind her when romping away with Busan’s Sunday class 2 feature over 1800M.

– On Saturday at Seoul the star of the show was Morfhis, who like Buhwarui Banseok at Busan a day earlier, defied a high impost to see off an excellent class 1 field. Johan Victoire brought the five-year-old Stephen Got Even gelding through just in time to roll Gangtoma on the line in the seven-furlong Class 1 feature with Lil’ Patron and Spring Back a further two-lengths in arrears. Morfhis moves on to 7 wins from 22 starts, however, four of those successes have come at Class 1.

– Also, on Saturday, Ji Yong-cheol reached a career milestone when he became the fourth trainer in local racing history to saddle 900 winners. The landmark win came when three-year-old filly Milky Sherry took out the 1700M race 13. Only Kim Young-kwan and Park Dae-heung, along with the now retired Shin Woo-chul, have trained more winners in Korea.

– In breeding news, the Korean Mainland Breeders’ Association will hold its second Two-Year-Old sale of 2020 at the KRA Jangsu Stud Farm this coming Tuesday (June 23rd). A total of 72 lots are being offered with juveniles by Hansen and Take Charge Indy among those likely to be in demand. The

the sale will be streamed live on the KRBC YouTube channel from 10am (KST).

The catalogue can be found online at

http://studbook.kra.co.kr/neweng/html/eng_auction_list.jsp

Moonhak Chief Bosses YTN Cup As Cheongdam Dokki & New Legend Falter

All year the YTN Cup has had a red ring around it as the day when Cheongdam Dokki and New Legend would meet. Not on the agenda was that both would be beaten. However, that’s what happened at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday as Moonhak Chief thoroughly trounced all rivals to win they 2nd leg of the Stayers’ Series by 12-lengths.

The doubts had started to creep in about New Legend, a Korean-bred horse who began his career in the USA, picking up a win at Arlington Park before returning to Korea in early autumn last year. He won his early domestic contests with ease before coming up short when tried at 1200M in April’s Busan Ilbo Cup. Nevertheless, he was sent off as the 4/1 second-favourite in the thirteen strong field.

Cheongdam Dokki had also struggled when asked to sprint in March but the phenom had returned to form with a facile victory in the Herald Business Cup, the first leg of the Stayers’, a month ago and that led him to begin as the long odds-on favourite to claim his second YTN.

Moonhak Chief finished as runner-up in the Herald Business, a full six-lengths behind Cheongdam Dokki, but on Sunday he looked a winner all the way.

20190526_165113.jpg

It wasn’t close…

“I actually had no intention to lead” said jockey Moon Se Young, after partnering Moonhak Chief to a gate-to-wire win in strikingly similar fashion to how the rider won the Korean Derby on Wonderful Fly two weeks ago. “But Cheongdam Dokki didn’t go like I expected him to, so I found myself in front and took it from there”.

That was somewhat modest from Moon when talking about what was a very good ride. Once in front, he shut the race down in the back straight conserving plenty of energy before asking for an effort after turning for home that put his mount out of sight. The winning time was just half a second outside the track record for the 2000M and it is debatable as to whether an even in top-form Cheongdam Dokki could have caught him.

As for Cheongdam Dokki, he didn’t have his usual zip from the gate and to his outside  Argo Brain made a nuisance of himself for the first hundred metres or so. Subsequently though, always at least three wide and non-responsive to his jockey’s urgings rounding the final turn, he never looked a winner, ultimately trailing home in 5th.

Cheongdam Dokki passed the immediate veterinary examination and unless something shows up later, it seems likely that Antonio Da Silva will end up the unlucky fall guy. He didn’t do anything wrong at all – Cheongdam Dokki was simply not in the mood for racing on Sunday – but this is Korean racing and Dokki’s owner is not renowned for being shy about changing things up on a regular basis.

New Legend ran a solid, if one-paced race in 4th. He was in 3rd or 2nd most of the way around but failed to kick on at the business end of the race. A month ago, he was Korea’s biggest hope for the International races in September, there are now plenty of question marks hanging over him. He will hopefully get a chance to show recent form has been a blip, in the Busan Mayor’s Cup at the end of June.  That will likely be Cheongdam Dokki’s shot at redemption too.

Old campaigner Shamrocker did what he does and mopped up the pieces late on to snatch 2nd place. It was the six-year-old’s tenth runner-up finish on his 34th start. He spent his three and four-year-old season chasing Clean Up Joy and then his five-year-old season in futile pursuit of Cheongdam Dokki. In Moonhak Chief, there is perhaps another whose posterior he can watch vanishing into the distance. Not many others will beat him though.

Revelation of the race was Jumbo Blade. The four-year-old was, along with the winner and Shamrocker, the only one truly going well in the closing stages and the four-year-old Mineshaft colt got up for 3rd under Franco Da Silva on what was just his thirteenth career start. He has the same owner as Cheongdam Dokki.

Moonhak Chief is four-year-old American-bred colt by Pioneerof The Nile and out of Tallullah Lula (by Old Trieste).

Next weekend there is a double-helping of Graded Stakes action at Seoul with both the SBS Sports Sprint and Ttukseom Cup taking place on Sunday.

Cheongdam Dokki Bounces Back To Retain KRA Cup Classic

Cheongdam Dokki successfully defended his KRA Cup Classic crown at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, taking victory on the 2000M Korean Group 2 event by two-and-a-half lengths and taking the first steps to putting defeat in the Billion Won Korea Cup International race last month firmly behind him.

Dolkong was a morning scratching, the Korea Cup runner-up having injured the frog of his hoof in a gallop this week. Although close to making the race, discretion proved the better part of valour and he was withdrawn as a precaution with the future in mind but that still left a high-quality field for Chongdam Dokki to defeat if he was to bounce back from the humbling he received when trying to match Japan’s London Town for pace in the Cup.

Defeat them he did. Sent off at long odds-on, Cheongdam Dokki led from the gate under jockey Lim Gi-won, who was restored to the mount, and looked a winner every step of the way. Triple Nine, racing for the first time since finishing 3rd behind him in the Busan Mayor’s Cup three months ago, hit his top gear late to come home 2nd while three-year-old US import Munhak Chief (by Pioneerof The Nile) scored a very promising 3rd.

Champion mare Silver Wolf came home 4th but there was no luck for two-time SBS Sports Sprint winner Doraonpogyeongseon, who ended up 6th of the 8 on his first try at 2000M.

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)

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…)