Cheongdam Dokki

(Belated) Weekend Round-Up: Final Boss Wins Segye Ilbo, Cheongdam Dokki Easy

Last year’s Korean Derby winner Final Boss kicked off his four-year-old campaign in style this past weekend, winning the first Listed race of the season, the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul Racecourse.

A good renewal it was too, with Final Boss sent off as second favourite behind Cheonji Storm. However, it was last year’s winner, Always Winner, who jumped out of the gate the quickest and into an early lead. It looked for a time he might just repeat his trick from twelve months ago and go all the way.

The big guns closed though. Cheonji Storm down the outside and City Star on the inside. And between the two of them came Final Boss, ears back and looking like he meant business. He struck the front just metres from the line and won by a neck from City Star with Cheonji Storm only another neck back in 3rd.

As they crossed the line, jockey Moon Se Young called across to Jang Chuyoul on City Star to inquire as to which of them won. After the race he said he wasn’t convinced that Final Boss could win such a race at a sprint distance (1200M) but the horse just took off in the closing stages and seemed desperate to get to the front.

Final Boss (Menifee-Sinseok Dolpa) moves on to nine wins from sixteen starts.

Cheongdam Dokki brutalized the Grand Prix field in December before ultimately running out of steam. He too began his four-year-old season at the weekend, appearing in Seoul’s feature handicap on Saturday.

He ws up against Shamrocker and and Clean Up Joy, both trained by Song Moon Gil and both of whom Cheongdam Dokki had seen off before.

He monstered them. Shamrocker came to challenge early but had little to offer in the closing straight leaving Clean Up Joy, who had complicated things for himself early on with his habitual leap as the gates opened, closing strongly. Cheongdam Dokki was almost pulled up by this stage though as he eased to his eighth win from thirteen outings. He should perhaps really be in Dubai right now as this is too easy and it looks like we may have to wait until the summer to see him actually be required to finish off a race properly.


Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 27) – Cheongdam Dokki!

It’s been a bitingly cold week on the Korean peninsula but the worst seems to be over and there is a good 12-race card at Seoul on Saturday with the 1st at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. And what better way to warm up than with the 2018 season debut of Cheongdam Dokki? He goes in race 11. Here are the previews:

Cheongdam Dokki 2

Cheongdam Dokki makes his 2018 debut on Saturday (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Just fillies here and plenty in with a shout. (6) SEONGBUL CHAMP has shown some ability in three starts so far including a good 5th of 12 in tougher company than this last start. She trialled up nicely a couple of weeks ago and is a prime contender here. (5) BETTINA’s best result so far came on her only prior outing at this distance and with Djordje Perovic on board, she too looks to have a strong chance. (1) HWANSANGUI BIT showed improvement on her second start and can maintain it here while (9) RUBY FALLS and (12) MORAN DONGBEAK are others who can get close.

Selections (6) Seongbul Champ (5) Bettina (1) Hwansangui Bit (9) Ruby Falls
Next Best 12, 2
Fast Start 1, 6, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(9) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG led for much of the way round over 1300M last start and dropped back to the minimum distance today, is the one to beat. He previously ran 4th at this trip in a tougher race than this and can get it right this time. (3) BIG AURORA has shown some talent, principally when running 2nd at this distance in October only beaten half a length by Ji Seoni, who went on to win again. He’s disappointed as favourite in two losing efforts since but gets another chance here. (1) CHEONGDAM QUEENS and (4) SAE DIXIE are likely to challenge Jeongsang Dolpung for the early lead and can stay on until the business end of the race while (2) BIG THUNDER did nothing particularly wrong on debut and can improve.

Selections (9) Jeongsang Dolpung (3) Big Aurora (1) Cheongdam Queens (2) Big Thunder
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 1, 4, 9

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

With a 4th and a 2nd in her two starts to date (4) MASYA will be strongly favoured to finish on top here. In both those races, she’s come from well back and finished strongly and that’s what she’ll be looking to do here. Should she leave herself too much to do though, (10) HANSEN BAROWS can take advantage. He could well get an easy lead early on and that’s going to put pressure on the favourite. He could conceivably stay on all the way around. (1) THE FINAL has been 3rd in both her races so far, the latest at this distance and she has every chance of continuing that run today. (5) MACH SEUNGNI and (7) PALDO GANGTA looks best of the rest.

Selections (4) Masya (10) Hansen Barows (1) The Final (7) Paldo Gangta
Next Best 5, 8
Fast Start 10 

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A winner on his debut in November and then a close 3rd behind Sinui Myeongryeong and Mask in a valuable race on Christmas Eve, (6) COMPLETE SWEEP is strongly favoured. He made all in that first-time win and should be able to get on or close to the early speed today and should win. (11) SEUNGRI SIDAE was one-paced on his latest on a (more…)

Power Blade’s Grand Prix The Best Yet

On Sunday, we probably saw the best Grand Prix Stakes we ever have. The 2015 edition, won by Bold Kings, was outstanding, while for those of us who go in for that sort of thing, Tough Win’s 2011 victory over fellow “troika” members, Mister Park and Smarty Moonhak will always be special, even if the race itself wasn’t that exciting.  Power Blade’s victory this year, on the other hand, was in a race that involved a win by a genuine star in a contest that wasn’t settled until the final stride.

Power Blade Grand Prix Fnish1

Power Blade wins the Grand Prix (Pic: KRA)

Cheongdam Dokki, the three-year-old favourite, set a pace that was quite brutal by Korean standards. In a Grand Prix Stakes, only Ugildongja in 2009 and Beolmaui Kkum in 2014 had set anything close to his early sectionals – and both finished well back in their respective fields. Cheongdam Dokki didn’t. The final time of Power Blade broke the 2300M track record by over a second and was precisely three seconds quicker than the fastest previous Grand Prix – the aforementioned 2009 edition, which was won by Dongbanui Gangja.

The horses who went with Cheongdam Dokki – or at least tried to – simply had nothing left for the closing stages; Diferent Dimension, Dynamic Dash and last to succumb, Silver Wolf, fading through the pack. The only one who kept pace early and had something to offer was the outstanding Triple Nine. Lim Sung Sil, possibly fearing that Cheongdam Dokki was simply too good, began to get after Triple Nine as they began the long turn for home, a full four-furlongs out, in order to keep up with the leader. At the same time Oh Kyung Hwan on Power Blade and Park Jae I on Dongbang Daero opted to save energy and allowed their mounts a more leisurely trip, ultimately paying huge dividends in the closing stages.

It is therefore perhaps testament to the sheer ability of Triple Nine and the huge potential of Cheongdam Dokki that they still managed to finish 3rd and 4th respectively after such stiff early efforts. Less than three lengths separated the winner and 5th placed Buhwarui Banseok.

Power Blade Grand Prix Winners Circle

Power Blade in the Grand Prix winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

Dongbang Daero had finished 3rd behind Saengil Gippeum in what was a trial for the Grand Prix over 2200M at Busan at the beginning of November. Saengil Gippeum blew them away that day but Dongbang Daero had finished the quickest, running on very nicely to become involved in a finish in which there was just half a length separating 2nd and 6th. Buhwarui Banseok was also involved in that finish and he too ran on very well on Sunday.

Last year’s winner Clean Up Joy didn’t look the part before the race and never really featured, ending up in 7th place.

It became clear around two furlongs out that Cheongdam Dokki wasn’t going to be able to keep things up the whole way around. Triple Nine got first crack at him but Power Blade and Dongbang Daero simply had too much in reserve and Power Blade’s class saw him home by a Head on the line.

It is a shame that neither Triple Nine nor Power Blade will be returning to the Dubai World Cup Carnival as both look eminently capable of winning a race this time around. Connections have other plans, however, and hopefully they’ll get a nice long rest through the worst of the winter – although in all honesty, it would be no surprise to see one or other lining up in a nondescript Class 1 handicap come February. The pair of them have been such good ambassadors for Korean racing over the past three seasons, that they went overseas even once is something we can be grateful for. That trip, plus their showings in the Korea Cup and Sprint demonstrated that the pair of them could hold their own to a good (not elite, but good) standard anywhere.

Trainer Kim Young Kwan can divide opinions, but there can be no denying that when a horse of his comes out to run in a big race, his team will have it in peak condition and Triple Nine and Power Blade are the epitome of this – Triple Nine’s Godolphin Mile aside (and he was in desperate need of a spell then), they never seem to have an off-day.

Both now have claims to be the top Korean-bred horse ever. Power Blade’s Triple Crown and Grand Prix matching up with Triple Nine’s President’s Cup hat-trick. Their prize money earnings are almost identical with both breaking the 3 Billion Won barrier at the Grand Prix.  They’ve raced each other seven times now with Triple Nine leading the head-to-head by 4 to 3  – although Power Blade has now won three of their last four meetings.

We head into 2018 with plenty to be excited about on track. Cheongdam Dokki’s development along with the pair who ultimately didn’t run in the Grand Prix, Dolkong and New Citadel. Then there is the emergence of a new domestic three-year-old crop which looks stronger than this year’s. Still on top for now though are Power Blade and Triple Nine and next year they will still only be five and six-years-old.



Cheongdam Dokki Downs Clean Up Joy To Cruise To Seoul’s Summit

There is a new force in Korean racing. His name is Cheongdam Dokki.

Even though he was going up against Clean Up Joy, last year’s winner and top-rated at Seoul, and New Citadel, who had already beaten him, nobody really thought he would lose. And he didn’t. However, the ease with which Cheongdam Dokki won the KRA Cup Classic served notice that this really is a potential star.

KRA Cup Classic (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – October 22, 2017

1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] – Moon Se Young – 1.6, 1.1
2. New Citadel (USA) [With Distinction – Ree Ensign (Proud And True)] – Jo Jae Ro – 1.1
3. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeux Danseur)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.2
Distances: 4 lengths / 9 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Clean Up Cheonha (USA) 5. Shamrocker (USA) 6. Suseong Captain (KOR) 7. Muhudaeje (USA) 8. Cheonjeok (USA)

It was over by the first corner, champion jockey Moon Se Young taking Cheongdam Dokki into an early lead from the gate and while Clean Up Joy and New Citadel closed the gap and then went with him rounding the far turn, it was clear they were under pressure a long way out.

In the straight there was only ever going to be one winner. The margin on the line was 4-lengths from New Citadel (who may provide some interest over the 2300M of the Grand Prix Stakes) with Clean Up Joy a further 9 lengths back in 3rd. To give some context to it, Clean Up Joy today ran his quickest ever time at 2000M – and he had tackled the distance on no fewer than eight prior occasions, winning on seven of them. Yet he was over two seconds slower than Cheongdam Dokki today.

Cheongdam Dokki, a gelding, was a $20,000 purchase from the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Despite the obvious talent, he hasn’t always been the easiest to handle but has now won four races in a row by margins of his choosing. There are still others he needs to beat; Dolkong at Seoul and of course Triple Nine and Power Blade, but on today’s performance, few would bet against him against any of those. Hopefully, they will meet. While a trip to the Dubai World Cup Carnival unfortunately doesn’t appear to be on his agenda, the next few months could be very interesting.

Victoire Pulls Off Spectacular Juvenile Win On Icheon Ssal As Records Tumble At Soaking Wet Seoul

Have a look at this – Johan Victoire bringing Icheon Ssal from last to first in the final furlong to win a valuable Juvenile race at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Icheon Ssal (Capital Spending) provided Victoire with his first Korean winner on his first ever ride at Seoul just under a month ago. It was Incheon Ssal’s debut that day too and he reappeared on Sunday in a race exclusively for 2-year-olds who graduated from this Spring’s Jeju Breeze-Up Sales.

It was the ride that got the attention though, as French jockey Victoire brought Icheon Ssal from last to first in the closing stages to grab victory on the line.  Victoire’s performance was one of a number of impressive returns from foreign jockeys across the weekend with Antonio Da Silva at Seoul and both Franco Da Silva and JP Guillambert at Busan also being in top form.

Speaking of top form, Cheongdam Dokki has beenturning heads recently. An American import, 3-year-old Cheongdam Dokki (To Honor And Serve) ran out a 17-length winner over 1800M at class 2 last month, despite playing up in the parade ring and bolting on his way to the gate. The antics were limited this Sunday for what was his first try at both class 1 and 2000M. It went rather well:

Late nominations for the Korea Cup for locally trained runners open briefly on August 25…

Cheongdam Dokki would have broken the track record for 2000M had Kim Yong Geun not almost slowed him to a walk by the time they crossed the line but two record did fall on Sunday on a track that was racing exceptionally fast after 15 hours of continuous downpours. Those were at 1700M where Dangdae Geoljak (Peace Rules-So Original) set a new mark of 1:46.6 in race 8 and then at the Korea Sprint distance of 1200M which now has a new record of 1:10.6 following the efforts of Cheonjiga (Trappe Shot-What A Girl Needs) in the closing race 11.

At Busan, the feature race was won by Triple Nine’s little sister, the Thomas Gillespie trained Black Sapphire (Ecton Park-A Little Poke) while the 2yo Breeze-Up-grads race was won by Kim Young Kwan’s Classic Match (Hansen-Intouchable).

Perdido Pomeroy, Cheongdam Dokki Shine At Busan & Seoul

Last Sunday saw two standout performances as Perdido Pomeroy returned to the winner’s circle at Busan while Cheongdam Dokki dominated Seoul

Having won five of his first seven starts, culminating in the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul in July of 2016, Perdido Pomeroy looked to be the next big sprinting star. A 4th in the Korea Sprint in September did nothing to dispel that idea but he has endured an up and down time since then with others seemingly turning out superior. He only beat three home in the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the Sprint Series, in May and was then an improved 5th in this year’s SBS Sports.

He was nevertheless, sent off as one of three very near co-favourites for Sunday’s six-furlong feature race at Busan along with Triple Five and Match Power. This two failed to fire but last year’s Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi made a race of it until the final furlong when Perdido Pomeroy pulled clear under 2kg claiming jockey Jung Do Yun, to record an emphatic three-length win. The win puts him back firmly in the frame among top sprinters.

Up at Seoul, Cheongdam Dokki had frustrated punters when sent off as favourite in each of his last two. On Sunday, he was favourite again and this time made absolutely no mistake.

It looked like he might for a while though. Cheongdam Dokki played up in the parade right to the point of almost losing a show. The farrier worked quickly though and once settled, he was able to join a small field of seven others in the gate.

The race was over right away with Cheongdam Dokki leading into the first corner and running away from the field. He came home in a time not too far shy of Power Blade’s track record, set in similar conditions in last year’s Korean Derby, almost three full seconds ahead of the 2nd place-getter. A $20,000 yearling purchase from Keeneland, Cheongdam Dokki moves on to four wins from eight starts. Needless to say, he’s one to watch.

This coming weekend sees the biggest race of the summer, the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup. Right now, it looks like Triple Nine and Clean Up Joy are set to face each other.

Cheongdam Dokki, I’m Your Father Claim 2yo Prizes

Big prizes were on offer for imported two-year-olds at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday . 23/1 outsider Cheongdam Dokki took the honours in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul while at Busan, jockey Francisco Da Silva continued his recent run of form, guiding  well-backed I’m Your Father to victory in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo.


Francisco Da Silva interviewed post-race

I’m Your Father (Tiznow) entered having won one of three starts so far with 2nd and 3rd places in the other two – all against older horses. Accordingly he was sent off as the slight favourite for the 1200M Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup, Busan’s most valuable race for imported juveniles. I’m Your Father, a $50,000 yearling purchase from the Fasig Tipton sale last autumn raced handy throughout, hitting the front early in the home straigth and running on to win by a dominant four lengths.

It was jockey Francisco Da Silva’s 11th Korean winner and he would quickly add another as he guided Main Stay to beat stablemate and Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi and highly rated sprinter Perdido Pomeroy in the class 1 feature.

Seoul too hosted its most valuable race for juvenile imports on Sunday and if Busan’s was practically a procession for the winner, in the capital it was anything but. Spirit Of Hansen (Hansen) was sent off as a vulnerable favourite in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup but it was another 23/1 chance, Cheongdam Dokki (To Honor And Serve) who closed from 9th to 1st in the final furlong to snatch it on the line under Park Eul Woon.

Cheongdam Dokki cost just $20,000 at Keeneland’s yearling sale in 2015. The munhwa Ilbo was just his second lifetime start and he’s won both of them

Next week sees one of the biggest races of the season at Seoul in the shape of the President’s Cup. It’s Korea’s most valuable race of the season that’s restricted to domestic-bred horses.