Choi Bum Hyun

Geombit Gangja Wins Sports Chosun 2017

A bit late but catching up on last week’s action, Geombit Gangja won the Sports Chosun Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon:

Geombit Gangja

Geombit Gangja & Choi Bum Hyun win the Sports Chosun Cup (Pic: KRA)

Geombit Gangja, a four-year-old gelding, was sent off as favourite for the 2000M listed race and having settled at the rear of the field, came through strongly in the closeing stages under jockey Choi Bum Hyun to claim victory. It was another big race win for in-form trainer Song Moon Gil.

Choi Bum Hyun HJY

Singer Hong Jin Young joined in the winner’s circle on one of her regular racecourse appearances (Pic: KRA)

It was Geombit Gangja’s 6th victory on his 15th career start.

Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – June 18, 2017

1. Geombit Gangja (KOR) [Ingrandire – Tandia (Two Punch)] – Chi Bum Hyung – 3.3, 1.6
2. Royal Victory (KOR) [Exploit – Guryeongnyeong (Revere)] – Song Jae Chul – 2.0
3. Haetbinna (KOR) [Didyme – Chowonui Kkum (The Groom Is Red)] – Jan Havlik – 10.1
Distances: 1.5 lengths / 2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. I Am For You 5. Kawon 6. Yeongnong 7. Gaia Thunder 8. Chowon Gangta 9. Perfect Shine 10. Dongchonui Guy

Final Boss Means Game Over For Rivals In Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup

5/1 chance Final Boss swept to victory in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday afternoon. The 2-year-old colt took out the capital’s top juvenile race by almost two-lengths under jockey Choi Bum Hyun. 

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Final Boss in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup winner’s circle

Three horses entered the 1200M race with unbeaten records to defend and punters sent two of them, Athena Thunder and Meni Bracing off as almost co-favourites. Both would disappoint.

After Kkumui Silhyeon veered wide out of the gate, dumping jockey Lee Hyeon Jong on the floor in the process, it was the third unbeaten entrant, Circle Dancer, who set the pace with Final Boss only leading longest shot on the board Calling King as they entered the straight.

Once home was in sight though, jockey Choi brought Final Boss around the outside and unleashed his sprint. The favourites had nothing to offer and he was 3rd a furlong out. From then on it was inevitable. Circle Dancer rallied but couldn’t repel the winner but did just manage to edge out Calling King, who had joined Final Boss on his late romp forward.

Final Boss [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] entered following back to back wins, most recently a seven-length stroll over the same distance a month ago. Champion jockey Moon Se Young rode him that day but partnered Meni Bracing today. Choi Bum Hyun got the benefit and may very well keep the ride when he faces Busan’s best in the Breeders’ Cup on December 4th. Busan holds its championship juvenile race, the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup, on Sunday afternoon.

Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup (Listed – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – October 23, 2016

1. Final Boss (KOR) [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 5.4, 1.6
2. Circle Dancer (KOR) [Vicar – Uribada (Al Naba)] – Lee Dong Ha – 2.8
3. Calling King (KOR) [Field Asuka – Lovely Shine (French Deputy)] – Kim Cheol Ho – 17.7
Distances: 1.75 lengths / Nose
Also Ran: 4. Castle Royal 5. Meni Bracing 6. Silla Hwarang 7. Athena Thunder DNF: Kkumui Silhyeon

Late Show Haemaru Owns SROA Trophy

8/1 chance Haemaru was the winner of the first Korean Group race of 2016, getting up for a last-gasp victory over Segye Ilbo Cup victor Global Fusion in the Seoul Racecourse Owners’ Association Trophy this afternoon.

Punters couldn’t come to any kind of consensus. Magic Dancer ended up sent off as a weak favourite but while he would show close to the front for most of the race he, along with all the early pace-setters; Yaho Sky Cat, Sun Lordly and Always Winner, would fade badly in the home straight.

It would be left to the closers and Global Fusion, the shock winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January with a similar late late show, took control with a furlong to go. His lead looked to be big enough to ensure lightning would indeed strike twice but that was to reckon without Haemaru. Fifth at the furlong pole, he relentless ground down the leader under jockey Choi Bum Hyun and snatched victory in the final strides.

Sotong Sidae, Sun Burster and Seonbong would likewise fly home from the back to occupy the minor prize money positions.

For Haemaru (Vicar), a 5-year-old gelding, it was an 8th career win on his 25th start and first Stakes victory. He was 9th in this race last year. For Jockey Choi Bum Hyun, at one-time the go to man in the weighing room for the big occasions, it was a first return to the Stakes winner’s circle since 2012.

SROA Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 13, 2016

1. Haemaru (KOR) [Vicar – Forest Flower (Timber Country)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 8.6, 2.9
2. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 4.0
3. Sotong Sidae (KOR) [Gold Money – Myeonggahuiye (Black Minnaloushe)] – Park Byeong Yun – 3.1
Distance: Head/2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sun Burster 5. Seonbong 6. Always Winner 7. Yaho Sky Cat 8. Singyu Gangja 9. Best Guy 10. Gumanseok 11. Goldholic 12 Magic Dancer 13. Power City 14. Impetus 15. Raon Morris 16. Sun Lordly

Down at Busan, Beolmaui Kkum (Wildly Magic) cemented his return to the top of racing on the south coast, beating Gamdonguibada (Werblin)for a second consecutive time. over 1400M. There was a length between the pair on the line and they were split by Darkest Night (Ghostly Minister), who recorded a very solid 2nd place on his first try at class 1.

Seoul Bids Farewell To Moody Dongbanui Gangja While Indian Blue Romps To Segye Ilbo Victory

Dongbanui Gangja Retirement Ceremony / Segye Ilbo Stakes / Treble For Fujii At Busan

Dongbanui Gangja was in typically combative mood as he passed into Korean racing history with a retirement ceremony at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Dongbanui Gangja was in mischievous mood at Seoul Race Park

Dongbanui Gangja was in mischeivous mood at Seoul Race Park

The 8-year-old looked as though he’d rather be anywhere else than the Seoul Race Park winner’s circle that he graced so many times over the years after big race wins.

Although eventually coaxed into posing for photographs for the hundreds of well-wishers who crowded around, he made clear his displeasure by bucking and kicking his way through a canter down the home-straight accompanied by a track pony.

For jockey Choi Bum Hyun it must have been a reminder of the grief and the brilliance he got from Dongbanui Gangja as the pair won back-to-back Grand Prix Stakes and an Owners’ Cup among 20 career victories. Yet when he lost, he tended to do it in style with some monumental displays of petulance over the years costing him victories.

He will be greatly missed. Dongbanui Gangja [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)], who was bought for $20,000 at OBS in 2007 retired with career earnings of $1.3 Million. He will go to stud at a private farm on Jeju Island.

On the track, Indian Blue produced an impressive come-from-behind run to sweep to a convincing victory in the Segye Ilbo Cup.

Indian Blue and Yoo Seung Wan, both in the Stakes winner's circle for the first time

Indian Blue and Yoo Seung Wan, both in the Stakes winner’s ciircle for the first time

The 7 furlong race, one of few big races specifically for foreign-bred fillies and mares, saw 3-year-old Indian Blue (Henny Hughes) make up 11 places in the penultimate furlong before stretching away to win by 8 lengths from Dashing Platinum (Macho Uno) and Pureun Miso (Malibu Moon).

Indian Blue, a $26,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton last May, now has 3 wins from 6 starts and has never finished worse than 3rd.

Segye Ilbo Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – February 17, 2013

1. Indian Blue (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gamblers Passion (Prospectors Gamble)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 2.2, 1.2
2. Dashing Platinum (USA) [Macho Uno – Forbidden Kiss (Tocuh Gold)] – Lee Hyeok – 3.0
3. Pureun Miso (USA) [Malibu Moon – Marina De Chavon (Exploit)] – Jun Duck Yong – 2.0

Distances: 8 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. January Queen (KOR) 5. Seocheonha (NZ) 6. Daehwahap (USA) 7. Big Power (USA) 8. Raonjena (USA) 9. A Wanted Affair (USA) 10. Yaho Dolphins (USA) 11. Golden Socks (USA) 12. Winner Trophy (USA) 13. Silent Dashing (USA) NR: Happy Dancer (USA)

* At Busan it was a great day for Joe Fujii. Since finishing 2012 on a high with his Grand Prix Stakes win on Gamdonguibada, the Japanese jockey has had a quiet start to 2013 with suspension ruling him out of the first few meetings.

It all came right today, however, as Fujii notched up a treble, all for trainer Kim Young Kwan. First up was filly Raon Bally (Pico Central) in race 3, quickly followed by Raon Boss (Pico Central) for the same owner in race 4. His final triumph came in race 6 on Myeongun Jewang (Forest Camp).

Narazaki Kosuke was also among the winners today meaning 4 out of the 6 races on the card at Busan were won by Japanese riders.

Next week sees the first Stakes action of the year at Busan in the shape of the Busan Ilbo Cup. Dangdae Bulpae and Gyeongbudaero are set to be among a very strong field.

Speedus Steers Clear Of Trouble To Claim Nonghyup Stakes

Cho Kyoung Ho To Miss Grand Prix After DQ of Chowon Yeoje

11/1 chance Speedus won the Nonghyup Chairman’s Stakes at a chilly Seoul Race Park this afternoon in an ugly renewal which could have an impact on the season ending Grand Prix Stakes.

The three-year old filly hit the front with two furlongs to run and kept well clear of the carnage caused by jockey Cho Kyoung Ho on favourite Chowon Yeoje near the furlong pole which caused jockey Bang Choon Sik to fall from his mount and for four other fillies to be severely hampered.

Cho picked up a six meeting ban for his ride which will begin on December 1 and run until the end of the year. It means he will miss the ride on Tough Win if the five-year old tries to defend his Grand Prix Stakes title. Nevertheless, Cho can consider himself lucky after a very reckless ride.

Using his stick a ridiculously high number of times even before the home straight, Chowon Yeoje appeared to finally have had enough and lurched across the track with a furlong to run.

The winner though was a worthy one. Speedus finished on top for the fourth time in her twelve starts, six lengths clear of Dolpung Jilju.

It was a second consecutive triumph in this race for jockey Choi Bum Hyun, who won last year on Cheonun, and his first trip to the Stakes winner’s circle in 2012. With a big ride potentially up for grabs in the Grand Prix, he may just get another chance.

Nonghyup Chairman’s Stakes – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – Sunday November 18, 2012

1. Speedus (KOR) [Menifee-Tourney’s Gold (Ten Gold Pots)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 11.9, 4.1
2. Dolpung Jilju (KOR) [Didyme-Alder Gulch (Gulch)] – 2.3
3. X File (KOR) [Exploit-Dorothy Dee (Woodman)] – Seo Seung Un – 4.2

Distances: 6 lengths/0.5 lengths

Dongbang Rose Wilts As Tamnaseontaek Takes Seoul Victory

After a barren spell of over a year, Tamnaseontaek returned to the winner’s circle at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

The five-year-old, who competed in the Korean Derby in 2010 and has three Stakes race placings to his name, finally landed a Class 1 race by taking a narrow victory in the feature handicap.

Kim Jeong Jun looks across but Choi Bum Hyun has beaten him on Tamnaseontaek

Symphony Sonata, another who has found the going tough since breaking through to the elite level, was a battling second while former Champion filly Dongbang Rose could only manage third.

Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Feb 18, 2012

1. Tamnaseontaek (KOR) [War Sone-Every Michelle (Every Intent)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 4.9, 1.8
2. Symphony Sonata (KOR) [E. Dubai-First Violin (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Jeong Jun – 2.9
3. Dongbang Rose (KOR) [Volponi-Night Mary (Strike Gold)] – Choi Won Joon – 2.3

Distances: 0.75 lengths/0,75 lengths. 10 Ran

On Friday at Busan, there was a dominant win in the feature race for 5/1 chance Money Tree (Medallist). The five-year-old mare scored by seven lengths from outsider Sinheung Daejangun and favourite Tough Tiger to record her seventh career victory. It was another big success for Japanese jockey Akane Yamamoto who, for the time being, is the only foreign rider at Busan.

On Sunday the focus is on Seoul where Aussie filly Xicar (Written Tycoon) is set to be favourite for the Segye Ilbo Cup. Meanwhile at Busan, Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley is in with a shout in the feature race as his Secret Whisper (Sea Of Secrets) has strong claims in a seven furlong handicap.

Dongbanui Gangja and Dongteuja Keep Maremaid’s Memory Alive

Siblings Win At Seoul & Busan

December is a month when punters expect to see Dongbanui Gangja [Broken Vow-Maremaid (Storm Bird)] in the winner’s circle. In 2009, he became the third horse – after 1980’s and 1990’s greats Po Gyeong Seon and Ka Shock Do – to win consecutive Grand Prix Stakes, Korea’s most prestigious race. This year, he wasn’t nominated and instead came to Seoul Race Park this weekend and comfortably dismissed a class 1 field by three lengths despite giving the whole lot of them a minimum of six kilos.

Back winning: Dongbanui Gangja and Choi Bum Hyun (Pic: KRA)

Just one week before his first Grand Prix triumph on the weekend before Christmas in 2008, Dongbanui Gangja’s dam, a then fourteen-year-old mare named Maremaid [Storm Bird-Isayso (Valid Appeal)] arrived in Korea having been bought by the Korea Horse Land breeding operation.

Dongbanui Gangja himself was a $20,000 purchase from the OBS Spring Two-year olds in Training sale at Ocala in 2007. He quickly established himself as a high-class performer and went unbeaten for twelve consecutive races between October 2008 and July 2010, during which time he won hs two Grand Prix’s and an Owners’ Trophy.

The rest of 2010 was a disappointment though. As a five-year old he had become increasingly difficult to control and he started to drift very wide in his races. There was talk of retirement. However, with a lot of training and a pair of pacifiers fitted, this year he has begun to show a little of his old form. It is great to have him back.

Apart from Dongbanui Gangja, Maremaid had produced six other foals who raced in the US. The best of them was a filly, Glitter Maid, by Glitterman, who won six of twenty-eight starts in the early 2000’s. When she arrived in Korea, she was heavily in foal to Montbrook. Sadly, she suffered complications while giving birth to a filly on February 12, 2009.

The filly survived, however, and this afternoon at Busan Race Park, Dongteuja [Montbrook-Maremaid (Storm Bird)] maintained her 100% record as she strolled to her fourth consecutive win since her debut in August. She has a long way to go before emulating her big brother but so far, she’s doing just fine.

Dongteuja was today ridden by Japanese jockey Akane Yamamoto. Akane went on to finish second by a head in the feature race on Goni (Wando) to hot favourite Champion Belt (Exploit). Champion Belt should have been ridden by Nathan Stanley, however, calamity struck for the prolific Australian rider on Friday as he picked up a three-month ban – an unusually strong punishment for in-race incidents in Korea that don’t involve non-trying – for his ride on Cheonjae Bogo in race 6 on Friday.

The suspension, which potentially ends Stanley’s time in Korea given his license expires at the end of December, means he will miss next week’s Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul. Akane will be there though riding Mister Park, last year’s winner as he attempts to emulate none other than Dongbanui Gangja and retain the biggest prize in Korean racing.

Dongbanui Gangja’s second Grand Prix in 2009: