Choi Si Dae

Success Story 3rd as Gamdonguibada Wins Busan Ilbo Cup

Success Story was sent off the slight favourite on his return to racing in Korea but just like in his two starts at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, he had to settle for 3rd as Gamdonguibada romped to a five-length victory in the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the 2016 Korean Sprint Series at Busan this afternoon.

The race was expected to be dominated by a pace duel between Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum, both fast starters and difficult to split at the head of the market. That would always be fine for Gamdonguibada who was well-backed by punters who suspected she might be able to take advantage of the favourites potentially over-racing early.

Gamdonguibada did exactly that. However, others were not content to let the favourites dictate and Indian Star, Daepungnyeon and Perdido Pomeroy shot out of the gate leaving Success Story and Beolmaui Kkum back in an unfamiliar 4th and 5th as the race settled down.

Entering the straight, Beolmaui Kkum offered nothing and while Success Story rallied, he had too much to find as Gamdonguibada and Choi Si Dae went through the gears and cruised away from the field, racing on for a dominant five-length win on the line. Perdido Pomeroy and Kim Yong Geun ran on for a strong second with Success Story and Paolo Aragoni a further three lengths back in a strung-out finish.

Gamdonguibada (Werblin) is a quite remarkable mare. A $31,000 purchase at the Ocala Two-year-old sale in 2011, she won the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup and then the Grand Prix Stakes, Korea’s most prestigious race as a three-year-old. She didn;t win any Stakes races in 2013 but then as a five-year-old in 2014 she won two legs of the Queens’ Tour for fillies & mares to be crowned the series champion. Connections (thankfully) rejected the bonus that was on offer to retire her immediately for breeding and brought her back in 2015.

Gamdonguibada won the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup, Busan’s richest race for older horses before running poorly in Singapore at 1200M just three weeks later.There was talk once more she would be retired. She wasn’t.

The win is yet another for the Kim Young Kwan training machine that continues to churn out winner after winner at Stakes level. The next leg of the Sprint Series is the SBS Korea/Japan race at Seoul in early June. The final leg is, of course, the Korea Sprint on International Day on September 11th. Gamdonguibada has staked her claim to be there.

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Ttukseom Cup Champion Keeps Her Winning Touch

Useung Touch, winner of last month’s Ttukseom Cup in Seoul returned to action at her home track of Busan this afternoon with some style as she defeated a field full of imported horses to win the first of co-main events.

Useung Touch

Useung Touch

The 2011 Korean Oaks winner had a solid if unspectacular 4-year old season last year, always managing a money-winning finish but generally finding one or two too quick for her.

However, her year ended with a big jump up in performance when she finished 2nd to another filly, Gamdonguibada in the Grand Prix Stakes.

Returning to the capital she dominated the Ttukeseom Cup, the first leg of the “Queens’ Tour” that will decide Korea’s champion filly and mare.

Today, Useung Touch (Menifee) was sent off the hot favourite, despite being one of only three Korean-bred runners in the mile-long race. In the end, she fought out a tough finish with US-bred colt Wild Myeongun (D’Wildcat), getting the better of him by just over a half a length on the line. The rest of the field trailed in a full eleven lengths behind the leading pair.

Useung Touch now has 8 wins from 22 starts – but with a further 7 seconds and 2 thirds to her name and over 1 Billion won in prize money in the bank, she currently just edges Gamdonguibada (who has 8 wins but from just 12 starts) as the most successful filly or mare on the peninsula right now. Jockey Choi SI Dae felt he should have won the Grand Prix when Useung Touch started at 100/1. A rematch between the two could be very interesting.

In the other co-feature at Busan, 4-1 chance Baekho Janggun (Pico Central) took a narrow win by a neck from Peter Wolsley’s old-stager Khaosan (Sunday Well). Wolsley also saddled the 3rd horse home, Ghost Whisper (Gotham City).

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Japanese jockey Joe Fujii continued his excellent form. He landed races 1 and 2 to take his tally to the weekend for 6. Fujii’s countryman Ureshi Katsunori was also on the board again but Darryll Holland’s best finish was the second on Wild Myeongun.

Also at Busan, My Key (Macho Uno), a half-brother to US champion Game On Dude, recorded his 3rd career win on his 7th start. He won the 1500 metre race 4 by a comfortable 5 lengths.

Up at Seoul, the feature race also went to a filly. 2012 Nonghyup Chairman’s Stakes winner Speedus (Menifee) found her way back to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2013 with a 2-length victory in the 1800 metre main event.

Next week, Busan is the focus again with a small but top class field set to compete for the Gukje Sinmun Cup. Three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) and the afore-mentioned Gamdonguibada (Werblin) are among those currently set to run.

Untouchable! Useung Touch Romps To Ttukseom Cup Triumph

Useung Touch struck the first blow in the race to become Champion filly & mare of 2013 by cruising to a remarkable 7-length victory in the Ttukseom Cup, the first leg of the 2013 Queens’ Tour, at Seoul Race Park Sunday.

Hold On! Connections and jockey Choi Si Dae struggle to hold Useung Touch in the Ttukseom Cup winner's circle

Hold On! Connections and jockey Choi Si Dae struggle to hold Useung Tocuh in the Ttukseom Cup winner’s circle

Now 5-years-old, the 2011 Korean Oaks winner Useung Touch (Menifee)announced her return to form with shock 2nd place finish to Gamdounguibada in the Grand Prix Stakes in December. Today, re-united with jockey Choi Si Dae for the first time since she was a 3-year-old and dropping down to 7 furlongs, she was sent off as second-favourite behind Segye Ilbo Cup winner Indian Blue.

Always travelling well, Useung Touch hit the front with just over a furlong to run and powered away from the field, still stretching her lead on the line. Fellow Korean bred filly Grand Teukgeup (Menifee), 3rd in last year’s Oaks was closest to her in 2nd, while Indian Blue’s effort was too little and far too late as she finished in 3rd.

Useung Touch now has 7 wins from her 21 starts with 7 2nd place finishes and prize money of over 1 Billion Korean Won. A star of the 2011 Triple Crown trail, in addition to winning the Oaks, she was 2nd in the Derby and Minister’s Cup. While she only recorded one win in 2012, she’s now firmly established back among the Korean racing elite.

It’s another triumph for Korea’s top stallion Menifee. In siring the 1st and 2nd home, he extends his lead at the top of the Leading Sire race with more than double the prize money of his closest rival.

Ttukseom Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – March 17, 2013

1. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] – Choi Si Dae – 3.2, 1.4
2. Grand Teukgeup (KOR) [Menifee-Saratoga Campaign (Mt. Livermore)] – Chae Gyu Jun – 3.6
3. Indian Blue (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gamblers Passion (Prospector’s Gamble)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.5

Distances: 7 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sangnyu (USA) 5. Empire World (USA) 6. Darani (USA) 7. Seungniuihamseong (KOR) 8. Dongteuja (KOR) 9. Dangdae Jeonseung (CAN) 10. Imperial Girl (USA) 11. Kkakjaengi (USA) 12. Sangseung Geotap (USA) 13. Ruby Queen (KOR) 14. Royale Embrace (USA) 15. Chowonuibyeol (USA) 16. Blueband Mama (USA)

* There is Listed race action at Seoul next weekend. 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) heads the entrants for the Sports Donga Cup.