Diferent Dimension

Curtain Closes On Landmark Dubai Carnival

Had we been told before the 2017 Godolphin Mile that Triple Nine would ultimately finish just one place behind pre-race favourite North America, we may have been very excited. Well that’s what ultimately happened. That North America weakened to finish at the back of the main group with Triple Nine, for whom it proved a race too far, many lengths further adrift, might have been disappointing but does nothing to detract from what was a wonderful Carnival from a Korean perspective.

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Triple Nine at the Godolphin Mile (Screengrab from Dubai Racing TV)

Naturally, there are a bucket load of excuses that could be put forward for why Triple Nine didn’t do himself anything like justice (wrong trip, bad draw, muddy track of the type he lost to Beolmaui Kkum on last year, tired after a long campaign and so on and so forth) but it doesn’t really matter. It’s racing. It happens.

As it was, the closest Triple Nine came to a win ay Meydan was his first appearance on January 19th, when he closed strongly but just a little late to run 2nd to Hunting Ground over 2000M. The gutsy Triple Crown winner Power Blade landed consecutive 3rd places over a mile and 1900M before the pair of them both ran 5th in their respective Group races on Super Saturday.

Then, of course, there was Main Stay. He and Seoul Bullet both lined up for the 1200M Dirt Handicap on January 19th and for the first time there was real pressure not only to perform well but to actually win the race. As Dubai Racing TV pointed out as the horses came out onto the track “this race really is the Koreans’ to lose”. Seoul Bullet was slow out of the gate but ran on for 4th but Main Stay made no mistake. The race was won with a furlong to go and Terry Spargo’s “Chalk one up for Korea” call has been played at Seoul & Busan Racecourses every week since.

Seoul Bullet would pull up lame and play no further part in the Carnival as indeed would Main Stay after his second run three weeks later.

While Main Stay gets to go down in the history books, arguably the most significant result was that achieved by Diferent Dimension when he defied odds of 33/1 to come 3rd over a mile on turf on February 11th.

It was the first time for a Korean horse to run on turf at the Carnival and the race was well received back home not only because of the result but also for the way the horses ran tightly together as opposed to the wide margins on dirt. Plans are at an advanced stage for a turf track to be installed alongside the sand one at Seoul Racecourse and if the project is to be successful,  a substantial shift in mindset among horsemen in Korea in going ot be required. Actual proof that a Korea-trained (albeit by an Australian) horse can run well on turf is surely the best way to start that process.

Korea’s runners at this year’s Carnival were made possible by the performance of Success Story last year, his pair of 3rd places giving courage to owners and trainers. The unique nature of the Carnival also makes it ideal for a nation wishing to develop its racing, such as Korea. The horses get to spend a number of months in Dubai as do the grooms and workriders. They get to work alongside local grooms and riders and train alongside horses from all over the world providing an opportunity both to observe and to learn. Top international jockeys ride the horses – this year Ireland’s Pat Cosgrave handled the bulk of riding duties of the Korean string and a fine job he did too, both in work and in the races; his exhausting ride in Power Blade’s second outing standing out.

That regular Carnival races are competitive but not overwhelming also gives encouragement. The most exciting thing now is to see who emerges as a contender to make the trip in 2018.

Korea’s results at the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival:

Triple Nine
1/19: 2000M (Dirt) – 2nd
2/9: 2000M (Dirt) – 4th
3/4: 2000M (Dirt – G1) – 5th
3/25: 1600M Godolphin Mile (Dirt – G2) – 11th

Power Blade
1/12: 1600M (Dirt) – 3rd
2/2: 1900M (Dirt) – 3rd
3/4: 1600M (Dirt – G3) – 5th

Main Stay
1/19: 1200M (Dirt) – 1st
2/11: 1200M (Dirt) – 4th

Diferent Dimension
1/12: 1600M (Dirt) – 7th
2/11: 1600M (Turf) – 3rd
2/16: 1600M (Dirt) – 7th

Seoul Bullet
1/19: 1200M (Dirt) – 4th

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Triple Nine, Main Stay & Diferent Dimension Run At Meydan This Week

The 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival is starting to head towards its business end and following Power Blade’s 3rd place in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge last Thursday, three of the other Korea-trained horses, Triple Nine, Main Stay and Diferent Dimension will line up this week. Triple Nine races on Thursday while Main Stay and Diferent Dimension will go on Saturday.

Triple Nine ran on very nicely for 2nd on his Meydan debut last month and he is likely to be one of the favourites for his race, a 2000M Dirt Handicap which is race 3 on Thursday’s card. There are plenty of dangers though. Mizbah beat Hunting Ground, who himself beat Triple Nine last start, by no fewer than seven and a half lengths on January 5. While he carries an additional 5.5kg on Thursday, he is sure to be dangerous. Godolphin’s Emotionless was a highly thought-of juvenile in the UK in 2015 but only raced twice as a three-year-old. He was 6th on his Meydan debut in the first leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge at a mile and may well have come on for it. Click here for Race Card.

On Saturday Main Stay, who is already a winner at this year’s Carnival, makes his re-appearance. He faces a much tougher assignment this time around though as he takes on two Hong Kong raiders in the shape of Dundonnell and, especially Fabulous One as they begin their preparations for Super Saturday and World Cup Night. The rest of the field offers little to write home about although the Godolphin pair of Comicas and Acolyte, the latter a non-Carnival turf winner at the distance in January may be dangerous while the Sweden-trained duo of Breakdancer and Saving Kenny are unknown quantities. The start is going to be important and attempting to live with the two Sha Tin horses will be the target. Click here for Race Card.

Diferent Dimension is going to do things differently in that he’s going to become the first Korea-trained horse at the Carnival to run on the Turf. He goes in the ultra-competitive Mile handicap. The Peter Wolsley trainee has reportedly taken well to the surface and does have a good draw. He has the toughest ask of all the Korea-trained horses though and a competitive showing will be the goal against a group of horses with some very solid European form amongst them. Click here for Race Card.

In other Dubai news, the Dubai Racing Club has released initial World Cup Day nominations. This nomination stage is free and accordingly, all five of the Korean horses at the Carnival have been nominated for various races, something the Dubai Racing Club noted in their accompanying notes. It remains extremely unlikely that any of them will get into any of the races, however, with a run for one or more of them on Super Saturday considered to be the more realistic goal.

DWCC 2017: Power Blade & Diferent Dimension To Face Off At Meydan Thursday

Power Blade and Diferent Dimension will race each other at the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening. The Korea-trained pair have both been declared for the 1600M Handicap race 4 at Meydan Racecourse.

2016 Korean Triple Crown winner Power Blade (Menifee), trained by Kim Young Kwan, will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave while Adrie De Vries will partner the Peter Wolsley-trained Diferent Dimension (Into Mischief) in the race which is at 8.15pm local time (1:15am Friday in Korea).

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See the full race card at Emirates Racing Authority

Both horses have reportedly been well in training. The race, which has attracted 15 runners, looks competitive. Top weight is Final Selection (Diktat), who raced in high class company in 2016 and finished 2nd to The Gurkha at Deauville last May but ended the season in indifferent form. Satish Seemar’s North America (Dubawi) enters having won his last two at Meydan, both at a mile, in non-Carnival meetings in November and December. Bluff (Tapit) also won last up at Jebel Ali.

Heavy Metal (Exceed And Excel) has come close in recent starts and  on one of them finished 2nd to Need To Know (Western WInter) who surely goes better on the Meydan dirt than he did on the Seoul sand in the Korea Cup last September. Along with the Korean pair, it’s hard to know at first glance what to make of American and Swedish runners Wildcat Red (D’Wildcat) and Pistol (Eishin Dunkirk).

That’s the beauty of this meeting though and while Power Blade and Diferent Dimension have it all to do, if they run to their best in what is not a strong race by Carnival standards and on what is currently a very fast track at Meydan, this is a field that they should be able to at least be competitive in.

The other three Korea-trained horses in Dubai for the Carnival are expected to be entered for next Thursday’s card. Two-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine will likely be pointed to 2000M while Main Stay and Seoul Bullet would be expected to tackle a sprint distance.

Dubai World Cup Carnival 2017: Korea’s Contenders At Meydan

Five Korea-trained horses arrived at Meydan on Christmas Eve to begin preparations for their campaigns at the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival. Horse Of The Year Triple Nine and Triple Crown winner Power Blade have been joined on the trip by Diferent Dimension, Seoul Bullet and Main Stay. They will be hoping to emulate the feats achieved by Success Story, who managed two 3rd placed finishes at the 2016 Carnival. 

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Horse Of The Year Triple Nine leads the Korean contingent in Dubai (Pic: Alex Cairns/TheWinningPost)

Diferent Dimension (USA) [Into Mischief – Pardon My Sarong (Souvenir Copy)] 4-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Larkspur Thoroughbreds (Kentucky), Owner: Mun Kyung Sook, Trainer: Peter M. Wolsley
Race Records: 15(9/2/2)
The only US bred among the Korean contingent. It’s not a spelling mistake, he’s named after a lyric in a Katy Perry song (or something like that, I’m told) and was a $30,000 purchase from OBS in April 2014 (having previously gone through Keeneland as a yearling). He’s won at distances up to 1800M but could go further. He was 3rd last month at 2200M but was giving 7kg to the pair who beat him and should be fresh having not been able to get a run in the Grand Prix. He’s saddled by Australian trainer Peter Wolsley.

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Diferent Dimension (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] 4-year-old Colt
Breeder: Isidore Farm (Korea), Owner: Choi Byeong Bu, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 20(11/7/1)
As a three-year-old, he was 2nd in both of the final two-legs of the Triple Crown before asserting his talent with victory in the Presidents Cup. He’s now a two-time winner of that race having successfully defended his title this autumn and accordingly, Triple Nine was this past weekend crowned Horse Of The Year in Korea for 2016. He finished 3rd in the Korea Cup and 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes and has comfortably defeated Power Blade on three consecutive occasions.

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Triple Nine arrives (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] 3-year-old Colt
Breeder: Kim Jung Du (Korea), Owner: Kim Hyeong Ran. Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 13(8/3/1)
He was the Champion Juvenile of 2015 he then dominated the three-year-old division in 2016, comfortably winning all three legs of the Korean Triple Crown. He has gone on to show his class against older horses with 4th place in the Korea Cup, 2nd in the President’s Cup and 3rd in the Grand Prix, the latter over 2300M. Triple Nine has finished ahead of him in all three of those races. In the middle of those races, he dropped down to 1400M to beat Seoul Bullet in a valuable race at Busan.

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A blurry Power Blade on the Meydan track (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Main Stay (KOR) [Tale Of The Cat – No Bull Baby (Indian Charlie)] 3-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Nokwon Farm (Korea), Owner: SH. Baek, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 16(9/3/0)
Classed as a Korean bred as he was imported in-utero when his dam was purchased for $32,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale. As such he wasnt eligible for the three-year-old Classic races but has gone on to establish himself as one of the top sprinters in Korea with four wins from his last five starts. He is yet to run in Stakes company but has run and won at distances of up to a mile. Comes in having beaten Seoul Bullet narrowly over 1400M in December.

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Main Stay arrives (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Seoul Bullet (KOR) [Peace Rules – Wild Guess (Wld Rush)] 5-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Kim Chae Hyung (Korea). Owner: Cho Tae Man, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: KOR: 10(7/2/0) USA: 4(0/0/1)
He’s had an interesting career having spent the first year of it in the United States where he ran four times for one 3rd place in Florida and even managed to get claimed out of a race at Gulfstream. He was claimed back and returned to Korea where he promptly won his first six starts. He was then sidelined for fifteen months before finally returning to action this summer. He pushed Power Blade all the way over 1400M in October before winning a class 1 race at the same distance very handily. Narrowly defeated by Main Stay last time out.

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Seoul Bullet strolls at Meydan (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Weekend Round-Up: Choi Eun Kyeung Rides First Winner

There’s been quite the heatwave across the peninsula for the past week and with temperatures in Seoul hitting 35C, it was probably for the best that it coincided with the capital track’s summer vacation. It wasn’t much cooler at Busan, which returned following its own weekend off last week and where there were no less than 23 races across Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday will have been memorable for apprentice jockey Choi Eun Kyeung. The 19-year-old qualified from the Jockey Academy this spring and was sent to Busan where she is not only the track’s only female jockey but also the first Korean female to be licensed there since 2010.

Choi landed on her feet on the South Coast, however, being assigned to South African trainer Bart Rice. She made her debut back on July 10th, riding For My Sis to a par 5th place. She didn’t have another ride until Saturday when her boss put her on Barry Irwin’s Swoop in race 2 at Busan. Swoop, who had raced 6 times without success, was sent off as an 8/1 chance for the 1000M race and didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, exiting the gate hesitantly and was last into stride.

However, the three-year-old improved around the turn and under a hands and heels ride from Choi, picked off his rivals in the home straight, running on to win by half a length. It was a second Korean winner for US owner Barry Irwin and another for Bart Rice who continues to be the in-form trainer at Busan. As for Choi, it was her only ride of the weekend and she suddenly finds herself with a 50% win rate.

In other races at the weekend, Diferent Dimension (Into Mischief) returned to the winner’s circle in Sunday’s feature handicap. Peter Wolsley’s US import struggled under a high weight last start but ran away from a decent class 1 field in the 1800M test. Diferent Dimension now has 8 wins from his 13 starts and was ridden by Seo Seung Un, who was partnering his 6th winner of the weekend.

Among the foreign jockey ranks, both Yonekura Satoshi and Paolo Aragoni rode winners.

Diferent Dimension, Dynamic Jilju Down Triple Nine & Wonder Bolt

Hot favourites went down at both Seoul and Busan this past Sunday. In the capital, Wonder Bolt was beaten by Dynamic Jilju but it was at Busan where the greater shock was, with last year’s President’s Cup winner Triple Nine defeated in a final furlong battle with Diferent Dimension.

Triple Nine (Ecton Park) had won both of his races in 2016 so far, handing Grand Prix Stakes winner Bold Kings his first career defeat in the process. With likely second favourite Doraon Hyeonpyo scratched, Triple Nine was sent off the strong odds-on favourite for the 1800M feature.

Like Bold Kings, Diferent Dimension (Into Mischief) is trained by Peter Wolsley, but unlike his stablemate, he got the ideal trip on what was his first try at class 1. Leading into the home straight under jockey Seo Seung Un, he made the 7.5kg weight advantage count as he held off the challenge of Triple Nine by a neck on the line. Six lengths back the evergreen Viva Ace (Macho Uno) put in another great performance to come home in 3rd.

Diferent Dimension moves onto seven wins from eleven career starts and provided for trainer Wolsley what was no doubt a welcome opportunity to get one over the Kim Young Kwan machine for once.

Half an hour later at Seoul, Wonder Bolt (Desert Warrior) was also sent off at odds-on for a similar class 1 handicap. Things would not go his way, however, as he was ground down in the home straight and passed close to the line by Dynamic Jilju (Forestry). A former Busan-based galloper, Dynamic Jilju, a 10/1 chance, was winning for the first time in the capital.

In other races across the weekend, Brian Dean saddled his second Seoul winner as Ruari O’ Coileain’s Jungl Drummer (Cielo Gold) winning on debut in race 2 on Saturday with Dean Holland on board. Meanwhile Bart Rice’s sparkling May form continued as his filly Load Cell (Ecton Park) won race 2 on Sunday at Busan.

Racing returns this coming weekend with the YTN Cup at Seoul the feature event. A week later will be the first international race of the year, the SBS Korea/Japan Cup – as well as the Ttukseom Cup – at Seoul.