Donga Ilbo Cup

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Silver Wolf Returns – Race-By-Race Preview (February 16)

Champion mare Silver Wolf will get her 2020 campaign underway at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The eight-year-old Australian-bred will face ten rivals as she seeks to win the Listed Donga Ilbo Cup for a third time. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews with Busan selections at the bottom:

Silver wolf Gyeongnam

Silver Wolf (KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

We start the day with twelve three-year-old maidens and several look in with a shout. (4) TIZ BLACK is the pick, having run a solid 2nd on debut on January 12th over 1000M just beaten a couple of lengths by a good winner. He came from just behind the pace and the additional distance should suit here. It should also suit (8) LONG GUY. He missed the kick by a full three-lengths on his own debut a month ago over 1300M but rallied nicely to run 3rd. He should have come on for that run and with a better start today will be right in the mix. (2) HYPER CAR has raced twice and improved in the latest of those finishing 3rd at 1300M last month. (10) GANGHAN YEOJEONGSA was a much-improved 2nd on what was her fourth start on January 17th and is stretched out to further than the minimum for the first time today with solid claims to go close. She was ridden on pace for the first time that day and after that success surely will be again along with (5) BAEKSAN THUNDER, who did weaken over 1300M last start but can be given another chance today.

Selections (4) Tiz Black (8) Long Guy (2) Hyper Car (10) Ganghan Yeojeonsa

Next Best 5, 3

Fast Start 5, 10


Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

There is no standout in the second on the card but what makes the race even trickier is the lack of speed engaged. Form analysts should watch the trial replay of (7) PARAN WANGJA who won his heat with ease. The Divine Park colt sat on speed before extending under his own steam with Kim Dong-soo letting the horse do it all himself. Rider Kim will partner him for his first start, and he looks capable of sitting on speed and proving hard to run down. (11) CUPID BISANG clocked a quick time for this grade last start when hitting the line strong. The Thunder Moccasin filly was unlucky at the start when copping a squeeze shortly after they jumped and being shuffled out to the tail of the field. The filly recovered for a good 4th and if she has some luck in this race can be considered a winning chance. (2) SEOUL CROWN ran through the line strong last start. He should get every opportunity from barrier two. (1) CHEONGDAM CURLING comes out of the same race as Seoul Crown and hit the line with gusto. Look for improvement at his second start.

Selections (7) Paran Wangja (11) Cupid Bisang (2) Seoul Crown (1) Cheongdam Curling

Next Best 8, 9

Fast Start 7


Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

An emphatic maiden winner over the distance last November, (2) CHOEGANGMA beat a couple of these on her way to 3rd place on her first try at this class on January 12th. She’s shown plenty of speed as well as the potential for more and she should be winning this comfortably. (3) MY MEMBER made all for an easy three-length win in a maiden at the start of last month. She’s up in class here but if anything is to challenge the favourite, it is likely to be here. She has good gate speed and should be getting to the front from the start. (7) NUNBIT EUNYAK steps up in class too following a maiden win of his own and while he perhaps has a bit more to find, he should be competitive at this level. Definitely competitive at this level is (12) MONEY CHAMP having run out a good winner at class and distance on January 11th. The track was wet so the time can perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt but he ran almost as fast the time before so he must be taken seriously. (8) GONGJU SARANG, 5th behind Choegangma last start. Is another in the placing hunt.

Selections (2) Choegangma (3) My Member (12) Money Champ (7) Nunbit Eunyak

Next Best 8, 9

Fast Start 1, 2, 3


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

There is a handful of chances in the fourth where a field of twelve go over the 1300M. The win of (6) CLEAN UP HAPPY on debut was good when the Paynter three-year-old won in the last stride. He dug in deep to get there in the nick of time, given he steps up to the 1300M, it looks as if Lim Gi-won can let the galloper relax and rely on his turn of foot late. (10) SONGAM CANDY handled the step up in class last time out well when 2nd behind Complete Kingdom. He has had just the three starts for the one win and two seconds. He is likely to settle further back in this even with a wide draw. (3) JEJUI YOJEONG has raced well at his past couple of starts. He hit the line strong last time out when clocking the fastest sectional in the race. (12) DURI was a winner in this grade last time out but it did take thirteen starts to produce the maiden win. She goes up 3kg and has to overcome a wide gate but in an open race she can figure.

Selections (6) Clean Up Happy (10) Songam Candy (3) Jejui Yojeong (12) Duri

Next Best 1, 7

Fast Start 4, 7, 8


Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) BODY STAR was on pace throughout when scoring a strong maiden win over 1300M on January 11th. He steps up in class here, but the company is in no way intimidating for the level and he has every chance of winning again. (1) DASHING CANOE and (2) WIND RIVER come in with form practically identical to one another – a 5th and two 4ths from their respective latest three. Both have proved capable of more than holding their own in this type of company and both look set to go close here. (9) GALAXY PEACE was caught wide most of the way around last start when finishing 5th behind Dashing Canoe. He’s previously gone well over 1700M, registering a 3rd place finish, and the 1400M may well suit him today. Another who has been at this level for quite some time, always hovering around the minor money without ever looking like breaking through, is (11) LUCKY MIDAS. This will be the furthest distance he has tackled, and it could be could for him.

Selections (8) Body Star (1) Dashing Canoe (9) Galaxy Peace (11) Lucky Midas

Next Best 2, 12

Fast Start 4, 6, 7


Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

The sixth on the card looks a competitive affair with a field of twelve imports lining up (more…)

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Donga Ilbo Cup Race-By-Race Preview (February 10)

Silver Wolf was last year’s Champion Mare and she returns to action at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday when she is expected to start a strong favourite in the Donga Ilbo Cup over 1800M. She will be ridden by Djordje Perovic, making his last appearance at Seoul for at least the time being as he seeks to recover from a back injury. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews (only Seoul is on overseas simulcast this week): 

Silver Wolf Munhwa

Djordje Perovic & Silver Wolf will attempt to win the Donga Ilbo Cup on the Serbian jockey’s last day at Seoul (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A winner at class 6 over 1300M in December, (7) LEONNING STROM was 3rd on his first try at this level in a stiffer contest than this on January 13th having led for most of the race. He drops back to the minimum today and will be expected to win. (9) SUN BOLT was an all the way winner on debut on January 7th. He’s up in class here but if he gets off to the same kind of start he did that day, then he has a big chance. (2) MYEONGPUM BOBAE remains winless but steps back to the minimum today having weakened in both her latest two over further and she should be close. Back on Myeongpum Bobae’s debut, she was 2nd to (6) LUCKY MISS. The latter has only raced once since – a full thirteen weeks ago – and is worthy of another chance. (10) MAGIC AI returns to action for the first time in nine months and performed pleasingly enough in a January trial to come straight into placing contention.

Selections (7) Leonning Strom (9) Sun Bolt (2) Myeongpum Bobae (10) Magic Ai
Next Best 6, 12
Fast Start 2, 5, 6, 9

Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Both (6) KWAEHAN YEBONGSAN and (10) AMARONE are up in class having registered their maiden wins, both at this distance, on their respective last starts. This all-filly/mare contest is not a strong one and both can be expected to go well with Amarone slightly favoured to prevail. She’ll likely try to come from just behind the early speed which will probably be set by Kwaehan Yebongsa. Form doesn’t read well for the rest of them so we’re looking for one who finds herself in a better spot today than in recent outings. Punters will turn to (11) CHUKBOGUI YEOLMAE who comes in following a series of 4th and 5th place finishes in slightly sterner company and can benefit from the services of Moon Se Young today. (1) ARABIA GONGJU and (7) JASEONG GUNJU are others who fit the criteria for improvement here.

Selections (10) Amarone (6) Kwaehan Yebongsan (11) Chukbogui Yeolmae (1) Arabia Gongju
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 3, 6, 9

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2)  DUAL CHOEGANG makes his first start for Italian trainer Luigi Riccardi and it could very well be a winning one. The four-year-old had been getting closer culminating in a 2nd place, just beaten a neck, at the distance in December. That wasn’t a very strong race, but this isn’t much stiffer, and he should win. (11) JEJUI HEUKSEON was sent off as favourite in a similar contest to this back on January 14th. He briefly touched the front about a furlong out before being beaten into 4th and he may well provide the biggest test today. We’re struggling with the rest though. (3) LAST CONCERT has a 5th place finish to her name in similar company in December and while she hardly impressed on return last month, she could go well here. (6) VALLEY MOON and (12) BAEKDU POWER best of a limited rest.

Selections (2) Dual Choegang (11) Jejui Heukseon (3) Last Concert (6) Valley Moon
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 4, 5, 8

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Three of these raced each other at class and distance on January 13th. (2) BOLD SHINING finished the best of them in 2nd with (1) BACK TO BACK in 4th (the pair of them split by Leonning Strom who we saw in race 1) and (4) HAENGUN NURI 5th. Back To Back began the race as favourite on the strength od a very solid December win over 1200M that got him promoted in class although Bold Shining also entered a winner. We’re going to go for the form to be overturned today and for Back To Back to be on top. (3) MACHA BUCHA comes in following a useful 4th place over 1300M two weeks ago and will likely set the (more…)

Meni Money Downs Pinot Noir In Donga Ilbo

Last year’s winner Pinot Noir put up a valiant defence of her Donga Ilbo crown but ultimately was to be denied as Meni Money came home in front  in Seoul’s second Listed Race of 2017.

With the well-fancied Touch Flying found lame and declared a non-runner less than an hour before the race, it was Meni Money who was sent off as favourite and she was kept handy by champion jockey Moon Se Young in the early stages. Meanwhile, Park Hyun Woo on Pinot Noir employed the now 7-year-old mare’s familiar tactics of dropping to the rear on leaving the gate before going wide around the field in the back straight to take the lead.

Pinot Noir would lead into the straight but Meni Money came alongside with a furlong to go and ran on to prevail by just under a length and a half. Argo Champ ran on well for 3rd.

Meni Money [Menifee-Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] is out of a dam who for a number of years held the track record at today’s distance of 1800M. She won five and was runner-up in five of her first ten career starts, including 2nd place in the Korean Oaks in 2015. However, since then she had only added a further two victories prior to today. Her previous biggest victory came in the 2015 Sports Seoul Cup.

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – Feb 19, 2017

1. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Moon Se Young – 2.3, 1.2
2. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Hyun Woo – 1.6
3. Argo Champ (KOR) [Menifee – Doo Dah Day (Woodman)] – Djordje Perovic – 2.1
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 3 lengths – 9 ran

The win was one of five on the day for defending champion jockey Moon Se Young. Earlier, he won on Lion Rock (Ecton Park), a three year-old “full” brother to reigning Horse of the Year Triple Nine. Lion Rock moved to three from three with a facile victory in the 1700M race 8.

Two unbeaten records came to an end at Busan though. American Power (Ecton Park) didn’t travel especially well on his first try at a mile and gave himself too much to do in race 5, ending up in 2nd place. A race later, US import Drop The Beat (Mad Flatter) also went down to his first defeat.

Those defeats were in contrast to the showing a day earlier by Final Boss (Menifee). The champion juvenile of 2016 barely required second gear to maintain his winning streak over 1800M at Seoul:

Seoul Sunday: Donga-Ilbo Cup – Full Preview

Last year in the snow, Pint Noir won the Donga Ilbo Cup just before another blizzard forced racing to be abandoned for the day. There should be no weather issues this time around as she returns to defend her title against nine rivals over 1800M.


Pinot Noir in a snowy Donga Ilbo Cup winner’s circle last year

She probably won’t be favourite, with the likes of Meni Money and Touch Flying among a competitive field in the Donga. There’s plenty going on elsewhere as well with a total of 11 races at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:35 to 17:05.

English race cards are here. Notes on the three overseas simulcast races, including the Donga Ilbo Cup are below:

Race 8: Class 5 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million

1. LION ROCK – Full brother to Triple Nine who is currently racing at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Two for two so far and favourite to maintain his 100% record today. (more…)

Pinot Noir Is Seoul’s Snow Queen While Triple Nine Scores At Busan

A frenetic day of racing on the peninsula saw a total of four races lost due to a combination of a Tote system failure and then a late-winter blizzard. However, both of the day’s biggest races survived, with Pinot Noir running out the dominant winner of Seoul’s snowbound Donga Ibo Cup and, in altogether more agreeable conditions in Busan, last year’s President’s Cup winner and top three-year-old Triple Nine got his 2016 campaign off to a winning start.


Pinot Noir slips and slides around the Donga Ilbo Cup winner’s circle

Pinot Noir was sent off the 2nd favourite for the Donga Ilbo Cup, an early prep race for the Queens’ Tour races later in the year. And while, as in recent starts, she was slowly away, she quickly improved and once she took the lead on the turn for home, there was only ever going to be one winner. She and jockey Park Eul Woon crossed the line a full nine lengths clear of their nearest rivals.

Smart Time and Djordje Perovic got the best of a photo-finish for 2nd, nosing ahead of X File. Pre-race favourite Meni Money, 2nd in last year’s Korean Oaks, was a disappointing seven further lengths back in 4th place. It was Pinot Noir’s 6th career victory.

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Feb 28, 2016

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.9, 1.2
2. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft.Stockton – Caron (Jade Robbery)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.5
3. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee (Woodman)] – Kim Dong Soo – 2.9
Distances: 9 lengths/Nose – 9 ran

At Busan, President’s Cup winner Triple Nine (Ecton Park) was making his seasonal debut and he was sent off at odds-on to score in the class 1 handicap over 2000M. He was made to work for it, although not by second favourite Gumpo Sky (Vicar) who as usual set the early pace but this time failed to get home.

Instead, on a day when the road to the Queens’ Tour began in Seoul, it would be last year’s “Queen” Heba (Peace Rules) would run Triple Nine all the way to the line, ultimately going down by only half a length. Old-stager Viva Ace (Macho Uno), nowin his sixth season racing at Busan, ran a huge race and pipped Gumpo Sky by a nose for 3rd.

Neither were perhaps the story of the day. There had been carnage in race 6 at Seoul when filly Brown Rocket broke down when leading, unseated jockey Jang Chuyoul in front of a wall of horses. Three more jockeys would be brought down in the aftermath; Jeong Jeon Hee, Kim Hye Sun and Lee Hae Dong. Remarkably, between them, the most serious injury was a broken arm. Brown Rocket, sadly, was not so fortunate.

While races 3 at Busan and 7 at Seoul proceeded without incident, the tote system then malfunctioned – Busan and Seoul both running the same system. This caused the cancellation of Busan race 4. For a few worrying moments it became clear that not only could the system not take bets, it could not payout or refund tickets either. A ripple of discontent started to appear although to punters’ credit, tempers remained intact.


A tractor does its best

With snow now blizzard-like at Seoul, race 8 was cancelled in any case although to the relief of almost all, the tote system came back online to allow Busan race 5 to go ahead as planned. The two feature races were then run before with dusk falling but the snow not yet abating, Seoul races 10 and 11 were cancelled on safety grounds in accordance with jockeys’ wishes.

And so ended an eventful day’s racing. Or mostly racing. It’s March in a couple of days and we should be done with this kind of nonsense. Next Sunday sees early Korean Oaks trials at both Seoul and Busan.

Sunday Big Race Preview: Donga Ilbo Cup At Seoul / Triple Nine Vs. Gumpo Sky At Busan

Big race action returns to Seoul on Sunday in the shape of the Donga Ilbo Cup. However, it’s at Busan where arguably the pick of the action is with a high quality handicap just 25 minutes later.

Triple Nine

President’s Cup winner Triple Nine makes his 2016 debut at Busan on Sunday

The Donga Ilbo Cup is for domestic-bred fillies and mares and has attracted eight entries. Favouritism is likely to be contested by Meni Money, 2nd in last year’s Korean Oaks and Pinot Noir, 2nd in the Jeju Governor’s Cup.

At Busan, the feature class 1 handicap has attracted some of the biggest names at the track. President’s Cup winner Triple Nine takes on Grand Prix runner-up Gumpo Sky and nine other very solid competitors over 2000M. Here is a full run-down of the prospects of each horse in both races:

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) (F&M) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – February 28, 2016 (16:40)

1. Argo Asset (KOR) [Menifee] 5 (23/4/3/2) BJ Choi – Lim Gi Won
Not especially proven around two turns and was a well beaten 5th behind Smart Time last start. Likely to go forward early and an outside chance of the money.

2. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee] 4  (15/6/6/1) DK Kim – Moon Se Young
Seoul’s top 3yo filly of last year was 2nd in the Korean Oaks and Nonghyup Chairman’s Cup. 3rd behind Pinot Noir in the Jeju Governor’s Cup on November 15, she could overturn that form here. 4th in her only start so far this year, she will settle behind any early speed.

3. Space Shuttle (KOR) [Menifee] 5 (20/4/0/3) HJ Bae – Jo Jae Ro
An outsider, she was an also-ran in the Jeju Governor’s Cup. A winner over 1800M at class 3 in December, she will need to find plenty here. She will probably go back early and look to close.

4. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending] 6 (24/5/7/2) CS Park – Park Eul Woon
2nd in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, two lengths ahead of Meni Money, she is a very solid racemare. She could only manage 6th place in a tough class 1 handicap in December but comes in following a couple of months off and can go well. She has tended to go back of late and attempt to close but there is no guarantee that’s what she’ll do here.

5. Lucky Music (KOR) [Creek Cat] 4 (16/4/2/5) HS Seo – Lee Hyeon Jong
Moreof an outsider, she has decent results at the distance though and was 3rd to Space Shuttle last start when giving her weight. She will probably go forward and could place.

6. X File (KOR) [Exploit] 7 (38/5/3/10) YS Kim – Kim Dong Soo
Comes in following three consecutive 5th place finishes, one of them the jeju Governor’s Cup. Should be looking to improve on that here. Decent speed and will sit behind any early leaders.

7. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton] 4 (13/5/3/0) DK Kim – Djordje Perovic
Sixth in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, she followed that up with a win over 1400M and then a 4th at 1800M, both at this class. A probable front-runner, she will be well-backed and is the likely 3rd favourite.

8. Punggwae (KOR) [Ft. Stockton] 5 (14/3/2/2) ST Shim – Yoo Seung Wan
An outsider to finish with, she’s two races into a comeback following six months out. She hasn’t shown a great deal in those. Generally goes back at the start.

Class 1 Handicap – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – February 28, 2016 (17:05)

1. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules] 6 M (37/9/5/3) 56kg SJ Kwon – Song Keong Yun
Queens’ Tour and therefore Champion filly or mare of 2015, the Grand Prix Stakes in December was perhaps a race too far. Nevertheles she was back last month, running 3rd behind Yuseong Dream and she wil be well-backed to at least place. Usually settles in midfield.

2. Dynamic Dash (USA) [Pleasantly Perfect] 4 C (15/7/5/1) 55kg BH Kim – Pasquale Borelli
2nd to Yuseong Dream and ahead of Heba and a couple of others in that 1900M race on January 10th, he was a class 1 winner the time before that. Very talented but there are one or two here who are a bit better. He could find the money.

3. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) [Bernadini] 7 H (33/11/3/4) 54.5kg BE Kang – Park Jae I (-3)
Took advantage of a low impost to win over 1800M last October. 4th behind Yuseong Dream, Dynamic Dash and Heba last time he will need to find a bit more today. Likely to drop back at the start.

4. Viva Ace (USA) [Macho Uno] 8 G (51/11/14/7) 51kg CY Yoo – Chae Sang Hyun (-1)
A Busan stalwart in his sicth season of racing, he is very capable of picking up minor prize money – he’s done it on two of his last three starts. Sometimes goes forward, sometimes goes back, he won’t win this but 4th or 5th is possible.

5. Nobody Catch Me (USA) [With Distinction] 6 G (25/6/5/2) 54kg JK Min – Lyu Gwang Hee (-3)
Nobody has needed to catch him lately as he has led very few. This one time Mayor’s Cup winner suffers from a rating based on past glories and although the apprentice jockey will alleviate that somewhat, he isn’t in good form. Changed trainers lately and he may well go forward today.

6. Goji Jeongbeol (USA) [Congrats] 5 G (23/5/4/5) 51kg KY Baik – Jin Kyum (-3)
Another who has an apprentice on board and who looks very nicely in here. 2000M is ideal and while others are better, he can go well. He is likely to go back early and look to close.

7. Chogwang (AUS) [Lion Heart] 7 H (36/4/6/5) 54.5kg JK Min – Park Geum Man
Returns to the track for the first time since September. Sauntered through a barrier trial not looking especially impressive last month and he will be an outsider here. Likely to go forward.

8. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal] 5 H (22/10/2/3) 57kg SY Lee – Makoto Okabe
Not generally thought of as being ideal for 2000M although he did once run 3rd at it, it is hard to see him beating the specialists at it, especially carrying 57kg. He’s failed to win prize money on only three occasions but this could be a fourth. In his favour, he has a smart jockey aboard who can help him get the trip.

9. Yuseong Dream (KOR) [Giacomo] 4 C (17/7/1/4) 52kg DS Bang – Kim Dong Young
A really nice looking winner on his very first try at class 1 last month, beating four of his rivals here. One on the up and still very nicely in the handicap. He’s won three in a row and a fourth isn’t impossible. He made all last time and will try to do so again.

10. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar] 5 H (26/9/8/3) 57kg SJ Kwon – Seo Seung Un
Just beaten a neck in a thrilling end to the Grand Prix Stakes in December, Gum Sky is a proven class and distance winner. Although he beat Triple Nine in the Grand Prix, he suffered a reverse to him at this distance in the President’s Cup at Seoul last October and he is likely to be 2nd favourite here. He will go forward though and Triple Nine will have to come past him.

11. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park] 4 C (12/7/4/0) 53kg YK Kim – Yoo Hyun Myung
The favourite. 2nd in the Korean Derby and the Minister’s Cup, he won the President’s Cup in October. He couldn’t quite get up the Grand Prix but was only a length and a half behind the winner and it is his debut this year that is anticipated more than almost any other. He will settle just behind the early leaders and he can win.

Ua Deungseon Takes Donga Ilbo, Kurakane Can’t Stop Winning While Ghost Whisper Does The Business At Busan

Ua Deungseon was the convincing winner of the Donga Ilbo Cup at Seoul this past Saturday, outpacing long-shot Ruby Canter and Horse Racing Ireland Trophy winner Pinot Noir by two lengths.

In a race designed for fillies who came close in the Oaks, couldn’t quite get it done, but still harbour hopes of competing in the big Stakes races later in the autumn, Ua Deungseon, 7th in the Classic at Busan last month, was sent off as a 5/1 shot.

Tracking the longshot, Ruby Canter, who stayed on for a very impressive 2nd place, Ua Deungseon hit the front in the home straight and took a comfortable win. She moves on to 5 wins from 8 starts and there looks to be plenty to come.

Donga Ilbo Trophy – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – September 27, 2014

1. Ua Deungseon (KOR) [Menifee – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] – Ham Wan Sik – 5.7, 1.9
2. Ruby Canter (KOR) [Volponi – Crystal Decanter (Encosta De Lago)] – Kim Hye Sun – 9.4
3. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacific Bounty)] – Lim Gi Won – 3.4

Distances: 2.5 lengths / 1.25 lengths – 14 ran

The pre-race favourite for the Donga Ilbo Cup was Fusion Korea. She finished 4th in what was a rare setback this weekend for jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane. The Japanese rider has been in remarkable form recently and scored 7 winners over the weekend; 3 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday.

Sunday’s haul included the feature race when he smartly eschewed the ride on favourite Indian Blue – one of his regulars – and partnered another he has had success with in the past, Samjeong Jewang. Kurakane is now clear 2nd in the Jockey Championship behind Moon Se Young with 77 wins so far in 2014.

Down at Busan, there was another win for old favourite Ghost Whisper (Gotham City). Peter Wolsley’s 6-year-old grey recorded hs 13th victory from 25 starts when taking Sunday’s feature race by a length and a half from Wonil Gangja.

Next weekend it is the big one. The final leg of the 2014 Korean Triple Crown – the Minister’s Cup – is set for Seoul Racecourse. If she runs, Queen’s Blade, winner of both the Derby and the Oaks, will be the hot favourite.

Luck’s In For Cheonnyeon Dongan

Cheonnyeon Dongan took full advantage of hot favourite Joy Lucky’s misfortune to win the Donga Ilbo Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Cho Kyoung Ho in the Donga Ilbo Cup winner's circle

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Cho Kyoung Ho in the Donga Ilbo Cup winner’s circle

Joy Lucky came into the race with 6 wins from her 7 starts to date, her only defeat having come in the Korean Derby. She skipped the Korean Oaks and was entered here instead of in the much more valuable Minister’s Cup next week. She started at odds of 1/3.

She looked good to win too. Rounding the final turn Joy Lucky, under Seo Seung Un, was about to make her move when suddenly the horse in front of her, Wild Cat, carried her wide. She recovered but her momentum was gone and she could only manage 4th.

Meanwhile the always handily placed Cheonnyeon Dongan cruised to the front and, having picked off longtime leader Eutteum Khan, went clear for victory by just under 2 lengths.

Cheonnyeon Dongan (Ecton Park), a 3-year-old filly, was 3rd behind Joy Lucky in the Sports Seoul Cup and 4th in the Korean Oaks at Busan last month. Today’s win was her 5th from 11 starts.

Joy Lucky and Cheonnyeon Dongan may meet again in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup next month. as good as Cheonnyeon Dongan was today, if Joy Lucky gets a clear run, few will bet on a repeat of this result.

Donga Ilbo Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – September 29, 2013

1. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessey)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 6.1, 1.4
2. Eutteum Khan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Dangdae Eutteum (Pro For Sure)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 4.2
3. Happy Field (KOR) [Field Asuka – Taeheuimang (Happy Jazz Band)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.5

Distances: 1.75 lengths/3 lengths – 14 ran

* Yesterday at Seoul, Jigeum I Sungan returned to form with a comfortable victory in the feature race.

The 2012 Korean Derby winner, who suffered a shock defeat in the TJK Trophy on international weekend last month, handed Ace Galloper a comfortable 2 length beating to re-confirm his position as the top Korean-bred horse in the capital.

* Racing returns quicker than usual next week as Busan’s regular Friday card is brought forward a day to Thursday to coincide with the public holiday. Then all racing eyes will be on Seoul for the weekend and the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the 2013 Korean Triple Crown.

Weekend Preview: Donga Ilbo Cup / Jigeum I Sungan vs Ace Galloper

After last week’s break for the Chuseok holiday, it’s time to sober up and – several kilos heavier – return to the track as racing resumes in Korea.

In action: Jigeum I Sungan

In action: Jigeum I Sungan

Big Stakes race of the weekend is the Donga Ilbo Cup at Seoul on Sunday. Next weekend sees the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup, and the fact that hot 3-year-old filly Joy Lucky (Vicar), whose only in 6 starts came in the Korean Derby, will skip that race in favour of the less valuable but restricted to fillies Donga Cup, suggests that she will take some beating. Cheonnyeon Dongan (Ecton Park) is one who will try along with 12 others in the 9-furlong test.

Saturday’s Seoul feature sees a heavyweight clash as Jigeum I Sungan and Ace Galloper face each other. 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) suffered a shock defeat in last month’s TJK Trophy while former KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) returned to the winner’s circle for the 19th time in his last start after a pair of 2nd place finishes. There’s little to choose between them in terms of weight – the older Ace Galloper carrying just a kilo more – and it promises to be a fascinating match-up.

Also on Saturday, Charming Girl, 0 for 100, will make her final start before being retired.

At Busan, the weekend’s most valuable races are on Sunday.
Well-known names such as Road To Prince, Lion Santa and the evergreen 2008 Korean Derby winner Ebony Storm will all be in action.

As for foreign jockeys, Ikuyasu Kurakane has plenty of action lined up at Seoul while Joe Fujii (Friday only), Ureshi Katsunori, Masa Tanaka and – fresh from spending his vacation racing around a field in Inner Mongolia – Darryll Holland are riding at Busan.

Here’s what’s happening when and where across the weekend:

Friday September 27

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:10 to 17:40

Saturday September 28

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday September 29

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the Donga Ilbo Cup at 16:35
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00