Feel So Good

Feel So Good Fades As Geumseongi Takes Sports Chosun

Feel So Good was sent off as long odds-on favourite but couldn’t stay the distance as Geumseongi swept to victory in the Sports Chosun CUp at Seoul on Sunday.

Feel So Good has been inconsistent since returning from Florida where he spent his two-year-old season and became the first Korean bred horse to win a race in the USA. However, a storming 9-length win last month over the Sports Chosun distance on 9 furlongs had punters convinced once more that he was back at his best.

It was not to be. Feel So Good led for much of the way but disintegrated in the final furlong to finish a disappointing 6th. It was left to Geumseongi to overhaul Citius to take the win with the fast finishing closers My Energy and El Campeon taking 3rd and 4th.

A 4-year-old colt, Geumseongi was winning for just the 4th time from 18 starts but has a further 6 2nd places to his name. He’ll be competing in class 1 from now on.

Too lazy to head down to take a picture pf the ceremony...but trust me, this was the start of the Sports Chosun Cup

Too lazy to head down to take a picture pf the ceremony…but trust me, this was the start of the Sports Chosun Cup

Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – June 1, 2014

1. Geumseongi (KOR) [Pico Central – Cat Beluga (Hennessy)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 7.5, 1.9
2. Citius (KOR) [Revere – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] – Lee Sang Hyeok – 4.4
3. My Energy (KOR) [Vicar – Ich Bien (Jade Hunter)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 3.2

Distances: 1 length/3 lengths – 13 ran

Next week, the focus shifts to Busan and the KNN Cup, the 2nd leg of the 2014 Queens’ Tour.

Sports Chosun Cup – Full Preview

Sunday sees Stakes racing return to Seoul and while the Sports Chosun Cup isn’t the biggest race on the calendar, it certainly offers some good punting.

Feel So Good - likely favourite in the Sports Chosun

Feel So Good – likely favourite in the Sports Chosun

Feel So Good is likely to be the heavy favourite but he’s not invincible and there are plenty in the field of 13 capable of pulling off the win – or at least finishing in the top three.

Here’s a full run-down of the field with Name [Pedigree] Sex Age (Starts/1/2/3) – Jockey

Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – June 1, 2014 – 16:35

1. Corner Stone [Ingrandire – Kurenai Moyuru (Merry Nice)] C 4 (17/4/1/3) – Moon Se Young
Moon Se Young steps in for the suspended Seo Seung Un aboard this colt who was a smart winner over the distance last time out when he closed from 7th for the win in the home straight. He’s back after 3 months off and won’t be favourite but he has a chance.

2. Wahaha [Ft.Stockton – Yeppeun Keum (Hurricane Sky)] G 5 (30/2/4/6) – Shinichi Terachi
Very little to recommend here, it’s over 2 years since Wahaha has won and that won’t change.

3. Spending To Me [Capital Spending – Ma Fille (Belong To Me)] M 5 (29/3/5/1) – Park Eul Woon
Third over the distance last time out, beaten 2 lengths by Corner Stone having hit the front in the final furlong. Likes to come from the back but perhaps not quite at this distance. Outside chance of another place.

4. El Campeon [Menifee – Here Comes Meme (Kipper Kelly)] G 5 (29/3/4/5) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
Consistently in the money if not consistently winning, El Campeon was beaten into 3rd by Feel So Good and My Energy last time out but he’s closer who can stay and has plenty of speed. He can’t be overlooked.

5. Nongbon Sarang [The Groom Is Red – Agua Azalita (Pine Bluff)] F 4 (16/2/3/5) – Jang Chu Youl
Won over 1700 metres at class 3 before finishing well beaten by Feel So Good in that race last month. Will need to improve here to challenge for a place.

6. My Energy [Vicar – Ich Bien (Jade Hunter) H 6 (48/4/3/2) – Yoo Seung Wan
Second to Feel So Good – by 9 lengths – last time and ahead of El Campeon, who he also beat in April. It would be a surprise to see him win here though.

7. Citius [Revere – Daecheonpung (Fiercely) C 4 (14/4/1/1) – Lee Sang Hyeok
Good win over the distance at class 3 last time. Likes to be just off the pace and if the closers fail to get into gear, he may well steal a place.

8. Geumseongi [Pico Central – Cat Beluga (Hennessy)] C 4 (16/3/6/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho
Has plenty of speed and comes off the back of two solid 2nd place finishes. Another 2nd is more likely than a win but if he must be in with a chance.

9. Feel So Good [Ft.Stockton – Courting Dreams (Eastover Court)] G 5 (10/5/0/0) – Ham Wan Sik
A winner at Calder in Florida in 2012, he’s blown hot and cold since coming home. He was certainly hot last time out, winning over the distance – and over several of this field – by 9 lengths. If he runs like that again here, then of course he wins.

10. Citadel [Sakura Seeking – Tropic (Danehill)] G 5 (25/2/6/4) – Kim Ok Sung
Another who has the ability to make a nuisance of himself. Good win over 1900 metres in March but followed it up by being well beaten last month. Difficult to receommend but again difficult to ignore for a quinella at good odds.

11. Pinot Noir [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacific Bounty) F 4 (11/3/4/1) – Park Hyun Woo
Put in a decent run when 2nd at this distance last time out in March. She was ahead of Feel So Good that day and while she’ll not be favoured to repeat it, she’ll be in a lot of quinellas. Likes to be close to the pace and should stay on.

12. Dewma [Forest Camp – Wild Cat Strike (Wild Again)] F 4 (11/3/4/1) – Lee Chan Ho
Lee Shin Young’s second string is likely to try to hit the front early. Staying there will be quite another matter though.

13. Dae Ung [Pico Central – Myeongseo Gongju (Carry The Flag)] C 4 (7/4/2/0) – Choi Bum Hyun
The wildcard of the field. Hasn’t run since taking a narrow win over 1700 metres last November, he strolled comfortably through a trial in April. This should be too much too soon but some may be tempted by the likely good odds on him.

Sunday June 1
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00 with a performance by Girl’s Day at 3.45!!
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

Weekend Preview: Twinkle Twinkle!

May becomes June and summer racing begins in earnest with a full set of cards around the peninsula this weekend.

Girl's Day will be performing during racing at Seoul on Sunday

Girl’s Day will be performing during racing at Seoul on Sunday

And there’s no surer way to know its summer than the reappearance of K-Pop girl groups at Seoul Racecourse. Girl’s Day get us underway with a short performance on the Stakes race presentation stage at 3:45pm. It’s going to be very busy!

They’ll not be the only ones on the stage this weekend as they’ll be on just before the Sports Chosun Cup gets underway. Feel So Good will attempt to get his first Stakes win as he takes on 12 others in the 9 furlong Stakes event.

At Busan, the pick of the action sees Cheonji Bulpae takes on Magic Dancer in Sunday’s feature. Jo Sung Gon takes over on Cheonji Bulpae in place of the suspended Darryll Holland.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday May 30
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:25 to 17:40

Saturday May 31
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:30

Sunday June 1
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

Se Young’s Super Six

Champion jockey Moon Se Young was in imperious form at Seoul on Sunday, riding the winner in 6 or the 10 races on the card.

Moon Se Young

Moon Se Young

As has been mentioned many times on this blog, the standard of riding in Korea has been getting better and better over the past few years.

Seo Seung Un, while not the champion, was undoubtedly the jockey of the year in 2013 by virtue of his outstanding performance with limited firepower.

Lee Chan Ho, a first year apprentice is showing great potential, while Jo In Kwen pushed Moon all the way last year.

However, if there was any doubt as to who is the number one in the weighing room, it was dispelled today. All his mounts had chances and Moon brought them home with ruthless efficiency.

Those wins included both co-feature races, firstly with Brig (Menifee), a 4-year-old who was 4th in the Korean Derby last year and looks set to fulfil his potential this time around.

Then there was Bichui Wangja (Roman Ruler), a 4-year-old American import who held off two long shots to record his 5th career win. Seo Seung Un had ridden Bichui Wangja in all his previous outings before today. With Moon being available though, the ride went to him.

A smile would be nice: Even after Bichui Wangja give s him his 6th winner of the day, Moon Se Young is in no mood for celebration

A smile would be nice: Even after Bichui Wangja give s him his 6th winner of the day, Moon Se Young is in no mood for celebration

Earlier in Moon’s haul was Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton). The only Korean bred horse to win a race in the United States returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 4 outings, winning race 6 by a nose. He’ll be in class 2 company next time out.

Down at Busan, we have some quality riders too although with Jo Sung Gon off to Macau, most of them are now foreign.

Joe Fujii and Darryll Holland both picked up where they left off from Friday by riding winners. Fujii added to his Friday four-timer by scoring a routine win on hot favourite Not Anymore (Casino Prince) in race 4. It was a 3rd win from 7 starts for the Aussie filly who has never finished worse than 3rd.

Two races later, Holland, who rode a double on Friday, landed the feature race for the 2nd time in as many meetings, guiding Grand Teukgeup (Menifee) to a comfortable win over 7 furlongs.

Outsider Gumanseok Wins Sports Chosun Cup as Feel So Good Flops Again

40/1 chance Gumanseok just held on to win the Sports Chosun Cup ahead of a fast finishing Royal Galloper at Seoul Race Park today, while hot-favourite Feel So Good once again finished nowhere in a big race.

Gumanseok and Lee Dong Kug after winning the Sports Chosun Cup

Gumanseok and Lee Dong Kug after winning the Sports Chosun Cup

After winning a race in the USA, Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton) won his first three tests in his home country before coming up very short behind Jigeum I Sungan in the Owners’ Trophy in April.

Having dropped down a level for the Sports Chosun, punters showed enough faith in him to back him into only slightly better than even-money. That faith was not rewarded.

While Feel So Good showed towards the front for much of the race, once they hit 300 metres to run, just as in the Owners’ Trophy, he stalled. Instead Gumanseok (Vicar) burst through the pack and took the lead under jockey Lee Dong Kug. While Royal Galloper (Commendable) and Park Tae Jong closed very quickly in the final furlong, the line arrived just in time and Gumanseok hung on by a neck.

Gumanseok just hokds on as Royal Galloper closes fast

Gumanseok just holds on as Royal Galloper closes fast

Gumanseok’s stablemate 120/1 outsider Appealing Jeil (Exploit), ridden by Yukio Abe, scored an even more surprising 3rd place finish.

Now 4-years-old, Gumanseok competed in the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown last October. Finishing last, he managed to get himself gelded prior to the start of this season. The victory is his 5th in 13 starts and will see him move up to the elite level next time out. As for Feel So Good, it’s now questionable whether he’ll make the elite level at all.

For jockey Lee Dong Kug, it was a first visit to the Stakes winner’s circle since 2008. For trainer Lim Bong Chun and owner Ku Ja Sun it was a more familiar experience. Lim won the KOrean Derby with Gwangyajeil in 2011 while Ku owned the great double Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja.

Speaking of the “elite”, the horse currently at the top of the tree, Tough Win (Yonaguska) was in action in the very last race of the day at Seoul. “Action” is perhaps a strong word as the 6-year-old breezed to 7-length win in a mismatch.

Down at Busan, it was a good day for the foreign jockeys. Joe Fujii won one race but there also was a very welcome double for Darryll Holland. The British jockey landed race 2 on Runnin’ John (Put It Back) and quickly followed up in race 3 on Stand High (Forest Camp). Both were top quality rides and took Holland’s Korean win tally to 8.

Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – June 2, 2013

1. Gumanseok (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Champion (Didyme)] – Lee Dong Kug – 42.1, 8.7
2. Royal Galloper (KOR) [Commendable – Explicitly (Exploit)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.7
3. Appealing Jeil (KOR) [Exploit – Appealing Satin (Valid Appeal) – Yukio Abe – 17.1

Distances: Neck/5 lengths – 14 ran

Dominant Jigeum I Sungan Owns Seoul

Feel So Good Fades as Derby Winner Adds Owners’ Trophy to Collection

Jigeum I Sungan stormed to a dominant victory in the Owners’ Association Trophy at Seoul Race Park this afternoon in the process cementing his place as the top Korean-bred horse at the track and handing a first defeat on Korean soil to Feel So Good.

Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young win the Owners' Cup

Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young win the Owners’ Cup

The 2012 Korean Derby winner, Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) has shown improvement with every run and today was no exception. Despite dropping back to 1400 metres and facing Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton), the first Korean-bred horse to win a race in the United States and who had won his first 3 Korean starts without breaking into a gallop, Jigeum I Sungan was sent off the heavy favourite.

Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young Return

Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young Return

While Feel So Good was quick out of the gate and into an early lead there was never a stage when the result looked in doubt.

As they entered the home straight, Moon Se Young brought Jigeum I Sungan around the outside of the field and into contention while Kim Ok Sung got no response from Feel So Good.

After that it was just a matter of how much he would win by, jockey Moon spending most of the final furlong contemplating how he would pose for the cameras on the finish line.

7 lengths was the ultimate margin. Behind him, two rank outsiders got the closest. New And Best (Trick Of Fate) was guided into 2nd by Japanese jockey Yukio Abe at odds of well over 200/1 while coming in third was 125/1 Jeumeundeungi (War Zone). Feel So Good trailed over the line in 10th and was later found to be lame in his left foreleg.

Jigeum I Sungan now has 10 wins from 19 career starts – with 8 of those wins coming in his most recent 11 starts. The last horse to beat him was Dangdae Bulpae as the Busan superstar romped to his 3rd consecutive President’s Cup last November. Next time the face each other, the younger horse should be much more competitive.

Winning jockey Moon Se Young spent the first 3 months of this year riding in Macau, notching 7 winners. The 2012 Champion has given his rivals a big head start but, having grabbed 5 winners over the course of the weekend and 10 in total since returning, it would be a brave man who’d bet against him grinding his rivals down over the rest of the season.

Japanese jockey Yukio Abe (right), who rode New And Best to a shock 2nd place, congratulates winner Moon Se Young

Japanese jockey Yukio Abe (right), who rode New And Best to a shock 2nd place, congratulates winner Moon Se Young

He had missed 3 wins on this horse while in Macau but Moon showed his delight on being back on him with the kind of celebration he used to reserve for his former favourite mount, Bally Brae.

Bally Brae became one of the best horses of his decade. If Jigeum I Sungan – his name means “This Is The Moment” – keeps up this form, it is very possible he may end up remembered as one of the best of his.

Owners’ Association Trophy (KOR GIII) – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – April 21, 2013

1. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – 1.6, 1.0
2. New And Best (KOR) [Trick Of Fate – Yongunch’Eon (Phizam)] – Yukio Abe – 24.3
3. Jeumeundeungi (KOR) [War Zone – Taraxacum (Meadowlake)] – Lee Joon Chel – 20.4

Distances: 7 lengths/1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Geuma Champ 5. Special Win 6. Global Fusion 7. Jangbi Sarang 8. Sobaengnyeong 9. Yeongung Icheon 10. Feel So Good 11. Yacheonsaryeongbu

Owners’ Cup: Feel So Good vs Jigeum I Sungan

Feel So Good, who became the first ever Korean bred horse to win a race in the United States, steps up to Stakes level this weekend and runs smack bang into 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan in the Owners’ Association Trophy at Seoul Race Park this Sunday.

Feel So Good: 3 from 3, faces Jigeum I Sungan in the Owners' Trophy

Feel So Good: 3 from 3, faces Jigeum I Sungan in the Owners’ Trophy

It is a mouth-watering clash. Jigeum I Sungan has appeared to get better and better since his Derby triumph nearly a year ago while Feel So Good hasn’t been troubled in his three Korean starts to date. Both colts are 4-years-old and while Jigeum I Sungam definitely prefers lengthier challenges, it is still set to be a great occasion.

Here is the full list of runners and riders:

Owners’ Association Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – April 21, 2013

1. Sobaengnyeong (KOR) [War Zone-Sobaeksu (Mr. Adorable)] 6 G (23/5/3/2) – Park Tae Jong
2. Feel So Good (KOR) [Ft. Stockton-Courting Dreams (Eastover Court)] 4 G (3/3/0/0) – Kim Ok Sung
3. Special Win (KOR) [Tahamkke-Wellbeing Cat (Creek Cat)] 5 H (24/9/4/1) – Kim Hae Sun
4. Jeumeundeungi (KOR) [War Zone-Taraxacum (Meadowlake)] 6 H (31/5/4/2) – Lee Joon Chel
5. Jangbi Sarang (KOR) [Distilled-Kissin Kim (Our Michael)] 7 G (41/5/6/4) – Choi Bum Hyun
6. Geuma Champ (KOR) [Vicar-Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] 5 H (21/7/6/4) – Ham Wan Sik
7. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee-Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] 4 C (16/6/1/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho
8. Yeongung Icheon (KOR) [Concept Win-Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] 5 H (23/6/4/3) – Moon Jung Kyun
9. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire-Solmaru (Mujaazif)] 4 C (18/9/6/1) – Moon Se Young
10. New And Best (KOR) [Trick Of Fate-Yeongeonch-eon (Phizam)] 6 H (43/4/5/2) – Yukio Abe
11. Yajeonsaryeongbu (KOR) [Vicar-Zabella (Zabeel)] 5 H (22/7/1/0) – Ikuyasu Kurakane