Ghost Whisper

Jo Sung Gon Rides 6 Winners For 6 Different Trainers At Busan

Jo Sung Gon pulled off a remarkable feat at Busan Racecourse this afternoon, winning 6 of the 11 races – including 5 in a row – all for 6 different trainers and with only one slight odds-on chance among them.

Jo-nly me! Jo Sung Gon rode 6 winners at Busan today

Jo-nly me! Jo Sung Gon rode 6 winners at Busan today

Jo won Race 1 on Namdoui Yeowang, but didn’t strike at all between races 2 and 6, during which time Kim Yong Geun rode a treble of his own. From race 7 on, however, there was no stopping him as he won all of the remaining 5 races on the card.

Pick of the winners was in the class 1 feature where he guided the Peter Wolsley trained Ghost Whisper to a comfortable victory. It was the 14th win of the 6-year-old gelding’s career.

Busan’s reigning champion jockey, the 32-year-old Jo Sung Gon isn’t going to win the title this year. The main reason for this was that he gave his rivals a head start by spending the first three months of the season riding in Macau. Since his return, he has ridden 58 winners and lies 4th in the standings.

Best known among casual racing fans as being the regular jockey for Dangdae Bulpae (seen in the picture above) on whom he won an unprecedented 9 stakes races, he also has a Korean Derby and Oaks to his name and alongside Moon Se Young at Seoul, is widely considered as one of the top two jockeys in Korea.

Jo Sung Gon’s Six-Timer (with trainer name, margin and tote return):

Race 1: Namdoui Yeowang (Creek Cat), Jang Se Han – 4 lengths – 4.1
Race 7: Morning Hwiparam (Everydayissaturday), Lee Jung Pyo – 4 lengths – 3.9
Race 8: Yankee Dream (Yankee Victor), Han Sang Bok – 1.5 lengths – 3.0
Race 9: Forty Cure (Field Asuka), Choi Ki Hong – 1.25 lengths – 3.6
Race 10: Useung Radar (Student Council), Min Jang Gi – Head – 4.4
Race 11: Ghost Whisper (Gotham City), Peter Wolsley – 4 lengths – 1.9

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.

Weekend Preview

Ghost Whisper probably dislikes the Korean summer even more than I do.

He's Back: Ghost Whisper (KRA)

He’s Back: Ghost Whisper (KRA)

Two years in a row he’s competed in the Busan Mayor’s Cup in July and two years in a row, he’s needed 7 months off after it.

He will not be among those disappointed that winter seems to have returned to the peninsula after a mild two weeks as he makes his 2014 debut on Sunday.

Now 6-years-old, the grey gelding, owned by Pegasus Stables and trained by Peter Wolsley, will carry top weight in Busan’s feature race of the weekend; a class 1 handicap over 7-furlongs on Sunday afternoon.

Ghost Whisper (Gotham City) be giving a minimum of 4.5kg to every other horse in a field that also includes last year’s KRA Cup Mile winner Sting Ray – a horse whose form has been so indifferent since that triumph, that he now joins Ghost Whisper as a gelding – and 2008 Korean Derby winner Ebony Storm, still going strong as a 9-year-old.

Megaton and Myeongun Jewang, who have tangled over this distance recently, are among those more likely to come out on top than theClassic winners though.

At Seoul, it’s a low-key weekend although there is one class 1 race on Sunday. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday March 7
Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:20 to 17:20

Saturday March 8
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:30

Sunday March 9
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

Ghost Whisper Completes Wolsley’s Four-Win Weekend

Peter Wolsley is closing in on his 200th Korean winner as Ghost Whisper completed another great weekend for the Aussie trainer by winning the first of co-feature races at Busan today. Following on from his treble on Friday, Wolsley has now saddled 187 winners at the south-coast track.

Ghost Whisper (Gotham City), a 5-year-old grey gelding who had an 8-month lay-off after collapsing with heat exhaustion at the end of last Year’s Busan Metropolitan Stakes, was sent off at little over 2/1 yet, such is Wolsley’s knack at getting his horses into races they can win or place in, he wasn’t even the stable’s first choice. That was the even-money favourite Cheongchun Bulpae (Milwaukee Brew) who had retained jockey Jo Sung Gon on board.

However, Darryll Holland is not a bad jockey to be able to call on to ride your second string and once he had Ghost Whisper in front at the top of the home straight, the result was never in doubt, the grey winning by a comfortable 2 lengths and Cheongchun Bulpae coming home in third.

Ghost Whisper is owned and was bred by Jeju based Pegasus Stables. Under foreign management, Pegasus have been Wolsley’s keenest supporter since his arrival in Korea at the end of 2007 and it was their colt Rumor Has It (Lethal Instrument) that broke his maiden to give Wolsley his first of three winners on Friday. Filly Placid Angel (Menifee) and US import Long Way Baby (Werblin) completing the treble.

Just as Pegasus have supported him, so Wolsley has supported the overseas jockeys who ride at Busan. Ghost Whisper was Darryll Holland’s 9th winner at the track and a great send-off for the British rider, who will pay a flying visit to Royal Ascot this week to partner Monseiur Chevalier who takes on Animal Kingdom in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday.

Wolsley’s win ratio is a solid 16% but his “show” ratio is a remarkable 41% – only Busan’s champion trainer Kim Young Kwan can boast a higher one. Ghost Whisper, decked out with the pacifiers that Wolsley introduced to Korean racing, was winning for the 9th time. Few would bet against his trainer finding another race for him to win soon.

Up at Seoul, the feature race of the day was the MBN Cup and it was old-stager Green Empire (Bertolini) whi took the honours. The New Zealand bred 6-year-old has always been a solid campaigner but a very rare winner. Today, he closed quickly in the final furlong to beat pre-race favourite and last year’s winner Haedongcheonwang (West Acre) to take only his 3rd career win in 34 starts.

Later at Seoul, former top-ranked Korean bred horse Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) returned to action after a three-month absence. However, he found himself comfortably beaten by Singgeureounachim (Exploit) in a class 1 handicap over 1800 metres. Ace Galloper’s trainer Seo Beom Seok, who was not happy about his horse being forced to carry 61kg, will take up a trainer’s license in Macau. He’ll be hoping the handicapper there is a little more lenient.

Stakes action returns to Seoul next week in the shape of the Sports Seoul Cup.

Weekend Preview

Classic Possibles On Show / Ghost Whisper Returns

It has been a very long winter. Three months ago this weekend, Gamdonguibada won the Grand Prix Stakeson a day at Seoul Race Park where the temperature dipped below -10C. It had already been cold for a month. Last weekend too, the temperature was below Freezing. Finally this week things have warmed up on the peninsula and we’re set for a cloudy but mild weekend of racing.

Spring?

Spring?

With just a month until the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown, we need to keep an eye out for possible contenders. At Busan on Friday, Peter Wolsley’s colt Magic Dancer (Forest Camp) with 2 wins from his 3 starts, goes over 1500 metres in race 9 while a race later another of Wolsley’s charges, Amell’s Atom (Menifee) takes on the Cup Mile distance.

Friday’s feature at Busan sees Harley (Menifee), one of the crop’s furthest along in terms of class, take his chance although only over 7 furlongs.

Up at Seoul, Brig (Menifee) may be more of a Derby contender but will be worth watching as he attempts 1800 metres in Sunday’s race 10.

The most valuable races at both Seoul and Busan are on Sunday and Busan’s sees a welcome return to action for the grey Ghost Whisper (Gotham City). Absent from the track since collapsing with heat exhaustion at the end of the Busan Metropolitan Stakes last July, Peter Wolsley’s one-time stable star will line-up in the 1800 metre feature under Darryll Holland.

He’s up against Yongduseong (Concept Win), the late-developing mare with 6 wins from 9 starts and Nobel Pokpung (Didyme), who was 2nd in last year’s Korean Derby

At Seoul, you’ll have to wait until the very last race on Sunday to see some class 1 action. And while it’s competitive enough, it probably won’t be worth sticking around and braving the crush on the subway.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday March 8

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday March 9

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday March 10

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00

Weekend Round-Up: Ghost Whisper & Imperial Star Win Features While Foreign & Female Jockeys Are On Target

Filly Imperial Star stepped up to Class 1 for the first time at Seoul Race Park on Sunday and, after three consecutive second placed finishes, made no mistake as she swept to the win in the feature race.

Imperial Star and Won Jung Il win Sunday's feature at Seoul (Pic: Ross Holburt)

While she benefitted from the late scratching of another filly, Mustang Queen, who beat her in the HRI Trophy last month, it was a performance full of promise from Imperial Star (Nihon Pillow Neil) and was her fifth career win.

Down at Busan, Peter Wolsley’s Ghost Whisper (Gotham City) was in unstoppable form as he cruised to victory in the first of co-feature races. It his third straight win and his seventh in ten starts. It was also South African jockey Gerrit Schlechter’s third victory of the weekend and his biggest since starting at Busan earlier this month.

Ghost Whisper is now established as Aussie trainer Wolsley’s stable star. In the second of the day’s co-features, the horse who formerly had that status, Gyeongkwaehanjilju (Tapit) put in a second consecutive disappointing performance since supposedly recovering from whatever ailed him in the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes last year.

While at Busan, the foreign jockeys were on top form – Yukio Abe also got three winners on Friday, at Seoul it was the turn of the women.

Yoo Mi Ra drives Real Play to victory (Pic: Ross Holburt)

It had been nearly two years since Yoo Mi Ra last tasted victory. However, she brought that dismal run to an end with a smart victory in Saturday’s race 8 on Real Play (Field Asuka). In the time since her last winner, Yoo Mi Ra has been overtaken by two other young female jockeys.

Kim Hae Sun Returns to the Winner's Circle for the second time today

Lee Ah Na was among the winners on Saturday while on Sunday it was the turn of Kim Hae Sun, who earlier in the year ceame the quickest woman to ride out her apprenticeship, to hit the board. Kim took two wins, first on Naejangsan (Menifee) and then later on Ecoroof Star (Exploit).

It takes the 23-year-old to 52 career wins and another step towards joining the top ranks of Korean jockeys – almost all of whom she is already more talented than.

Next week Stakes action returns to the peninsula in the shape of the Gukje Sinmun Cup at Busan. Meanwhile, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) is among early entries for next Sunday’s feature race at Seoul with a 50/50 chance of running.

Ace Galloper Upset At Seoul But Nothing Careless From Ghost Whisper At Busan

Ace Galloper was sent off as the odds-on favourite for this afternoon’s feature race at Seoul, however, the KRA Cup Classic winner was beaten, succumbing in the final few metres to the late challenge of Suseong TX.

Smiles: Moon Se Young dismounts from Suseong TX, the third of his four winners

Coming into the race with a record of 16 wins from his 23 career starts but carrying 4kg more than rivals Top Point (Tom Cruiser) and 6kg more than Suseong TX (Put It Back), Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) was nowhere near a certainty to win the 10 furlong race.

Moon Se Young reacts as Suseong TX wins Sunday's feature race at Seoul

However, he was well placed entering the home straight and, having hit the front with a furlong left to run, he seemed to have got the job done.

Coming down the outside though was Suseong TX and, under Moon Se Young, the 7-year old chased down the leader, passing him with 30 metres to go and running on to a half-length win.

For Suseong TX it was a first win for over a year though he has placed many times since then. Ace Galloper meanwhile remains Seoul’s top-rated Korean born horse.

In the feature race at Busan, the favourite made no mistake as Pegasus Farm and Peter Wolsley’s Ghost Whisper (Gotham City) made his first class 1 start a winning one. The grey 4-year old was always travelling well under Kim Jeong Woong and took the lead with a sharp bust of pace in the final furlong to record a victory of just under 2 lengths from Sinheung Daejanggun (Happy Jazz Band).

With his best horse Gyeongkwaehanjilju (Tapit) out of action and facing an uncertain future since finishing last in the Grand Prix at the end of last season, Wolsley has been seeking a new stable star. With 6 wins and 3 second places from 9 career starts, Ghost Whisper could be that horse.

Earlier at Busan, filly Geumdda (Officer) looked very comfortable in beating a small class 2 field to record her 6th win from 7 starts. Next time out, she’ll be joining Ghost Whisper among the elite.

* Next week it is the big one! The first leg of the 2012 Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile – the Korean Guineas – is at Busan.

American Revival (far side) gets his nose in front to win at odds of 110/1 at Seoul this afternoon