The race to become Champion Juvenile took a big step towards its big decider in the Korean Breeders’ Cup in December as Yeongwanguilegend backed up his Areumdaun Jilju Stakes win by claiming the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon. Half an hour later, Aspen Taeyang announced his arrival on the two-year-old scene with a hard-fought victory in Seoul’s NACF Chairman’s Trophy.
Yeonggwanguilegend was the only runner who participated in the Areumdaun on October 3rd to take his place in the Gimhae Mayor’s starting gate and therefore the only one to compete in all three of Busan’s prep races for the Breeder’s Cup, having also run in September’s Rookie Stakes. Several who ran in that race did return, but it was Yeonggwanguilegend who was sent off as the favourite.
Djordje Perovic, who rode Yeonggwanguilegend in the Areumdaun, got on to Man Of The Year, so Franco Da Silva climbed aboard the favourite and immediately had Yeonggwanguilegend sit handy to the lead being set by Juvenile Series newcomer Doctor Caesar and the filly Adele Rosario, 2nd in the Busan Rookie Stakes.
Having set a punishing early pace, Doctor Caesar led until the middle of the straight when, with Adele Roasrio already done, Yeonggwanguilegend took command and Da Silva’s mount had enough in reserve to see off the late challenge of Perovic and Man Of The Year, the margin of victory just under a length on the line.
Yeonggwanguilegend [Concord Point-Perfect Scip (Scipion)] moves on to three wins from five starts and will head to the Breeders’ Cup race among the top line of favourites. For Franco Da Silva, who is closing in on 250 Korean winners and won the Korean Derby in 2018 on Ecton Blade, it was a welcome return to the big race winner’s circle. With the Breeders’ Cup being run at 1400M though, Perovic, who won the Derby last year on Save The World, may be thinking his and Man Of The Year’s day is yet to come.
Seoul’s third prep race for the Breeders’ Cup race saw Aspen Taeyang, who participated in neither the capital track’s Rookie Stakes nor Munhwa Ilbo Cup but arrived a perfect two for two, maintain his unbeaten start to his career.
With Rookie Stakes and Munhwa Ilbo winner Complete Value absent, Aspen Taeyang was sent off as hot favourite in a small field of eight in the NACF Chairman’s Trophy. He was made to work hard though as Seungbusa, 3rd in the Rookie Stakes, got onto Aspen Taeyang’s shoulder and struck the front for a time from a furlong and a half out.
With just 100M to go, Moon Se Young roused another effort out of Aspen Taeyang, who retook the lead and then held off the late challenge of the fast-finishing Double Edge, the first three crossing the line with just half a length between them.
Aspen Taeyang [With Distinction – Aspen Light (Bernardini)] now has three wins from three starts, making him, along with Complete Value, who hasn’t been in work since his Munhwa Ilbo win one of only two of the leading juveniles to remain unbeaten.
The Korean Breeders’ Cup race to determine champion juvenile will take place over seven furlongs at Busan Racecourse on Sunday December 5th. Next weekend, attention shifts back to the three-year-old division with the Korean Derby, the second leg of the 2021 Korea Triple Crown, at Seoul on Sunday afternoon with Heat Yegam, the impressive KRA Cup Mile winner, set to be the favourite.
Juveniles take centre-stage at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday afternoons with the running of the Gwacheon and Gimhae Mayor’s Cups. There are 9 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:10 to 17:30. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Juvenile maidens get us underway with four of the twelve racing for the first time. (4) REMARKABLE is set to be favourite though. He ran 2nd in a good time on debut over this distance on September 18th before being tried in the valuable Munhwa Ilbo Cup for his second start at 1200M on October 3rd. From a wide draw he never really got going, finishing 6th of nine on the day but dropping back here in shallower waters, drawing well and getting Moon Se-young on his back, there is plenty to like about him. (3) DREAM SPEED has raced twice before, improving in her second outing, when she led at this distance, ultimately finishing 4th in a decent time. She should have made more progress for that and can continue to improve here. (1) GIANT KILLING ran 3rd on debut on August 22nd, settling midfield and running on. He comes in fresh after ten weeks off and can improve on that here. Among the first-time starters, (7) WONPYEONG GWANGYA was the fastest in trials and can go well first-up.
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(1) NEW STAR YEONGCHEON comes in off two strong showing at 1200M, racing on pace and finishing 3rd and 4th, the latter time having come out of gate twelve. He draws the inside here and while he steps up in trip for the first time, he won’t need to improve much to win this. (5) K N TEUKGEUP also comes up in trip. He has mixed his form across six starts so far but has a 3rd place to his name and generally finishes off well. He gets a good draw and with Antonio Da Silva in the saddle can be aiming for a career best finish. (2) BIG ENERGY has been doing his best work late on in his latest two starts, both times running on strong for 4th over 1200M. The additional half furlong may well be what he needs to get even closer today. (8) SEMYEONG NARAE is the only one in the field to have a runner-up finish in her record and she comes in after beating a couple of these on her way to a fair 6th place at 1200M last start. She also has experience at 1400M which may be of benefit here. (9) MASEONG CHEONHA comes in having scored an on-pace 3rd at his latest start on September 4th and is another in the hunt although he will need a good start from an unfavourable gate.
(1) New Star Yeongcheon (5) K N Teukgeup (2) Big Energy (8) Semyeong Narae
1, 3, 5, 9
Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
A tricky race with two standouts. (5) ONE JI is already a winner having struck at class 6 level two starts back when leading all the way at this distance. He then ran a solid 3rd place at this class and distance on September 19th. He is well drawn here, and he could well get to the lead and win again. The main danger is the up in class but sure to measure up (3) YUKWAEHAN SEONTAEK. He has a 3rd, and two runner-up finishes from three starts so far, all of them over 1000M. He has run on-pace all three times and should be able to do the same here from a great draw. He has winning claims. (6) CRAZY TANK comes up in class having broken through at start number five over this distance on September 4th. He was second-up into a comeback after a few months out and could well have progressed further. He likes to be on pace, but can may settle handy and run on here. (11) FASHIONED PASSION has developed a bit of a habit of getting a bit far back in her races. The wider draw may actually help here as she can avoid traffic problems and she certainly has plenty late speed. (4) BIG RED among others in the placing frame.
(5) One Ji (3) Yukwaehan Seontaek (6) Crazy Tank (11) Fashioned Passion
1, 3, 4, 5
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
Maidens with four of the twelve racing for the first time. (1) GREEN SPEED looks the one to beat. He has run 3rd and 4th in two starts so far, both of them at 1000M, finishing off strong both times. He steps up in trip to 1200M for the first time and it may well suit. (11) WINNER FALCON is a debut-maker sporting the Yoshida colours. The Smart Falcon fill is a late-starter at four-years-old but trialed very competently in a decent time and looks set to make a positive first race start here. (7) CHEONGMA POWER has certainly mixed his form across four starts so far but has run well twice at this trip including his latest start when he was 2nd having been handy throughout. He can settle just behind the early speed here and be a danger at the business end again. (5) MONGTTANG was an improved 4th on his third career start on October 3rd and his first at this distance. The jockey/trainer combination will make plenty take note. First-timer (12) CHOEGANG MIJIGAE another in the placing frame.
(1) Green Speed (11) Winner Falcon (7) Cheongma Power (5) Mongttang
1, 2, 3, 5
Seoul Race 4: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(4) SPOT FLATTER comes back into shallower waters following an unsuccessful tilt at the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown, at Busan three weeks ago where he tried to sit behind an extremely hot pace but got overwhelmed, although he still finished with an extremely creditable time. How much that took out of him is a valid question but if he picks up his class 4 form where he left off, winning here on August 14th, then has every chance. (9) LAST BOSS is up in class following a good win over this distance on October 2nd. The time he recorded certainly measures up at this class and Moon Se-young taking the mount won’t harm his chances. (10) TIZ BLACK comes up in class having won his latest two, both at 1200M, by narrow margins. That takes him to three from six in total and he steps up in trip here with solid claims to make it three in a row. The draw is not ideal, but he can go close. Surely lightning doesn’t strike three times in a row with (5) CHEONJI POKPUNG. Twice in a row he has been unfancied yet swept home late to score over 1300M. He is up in class and in distance, but significantly down in weight and warrants some – perhaps reluctant -respect. (2) ULTRA KING another who is up in class today but comes down hugely in weight and draws well.
(4) Spot Flatter (9) Last Boss (10) Tiz Black (5) Cheonji Pokpung
1, 2, 3, 10
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(10) LANE KILLER has run on very strong for two 3rd place finishes and a 4th in three stats so far, each time making up good ground late. He steps up to a mile for the first time and his racing pattern, suggests that it will suit and that the draw won’t matter. The step up may suit (8) OLD CHEONHA too. He returned to action following six months out on October 17th but didn’t really get into the race finishing down the field. He should have benefited from that though and can improve today. (7) CHEONGMA YEONGUNG ran an improved 3rd over 1200M on his latest start three weeks ago. He has tended to get well back in his races before running on and the additional distance to play with here can suit. (12) SINBIHAN GANGJA is the only one in the race to have a runner-up finish to his name, which came at this distance three starts back and he should be in the placing frame here. (6) TEN TEN QUEEN has the fastest time among the four who have tackled the mile before and she too can have placing aims.
(10) Lane Killer (8) Old Cheonha (7) Cheongma Yeongung (12) Sinbihan Gangja
1, 4, 8, 9
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(3) GOLDEN BADGE is yet to score in eleven attempts buy has been consistently close and took to this distance well when stepped up at her latest start back in August when she ran 2nd to promising three-year-old Royal Road. This is her first start since then, but a top jockey is engaged and from a good draw, she can sit handy and run on strong. (5) REDBACK returned from almost six months out to run 3rd behind Last Boss over 1400M on October 2nd. He settled midfield and ran on strong and can step up to two turns with confidence that it will suit. He still looks to have plenty more development in him and has strong claims here. (7) TANK SOCKS has been at this class for a long time, picking up a win at 1200M but she too steps up to this distance for the first time today. She has been running consistent times over 1400M in her latest three appearances and there is no reason why she can’t be in the mix here. It’s a similar story with (6) HEUKRYONG GAMU, who comes in with the fastest average time for the final furlong of all of these. He made up excellent ground late on over 1400M to go from almost last to 4th and is another for who the step up in trip may suit. (4) RUN RUN RUN struggled on his first try at this distance in September but can be given another chance here.
(3) Golden Badge (5) Redback (7) Tank Socks (6) Heukryong Gamu
Juveniles took centre-stage at Seoul and Busan on Sunday as each track hosted its 2nd-leg heat of the Juvenile Series. At Seoul Dae Wan Ma produced a gutsy fightback to win the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, while in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup on the South Coast, it was King Socks who prevailed in style.
Dae Wan Ma (yellow cap) gets up to deby Do Kki Blade (Pic: KRA)
Dae Wan Ma entered the Seoul race with 2 wins and a disqualification to his name, the latter coming in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup last month when despite being 1st over the line, he was thrown out after causing another horse to unseat his rider coming out of the gates.
Under Antonio Da Silva, the Colors Flying colt was quickly on the lead but seemed to be beaten when collared by second-favourite Do Kki Blade with a furlong to run. Dae Wan Ma though looks to be made of stern stuff as he rallied up the inside rail to get back on terms and ultimately get his neck in front on the line. Myeongpum Chukje was a full five-lengths back in 3rd place.
Dae Wan Ma will now head to the Breeders’ Cup on the first week of December, the final leg of the Juvenile Series, as Seoul’s top hope. There he will face King Socks, who had an altogether easier time in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon. While Busan’s field was smaller it was no less competitive with the eight youngsters having already combined for 13 wins from 20 total starts.
Lion Sun set the early pace with filly Top Of World going with him. Once they hit the straight, however, neither were any match for the Kim Young-kwan-trained Officer colt as King Socks came alongside the leaders two furlongs out and cruised away to win by eight-lengths on the line under jockey Lee Hyo-sik. Yeonggwangui Secret passed an exhausted Lion Sun and Top Of World to snatch 2nd.
In other noteworthy performances across the weekend, the exciting World Day (Ecton Park) moved onto six wins from seven starts, making all to win Friday’s class 2 feature at Busan over 1800M while also at the Southern track, King Of Ace ran out a comfortable winner of Sunday’s class 1 handicap for Australian trainer Peter Wolsley. The US-bred colt by Malibu Moon burst onto the scene last year winning his first three races before being interrupted by injury but has now won his latest two and looks set to finally fulfil his potential.
Yesterday at Seoul, Choinma completed a Juvenile double, adding the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup to his earlier triumph in the Gyeonggi Governor’s. Today at Busan, World Sun matched his feat, scoring an emphatic win in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup having a month previously scored in the Gold Circle Trophy. They’ll clash in early December at the Breeders’ Cup in the Capital.
He has an exciting style, World Sun. Just as in the GC Trophy, his late burst of speed overwhelmed his rivals and he ran on to win by an easy 4-lengths. Kim Young Kwan’s Ecton Blade trailed home 2nd while the Thomas Gillespie pair of Yeonghui Sidae and Gyeongjuui Durebak came in 3rd and 4th.
Gimhae Mayor’s Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – October 29, 2017
1. World Sun (KOR) [Officer – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lim Sung Sil – 2.7, 1.2 2. Ecton Blade (KOR) [Ecton Park – Vying Ty Grr (Regal Intention)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.4 3. Yeonghui Sidae (KOR) [Hansen – Pebble In The Sand (Malibu Moon)] – Jin Kyum – 3.4 Distances: 4 lengths / 2 lengths Also Ran: 4. Gyeongjuui Durebak 5. Yeonggwanguiwinner 6. Christiano 7. Captain Force 8. Sin Stealth