Good Time

Jigeum I Sungan Seizes His Moment To Win The Korean Derby

Jigeum I Sungan ended Gyeongbudaero’s Triple Crown bid with a cool one-length win in the 15th Korean Derby at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

This is their moment: Jigeum I Sungan and Moon Se Young in the Derby winner’s Circle

Sent off fourth in the betting, and ridden by Moon Se Young, Jigeum I Sungan made his move as the field entered the home straight and, while KRA Cup Mile winner and favourite Gyeongbudaero looked menacing on the outside and briefly hit the front with a furlong to go, Jigeum I Sungan was always travelling the better and was superior in the sprint.

Gyeongbudaero was even pipped for second as Nobel Pokpung, seemingly tailed off in the back straight suddenly appeared from nowhere under Japanese jockey Narazaki Kosuke to end up as the winner’s nearest challenger.

Done enough – Nobel Pokpung looms large but Jigeum I Sungan won’t be caught

It was a first Derby victory for jockey Moon Se Young and also for trainer Ji Young Cheol. Thirty-one year old Moon is the runaway leader of this year’s jockey championship and previously won the 2007 Grand Prix Stakes on Bally Brae. He’s married to KRA TV Announcer Kim Ryeo Jin and the couple celebrated with their baby daughter in the winner’s circle. As for Ji, a former jockey and now twenty-five year veteran trainer, although he has saddled Stakes winners before, this was by far the biggest.

Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) finished 5th in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, last month. Up until then, however, he had been showing consistent improvement with every start. Translated into English, his name means “This Is The Moment” and is taken from the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” (in Korean the “I” in the middle of his name is pronounced as “ee”).

Moon Se Young returns to scale after winning his first Derby

So J.S.Hold remains the sole winner of the Korean Triple Crown for at least another year. Gyeongbudaero gave it a go, but it wasn’t to be today. The surprise of the race was Nobel Pokpung and, while Narazaki Kosuke put in a good ride, it is tempting to speculate on just how close he might have got to the winner had he not been left with so much to do.

Good Time ran to form in fourth but the five fillies were disappointing, Powerful Miss G, the first one home in seventh while Cheoneun, so impressive three weeks ago, was last.

For the second consecutive year, a Seoul horse has won the Derby. However, Busan horses filled out the next three places and when this generation reconvenes for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in September, they will surely be back to challenge once more.

For now though, the stage belongs to Jigeum I Sungan. This is his moment. This is his day.

The Korean Derby (KOR.G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 20, 2012

1. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – 7.6, 1.9
2. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme – Shar Baby (Talinum)} – Narazaki Kosuke – 6.1
3. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.3

Winning Owner: Choi Sun Ryoung, Trainer: Ji Young Cheol, Breeder: Kim Sun Sik
Distances: 1 length / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Good Time 5. VIva Cat 6. Mega Tsunami 7. Power Miss G 8. Pillip 9. Grand Teukgeup 10. Dream Tower 11. Jjak Kkung 12. Dolpung Jilju 13. Pico Bout It 14. Cheoneun

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Weekend Preview: The Korean Derby – Runners And Riders

Full Field Of Fourteen For Classic / JRA Trophy Heads Supporting Card

It’s the big one! The 15th Korean Derby is at Seoul Race Park this Sunday when Gyeongbudaero will seek to claim the second jewel in the 2012 Triple Crown following his victory in last month’s KRA Cup Mile. It won’t be easy. Good Time, Viva Cat and Cheoneun are among several with solid claims in what looks a competitive race. See below for a full run-down of the field.

Gyeongbudaero, seen here winning the KRA Cup Mile, heads the Korean Derby field (Pic:KRA)

It’s a big weekend of racing. It’s become a tradition that the feature race on the Saturday before the Derby is the JRA Trophy and this year is no exception as US import Grand Niner puts his unbeaten record on the line. Meanwhile at Busan, another unbeaten import Smoking Gun, headlines Sunday’s feature race. Other than that though, on what is set to be a beautiful weekend, it’s all about the Derby.

Here’s what’s happening when and where and then scroll down a little further for the Derby field:

Friday May 18

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday May 19

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including the JRA Trophy at 16:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10 including the Jeju Owners’ Association Trophy at 14:45

Sunday May 20

Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including The Korean Derby at 16:15
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45

The Derby brings together nine fillies and five colts. Eight are from Seoul while six have travelled up from Busan. Here is a full list of the runners and riders, with pedigrees and race records:

The Korean Derby (KOR.G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 20, 2012 – 16:15

1. Dream Tower (KOR) [Forest Camp-Hurricane Warning (Thunder Gulch (9/4/2/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
The most expensive horse of his generation at the two-year old sales last year, he was second to Gyeongbudaero in the KRA Cup Mile after leading for most of the way. In with a chance but will need to improve if he is going to reverse that result.

2. Good Time (KOR) [Yehudi-A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (9/3/3/0) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Champion Juvenile of 2011, he was favourite going into the Cup Mile but was a disappointing fifth. He should like the step up in distance though having beaten Gyeongbudaero oer 1800M in March. Will hae plenty of supporters.

3. Grand Teukgeup (KOR) [Menifee-Saratoga Campaign (Mt.Livermore)] Filly (8/5/1/0) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
The filly skipped the Cup Mile and, while she’ll be more fancied for the Oaks, she could be an outside bet here. The distance will be no problem and she won smartly over a mile last time out. That Jo Sung Gon comes to Seoul to ride her is also strongly in her favour – Jo stays home unless he thinks he’s going to win.

4. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee-Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] (9/5/2/0) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
After his impressive KRA Cup Mile win he has to be favourite, but he is vulnerable as he disappointed on his only previous outing at 1800M. He’s improved since then though and if he’s on form, he’ll be very difficult to beat.

5. Cheoneun (KOR) [Forest Camp-Naha (Silver Buck)] Filly (10/6/1/0) – Lee Dong Kug (Seoul)
She’s been frustrating this year. Dreadful in the Cup Mile but then very impressive when winning a class 2 race at Seoul at the end of last month. Indeed, KRA Cup Mile apart, she is the only runner to have won at such a level so far. The distance is perfect for her, but which Cheoneun will show up?

6. Powerful Miss G (KOR) [Revere-Miss Geology (Jade Hunter)] Filly (7/1/3/1) – Kim Young Jin
A late entry and little to recommend her. Out of her depth here.

7. Pico Bout It (KOR) [Pico Central-Bee Quick About It (Rizzi)] (7/2/3/1) – Ji Ha Ju (Seoul)
A colt that has slipped in under the radar this year. He was a solid second over 1700 metres last time out although the horse who beat him, Cheonseung, is hardly a world-beater. His time was quick that day but he’ll need to find more to be competitive here.

8. Mega Tsunami (KOR) [Cielo Gold-Asia II (Sky Classic)] (10/1/4/3) – Shin Hyoung Chul (Seoul)
Another outsider, he knows how to be involved in the business-end of races although this is likely to be too tough an ask.

9. Jjak Kkung (KOR) [Forest Camp-Fab Four (Yes It’s True)] Filly (6/3/0/3) – Lee Sang Hyeok (Seoul)
An encouraging third in her first attempt around two-turns last time out but in much weaker company. One for the Oaks.

10. Viva Cat (KOR) [Creek Cat-Babaria (Engagement)] (7/5/0/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
Fourth in the Cup Mile after two very impressive wins at Seoul. Back on his home track, he should be able to give Gyeongbudaero plenty to think about and under Cho Kyoung Ho, he’s a genuine contender.

11. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire-Solmaru (Mujaazif)] (10/3/4/1) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
A horse who has been getting better with every run, he was fifth in the Cup Mile. Could offer some value and he should go close. Certainly has the best name in the race.

12. Pillip (KOR) [Pico Central-Dancing Dot (Durgam)] (9/3/2/2) – Yukio Abe (Busan)
Surprise second place oer the distance at class 2 last time out saw him get his passage here. Yukio Abe rode him that day and accompanies him to Seoul. An outsider to keep an eye on.

13. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme-Shar Baby (Talinum)] (8/3/2/1) – Narazaki Kosuke (Busan)
Second to Geumdda over a mile last time out and has won over this distance. He’ll benefit from having Narazaki Kosuke in the saddle.

14. Dolpung Jilju (KOR) [Didyme-Alder Gulch (Gulch)] Filly (9/3/1/1) – Kim Hae Sun (Seoul)
Won the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup last autumn but hasn’t trained on well this year. Eleventh in the Cup Mile and it would be a surprise if she was to be able to compete here. Jockey Kim Hae Sun will become the first female rider to contest the Korean Derby.

KRA Cup Mile Runners And Riders

After months of preparation, finally it’s the big one.

Chae Gyu Jun & Good Time in the Breeders' Cup Winner's Circle

The first leg of the 2012 Korean Triple Crown will be run at Busan Race Park this Sunday.

The KRA Cup Mile, also known as the “Korean 2000 Guineas” will see four runners from Seoul travel down South to take on a ten strong home team.

One of them could be on the way to emulating J.S. Hold who in 2007, became the first and only horse to complete the Triple Crown. Champion Juvenile of 2011 Good Time leads the line for the home team while Viva Cat, with 5 wins from his 6 starts, heads the challenge from Seoul.

Here is a full list of the runners and riders with pedigrees, race records and jockey:

KRA Cup Classic (KOR.GII) – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Sunday April 8, 15:50

1. Good Time (KOR) [Yehudi-A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] C (8/3/3/0) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Champion Juvenile of last year and has made steady progress this year up to class 2 level, recording a very easy win over the distance in February.

2. Himchan Jilju (KOR) [Kwaedo Nanma-Wild Triple (Military)] C (8/4/0/1) – Jo Chang Wook (Busan)
Untried at the distance but was impressive last time out and should be in with a chance.

3. Wonderful Namhae (KOR) [Vicar-Make That Call (Glow)] C (6/4/0/0) – Akane Yamamoto (Busan)
Has won his last three in good fashion and with Akane on board, has to be a contender.

4. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee-Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] C (8/4/2/0) – Park Geum Man (Busan)
Over the winter, he was set to be favourite but put in an indifferent performance last time out when he finished behind Good Time over 1800 metres. Could win easily or could finish last, it depends which Gyeongbudaero shows up.

5. Myeongseo Hero (KOR) [Pico Central-Regal Heir (Regal Intention)] C (7/2/3/0) – Song Keong Yun (Busan)
Was disappointing in his only outing over the distance and comes into the race off the back of two second place finishes over seven furlongs at class 3. He’ll need to show much more to challenge here.

6. Cheoneun (KOR) [Forest Camp-Naha (Silver Buck)] F (8/5/1/0) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
A poor run in the Breeders’ Cup last November and again over 1800 metres last month. Sandwiched between those two though were two very impressive wins and if she can bring that form to Busan, she can’t be discounted.

7. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire-Solmaru (Mujaazif)] C (9/3/4/1) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
A colt that has been getting better with every run. The longer Derby distance might suit him better but more improvement can’t be ruled out here and Moon Se Young would not travel South if he didn’t feel he had a shot at bringing home a big prize.

8. Dolpung Jilju (KOR) [Didyme-Alder Gulch (Gulch)] F (8/3/1/1) – Jun Duk Yong (Seoul)
Without a win since claiming the Gwacheon Mayor’s Stakes last October, she is a talented filly but it would be a surprise if her return to the Winner’s Circle came here.

9. Baekho Janggun (KOR) [Pico Central-Oaks Fever (Old Trieste)] C (9/1/2/2) – Narazaki Kosuke (Busan)
Second over the distance last time out but has done little to suggest that he will be one of the favourites here. Needs improvement.

10. Dream Tower (KOR) [Forest Camp-HUrricane Warning (Thunder Gulch)] C (8/4/1/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
The most expensive colt of his generation, Dream Tower was third in the Breeders’ Cup last year. Yet to go a mile, he was second over 1500 metres at class 2 in his last race and must be among the frontrunners here.

11. Viva Cat (KOR) [Creek Cat-Babaria (Engagement)] C (6/5/0/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
A fourth place in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup aside, this colt has done nothing wrong at all. Two smart wins at 1700 metres this year as well as Cho Kyoung Ho on board for the first time make him arguably the favourite. However, Seoul horses do not have a good record at Busan.

12. Bongodong (KOR) [Meisei Opera-Martie’s Prospect (Allen’s Prospect)] C (7/1/2/2) – You Hyun Myung
Undoubtedly the best named horse in the race (with the possible exception of the musically inspired Jigeum I Sungan), Bongodong would have to show form far beyond what he has demonstrated so far if he is to compete here.

13. Sing A (KOR) [Fortitude-Seollimwon (Wheaton)] F (9/2/3/2) – Kim Dong Young
A very nice filly who was second in the Breeders’ Cup behind Good Time and won over course and distance last month with Predict behind her. She’ll need to go quicker than she did that day to win here but she’s tough to oppose.

14. Predict (KOR) [The Groom Is Red-Muhanseungni (Big Sur)] C (7/3/2/0) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
Finished behind Good Time and Sing A in his last two starts, both of which were at this distance. Jo Sung Gin can never be ruled out in the big races but he’ll need to find improvement here.

Weekend Preview: Smarty Moonhak at Seoul, Classic Hopefuls at Busan

It’s March and there has been a definite spring-like feel to the weather on the peninsula over the past few days. On the track it’s set to be a big start to the month as Korea’s current hottest racing property, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) makes his second appearance of 2012.

After dispatching two-time Grand Prix Stakes winner and former horse of the year Dongbanui Gangja by ten lengths in his last outing, the three-year old should have little difficulty seeing off a less than daunting class 1 field in Sunday’s 2000 metre feature handicap.

Moon Jung Kyun gets the mount on Smarty Moonhak

Smarty Moonhak will be carrying 59Kg and will for the first time be ridden by Moon Jung Kyun instead of previous regular Shim Seung Tae.

Best known for riding J.S. Hold to the Korean Triple Crown in 2007, Moon has taken over as stable jockey for trainer Ko Ok Bong with Shim moving to Kim Ho. As jockeys in Korea ride in their own colours instead of those of the owners, it will mean a slightly different look for the horse.

So long as the weight isn’t a problem few of his rivals seem likely to be.

On Saturday, Singgeureounachim (Exploit) headlines the feature race while top-rated three-year old filly Cheoneun (Forest Camp) goes over the Derby distance of 1800 metres in race 9.

Down at Busan, Friday sees Classic prospects Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) and Good Time (Yehudi), last year’s champion Juvenile, attempt the Derby distance for the first time in race 9.

There are co-features on Sunday. Aussie colt Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson) headlines the first of these while both Peter Wolsley and Joe Murphy saddle contenders in the second in the shape of Pnata Rhei (Stormy Atlantic) and Ganghan Yeoja (Lethal Instrument) in the six furlong sprint.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday March 2

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday March 3

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

Sunday March 4

Seoul Race Park: 11 race from 11:00 to 17:40
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:15 to 16:40