Gukje Sinmun

Watts Village & New York Blue Claim Asia Challenge Cup Trials

Seoul and Busan Racecourses both held trials this past Sunday for the Asia Challenge Cup, the international invitational which will be run in the Korean capital at the end of August. And it was familiar names coming out on top as Watts Village and New York Blue ran out the respective winners.

Watts Village and Moon Se Young in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup winner's circle (Pic: KRA)

Watts Village and Moon Se Young in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

In the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul, there was just a nose in it as Watts Village, 2nd in the Korea/Japan Goodwill race – the forerunner of the Asia Challenge Cup – in 2013 and winner of the Interaction Cup at Ohi in Tokyo later the same year, beat out Choegang Schiller in a back and forth stretch duel that went all the way to the line. Under Moon Se Young, Watts Village had his nose in front just at the right time as the pair came home just one tenth of a second outside the track record for 1200M.

Munhwa Ilbo Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – July 12, 2015

1. Watts Village (USA) [Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)] – Moon Se Young – 2.2, 1.2
2. Choegang Schiller (USA) [Artie Schiller – Changeable (Misawaki)] – Lee Chan Ho – 1.3
3. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.4
Distances: Nose/2.5 lengths
Also ran: 4. Joy Lucky (KOR) 5. Full Moon Party (KOR) 6. Parang Juibo (USA) 7. Cheonma (USA) 8. Seoul Jeongsang (KOR) 9. Mirae Yeongung (KOR) 10. Nolbu Manse (KOR) 11. Stan The Cameraman (USA)

At Busan, the Gukje Sinmun Cup attracted just six entrants and after a late scratching, only five took their place in the starting gate. It was another quick race and it was the filly New York Blue, 3rd in last year’s Asia Challenge Cup, who would get the better of Success Story by just under a length on the line.

Gukje Sinmun Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – July 12, 2015

1. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.8, 1.1
2. Success Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.5
3. Super Gangja (USA) [Simon Pure – Honey Fritters (Helmsman)] – Choi Si Dae
Distances: 0.75 lengths/6 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Gyeongnam Sinhwa (USA) 5. Fly Top Queen (USA) SCR: Jeoldae Gunju (USA)

Both winners – and indeed the runners-up – will be expected in Seoul to take their chance against the visitors from Singapore, Japan and – with a quarantine protocol almost complete – potentially the UAE as well for the Asia Challenge Cup on August 30.

There is more Stakes action at Seoul this coming Sunday in the shape of the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the 2015 Korean Triple Crown.

Weekend Preview: Asia Challenge Cup Trials

Racing switches to its summer timetable this weekend and both Seoul and Busan hold trials for the Asia Challenge Cup, the final of which will be run at the end of August and open to international runners.

Twilight racing begins this weekend

Twilight racing begins this weekend

At Seoul, eleven run in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup. They include the 2013 Interaction Cup hero Watts Village as well as Bichui Jeongsang, who was 3rd place in the Ttukseom Cup last month, Choegang Schiller and Mirae Yeongung.

Down at Busan only six are declared for the Gukje Sinmun Cup. However, they include Success Story, New York Blue and making her first start since being relocated from Seoul, Fly Top Queen.

Click here for English Racecards

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday July 10
Busan Racecourse: 10 races from 13:30 to 17:25
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 16:20 to 20:00

Saturday July 11
Seoul Racecourse: 13 races from 13:00 to 20:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:00 to 17:40

Sunday July 12
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 13:00 to 17:45
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 16:20 to 20:00

Weekend Preview: Indie Band Returns in Gujke Sinmun / Owners’ Cup At Seoul

After three cancellations due to the Sewol Ferry disaster, racing returns to the peninsula this weekend. And there is big Stakes action in store as Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band finally makes his 2014 debut. Meanwhile at Seoul, the delayed Owners’ Cup will also be run Sunday.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President's Cup. He returns this weekend.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President’s Cup. He returns this weekend.

Indie Band ended 2013 with back-to-back dominant wins at Seoul in the nation’s two richest and most prestigious races; the President’s Cup and the Grand Prix Stakes. On Sunday, he returns to his home track of Busan to face 9 rivals in what looks a very tough Gukje Sinmun Cup.

Aside from Indie Band, Cheonji Bulpae, third in the Grand Prix goes as one of two entrants for Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley, Ghost Whisper being the other. Prolific winner Magic Dancer takes his chance while champion jockey Jo Sung Gon returns from Macau to partner undefeated up-and-comer Strictly Two Step.

Oreuse can never be ruled out while Dynamic Jilju and Sand Hi also know where the winning line is. It should be a great race.

The ferry disaster resulted in the postponement of the Seoul Owners’ Cup two Sundays ago. The race will be run this Sunday instead and 10 of the original 11 entrants will take their chance with only Heukgisa dropping out. Read our original preview here.

Generally big fields abound on a welcome return to racing. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday May 2
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:25 to 17:40

Saturday May 3
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:15

Sunday May 4
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00 including the Gukje Sinmun Cup at 16:10.

Beolmaui Kkum Beats Gamdonguibada in Gukje Sinmun Stakes

There was a surprise of sorts at Busan Race Park this afternoon as Beolmaui Kkum handed a comprehensive defeat to Gamdonguibada to win the Gujke Sinmun Stakes.

With three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) a late scratching after being found lame this morning, Grand Prix Stakes winning filly Gamdonguibada (Werblin) was left as the overwhelming favourite in what was now just a seven-horse race.

However, it was 3-year old US import Beolmaui Kkum (Put It Back) who despite veering wide coming out of the stalls, took the honors in emphatic style, leading from gate to wire and crossing the line a full 5 lengths clear of the field.

Gamdounguibada couldn’t even manage second as the always game Viva Ace (Macho Uno) put in another strong performance.

Beolmaui Kkum is a full-brother of multiple Korean Stakes winner Kkakjaengi. He was bought for just $20,000 at the 2011 Fasig Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearlings sale.

In his 8 runs to date, he has won 6 of them and finished 2nd in the other 2, banking over 300 Million won in the process. He was expected to be challenging for top honours at some point this year but not this early.

Gukje Sinmun Stakes – Busan Race Park – 1800M – May 5, 2013

1. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – Choi Si Dae – 6.3, 1.5
2. Viva Ace (USA) [Macho Uno – Dancing Lake (Meadowlake) – Seong Keong Yun – 1.6
3. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] – Kanichiro Fujii

Distances: 5 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Prince Kingdom (USA) 5. Dehere Queen (USA) 6. New Record (NZ) 7. Isidae Gangja (KOR). NR: Dangdae Bulpae (KOR)

Gamdonguibada Lands The Gukje Sinmun Cup While Smarty Moonhak Keeps On Winning At Seoul

The only filly and one of just three three-year-olds in a field of thirteen, Gamdonguibada (Werblin) announced her arrival in Korean racing in fine fashion by winning the Gukje Sinmun Cup at Busan this afternoon.

Coming into the race off the back of a fine second place in the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul, Gamdonguibada was sent off the 5/1 third-favourite behind last year’s winner Lion Santa (Lion Heart) who entered the race not only as defending champion, but also with a record of 10 wins from 12 career starts.

Today never looked likely to be win number 11 for Lion Santa though. After getting caught out of position on the final turn, the four-year old offered nothing in the sprint and finished a shocking second from last.

Up at the business end of the race, Gamdonguibada, always well-placed, came with a fast run down the rail to overhaul long-time leader Prince Kingdom (Roar Of The Tiger) in the final furlong and stretched out to a two-length win. Aussie import Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson) was third.

With the win, Gamdonguibada, a $31,000 purchase from Ocala last year, has cemented her position as the top three-year old import at Busan so far this season.

Gukje Sinmun Cup – Busan Race Park – May 6, 2012

1. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] – Kim Yong Geun – 5.7, 2.0
2. Prince Kingdom (USA) [Roar Of The Tiger – Special Wife (Husband)] – You Hyun Myoung – 3.6
3. Jeonseong Sidae (AUS) [Stromberg Carlson – Jessie’s Journey (Crown Jester)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.8

Distances: 2 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sand Hi (USA) 5. Gulf Grouper (USA) 6. Admiral Reigart (USA) 7. Dangdae Champ (NZ) 8. Full Forest (USA) 9. Seonnyang Yongsa (AUS) 10. Jungwon Jepae (AUS) 11. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) 12. Lion Santa (USA) 13. Killian’s Tiger (USA)

On a bright but blustery day in Seoul the main attraction was, of course, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones). The three-year-old was making his fourth appearance of the year and, having been sent off at odds of 1/9, he made light of his 61kg impost and short work of thirteen rivals to win the 2000 metre handicap by nine lengths.

On The Turn: The only time the field were level with Smarty Moonhak was in the paddock

The general feeling among the track is that if his rematch with Tough Win, the horse who beat him in the Grand Prix in December was to take place at level weights tomorrow, the older horse may still just about have the advantage.

Given an extra month or two, if Smarty Moonhak continues with his current development, there will be no contest. Smarty Moonhak moves onto 8 wins from 10 career starts.

We’re just two weeks away from the Korean Derby. Unfortunately, Smarty Moonhak, as an import, will not be allowed to compete. On Kentucky Derby weekend, many have questioned whether a horse of his talent would have been better served being shipped back to the US to take his chances on the Derby trail.

In reality, the time he spent in Korea being trained for Korean racing would have put him at a massive disadvantage compared with his native contemporaries. He is naturally very gifted and, had he stayed home, who knows what may have happened. Of course, we can ask that question about any horse who goes anywhere. As it is, it’s unlikely we’ll ever be seeing Smarty Moonhak able to compete internationally.

Weekend Preview: Weighty Task for Smarty Moonhak / Gukje Sinmun Stakes at Busan

Smarty Set To Extend Winning Streak At Seoul / Lion Santa Defends Gukje Sinmun At Busan

Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) makes his fourth appearance of 2012 at Seoul Race Park this coming Sunday and the three-year-old phenom will need to be strong as he will carry 61Kg over 2000 metres in the feature handicap.

Smarty Goes Again: Smarty Moonhak runs on Sunday

Regardless of the weight, he still shouldn’t have much trouble seeing off the 13 horses who will challenge him. The best class 1’s have stayed away leaving Jewang Tansaeng (Petionville) the next highest rated in the race.

Few will bet against Smarty Moonhak extending his record to 8 wins from 10 starts, nor against jockey Moon Jung Kyun once more not needing to use his stick, as he builds up for his eventual showdown with Grand Prix champion Tough Win.

Down at Busan there is Stakes action on Sunday in the shape of the Gukje Sinmun Cup. This time last year, Lion Santa (Lion Heart) won this race to maintain his then unbeaten record and have people talk about him in the same way that they talk about Smarty Moonhak now.

It didn’t quite work out though and he proved to be beatable. However, he’s only lost twice in twelve career starts and has every right to be favourite here. The evergreen Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) will be out to stop him as will proven winners Full Forest (Full Mandate), Dangdae Champ (Falkirk) and Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson).

Yeonseung Daero – out to beat Lion Santa in the Gukje Sinmun

It should be a cracking race. Yukio Abe is suspended this weekend, but both Gerrit Schlechter and Narazaki Kosuke have rides in the big race.

Schlechter, who has 10 rides across the weekend will ride venerable old-stager Admiral Reigart (General Royal) while Kosuke (who has 13 rides) gets the mount on the in-form Sand Hi (Stormy Atlantic) who, on recent form, must be in with as chance.

Here’s what’s happening when and where on what is set to be a beautiful weekend in Korea:

Friday May 4

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

Saturday May 5

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

Sunday May 6

Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 17:45 – Smarty Moonhak will race at 17:15.
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45 including the Gujke Sinmun Stakes at 15:50