Gyeongbudaero

Gumpo Sky Rockets To Down Cinderella Man & Gyeongbudaero

Some of the best horses in training in Korea met at Busan Racecourse yesterday and at the end of 1800M, it was Gumpo Sky who came out on top, having led from gate-to-wire to defeat Cinderella Man and Gyeongbudaero.

It was Gyeongbudaero, President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner – and also top rated in Korea and top weight in the handicap – who was sent off as slight favourite of seven for the Class 1 race. US import Spring Gnarly was slightly favoured over Cinderella Man for 2nd favourite.

When the race got going, however, it would be the 4th choice in the market, Gumpo Sky, who would go into an early lead. And under jockey Kim Dong Young, it would be one he would never relinquish, running on for victory by just over two lengths.

Cinderella Man, having his first outing under the care of Bart Rice, was a fast finishing 2nd, just edging out Gyeongbudaero who had to settle for 3rd.

With the victory, Gumpo Sky moved onto 8 wins from 21 starts. He’s only failed to make at least the minor prize money on two occasions; his two trips to Seoul last Year for the Korean Derby and the President’s Cup. Cinderella Man will no doubt be back as too will Gyeongbudaero, who may just be feeling the top weight he gets in these handicaps – yesterday he was giving 5.5kg to Gumpo Sky and 5kg to Cinderella Man

Class 1 – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – May 31, 2015

1. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] – Kim Dong Young – 6.5, 3.4
2. Cinderella Man (KOR) [Southern Image – Tiza Fast Kat (Tiznow)] – Jo Sung Gon – 2.0
3. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.4
Distances: 2.5 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Spring Gnarly (USA) 5. Useung Radar (USA) 6. Nobody Catch Me (USA) 7. Ghost Whisper (KOR)

The top-class clash at Busan, despite being a little short on numbers, certainly contrasted with the main event at Seoul. That’s to take nothing away from Chief Red Can (Fantasticat) though, who saw a burst of speed around the home turn take him from 9th to 1st and then storm away from the field to record a nine-length win in the 2000M Class 1 feature under jockey Park Eul Woon.

For some time it has been routine for Busan’s feature race to eclipse Seoul’s with the strength and depth in the class 1 ranks on the south coast being currently superior to that of the capital. Permanent transfers between the two are now allowed, however, and a few have been moved up to Seoul. Among class 1 horses, Road To Prince and Challanhan Useung have already run – unsuccessfully – while the biggest name among them, Magic Dancer, remains spelled.

Further down the ranks, however, Red Vic (Creek Cat) became the first transfer from Busan to find the Seoul winner’s circle when he won race 8 on Saturday. It came at the end of a week when Seoul Racecourse stable-hands were protesting the proposal to allow foreign track riders to work in the capital – something that has been hugely successful at Busan.

Next weekend, Busan horses will be in the capital for the Ttukseom Cup. New York Blue, Heba, Ms. Margaux and Golden Lass are currently slated to make the trip while among Seoul horses is the tantalizing prospect of Joy Lucky finally returning from injury. However, all eyes will be on Japanese raider Esmeraldina. The first JRA horse to run in Korea arrived in Seoul late last Wednesday and is, by all accounts, doing well.

Donggeupchoegang Stuns Gyeongbudaero & Beolmaui Kkum, Daegunhwang Derby-Bound?

What was billed as being a clash between Busan’s best two horses ended up being about neither of them as both Gyeongbudaero and Beolmaui Kkum fell to a late charge from 50/1 shot Donggeupchoegang in the track’s feature race on Sunday.

Beolmaui Kkum, the highest rated horse in Korea was sent off as the slight odds-on favourite ahead of the Grand Prix Stakes winner Gyeongbudaero. The former would, as he generally does, set the early pace and as they entered the home straight, it looked set to be a two way fight between the two favourites.

That was to reckon without Donggeupchoegang. The five-year-old was benefitting from a 6kg weight advantage and he made it count as he flew home under replacement jockey Jeong Dong Cheol, going from 5th to 1st in the final furlong and running on for victory by two and a half lengths.

Gyeongbudaero hung on for 2nd, just pipping another Grand Prix winner Gamdonguibada, by a nose. Beolmaui Kkum was 4th.

The longest shot on the board, US import Donggeupchoegang [Bernstein – Resurge (Seeking The Gold)] was recording his 7th win from 29 career starts and his 3rd from his most recent 6.

It may be at Busan where we get the higher quality racing these days as was evidenced by that track’s utter domination of the KRA Cup Mile last week, but there was some hope for Seoul on Sunday afternoon. That came in the shape of three-year-old colt Daegunhwang (Menifee), who landed his 5th straight win.

This time it was at class 2 and it was a fast time over 1700M. The colt made the running all the way around and while he was made to work a little harder than on previous starts, Daegunhwang looked to have plenty in hand as he stayed on to win by just under three lengths. He’s going to have to work much harder though if he is to beat the Busan raiders next month in the Korean Derby.

Speaking of the three-year-old Classics, the winner of last year’s final Classic Never Seen Before, made his way back to the winner’s circle at Busan on Friday, holding off stablemate Ms. Margaux in what was a competitive class 1 handicap over a mile.

Weekend Preview: Cherry Blossoms! Gyeongbudaero Vs. Beolmaui Kkum!

It’s springtime! The Cherry Blossoms are out and it’s set to be a great weekend of racing on the peninsula.

Seoul Racecourse Floodlit Cherry Blossom Festival runs from 18:00-22.00 from today until next Thursday

Seoul Racecourse Floodlit Cherry Blossom Festival runs from 18:00-22.00 from today until next Thursday

The big race of the weekend is at Busan on Sunday where the top two rated horses in Korea will face off over 1900M. Grand Prix Stakes winner Gyeongbudaero and Beolmaui Kkum will also face the likes of Gamdonguibada and Magic Dancer in a small but serious field in the afternoon’s feature.

At Seoul, South African jockey Jarred Samuel will make his Korean riding debut on Saturday with 6 rides.

Here’s what’s happening when and where across the weekend:

Friday April 10
Busan Racecourse: 10 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:15 to 17:10

Saturday April 11
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10.50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday April 12
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

Weekend Preview: Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup, Tough Win at Seoul, Gyeongbudaero at Busan

A busy weekend of racing gets underway on the peninsula today and there will be plenty of big names in action over the next couple of days, as well as the year’s second Graded race in the shape of the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul.

Should be a spring-like weekend

Should be a spring-like weekend

Sunday afternoon’s Cup, which this year has been shifted from its usual position at the end of October, is for Korean bred fillies & mares and has attracted 15 entrants, one short of the maximum permitted field size for Graded races in Korea.

Among them is last year’s Donga Ilbo and Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy winner Ua Deungseon and two time Donga Ilbo winner – including this year’s race just over a month ago –  and likely favourite for this, Cheonnyeon Dongan.

As usual on a Graded race day, there will be 10 races at Seoul on Sunday, however, Saturday sees a bumper 14-race program with one of the cancelled races from last week being added. In the feature Class 1 handicap, Tough Win will carry top weight as he seeks to make it three out of three for 2015.

Busan runs its usual cards on Friday and Sunday and there is a heavyweight clash in Sunday’s feature and finale as Gyeongbudaero takes on a host of dangerous types in the shape of Gamdonguibada, Donggeupcheogang, Mujinjang, Heba and Damyangui Jilju as the Grand Prix winner too seeks to maintain his 100% record for this year.

The weather is set to be fine and full racecards can be found here. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday March 27
Busan Racecourse: 10 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:25 to 17:20

Saturday March 28
Seoul Raecourse: 14 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday March 29
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30

Peter Wolsley, Gyeongbudaero and Tough Win Stories of 2015 So Far

We say goodbye to the Year of the horse and enter the Year of the Sheep…or goat or ram or whichever hooved and horned animal it actually is; there is some disagreement in these parts. There is no racing this weekend on account of the holiday, so it’s a good opportunity to take stock of what has happened during the first six weeks of racing:

image

Never Seen Before and Lee Hee Cheon win the Minister's Cup. Lee and Peter Wolsley are in great from this year

* Peter Wolsley is on fire: With five winners across last weekend, trainer Peter Wolsley has shot to the top of the Busan Trainers’ Championship, leading the Kim Young Kwan machine by 14 winners to 12 and 49% of all runners placing first or second. Wolsley has some solid talent in his stable at the moment and also a pair of in-form stable jockeys in the shape of champion rider Jo Sung Gon but also with Lee Hee Cheon, who has been an absolute revelation under the Australian’s tutelage over the past few months. Such is the firepower that is always available to him, Kim Young Kwan will amost certainly take the ultimate prize but it looks set fair for another very good season for Wolsley.

This Korean language blog, which I’ve just seen for the first time has some really good pictures of Wolsley and Lee Hee Cheon winning the Minister’s Cup with Never Seen Before last October.

* Tough Win is back: The 2011 Grand Prix Champion’s best days looked to be behind him but he returned to the winner’s circle for the first time for 18 months in January and then followed it up last week with another victory; his 24th from 37 career starts and took him to over $2Million in prize-money. He’s done it in style too, closing from dead-last in the home straight. As long-time racing observer Thomas Song pointed out on this site, closing to defeat tired frontrunners is the only way Tough Win can run these days, but it is thrilling to watch and hopefully there is plenty more to come.

* We have some good three-year-olds: The likes of Cosmos King at Seoul and Rafale and Doraon Hyeonpyo at Busan have all won around two-turns already and they, along with a number of others, should make for a fascinating Triple Crown series which this year, will be concluded by July.

* The new rating system is here to stay: Every horse in Korea now has a rating and aside for some Grade and Listed races, there are no longer races restricted to Korean bred horses at Class 1 and Class 2. It is hoped that the stronger competition will make for a better quality of Korean racehorse and more competitive racing for punters. The early evidence, especially at Busan, is positive. With horses able to move back down in class for the first time, we’ve seen some compelling contests already. Now that connections at Seoul have belatedly signed up to the changes too, racing in the capital – in need of a new lease of life for some seasons – will hopefully be on an upward spiral soon too.

* Gyeongbudaero : If the KRA’s race-planners had scripted the first class 1 to be run under the new system, they would have come up with something like this. Six Korean bred horses faced off against six imported horses and after a tough battle, the locally bred Gyeongbudaero, carrying top weight of 60kg, prevailed. Winner of the 2014 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes, Gyeongbudaero’s image was on the front of the KRA’s 2015 Race Plan booklet announcing the changes and he is undoubtedly the poster-horse of Korean racing right now.

Racing returns next weekend.

Gwanggyo Bisang Cruises To The Segye Ilbo Cup While Gyeongbudaero Proves His Worth At Busan

Gwanggyo Bisang strolled to his third career Stakes win with an easy victory in the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul last Sunday. However, the star of the weekend was Gyeongbudaero, who carried 60kg to victory in the first class 1 “Open” race at Busan.

Gwanggyo Bisang was an easy winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul on Sunday

Gwanggyo Bisang was an easy winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul on Sunday

Now a 5-year-old, Gwanggyo Bisang is the top rated Korean bred horse in the capital and he showed exactly why when coming from behind in the final two furlongs of the 1200M Segye Ilbo Cup to take the line almost two lengths clear of closest rival Ganghae.

A slight disappointment in the President’s Cup last November and then again when sent off the strong favourite in a class 1 handicap just before Christmas, Gwanggyo Bisang this time made no mistake as he secured the 12th win of his 19 race career to date.

Segye Ilbo Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – February 8, 2015

1. Gwanggyo Bisang (KOR) [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.4, 1.0
2. Ganghae (KOR) [Didyme – Ocelot (Catrail)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.3
3. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Lee Joon Chel – 12.8
Distances: 1.75 Lengths / 0.75 lengths – 13 ran.

The winner of that aforementioned President’s Cup was, of course, Gyeongbudaero. He would then go on to win the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes as well and his eagerly anticipated 2015 debut also came on Sunday.

It was a debut that was given extra significance in that it was in the first class 1 race to take place since the practice of providing separate races for Korean bred horses at the top-level was ended (except for some Stakes races).

Gyeongbudaero and Choi Si Dae win at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Gyeongbudaero and Choi Si Dae win at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Despite carrying top weight and facing some very good imports in the shape of Spring Gnarly (Master Command), undefeated in seven and Cheonji Bulpae (Bernardini), one of the highest rated horses in the country, the Korean horse was immense.

Under jockey Choi Si Dae, Gyeongbudaero was in close attendance the whole way around before accelerating away in the home straight. He held off the challenge of fellow domestic-bred Gumpo Sky (Vicar) for victory by just over a length.

It was his 12th win in 29 career starts, however, 13 of those starts have been in Stakes races. He’s only ever been out of the money twice and has won over US$2 Million in prize money. And he’s certainly not finished yet.

Class 1 – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – February 8, 2015

1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.7, 1.1
2. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] – Kim Dong Young – 2.2
3. Chogwang (AUS) [Lion Heart – Colonial Dancer (Pleasant Colony)] – Noboyuki Oyama – 5.7
Distances: 1.25 lengths/Neck
Also ran: 4. Ildeung Hanghaesa (KOR) 5. Spring Gnarly (USA) 6. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) 7. Biryong (NZ) 8. Full Forest (USA) 9. Cheonjae Bogo (NZ) 10. Kellan (KOR) 11. Sarang Dream (KOR) PU: Haneului Chubok

Weekend Preview: Segye Ilbo Highlights Slimmed Down Seoul / Gyeongbudaero Up For The Fight At Busan

It has been a tense week in Korean racing. However, despite the threat of a boycott by owners, declarations went ahead as normal at Seoul Racecourse on Thursday morning following Busan where it had been business as usual the day before. Although some planned races have been cancelled, a big weekend still awaits.

Let's Run! And we are running this week, albeit not much at Seoul

Let’s Run! And we are running this week, albeit not much at Seoul

There have been a couple of casualties from the uncertainty earlier in the week. The scheduled overseas simulcast on Friday and Saturday was cancelled in case a large scale boycott materialised and a last minute reorganisation of the schedule was required, while there are also no regular class 1 or class 2 races in the capital. The Segye Ilbo Cup, a Stakes race, will go ahead, however, as it remains restricted to Korean bred runners.

Busan hosts class 1 action on Sunday afternoon though and there is a mouth watering clash in store as Gyeongbudaero heads the weights on his first appearance of 2015. The Grand Prix Stakes winner is the best of six Korean bred horses taking on six imports in exactly the kind of race the new rating system was intended to provide. Gumpo Sky (taking on foreign-bred horses fort he first time), and imports Cheonji Bulpae and Spring Gnarly will also be going in the handicap over 2000M.

At Seoul, where not all stakeholders are yet onboard with the new system, we are down to eight races on Saturday and ten on Sunday. The highlight is the Segye Ilbo Cup on Sunday in which the track’s top-rated Korean-bred horse Gwanggyo Bisang will be favoured to get back to winning ways.

To make up for the lost races on Saturday, eight of the nine pony races from Jeju Island will be simulcasted back to punters at Seoul instead of the usual four.

It’s the first weekend of the post Ikuyasu Kurakane era at Seoul but the four Japanese jockeys at Busan; Joe Fujii, Masa Tanaka, Nozomu Tomizawa and Nobuyuki Oyama are all in action.

Full race cards are available here. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday February 6
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:20 to 17:20

Saturday February 7
Seoul Racecourse: 8 races from 11:15 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 10:50 to 17:30

Sunday February 8
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00