Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup

Clear Geom Shocks Favourites In Gyeonggi Governor’s / Burui Gori Steps up To Take Sports Chosun

The upsets keep on coming in the three-year-old division this year. Just a week after Rock Choice ran out the 20/1 winner of the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown, it was the turn of the fillies in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. And while Oaks winner Deep Mind and previously unbeaten Dia Road dominated the market, it was 16/1 outsider Clear Geom, who took the spoils.

Deep Mind ran out an impressive eight-length winner in the Oaks last month and was sent out as a slighly better than even-money favourite for the 2000M Group 3 (Korean) test. As she did in the Oaks, she went straight to the lead but this time found herself beaten early, her race run by the top of the home straight. That left Dia Road, who had been stalking the leader since the start, in firm command.

Dia Road looked a surefire winner a furlong out, but that was to reckon without Clear Geom, who under Moon Se Young launched a late charge down the outside to steal the honours by half a length on the line. An even later arrival on the scene was Miss Fact, in 3rd.

Clear Geom [Clear Attempt – Kwaegeom (War Zone)] was racing for the seventh time, having won two of her previous six but was yet to score at higher than class 5. She was ridden for the first time by Moon Se Young, who registered his third Group success in just over a month, to add to the Korean Derby on Wonderful Fly and the YTN Cup on Moonhak Chief. For trainer Kim Soon-Keun it was a second Group winner – Moonhak Chief was his first in a seventeen-year career.

One race earlier, Burui Gori [Afleet Again – Union Belle (Dixie Union)] continued to burnish his credentials when taking out a competitive renewal of the Sports Chosun Cup. While restricted to horses with a rating of 80 or less, the Listed event attracted a solid field which made for an attractive betting contest and an even more attractive race.

Ultimately, Burui Gori’s stretch drive proved too strong as he swept by Choinma and held off the challenge of slight favourite Shark Daejanggeun, to win by a length and a half under jockey Yoo Seung-wan.

Burui Gori moves on to five wins from eleven starts and puts him into the frame for some of the bigger races later in the year – the victory means he enters Seoul’s President’s Cup qualification table in 10th place. He looks to be on an upward trajectory.

That points race is currently led by Global Chukje and Wonderful Fly, Cup Mile and Derby winners respectively. But with no standout emerging from the three-year-old crop, we could be in for a fascinaiting summer and autumn.

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Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (June 23)

Deep Mind was a dominant winner of the Korea Oaks at Busan last month and she now gets the chance to assert her superiority over the three-year-old filly division as  most of that reconvene at Seoul for the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3). There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

Deep Mind KRA

Deep Mind was an impressive Oaks winner (Pic: KRA)

It’s not only the fillies she left behind in the Oaks that Deep Mind will have to contend with though. Dia Road, a huge hulking filly who has won all three of her starts so far didn’t go to Busan last month but takes her chance here and could cause an upset. In addition to the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup, there is also Listed action at Seoul in the shape of the Sports Chosun Cup. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

A field of twelve Korean-bred gallopers take to the track in the first where there appears a handful of chances. (10) JEONGMUN SARANG has ran a couple of handy races at his past couple of starts. The son of Clear Attempt finished a distant third last time out when settling on speed. A lack of depth in this race gives the three-year-old a reasonable chance to break maiden status. First starter (5) SAEROUN BOBAE trialed well in early June when running 1:02:2 for the 1000m. She had her mind kept on the job with the stick in the trial but ran it out fairly. She did lead in the trial so expect her to jump and run. (7) SEUNGNI JEONSEOL handed in a better performance last time out when third behind Hwaryong. She ran a decent time for the 1000m as well suggesting she may provide a forward showing. (2) SEOUL CITY is drawn ideal and can albeit disappointing last time out, can be considered an each-way chance. (1) SEONGPAJANG and (5) MIRACLE HOPE are others likely to attract support. Tough race.

Selections (10) Jeongmun Sarang (5) Saeroun Bobae (7) Seungni Jeonseol (2) Seoul City
Next Best 5, 1, 6
Fast Start 2, 6, 7, 10

Race 2: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A field of ten imports will line up in the second with all but one looking to crack their first maiden win. (2) SOULY MAJESTIC is the one galloper that has broken through for a maiden win. The three-year-old filly sat on speed last time out pulling away for a five length win. She goes up four kilograms for the victory but will still give punters a good sight. (8) GO GO BI is an each-way chance after running third over the 1200m last time out. The filly can settle back in the run and produce a nice turn of foot. (6) ALIBABA MARINE has the services of Moon Se-Young once again after finishing third behind Winner Brown last time out. Expect further improvement today from the son of More Than Ready. (4) TAP MAGIC MASTER has had eight starts to date and placed twice. The Australian bred can run into the minor money.

Selections (2) Souly Majestic (8) Go Go BI (6) Alibaba Marine (4) Tap Magic Master
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 2, 4, 5

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

There appears to be an abundance of speed engaged in the third on the card. Last start winner (2) HWANGGEUM DOYAJI has shown promise in her three starts to date. Kim Yong-Geun employed a change of tactics last time out when working forward early on the Colors Flying filly. She led throughout for a solid two length victory. Expect a similar racing pattern to be applied here. (3) INDY LADY has been consistent in this company of late and a second win for the chestnut does not appear to be too far away. The three kilogram claim of Moon Sung-Hyeok will assist her chances. (9) SEMYEONG STORM is another that has started his career of in good fashion. Tanaka Mazakazu has been aboard for all four runs to date with the most recent a third behind Haneul Narae. (4) AMARONE looks a place chance on recent performances

Selections (2) Hwanggeum Doyaji (3) Indy Lady (9) Semyeong Storm (4) Amarone
Next Best 8, 6
Fast Start 2, 3, 5, 8, 9

Race 4: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A field of ten will take two turns in the fourth on the card. (6) LUCKY BONGHWA was solid last time out when finishing second behind Firstige. The chestnut overcame the outside gate after receiving a heavy knock at the start to sit second in the run. With the claim of Kim Deok-Hyeon he looks a big chance of breaking his maiden. (2) HOPE KINGDOM is another that is yet to break maiden status but gets a good opportunity in this event coming of a runner-up performance behind Choegang Party. Expect the Animal Kingdom gelding to be on-speed and run through the line well as per last start. (9) STAR LIST let down nicely last time out over the 1700m. Park Eul-Woon stays aboard but will have to overcome an awkward draw. (10) CHEONNYEONUI BI broke through last time out over the 1700m when coming from well back in the field. Top rider Kim Yong-Geun stays aboard.

Selections (6) Lucky Bonghwa (2) Hope Kingdom (9) Star List (10) Cheonyeonui Bi
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 6

Race 5: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

A compact field of eight Korean-bred gallopers take to the track in the fifth all looking for their first win. (6) CHUNGDAM HORANGI looks one of the better bets on the card after finished second last time out behind Cheonnyeonui Bi. The Rock Hard Ten three-year-old was shuffled back through the field before the turn but ran home well to be beaten 2.5L. Expect improvement at his third start. (2) JUNGDONG DOKJU ran on well in the same race when finishing third. She has drawn better for this assignment meaning Tanaka Masakazu may be able to settle her closer to the speed. She has had a run of bad draws. (3) DALLYEORA SOKBO finished third last time out over the six furlongs when he was sent out at short odds. He steps back up to the 1700m in this event. (4) CARROT SEEKER has had fourteen starts for just the one top three finish. He fell in a hole last time out after sitting on speed. He looks a place chance at best.

Selections 6) Chungdam Horangi (2) Jungdong Dokju (3) Dallyeora Sokbo (4) Carrot Seeker
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 3, 4, 6

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(11) NUMBER ONE STAR has a win and two runner-up finishes in three starts so far. His latest saw him run 2nd on his first try at this class over 1300M. He stretches out to a mile for the first time today but it could well suit and he should be right in the hunt. (12) CHANGE BACK remains a maiden after four attempts but steps up in class having been 2nd on his first try at a mile a month ago. He looks to have wins in him and has little to fear here. Another maiden is (1) TORNADO KING, but he’s been getting closer and ran 2nd in a competitive heat last start and could well be on pace from the inside gate here. On the subject of maidens, (6) ONNURI GANGJA remains one after 53 attempts but (more…)

Seouri Byeol Stuns Special Stone In Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup

Just when it seemed as though Special Stone was set fair to claim the title of Champion three-year-old filly of 2018 by backing up her Korean Oaks win in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, up popped 10/1 chance Seouri Byeol from the rear of the field to deny her in emphatic fashion.

Seouri Byeol - Korea Racing Authority

Seouri Byeol beats Special Stone in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Seouri Byeol had finished similarly quickly in the filly Classic at Busan in July but that day found two too many to pass and had to settle for 2nd as Special Stone dominated. At the top of the stretch this time, Special Stone cruised into the lead as pace-setter and betting favourite Blue Flag started to weaken and under jockey Kim Jeong-jun, seemingly had the race at her mercy.

That was reckoning without Seouri Byeol, however. Last with two furlongs to run, Park Eul-woon found a gap and his filly found top gear. Though still trailing with half a furlong to run it was clear she had the momentum and shortly after, she had the race, winning by no fewer than 4 lengths on the line from Special Stone. Nike Street, last in the Oaks, came home 3rd with a tiring Blue Flag 4th.

A filly by the Japanese-bred sire, Limitless Bid, Seouri Byeol was wining for just the fourth time on what was her twelfth start. Her colours, those of owner Kim Sun-sik, were last seen in the Stakes race winner’s circle on Final Boss after the 2017 Derby. It was a first big race win for her trainer Kim Dong-chul, a former jockey who gained his license in 2016. For jockey Park, it was his fourth success on a Group race.

At Busan, King Of Ace returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year. The American import by Malibu Moon won four of his first five starts in the first half of 2017 before suffering a bad injury. Although he returned at the beginning of this year he hadn’t quit been able to recapture his old form but he looked good when leading gate-to-wire to win the south-coast track’s feature handicap over 1400M.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (September 16)

It’s the final day of racing in Korea before the one week break for the “Chuseok” holiday and there is plenty of action with 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. The feature race is at Seoul, The Group 3 Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup for three-year-old fillies with Korean Oaks winner Special Stone set to be favourite.

Special Stone Korea Racing Authority

Oaks winner Special Stone returns to action at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(6) STRONG VULTURE was an improved 2nd on August 19th in a similar strength race to this and it shouldn’t take much improvement for him to come out on top here. He led until close to home that day and this time will be expected to lead all the way. (1) HUNTER HAWK and (12) SOKBO ONGJU are by some margin the two most experienced horses in this field and while that’s generally not a good thing at class 6, both should have enough about them to challenge for at least places here. (3) HEY DREAMER showed some signs of figuring things out last time and can get closer today. There are four first-time starters and of them, (7) EIFFEL looks the most forward at the moment.

Selections (6) Strong Vulture (7) Eiffel (1) Hunter Hawk (12) Sokbo Ongju
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) TAMNANEUN YEOIN leaps out from the page having won his her debut but up in class here, she looks up against it. Instead, (1) AREUMDAUN CHEONSA may be a better prospect. She was promoted to this level with back to back 2nd place finishes and then got her maiden win last start getting the best of a tight finish over this distance on August 11th. She looks to be improving each run and could do so again. Seeking to emulate her with a maiden victory after being promoted off the back of consecutive runner-up finishes is (4) BEYOND OVER. She’s run on well both times and should be competitive at this level. (7) BACK TO BACK drops back in trip and may come into consideration while (9) LIVINGSTONE had a hard time on his first try at the distance last start but is worth another go. Similarly (11) DAMON ANGEL, who beat Beyond Over on the latter’s debut, can improve on his latest run.

Selections (1) Areumdaun Cheonsa (11) Damon Angel (4) Beyond Over (3) Tamnaneun Yeoin
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 1, 6, 9, 11, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(5) QUEEN FORCE ONE returned from eight months off to run a solid 4th in a similar all-filly race to this over 1000M on  August 26th. She steps up in trip for the first time here and looks to have every chance, most probably from on the early speed. (3) GREEN TEA wasn’t far away from 2nd last start and looks a good placing prospect once more while (8) I AM WINNER is yet to actually be a winner but, last start apart, enters with recent form reading in an encouraging manner and could get close. (4) CHEONNYEON HAPPY, (6) INDY LADY and (9) QUEEN OF CAMP all made promising debuts and can build on them here.

Selections (5) Queen Force One (8) I Am Winner (4) Cheonnyeon Happy (3) Green Tea
Next Best 6, 9, 10
Fast Start 5, 6, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens only and there are two stand-outs. (11) DO KKI BLADE was always going to grab some local attention due to his name and he ran well on debut, overcoming a slow start to run on well for 2nd. The step up in trip should suit and he can win. The big threat though is (9) BI PYEONG He’s been 2nd and 3rd in his two outings so far, the latter of which was at this distance and a win is surely not too far away. It would be a surprise if these two didn’t fill out the top two places – and if they do they will both be racing at class 5 next start – but there are a few others who could be involved. (1) BLUE FIRE ran well in 3rd on debut four weeks ago and can build on it today while (2) RULE BREAKER was a much-improved 2nd on his second start on August 26th. (8) UP LIGHT was 4th behind Bi Pyeong last time out and while he has four-lengths to make up on that one, can beat plenty.

Selections (11) Do Kki Blade (9) Bi Pyeong (2) Rule Breaker (1) Blue Fire
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 5, 6, 10

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) GUREUM WANGJA was a good all-the-way winner over this distance on August 11th on what was just his second start. H e’s up in class here but is a firm favourite to back up with another win. It took (8) MYEONGJIN MAN four goes to get his maiden win but the Drosselmeyer colt did it in style on July 1st. He too steps up in class and while he has a bit to find if he is to push the favourite, he can go well as well. (12) YEOWOORI was a touch disappointing at 1000M last time but can be better back up in distance today while (7) NEUNGRYEOK SIDAE and (9) DUAL CHOEGANG are others who are most likely to compete for places.

Selections (4) Gureum Wangja (12) Yeowoori (7) Neungryeok Sidae (8) Myeongjin Man
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 1, 4, 7

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) VICAR BLADE just missed out by a nose over a mile three weeks ago and drops back to the distance at which he earned his previous win today. He’ll be on pace early and is the one to beat. Five of these raced each other at class and distance on August 17th with (6) SIMON MAGIC coming out on top among them, finishing in 2nd place. He can go well again although it could be that a couple of the ones he beat can overturn the form. They’re the confusingly named pair of (3) GANGHAN JILJU and (10) JANGHAN JILJU are both proven performers at the distance with the latter – Janghan – favoured here. (2) SUPER SUPREME was a class and distance winner in June and while he didn’t go especially at a mile on his only start since, should be in the frame today.

Selections (8) Vicar Blade (10) Janghan Jilju (3) Ganghan Jilju (2) Super Supreme
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 8, 9

 Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) STRONG RUNNER ran 4th at this distance at class 6 back in May. After that, he dropped back in distance to get his maiden win in June and followed up with back to back 3rd place finishes at 1400M and 1200M, both at this level. He looks ready to move (more…)

World Sun, Choinma Land Juvenile Series Prizes

World Sun and Choinma set themselves up as front-runners for this year’s Juvenile Honours with the pair claiming big prizes at Busan and Seoul this afternoon. Both came from behind to respectively win the Gold Circle and Gyeonggi Governor’s Trophy.

Neither were favourite but both ran out convincing winners. In the Gold Circle at Busan, Kim Young Kwan’s Classic Match was punter’s overwhelming first choice having impressed on his debut and for much of the race, it looked as though the Hansen colt was going to dominate from gate-to-wire. In the final furlong, however, he began to start tying-up and World Sun, the 6/1 second-favourite, having come from last place easily swept by to win win by an ever-increasing four-lengths. Captain Force, stablemate of Classic Match and half-brother to 2016 Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi, was 3rd.

Gold Circle Trophy – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – September 24, 2017

1. World Sun (KOR) [Officer – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lim Sung Sil – 6.6, 1.5
2. Classic Match (KOR) [Hansen – Intouchable (Elusive Quality)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.0
3. Captain Force (KOR) [Peace Rules – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Jo In Kwen – 2.1
Distances: 4 lengths / 1.5 lengths – 9 ran

At Seoul, Icheon Ssal was sent of as favourite in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. He arrived two for two although much of that was down to the excellence of Johan Victoire’s ride on a soaking wet track last time. It was always going to be harder to get up today.

As it was, Icheon Ssal never came close as Hoeng Un Gol set the early place only to be ground down in the closing stages by second-favourite Choinma who ran on to win by just over a length.

Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – September 24, 2017

1. Choinma (KOR) [Menifee – Kkumaeul (Curia Regis)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 3.3, 1.4
2. Hoeng Un Gol (KOR) [Forest Camp – Miss Travelin (Lycius)] – Moon Se Young – 2.0
3. Wonderful Jackpot (KOR) [Ingrandire – Endless Heroine (Oath)] – Jang Chu Youl – 2.4
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 3 lengths – 11 ran

Sunday at Seoul also saw another impressive performance by Cheongdam Dokki (To Honor And Serve). The three-year-old was absolutely effortless in winning a class 1 Championship Series race over 1800M by 14-lengths. He moves on to six wins from ten starts and is by far the hottest property at the track right now.

Another Pinot Noir Spring Vintage

Pinot Noir just loves this time of year and she loves this race too. The 7-year-old mare was in fine form as she claimed victory in the Group 3 “Spring Stakes” (planned to be the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

This race was intended to be the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup but due to the impending Presidential election, that had to be dropped with the Governor himself still potentially a candidate and therefore conflict of interest rules coming into play. Pinot Noir won the race in 2014, was 2nd in 2015 and then won again in 2016. She went cold towards the tail-end of last year but came back into form by running 2nd to Meni Money in the Donga Ilbo Cup –  a prep for this race – a month ago.

This time around, with the race being over an extra furlong and at level weights, punters found it hard to split Meni Money and Pinot Noir, ultimately sending the former off as the very slight favourite. Outsider Gold Wave, one of just two in the race who didn’t take part in the Donga Ilbo, took the initiative while Moon Se Young opted for a steady start on the favourite. Meanwhile Park Hyun Woo on Pinot Noir used the same tactics as always on the mare; drop right to the back at the start before coming wide around the field in the back-straight.

The field was nicely bunched together in the home straight and once it became apparent Gold Wave wasn’t going anywhere, things started to get interesting. Meni Money just couldn’t hit top gear leaving it to Pinot Noir to tackle her inside the final furlong and run on to win by an ever increasing margin.

In total it was Pinot Noir’s 8th win on her 32nd start and the 5th to arrive in Stakes races. She may very well not win again this year but if she’s still racing this time next, it wouldn’t be hugely surprising to see her back here again.

Spring Stakes (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – March 26, 2017

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Hyun Woo – 2.4, 1.1
2. Gold Wave (KOR) [Volponi – Geumbit Yuhok (Exploit)] – Kim Yong Geun – 3.2
3. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] Moon Se Young – 1.1
Distances: 1 length / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. The Queen Silver 5. Argo Champ 6. Namsan Chukje 7. Lakshmi 8. Simsin Jiryeo

At Busan, Sunday’s feature saw Perdido Pomeroy (Pomeroy) fall to defeat. The four-year-old who last year won the Korea v Japan race at Seoul, had returned to the winner’s circle in January but turned in a flat performance this time over 1400M as Doraonpogyeongseon (Kantharos), two starts into a comeback from a lengthy absence, took the honours.

This coming week it’s Triple Crown time!. The first jewel in the crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean Guineas) will be run at Busan on Sunday April 2nd.

Seoul Sunday: “Spring Stakes” – Full Preview

Meni Money and Pinot Noir came 1st and 2nd in the Donga Ilbo Cup last month and on Sunday at Seoul Racecourse, they take their rivalry to Group level in the newly named G3 Spring Stakes.

Meni Money Donga Ilbo

Meni Money (far side) beat Pinot Noir & Argo Champ in the Donga Ilbo Cup. They all go again on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Sunday’s race was originally called the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup but with said Governor considering a presidential run the race needed to have its name changed and so the Spring Stakes it is. Meni Money and Pinot Noir – the latter of whom won this race last year – will be favourites to fill out the quinella once more.

There’s plenty happening at Busan also on Sunday where Perdido Pomeroy will be favoured to get back into winning form in the feature seven-furlong sprint. In total there are 11 Sunday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

English race cards can be found here. Three Seoul races, including the Spring Stakes will be available on Sky Racing in Australia. Form comments for those races are below:

Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

1. KING AHEAD – Improved 4th last time under this jockey, beaten 2.5 lengths by Compass so still some form to make up.

2. HAPPY SENSATION – Beaten a length behind Kyma when favourite last time but 7-length winner ahead of Star Bonny Bee and Compass the time before. Favourite here. (more…)