Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup

Filly & Mare Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (December 19)

Last Sunday Heat Yegam confirmed his position as Champion three-year-old colt with victory in the Minister’s Cup. This week it’s the turn of the fillies to finish up their Triple Crown. It will be one of Luna Stakes winner Raon Pink or Oaks winner Choegang Black, both of whom return to face each other again in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup over 2000M. One race earlier, the older fillies and mares get to run for a big prize in the Jeju Governor’s Cup with Raon First set to be a hot favourite. There are 10 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 7 races from 11:10 to 16:40. All betting locations are open however attendance must be pre-booked using the MyCard app. Here are the previews:

The finish to the Korean Oaks. Choegang Black, Raon Pink and Serve Ace return to Seoul for the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens in the opener with all but one racing for the very first time. And among those first-timers there was a stand-out trial performance from (8) JAY PHOENIX. From the widest gate he cruised to the lead and continued that cruise to cross the line a full two-seconds faster than the next home. If he brings that form to the races, he wins. The sole entrant with previous experience came close on debut. After winning a trial (10) BLACK MASK was sent off hot favourite on October 16th but ultimately came home in 2nd place. Nevertheless, it was a quick time, and he comes in after nine weeks off, ready to be in the mix again. Back to the trial videos for the rest and (2) NERWOOLI won his heat in good fashion while there were also encouraging performances from (7) BURUI SINHWA and (11) HAPPY MIX.

Selections(8) Jay Phoenix (10) Black Mask (2) Nerwooli (7) Burui Sinhwa
Next Best11, 12
Fast Start1, 2, 8, 10

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens and (9) ILNYEOM CHEONHA will be favourite. Having run well in a trial, he was 2nd on debut on November 21st at this distance, overcoming a slightly sluggish start to run on well. It was a fair time and faster than any of the others recorded on their respective debuts and he is the one to beat. (7) RAON THE FIGHTING also ran 3rd on debut on November 19th. He sat behind the pace and ran on pleasingly enough and should have come on for the run. There are three first time starters and the one which will attract the most interest is (5) GEUMA UNO. He was an on-pace 2nd in his heat in a fair time and the Kim Young-kwan/You Hyun-myung connection will ensure he is well backed first-up. (6) ALL CROWN and (10) PLAY THE INDY both hinted on debut that they have some potential and can also be in the mix for minor money.

Selections(9) Ilnyeom Cheonha (7) Raon The Fighting (5) Geuma Uno (6) All Crown
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start4, 5, 6, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Filly maidens only here and it could be a chance for (6) DELPHINI to get her first win. She returned from six months out to run a pleasing 3rd over this distance in a similar race on November 21st, running on as is her style. From a nice central draw and with Munro aboard, there isn’t too much to fear here.  Vying with her for favourite status will be (8) GALSAEK HYANGGI. She’s shown improvement over three outings to date, culminating in 3rd place on her first try over today’s trip on November 20th when she went back and ran on strong. She’ll be in the finish again. (1) FLEX QUEEN recorded her best finish to date at her latest start when 2nd over this distance. She led that day and from the same inside gate today will surely aim to do the same. (7) EAST MAGIC and (5) WONDERFUL NIKIYA are among a few others with at least placing chances.

Selections(6) Delphini (8) Galsaek Hyanggi (1) Flex Queen (7) East Magic
Next Best5, 4
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Tricky race. (5) DAEHO NURI has finished no better than 5th in four attempts so far but he has run the kind of times that ought to be competitive here. From a good draw, he can sit handy and run on and this could be his day. (8) ALIVE STAR returns to action for the first time since May. He is the only previous winner in the field and while being first-up in thirty-two weeks is obviously going to pose some questions, he looked well enough when running 3rd in a late November trial. If he is at his best, he can win this. (3) ARTIE’S GAL races for the first time in even longer. His best result was a 3rd place on debut at this distance in a slow race more than a year ago, but he won a trial in November leading all the way, has a good draw and a featherweight to carry. (14) GREEN SPEED has already finished as runner-up at this distance. She led for much of that race so may need a touch of luck early from the widest gate, but she can be considered. (2) DOCTOR TANGO another placing chance.

Selections(5) Daeho Nuri (8) Alive Star (3) Artie’s Gal (14) Green Speed
Next Best2, 6
Fast Start2, 3, 12, 14

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(5) SAENAE HWANGJE showed improvement when stepped up to two-turns for the first time on November 14th, settling handy and running on for 2nd place. The time wasn’t fast, but he won’t need to go much faster to win this. (7) VIVA CHAMPION comes up to this trip for the first time after a couple of creditable performances at shorter. He has run on well in his latest two and if he does the same today will run into some money. (10) RUNNING NUMBER ONE overcame a wide draw to finish 3rd in a plodding affair at this distance on November 27th. That’s two places in his last three starts, both coming at this distance, and he should be in the finish again. (3) SEMYEONG CAPTAIN was 5th behind Running Number One at his latest outing and can aim to match or better today. (1) ONE PUTT always three-putts the start but usually runs on and should pass plenty in a race where a double-bogey will be enough to get on the leaderboard.

Selections(5) Saenae Hwangje (7) Viva Champion (10) Running Number One (3) Semyeong Captain
Next Best1, 2
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 8

Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(3) ADELE BOSS steps up in trip following a 3rd and a 5th in his latest two at 1000M and 1200M respectively. The latter time he had to deal with gate fourteen and wasn’t able to find a decent position whereas today, from a much better draw he can use his good start to get away well. He has claims. So too does (9) ONE RUSH, who has raced just twice but has a 5th and a 3rd with the latter being at this distance in a good time. She sat midfield and ran on that day and while she still draws wide, in the smaller field, should be able to find a position early and run on again. (1) DAEJI SPECIAL ran into 3rd place at 1000M at his latest start. Although a previous try at 1200M didn’t go especially well, from a nice draw he can be considered for improvement here. (6) YEONSEUNG GLORY improved to 2nd at his most recent start over this distance and along with (5) MONEY BAG, warrants consideration for a place.

Selections(3) Adele Boss (9) One Rush (1) Daeji Special (6) Yeonseung Glory
Next Best5, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 9
(more…)

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 6)

The locally-bred fillies and mares get their chance to shine at Seoul on Sunday when Oaks winner Uaryung headlines a super-competitive field in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. There is a 9-race behind-closed-doors card at Seoul from 14:00 to 18:00 which is preceded by a 6-race behind-closed-doors card at Busan from 10:45 to 13:30. Here are the previews:

Oaks winner Uaryung headlines Sunday’s Gyeonggi Governor’s at Seoul (Pic: KRA)

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Great little maiden to start with and six of the full field of fourteen come in having placed on their respective latest starts. We going to tentatively go with (1) BEASTLY, who ran 2nd, well-beaten by a good winner but showing plenty of ability himself, over this this distance on October 31st. Ioannis Poullis can take advantage of the inside draw to put him on the speed and he can lead all the way. (8) BANJIUI GIJEOK comes in off two very encouraging showings as well. She’s a half-sister to some talented, if occasionally fragile, runners and surely has wins in her. (2) STAR EYE hasn’t shown much in the way of speed but nevertheless has a 3rd and 2nd to show for two outings and will be dangerous while (13) THE FIRST FACTOR has demonstrated solid progression across three starts and can continue that today. There are three debut-makers and among them, (6) ALIVE STAR looks the best, having trialed up well three weeks ago.

Selections(1) Beastly (8) Banjiui Gijeok (2) Star Eye (13) The First Factor
Next Best6, 5, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 5

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(13) SAGARMATHA was an eye-catching winner on debut over this distance on October 31st leading almost the whole way around for an easy score. There is no penalty for it so she gets another crack at class 6 and as we have noted over the past few weeks, the form from those races has tended to hold up well so we will put her on top here, despite the wide draw. Having won a trial in the summer (9) GODDESS MOON looked the part on debut in October, running a useful 2nd at this distance and she should go close again today. (6) YEONGGWANGUI POWER also put in a solid showing first-up over 1000M and the addition of Djordje Perovic can only be a benefit this time. (1) SEOBU QUEEN and (3) SUNLIGHT BOY are others who have hinted at ability and could come into the equation.

Selections(13) Sagarmatha (6) Yeonggwangui Power (9) Goddess Moon (1) Seobu Queen
Next Best3, 4, 2
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 9, 13

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(8) TOP LUCKY was narrowly beaten into 3rd place last start at this distance in a fast time on a dry track. He has beaten a couple of his rivals here recently and with Franco Da Silva in the saddle today, can make a return to the winner’s circle. (3) ULTRA PHOENIX was a last start winner at class and distance and as she suffers no penalty for it, has to warrant respect in similar company today. She’s well drawn to be prominent from the start. (4) PINEUI KKUM won at this class over 1200M at the end of October. He also has a 2nd place to his name at this distance and is firmly in the hunt for at least a place. (12) STRONG MIND is better than his last start 7th suggests and has outside placing chances while (14) DARK TEMPLAR is inconsistent but has found the money in similar company in the past.

Selections(8) Top Lucky (4) Pineui Kkum (3) Ultra Pheonix (14) Dark Templar
Next Best12, 1
Fast Start3, 4, 8, 12

Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 28 Million

Competitive looking race but the Bart Rice/Djordje Perovic combination is too tempting to ignore. (5) YEOKJEON MYEONGSU ran 2nd on debut over 1200M in October having previously won a trial and while he is up in distance today, the Super Saver gelding looks to have excellent claims. He’s not alone. The experienced (1) SEONGSAN POWER doesn’t exactly win out of turn but rarely fails to pick up a cheque and should be close again today. (7) POKPUNG EONDEOK remains a maiden after six attempts but has the fastest time at the distance courtesy of a very good runner-up finish last start three weeks ago. (11) ROCKY SKY and (3) HANBIT YEONGGWANG came home 2nd and 6th respectively when they raced each other over 1200M a month ago and both should be in the minor money frame today.

Selections(5) Yeokjeon Myeongsu (1) Seongsan Power (7) Pokpung Eondeok (11) Rocky Sky
Next Best3, 8
Fast Start1, 5, 6

Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 32 Million

We’re going with Perovic again. (2) GOLDEN WINNER has prevailed on four of nine occasions with plenty of these back down the track behind him. He won at class and distance two starts back with dropped back from a mile is the one to beat. The super-experienced (10) GANGHAN JILJU took thirty-four starts to make his breakthrough but immediately followed it up with another win and then two 3rd place finishes at this class. A very good apprentice keeps the weight light here and he looks set to be involved in yet another finish. (1) MAN OF THE MATCH and (3) YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT came home 5th and 6th when they raced each other at 1800M last month. They have both been beaten by Golden Winner recently but look to have placing chances here. So too (4) TANGENT.

Selections(2) Golden Winner (10) Ganghan Jilju (1) Man Of The Match (3) Yeonggwangui Fight
Next Best4, 12, 11
Fast Start1, 2, 9, 12

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(1) SSONSAL is turning into a top-class sprinter and having dispatched a number of the better ones who go here over 1400M on October 16th and getting no penalty for it, there is little to suggest he can’t do the same again over 1200M today. (11) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON got the closest to Ssonsal that day in 2nd. He’s a multiple Group winner at this distance and while he had an apprentice taking weight off that day, he is no stranger to going close under big imposts and he can play a role late on here. (4) RAPIDO MAN won back to back races at class 3 in the summer to get promoted to this level. He looked well when winning a trial two weeks ago from an excellent draw can prove he belongs at this level. (8) A PURE GOOD MAN and (9) MORNING DAERO are others who could place.

Selections(1) Ssonsal (11) Doraonpogyeongseon (4) Rapido Man (8) A Pure Good Man
Next Best9, 12
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 9, 12

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(10) ACHIM GISANG made all to win on debut on October 23rd over this distance having previously looked impressive in a trial. Due to getting no penalty that day, she gets another crack at class 6 today and it is very hard to imagine anything beating her. If she does manage to go wrong somewhere, then (6) TOUGH MAN is the logical contender to take advantage. He ran a useful enough 2nd on debut over 1000M a month ago and looks to have some potential of his own. It’s slim pickings amongst the others though. (1) ALPHA DOK has a couple of creditable runs to his name and while he hasn’t raced since July, looked well in a trial just last week. (14) ROYAL YEONGGWANG was 5th behind Achim Gisang last start and that too is enough to put him in with a shout of minor money today.

(more…)

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.

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…)

Pinot Noir Easily Wins Gyeonggi Governor’s / Triple Nine Beats Bold Kings

In a near repeat of February’s Donga Ilbo Cup, Pinot Noir dominated the Group 3 Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Last month’s Donga had been run in a snowstorm but while the weather was very different at a sun-bathed Seoul, the result was exactly the same. Sent off as the hot favourite ahead of the other seven who raced in the Donga – as well as three less than stellar others – Pinot Noir hit the front as they began to turn for home and raced on for an easy victory.

The always game X File came home in 2nd with Smart Time in 3rd. The mismatch, coming so soon after the Donga, wasn’t a great advert for Stakes racing – the inevitable result of extra big money races for fillies and mares in order to encourage owners to buy them but as yet there not being much depth of talent, especially at Seoul. Hopefully Pinot Noir will face tougher challenges in the Queens’ Tour races later this year.

Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – March 27, 2016

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman] – Park Eul Woon – 1.3, 1.1
2. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee]- Kim Dong Soo – 1.7
3. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charon] – Djordje Perovic – 1.6
Distances: 2.5 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Lucky Music 5. Meni Money 6. Pureun Geotap 7. Argo Asset 8. Space Shuttle 9. Punggwae 10. Shine clover 11. Queen’s Win

At Busan, Grand Prix Stakes winner Bold Kings suffered the first defeat of his career on what was his eighth start. Under Kim Yong Geun, Bold Kings was beaten by President’s Cup winner Triple Nine by a length with Gumpo Sky just a nose back in 3rd.

Class 1 Handicap – Busan Racecourse – 2000M / March 27, 2016

1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke] – You Hyun Myung – 2.0, 1.1
2. Bold Kings (USA) [Afleet Express – Bold Arrival] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.2
3. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm] – Seo Seung Un – 1.8
Distances: 1.25 lengths / Nose
Also Ran: 4. Heba 5. Cheonji Bulpae 6. Viva Ace 7.Forest Bold 8. Nobody Catch Me

Next week, the three-year-olds take centre-stage with the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, at Busan.