Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo

Seoul & Busan Sunday: NACF Chairman’s Trophy / Gyeong DoMin Ilbo – Race-By-Race Preview (November 25)

It may not be until next week then the top hopes for the 2019 Triple Crown trail come together to decide the title of Champion Korean Juvenile in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul but this Sunday in the capital will also give a glimpse of some potential future stars as the top imported juveniles compete for the NACF Chairman’s Trophy over 1200M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05:

Spring Back KRA

Spring Back is one of the leading contenders for the NACF (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Last year the race was won by PK. Party, who has gone on to win seven of eleven starts to date but also featured this year’s KRA Cup Classic 3rd place-getter Moonhak Chief as well as two of the stars of the Queens’ Tour, Ttukseom Cup winner Cheongsu Yeogeol and Sky Bay, victorious in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup.

So, who are the top contenders this time around? Spring Back looked sensational in his first two starts this summer, recording one of the fastest times of the year when winning on his second start over 1400M. He didn’t impress when 2nd on his reappearance in October though and that may open the door for others.

Since running 3rd to Spring Back on debut in July, Thank You Charlie has won three in a row, culminating in a facile six-length score at the big-race distance last month. He’s one of two Adios Charlie colts in the race – the other being Havana Charlie – and both will have plenty of backers. Kitten’s Joy colt Munhak Joy has won three out of five so far and looks a solid prospect while Wang Beotkkot was a solid winner at the distance earlier this month and looks dangerous too.

Both Medici Glory and Ultra Punch tackle six-furlongs for the first time and are others who could play a big part in the race.

At Busan, the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo highlights. It too has illustrious alumni with I’m Your Father taking victory in 2016 before going on to win the Busan Mayor’s Cup the following summer. Last year Ace Korea, who won last weekend’s Kookje News Sprint and looks to be Dubai World Cup Carnival-bound, ran 4th. Ace Korea’s trainer Peter Wolsley saddles one of the main hopes, Pro Consul while another foreign trainer Thomas Gillespie comes in with the hitherto unbeaten Mujeok Yeongung.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) SATO ROYAL improved to 3rd place on what was her first try at this distance on October 27th and her third career start in total. It’s true she’s not shown much in the way of speed, but she has shown progress and with a bit more today, she can win. (8) RAON STELLA is similar in that she’s shown potential if not much swiftness across four starts to date. She’s also gone well at this trip and beat a couple of these over 1000M last time out. (6) GEUP HAENG MA steps up in trip for the first time after a decent showing in 3rd at 1000M last time and should be challenging for the early lead here. (3) GWANGPOK JUHAENG and (11) CHEONGDAM QUEENS are others who may go close.

Selections: (7) Sato Royal (6) Geup Haeng Ma (8) Raon Stella (11) Cheongdam Queens
Next Best: 3, 1
Fast Start: 6, 7, 10, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here with just three of them making their debuts. They’ll be up against it as plenty of those who have raced have demonstrated some ability. (9) SIMPLIFY ran 3rd on debut on October 27th, beaten less than a length at this distance. He ran on strongly and should have come on for it. (5) WONDERFUL BRUSH was 5th when debuting in that very same race. He was very keen at the halfway point and ran out of room slightly and he can improve today. (8) RED BLADE debuted in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at the end of September and while that was too much too soon, he ran well for 3rd on his re-appearance last month and is likely to be well-backed here. (12) WONDERFUL MARIA also did nothing wrong when 5th on debut at this distance and is another who can get close. Of those three first-timers, (7) GEUMSUNI STAR trialled nicely and looks the most forward at this stage.

Selections: (9) Simplify (8) Red Blade (5) Wonderful Brush (12) Wonderful Maria
Next Best: 7, 11
Fast Start: 5, 6, 8, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(4) SPEED WINNER ran a good 2nd on debut over 1000M a month ago, beaten only by a very nice-looking winner, Havana Charlie, who goes in the big race later this afternoon. He ran through the line strongly and can be confident stepped up to 1300M today. He’ll be on pace from the start, as will (8) DAEGUNUI GEOM, 3rd over 1200M on his first start seven weeks ago and who looks to be the main threat. (3) GEUMSEOK DOLPA was a little slow to begin on debut on October 6th but ran on well over 1000M to finish 6th. More trip may suit here. (6) MALIBU GINGER has plenty of experience compared to the rest and while he will need to improve if he is to compete for top honours, he’s capable of beating plenty of these. There are two debut-makers and (5) INCHEON CHIEF looks a potential prospect. The Pioneerof The Nile colt has looked more than competent in two trials and could go well first-up.

Selections: (4) Speed Winner (8) Daegunui Geom (5) Incheon Chief (3) Geumseok Dolpa
Next Best: 6, 12
Fast Start: 4, 6, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) FIGHTING HERO got the best of a tight finish to win by a nose on debut at this distance four weeks ago. He’s up in class here but looks the one to beat. He’ll settle just behind the early leaders and look to be too strong late on. (2) MISS PYEONGCHON may have only won one of her seventeen outings to date, but she enters with strong recent form and was last seen running 3rd at class and distance with three of her rivals here behind her. She’ll be on the early speed and could win. One of those behind her that day was (7) HANIL MAGIC and he too can get a little closer this time. (5) GEUMA KINGDOM remains a maiden after three attempts but is up in class today following two runner-up finishes and a 3rd place. She’ll be competitive at this level. (11) ARABIA GONGJU looks best of the rest.

Selections: (3) Fighting Hero (2) Miss Pyeongcheon (5) Geuma Kingdom (7) Hanil Magic
Next Best: 11, 4
Fast Start: 2, 4, 10

Busan Race 1 Selections: 10 (This is New Legend, a Korean bred who ran seven times in the USA, including winning at Arlington Park in July of this year. This is his Korean debut) 6, 11, 7

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Wildly competitive contest here. Five of these raced each other at class and distance on October 27th and it was two rank outsiders that day (3) SHADOW MONEY and (2) YEONGWONHAN SUNGAN who finished the best in 2nd and 3rd respectively. They will require more respect today although the margins weren’t huge and it’s more than possible that the best backed of them there, (11) HEUNG KKAEBI, who finished 6th, can overturn the form today. That was his first try at this distance and only his second start overall following a maiden win on debut, and he can have come on for that run. (12) SABA KINGDOM is another who can be given another chance following his latest effort. That was in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, so this is far more amenable company and he can get close. (7) GOODCHOICE ran 3rd on his first try at this class three weeks ago and should be very much in the placing frame again.

Selections: (11) Heung Kkaebi (3) Shadow Money (7) Goodchoice (12) Saba Kingdom
Next Best: 2, 8
Fast Start: 4, 8, 10, 12

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

(3) SANGSEUNG DAEHAN remains a maiden after six starts but enters off the back of three consecutive 2nd place finishes, two of them at tis distance and the latest at this class. An apprentice jockey takes significant weight off his back today and he could well make the breakthrough. (10) ECTON SPEED is up in class following her maiden win which came via a six-length score over 1300M on October 26th. She made all that day, running on well and should be able to handle to rise in both class and distance. (7) (more…)

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Yeongcheon Derby & P.K. Party Win Valuable Juvenile Prizes

Both Seoul & Busan hosted big, valuable races for two-year-olds on Sunday. Last year the winners of the corresponding events turned out to be Cheongdam Dokki at Seoul, who has gone on to become one of the highest rated horses in Korea; and I’m Your Father at Busan, winner of July’s Busan Mayor’s Cup. This time 8/1 chance Yeongcheon Derby took the honours on the south coast in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup, while in the capital, P.K. Party maintained her 100% record by winning the Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy.

Yeongcheon Derby

Yeongcheon Derby was a comfortable winner at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Seoul’s race was especially competitive with almost half of the 13-strong field arriving hitherto unbeaten. Despite having won all her five prior races, P.K. Party, the only Korean-bred among them (imported in-utero) and one of only three fillies, was only sent off as fourth-favourite in the market. As it transpired, she made all, bounding out of gate 7 under Kim Yong Geun and holding off the late challenge of OP Seven to win by half a length on the line and secure another big race win for trainer Song Moon Gil, who was recording his eight Group or Listed victory of 2017.

At Busan, things were more straightforward for Yeongcheon Derby. Hot favourite Blue Chipper got a bad start and never looked settled, handing Choi Si Dae the initiative on Yeongcheon Derby. The pair went to the front and never looked in any danger at all as they cruised to a four-length triumph.

Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Nov 19, 2017

1. P.K. Party (KOR) [Old Fashioned – Lottacosta (Cat Thief)] – Kim Yong Geun – 5.4, 2.0
2. OP Seven (USA) [Tale Of Ekati – Groundbreaker (War Front)] – Lee Joon Chel – 1.4
3. Moonhak Chief (USA) [Pioneerof The Nile – Talullah Lula (Old Trieste)] – Lim Gi Won – 1.7
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Cheongsu Yeogeol (USA) 5. Tiz Plan (USA) 6. Sky Bay (USA) 7. Sun Lighting (USA) 8. Ace King (USA) 9. Mighty Ssing (USA) 10. Bulmyeorui Jewang (USA) 11. Nice Dash (USA) 12. Jeokbyeok Shinhwa (USA) 13. Ohthe Pazibilties (USA)

Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – Nov 19, 2017

1. Yeongcheon Derby (KOR) [Thunder Moccasin – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.8
2. Potential (USA) [Midnight Lute – Fair Rose (Harlan’s Holiday)] – Jin Kyum – 2.2
3. Pasha (USA) [Haynesfield – Cute N Sassy (Consolidator)] – Lee Sung Jae – 1.8
Distances: 4 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Ace Korea (USA) 5. Ace Dolpung (KOR) 6. Choegang Beongae (USA) 7. I’m Your Mother (USA) 8. Blue Chipper (USA)

Weekend Race Times

It’s the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo Cup at Busan on Sunday. Meanwhile, it’s the 2nd Seoul simulcast to Singapore on Saturday on another busy weekend of racing.

It's set to be a warm and humid weekend

It’s set to be a warm and humid weekend

The Do-Min Ilbo is set to be a cracking race this year. Peter Wolsley’s duo of Jungle Jim and Never Seen Before face fellow 3-year-olds Hwanggeumbitjijung, Gumpo Sky, KRA Cup Mile 3rd placer Namdo Trio and the on-a-roll Hangangui Gijeok.

They’re joined by four older horses including Challenger Dream and Mega Bolt in what is potentially the race of the year so far.

There ae class 1 contests on both Saturday and Sunday at Seoul while 10 of the bumper card of 13 races on Saturday will be broadcast live to Singapore. It’s the second of 6 dates of simulcasting throughout this year with the first, by all accounts, passing off reasonably well two weeks ago.

If you’re in Singapore this Saturday, forget shopping and head to Kranji, the nearest OTB or switch on StarHub Sports and join Gyongmaman from 12pm.

Of course, if you’re in Korea, here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday July 4
Busan Race Park: 11 races from 13:00 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 8 races from 13:25 to 17:00

Saturday July 5
Seoul Race Park: 13 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday July 6
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00 including the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup at 16:10

Weekend Race Times

Derby winning filly Speedy First is the weekend headliner, making her first appearance at her home track of Busan since winning the biggest race of all in Seoul back in May. Joe Fujii will partner her as she lines up for the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo Stakes on Sunday afternoon.

Back: Derby winner Speedy First

Back: Derby winner Speedy First

There is also an interesting looking feature race at Busan on Friday as KRA Cup Mile winner and beaten Derby favourite Sting Ray also makes his racecourse return. He faces established stars Wonderful Namhae (with Fujii on board), filly Dongteuja and Peter Wolsley’s Ghost Whisper, which will be ridden by Darryll Holland.

We’ll have a full preview of the big Sunday race over the next couple of days, in the meantime, here is what’s happening when and where over the weekend:

Friday July 5
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 8 races from 13:10 to 17:00

Saturday July 6
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 8 races from 12:30 to 16:55

Sunday July 7
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:05

Schlechter’s Nobel Prize

Nobel Pokpung In Minister’s Cup Frame As Gerrit Schlechter Rides Second Korean Stakes Winner

Nobel Pokpung was a convincing winner of the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup at Busan Race PArk this afternoon, to put him firmly among the top contenders for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Korean Triple Crown.

And his win was under a fine ride by South African jockey Gerrit Schlechter, who not only landed his second Korean Stakes race victory but also scored three winners on the day.

Nobel Pokpung and Gerrit Schlecter in the winner’s circle (Pic: Gyeongnam Do Min News)

Sent off as the 3/1 favourite on the back of his second place in the Korean Derby, Nobel Pokpung was kept towards the back for the first half of the 1800 metre race, which featured some of Busan’s best three-year olds.

Schlechter asked him to improve rounding the final turn and although they had to go very wide, Nobel Pokpung was far too strong for any of his rivals. Third favourite Predict under Yukio Abe put in a brief challenge in the final furlong but Nobel Pokpung saw him off comfortably, winning by a length on the line, with 30/1 outsider Sangseung Mode a surprise third.

Disappointment of the race was filly Grand Teukgeup. Sent off as second favourite, she led the field for the first half of the race but disappeared from view as they entered the home straight, finishing back in seventh.

Nobel Pokpung and Gerrit Schlechter make their move entering the home straight (Pic: Gyeongnam Do Min News)

Remarkably this was Nobel Pokpung’s first win of the year and only his fourth overall. However, given a few extra strides, he may have won the Derby and as the distances get bigger, so do his performances. He looks like a colt with plenty more to give and the extra furlong in the Minister’s Cup back at Seoul in the autumn should be ideal for him.

Hopefully Schlechter will still be with him then. With his treble today the South African now has 24 wins since debuting earlier in the year.

Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1800M – July 8, 2012

1. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme – Shar Baby (Talinim)] – Gerrit Schlechter – 3.6, 1.6
2. Predict (KOR) [The Groom Is Red – Muhanseungni (Big Sur)] – Yukio Abe – 1.9
3. Sangseung Mode (KOR) [Vicar – Variety Lady (Variety Road)] – Kim Young Min – 6.6

Distances: 1 length/1.5 lengths – 13 ran