Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup

Silver Wolf Completes Queens’ Tour Sweep

Silver Wolf cruised to victory in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup on Sunday and in doing so, completed a clean sweep of the 2017 Queens’ Tour, assuring her the title of Champion Filly or Mare of the year.

Silver wolf Gyeongnam

Silver Wolf & Yoo Seung Wan complete the Queens’ Tour sweep (Pic: KRA)

Having narrowly won the Ttukseom Cup over 1400M in June and then easily winning the KNN Cup at a mile a month later – and finding time then to run 5th in the Korea Sprint and win the Munhwa Ilbo Cup – Silver Wolf was sent off a prohibitive favourite for the 2000M final leg, a race in which she could only manage 8th place last year and 7th in 2015.

It was never in doubt this time. Queen’s Queen provided the early drama by dumping Song Keong Yun on the ground exiting the starting gate but the race from then on was routine with jockey Yoo Seung Wan content to keep Silver Wolf in 2nd behind early pacesetter Hello Venus. Entering the home straight, they struck the front and never looked like being caught, finishing two lengths clear of fellow Seoul-raider O.K. Yeondab. Gold Blue arrived on the scene late to take 3rd with KNN Cup runner-up Mighty Gem in 4th.

Silver Wolf [Oratorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] is a five-year-old Australian-bred mare. She was a $40,000 purchase from the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale in 2014. She’s won nine of nineteen outings to date with career winnings not in excess of US$1Million.

 

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Seoul & Busan Sunday – Queens’ Tour Finale: Race-By-Race Preview (November 12)

Silver Wolf on Sunday gets the chance to make a clean sweep of the 2017 Queens’ Tour when she lines up at Busan Racecourse for the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. The Aussie-bred 5-year-old by Oratorio  narrowly won the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul in June but then romped away with the KNN Cup over a mile month later. She returns to Busan as favourite but having to go 2000M in a race in which she was 8th last year.

Silver Wolf

Along with winning the Ttukseom, KNN & Munhwa Ilbo Cups this year, Silver Wolf also found time to run 5th in the Korea Sprint (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The Cup is the highlight of a 6-race program at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 while up at Seoul there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Small field of fillies to begin with and the champion jockey should get off to a winning start on (3) SAUVIGNON. She’s been getting closer over three starts to date and should have too much for these. (2) CUPID DOCTOR has also made a positive start to her career although Sauvignon’s experience over this distance is what gives her the edge. (4) RUBY BEOLKIN is two starts into a comeback following a layoff and was only narrowly beaten by Sauvignon last time so does have claims too but it’s slim pickings among the rest with possible (5) BABY STAR most likely to improve.

Selections (3) Sauvignon (2) Cupid Doctor (4) Ruby Beolkin (5) Baby Star
Next Best 1, 6
Fast Start 2, 3, 4

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Two standouts here who both look close to their maiden wins. (8) WONDERFUL CHAMPION was a close 3rd over 1200M last time out and comes in fresh following eight weeks off. He’s not a fast starter but should be able to sit handy from gate 8 and finish strongly. The other likely one is (5) GIDONG DAEJANG. Much improved on first try at this distance last time out, he narrowly missed out on 2nd place and should make the running here. (9) STORMY also showed improvement when finishing 4th last time out while (1) JEGUKUI HUYE and (11) NEULPUREUN CHEONHA are also capable of finding the money.

Selections (8) Wonderful Champion (5) Gidong Daejang (9) Stormy (1) Jegukui Huye
Next Best 11, 10
Fast Start 5, 6, 7, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / 60 Million

Three of these have raced before, five haven’t and of those with experience, both (2) CITY ANGEL and (3) HIGH BEAT ran 5th. Neither were particularly impressive although probably did enough to be reasonably well fancied here but we should give a chance to some of the debut-makers. (5) BACK TO BACK looks the pick of them following a swift showing in a trial at the end of October while both (1) ACE CANT and (4) HWANSANGUI BIT also showed they know what they are supposed to do and have every chance of going well first up.

Selections (5) Back To Back (2) City Angel (1) Ace Cant (3) High Beat
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 2, 4

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Allowance / 40 Million

(7) LUCKY MISS was a three-length winner on debut over this distance on October 14th and while she steps up in class today, she is favourite to strike again. There will be plenty looking to get on the early speed and (1) REBECCA and (3) NAMWON QUEEN are contenders to do just that and stay on for the business part of the race. The latter was 5th behind (11) PARTY POWER last start but is better drawn to overturn that form today. (12) (more…)

Ms. Margaux Lands Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup For Irish Trainer Thomas Gillespie

 Ms. Margaux, so often runner-up over her career,got it right in spectacular style at Busan Racecourse this afternoon. The five-year-old mare got the better of Ttukseom Cup winner Bichui Jeongsang in a stretch duel to win the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, and hand a first Korean Group win to Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie.

Ms. Margaux (Midnight Lute) a class 1 winner at the 2000M distance in September, was sent off as favourite for the final race in the series which is held to decided the Champion filly or mare of the year, having been 6th in both the two shorter legs. Surprise KNN Cup winner Supreme Magic was 2nd favourite and Queens’ Tour veteran New York Blue 3rd in the market.

Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi showed the way early along with perennial fast-starter Halla Chukje and well-fancied Seoul raider Touch Flying. Bichui Jeongsang and and Ms. Margaux both made ground in the back straight and around the home turn and as the leaders faltered, they led into the straight.

It was one-on-one from then on and under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Ms. Margaux kicked clear in the final furlong to take the honours by just over a length on the line. FIve lengths behind Bichui Jeongsang, the unheralded Mighty Gem put in a huge run to edge New York Blue out of 3rd place in a photograph.

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First Korean Group winner – Thomas Gillespie (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Ms. Margaux was a $15,ooo purchase at the September yearling sales at Keeneland in 2012. Today she took her earnings to in excess of $700,000. She’s had quite a remarkable career, most of it spent with Peter Wolsley before transferring to Thomas Gillespie this season. She took thirteen races to get her maiden win but finished 2nd or 3rd in all of the previous 12. In 29 starts she has only finished outside the money on five occasions with a total of ten 2nd places and eight 3rds. Today she got by far the biggest of her four wins.

It was another group success for jockey Kim Yong Geun, who remains in punters’ bad books after Perdido Pomeroy’s performance against Ottug Ottugi last month but who once again ends up in a big race winner’s circle. For Thomas Gillespie, it is a 35th winner since debuting at Busan last summer. Gillespie maintains a win-rate of almost 14% and his horses find the top three well over 40% of the time. He’s proven a very solid addition to the training ranks at Busan.

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – November 20, 2016

1. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.6, 1.2
2. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] – Jo Sung Gon – 3.3
3. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] – Kim Hye Sun – 12.2
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. New York Blue (USA) 5. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) 6. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 7. Hay Queen (USA) 8. Silver Wolf (AUS) 9. Santa Gloria (KOR) 10. Touch Flying (KOR) 11. Supreme Magic (USA) 12. Halla Chukje (USA) 13. Naesarang Damyang (USA)

Queens’ Tour Final Leg: Runner-By-Runner Preview

The 2016 “Queens’ Tour” to find the champion filly & mare of the year comes to an end at Busan this afternoon as 13 go in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. And it could be a big day for Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie with his Ms. Margaux set to be among the favourites for the race. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:35 to 17:05 and 11 at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00. English race cards are here.

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Ms. Margaux won at Busan in September. She goes in the final leg of the Queens’ Tour today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Here’s a full run-down of the field. Click “More” at the bottom for previews of Busan races 4 & 6:

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – Sunday November 20, 2016 (16:15)

1. Santa Gloria (KOR) [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] 3 (11/3/1/2) – Seo Seung Un
5th in the Korean Oaks behind Ottug Ottugi, she was 4th in the Jeju Governors Cup behind the same filly and Touch Flying. Little to suggest that this distance will suit but we’ll call her an interesting outsider.

2. Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player (Montbrook)] 5 (31/5/6/2) – Lee Hyeok
A front-runner who’s likely to set the pace, she won a strong class 1 rce at Seoul over this distance in April before running 2nd to Bichui Jeongsang in the Ttukseom Cup. Two disappointing outings since mean she won’t be strongly backed here.

3. Hay Queen (USA) [Hold Me Back – Jacks Touch (Touch Gold)] 4 (19/4/6/2) – Park Eul Woon
2nd in last year’s KNN Cup and 5th in this race, she struggled in the Ttukseom Cup this year and doesn’t enter in the greatest of form. She’ll be among the outsiders.

4. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] 4 (15/5/3/3) – Kim Hye Sun
Solid class 1 competitor at Seoul although her only outing since July was a disappointing spin around 1800M at the end of Sepembr. She looks up against it here.

5. Touch Flying (KOR) [Colors Flying – Jeongtongseong (Lassigny)] 4 (11/6/3/0) – Jo Jae Ro
Probably Seoul’s best chance, she won four consecutive races across the spring and early summer including making all over 1800M in the listed Ilgan Sports Cup. 2nd to Indian Star in the Jeju Governors Cup last time, beating Ottug Ottugi and Santa Gloria. She’ll set the pace and could pull off a surprise.

6. Supreme Magic (USA) [Looking At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] 4 (16/5/3/2) – Yonekura Satoshi
The shock winner of the KNN Cup warrants respect here as does her 6th place in the Korea Sprint in September. She is a closer and while the distance is new for her, she has to be given a chance.

7. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) [A.P. Warrior – Leagacy’s Silver (Robyn Dancer)] 4 (18/7/1/2) – Song Jae Chul
Winner of a couple of decent races earlier this year, she finished the lowest in the KNN Cup among those who return today. An also-ran in the KRA Cup Classic last month, she’s among the outsiders here. Stablemate of Hay Queen.

8. Naesarang Damyang (USA) [Super Saver – Marina De Chavon (Exploit)] 4 (18/2/2/3) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
A stablemate of Touch Flying and she is very much the second-strong. Still at class 3 level in Seoul, it’s tough to see her making much of an impact here.

9. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] 5 (26/7/10/2) – Lim Sung Sil
She fell in last year’s KNN Cup and didn’t return to action until May this year. Yet to return to the winner’s circle but she’s raced in tough company 3rd in the Ttukseom Cup and 2nd in the KNN, she will once more be a danger here.

10. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] 3 (14/7/3/1) – Choi Si Dae
She hasn’t won in four starts since winning the Korean Oaks in July. All of those outings have been in top company, including the Korea Sprint but despite the Oaks win over 1800M, there is little to suggest she suits 2000M. That said, her quality should see her beat plenty of these and she has a chance. As always she will will try to lead from the gate.

11. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] 5 (23/8/5/3) – Jo Sung Gon
A closer, she won the Ttukseom Cup in June butgot a bad trip in the KNN Cup in July before struggling in the Korea Sprint in September. It’s not going to be easy for her here but she can’t be completely ruled out.

12. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Oratorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] 4 (12/5/3/1) – Yoo Seung Wan
4th and 5th in the Ttukseom and KNN Cups respectively, she was then an easy eight-length winner of a class 1 race at Seoul at the end of August She hasn’t raced since then so comes in fresh, will sit handy and has a chance.

13. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] 5 (28/3/10/8) – Kim Yong Geun
A convincing class 1 winner over this distance in dreadful conditions in September before finishing runner-up to former stablemate Macheon Bolt over 1400M a month ago. She is a closer and at 2000M, she is the one to beat.

For races 4 & 6 click “More”

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Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup – Full Preview

Fourteen fillies and mares will line up for the final leg of the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the 2015 Queens Tour, at Busan this afternoon.

Heba won the KNN Cup (Pic: Ilgan Sports)

Heba won the KNN Cup (Pic: Ilgan Sports)

They are headed by Heba, 5th in the Ttukseom Cup and then the winner of September’s KNN Cup and Seoul raider Bichui Jeongsang, 3rd in the Ttukseom Cup but unraced since a 5th place finish in the KRA Cup Classic at the end of August. Oaks winner Jangpung Parang and KNN 2nd place-getter Hay Queen also go in the 2000M test.

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – November 1, 2015 (15:40)

1. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir-Persimmon Honey] (15/5/4/2) – Choi Bum Hyun
Last seen racing 5th in the KRA Cup Classic over this distance at the end of August, she was 3rd behind Esmeraldina in the first leg of the tour. She doesn’t usually go forward early but if well placed entering the home straight, has every chance.

2. Hay Queen (USA) [Hold Me Back – Jack’s Touch] (12/3/6/1) – Seo Seung Un
She was 2nd to Heba in the KNN Cup; her third consecutive 2nd place finish. She can certainly handle the Busan track. Beaten by Silver Wolf in the HRI Trophy at the end of August, she should be close again but may once more find one or two too quick.

3. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux] (20/2/77) – Jo Sung Gon
Through her career she has excelled at just getting beaten into 2nd or 3rd and she is up against it here. A solid campaigner though who can’t be ruled out of sneaking into a place.

4. Seungbu Sinhwa (USA) [Bluegrass Cat – Island Rhythm] (32/0/34) – Lee Gi Hweoi
Yet to win in 32 starts and that’s not going to change today. Hasn’t finished any better than 6th for more than a year. Her defence is that she always races in top class company and that defence will be used again here.

5. Sharp Lady (KOR) [Sharp Humor – Gentlemen’s Lady] (13/4/1/4) – Lim Sung Sil
From the Kim Young Kwan stable, it is always difficult to tell just what his second string is. It is probably her and she is only one race into a comeback after almost a year away. She was 5th in her return race and should have come on for it. Dangerous outsider.

6. Jangpung Parang (KOR) [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne] (11/4/2/4) – Kim Yong Geun
The Korean Oaks winner was 3rd in the KNN Cup behind Heba and Hay Queen and there will be those who will back her to overturn that form today. She is a front-runner who will likely look to lead and has every chance of staying on.

7. Rising Park (KOR) [Ecton Park – Cozzie Maxine] (31/3/4/4) – Pasquale Borelli
Quite a step up in competition for this one who is yet to win at a higher level than class 3. Distance shouldn’t be a problem but the minor placings would be the most realistic aim.

8. Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player] (21/3/4/1) – Lee Hyeok
She came a very creditable 5th in the KNN Cup at odds of 140/1 on her last start and that encouraging performance on her first trip to Busan encourages connections to have another go. That minor prize will again be the aim.

9. Gyeoul Wangguk (USA) [Any Given Saturday – Collodia] (12/2/4/0) – Masakazu Tanaka
She takes her chance having landed her second win, over a mile at class 3, in September. She tries this distance for the first time but has run adequately enough over 1800M before. Likely to be close to the front early on, she will need to find plenty of improvement here.

10. Jangsan Lion (JPN) [Eishin Sandy – Kogane Sengan] (13/4/1/3] – Lee Joon Chel
She was 3rd behind Silver Wolf and Hay Queen in the HRI Trophy at the end of August before a decent 4th of 12 over 1800M at class 2 last start. Another who will look to be close to the front early on and another who has a bit to find here.

11. Haengbok Cheonsa (KOR) [Menifee – Missed The Tower] (17/5/4/0) – Choi Si Dae
A class 3 winner over 1800M in August, she comes in following a 4th place, ahead of Sharp Lady over 1200M last month. She has plenty of speed but will find it diffiult in this company.

12. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More] (6/4/1/0) – Yoo Seung Wan
A real up and comer from Seoul, she won the HRI Trophy at the end of August, beating Hay Queen and Jangsan Lion. That was her 4th win from 6 starts and she led from gate to wire to win by three lengths. She could well compete for the lead early and look to make all once more. It is going to be much much harder to do that today though.

13. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) [A.P. Warrior – Legacy’s Silver] (9/4/1/1) – Park Eul Woon
Seoul’s final entrant won the YTN Cup over this distance in June before running 7th in the KRA Cup Classic at the end of August. Today’s field is more similar to the latter in terms of strength and therefore any improvement on that 7th will be a good result.

14. Heba (USA) [Peace Rules – Sue’s Temper] (34/8/5/2) – Song Keong Yun
Having been 5th in the first leg and then winning the second, she is well placed to win the overall Tour. While one of the favourites unseated her jockey in the KNN Cup, Heba was still a solid three length winner and is likely to be the betting favourite. She will most likely be settled just behind the early pace

Gamdonguibada Completes The Queen Sweep

Gamdonguibada was back to her dominant best at Busan on Sunday as she crushed her opposition to win the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup and in doing so, complete the full Queens’ Tour set, having won the Ttukseom Cup and KNN Cups earlier in the season.

Gamdonguibdada wins the Gyeongnam Governor's Cup (Pic: KRA)

Gamdonguibdada wins the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

She was sent off as the slight odds-on favourite for the 2000 metre, with New York Blue, who had beaten her over the same distance last month – albeit carrying less weight – second in the market.

In the end, it wasn’t even close. While outsider Silver Classic set the pace for much of the race, Gamdonguibada was always on her shoulder and pounced as they entered the home straight.

A slight drift over to the stands side barely registered as the 5-year-old sprinted away for a 4-length win. New York Blue was 2nd while prolific placer Ms. Margaux was 3rd.

It was a 6th Stakes win for Gamdonguibada and the $31,000 purchase from Ocala in 2011 has now earned almost $2Million in prize money. He biggest win came in the 2012 Grand Prix Stakes and her name is on the ballot for this year’s event too.

New York Blue in 2nd showed that she too is of high quality at any distance while it was another superb training performance from Peter Wolsley to send out Ms. Margaux into 3rd. Yereobunuiyeowang, under Japanese jockey Nozomu Tomizawa was 4th while Dragon Hill led home the Seoul contingent in 5th.

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – Nov 16, 2014

1. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.7, 1.1
2. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For the Moon (Deputy Minister)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.2
3. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] – Park Geum Man – 3.1

Distances: 4 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Yeoreobunuiyeowang (JPN) 5. Dragon Hill (USA) 6. Jangmi Eondeok (USA) 7. SIlver Classic (USA) 8. Shining Future (KOR) 9. Big Power (USA) 10. Heba (USA) 11. Seungbu Sinhwa (USA) 12. Winner’s Marine (USA) 13. Changiparang (USA)

Weekend Preview: Queens’ Tour Finale Features / Smarty Moonhak Looks For Form At Seoul

While the undoubted highlight of the weekend is the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup – click here for full preview – there’s plenty of other action going on across the weekend.

Going again: Smarty Moonhak

Going again: Smarty Moonhak

At Seoul, the main interest is Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) making the second appearance of his comeback from a long injury lay-off.

The 4-year old goes in Sunday’s finale.

The former phenom was 6th on his return last month and, while a win may be slightly too much to ask for, an improved showing is expected over the same 6-furlong distance.

Samjeong Bulpae (Hook And Ladder), who has won 5 of his 8 starts to date and will be makingh is class 1 debut, is the most interesting of his 10 rivals.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday November 15
Busan Race Park: 11 races from 11:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:10 to 17:40

Saturday November 16
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday November 17
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00 including the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup at 16:10