Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup

Classic Trials: Mask Beats Gaon Champ To Win Sports Seoul / Divide Wind Cruises At Busan

With the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown just a month away, there were Classic trials at both Seoul and Busan. At Seoul, Mask handed Gaon Champ his first defeat while at Busan, it was a Kim Young Kwan-trained one-two as Divide Win led home Captain Force.

Having already stepped up to – and won at – 1700M, Mask was likely headed to the Triple Crown trail anyway but he was only sent off as third-best in the betting for the Sports Seoul Cup behind the hitherto undefeated Gaon Champ and Seoul’s top juvenile of 2017, Choinma. It was Gaon Champ who showed the way early and at the top of the stretch looked poised to go on keep his 100% record intact.

Mask was too strong. Under the urging of Shin Hyung Chul, he came alongside Gaon Champ, who was all-out under Park Tae Jong, and went past in the final half furlong to win by just under a length. Choinma was a long way back in 3rd.

Mask (Testa Matta) has now won three from seven in total but crucially, both of this year’s outings. He’ll not find it easy in Busan though.

Sports Seoul Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 4, 2018

1. Mask (KOR) [Testa Matta – Fire And Vice (Latent Heat)] – Shin Hyung Chul – 6.0, 1.4
2. Gaon Champ (KOR) [Ecton Park – Ruby Queen (Badge Of Silver)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
3. Choinma (KOR) [Menifee – Kkummaeul(Curia Regis)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.1
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 8 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sharp Kaylan 5. Sinui Myeongryeong 6. Seourui Byeol 7. Eclair Beauty 8. Meni Bada

Down South, the Kim Young Kwan machine grinds on relentlessly and even without Champion juvenile Ecton Blade lining up, it seemed inevitable he was going to saddle the winner of the Gyeongnam Shinmun.

Divide Wind (Menifee) was favourite and he made short-work of the field, running away in the closing stages to win by three-lengths on the line. Stablemate Captain Force (Peace Rules), a half-brother to 2016 Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi came home 2nd.

Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 4, 2018

1. Divide Wind (KOR) [Menifee – Grand Slam (Grand Pass)] – You Hyun Myung – 2.6, 1.2
2. Captain Force (KOR) [Peace Rules – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Lee Hyo Sik – 1.2
3. World Sun (KOR) [Officer – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.2
Distance: 3 lengths / 1 length
Also Ran: 5. Captain Guy 6. Baedu Jeonggi 7. May Star 8. Bugyeong Bolt

In other news at Busan, Drop The Beat bested Haeya in the feature class 1 handicap, a sprint over 1400M.

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Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 4)

Choinma vs Gaon Champ at Seoul / Divide Wind vs Captain Force & Haeya vs Captain Blade at Busan

Sunday’s Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Racecourse may have only attracted a field of eight-runners but it features two of the hottest three-year-olds at the track right now as Choinma and Gaon Champ meet over 1400M. Meanwhile at Busan, Divide Win faces stablemate Captain Force as well as Gimhae Mayor’s Cup winner Major Sun in another big three-year-old contest, the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup

Choinma

Choinma was Seoul’s best juvenile in 2017 but he didn’t have to race Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Choinma was Seoul’s top juvenile of 2017 winning both the Gyeonggi Governor’s and Gwacheon Mayor’s Cups before running 2nd to Busan prospect Ecton Blade in the Breeders’ Cup in December.

Gaon Champ wasn’t involved in any of those races, however, the Ecton Park colt only debuted at the start of December and picked up two modest races before blowing away a strong field in a valuable juvenile race in December, two weeks after the Breeders’ Cup. He’s won his three starts to date by a combined margin of thirty-lengths. There have been concerns throughout about his soundness and he does race at 1400M for the first time, but he is reportedly fit and ready to go and will surely be hard to beat.

Choinma has raced once as a three-year-old already, surprisingly beaten into 2nd in his first try around two turns at 1700M in January but he is still very much in the hunt. Neither he nor Gaon Champ are front-runners so the early pace will most likely be set by Mask and Sinui Myeongryeong, both good prospects themselves, while Sharp Kaylan too looks a better horse than he was when beaten by Gaon Champ in December – since then he’s won two in a row by six and four-lengths respectively.

The Sports Seoul Cup is the highlight of an eleven-race Sunday program at Seoul while at Busan, The Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup headlines five races. Only Seoul is available on overseas simulcast so only full comments for Seoul but Busan Selections are at the bottom:

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

This one looks to be (11) ROAN DOLPUNG’s to lose. The Victoire Pisa gelding didn’t show much in his first two starts but has since followed up with consecutive 3rd place finishes both at this distance and at 1000M and should take some beating today. Despite being drawn wide, he should get on the early speed and lead all the way. The others have plenty to find. (3) BLACK SPIRIT and (7) SPEED YEONGUNG have both hinted at some potential talent, the latter beating a couple of these on his latest outing. (8) EOMJI YEOWANG showed signs of improvement when 5th last start and could maintain that momentum here. (2) FIRST THUNDER the best of a limited rest.

Selections (11) Raon Dolpung (8) Eomji Yeowang (7) Speed Yeongung (3) Black Spirit
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 5, 6, 10, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) DAE CAIN was considered promising enough by connections to be given a run in Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, one of Seoul’s top juvenile races, las October. He was overmatched, only beating two home. He has since bounced back and his latest two starts, both at this distance and ending in 4th and 2nd placed finishes suggest a maiden win isn’t too far away and he’s the pick to score. (10) ONLY BARAM enters off back to back 3rd places and should be competitive again, while one of those he beat a couple of starts ago, (6) MIGHTY COOL, hasn’t been too far away in his recent tries and can be close again. (7) RUN AWAY was an improved 4th last time and enters the placing frame as does (12) SKY DOLPUNG, who can be given another chance after a lacklustre effort behind Dae Cain a month ago.

Selections (2) Dae Cain (10) Only Baram (6) Mighty Cool (7) Run Away
Next Best 12, 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 7, 8, 9

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) GULCHARMNAMUSUP finished strongly to record a maiden win on debut on January 20th and while she is up in class today, she showed enough to suggest she is going to be very dangerous once more. (4) GANGCHONUI BYEOL used different tactics on her own debut two weeks later, leading from the gate, but the result was the same as she made all for a very comfortable win and she too steps up in class. At least one 100% record is going to be broken and it could go either way. We’ll come down marginally on the side of Gulcharmnamusup. Should both be beaten then it’s another up in class one, (7) SEONGBUL CHAMP, who could be best placed to take advantage. She has never been worse than 5th and was a really good winner last start at this distance. (1) HI EUREKA was a decent class and distance 4th last time while (8) SIMPLE RULES is better than the 8th place he registered on his first try at this class back in December and should be better dropped back in trip today.

Selections (2) Gulcharmnamusup (4) Gangchonui Byeol (7) Seongbul Champ (8) Simple Rules
Next Best 6, 9
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 7

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

(2) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG steps up in class today following a commanding four-length win over 1000M at the end of January. On his only previous try at this distance he led early only to fade to 5th late on but he should be better now and can stay on this time. The big danger is (7) HYEONMU. He couldn’t get on the early pace from a wide draw when well-backed last time but looks better positioned to do so today and is a proven performer at this class. (9) DICE KING must be respected entering as he does a class and distance winner a month ago. It wasn’t an especially strong race, but Dice King won (more…)

Europa Leagues Ahead In Gyeongnam Sinmun

Europa was an easy winner of Sunday’s Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup, Busan’s top juvenile race. The colt now should be set to travel to Seoul for December’s Breeders’ Cup.

Trained by Kim Young Kwan and ridden by Kim Yong Geun, the same combination that won the Triple Crown with Power Blade this year, Europa, who hadn’t raced since August, was sent off as 2nd-favourite for the 1200M test. It was in 2nd position that he raced in the early stages with pre-race favourite Ice Marine showing the way. However, once they hit the straight, Europa took things up and galloped clear to win by a full five lengths on the line.

Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup (Listed) – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – October 23, 2016

1. Europa (KOR) [Sharp Humor – It’s Tru Blue (Yes It’s True)] – Kim Yong Geun – 4.5, 1.6
2. Ice Marine (KOR) [Officer – Runkerry Point (Giant’s Causeway)] – Yoo Hyun Myung – 1.4
3. Illyu Star (KOR) [Officer – Run For Little Bit (Tactical Advantage)] – Lim Sung Sil – 2.1
Distances: 5 lengths / 1.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Mhan Yeoljeong 5. Adeleui Bom 6. Summit Day 7. Choegang Driver 8. Sinuipumgyeok 9. Queen’s Queen 10. Bound Queens 11. Hwarangui Huye

Seouls equivalent race on Saturday was won well by Final Boss. Both will be expected to run in the Breeders’ Cup which will take place over 1400M in the capital on December 4.

Cosmos King, Rafale Take Juvenile Honours At Seoul & Busan

It was 2-year-old Championship weekend at Seoul and Busan and it will be Cosmos King and Rafale who head to the Korean Breeders’ Cup at Seoul next month as the top juveniles from their respective tracks.

Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Oct 11, 2014

1. Cosmos King (KOR) [Ingrandire – Lovely Shine (French Deputy)] – Lee Hyeok – 2.4, 1.3
2. Dream Queen (KOR) [Creek Cat – Fine Jilju (Duality)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.6
3. Keunbada (KOR) [Menifee – Keungori (Essence Of Dubai)] – Jang Chuyoul – 1.9
Distances: 1 length / 2 lengths – 10 ran

Cosmos King was sent off as the slight favourite for the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at Seoul on Saturday, just ahead of fellow unbeaten colt Raon Rusa. Punters were proved right as, under Lee Hyeok, Cosmos King closed from 5th to 1st in the final furlong to win by a length from filly Dream Queen.

On Sunday, it was Busan’s turn to run its Championship race. And there was a little more of a surprise here as 9/1 chance Rafale overcame hot-favourite Doraon Hyeonpyo in a final stretch battle to take the prize. The two were a dominant 6-lengths ahead of their nearest other rival on the line.

Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – Oct 12, 2014

1. Rafale (KOR) [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba )] – You Hyun Myung – 9.6, 2.1
2. Doraon Hyeonpyo (KOR) [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] – Jeong Song Cheol – 1.1
3. Yuseong Fighting (KOR) [Didyme – Maggie’s Prayer (Songandaprayer)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.5
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 6 lengths – 11 ran

The best 2-year-olds of this year’s crop from both Seoul and Busan will reconvene in the capital at the end of next month for the “Breeders’ Cup” to decide the nation’s overall Juvenile Champion.

Weekend Preview: Juvenile Championships At Seoul & Busan

It’s that time of year already. Both Seoul and Busan host their Championship races for this year’s 2-year-old crop this coming weekend with the best performers from each race qualifying to face each other in Seoul next month in the Korean Breeders’ Cup to decide 2014’s Champion Juvenile.

Cheongnyong Bisang was Champion Juvenile in 2013. The race to succeed him begins in earnest this weekend

Cheongnyong Bisang was Champion Juvenile in 2013. The race to succeed him begins in earnest this weekend

The races also impact on next year’s Triple Crown. With the first leg, the KRA Cup Mile, being held in early April, it is vital to get points on the board now in order to qualify.

Unbeaten horses look the pick of both events. In the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at Seoul on Saturday, Raon Rusa is set to be favourite while Doraon Hyeonpyo is the one to beat in the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at Busan on Sunday.

Here are the full line-ups for both races with pedigrees, race records and riders:

Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Saturday October 11, 16:00

1. Good Start [Limitless Bid – Yesangbaek (Pacificbounty)] (3/2/0/1) – Yoo Seung Wan
2. Always Winner [Creek Cat – Hallat’Eukkeup (Land Rush)] (2/1/0/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
3. Dream Queen [Creek Cat – Fine Jilju (Duality)] (4/2/2/0) – Seo Seung Un
4. The Zone Sesang [Creek Cat – Namdosarang (Chullo)] (2/2/0/0) – Jun Duck Yong
5. Raon Rusa [Pico Central – Kkumaeul (Curia Regis)] (4/1/0/1) – Moon Se Young
6. Hwanhuiuisungan [Sakura Seeking – Ma Home Cat (Tomorrow’s Cat)] (1/0/0/0) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
7. Vulcan [Ecton Park – Maid Of Cognac (Hennessey] (2/1/1/0) – Ham Wan Sik
8. Keunbada [Menifee – Keungori (Essence Of Dubai)] (2/1/1/0) – Jang Chuyoul
9. Comsmos King [Ingrandire – Lovely Shine (French Deputy)] (2/2/0/0) – Lee Hyeok
10. Clean Up Queen [Officer – Hera (Archer City Slew)] (3/1/0/0) – Ikuyasu Kurakane

Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1200M – Sunday October 12, 16:10

1. Yuseong Fighting [Didyme – Maggie’s Prayer (Songandaprayer)] (2/2/0/0) – Jo Sung Gon
2. Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba )] (3/2/1/0) – You Hyun Myung
3. Fine Star [Volponi – T’ojong Kosu (Glorify)] (2/0/2/0) – Yang Young Nam
4. Namhae Sinhwa [Vicar – Intriga (Lord At Law) (2/1/1/0) – Kim Dong Young
5. Doraon Hyeonpyo [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] (3/3/0/0) – Jeong Dong Cheol
6. Mac And Cheese [Menifee – Squared (Posse)] (2/1/0/1) (3/1/1/0) – Song Keong Yun
7. Special Line [Ecton Park – Rich Musique (Rizzi)] (3/1/1/0) – Jo Chang Wook
8. Ganghan Baram [Didyme – Benbane Head (Giant’s Causeway)] (3/0/2/0) – Lee Sung Jae
9. Summit Myeongun [Menifee – Summit Party (Ecton Park)] (3/1/1/1) – Masakazu Tanaka
10. Kkumui Hanbal [Colors Flying – Baengman Buja (Successful Appeal)] (3/1/1/0) – Lee Hee Cheon
11. Yeonggwanguitaepung [Menifee – Grand Pass (Grand Slam)] (3/1/1/1) – Chae Gyu Jun

* There is plenty of other action across the weekend. Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley will be looking to follow-up his Minister’s Cup victory last weekend with another class 1 win when My Winner goes in Friday’s feature at Busan. Also on the south coast, Gamdonguibada takes on Beolmaui Kkum and New York Blue in a class 1 race on Sunday.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

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

Saturday October 11
Seoul Racecourse: 13 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday October 12
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:05

Raon Morris, Jungang Gongju Claim Juvenile Titles

With the Korean Breeders’ Cup, the nation’s most important 2-year-old race, just over a month away, Seoul and Busan decided their own champions this weekend.

At Seoul, a front-running performance did the business for Raon Morris (Yankee Victor) in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup on Saturday. The colt came into the race with 2 wins and a 2nd in his 3 previous starts and never looked like being troubled as he took victory by a length.

Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1200M – October 12, 2013

1. Raon Morris (KOR) [Yankee Victor – Thunder By Night (Thunder Gulch)] – Moon Se Young – 4.0, 1.5
2. Gamunui Chukje (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Gamun N’Yeonggwang (Concept Win)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 3.3
3. Forever Daemul (KOR) [Exploit – Charming Roman (Gadabout)] – Park Tae Jong – 2.1

Distances: 1 length/1 length – 10 ran

At Busan this afternoon, fillies were in charge as Jungang Gongju (Menifee) won the battle of the closers in the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup with Queen’s Blade.

The two fast-finishers came late on either side of Yonggwanguichampion, who finished 3rd. Leading sire Menifee was responsible for all 3 place-getters.

Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup – Busan Race Park – 1200M – October 13, 2013

1. Jungang Gongju (KOR) [Menifee – Command And Hope (Commands)] – Choi Si Dae – 4.2, 1.6
2. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Kanichiro Fujii – 1.6
3. Yeonggwanguichampion (KOR) [Menifee – Manwang (Road Of War)] – Song Keong Yun – 1.9

Distances: 0.5 lengths/0.5 lengths – 14 ran

The Korean Breeders’ Cup race, where the winners will face each other, takes place at Seoul Race Park on December 1.

Weekend Preview: Juvenile Cups At Seoul & Busan

Juveniles take centre-stage this weekend as both Seoul and Busan hold their respective Championship races for 2-year-olds. The best performers in each race will then meet in Seoul next month to decide the peninsula’s overall best up-and-coming young horse.

The weather has been beautiful this week and should remain so over the weekend for the Champion Juvenile races

The weather has been beautiful this week and should remain so over the weekend for the Champion Juvenile races

As has been the case for the past few years, Busan looks to have the edge in terms of quality. A total of 14 runners – 7 colts and 7 fillies – will line up for the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup on Sunday afternoon, only 2 of whom are yet to win. Yeonggwanguichampion and Cheonha Ullim have perhaps been the most impressive coming into the race but anything could happen in what looks a very competitive field.

Up at Seoul just 8 colts and 2 fillies will take their chance in Saturday’s Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup. Nubi Queen, Cheonwang Dungi and Raon Morris have been the stand-out performers among them so far.

In the week that it was announced that US 2011 Breeders’ Cup winner Hansen would be coming to Korea, there is plenty of diversity among the stallions represented in both races, unlike the Menifee and Forest Camp dominance of the past 2 years. Freshman sires here One Cool Cat and Peace Rules both have runners in Korean Stakes races for the first time.

The weekend’s other race of note is the last at Seoul on Saturday as Fly Top Queen (Henny Hughes) makes her 4th appearance. The 3-year-old filly – Korea’s most expensive ever imported racehorse – has won her first three races in dismissive fashion and will be heavily favoured to make it 4. If all goes to plan, she will travel to Tokyo next month to represent Korea in the 2nd leg of the Korea vs Japan Challenge races.

Down on Jeju, Saturday’s short 5-race pony card forms part of the Jeju Horse Festival and includes the Jeju Open and Jeju Classic, the track’s 2 richest races of the year.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday October 11

Busan Race Park: 13 races from 12:00 to 18:00

Saturday October 12

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at 16:30
Jeju Race Park: 5 races from 12:20 to 16:00

Sunday October 13

Seoul Race Park: 13 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 4 races from 12:50 to 15:20 including the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at 14:30