Indie Band

Indie Band Break Leaves Magic Dancer Heading Jeju Cup Field

Genuine stars are few and far between in Korean horse racing at the moment. The glory days of a couple of years ago when the likes of Mister Park, Dongbanui Gangja, Tough Win, Dangdae Bulpae, Smarty Moonhak and Yeonseung Daero made each Stakes race one to savour, are gone.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President's Cup. He'll now be out for up to a year,

Indie Band plays up after winning the President’s Cup. He’ll now be out for up to a year,

The emergence therefore of Indie Band, who stormed to victory first in the President’s Cup and then in the Grand Prix Stakes at the tail end of last year, was warmly welcomed and his return to Seoul to compete for the Jeju Governor’s Cup was hotly anticipated.

The news that came through this week that Indie Band had suffered a fracture to his leg that is likely to keep him off the track for a minimum of nine months. Indeed, whether he ever returns must be open to debate.

Never a very good worker in the mornings, Indie Band had, by all accounts appeared even more out of sorts on arrival in Seoul last week, with an x-ray on Wednesday confirming the break.

His absence leaves just nine in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, a race which was won by another now retired star, Jigeum I Sungan, a year ago. Here’s a full run-down of the field (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1/2/3) – Jockey (home track):

Jeju Governer’s Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – June 29, 2014 – 16:40

1. Road To Prince [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] (22/9/4/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Came back into form after an indifferent spell with a 2nd place last time over a mile. Likes to go from the front and should be in contention for a place.

2. My Winner [Vicar – Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] (21/6/6/0) – Lee Hee Cheon (Busan)
Peter Wolsley’s entrant has a definite chance here. Unfashionable jockey should mean generous odds and while his last visit to Seoul didn’t go well, we can expect improvement here. Worth investing in at least a place.

3. Singgeureounachim [Vicar – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] (41/9/7/11) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
A very consistent performer who was in the winner’s circle over this distance last time out in May. Likes to come from off the pace and while he’s not the quickest, he has plenty of stamina and will pick off any tired front-runners.

4. Impetus [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] (16/6/2/3) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
A solid performer although 2000 metres might be at the limits oof his ability. Difficult to recommend to win but is one of a number with the possibility of placing.

5. Magic Dancer [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] (14/9/3/0) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
The de-facto favourite was a 7-length winner over this distance at Busan last start. Won from the front that day and will probably try to do so again. Big race jockey on board and difficult to look past.

6. Chowon Yeoje [Forest Camp – Navigation (Big Sur)] (30/5/7/6) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
Another consistent sort who is likely to show at the front early. He’ll be an outsider here.

7. Last Mudae [The Groom Is Red – White Aloe (White Muzzle)] (26/4/6/4) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
Beaten into 4th by Singgereounachim last time out, he’ll benefit from the return of Moon Se Young to the saddle and has strong place hopes.

8. Cheonnyeon Dongan [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] (13/7/1/3) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
Beaten by Joy Lucky in the Seoul Owners’ Cup last time out, this filly has only run twice all year but if she’s at her best, she will give Magic Dancer a very strong test. Likes to come from just off the pace and she’ll have plenty of support here.

9. New And Best [Trick Of Fate – Yongunch’eon (Phizam)] (56/4/6/3) – Bang Choon Sik (Seoul)
A reliable old handicapper, but New And Best will find a few of these far too quick here.

Joy Lucky and Oreuse Claim Stakes Wins as Indie Band Returns Off-Key

Joy Lucky bounced back from her Ttukseom Cup disappointment to win the Owners’ Association Trophy at Seoul on Sunday but there was neither joy nor luck at Busan for Grand Prix winner Indie Band as he slumped to 3rd while Oreuse took the honours in the Gukje Sinmun Cup.

Seo Seung Un looks around to see if he and Joy Lucky have won the Owners' Trophy (KRA)

Seo Seung Un looks around to see if he and Joy Lucky have won the Owners’ Trophy (KRA)

Despite her Ttukseom trouncing Joy Lucky was sent off the odds-on favourite for the Owners’ Trophy, a race which had been re-arranged from its original schedule two weeks ago.

Featuring prominently throughout, Seo Seung Un had the 4-year-old filly track the pace-setting Brig before hitting the front with a furlong to run in the 1400 metre race.

Despite looking vulnerable on the run-in, shew as able to hold off the fast finishing Cheonnyeon Dongan and Gwanggyo Bisang, who dueled in the rails, to record her 9th victory in 13 starts.

Owners’ Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – May 4, 2014

1. Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.5, 1.1
2. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] – Ikyuasu Kurakane – 1.5
3. Gwanggyo Bisang (KOR) [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] – 1.4
Distances: Head/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Brig 5. Seoul Jeongsang 6. K Tap 7. Full Step 8. Reigns Cat 9. Jjak Kkung DQ: New And Best

Down at Busan, Indie Band ws making his first start since completing the President’s Cup/Grand Prix Stakes double at Seoul last year.

Indie Band was sent off as a narrow favourite ahead of Peter Wolsley’s Cheonji Bulpae but it was the unheralded Oreuse who bounded into an early lead and never looked back, the 5-year-old US import scoring a wire-to-wire victory.

Indie Band closed strongly in the home-straight but could only manage third place, a nose behind Dynamic Jilju and a full three lengths adrift of the winner.

Oreuse has been consistent rather than spectacular in winning 12 of his 26 starts to date. Thought of as being able to excel up to a mile, this was only his 2nd attempt at going an extra furlong. No doubt if he tries again, he’ll not be sent off at 11/1

Gukje Sinmun Cup – Busan Race Park – 1800M – May 4, 2014

1. Oreuse (USA) [Smoke Glacken – Heavenly Splendor (Point Given)] – Kim Dong Young – 11.3, 3.0
2. Dynamic Jilju (USA) [Forestry – Beat Your Feet (Dixieland Band)] – Choi Si Dae – 5.2
3. Indie Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.4
Distances: 3 lengths/Nose
Also ran: 4. Star Bolt (USA) 5. Ghost Whisper (KOR) 6. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) 7. Strictly Two Step (USA) 8. Sand Hi (USA) 9. Magic Dancer (KOR) 10. Yereobunuiyeowang (JPN)

Weekend Preview: Indie Band Returns in Gujke Sinmun / Owners’ Cup At Seoul

After three cancellations due to the Sewol Ferry disaster, racing returns to the peninsula this weekend. And there is big Stakes action in store as Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band finally makes his 2014 debut. Meanwhile at Seoul, the delayed Owners’ Cup will also be run Sunday.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President's Cup. He returns this weekend.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President’s Cup. He returns this weekend.

Indie Band ended 2013 with back-to-back dominant wins at Seoul in the nation’s two richest and most prestigious races; the President’s Cup and the Grand Prix Stakes. On Sunday, he returns to his home track of Busan to face 9 rivals in what looks a very tough Gukje Sinmun Cup.

Aside from Indie Band, Cheonji Bulpae, third in the Grand Prix goes as one of two entrants for Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley, Ghost Whisper being the other. Prolific winner Magic Dancer takes his chance while champion jockey Jo Sung Gon returns from Macau to partner undefeated up-and-comer Strictly Two Step.

Oreuse can never be ruled out while Dynamic Jilju and Sand Hi also know where the winning line is. It should be a great race.

The ferry disaster resulted in the postponement of the Seoul Owners’ Cup two Sundays ago. The race will be run this Sunday instead and 10 of the original 11 entrants will take their chance with only Heukgisa dropping out. Read our original preview here.

Generally big fields abound on a welcome return to racing. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday May 2
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:25 to 17:40

Saturday May 3
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:15

Sunday May 4
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00 including the Gukje Sinmun Cup at 16:10.

Dominant Indie Band Wins Grand Prix Stakes

Indie Band followed up his President’s Cup success with a commanding win in Korean racing’s season-ending showpiece, the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Race Park on Sunday.

Indie Band and Lim Sung Sil win the Grand Prix (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Indie Band and Lim Sung Sil win the Grand Prix (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The 3-year-old colt, who up until a week ago wasn’t even going to run in the race, produced a late charge to surge away from the field and win by a commanding 4 lengths from 2012 Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan.

Pic: Ross Holburt)

Pic: Ross Holburt)

It was a third win in four years for Busan trainer Kim Young Kwan as the silverware disappeared from Seoul down the Gyeongbu Expressway once again.

a 6/1 chance, Indie Band was sent off as second-favourite behind Beolmaui Kkum who led for much of the race before fading in the home straight.

Beolmaui Kkum wasn’t the only one to fade. Last year’s winner Gamdonguibada also showed early before offering nothing on the run in along with KRA Cup Classic winner Mari Daemul, 2011 winner Tough Win and the ever-popular Smarty Moonhak.

Pic: Ross Holburt

Pic: Ross Holburt

In the end, only Jigeum I Sungan, who was competing in his final race before retirement, could get close as Indie Band became the undisputed number 1 horse on the peninsula.

Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – December 15, 2013

1. Indie Band (KOR) [Ecton Park] – Lim Sung Sil – 6.7, 2.3
2. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire] – Moon Se Young – 4.3
3. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) [Bernardini] – Darryll Holland – 4.5

Distances: 4 lengths/5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Indian Blue (USA) 5. Wonder Bolt (USA) 6. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) 7. Lion Santa (USA) 8. Murangae (USA) 9. Secret Whisper (KOR) 10. Gippeun Sesang (CAN) 11. Smarty Moonhak (USA) 12. Gamdonguibada (USA) 13. Beolmaui Kkum (USA) 14. Mari Daemul (USA) 15. Tough Win (USA) 16. Mr. Rocky (KOR)

Indie Band Calls The Tune As Dangdae Bulpae Surrenders President’s Cup

Dangdae Bulpae’s three-year reign as President’s Cup champion came to an end as Indie Band scored an emphatic victory in Korea’s richest race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Indie Band may have won the President's Cup, but he was in no mood to pose for a win picture!

Indie Band may have won the President’s Cup, but he was in no mood to pose for a win picture!

Jigeum I Sungan was sent off as the slight favourite ahead of the only once beaten Gwanggyo Bisang with punters doubting Dangdae Bulpae’s fitness as he sought his fourth consecutive victory in this race.

In hindsight, those doubts seem well-founded. Although he showed at the front for the opening stages of the race, once the field turned for home, there was none of the familiar kick from Dangdae Bulpae that had so often before left his rivals trailing.

Beaten: Moon Se Young looks to see who finished where as he dismounts from Jigeum I Sungan

Beaten: Moon Se Young looks to see who finished where as he dismounts from Jigeum I Sungan

He wasn’t alone. All six of the leaders entering the home straight faded with just over a furlong to go.

Among the closers, 2012 Derby-winner Jigeum I Sungan and Busan Owners’ Cup winner Gyeongbudaero made their moves first, but it was Indie Band whose sprint was the sharpest.

Still with six horses ahead of him as they entered the final furlong, under the urging of jockey Lim Sung Sil, he sailed past them all, hitting the front in the final 50 metres and going clear for a two-length win.

Of the foreign interests, Joe Fujii was 5th on Indie Band’s stablemate Road To Prince, one place in front of Ikuyasu Kurakane on Naejangsan. Masa Tanaka was 8th on Major King while there was disappointment for Darryll Holland who came home 15 of 16 on Peter Wolsley’s My Winner.

With the victory, Indie Band moves on to 7 wins from 11 starts. It was his 2nd Stakes victory, with the other coming in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup back in July. By all accounts he’s a dreadful worker in the mornings. Dangdae Bulpae was very much the same but it was Indie Band who brought his best to the track this afternoon.

Beaten: Jo Sung Gon chats with punters after Dangdae Bulpae's President's Cup streak came to an end

Beaten: Jo Sung Gon chats with punters after Dangdae Bulpae’s President’s Cup streak came to an end

There’s another similarity with the former champion.

The past few Stakes winners at Seoul; Jigeum I Sungan, Gwanggyo Bisang and Major King have all been so docile in the winner’s circle that punters have been allowed to pet them.

Dangdae Bulpae never allowed that (although he was, for the most part well-behaved). Today, Indie Band threw a proper tantrum to the extent that the post ceremony photo session had to be called off.

He’ll be back at Seoul for the Grand Prix Stakes in December. Last year’s winner Gamdonguibada was in winning action down at Busan today but on this form, Indie Band has to be in with a chance.

Jigeum I Sungan should be given a run too although it is questionable whether Gyeongbudaero will get the distance. As for Dangdae Bulpae, he’ll almost certainly not run, nevertheless, the likes of Indie Band still have a very long way to go to match his achievements. Today was a good start though.

President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – November 10, 2013

1. Indie Band (KOR)
[Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Lim Sung Sil – 6.1, 2.2
2. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.9
3. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – 1.8

Distances: 2 lengths / 2 lengths
Also ran: 4. Singgereounachim 5. Road To Prince 6. Naejangsan 7. Gwanggyo Bisang 8. Major King 9. New And Best 10. Dangdae Bulpae 11. Super Rich 12. Special Win 13. Geuma Champ 14. Gumanseosk 15. My Winner 16. Tamnaseontaek

Next weekend the Stakes action moves to Busan with the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour to determine the nation’s champion filly or mare. Derby and Oaks winner Speedy First is set to go along with big name stars Secret Whisper and Joy Lucky. Look out for a full preview this coming Wednesday.

Major King Crowned Minister’s Cup Champion

Major King led from gate-to-wire to land the Minister’s Cup as the 2013 Korean Triple Crown wrapped up at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

He might have fluffy ears, but Major King is now a Classic winner

He might have fluffy ears, but Major King is now a Classic winner

Korean Derby and Oaks winning filly Speedy First was sent off as the short-priced favourite but she was never in the race and faded in the home straight to finish a tailed-off last.

Third in the Derby on this track in May, the grey Major King was a 9/1 chance at the start and was immediately sent into the lead by jockey Jo Sung Gon. When the expected challenges from Speedy First and Derby-second Unhae failed to materialise, it was left to outsider High Five and Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo winner Indie Band to apply the pressure.

They didn’t come close. Instead, Major King kicked on for victory, leading his fellow Busan visitors home by 2-lengths on the line.

Major King is by the late Brazilian sire Pico Central, who died earlier this year. The victory is his 6th from 10 career starts to date. For trainer Kim Sang Seok, it was a 3rd Classic winner, having won both the Korean Derby and Oaks in 2008 with Ebony Storm and Jeolho Chance respectively. For jockey Jo Sung Gon, Busan’s current champion, it was a 4th Classic and his 2nd in this race, having previously won it in on Sangseung Ilro in 2009.

As for the favourite, Speedy First returned with no obvious sign of injury, although fellow disappointment Unhae was found to be lame.

So, after Jigeum I Sungan upset the order of things by winning two Classics for Seoul last year, normal service has been resumed this with Busan horses winning all 4 Classics. When the two tracks collide again in the Gyeongnam Governor’s and President’s Cups over the next few weeks, it seems unlikely that this will change.

Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – October 6, 2013

1. Major King (KOR) [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)] – Jo Sung Gon – 9.1. 2.4
2. High Five (KOR) [Creek Cat – Nam’s Gulch (Gulch)] – Choi Si Dae – 5.5
3. Indie Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5

Distances: 2 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. K Tap 5. Brig 6. Geumbin Mannam 7. Sting Ray 8. Last Mudae 9. Best Captain 10. Unhae 11. Rising Joy 12. Speedy First

* There was no fairy-tale return to the track today for Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones). The 4-year-old, returning to racing for the first time since successful treatment for tendinitis which had kept him sidelined for 15 months, could only manage 6th in the class 1 race 13.

The event was won by the improving Watts Village (Forestry), who was 2nd in the Korea vs Japan race last month and who will travel to Tokyo for the return leg next month. The old Smarty Moonhak would have made short work of the likes of Watts Village but, while he was 5-lengths behind the winner, he was just 2 lengths adrift of 2nd and the run showed some promise.

* Down at Busan, Darryll Holland was the star of the show for the 2nd time this week. The British jockey notched up 4 winners on Thursday and added another 2 during the short 4-race card this afternoon. His haul included the feature race, where he partnered Peter Wolsley’s Perfect Jilju (Paradise Creek) to a very comfortable victory.

Indie Band Takes DoMin Ilbo As Speedy First Goes Solo

Indie Band landed a commanding victory in the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Stakes at Busan today but the story of the race was in the opening few seconds as Korean Derby winner and hot favourite Speedy First unseated her rider Joe Fujii after being interfered with.

Speedy First (Menifee) broke quickly but after only 100 metres, was cut off by Daejiuibit on his outside, on whom jockey Jo Chan Hoon had momentarily lost control. With nowhere to go, Fujii ended up on the track.

This left the way clear for Indie Band (Ecton Park), stablemate of Speedy First, to ease to a 4-length win from Major King (Pico Central).

It was a 5th win from 8 starts for the promising 3-year old colt Indie Band who has to now be in contention for big prizes this autumn, principally the Minister’s Cup when he should come up against Speedy First again. For jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a 2nd big race win in as many months after taking victory in the KNN Cup on Yongduseong a few weeks ago.

As for Speedy First, she reportedly suffered no ill-effects from her unsupervised gallop around Gimhae and remains on course for the Korean Oaks next month.

Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Stakes – Busan Race Park – 1800M – July 7, 2013

1. Indie Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Lim Sung Sil – 5.4, 1.6
2. Major King (KOR) [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.5
3. High Five (KOR) [Creek Cat – Nam’s Gulch (Gulch)] – Choi SI Dae – 3.1

Distances: 4 lengths/2.5 lengths – 10 ran

Also suffering no ill-effects was her jockey. Joe Fujii cleaned off the sand and 45 minutes later got on board another star of the Kim Young Kwan training-machine Tamna Hwangje to win the class 1 finale over a mile with ease. Tamna Hwangje (Montbrook) was recording his 11th win from 22 starts and despite carrying 62kg is looking unbeatable at anything up to a mile.

Up at Seoul it was a relatively low-key day of racing. The feature race was won by Gumanseok (Vicar), who despite only being sent off at 8/1, followed up his success in last month’s Sports Chosun Cup with a solid class 1 win over 1800 metres.