Interaction Cup

Tough Night In Tokyo

It was another chastening night in the dirt for Korean runners in Tokyo as Bichui Wangja and Ubaki were unable to make an impact in the 4th running of the Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse on Tuesday evening.

ubaki

The parade ring was about as good as it got (Pic: KRA)

Since Watts Village won the inaugural running of the race in 2013, things haven’t been easy for the Korean contingent in Tokyo each autumn in the same way that it has been tough for the NAR runners who travel to Seoul for the Korean-based leg of the challenge each year.

This time around, Korean hopes took an early blow when Oreuse, the top-rated among the three who travelled, pulled up lame at trackwork on Monday morning and had to be scratched. That left Ubaki and Bichui Wangja flying the flag and Japanese punters sent them off as 8th and 10th in the betting respectively for the 1200M test over Ohi’s right-handed course.

After a long delay while Satono Diplomat was scratched, market-leader Looks That Kill (Wildcat Heir) set the early pace and along with Gaudy (Precious Cafe) put several lengths into the field in the early stages as the Korean pair, having drawn outside gates, struggled to get into the early prominent positions required.

Those two on the early speed would lead all the way but it would be Gaudy, under veteran jockey Fumio Matoba who would get up eight on the line to snatch victory.  Bichui Wangja and Ubaki  trailed home towards the rear of the field.

Gaudy, an 8-year-old horse, was 5th in the betting and was winning for the 9th time on his 58th career start. As for Matoba, the “Emperor of Ohi” was winning a 2nd Japan/Korea race, having claimed the very first one, the 2013 SBS Goodwill Cup at Seoul aboard Tosen Archer. Now pushing 60-years-old, Matoba’s style is not one that gets taught in the world’s jockey academies these but once in full flight, it can be very effective at Ohi.

There’s no disgrace on the ones who went and gave it a go and while the results over the past couple of years have been a touch disappointing, the exchange remains a valuable one, giving trainers and grooms (although this year not jockeys) experience of taking horses overseas to race, something that is vital to the long term development of Korean racing.

The Interaction Cup concludes overseas racing for Korean horses this year. Next up is the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the New Year. Success Story, who did so well at the Carnival last year, won’t be returning but a number of top names have applied for stable allocation.

 

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Interaction Cup: Korean Horses Race In Japan On Tuesday

Cheon Gu, Cowboy Son and Dynamic Jilju will be racing for Korea under the lights at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo on Tuesday night as they take on a full field of 13 Japanese horses over 1200M in the third running of the Interaction Cup.

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Cheon Gu

And in contrast to last year when Korea didn’t really bring the firepower needed in order to be competitive, there is a feeling that if the horses run to the best then they – especially Cheon Gu – have a chance of making it into the money this time around.

Cheon Gu has been drawn in gate 1 while Cowboy Son and Dynamic Jilju will start from gates 12 and 13. As ever, Yoo Seung Wan will ride Cheon Gu, who is competing in his third consecutive international race having taken part in the KRA Cup at Kranji in Singapore in July and then the Asia Challenge Cup in Seoul in August when he was beaten only by Choegang Schiller and El Padrino. Oh Kyoung Hwan takes the mount of Cowboy Son while Ikuyasu Kurakane has travelled back to his homeland to ride Dynamic Jilju.

The Japanese contenders are sure to expect the Korean horses to look to get out of the gate quickly and look to set a fast pace and then try to hang on. That’s what happened when Watts Village won the first running of this race two years ago and Cheon Gu has indeed gone forward in each of his last two races only to be reeled in.

As for those Japanese runners, as ever they tend to be older and have a lot of experience behind them and a lot of wins between them. Gorski is making his first run at NAR level following a solid JRA career and is likely to be one of the main dangers while Satono Tiger and Maruka Bakken are others who have been racing in stiffer competition and could go well on Tuesday. For a full run-down of the Japanese contenders, see the preview at the excellent Japanracing site here.

Here is the full list of runners and riders with race records:

Interaction Cup – Ohi Racecourse – 1200M – October 13, 2015 (20:15)

1. Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] 3yo colt (8/4/1/2) – Yoo Seung Wan
2. Gorski (JPN) [Neo Universe – Nikiya (Nureyev)] 8yo horse (42/8/3/4) – Seiji Yamazaki
3. Blue Tanzanite (JPN) [Brian’s Time – Keyboogie (Lyphard)] 6yo horse (37/4/1/6) – Takehiro Kashiwaga
4. Fire Prince (JPN) [On Fire – Restive Commander (Commander In Chief)] 4yo colt (30/5/6/1) – Tadanari Konno
5. Kevin Dieu (JPN) [South Vigorous – Little Namura (Ashkalani)] 6yo horse (27/5/3/0) – Tatsuya Sawada
6. Coreles Puma (JPN) [Highbridge Slew – Terano Judi (Adjudicating)] 11yo horse (68/10/8/8) – Takayuki Yano
7. Satono Tiger (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Fabulous Turn (Sunday Silence)] 7yo horse (41/7/6/4) – Seiji Sakai
8. Air Lafon (JPN) [Durandal – Pretty Tidy (Jade Robbery)] 8yo horse (40/12/6/2) – Takumi Kobayashi
9. Kurino Ama Dablam (JPN) [Orewa Matteruze – Lady Mahalo (Forty Niner)] 5yo mare (38/4/4/2) – Naoki Machida
10. Tre Bone (JPN) [Agnes Digital – Heart Full Voice (Mejiro Ryan)] 7yo gelding (41/5/2/5) – Daisuke Mashima
11. Major Athlete (JPN) [Daiwa Major – Splintercat (Storm Cat)] 6yo horse (38/3/96/2) – Taito Mori
12. Cowboy Son (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallachievement (Smart Strike)] 4yo colt (19/10/2/2) – Oh Kyoung Hwan
13. Dynamic Jilju (USA) [Forestry – Beat Your Feet (Dixieland Band)] 4yo colt (27/6/3/4) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
14. Erimo Feather (JPN) [Sinister Minister – Little Mermaid (Twining)] 5yo mare (26/4/1/4) – Jun Aritoshi
15. Maruka Bakken (JPN) [Kurofune – Famed Grace (Sunday Silence)] 8yo horse (38/7/3/4) – Hidemitsu Sakai
16. Taisei Legend (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Sharp Kick (Mejiro McQueen)] – 8yo horse (39/9/5/2) – Tsubasa Sasakawa

Korean Horses Try Hard But Found Wanting In Interaction Cup

There was to be no repeat of Watts Village’s sensational 2013 win for Korea in the latest edition of the Japan/Korea Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo on Tuesday night.

Here He Comes and Moon Se Young in the Ohi paddock (Pic: KRA)

Here He Comes and Moon Se Young in the Ohi paddock (Pic: KRA)

Three Korean trained horses made their way to the Japanese capital to take their chances in the 1200M race. However, they were to come up short against a strong line-up of local sprinters, with the race won by the favourite, 6 year-old US-bred Satono Daytona (Tapit).

Here He Comes, ridden by Moon Se Young, came home in 9th, with Parang Juibo in 11th under Kim Ok Sung and Useung Iyagi, who set the early pace under Ikuyasu Kurakane, finishing last of the 13. All horses and riders finished safely and will return to Korea later this week.

Jockey Kim Ok Sung explains what went wrong to the media after Parang Juibo finished 11th (Pic: KRA)

Jockey Kim Ok Sung explains what went wrong to the media after Parang Juibo finished 11th (Pic: KRA)

Regardless of the result, the successful running of the race was another step forward as Korean racing, after decades of isolation, finally starts to establish its presence internationally.

And while it was unquestionably disappointing for Korean racing fans that the best domestic sprinters were not put forward for the trip, especially after the unexpected win last year, sometimes it is the taking part that counts.

With this bilateral race with Japan set to continue, and the successful hosting of the Asia Challenge Cup earlier this year, “Interaction” is finally happening.

Round-Up: Yeongsan II Suffers First Defeat But Watts Village Wins Prep

Queen’s Blade getting beaten in the Minister’s Cup on Sunday may have been a surprise but the Derby and Oaks winning filly’s reverse in the final Classic of the season wasn’t the biggest shock of the weekend at Seoul.

Gwanggyo Bisang - seen here after a Stakes win, became the first Korean horse to beat Yeongsan II

Gwanggyo Bisang – seen here after a Stakes win, became the first Korean horse to beat Yeongsan II

Yeongsan II had won all six of his races in Korea in dismissively easy fashion, culiminating in the Ilgan Sports Cup in September. However, on Saturday afternoon, he stepped up in class and distance and finally met his match in the shape of last year’s Ilgan winner, Gwanggyo Bisang.

Sent off as the odds on favourite, Yeongsan II set the pace under Moon Se Young and as they entered the home straight looked ready to cruise to another routine victory. That was to reckon without Gwanggyo Bisang though as while Yeongsan II was by no means slow in the final furlong, his fellow 4-year-old – depite carrying 60Kg – was able to go up a gear to reel him in and pass him to win by just under a length on the line.

The result, along with Queen’s Blade’s setback, Indie Band on the long-term injured list, and Wonder Bolt on the doubtful list, sets next month’s President’s Cup – Korea’s richest race – wide open with Busan’s Hangangui Gijeok, currently on a winning streak of seven, now the likely favourite. Gwanggyo Bisang, now with eleven wins from sixteen starts, may have to now be considered too.

Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – October 4, 2014

1. Gwanggyo Bisang (KOR) [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] – Park Tae Jong – 3.8, 1.3
2.Yeongsan II (KOR) [Menifee – Foxxy Cleo (Peintre Celbre)] – Moon Se Young – 1.2
3. Gumanseok (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme) – Ham Wan Sik 1.5
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 3 lengths – 10 ran

Another race that is on the near horizon is the Japan/Korea Interaction Cup at Tokyo Ohi on November 11. With big prizes such as the President’s Cup on offer at home in November and only Seoul horses able to make the trip, there is a diminishing pool of talent available to make the trip to defend the title so memorably won by Watts Village last year.

And it was Watts Village (Forestry) who won a preparation race for the Interaction Cup on Sunday afternoon, getting the disappointment of his performance in the Asia Challeng Cup at the end of August out of his system.

Watts Village is unlikely to go to Tokyo but back at his favourite distance of 1200M and under Moon Se Young for the very first time, the 4-year-old led from gate-to-wire to win by 7-lengths in what was one of the fastest ever recorded times over the distance at Seoul. Sing Sing Cat was 2nd with Here He Comes, who is in-line to go to Japan, a creditable 3rd.

This coming weekend it is the 2-year-olds who take centre stage with Juvenile Championship races at both Seoul and Busan. The capital hosts the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup on Saturday with the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at Busan on Sunday. The best performers will re-convene in Seoul at the end of November to decided the nation’s overall champion juvenile in the Korean Breeders’ Cup.