Jeju Governor’s Cup

Jeju Governor’s Cup Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (October 9)

Graded Stakes racing returns to Seoul on Sunday for the first time since the Korea Cup and Korea Sprint five weeks ago with the Jeju Governor’s Cup (1400M KOR-G3) for local-bred fillies and mares taking centre stage. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:15 to 16:45. Here are the previews:

Golden Power and Raon The Spurt will clash again in the Jeju Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maiden fillies in the opener with five on the nine racing for the first time. And unlike in so many of these races where we go for experience, this time we’ll go with a first timer. (8) YUKWAEHAN SARANG won a trial in good fashion, running on pace on the bridle and responding well when asked for a brief effort. She looked well within herself and let loose on the track, has every chance first-up. (7) RAON THE FLATTER ran a creditable 4th on debut in July in a fair time before parting company with her jockey right after the start on her re-appearance on August 27th, competing the course pilotless. So long as man and beast stay united here, she should improve on that debut 4th. (2) GANGHAN QUEEN was on pace for much of her debut before weakening late on She should have derived benefit from that run and can be in this a little longer. (4) SEUNGRIUI YEONGHON and (5) VISION STAR are other newcomers who may provide some interest.

Selections(8) Yukwaehan Sarang (7) Raon The Flatter (2) Ganghan Queen (4) Seungriui Yeonghon
Next Best5, 3
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here and based on his debut performance, it will be very hard to look past (4) NANOMETA. Having won a July trial, he came out on August 28th and came from off the pace to finish 2nd over 1000M. The additional furlong today should be ideal and with the benefit of that experience, he should take some beating. (5) MORNING PRINCESS was a decent 3rd on debut and while she found herself overmatched on her second appearance which is in the Rookie Stakes at the end of August, she finds herself back in shallower waters here and can be a big player. (2) BAEDARI WANGJA similarly ran well for 2nd on debut and while he couldn’t repeat at start number two on September 4th, he can be given another chance here. (3) HUNTER BLADE and (8) LEMON BLADE others in the placing frame.

Selections(4) Nanometa (5) Morning Princess (2) Baedari Wangja (3) Hunter Blade
Next Best8, 1
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 6

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

A big field for this maiden but another short-price favourite seems likely and again Moon Se-young rides it in the shape of (7) STRONG CHARM. He has a 2nd and a 3rd to his name from three starts to date including last time out when he ran through the line well. He comes up in distance here, but it should suit, and he should sign off from class 6 with a win. (3) ROSE GOLD beat a couple of these on his way to 2nd place two starts back and followed up with a 3rd, again at this distance, on September 18th. He has the fastest tie of any of these for the distance and from a good draw can go close. (11) DEVIL K is another who will be up to class 5 with a finish anywhere in the top three. He comes in off back-to-back 3rd place finishes in good times at this distance and can run on well here. (12) MENI ACE, who returns for the first time since February, and (2) SAMBA ZONE, are others in the frame.

Selections(7) Strong Charm (3) Rose Gold (11) Devil K (12) Meni Ace
Next Best2, 9
Fast Start5, 7, 9, 12

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens open proceedings on the south coast, with four of the eleven racing for the first time. The hot favourite will be (2) WORLD LEGEND, a good 2nd on debut over 1000M in July and then 4th over this distance in a good time at start number two on August 28th. He draws very nicely to be on pace here and should take some beating. (10) K.AI has been on pace for 3rd and 2nd in two starts so far, both over the 1000M. The draw is a little wider than ideal, but he should handle the distance and can be a danger. So too (8) DOCTOR PANGPANG. He made good ground late to run 2nd on debut over 1000M on August 28th and should appreciate the step up in trip today. (1) ADELE HORANGI and (11) FINAL SEVEN can also be in the hunt for at least places in a race with decent form, given the lack of experience.

Selections(2) World Legend (10) K.Ai  (8) Doctor Pangpang (1) Adele Horangi
Next Best11, 7
Fast Start2, 6, 10, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) MONSTER POWER ran out a comfortable winner on debut over 1000M on September 3rd, settling midfield and then running on strongly. He comes up in class and in distance, but neither should be an issue and he is the one they need to beat here. (4) STAR RUSH is yet to win in twenty-five attempts, but he has had a fair few near-misses and was a decent 4th in a fair time over 1300M last time out. He has had a couple of months off and looks a place line here. (6) JANGSU NABOM too has placing chances. He weakened having led last time out but at the start prior, he ran a solid 3rd place beating a couple of today’s rivals in the process. He has the fastest start among these and can be in this a long way. (1) COWBOY TANGO and (2) COMPLETE LUCKY are others with minor money claims.

Selections(7) Monster Power (4) Star Rush (6) Jangsu Nabom (1) Cowboy Tango
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start5, 6, 7, 8

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) ALPHA V is winless but comes up in class following a 2nd and two 3rd place finishes, all over 1200M. She carries a light weight and he running style suggests that the widest gate – of only eight – shouldn’t be a problem. This is hardly the most intimidating of class 5 fields and this could be her day. (6) GOLD TAP will probably start as favourite. While he comes in having missed the top five for the first time, when 6th over this class and distance on September 16th, that wasn’t a bad run, and the finish was tight. He can sit in pace or handy here and may prove too strong late on. (2) MY SONG is a winner over this distance at class 6 level and while she weakened to only beat one home having led over her previous start at the beginning of September, she is worth another chance today. (1) INDIAN PARTY and (7) WIND PARK others capable of sneaking a place.

Selections(8) Alpha V (6) Gold Tap (2) My Song (1) Indian Party
Next Best7, 4
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 8

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

Small but competitive field with two standouts. It’s time (7) GANA FASHION won a race. She has three runner-up finishes and one 3rd place from four starts so far and came close to making all at class and distance last time out. She can be on pace again and may just be a little sharper in the finish which is what makes her the very marginal top pick over (2) TIZ SUCCESS, who has similar form but with a win in the books and over one race less. She too was an on-pace 2nd last time out, stopping the clock in an identical time to that of Gana Fashion in her race. She comes up one more kilogram than her rival does and also starts here for the first time in three months. It would be a big surprise if those two don’t fill out the quinella so the rest look like battling for the minors. (3) ELITE RULES, (1) JEONGMUN PAPAGO and (4) TIZ FIGHTING all come in off the back of good latest starts.

Selections(7) Gana Fashion (2) Tiz Success (3) Elite Rules (1) Jeongmun Papago
Next Best4, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 7

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million


Jeju Governor’s Cup Sunday – Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (November 10)

It’s Jeju Govenor’s Cup day at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday and a full field of sixteen fillies and mares will line up for one of the final Korea Group races of the year over 1400M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

Lead Money 2018 Jeju Governor's KRA

Lead Money held off Sinui Myeogryeong in a battle of the greys in last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup. She returns to defend her title on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Last year’s Jeju winner Lead Money returns to defend her title as one of the few established class 1 contenders in the race and will accordingly be among the favourites. However, she will face stiff competition from the lightly raced Dia Road as well as other more established runners such as Hello Venus and Doctor Thunder. See below for race-by-race for Seoul with Busan Selections at the bottom:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to kick things off with five of the ten having raced before. Of those five, (4) GEOMPO has looked the most promising with a 4th and a 3rd from two starts so far, the latter at this distance. He’s drawn well to lead and can win. None of the others have impressed to any extent so it’s to the first-timers we need to look for the other chances. Possible favourite is (8) WISH ME. She ran out a very good trial winner last month, running on very well and should go well first up. (9) JEONJEONGSAGUEM also won her trial while (1) A TO Z and (3) CHAMILHO hinted at ability too.

Selections (4) Geompo (8) Wish Me (9) Jeonjeongsaguem (1) A To Z
Next Best 3, 6
Fast Start 4, 6, 9

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

Very weak maiden. (4) BOMNALUI GIEOK hasn’t shown much in the way of speed – he’s not alone in that regard in this race – but he seems a reasonable type who has run on well in better company than this and if he can put himself in a handy position may be able to pass the rest in the closing stages here. (1) J M FIGHTER looked promising on debut and while he has had a couple of setbacks, looks like he has some ability. (3) J. S. POWER too has run reasonably well in better company and can go close. The only one of the field to have a runner-up finish to their name so far is (5) BEST GOLD. That came at this distance and she comes in following a 4th place last start. That’s enough to put her in the frame today.

Selections (4) Bomnalui Gieok (5) Best Gold (1) J M Fighter (3) J.S. Power
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 8, 9

Race 3: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(2) DONGBANG JIJON comes in off a 3rd place in a similar race to this and having shown proficiency at the distance is the slight pick to finally break his maiden at the thirteenth time of asking. (6) DAECHEON ACE and (10) MAENGJU have both beaten Dongbang Jijon in the past and both come in off reasonably recent outings. (1) CORRE MI CABALLO debuted all the way back in September of 2018 and actually ran rather well. He’s not been seen since but returned to training this autumn and looked very well when 2nd in an October trial, which brings him straight into contention first-up. (4) MY SISTER NINA had a poor day at the office last start but is better than that and can be given another chance here.

Selections (2) Dongbang Jijon (1) Corre Mi Caballo (6) Daecheon Ace (4) My Sister Nina
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 4, 8, 10

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) EAGLE EYE ran a solid 4th place over 1000M at the end of September and having previously run 2nd and 3rd at this distance, looks to be the favourite to take the honours here. The others are going to need to step up. (7) SAEROUN BOBAE had to be scratched on the way to the start last week after her jockey aggravated a back injury. The same jockey returns today and so long as they make it to the gate this time, she will have a chance. (3) MACH NEDAN and (4) BAEK HAK have hardly impressed so far but both are likely to be on the early speed and that could be enough to get them close at the end. (10) FAMILY HOPE the best of a limited rest.

Selections (2) Eagle Eye (7) Saeroun Bobae (10) Family Hope (3) Mach Nedan
Next Best 4, 6
Fast Start 2, 3, 4

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

(6) DYNAMIC PUNCH led all the way to record his maiden win by a length over this distance on October 12th. Although that wasn’t the strongest of races, he and the rest of the place-getters were a full ten lengths clear of the remainder of the field and he looks to have enough development in him to be favoured here. (3) SUNSHINE TEUKGEUP and (5) YEONGGWANGUI BEAT are similarly up in class following maiden victories on their respective last starts and both should be competitive at this level too. (9) GEUMBIT YEOLJEONG comes in off a string of near misses and should be close at hand again while (2) PRIME QUEEN too ran a really good 3rd place at class and distance last start and looks a danger.

Selections (6) Dynamic Punch (9) Geumbit Yeoljeong (2) Prime Queen (3) Sunshine Teukgeup
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 3, 6, 9, 12

Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) ELITE LADY got her maiden win at the third time of asking at the end of September, scoring by four lengths over 1000M, having previously run 4th in a valuable race in August. She is up in class and in distance here but should be able to overcome both of those things and can win again. (9) P.K. HILL is similarly up in class following a maiden win last time, also at 1000M and is set to be competitive too, likely joining Elite Lady on the early speed. (8) CHEONEUN JJANG was beaten a nose on her first try at this class in (more…)

Lead Money Wins Battle Of Greys In Jeju Governor’s Cup

Last Sunday’s Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul turned out to be the battle of the greys and with the pre-race favourites failing to fire, it was left to Ilgan Sports winner Lead Money to lead hime Sinui Myeongryeong to land a 280/1 exacta.

Oaks winner Special Stone was sent off the slight favourite in the G3 contest over 1400M but she was scarcely involved, ultimately finishing 6th.  Meanwhile the well-backed pair of Seouri Byeol and Ice Marine closed strongly for 3rd and 4th but were never in the hunt for the win.

Instead it was a two-horse race by the furlong pole and Lead Money (Exploit) ran on to comfortably defeat Sinui Myeongryeong (Hansen) by half a length on the line. It was the four-year-old’s fifth career win.

At Busan, the notable performance of the weekend came in Sunday’s feature as Ace Korea, the 5th place-getter in the Korea Sprint, returned to action at his home track and despite missing a step at the start, ran on to comfortably win over 1200M. He is definitely going to be one to watch in 2019:




Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview for Jeju Governor’s Cup Day (October 21)

The Jeju Governor’s Cup highlights an 11-race Sunday card at Seoul and Indian Star will be bidding to win the 1400 Group 3 test for fillies and mares for the third consecutive year. She’ll be up against it though as a tough field of sixteen, including two Oaks winners and a whole host of others line up.  The 1st is at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. There is also racing at Busan with 6 races from 12:40 to 17:10.

Indian Star Jeju Governors 2017 Finish - Korea Racing Authority

Indian Star won the Jeju Governor’s Cup last year and the year before. She seeks an unlikely hat-trick on Sunday

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(7) BANGTAN SONYEO has run 3rd on both his starts to date, both of them in valuable races (he actually was 4th across the line in the Munhwa Ilbo but the “winner” was disqualified). Neither of those races were especially quick but he showed prominently last time and here he will be expected to be on speed early and can win. Of the four others who have raced before, (3) JANGSAN FLY will be expected to improve – he actually ran slower on debut than he did in his trial – while (4) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM went back to trial after his own August debut and showed some potential. There are seven first-timer starters and among them, (12) GEUMBIT JANGIN was perhaps most impressive in trials. He’s a half-brother to plenty who have raced well, at least at lower levels. (9) HOMECOMING posted a fast time and should also go well first-up in what is a better than average looking maiden.

Selections (7) Bangtan Sonyeo (3) Jangsan Fly (12) Geumbit Jangin (9) Homecoming
Next Best 4, 6, 8
Fast Start 2, 3, 7, 9

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

After an inauspicious debut, (4) RULE BREAKER has come back and posted a 2nd and a 3rd in two subsequent starts. The latest being at this distance. He’s well drawn to hit the front early and the only thing that should be broken by the end is his maiden. (7) MEGA CITY and (1) K ZONE came home 3rd and 4th respectively when they raced each other over 1300M on September 15th. Both have been there or thereabouts for some time now and look to be the biggest dangers to the favourite. (9) JEONGMUN K ran on well for 5th last time at 1200M and the additional half furlong today may benefit while (10) ROAD MAN ran a useful 3rd of 7 at the distance at the start of September and returns form a seven-week layoff with the potential to repeat.

Selections (4) Rule Breaker (7) Mega City (1) K Zone (9) Jeongmun K
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 1, 4, 7

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Small field but competitive with plenty in the hunt. (6) ISCRA is up in class following an eye-catching seven-length score over this distance on September 15th. It had been coming well as he had been getting progressively closer, never finishing worse than 4th over four starts to date. He made all that day and has every chance of doing so again. (9) DAE UNHA was the one who got closest to Iscra and he is accordingly up in class too – while he won’t be out of his depth, he obviously has plenty to find. A stiffer challenge is likely to come from (5) BARAMUI SORI, a winner on debut in August and who ran 2nd on her first try at this level five weeks ago. It’s her first try at further than the minimum distance, but she should be able to cope. Another leading contender is (7) BACK TO BACK, who looks to be coming back into form after a few wobbles in the early summer. (2) CITY CHAMP drops back in trip after good recent work at 1700M. He’s yet to get his maiden win but can challenge for a place in this company.

Selections (6) Iscra (5) Baramui Sori (7) Back To Back (2) City Champ
Next Best 7, 1
Fast Start 3, 5, 6

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 50 Million

After taking a few goes to find her feet at this level, (6) SKY MARINE has run well over her last two starts, most recently being beaten just over a length into 2nd at this distance on September 15th. That was a good race and she beat some decent horses making it hard to oppose her here. (7) NEUNGRYEOK SIDAE also enters following a class and distance 2nd place. Like Sky Marine she’s been a little inconsistent but looks a potential danger today. (1) LUCAS ran a close 5th on his first try at this level just over a month ago. She’s up in trip for the first time and her running style suggests it may suit. There are a couple up in class following maiden wins last start but both (5) I AM WINNER and (10) BLESSING ROAD look as though they have plenty to find leaving (8) CHEONGSU DOLPUNG, who returns after more than a year off but trialled up well last week, and (9) LIVINGSTONE, as potential place-getters.

Selections (6) Sky Marine (7) Neungryeok Sidae (1) Lucas (9) Livingstone
Next Best 8, 3, 10
Fast Start 6, 7, 10

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A maiden for imported juveniles here with just three of the eleven having raced before. (4) HAVANA CHARLIE was favourite on debut on September 9th having blitzed a late-August trial. He was beaten by a super performance by Gaon Queen and it would take something very special to beat him today. The other two with experience offered little on their respective debuts so we’ll turn to the first-timers to try to find some competition. (2) INCHEON SPEED showed plenty of speed when winning a trial two weeks ago and is the clear second pick. (5) FIGHTING LANGFUHR also came out on top in a trial and is the likely third-favourite. (3) SPEED WINNER and (7) MAPLE MOON others to catch the eye and both could go well first-up.

Selections (4) Havana Charlie (2) Incheon Speed (5) Fighting Langfuhr (3) Speed Winner
Next Best 7, 1
Fast Start 2, 4, 5

Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(6) EAST KINGDOM enters in good form and was 3rd last time out (beaten a neck by Sky Marine, who we saw earlier) over 1300M. He steps up to two turns for the first time with little to suggest that it won’t suit and he could be hard to beat. (7) ADELEUI KKUM (more…)

Indian Star Successfully Defends Jeju Governor’s Cup

Indian Star made it difficult for herself but had enough in the tank to win her second consecutive Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Strangely the defending champion, who returned to form with a very good 2nd place in a recent tough handicap at Busan, was’t sent off as favourite but under jockey Lim Sung Sil, Indian Star took the race by the scruff of its neck and raced into an early lead. At the top of the stretch, it looked set to be a procession, however, then the antics started.

First Indian Star ducked one way and then the other, losing her momentum and giving away her advantage. Bright Star attacked on one side and Chang Se on the other but jockey Lim managed to rouse Indian Star for one final push to get home on top by  a neck.

Indian Star, a half-sister to this year’s KRA Cup Mile winner Indian King, has now won 11 of 23 starts.

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – September 3, 2017

1. Indian Star (KOR) [Adcat – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] – Lim Sung Sil – 4.1, 1.7
2. Bright Star (KOR) [Menifee – L Vicar (Vicar)] – Franco Da Silva – 2.9
3. Chang Se (KOR) [Forest Camp – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] – Johan Victoire – 8.8
Distances: Neck / Head
Also Ran: 4. Santa Gloria 5. Steal The Show Why 6. Pink Blade 7. Tour Rose 8. Lead Money 9. Super Blade 10. Uju Star 11. Jejui Haneul 12. Black Sapphire 13. Pinot Noir 14. Happy Sensation 15. Rain Sky

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (September 3)

It’s Sunday and there’s just a week to go until Seoul Racecourse hosts the international Keeneland Korea Cup & Korea Sprint. Today, however, also sees G3 action at Seoul Racecourse with the Jeju Governor’s Cup. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

A big field of 15 has been attracted by the big prize; 7 are trained in Seoul while 8 have travelled up from Busan. Those southern raiders include last year’s winner Indian Star (left) who is set to be favourite to retain the crown she won on a soaking wet track just under a year ago.

Among her rivals are the shock Oaks winner Jejui Haneul, who is joined by Bright Star and Uju Star, 2nd and 4th respectively in the fillies’ Classic.  Thomas Gillespie saddles Black Sapphire, a full sister of Triple Nine, while there is other foreign interest with Franco Da Silva partnering Bright Star, Djordje Perovic on Happy Sensation, Johan Victoire on Chang Se, Antonio Da Silva on Rain Sky and JP Guillambert riding at Seoul for the first time as he takes the mount on Pink Blade.

Notes on all races at Seoul are below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

We’ll have a hot favourite to kick things off and that will be (4) DALLYEORA PACHYAI. He comes in following a 2nd and a 3rd from his latest two and should have far too much for this lot, leading from gate to wire. The same owner/trainer combination also sends out (1) DORAON PACHYAI and that on can certainly challenge for a place, along with the main danger (5) ARABIA GONGJU. Of the remainder, (7) DEOGI has perhaps done the least wrong.

Selections (4) Dallyeora Pachyai (5) Arabia Gongju (1) Doraon Pachyai (7) Deogi
Next Best 3, 8
Fast Start 4, 5, 2


Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(5) CLEO returned from three months off to run a decent enough 5th of 12 over 1300M at the end of July. Dropped back to the minimum and given a good start here, she should be the one they need to beat. (6) CHEON NOK did nothing wrong on debut, coming a much better than expected 3rd and looks in the frame for prize money again but there are other dangers. (9) KAISER QUEEN has shown signs of finally figuring things out over her latest two and has the benefit of Djordje Perovic on board today while (8) BLACK CASHMERE has also come close across her four outings to date an should be in the hunt once more.

Selections (5) Cleo (6) Cheon Nok (9) Kaiser Queen (8) Black Cashmere
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 1, 6


Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Only two of these have raced before and while neither exactly pulled up trees on their respective debuts, that fact probably won’t stop them being favoured here as none of the first-timers leap out. That means (8) AMENDA, a reasonable enough 5th of 12 at this distance on August 13th, is likely to start as favourite. (2) AREUMDAUN SOPUNG, a Hansen filly was well-backed on her first racecourse appearance at the end of July but only managed to beat one home over 1000M. She had previously trialled well and should be given another chance. Of the first-timers. (5) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG, (6) EMERALD KING and another Hansen, (7) O.J.HWAK DAB look the pick.

Selections (8) Amenda (2) Areumdaun Sopung (7) O.J.Hwak Dap (5) Jeongsang Dolpung
Next Best 6, 9
Fast Start 2, 5


Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

She wasn’t ready on debut in January but having had six months off after that, (3) ECTON SINHWA has shown significant improvement in two starts back. She was 3rd of 12 at this distance last time, coming from well off the pace and she will be favourite today. The only concern is perhaps her not having demonstrated a very fast start and while she has a good draw today, if she does get caught out, the returning (4) RUBY BEOLKIN could be one to take advantage. She races for the first time since a 2nd place in April and put in an eye-catching trial last week. (1) UN SEO was well back behind Ecton Sinhwa last time but can improve while (8) SIMON RICH also has scope for progress.

Selections (3) Ecton Sinhwa (4) Ruby Beolkin (8) Simon Rich (1) Un Seo
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 4, 1


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

Good little filly race this. (8) EXCELLENT QUEEN does have a bit of a case of “second-it is” having been runner-up in four of six outings to date, but if anyone can cure her of it, it’s Djordje Perovic, who gets the leg-up on her for the first time. Her one previous outing at this distance resulted in her worst finish so far but it can be a different story today. She’ll be favourite but she’s no sure thing and (6) BRAVE UP, 4th at class and distance on July 23rd has claims as does (7) STAR PERFECT who, like Excellent Queen has never finished better than 2nd but unlike Excellent Queen, she has done it at the distance, beating a couple of these in the process. (1) SHINE QUEEN and (10) BONNET BLUE others in with a shout.

Selections (8) Excellent Queen (7) Star Perfect (6) Brave Up (10) Bonnet Blue
Next Best 1, 9, 2
Fast Start 9, 4, 5


Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Interesting contest again. (3) JEOKBYEOK SHINHWA was 3rd on debut on July 30th in a very quick time over 1000M having led for much of the way. He’s up in distance and the conditions are likely to be very different this time but he could well do it. So too could (4) TRICKER. He got his maiden win at the 7th time of asking on July 16th at 1300M but does carry an extra 3kg today. Nevertheless, he can repeat. There are others to consider too. (2) EOMJI GANGHO had a bad day at the office last time out but is worthy of another chance for at least a place while (12) CROWN ME BOSS gets the services of Moon Se Young and can improve on her three consecutive 5th placed finishes. There are also a couple of first-time starters involved and (5) BROWN CHAMPION can expect to attract some support first-up.

Selections (3) Jeokbyeok Sinhwa (4) Tricker (12) Crown Me Boss (2) Eomji Gangho
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 3, 2, 4


Race 7: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

It would be slightly unfair to accuse (9) BULHUUI MYEONGGOG of a severe case of second and even “third-it is” as the truth has been that he’s always come up against one or two a bit too good and has run to of above expectation each time. Today though, following three 3rd places and two 2nds, the expectation will be of victory. Taking on 1700M for the 2nd time and having beaten three of these on the first occasion, he should do it. If he’s to be stopped, it’s (7) CUPID BOY, who he beat last time who is perhaps the most likely to do it although (3) BIG SKY was also 2nd at the distance on his latest start and should be involved. Trying the distance for the first time is (8) COLORS QUEEN and although yet to win, she looks capable of challenging for the places.

Selections (9) Bulhuui Myeonggog, (7) Cupid Boy (3) Big Sky (8) Colors Queen
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 8, 11


Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(4) FIRE DREAM was a class and distance winner on July 23rd but up in the weights and in different conditions, he’s going to have to work very hard to repeat. Instead we have two standouts in the shape of (1) SPERO and (6) GANGDAEGANG. Spero is a class and distance winner in the past and comes in following two very solid outings at shorter distance while Gangdaegang comes in after a strong 2nd place at the distance last time. It’s tough to split them but well side with Gangdaegang and his slight weight advantage. Among the rest, (2) JIGONG BULPAE and (7) SUPER BROAD look to have the best claims.

Selections (6) Gangdaegang (1) Spero (4) Fire Dream (7) Super Broad
Next Best 2, 5
Fast Start 1, 5


Race 9: Class Open (1400M) The Jeju Governor’s Cup / Allowance / KRW 350 Million

One of the most valuable races of the season for Korean bred fillies and mares sees eight from Busan travel up to capital to take on 7 from Seoul. Last year’s winner (12) INDIAN STAR returns to defend her title and she has every chance of doing so following an encouraging warm up race against stiff opposition in July. Thomas Gillespie’s (9) BLACK SAPPHIRE may be more suited to further but looks set to mount a strong challenge while Korean Oaks winner (14) JEJUI HANEUL also must be respected. 2nd in the Oaks was (2) BRIGHT STAR and she too has claims along with 4th placed that day (5) UJU STAR. Jockey JP Guillambert gets his first taste of Seoul and (4) PINK BLADE is one of a number of interesting outsiders in a fascinating race.

Selections (12) Indian Star (9) Black Sapphire (2) Bright Star (5) Uju Star
Next Best 14, 7, 15
Fast Start 10, 12


Race 10: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A few decent ones here but (6) IBAEGJEOM should have the beating of them. He was 3rd in a quick race over 1300M last start, his first try at this class and can go two better today. (4) SAMJEONG MAGNUM comes in following back to back 3rd places over 1000M and could well be ready to try further once more while (8) BLACK SUGAR was a decent 4th at class and distance on his last start a couple of months ago and looks in the placing frame too. The main danger, however, looks set to be (7) OUR CAT who makes his 40th starts today and enters in very solid form. He was a quick 2nd over 1000M last time out and should be looking to at least match it here.

Selections (6) Ibaegjeom (7) Our Cat (4) Samjeong Magnum (8) Black Sugar
Next Best 2, 3
Fast Start 2, 4


Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(6) OP SEVEN was a very quick winner on debut and on July 30th and while he is up in both and class and distance today, he will be expected to score once more against this moderate opposition. He should really lead gate to wire. He’ll be a strong favourite and those with the best potential to get close to him will emerge from either end of the gate with both (1) CHEONJAEILU and (8) SMOKEY VALE having proven competitive in this kind of race. Meanwhile (2) ÉCLAIR HUMOR had a tough time on his first outing at this level back in July but could improve today.

Selections (6) OP Seven (8) Smokey Vale (1) Cheonjaeilu (2) Éclair Humor
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 5, 6

Santa Gloria Strikes In Jeju Trial

Trials for October’s Jeju Governor’s Cup were run at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday and it was on the south coast where the standout performance took place where Santa Gloria gave Italian jockey Paolo Aragoni his biggest Korean winner to date.


Santa Gloria and Paolo Aragoni win the Busan leg of the Jeju Governor’s Cup Trials (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Despite having broken the 1300M track record the last time she raced, Santa Gloria was only sent off as third-favourite for the 1400M trial with two fillies she finished behind in the Korean Oaks in June, Special Rookie and Hoseungjibyeok, being favoured by punters.

On a very sloppy track, Santa Gloria made a mockery of those odds though. Hoseungjibyeok began tamely and never featured while Special Rookie, despite getting to the front rounding the turn, was unable to find another gear in the home straight. Aragoni meanwhile was patient on Santa Gloria and when he pulled the trigger with just over a furlong to go, the rest had no response.

The winning margin was three-lengths with  Sharp Gale getting the closest in the end. Santa Gloria (Menifee) will now be one of the favourites for the Jeju Governor’s Cup race itself – a valuable race for Korean bred fillies and mares – in Seoul in October. Hopefully Aragoni will get the opportunity to keep the ride.

In Seoul, Santa Gloria is likely to be facing Chang Se. She ran out a decent winner in the capital’s own trial for the race thirty minutes later. Chang Se (Forest Camp) now has seven wins from thirteen starts.

Jeju Governor’s Cup Trial – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – August 28, 2016

1. Santa Gloria (KOR) [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] – Paolo Aragoni – 6.6, 2.1
2. Sharp Gale (KOR) [Creek Cat – My Sister Jess (Sligo Bay)] – Song Keong Yun – 3.6
3. Special Rookie (KOR) [Menifee – Swing City (Carson City)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.2
Distances: 3 lengths / 0.5 lengths – 8 ran

Jeju Governor’s Cup Trial – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – August 28, 2016

1. Chang Se (KOR) [Forest Camp – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] – Lee Chan Ho – 1.8, 1.1
2. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stokton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] – Ham Wan Sik – 2.3
3. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Moon Se Young – 1.4
Distances: 1.75 lengths / 1 length – 10 ran

Queen’s Blade Welcomed Home A Winner

After fifteen long months in the Korean racing wilderness, Queen’s Blade, the 2014 Korean Derby and Oaks winning filly, was back in the winner’s circle at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon having triumphed in the Jeju Governor’s Cup.

Queen's Blade in the Jeju Governor's Cup winner's circle

Queen’s Blade in the Jeju Governor’s Cup winner’s circle

Being sent to the USA is generally a career death-knell for a Korean racehorse with connections understandably taking advantage of the inexplicably generous subsidy available for running a Korean Group race winner in the States (you have to do it three times and one of them must be a Stakes race) only when they feel their horse isn’t going to win an equivalent amount at home anymore.

And while Queen’s Blade, unlike another Derby winning filly Speedy First, was at least sound, she wasn’t in race shape in America and duly met with the now familiar humiliation that greets participants in this program. Home, retirement and the breeding shed seemed to await, not the racecourse.

This filly was a little different though and after the three-month spell on the farm that she was long overdue, she returned to work last month, flying through a barrier trial and found herself in the starting gate today.

True, this was not the toughest assignment first up with race-watchers here scratching their heads trying to recall a weaker looking Stakes race which had no upper class or rating limit on its entrants. They put on a decent show though and under a characteristically skilful ride from Japanese jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane, Queen’s Blade battled hard to earn victory by a neck.

Queen’s Blade was always handy and while she and stablemate Bukbeol Sinhwa (a full sister to President’s Cup winner Triple Nine) stayed on, the rest of the early front-runners would fade in the closing stages and it was left to closers Pinot Noir and Meni Money to get the closest to the winner with Pinot Noir, an 18/1 chance, just running out of track in the end.

Queen’s Blade is a half sister to 2008 Korean Oaks winner Jeolho Chance and was recording her first victory since her own Oaks success last August. It was her 8th career win in total from sixteen (Korean) starts. For jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane it was a third Korean Stakes race win while for trainer Kim Young Kwan it was business as usual in the biggest races.

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – November 15, 2015

1. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.9, 1.6
2. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.9
3. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.7
Distances: Neck/2 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Bukbeol Sinhwa 5. X File 6. Smart Time 7. Winner’s Marine 8. Indian Star 9. Hwanggembitjijung 10. Jokwang 11. Jibong Sarang 12. Appealing Star 13. Space Shuttle 14. Chongal Gongju 15. Blue Guardian 16. Geumbit Hwanhui

Jeju Governor’s Cup – Runners & Riders

This afternoon’s sees the final stakes race of the season for fillies & mares in the shape of the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul. And it has attracted a full field of sixteen in what looks an interesting, if underwhelming, contest.

Queen's Blade won last year's Derby and returns to Korean action at Seoul today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade won last year’s Derby and returns to Korean action at Seoul today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Interesting it may be but the Cup has drawn the short straw somewhat in that it falls just two weeks after the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, in which a number of the best domestic bred fillies, such as Oaks winner Jangpung Parang participated in and the lack of depth in the distaff ranks is shown up quite starkly by a line-up lacking in quality.

The 2014 Korean Derby winner Queen’s Blade returns to action in Korea after a pointless trip to the United States. She is at least fit now (had she been fit earlier this year, she would have stayed in Korea but that is another gripe for another day) and she could very well get back in the winner’s circle today under Ikuyasu Kurakane. However, stablemate Bukbeol Sinhwa, who won the Busan trial for this race last month will also be expected to go close with another Japanese jockey, Masa Tanaka on board.

Others who will be backed include Indian Star and Winner’s Marine who were 2nd and 3rd behind Bukbeol Sinhwa in that trial race and have managed to attract top Busan jockeys Jo Sung Gon and Kim Yong Geun to the capital to ride while Nozi Tomizawa is a also in town and may go well on Jokwang. Meni Money is perhaps the pick of a weak home team but whoever wins this isn’t exactly going to be a world beater.

Here is the full list of runners and riders:

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Nov 15, 2015

1. Hwanggeumbitjijung (KOR) [Menifee – Firstclasscat (Catienus)] (18/6/2/1) – Yang Young Nam
2. Chongal Gongju (KOR) [Vicar – Isis (Didyme)] (41/3/9/3) – Kim Hye Sun
3. Bukbeol Shinhwa (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (13/6/2/1) – Masakazu Tanaka
4. Winner’s Marine (KOR) [Volponi – Graceful Ballerina (Posse)] (20/5/2/3) – Jo Sung Gon
5. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee (Woodman)] (36/5/3/10) – Moon Se Young
6. Space Shuttle (KOR) [Menifee – Jeongtongseong (Lassigny)] (17/3/0/3) – Jo Jae Ro
7. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (10/4/3/0) – Ham Wan Sik
8. Jibong Sarang (KOR) [Officer – Meryl’s Spirit (Storm Boot)] (9/3/3/1) – Jo Chang Wook
9. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] (13/6/6/0) – Seo Seung Un
10. Indian Star (KOR) [Adcat – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] (6/5/1/0) – Kim Yong Geun
11. Geumbit Hwanhui (KOR) [Peace Rules – Sincheongchun (Silent Warrior)] (18/5/3/2) – Jang Chu Youl
12. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] (15/7/5/0) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
13. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] (22/5/6/2) – Park Eul Woon
14. Blue Guardian (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Timber Side (Timber Country) (12/2/3/1) – Kim Dong Soo
15. Jokwang (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charming Roman (Gadabout)] (35/3/4/4) – Nozomu Tomizawa
16. Appealing Star (KOR) [Duality – Appealing Satin (Valid Appeal)] (29/4/3/2) – Lee Hyun Jeong

Magic Dancer Too Good In Jeju Governor’s Cup

There’s no point lamenting what wasn’t there. Instead today was about celebrating what was and Magic Dancer put in the best performance of his career to date to win the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse today.

Joe Fujii and Magic Dancer in the Jeju Governor's Cup winner's circle

Joe Fujii and Magic Dancer in the Jeju Governor’s Cup winner’s circle

Sent of as the odds-on favourite, it was a point-and-steer job for jockey Joe Fujii who kept Magic Dancer just off the shoulder of the early leader before taking over as they rounded the home turn. The pair then accelerated away from the field in the home straight before easing down to a 2.5 lengths win.

Chasing them home was Peter Wolsley’s My Winner, a fine performance from a gelding getting better as a 5-year-old. He was the only other one really in the race, with third placed Impetus a full 7 lengths behind.

Magic Dancer, a 4-year-old colt from the formidable Kim Young Kwan training machine has long been thought of as one of the best of his year-group, yet today was his first trip to Seoul and his first victory in a Stakes race. His overall record though moves onto 10 wins from 15 starts and, with Indie Band out of the picture, he should play a big role in the big Stakes races to come.

Magic Dancer leads My Winner to the line in the Jeju Governor's Cup

Magic Dancer leads My Winner to the line in the Jeju Governor’s Cup

As for his jockey, Joe Fujii cemented his reputation as the most popular Japanese man in South Korea. Today was his 5th Korean Group race victory among 6 Stakes wins in all. He didn’t have to do a whole lot today, but as always, he got it done, wife and son joining him in the winner’s circle afterwards.

That celebration wasn’t before Fujii and Magic Dancer somehow managed to get lost on the way back to scale after they inexplicably found themselves on the inner track and had to double back all the way to the backstretch to get across and then trot back to a warm reception from punters.

So another piece of silverware disappears down the Gyeongbu Expressway. Seoul shows no sign of upping its game and the next big clash of the tracks is the Busan Metropolitan City Cup on the South Coast next month,

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – June 29, 2014

1. Magic Dancer (KOR) [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] – Kanichiro Fujii – 1.4, 1.1
2. My Winner (KOR) [Vicar – Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] – 2.7
3. Impetus (KOR) [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] – 2.9

Distances: 2.5 lengths/7 lengths
Also ran: 4. Singgeureounachim 5. Cheonnyeon Dongan 6. Chowon Yeoje 7. Last Mudae 8. New And Best 9. Road To Prince