Wolsley’s Star Khaosan Marks 50th Start With Win At Busan

Peter Wolsley started training at Busan just before Christmas in 2007, becoming the first westerner to take up a license in Korea. When he first arrived, he wasn’t given much to train, getting the ones no-one else wanted. In early 2008, a 3-year-old colt arrived in his barn.

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan

Initially, this one wasn’t exactly the second coming of Phar Lap. He “ran” 5 furlongs in 70 seconds in his first official race-trial and therefore failed to qualify. The colt was given another chance the following month and this time he came through. Since then Khaosan [Sunday Well – Mogaung (Jade Hunter)] hasn’t looked back.

Today at Busan, Khaosan, now 8-years old (and gelded) made his 50th start for Wolsley and the tough, battling horse held off a class 1 field to record the 9th win of his career.

Those 9 wins don’t tell the whole story though. Khaosan has also finished 2nd 11 times and 3rd on 8 occasions becoming a punters’ favourite for their quinella slips in the process.

He has a Stakes victory – trainer Wolsley’s only one to date – to his name, winning the 2011 Owners’ Cup after Cheonnyeon Daero was disqualified. He backed up that performance a month later by travelling to Seoul and finishing 4th in the President’s Cup, Korea’s richest race. Indeed, he has only finished outside the money 7 times, winning nearly $1Million in total prize money.

Khaosan has also been a great friend to visiting foreign jockeys. Danny Craven, Deryl Daniels, Martin Wepner, Kunihisa Hirase, the late Yoshi Aoki, Nathan Stanley, Gerrit Schlechter and Joe Fujii have all ridden him to prize-money finishes over the years.

Always likely to find at least one or two faster than him in the very biggest races, there will be fewer who are gamer or more consistent or sound. Indeed, his only significant time away from the track were the 5 months in 2009 during which he had the operation that means there will be no Khaosan Juniors once his racing days are done.

Both Peter Wolsley, now with 167 training wins, and Khaosan, have come a very long way since that disappointing early morning race trial in May 2008. Hopefully there is still plenty more to look forward to from them

Khaosan’s 9th win:

Weekend Round-Up: Watts Village Beaten at Seoul / Khaosan Wins for Wolsley at Busan

With all the Stakes races scheduled for 2012 now behind us, there were no big prizes on offer but still plenty of interesting action across the weekend.

Chilly but bright - Seoul Racecourse, December 16, 2012

Chilly but bright – Seoul Racecourse, December 16, 2012

On Saturday, two-year old US import Watts Village (Forestry), winner of last month’s TJK Trophy went looking ofr his fifth straight victory at Seoul Race Park. Although sent off heavy favourite for the 1900 metre handicap, it wasn’t to be as he fell to defeat for the first time, Gwanggaetoham (Mizzen Mast), a year his senior taking the honours.

Having won the TJK Trophy, the same race that Smarty Moonhak won last year, there had been plenty of hype surrounding Watts Village. His third place yesterday suggests that while he is not the finished article, there is plenty of promise for next year.

At Seoul today there were upsets in both co-feature races. Haedongcheonwang (West Acre), odds-on favourite for the first of these, a class 1 handicap over 1800 metres, could only manage fifth place as 11/1 Cheonha Daeseung (Broken Vow) romped to a four-length win. In the finale, a rare class 1 sprint over 1300 metres there was an even bigger shock as 70/1 outsider Yeongung Icheon (Concept Win) just got up on the line to win by a neck.

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan, who won today

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan, who won today

There was a similar margin of victory at Busan as Peter Wolsley’s old battler Khaosan (Sunday Well) engaged in a final furlong tussle with last year’s Minister’s Cup winner Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar).

It went right to the wire but under Jo Sung Gon, Khaosan just got victory on the nod. If the winning post had been a stride sooner or a stride later, the result would have gone the other way but it didn’t and the records will show an eighth win for the seven-year old.

The win was Khaosan’s first since he won the Owners’ Cup last year on appeal and incredibly, his first by actually crossing the line in first place since April 2010. Khaosan is not a fast horse but he is tough and sound – he’s run fourteen times this year – and thrives on the Busan sand. His win today takes his career earnings up to nearly US$800,000.

In the other feature at Busan, Canadian bred 27/1 shot Ilgeumbit (Don Eduardo) was the surprisingly comfortable winner, giving young apprentice jockey Kim Hyun Joong the biggest victory of his career to date.

To conclude, a story of another apprentice. At Seoul this afternoon, Ahn Hyo Ri rode the eighth and ninth winners of her career before finding herself unceremoniously thrown off her mount inside the gate before race 8. There were a nervous few moments as she was carried away from the scene. She got up and walked into the ambulance herself but it was a reminder of both the highs that jockeys can experience along with the dangers they face.

Next weekend, Busan takes a break but there is racing as usual at Seoul and Jeju.

Weekend Preview – Busan Owners’ Cup

Dangdae Bulpae at Busan, Jigeum I Sungan at Seoul while Game On Dude’s little brother debuts

It’s a big weekend on the south coast as Metropolitan City Stakes winner Dangdae Bulpae heads the field for a competitive renewal of the Busan Owners’ Cup.

Dangdae Bulpae will most likely be back in the winners’ circle this Sunday

Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) is a two-time President’s Cup winner and beat both Smarty Moonhak and Tough Win to claim the Metropolitan in July. He should be a strong favourite to take his sixth Stakes win but that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily have it all his own way.

KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee), who was third in the Korean Derby, takes his chance as does another three-year old with a good set of wins to his name, Himchan Jilju (Kwaedo Nanma). The evergreen Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) is there while Peter Wolsley’s tough Khaosan (Sunday Well), winner of this race last year after the disgqualification of Cheonnyeondaero, is always due respect.

The big race is off at 15:50 on Sunday afternoon and is immediately followed by another Stakes race, the Gold Circle Trophy.

Up at Seoul, Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) heads Sunday’s feature race in what will be only his second start since claiming the Classic in May. He was second in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup in July and is the only three-year old in a ten furlong test.

Back at Busan, there is a notable debut on Sunday as two-year old gelding My Key (Macho Uno-Worldly Pleasure), a half-brother of US Champion Game On Dude, makes his racecourse debut over five furlongs in race 1.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday September 7

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 14:30 to 18:35

Saturday September 8

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:15

Sunday September 9

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45

Weekend Preview: Hands In Pockets Time

Punters will need to stump up an extra 200 won to get into the track from this weekend as the Korea Racing Authority raises the admission fee to the three racecourses for the first time in ten years. The new fee of 1000 won will also apply to all off-track betting facilities.

KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero goes on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

More on that less than Earth-shattering news in a little while but given that it’s still cheaper than a basic subway fare, it is perhaps safe to assume that most punters won’t notice – especially as most use their subway card to get in.

KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) makes his first appearance at Busan since running third in the Korean Derby just over a month ago. The colt goes in the second of co-feature races at the southern track on Sunday afternoon against a field of eminently beatable older horses over 2000 metres.

Among them is Peter Wolsley’s old warhorse Khaosan (Sunday Well) and Wolsley saddles another fancy in the earlier co-feature as Secret Whisper (Sea Of Secrets) takes on a very competitive field over 1400 metres.

Up at Seoul there aren’t any stars on show altough both Saturday and Sunday’s feature races are competitive class 1 handicaps.

There’s a chance the monsoon season will begin at some point this weekend so it may be best to pack a raincoat just in case. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday June 29

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday June 30

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:00

Sunday July 1

Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:40

Retiring Cheonnyeon Daero Honoured At Busan

Derby Winner Was Chief Rival To Dangdae Bulpae

Cheonnyeon Daero, winner of the 2010 Korean Derby, was honoured with a retirement ceremony at Busan Race Park this afternoon. Such a ceremony is a rare occurrence in Korea racing and an honour only afforded to Classic or multiple Stakes winners.

Cheonnyeon Daero wins the 2010 Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

While his Derby win was impressive, Cheonnyeon Daero [Creek Cat-Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] will perhaps be remembered more for what he nearly won – and his rivalry with the horse that usually beat him – rather than for what he did win. Of his 28 starts, he only won 7 times but finished second on a remarkable 14 occasions, including the President’s, Minister’s, and Ttukseom Cups, plus the KNN and the Owners’ Trophies, with Dangdae Bulpae the horse beating him in all but the latter.

Cheonnyeon Daero

The rivalry between Dangdae Bulpae and Cheonnyeon Daero has been one of Korean racing’s most enduring features over the past two years. They faced each other seven times, always in Stakes races with Dangdae Bulpae getting the better of his rival on five occasions.

However, when they started out as three-year olds it was different. Cheonnyeon Daero finished third in the KRA Cup Mile, the opening leg of the Triple Crown yet was still sent off as a 28/1 outsider behind favourite Money Car. We all know what happened next as Money Car got sucked into an early speed duel with the sprinter Seonbongbulpae and tired in the home straight, allowing Cheonnyeon Daero to catch and pass him in the final few strides. Dangdae Bulpae was back in third.

Nemesis: Dangdae Bulpae and Jo Sung Gon

Park Geum Man rode him that day and would go on to partner him in all but one of his seventeen subsequent starts. Australian trainer Peter Wolsley, who acted as Park’s mentor, told the Korea Times that even though it was for a different trainer, Park’s Derby win was his proudest moment in Korean racing.

By the time the third-leg of the Crown rolled around, the Minister’s Cup in October, the tables had turned. Dangdae Bulpae was the sixth length winner and Cheonnyeon Daero’s time in his shadow had begun.

After the Derby, Cheonnyeon Daero only won four more times but he was consistently placed, most often second. He actually crossed the line first in the Owners’ Trophy last September, only to be demoted to second. In a strange twist, the horse that Cheonnyeon Daero interfered with was the Peter Wolsley trained Khaosan. Khaosan’s promotion gave Park’s mentor his first Korean Stakes win.

Cheonnyeon Daero’s final race was the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December, after the decision had already been made to retire him. For the first and only time in his career, he finished outside the money. He will be retired to Stud.

Cheonnyeon Daero’s Derby:

Weekend Preview

Dongbanui Gangja / Grand First / Champion Belt

We’re just a week away from the Grand Prix, the climax of the Korean racing season, but there’s still

Double Grand Prix Winner: Dongbanui Gangja goes on Saturday

plenty going on across the peninsula this weekend.

Seoul has class 1 handicap headlining on both Saturday and Sunday. Double Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow) misses this year’s event but he’ll be in action in Saturday’s feature. While there are a number of decent, if less than intimidating, horses up against him, the thing that is most likely to stop the former Champion adding to his eighteen career victories is the weight – he’ll be carrying six kilos more than any other horse in the race. Sunday sees three-year old filly Grand First (Salt Lake) making her first appearance at the highest level as she takes on a beatable looking field in the feature race.

Down at Busan, US five-year old Purely Spontaneus (Pure Precision) makes just his third atrt of 2011 in the feature – he’s one of twelve rides for Akane Yamamoto over the weekend as she looks to build on her five wins a week ago. The now nine-year old Golding (Gold Alert) is one of just seven rivals.

However, Busan’s most intriguing contest of the weekend is on Sunday afternoon. Aussie jockey Nathan Stanley gets the nod to ride Champion Belt (Exploit) who many predict will go on to be the stand-out horse of his year-group (which so far has been pretty shoddy) in the feature race. To get on the favourite, however, Stanley has had to get off Khaosan (Sunday Well) on who he won the Busan Owners’ Stakes and finished fourth in the President’s Cup. In his absence, trainer Peter Wolsley has managed to secure the services of champion jockey Jo Sung Gon to ride the tough as nails Khaosan. Neither rider will be in a good mood if they lose this one.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday December 2

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 17:30

Saturday December 3

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:10 to 17:30
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:30 to 17:50

Sunday December 4

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:30 to 17:00

December can be cold but beautiful at Seoul Race Park