Kim Young Kwan

Divide Wind Roars In To Win KRA Cup Mile

If there is a Korean Triple Crown winner in 2018, then his name is Divide Wind. The Menifee colt beat out stablemate and favourite Ecton Blade to win the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

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Divide Wind wins the KRA Cup Mile (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Divide Wind entered the race having won his latest three with ease, including the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup, a trial for this race, a month ago. In the parade ring and on the way to the gate he was the clear standout of the field, ahead of the champion juvenile Ecton Blade, who started to sweat up on what was a chilly Spring afternoon.

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Divide Wind beats Ecton Blade in the Cup Mile (Pic: Ross Holburt)

After the start was delayed to allow Gaon Champ to be backed out of the stalls and checked over, it was Gaon Champ himself who took command early along with previously unbeaten filly Yeongcheon Derby. Their challenges would fade though as Ecton Blade and Divide Wind came into contention at the top of the stretch.

With World Sun also c losing at speed, Divide Wind ended up too strong for Ecton Blade and took the win by three-quarters of a length on the line. Yeongcheon Derby was 3rd while Mask was Seoul’s best finisher in 4th.

It’s yet another big race 1st and 2nd for trainer Kim Young Kwan.

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Sunday April 8, 2018

1. Divide Wind (KOR) [Menifee – Grand Pass (Grand Slam)] – You Hyun Myung – 4.2, 1.3
2. Ecton Blade (KOR) [Ecton Park – Vyng Ty Grr (Regal Intention)] – Lee Hyo Sik – 1.2
3. World Sun (KOR) [Officer – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.8
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Mask 5. Yeongcheon Derby 6. Gaon Champ 7. Mone Flying 8. Yeonggwanguiwinner 9. Yeonggwangui Champ

The 21st Korean Derby, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown, will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday May 13th as the curtain-raiser to the Asian Racing Conference, which kicks off in Seoul the following day.

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Jo In Kwen & Kim Young Kwan Take Busan Jockey/Trainer Titles For 2017

Jo In Kwen and Kim Young Kwan were 2017 Champion Jockey and Trainer respectively at Busan Racecourse. Jo, in his first year at Busan having transferred from Seoul finished the year with 96 winners, 12 clear of 2nd placed Jo Sung Gon, while Kim as usual dominated the Trainer ranks, ending with almost double the number of winners as his nearest challenger.

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2017 Busan Champion Jockey: Jo In Kwen

Jo In Kwen returned to racing in 2016 having completed his two years of National Service and joined Jo Sung Gon and Ham Wan Sik in moving from Seoul to the South Coast for the 2017 season. He didn’t win any major Stakes races but led the standings in terms of wins the whole year.

The year finished with just two foreign riders at Busan and both Franco Da Silva and Yonekura Satoshi finished comfortably inside the top ten.

Busan Jockey Championship 2017 – (Total Wins & Win %age)

1. Jo In Kwen – 96 (18.2%)
2. Jo Sung Gon – 84 (19.2%)
3. You Hyun Myung – 78 (16.0%)
4. Choi Si Dae – 65 (14.3%)
5. Francisco Da Silva – 59 (13.7%)
6. Ham Wan Sik – 41 (12.9%)
7. Yonekura Satoshi – 38 (9.7%)
8. Lee Hyo Sik – 35 (10.9%)
9. Song Keong Yun – 27 (5.75)
10. Jin Kyum – 25 (6.9%)

The Trainers’ title is Kim Young Kwan’s every year and with the unparalleled access he has to a stream of expensive and well-bred new entrants year after year, he will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. His domination of the Group races was a little less than it has been in recent years though as he didn’t  win a single one of the Classics. Ultimately Triple Nine and Power Blade were the stars again while his Ecton Blade won the Breeders’ Cup to head into 2018 as one of the prime Triple Crown contenders.

It was tight behind Kim this time around with An Woo Sung just taking 2nd place with Baik Kwang Yeol and Thomas Gillespie tied for 3rd, one ahead of Peter Wolsley in 5th. It was an exceptional year for Gillespie’s stable – he tied with Baik Kwang Yeol despite sending out 158 runners fewer and now has a 35-strong string containing some very good prospects.

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Thomas Gillespie

Wolsley and Bart Rice perhaps had slightly less firepower in their barns compared with a year ago but both still put in creditable performances.

The 4th foreign trainer at Busan is David Miller. The New Zealander finished in 26th place in the standings in what was his first full year at the track but with only a small number of horses, maintained a very competitive strike-rate. He also recorded a huge success when I’m Your Father stunned Triple Nine to win the Group 3 Busan Mayor’s Cup in the summer.

Miller still has only 23 horses in his barn but with 12 of them being yet to race, the opening months of 2018 could be interesting.

Busan Trainer Championship 2017- (Total Wins & Win %age)

1. Kim Young Kwan – 96 (24.6%)
2. An Woo Sung – 49 (16.9%)
3. Baik Kwang Yeol – 48 (10.2%) (takes 3rd due to more 2nd and 3rd places)
4. Thomas Gillespie – 48 (15.4%)
5. Peter Wolsley – 47 (16.1%)
6. Kang Byung Eun – 41 (13.9%)
7. Mun Je Bok – 38 (13.2%)
8. Min Jang Gi – 35 (10.9%)
9. Bart Rice – 31 (11.4%)
10. Lim Keum Man – 29 (9.5%)

26. David Miller – 12 (10.6%)

DWCC 2017: Power Blade & Diferent Dimension To Face Off At Meydan Thursday

Power Blade and Diferent Dimension will race each other at the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening. The Korea-trained pair have both been declared for the 1600M Handicap race 4 at Meydan Racecourse.

2016 Korean Triple Crown winner Power Blade (Menifee), trained by Kim Young Kwan, will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave while Adrie De Vries will partner the Peter Wolsley-trained Diferent Dimension (Into Mischief) in the race which is at 8.15pm local time (1:15am Friday in Korea).

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See the full race card at Emirates Racing Authority

Both horses have reportedly been well in training. The race, which has attracted 15 runners, looks competitive. Top weight is Final Selection (Diktat), who raced in high class company in 2016 and finished 2nd to The Gurkha at Deauville last May but ended the season in indifferent form. Satish Seemar’s North America (Dubawi) enters having won his last two at Meydan, both at a mile, in non-Carnival meetings in November and December. Bluff (Tapit) also won last up at Jebel Ali.

Heavy Metal (Exceed And Excel) has come close in recent starts and  on one of them finished 2nd to Need To Know (Western WInter) who surely goes better on the Meydan dirt than he did on the Seoul sand in the Korea Cup last September. Along with the Korean pair, it’s hard to know at first glance what to make of American and Swedish runners Wildcat Red (D’Wildcat) and Pistol (Eishin Dunkirk).

That’s the beauty of this meeting though and while Power Blade and Diferent Dimension have it all to do, if they run to their best in what is not a strong race by Carnival standards and on what is currently a very fast track at Meydan, this is a field that they should be able to at least be competitive in.

The other three Korea-trained horses in Dubai for the Carnival are expected to be entered for next Thursday’s card. Two-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine will likely be pointed to 2000M while Main Stay and Seoul Bullet would be expected to tackle a sprint distance.

Dubai World Cup Carnival 2017: Korea’s Contenders At Meydan

Five Korea-trained horses arrived at Meydan on Christmas Eve to begin preparations for their campaigns at the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival. Horse Of The Year Triple Nine and Triple Crown winner Power Blade have been joined on the trip by Diferent Dimension, Seoul Bullet and Main Stay. They will be hoping to emulate the feats achieved by Success Story, who managed two 3rd placed finishes at the 2016 Carnival. 

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Horse Of The Year Triple Nine leads the Korean contingent in Dubai (Pic: Alex Cairns/TheWinningPost)

Diferent Dimension (USA) [Into Mischief – Pardon My Sarong (Souvenir Copy)] 4-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Larkspur Thoroughbreds (Kentucky), Owner: Mun Kyung Sook, Trainer: Peter M. Wolsley
Race Records: 15(9/2/2)
The only US bred among the Korean contingent. It’s not a spelling mistake, he’s named after a lyric in a Katy Perry song (or something like that, I’m told) and was a $30,000 purchase from OBS in April 2014 (having previously gone through Keeneland as a yearling). He’s won at distances up to 1800M but could go further. He was 3rd last month at 2200M but was giving 7kg to the pair who beat him and should be fresh having not been able to get a run in the Grand Prix. He’s saddled by Australian trainer Peter Wolsley.

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Diferent Dimension (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] 4-year-old Colt
Breeder: Isidore Farm (Korea), Owner: Choi Byeong Bu, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 20(11/7/1)
As a three-year-old, he was 2nd in both of the final two-legs of the Triple Crown before asserting his talent with victory in the Presidents Cup. He’s now a two-time winner of that race having successfully defended his title this autumn and accordingly, Triple Nine was this past weekend crowned Horse Of The Year in Korea for 2016. He finished 3rd in the Korea Cup and 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes and has comfortably defeated Power Blade on three consecutive occasions.

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Triple Nine arrives (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] 3-year-old Colt
Breeder: Kim Jung Du (Korea), Owner: Kim Hyeong Ran. Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 13(8/3/1)
He was the Champion Juvenile of 2015 he then dominated the three-year-old division in 2016, comfortably winning all three legs of the Korean Triple Crown. He has gone on to show his class against older horses with 4th place in the Korea Cup, 2nd in the President’s Cup and 3rd in the Grand Prix, the latter over 2300M. Triple Nine has finished ahead of him in all three of those races. In the middle of those races, he dropped down to 1400M to beat Seoul Bullet in a valuable race at Busan.

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A blurry Power Blade on the Meydan track (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Main Stay (KOR) [Tale Of The Cat – No Bull Baby (Indian Charlie)] 3-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Nokwon Farm (Korea), Owner: SH. Baek, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: 16(9/3/0)
Classed as a Korean bred as he was imported in-utero when his dam was purchased for $32,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale. As such he wasnt eligible for the three-year-old Classic races but has gone on to establish himself as one of the top sprinters in Korea with four wins from his last five starts. He is yet to run in Stakes company but has run and won at distances of up to a mile. Comes in having beaten Seoul Bullet narrowly over 1400M in December.

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Main Stay arrives (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

Seoul Bullet (KOR) [Peace Rules – Wild Guess (Wld Rush)] 5-year-old Gelding
Breeder: Kim Chae Hyung (Korea). Owner: Cho Tae Man, Trainer: Kim Young Kwan
Race Records: KOR: 10(7/2/0) USA: 4(0/0/1)
He’s had an interesting career having spent the first year of it in the United States where he ran four times for one 3rd place in Florida and even managed to get claimed out of a race at Gulfstream. He was claimed back and returned to Korea where he promptly won his first six starts. He was then sidelined for fifteen months before finally returning to action this summer. He pushed Power Blade all the way over 1400M in October before winning a class 1 race at the same distance very handily. Narrowly defeated by Main Stay last time out.

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Seoul Bullet strolls at Meydan (Pic: Seungho Ryu)

“Rivals” On Show / Park Jae I Wins In Australia / Imran Gets 10 Days

The villainous foreigner looks directly into the camera, eyes obscured by dark glasses no doubt in an attempt to disguise malign intentions. Meanwhile, the stout defender of Korean honour gazes wistfully, but determinedly, into the middle distance, face bathed in an almost saintly glow.

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There’s a good little exhibition running right now in the small museum at Seoul Racecourse called “The Rival” which attempts to build up some of the rivalries ongoing in racing in Korea. Peter Wolsley and Kim Young Kwan was the natural choice for the trainers while for jockeys, it is Moon Se Young and Kim Young Geun  so if you’ve ever wanted to see Moon Se Young’s schoolboy pictures, then a) why? and b) now’s your chance.

To keep things current, for horses, current stablemates Triple Nine and Power Blade were chosen (as opposed to say, Subsidy and Bally Brae) while it’s Menifee and Ecton Park for sires. The museum is located behind the Luckyville Grandstand on the Parade Ring side. It’s free entry and only takes a couple of minutes to look around. This particular exhibition runs until December 30th.

In other news, Busan apprentices Jin Kyum and Park Jae I are currently in Australia to gain overseas experience and Park was among the winners at Port Macquarie Racecourse in New South Wales on Tuesday afternoon. 20-year-old Park, who debuted in 2015 and rides off a 2kg claim with 21 winners to date in Korea, partnered 5-year-old mare Tiaconi to a two-length victory in the 1000M race 7 for owner/trainer Brett Bellamy (h/t Michael Cox):

Not such happy news for jockey Imran Chisty. The Indian rider has picked up a ten-day ban for his ride on Monday Money in race 4 at Seoul last Sunday. The fast finishing 5/1 chance just failed to get up for 2nd with Stewards of the view that slightly more vigour on the part of the jockey would have overcome the nose deficit. Because Seoul only races two days each week, it means the suspension doesn’t expire until Christmas Day.

Triple Nine Bests Power Blade To Retain President’s Cup

Triple Nine pulled clear of stablemate and Triple Crown Power Blade to convincingly retain his President’s Cup title at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

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Triple Nine wins the President’s Cup (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)

Triple Nine had previously got the best of Power Blade by four lengths as the pair ran 3rd and 4th behind Japan’s Chrysolite in September’s Billion Won Korea Cup and while the circumstances of that race were rather unusual, punters sent the older colt, who convincingly beat Rock Band in last year’s race, as the slight favourite with Success Story the only other one of the ten-strong field to be backed to any extent.

Success Story would, as ever, show the way in the 2000M race, Korea’s equal-richest, along with the Derby, that is restricted to locally bred horses. Racing for the first time since being gelded, the 5-year-old brought the field along with Power Blade right on pace beside him while Triple Nine, under Seo Seung Un for the first time, settled in his usual midfield position.

Jockey Seo asked Triple Nine to improve as they rounded the final turn and the 4-year-old effortlessly glided up alongside the leaders. Into the home straight and Success Story was the first to fall out of contention leaving the stablemates to go stride for stride until the furling pole. Entering the closing stages, however, Power Blade’s challenge wilted and Triple Nine pulled clear to win by a commanding five lengths on the line. Success Story was a further four back in 3rd.

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Triple Nine waiting to be brought out for the post-race presentation (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)

In yet another assertion of the southern-track’s superiority when it comes to quality,  Busan horses accounted for the first five place-getters with Baedari Bobae running 4th and Zettabyte, 2nd in both of the final two legs of the Triple Crown coming home in 5th.

The victory was Triple Nine’s 11th in 19 career starts to date. He has never finished any worse than 4th. Neither has Power Blade and the pair of them are both potential entries for the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the New Year although it is possible the Grand Prix Stakes next month could be the agenda for one or both of them. For jockey Seo Seung Un it was a first Korean Group 1 winner. For trainer Kim Young Kwan, it was a 10th.

The President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – November 13, 2016

1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.8, 1.0
2. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.1
3. Success Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.7
Distances: 5 lengths / 4 lenghs
Also Ran: 4. Baedari Bobae 5. Zettabyte 6. Cheonji Storm 7 .Sotong Sidae 8. Pinot Noir 9. Top Fighter 10. Impetus NR: Brig

Power Blade Wins The Korean Triple Crown

As if there was ever any doubt. At Seoul Racecourse today, Power Blade looked every inch the champion the Triple Crown series has been waiting for as he utterly dominated the Minister’s Cup in the same fashion he did in both the KRA Cup Mile and the Korean Derby.

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Power Blade in the Minister’s Cup winner’s circle (Pic: Jo Kim @krapresenter )

Punters sent Power Blade off as the odds-on favourite ahead of stablemate and Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi. The filly as usual set the pace early on with Kim Yong Geun happy to keep Power Blade handy. For as moment at the top of the straight there was a chance that the favourite, sitting in fourth on the rail may find himself boxed in. That moment was fleeting.

As soon as they entered the straight the gap opened up. Kim Yong Geun took it and from there the race was won. The margin on the line was seven lengths but Power Blade wasn’t stretched. So superior he is to the rest of this crop, he could win by a margin of his choosing.

Just as in the Korean Derby, Zettabyte chased him home a distance 2nd, four lengths ahead of Baedari Bobae, who ran a big race in 3rd, finishing ahead of the tiring Ottug Ottugi.

Power Blade is trained by Kim Young Kwan, who records yet another Classic win and ridden by Kim Yong Geun. His next target will now surely have to be the Korea Cup International race over 1800M on September 11th where he can be tested against overseas horses.

J.S. Hold won a Triple Crown in Korea in 2007, however, great achievement though it was, it was before the current era of Seoul and Busan. Today in its 9th running, we got a true Triple Crown winner and his name is Power Blade.

The Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – July 17, 2016

1. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.3, 1.0
2. Zettabyte (KOR) [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.6
3. Baedari Bobae (KOR) [Colors Flying – Geumgang Gongwon (Pacificbounty)] – 5.2
Distances: 7 lengths / 4 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Ottug Ottugi 5. Stealth 6. Saeroun Stealth 7. Siseon Pochak 8. Kkeutpan Hero