Two Korea-trained horses are set to make their Dubai World Cup Carnival debuts this week with both Haengbok Wangja and King Of The Match among eleven declared for the inaugural Thunder Snow Challenge over 2000M on the dirt at Meydan on Friday.
Now six-years-old, HAENGBOK WANGJA (USA) [Daredevil – First Installment (Broken Vow)] is a winner of eight of twenty-two career starts and won the Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1) in 2021. With the emergence of Winner’s Man and Raon The Fighter, he didn’t go on to have the dominant 2022 that some predicted, instead going winless in six starts but managed 5th in the Korea Cup (1800M I-G3) and 4th in the KRA Cup Classic (2000M KOR-G2).
Purchased by the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association for $30,000 at the 2019 Ocala Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds, Haengbok Wangja is a half-brother to US-based Group 3 placed Bourbon Cowboy (by Cowboy Cal). He is owned by Lee Bang-hoon, who has been an owner since 2006 and has had 38 winners in that time. Haengbok Wangja’s Grand Prix was his first Group winner.
Haengbok Wangja is trained by Park Youn-gu. Training since 2004 he has sent out 337 winners from 4,280 starters. He won his first Group race with Joy Lucky in the 2013 G3 Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup with the same filly following up in the G3 SROA Chairman’s Trophy a year later. He won the G3 Jeju Governor’s Cup with Lead Money in 2018 before Haengbok Wangja became his first G1 winner.
KING OF THE MATCH (USA) [Cairo Prince – Fought The Fight (War Front)] is a five-year-old who has win five of fifteen races at distances up to 1800M. Although he is yet to win over 2000M, he did run 2nd to Raon The Fighter in the KRA Cup Classic (2000M KOR-G2) in October and also managed 4th in the Korea Cup, both times finishing ahead of Haengbok Wangja.
Owners D R M City have 24 winners from 97 starters. Their first group winner arrived last month when juvenile Speed Young won the Breeders’ Cup (1400M KOR-G2) at Busan.
King Of The Match’s trainer Kim Young-kwan is no stranger to the Dubai Carnival, having brought several to Meydan in the past, including Main Stay, a winner in 2017. Licensed since 2004 Kim has more winners than any other trainer in Korean history with 1406 from 6331 starters. He is a twelve-time Champion Trainer at Busan and hassaddled more Group winners than any other trainer in Korea.
Both Haengbok Wangja and King Of The Match will need to be forgiven their respective latest outings in the Grand Prix Stakes on December 11th when both were well down the field. For King Of The Match the distance was perhaps too far while Haengbok Wangja was out of sorts. Reports on the ground suggest that both have acclimatized to Meydan well. Dane O’Neill will ride Haengbok Wangja while Tadgh O’Shea, the ten-time UAE Champion jockey, is aboard King Of The Match.
The race is race 6 on the 7-race Friday night Carnival program at Meydan with a post time in Korea of 1:55am Saturday morning.