Calm Strong Claims KNN Cup as Raon First Well Beaten

23/1 chance Calm Strong led from gate-to-wire and held off the closing pack to win the KNN Cup (1600M KOR-G3), the third leg of the 2022 Queens’ Tour at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, with hot favourite Raon First well back down the field.

Calm Strong (right) hold off Wish Me to win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

Making just her tenth career start, Calm Strong bounded out of gate eight and into the lead while Raon First, dwelt slightly and was slowly away, having to settle in an unfamiliar rear position.

While Raon First did improve to 2nd place by the top of the straight, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to be her day, her customary acceleration was missing and she dropped back through the field, ultimately finishing 8th.

With You Hyun-myung aboard, Calm Strong was able to hold off the determined late challenges of Wish Me and Yeonggwangui Time, taking the line a neck to the good. Filly Triple Crown winner Golden Power was 4th.

Calm Strong is a three-year-old USA-bred filly by Bayern and out of the Broken Vow mare Diva’ Seastar. Imported as a yearling, she is owned by Lee Hae-lan and trained by Kang Hyoung-gon. Sunday’s victory was just her third but takes her career earnings to KRW 329 Million (US$250,000).

As for Raon First, jockey Choi Bum-hyun reported that having loaded first, his mare had to wait a long time in the gate and then didn’t get away well. He said that having got up to join the leaders, she didn’t maintain her momentum in the way that he expected. An initial veterinary examination found no obvious issues.

The Queens’ Tour goes on hiatus again now until the end of autumn when the fourth and final leg will be the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) once more at Busan on Sunday November 27.

Next weekend Busan takes centre-stage again with the Owners’ Cup (1600M KOR-G2). It’s a race that has in the past been won by the likes of Dangdae Bulpae, Triple Nine, Power Blade and Blue Chipper. Raon First’s stablemate, Raon The Fighter, is expected to run.

KNN Cup Sunday Busan & Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (July 17)

Korea’s top mare meets the winner of the Filly Triple Crown as Raon First and Golden Power clash for the first time in the KNN Cup (1600M KOR-G3) at Busan on Sunday afternoon. It’s the final race on a 7-race card at Busan which runs from 11:35 to 17:05. At Seoul there are 10 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Raon First won the Ttukseom Cup and is hot favourite for the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

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

Juvenile maidens in the opener with seven of the eight making their racecourse debuts. It’s the sole one with experience though who will be the hot favourite. That’s (8) NAOL SNIPER who, following an encouraging trial, was sent off as favourite on debut over this distance on June 18th. Though on pace he had to settle for 4th, but it was a good time, and he won’t need to improve much on that to win this. (4) P N S LOOK was the fastest among the newcomers in trials. She ran a close 2nd in the heat, running on pace throughout and if she brings that form to the races, she can go well first-up. (2) DRAGON STAR beat a couple of today’s rivals on his way to winning a June 24th trial. He draws nicely here and can beat them again. (3) HAENGBOKAN MUNMAK also win a trial, overcoming a wide gate to do so and along with (7) HIGH GRAND is another to consider.

Selections(8) Naol Sniper (4) P N S Look (2) Dragon Star (3) Haengbokan Munmak
Next Best7, 1
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(2) GRAY THOR should have too much here. After two fair showings in his first two races, he was a significantly improved runner-u p at the third time of asking over this distance on June 18th when he led almost the entire way around. He carries the same weight; he draws well, and he can go all the way this time. (3) YAMUJIN WANGCHO also comes in following a 2nd place finish at his latest start on June 26th over 1300M. He too was on pace throughout the race and today he draws much better. He can go close again. (5) QUEEN OF RACING is yet to finish in the top-two but nevertheless has six top-five finishes. With an apprentice engaged, she comes down 3kg in the weights today and should be in the finish. (6) GEONGONILCHEOK and (8) CHEONMA CHAT others in the placing hunt.

Selections(2) Gray Thor (3) Yamujin Wangcho (5) Queen Of Racing (6) Geongonilcheok
Next Best8, 4
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 7

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

Juvenile maidens get things underway on the south coast and six of the seven are racing for the first time. As so often in these kinds of races, we are going to value the experience here of (5) FANTASTIC KINGDOM. Having won a May trial, he ran a good 3rd on debut on June 24th in a good time over this distance, settling in midfield and running on well. He should have come on for that run and can win here. (4) JEOLGEOUNYEOJEONG is the clear pick of the first-time starters. She ran on very well from a handy position to comfortably win her trial in the kind of time that would win plenty of races at this class and distance. If she brings that form to the races, she has every chance.  (7) HWANGU FIGHTER ran 2nd in his trial on a wet track while (2) TAP DREAM and (3) ADELE HORANGI, the latter a trial winner, are other first-timers who could make an impression.

Selections(5) Fantastic Kingdom (4) Jeolgeounyeojeong (7) Hwangu Fighter (2) Tap Dream
Next Best3, 6
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 5

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

(7) DAPHNE should be winning this. On her return from five months out in May she parted company with her jockey but came back two weeks later on June 11th to run a solid 4th in a good time over this distance. That time was faster than anything else in this race has achieved and with Moon Se-young climbing aboard as well as the limited opposition, it would appear today is the day. (8) SWEET KAKAO needs a line drawn through her latest effort on May 29th but her form leading up to that was adequate enough to suggest she can go well here. She is up in the weights without the benefit of an apprentice claim but should be ridden forward here. (1) CUPID KOREA led over 1300M on his first start in seven months on June 11th. He ultimately weakened but should have benefited for the run and can get closer today. (5) DIVINE FUTURES and (3) GENTLE RULES other placing contenders.

Selections(7) Daphne (8) Sweet Kakao (1) Cupid Korea (5) Divine Futures
Next Best3, 2
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 8

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Another race with a hot favourite here. (8) CAPTAIN GOLD won a May trial in fine fashion leading him to be sent off as market-leader on debut on June 3rd. He ran well and on pace but ultimately had to settle for 2nd place over this distance. He should have come on for that run and it would be a surprise were he to be beaten again. (6) ALPHA V is the logical second pick. She returned from five months out to run a good 3rd over 1200M on May 22nd when settling midfield and running on well. She’ll do the same here and will challenge at the business end of the race. (9) GEUMA UNO raced once without distinction last December but looked well when winning a June trial, leading all the way. The trainer/jockey combination will ensure he has backers. There are four first-time starters and the wonderfully named (4) I LOVE HANSEN looked well in trials and along with (2) MIGHTY STORM – who does have experience – looks a potential place chance.

Selections(8) Captain Gold (6) Alpha V (9) Geuma Uno (4) I Love Hansen
Next Best2, 11
Fast Start5, 8, 9, 10

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Tricky maiden this. Her last start run over 1200M was slow, but she did manage to finish 2nd and that’s enough to take a chance on (2) THAT’S MY GIRL. She comes back up to a trip at which she has a run a time as quick as any here (albeit not that quick and on a wet track) and from a good draw, she can win. (9) NEW SMART has a time equal to that achieved by That’s My Girl for the distance. She too comes back up in trip after a decent showing around 1200M last time out, in her case on when 3rd on June 19th. She draws wide but should have enough speed to get a good position and she has every chance. (5) P N S THE KING showed un uptick in form when 2nd over 1300M on July 2nd. Prior to that he had a tendency to get a bit too far back in his races so that was encouraging and Song Jae-chul getting the ride will his chances no harm. (7) BITNANEUN JILJU and (8) STAR PRINCESS among others to consider.

Selections(2) That’s My Girl (9) New Smart (5) P N S The King (7) Bitnaneun Jilju
Next Best8, 6
Fast Start1, 2, 6, 9

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

Several chances here. (5) HWARANG SKY is one of three up in class following a maiden win at their respective latest starts. In her case, it came over this distance on June 19th when she beat Unju Star, who went on to record a win of his own on Friday. It was a fair time, and he can measure up in this company. (4) ANY LINE made all for his maiden win at start number fifteen on June 17th, overcoming gate ten in the process. He has run well at this distance and 1400M in the past and from a good draw can get on the speed and be in this a long way. (3) HOLLYWOOD PARTY similarly led from gate-to-wire to score on June 12th, also at 1200M. She has made good progress over her three outings to date and looks nicely in here. As for those with prior experience at class 5, (1) DOCTOR PRO came from well off the pace to run 3rd at class and distance on June 26th. He draws much better today and should be in this. (2) D’LOVELY QUEEN could compete for the minors.

Selections(5) Hwarang Sky (4) Any Line (3) Hollywood Party (1) Doctor Pro
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 7

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

(9) FURIOSA ran out a comfortable winner on debut over 1000M on June 18th having previously won a trial in a similar manner. She comes up in class and in trip here, but the manner of that victory suggests more to come, and she can win again. The main danger looks set to be (11) LAST PUNCH. She has plenty of experience at this level with two placings including her last start 3rd over 1300M. She went back that day and ran on, and similar tactics might be expected here form the wide gate. (6) MYEONGJIN CANDY is up in class after an all the way win over 1200M on June 19th. The same apprentice jockey keeps her weight nice and low, and she can be a danger here again. Disregard the last start from (4) DAEMUL as it was in the Korean Derby. He returns to shallower waters today and can be competitive. (5) CLOUTER among numerous others with genuine placing hopes.


Silver Wolf Shows Her Superiority in KNN Cup

It always threatened to be a mismatch and that’s how it turned out as Silver Wolf once more asserted her dominance over the filly and mare ranks with a dismissively easy victory in the KNN Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

The seven-year-old Aussie-bred mare kept her perfect record for 2019 intact by claiming the second leg of the Queens’ Tour, having already won the Ttukseom Cup and assuring herself of a second victory in the series with one race still to come.

In truth no other result was likely. With a local rating of 125, a full 32 higher than next best Sky Bay, if it had been a handicap, Silver Wolf would have put the rest of the field twelve points out of the scale.

Ultimately it was Sky Bay who put up the best fight, as last year’s Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup winner led from the gate and into the home straight.

But Sky Bay could do nothing as Yoo Seung-wan and Silver Wolf, who had sat comfortably in the middle of the pack throughout the early stages of the race, loomed up on the outside and cruised on by with a furlong to go for a four-length win on the line.

Silver Wolf has been conservatively campaigned for four wins from four  this year although she has only faced males on one occasion – when she comfortably dispatched them in the Seoul Owners Association Trophy at odds of 9/1.

Silver Wolf’s win moves her on to sixteen wins from thirty-two lifetime starts, ten of them in listed or graded company. She has now won well in excess of US$2.5Million and sits behind only Triple Nine and Power Blade in the list of all-time money winners in Korea.

Come October, we will most likely see Silver Wolf back at Busan to contest the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup over 2000M and provided she avoids any setbacks in the meantime, she will surely win that too.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Silver Wolf In The KNN Cup – Race-By-Race Preview (August 18)

Korea’s top mare returns to action on Sunday as Silver Wolf faces fifteen pretenders in the KNN Cup, the 2nd leg of the 2019 Queens’ Tour at Busan Racecourse. There are 6 Sunday races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 and 11 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. 

Silver wolf Gyeongnam

The Great Aussie Mare Silver Wolf is back on Sunday

Silver Wolf was an easy winner of the first leg of the Tour, the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul in June. She’ll be strong favourite to win the 2nd leg too although there will potentially be competition from the Ttukseom Cup runner-up Damyang Hwanho, as well as last year’s Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup winner Sky Bay and especially up and coming filly Thunder Mark.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Maidens to kick things off and (1) GOLD FIELD was a beaten favourite last time ending up in 4th place. She’s worth another chance here and with a slightly better start today could potentially lead all the way. Along with Gold Field, (5) KHAN ACE and (11) GOLDEN JAY are the only other two runners in the race to have a top-three finish to their name and the two of them should pose the biggest dangers to the favourite here. (6) KOREA DAEJANGBU has been knocking on the door of the places for a while now and may improve today while (8) DAEGUN OK is another who has the potential to improve.

Selections (1) Gold Field (5) Khan Ace (11) Golden Jay (6) Korea Daejangbu
Next Best 8, 10
Fast Start 1, 4

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(8) WHITE COMET showed improvement when running 3rd on what was just his second career start on July 14th. If he can continue his upward trajectory today, then he has an excellent chance of winning here. (6) JEJUI YOJEONG ran 4th in that race – the second consecutive time she has finished in that position and she can aim for a repeat here but bigger dangers to the favourite are likely to be (3) RAON HANNIBAL and (12) KAIZEN SILVER, who both come in having placed in their respective outings and who should both be in the mix once again. (7) JEONGMUN SARANG, who also has a 3rd place in his record, looks best of the rest.

Selections (8) White Comet (12) Kaizen Silver (3) Raon Hannibal (6) Jejui Yojeong
Next Best 7, 11
Fast Start 3, 5, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maiden fillies here with precisely half the field having raced before. (5) P.K. HILL was the best of those, running a good 2nd over this trip on June 26th. It seems this race has been targeted for her return and from a good draw, she can lead all the way. Of the others who have race before, (1) BISANGDEUNG and (8) DASI DUSON, the latter the only one in the field to have raced twice prior to today, look most likely to improve. There are a couple of promising looking ones among the first-timers. (2) LION YEOJE and (7) RAON FIRST both ran 2nd in their trials, both in fast times and have every chance of going well first-up today.

Selections (5) P.K. Hill (7) Raon First (2) Lion Yeoje (8) Dasi Duson
Next Best 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 5

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

Competitive maiden but (11) GOLD LEVEL has the experience and just about the ability to finally get her maiden win at what will be the ninth attempt. She’s run 2nd at 1200M and comes in following a useful 4th over this trip last time. (10) TOUR DIA is the main danger as he really seems to be figuring things out with a 3rd and a 2nd from his latest two. He will try to get to the front from the start and if he manages it, may be difficult to get past. (3) TIZ ROSE has hinted at ability over three outings so far while (6) WIND SKY and (9) CRAZY QUEEN are others in the placing frame.

Selections (11) Gold Level (10) Tour Dia (3) Tiz Rose (9) Crazy Queen
Next Best 6, 5
Fast Start 3, 5, 10

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

(10) MIGHTY LUCK will be strongly favoured to score here. After getting his maiden win over this distance in June, he ran 2nd on his first try at this class four weeks ago and while he’s drawn in the car park, he should be able to overcome that and win here, likely leading all the way. (1) SPADE MASHIE was a nice maiden winner last start and while up in class today should be competitive while (7) DREAM MONEY ran 4th on his first try at this level on his latest go and should be in the placing mix here too. (5) SPEED HEUKRYONG and (6) RAON MIRACLE are others in the hunt.

Selections (10) Mighty Luck (1) Spade Mashie (7) Dream Money (5) Speed Heukryong
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 1, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) SANGSEUNG POWER has been close on a number of occasions since returning to action in March following a lengthy absence. On his last start he beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd place at the distance and today he should get it right. (1) USEUNG STORY beat Sangseung Power on his way to a 20/1 win two starts back. He ran 10th when trying to repeat the feat three weeks ago but can be given another chance today. (7) TWO TWO CAPTAIN is up in class having registered a maiden win over a mile just two weeks ago and can be competitive while (2) TURBO SPEED and (12) ZET KING are others with claims.

Selections (8) Sangseung Power (1) Useung Story (7) Two Two Captain (12) Zet King
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start 1, 7, 10

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

Small field but competitive. (4) BANGTANMA ran 8th in the Korean Oaks and then 6th in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. She then finished 3rd on her return to regular company over 1300M last start. She looks to still have improvement in her and can win here. (3) GOD OF SOCKS looks the main danger. He comes in having run 2nd at class and distance a month ago and should be close. (2) BAEKDUI TAEYANG has run 4th in each of his three latest outings and can at least maintain that consistency here. (5) SINGGEUREOUN TIME and (6) WUJEONGUI HYANGGI are others with placing chances.

Selections (4) Bangtanma (3) God Of Socks (5) Singgeureoun Time (2) Baekdui Taeyang
Next Best 6
Fast Start 3, 4

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(7) SAMSEONG DOKKI is up in class after a good win in a fast time (though very wet and fast track) at this distance on July 19th. That was just his second career start and he came from well off the pace to win. This is a considerably stiffer ask but he looks to have plenty of potential for further development. (8) NUMBER ONE STAR was beaten favourite (more…)

Haeya Finally Earns Big Race Glory in KNN Cup

Haeya has finally done it. The five-year-old mare whose career has been a litany of injury and other setbacks won the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour the KNN Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon to secure her first Group race triumph.

Haeya’s distant 3rd behind Silver Wolf in this race last year was her only previous experience of racing at a mile and while punters sent her off as slight favourite, there was plenty of doubt as to whether she could lead the whole way round – even in the absence of a clear star like Silver Wolf.

As it was, Haeya, drawn from gate 1, got to the front as usual but this time didn’t let go. Cheongsu Yeogeol and Ice Marine flashed home late but couldn’t quite get there, Haeya holding on by just under a length on the line.

1. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxholic (Macho Uno)] – You Hyun Myung – You Hyung Myung – 2.6, 1.4
2. Cheongsu Yeogeol (USA) [Run Away And Hide – Fan Appeal (Lear Fan)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.9
3. Ice Marine (KOR) [Officer – Runkerry Point (Giant’s Causeway)] – Song Keong Yun – 4.3
Distances: 0.75 lengths / Head
Also Ran: 4. Damyang Hwanho (USA) 5. GOld Blue (JPN) 6. Bright Star (KOR) 7. Ace Spinning (KOR) 8. I’m Your Mother (USA) 9. Shark Run (USA) 10. Rich Yeojanggun (KOR) 11. Hello Venus (KOR) 12. Rocket Queen (KOR) 13. Aceui Seonmul (KOR) 14. Yeonghui Sidae (KOR) 15. Sojunghan Somang (USA) 16. Uju Star (KOR)

Sunday Seoul & Busan: KNN Cup Day Race-By-Race Preview (August 19)

It’s a big Sunday of racing in Korea with the KNN Cup, the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour at Busan being the highlight. In total there are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 and 11 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Previews for every single race are below (including horse by horse for the KNN Cup). Busan first with the Seoul ones below:

Cheongsu Yeogeol Ttukseom 2

Cheongsu Yeogeol won the 1st leg of the Queens’ Tour last month and is among 16 fillies & mares lining up for the KNN Cup at Busan today (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) MUJEOK YEONGUNG was a very nice-looking winner on debut on July 20th over 1000M and while he is up in both class and distance today, the manner of it suggests Thomas Gillespie’s colt will be hard to beat today. He’ll go to the front from the gate and should stay there. (2) OFFICE TAP comes up in class after his maiden win too. His victory, on what was his second career start, was slightly less eye-catching but nevertheless, he should be very competitive at this level. (1) COOL MINT got promoted after finishing runner-up in both his first two outings. He stepped up to this class on July 15th, running a decent 5th over 1400M. He drops back to this trip for the first time today and can look to at least place. (6) NURI ACHIM, a class and distance winner in May, and (10) RACHEL, who did the same a month later, are others who can go close.

Selections (3) Mujeok Yeongung (2) Office Tap (1) Cool Mint (6) Nuri Achim
Next Best 10, 12
Fast Start 3, 6

Race 2: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A smart winner at this class over 1300M on July 20th to make it three wins from seven career starts, (1) ICE LEG is slightly favoured to prevail again. It’s his first time at 1400M but an apprentice jockey on board means he carries scarcely any extra weight and he could have too much. (6) ISLE CAT ran 2nd that day and while she has a bit to find on the favourite here, can run well again and certainly should beat plenty. Stiffer tests may come from (8) CITY WINNER and (2) FINE POWER, who came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when racing each other at class and distance on July 15th, getting within half a length of winner Oryong, who was landing his third straight win. (4) RISING PRINCE came home 5th in that race and is another who could have a say about the places.

Selections (1) Ice Leg (8) City Winner (2) Fine Power (6) Isle Cat
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 4, 8

Race 3: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(3) BAENGNYEON SONNIM rather unexpectedly finished ahead of (5) SMART DANCER when they raced each other at this distance three weeks ago coming home 2nd and 3rd and bringing the latter’s winning streak to an end at three. They face each other again here but this time we’ll expect Smart Dancer to put things right and return to the winner’s circle. Baengnyeon Sonnim is probably the biggest danger here along with (7) WINNING AGAIN, who was rapidly promoted to this class with a pair of wins in May and June. He ran 3rd on his first try at this level on July 13th and should be close here. There is one debut-maker and he looks an interesting one. US import (4) JJUUK trialled up competently last month and the Min Jang Gi trained colt can go well first up.

Selections (5) Smart Dancer (3) Baengnyeon Sonnim (7) Winning Again (4)Jjuuk
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 4, 5, 7

Race 4: Class 1 (2000M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

After a setback early in his career which saw him lose almost his entire three-year-old campaign, the recent rise of (3) SILLAUI JEONSEOL has been rapid. He’s won three in a row to get up to class 1 here and he looks very nicely in to potentially take his winning streak to four. He’s up to 2000M for the first time an there’s no doubt this is a tough ask but he could do it. (9) STEALTH beat tree of these on his way to a good class and distance victory on July 8th and must be respected. Once again, he carries a low weight, has strong claims and should be favourite. (10) SAENGIL GIPPEUM doesn’t carry a low weight but showed signs of coming back into form when finishing 4th in the Owners’ Cup at the end of July and could maintain that momentum here. (5) FOUR NINES and (2) DORAON HYEONPYO were both beaten by Stealth last time – both were nominated for September’s Korea Cup last week and likely need big performances here in order to be confident of getting on.

Selections (3) Sillaui Jeonseol (9) Stealth (2) Doraon Hyeonpyo (5) Four Nines
Next Best 10, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 3


Race 5: Class Open “The KNN Cup” (KOR G3) / 1600M Allowance / KRW 400 Million

  1. HAEYA – She was favourite for the Ttukseom Cup but put in a flat performance ending up in 6th. Hard to recommend her to win at a mile although she did manage to come 3rd in this race last year and as one of the few true class 1 horses in the race, it would be no surprise if she was sent off as favourite. She’ll try to do it gate to wire.
  2. YEONGHUI SIDAE – Sent off as second-favourite in the Oaks last month but never travelled fluently and ended up well back in the field. She has though won at this distance at class 3 and could be a factor here. Runs best when leading, something she hasn’t been able to do in her last two starts.
  3. I’M YOUR MOTHER – Struggled over 1800M on her latest but she is a winner at a mile at class 4. Her solitary win did come at this distance in May, but it was at class 4 and she has a lot to find here.
  4. SOJUNGHAN SOMANG – Beaten by Shark Run in April but returned to overcome some good ones on her way to a valuable prize over 1400M at the beginning of June. First try at a mile, she’ll likely settle in midfield and look to finish strongly. Place is not impossible.
  5. ACEUI SEONMUL – Good winner over this distance on July 6th, enabling her to take her chance here. That was at class 3 and while she shouldn’t be too far away she will need to improve if she is to challenge for a place.
  6. CHEONGSU YEOGEOL – Comfortable winner of the Ttukseom Cup at the beginning fo June coming from just off the pace to win well. This will be her first attempt at a mile but there is no reason why it shouldn’t suit and she’ll be firmly in the hunt to maintain her bid for a sweep of all three races in the series.
  7. RICH YEOJANGGUN – Winner of five of her first six starts, she’s come unstuck since reaching class 2. Not many of these have managed to get to that level though so she may well find the company today amenable. First try at the distance, she settles in the middle of the pack and looks to launch a bid late on.
  8. ACE SPINNING – First start since winning the Singapore Turf Club Trophy last September, this is a big ask first-up but she’s certainly capable. Looked good in two trials, the latest of which was last week. First try at a mile too but like Haeya, she is a class 1 horse, and this is not impossible. Settles in midfield.
  9. ROCKET QUEEN – Beat Cheongsu Yeogeol over 1400M in April before running 4th in the Ttukseom Cup. A solid class 2 competitor who is not far away from class 1, she tuned up in a barrier trial in Seoul last Saturday which she won very comfortable. She has a chance. Likely settles closer to the back than the front and finishes strongly.
  10. GOLD BLUE – Absolutely flew home for 3rd place in the Ttukseom Cup having been last entering the home straight. She is inconsistent though as was shown when she only beat one home on her reappearance on July 8th. That was at class 1 thugh and both company and distance should be more suitable today. An outside chance.
  11. DAMYANG HWANHO – Finished strongly for a surprise 2nd place in the Ttukseom Cup. It perhaps shouldn’t have been a surprise though as she had previously registered a class 2 win at 1200M. It’s been a long time since she ran further than 1400M and she previously didn’t show any aptitude for it but she’s a better horse now and another surprise isn’t impossible.
  12. BRIGHT STAR – 2nd in last year’s Oaks and Jeju Governor’s Cup she’s no doubt got plenty of talent. She recorded a solid 3rd place at class 2 before running 7th in the Ttukseom Cup, she can be frustratingly inconsistent. She probably won’t be among the fancied ones here but should be on the early pace.
  13. ICE MARINE – Two starts into a comeback following almost exactly a year off. She was a really impressive winner over 1400M at class 2 on July 6th. That form got a boost when the second place-getter that day, Taeyangui Sinhwa, won well on Friday. She had to go wide all the way that day and it’s likely she’ll have to do so again but she looks very capable of challenging for at least a place and possibly even the win.
  14. UJU STAR – Top trainer Kim Young Kwan’s only representative in the race. She’s only raced three times this year, winning a class 2 race over 1400M in May. She’s been well back in the other two though including behind Ice Marine last time. It’s dangerous to rule out anything from this stable but she’ll need to find significant improvement.
  15. SHARK RUN – Headed into the Ttukseom Cup on the back of consecutive victories at class 3 and came with a huge late run to make it to 5th in that race. Scratched from a scheduled start in early July with some soreness, she’s back fit now and could be a real danger here.
  16. HELLO VENUS – Couldn’t get on speed in the Ttukseom Cup although she did improve for a 6th place finish. Returned to Busan to run 2nd over 1800M on July 13th leading all the way only to beaten by a nose on the line. She was drawn in gate 1 that day and today has the hardest ask of all to get to where she likes to be.

Verdict: As in the Ttukseom Cup, this race is fascinating as so many could win it. All things being equal, (1) HAEYA is the best in the race and will most likely begin as favourite but the distance and her inconsistency make her beatable. (6) CHEONGSU YEOGEOL’s Ttukseom Cup win was impressive and she has claims too but there were other big runs in that race as well from (11) DAMYANG HWANHO and especially (9) ROCKET QUEEN and (15) SHARK RUN. We’re going to go for new challengers who didn’t (more…)

Silver Wolf Adds KNN To Ttukseom In Busan Romp

Plenty doubted her but today at Busan, Silver Wolf answered in emphatic fashion, crushing her rivals in the KNN Cup to add to her Ttukseom Cup last month and put herself withing touching distance of a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour series.


Silver Wolf & Yoo Seung Wan win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

There was an enforced jockey change with Djordje Perovic being indisposed and also the nagging doubt that Haeya only allowed herself to be caught in the Ttukseom Cup because she had set off early in the race in pursuit of a couple going too fast. Haeya was duly sent off the odds-on favourite with Silver Wolf in excess of 7/1 on the Korean tote.

The early but not unexpected scratching of Ottug Ottugi meant there was going to be one less on the early speed but as it was, Gaenari, under Kim Yong Geun set off from gate 13 like the proverbial scalded cat, looped the field and had three lengths on the rest withing a furlong. Concerningly for favourite backers, Haeya, this time with Ham Wan Sik on board, gave chase with Silver Wolf and Yoo Seung Wan tracking her every move.

So they remained until the straight until Gaenari, inevitably, ran out of steam (she would equally inevitably finish last). With her out of the way though, it was Silver Wolf took charge with Haeya having nothing to give. The race was won a furlong and a half from home and the Aussie-bred 5-year-old cruised home with a winning margin of five lengths.

That nine lengths wasn’t to Haeya. She found herself caught by the game Mighty Gem, who dispelled the ever-present doubts about her soundness by running on tremendously to go from 10th to 2nd in the home straight and snatch the big runner’s-up purse. Another pair of outsiders, O.K. Yeondap and The Queen Silver came home next to make it four Seoul horses out of the top five.

Silver Wolf [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] was a $40,000 purchase from Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2014. Today was her 7th win in 16 career starts and takes her to over 800 Million Korean Won in Prize money. For trainer Song Moon Gil, it was his 3rd Group race win – his others coming through Clean Up Joy in last year’s Grand Prix and of course, Silver Wolf in the Ttukseom Cup. It is jockey Yoo Seung Wan’s first Group win. His previous biggest victories had come with a pair of wins in the Segye Ilbo Cups of 2013 and 2016.

The final leg of the Queens’ Tour is the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup which will run at Busan on November 12th. A lot can happen between now and then and it will be over 2000M. Nevertheless, that just means Silver Wolf has an extra few months to get even better. A clean sweep could very well happen.


Silver Wolf in the KNN Cup winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

KNN Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 23, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 8.3, 1.8
2. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] – Kim Hye Sun – 12.6
3. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxaholic (Macho Uno)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.1
Distances: 9 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. O.K. Yeondab (USA) 5. The Queen Silver (KOR) 6. Gold Blue (JPN) 7. Supreme Magic (USA) 8. Black Sapphire (KOR) 9. Santa Gloria (KOR) 10. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 11. Steal The Show Why (KOR) 12. Queen’s Queen (KOR) 13. Queen Two Hearts (KOR) 14. Gaenari (CAN). NR: Ottug Ottugi (KOR)

KNN Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (July 23)

The second leg of the Queens’ Tour Champion Filly & Mare series is the highlight of a busy Sunday of racing in Korea. The KNN Cup will be run over a mile at Busan. There are 6 races at Busan from 13:25 to 17:40 and 11 at Seoul from 11:45 to 19:00. English racecards are here.


Silver Wolf defeated Haeya in the Ttukseom Cup. They race again in the KNN Cup at Busan (Pic: KRA)

Silver Wolf defeated Haeya to win the first leg of the Tour, the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul on June 4th. However, that day Haeya went off a little too fast trying to chase down an early leader and paid for it in the closing stages. She could overturn that form today. Silver Wold will be dangerous but there are concerns over the fitness of another contender, last year’s Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi, about whom a final decision will be made in the morning. If she doesn’t run, it could change the complexion of the contest given her front running style.

Other contenders include Black Sapphire although it is perhaps a furlong shorter than she would like and Seoul raider Areumdaundonghaeng. Last year’s winner Supreme Magic won’t be among the favourites but can’t be completely ruled out. Form comments on all 13 Sunday races fro overseas simulcast are below:

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

1. SINUI MYEONGRYEONG – Hansen 2yo made all to win very easily on debut a month ago. Up in class but should have few problems with this lot.
2. JUGEUKSEONG – Well back in recent outings.
3. USEUNG DESIGN – Maiden winner over 1200M in May but only beat one home on first try at this class.
4. PARTY TIME – Not too far away from minor placings most times and could sneak some here.
5. FIRSTIGE – Up in class following maiden win at 1200M last month. This is harder but he should be competitive.
6. SIMON MISSILE – Up in class after maiden win at 1300M all the way back in April. Not favoured to repeat but can get some minor money.
7. JINGYEOGUI RACE – Yet to win but has come close on plenty of occasions. First try at class 5 and should go well.

Verdict: Four of the seven are racing at this class for the first time and the three that aren’t look to be the outsiders. (1) SINUI MYEONGRYEONG should win and win well at (more…)

Catching Up: Supreme Magic & Yonekura Satoshi Won The KNN Cup

I’ve been away. There are several things to catch up on, most notably developments with regard to the Korea Cup and Sprint, however, the day before I left, the big action was the second leg of the Queens Tour, the KNN Cup at Busan.


Yonekura Satoshi and Supreme Magic win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

Billed as a battle between Bichui Jeongsang and New York Blue, the race was instead won by a 70/1 outsider as Supreme Magic flew home late on under a perfectly timed ride by Japanese jockey Yonekura Satoshi, to take the honours.

A full-field of sixteen contested the KNN Cup, which was run over a mile. Unusually for a big Stakes race – and a welcome change – Seoul sent a strong contingent to the race including Bichui Jeongsang, who had won the first leg of the tour, the Ttukseom Cup, in the capital in June. She would be sent off as second favourite, behind New York Blue, 3rd in the Ttukseom Cup and who fell in this race last year when expected to win.

Last year’s Korean Oaks winner Jangpung Parang would set the early pace with New York Blue handy while Bichui Jeongsang, coming out of a wide gate, went right to the back. Supreme Magic settled just a couple of spots off the back of the field. Not that many were paying too much attention to where she was.

In the home straight, Jangpung Parang was quickly done and New York Blue took things up.  It looked like this may be her year but that was to reckon without the closers. Once she found a  run, Bichui Jeongsang finished the quickest of them all, but it was too late and she only managed 5th. Instead, out of nowhere emerged Supreme Magic on the stands side to sweep past and run on for a surprisingly comprehensive two-length win.

Supreme Magic [Lookin At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] was a $27,000 purchase from the June 2014 Ocala sale in Florida. A four-year-old, she finished 8th in the Ttukseom Cup but had just been promoted to class 1 following a pair of victories and a 2nd place at class 2. The win was her 5th in 14 career starts.

It was a huge win for jockey Yonekura Satoshi. The Japanese rider has had plenty of rides since starting in Korea in April but had been afforded little in the way of quality. Nevertheless, he’s managed to get 27% of his mounts home in the first three. Supreme Magic was his 9th winner at Busan and of course, his biggest so far. The 40-year-old Satoshi’s license has been extended for six months to run until the end of next January. Hopefully there are plenty more winners to come.

The KNN Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 24, 2016

1. Supreme Magic (USA) [Lookin At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] – Yonekura Satoshi – 73.4, 8.5
2. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The moon (Deputy Minister)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.2
3. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 2.6
Distances: 2 lengths / 1.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Who’s Perfect (USA) 5. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) 6. Ms. Margaux (USA) 7. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 8. Jangpung Parang (KOR) 9. Winner’s Marine (KOR) 10. Hwanggeumbitjijung (KOR) 10. Model Line (USA) 12. Bear Queen Trophy (USA) 13. Rush Running (KOR) 14. Yuseong Tiger (KOR) DNF: Balios Queen (USA)

KNN Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (July 24)

Sunday sees the 2nd leg of the 2016 Queens Tour and a strong challenge has headed south from Seoul to Busan for the KNN Cup, which will be run over a mile. Also, three Korea-trained horses are in Singapore for this afternoon’s KRA Trophy at Kranji Racecourse.


For the first time ever in Korea, a “contest” – not actual betting which remains illegal – will be offered on an overseas race, the KRA Trophy in Singapore

Of those three, it is Busan-based Triple Five that looks to have the most chance of making an impact in what looks a tough race over 1200M. The race will be beamed back live to Korea where punters are being offered a free to enter betting “event”. Plenty going on at home though and English racecards can be found here. Notes on selected races at Seoul and Busan, including the KNN Cup below:

Busan Race 1: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:00 (KST)

A comfortable winner on debut over 1000M last month, (3) ICE MARINE steps up in class and is favourite to land this all-filly contest. She should be on speed early and can lead all the way. (8) HWANGGEUM GEOTAP beat (6) TEXAS RUSH and (9) WINNING GILI at 1300M on Jun 24th. All three are accordingly up in class today and Hwanggeum Geotap is favoured to be most suited to this level and looks a danger again. Among those with experience of this class, (7) CHALLANHAN ACE and (10) VICAR HOPE, the latter of whom struggled in wet conditions last start, look the best while front-runner (1) LION PARK can’t be discounted either.

Selections (3) Ice Marine (8) Hwanggeum Geotap (10) Vicar Hope (7) Challanhan Ace
Next Best 6, 1, 2, 4
Outsiders 5, 9, 11, 12
Fast Starters 1, 3

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:25 (KST)

A winner on debut, Brian Dean’s (3) JUNGL DRUMMER couldn’t follow up when favourite for his first try at this class on June 25th, finishing 4th. Since then, he’s gone back to trial – which he won – and he should be given another chance here. (8) DOLCE VITA beat (1) MINSON as they finished 2nd and 3rd respectively at class and distance in June. Minson is slightly favoured here. (4) GEUMTAEPUNG and (10) YAHO GIANT look best of the rest.

Selections (3) Jungl Drummer (1) Minson (8) Dolce Vita (10) Yaho Giant
Next Best 4, 7
Outsiders 2, 5, 6, 9
Fast Starters 3, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 13:50 (KST)

Thomas Gillespie’s (1) HANEOLUI JILJU was the easy winner of a weak race at class and distance on July 3rd and should really have too much against similar opposition today. (9) PRIVATE DANCER saw a run of three straight wins come to an end last time out but can be given another chance here while similarly (6) GABOGAPJJANG disappointed when favourite on his return from five months out last month but can go better today. (7) LET’S WIN is yet to, but has shown promise in two outings and looks ready to try this distance again. A $50,000 purchase and impressive in trials, (3) B.K PARK may be considered on debut.

Selections (1) Haneolui Jilju (9) Private Dancer (7) Let’s Win (6) Gabogapjjang
Next Best 3, 11, 10, 2
Outsiders 4, 5, 8, 12
Fast Starters 1, 5, 8, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40 (KST)

Competitive race this but despite being beaten into 4th when favourite last time we’ll make (2) DOCHI, who tries this distance for the first time, the slight favourite. He started badly last time but should be on the early speed here. (8) MAKGANG JILJU is also up in distance following a solid 3rd last start and can be considered. (3) NOBLE WARRIOR was a class and distance winner just two weeks ago and should go well again – he does carry an extra 3.5kg though. (1) YEONGUNG CHULGYEOK and (7) RUN STAR also look capable.

Selections (2) Dochi (3) Noble Warrior (8) Makgang Jilju (1) Yeongung Chulgyeok
Next Best 7, 11, 12, 6, 4
Outsiders 5, 9, 10
Fast Starters 2, 3

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 15:05 (KST)

Up in class following two consecutive wins, (7) GOLD MORNING looks very much the one to beat here. She should make all. (8) RAON ROUIS and (9) SSONSALGACHI are capable and should be competitive while (3) SHINE CLOVER and (6) BARWONJI can find at least the places. Two others up in class following wins are (5) S CLASS and (10) SOKBO WANGJA and both have a bit to find today.

Selections (7) Gold Morning (8) Raon Rouis (9) Ssonsalgachi (10) Sokbo Wangja
Next Best 3, 5, 6, 2
Outsiders 1, 4, 11
Fast Starters 3, 5, 7, 8

Busan Race 4: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 15:30 (KST)

(6) TOP FIGHTER beat (1) GUMPO MIRACLE (and three others who go again here) by a full ten lengths at class and distance on June 26th. However, while Top Fighter may well end up being favourite, he carries an extra 5kg today and that may be enough to give Gumpo Miracle the edge. (7) BOHEMIAN was another of those beaten that day but can be given another chance here while (2) GOSOK JILJU and (8) MORNING GANGJA look best of the rest.

Selections (1) Gumpo Miracle (6) Top Fighter (7) Bohemian (2) Gosok Jilju
Next Best 8, 4
Outsiders 3, 5
Fast Starters 3, 7

Seoul Race 8: Class 3 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 15:55 (KST)

Small but very competitive field. (6) THEME DEUNGGEUK, an also ran in the Korean Derby, is up in class after a facile win at 1300M last month and looks an intriguing prospect here. He will have to deal with another intriguing prospect in the shape of (7) SEOMGWANGI, who tries this distance for the first time following a solid 2nd place at 1200M at this class a month ago. (4) SPACE SHUTTLE and (8) MUSOE are proven at the distance and will be dangerous while (3) INBEACTIVE looks best of the rest.

Selections (7) Seomgwangi (6) Theme Deunggeuk (8) Musoe (4) Space Shuttle
Next Best 3, 5
Outsiders 1, 2
Fast Starters 6, 7

Busan Race 5: Class Open – The KNN Cup (KOR G3) /1600M / Allowance (Fillies & Mares) / KRW 400 Million / 16:30 (KST)

The 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour and many see this as a contest between the winner of the 1st leg (14) BICHUI JEONGSANG and (8) NEW YORK BLUE. The latter was 3rd in that race, the Ttukseom Cup and has home-track advantage this time. Bichui Jeongsang looks strong though and the wide gate shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Both look very competitive as does TJK Trophy winner (1) AREUMDAUNDONGHAENG who champion jockey Moon Se Young returned a week earlier than expected from injury in order to ride. Last year’s Oaks winner (4) JANGPUNG PARANG was 5th in the Ttukseom Cup and will be more suited to today’s distance. (13) MS. MARGAUX and (6) SILVER WOLF are among a number of others set to be dangerous.

Selections (14) Bichui Jeongsang (8) New York Blue (13) Ms. Margaux (1) Areumdaundonghaeng
Next Best 4, 6, 9, 15, 11, 5
Outsiders 2, 3, 7, 10, 12
Fast Starters 4, 5, 6, 11, 12

Seoul Race 9: Class 2 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 17:00 (KST)

(8) CHANG SE is up in class following a smart win at 1200M a month ago. Back in March, she won the Sports Seoul Oaks Trial at this distance and it’s hard to see her getting beaten here. The experienced pair of (1) OSAENG MYEONGJANG and (9) CLEAN UP STAR can be competitive in this company while (4) GREY KAISER and (5) BLACK DIA are others to take into consideration.

Selections (8) Chang Se (9) Clean Up Star (1) Osaeng Myeongjang (4) Grey Kaiser
Next Best 5, 2, 7
Outsiders 3, 6
Fast Starters 4, 6, 8

Busan Race 6: Class 2 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 17:30 (KST)

(1) READY WHEN YOU ARE was surprisingly beaten by Power Bullet last start at 1400M having led for most of the way, but coming in after seven weeks off and back at 1200M today, can reverse that form. (6) MORNING DAERO and (7) WORLD LOVE are capable at this class and can go close. (3) POKPUNG CHOEGANG has beaten plenty of these recently and while the new apprentice jockey may deter some, there’s no reason why he can’t perform well.

Selections (1) Ready When You Are (6) Morning Daero (3) Pokpung Choegang (7) World Love
Next Best 8, 4
Outsiders 2, 5
Fast Starters 1, 2, 5

Seoul Race 10: Class 1 / 2000M / Handicap / KRW 110 Million / 18:00 (KST)

Really competitive event to end with and while (3) SPACE PORT was overmatched in last month’s Busan Mayor’s Cup and is carrying 59kg today, he should still be very competitive. At the other end of the weight scale, (5) GOLDHOLIC looks beautifully in here and should have a chance. (8) BICHUI WANGJA will be on speed early and could go all the way while (7) IMPETUS and the returning from a short spell (2) DAEHAN JANGGUN could also be dangerous.

Selections (5) Goldholic (3) Space Port (8) Bichui Wangja (7) Impetus
Next Best 11, 9, 2, 12
Outsiders 1, 4, 6, 10
Fast Starters 4, 8