Kookje Sinmun Cup

Kookje Shinmun Cup Sunday – Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (November 17)

It’s Kookje Shinmun Cup Day at Busan with a host of well-known names contesting the Listed event over 1400M. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 as well as 11 in Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.

today

Today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Last year’s Kookje winner Ace Korea returns but he’ll not be favourite in a field that includes stablemate King Of Glory, as well as the likes of Today, Doraonpogyeongseon, Sprin Back and Bright Cat. A preview of the race is at the bottom along with Busan selections while race-by-race for Seoul follows here:

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

Weak but competitive maiden to begin with. (8) PRETTY JOY and (4) JOLLY ROGER came home 4th and 5th when they raced each other over this distance on October 27th. While that race was arguably even weaker than this, both look to be improving and they should be among those disputing the finish today. (5) GANGHAN YEOJEONSA improved to 5th last time in what was a stronger event than this and she can continue to make progress today while (10) HWARYEO and (11) SPEED FLYING are others with potential to get better.

Selections (4) Jolly Roger (8) Pretty Joy (5) Ganghan Yeojeonsa (10) Hwaryeo
Next Best 11, 7
Fast Start 4, 6, 7

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

Another maiden that falls into the weak but ultra-competitive category. (6) ROCK LINE did nothing on debut in September but significantly improved when only beaten half a length into 2nd over this distance last month. He led until the closing stages that day and is well drawn to get to the front once more. This time he can win. (1) STORM FORCE and (2) PENUMBRA are the only other two in the race to have a runner-up finish to their names and that in itself puts them into contention here. (9) ANYANG JAGUAR and (10) HAMYANG SANGRIM also come in with recent form looking positive and both can be competitive here.

Selections (6) Rock Line (1) Storm Force (10) Hamyang Sangrim (9) Anyang Jaguar
Next Best 2, 4
Fast Start 1, 6, 7, 10

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(9) MILKY SHERRY made an inauspicious start to her career, but she’s been getting closer over her latest three and ran 3rd on her latest start just two weeks ago. She’s been ridden forward in her last couple of outings, which has seemed to help, and if she can get to the lead early today, she can win. (8) COLORS DE LAGO was 5th behind Milky Sherry in that race on November 3rd and she will be one of the threats here although more serious challenges may come from (5) MONEY LINE and (10) MAD DIVA, the latter especially putting in a fast time in a much better race than this last start. (4) GOLD PARK another who can compete for the minor money.

Selections (9) Milky Sherry (10) Mad Diva (5) Money Line (8) Colors De Lago
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 8, 9

Race 4: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(6) OKRYONG ran an improved 2nd on what was just his second career start on October 13th. He was well beaten by a very nice-looking winner but showed enough to suggest he (more…)

Ace Korea Downs His Seniors In Kookje News Cup

Ace Korea produced a breakout performance to win the Kookje News Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The three-year-old dominated a field containing some of the nation’s best sprinters as he cruised to a two-and-a-half length victory.

Ace Korea - KRA

Ace Korea (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Always set to be a battle of the up and comers against the established stars, the five-year-old Doraonpogyeongseon, recognised as the current top one-turn horse in Korea was sent off as slight favourite ahead of Ace Korea with Today and champion mare Silver Wolf also well supported. Ultimately Ace Korea was untouchable.

He didn’t even get off to the best of starts. While Perdido Pomeroy looped the field to take an early lead, Ace Korea stumbled out of the gate slightly with jockey Jo Sung-gon coming perilously close to slipping out the side. He held on and Ace Korea was quickly into stride and on the shoulder of the leader. When Perdido Pomeroy inevitably faded in the home straight, the young colt took things up and was a winner all the way.

Silver Wolf rallied home for a good 2nd with 80/1 chance Morning Daero grabbing an unlikely 3rd, a head in front of Today. Doraonpogyeonseon endured a difficult trip and once he finally found some room it was too late, and he could only manage to come home in 5th place.

An American import by Smiling Tiger and out of the Broken Vow mare Queen Rolex, Ace Korea is trained by Australian Peter Wolsley, who with the win moved onto a remarkable 497 winners in Korean racing. Ace Korea has accounted for six of them now and while this is his first triumph in Listed company, he had already dropped a big hint as to his potential when 5th in the international Korea Sprint in September having briefly led the race close to home.

A trip to the Dubai World Cup Carnival is a potential next step for Ace Korea. With his trainer still convinced we haven’t seen the best of him yet, he could provide a lot of interest come the New Year.

Sunday Busan & Seoul: Kookje News Cup Day Race-By-Race Preview (November 18)

Doraonpogyeongseon faces off against Silver Wolf in a potentially electric renewal of the Kookje News Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The pair are joined by up and coming prospects Today, Ace Korea and King Of Ace in what could turn out to be one of the highlights of autumn. There are 6 Sunday races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 while at Seoul there are 11 from 10:45 from 18:00. Here are the previews with (unusually) Busan first. Horse by horse for the big race as well as for Seoul races 9-11:

SIlverWolfKNN1

Can Silver Wolf rise back to the top of the Sprint division on Sunday? (Pic: KRA)

Busan Race 1 Selections: 1, 3, 5, 7
Busan Race 2 Selections: 5, 12, 1, 3

Race 3: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) PARK MINISTER only managed 6th of 8 last time at class and distance and was beaten by (8) WHITE POINT, among others. Nevertheless, it was his first try at this class and he didn’t run badly. He’s worth another go today. (4) YEONGGWANGUI SIDAE is up in class following two smart wins over 1300M. She’s up to a mile for the first time as well but she should be able to overcome both of those things and can be dangerous. (6) BUGYEONG BOLT moves up in class too, in his case following a very good 2nd over 1300M last month. It’s his first try at a mile as well but it could well suit. It’s been a long time since (7) DONGBANG BULPAE’s solitary win but he comes in following back to back 2nd places at this class over 1200M and 1400M and he has previously gone well at this distance. He won’t be far away.

Selections (1) Park Minister (4) Yeonggwangui Sidae (7) Dongbang Bulpae (6) Bugyeong Bolt
Next Best 8, 10
Fast Start 6, 7, 9

Race 4: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(6) A PURE GOOD MAN ran out a three-length winner at class and distance on October 7th. He carries an additional 4.5kg today, and he has been a touch inconsistent, but he should have enough to see off this field. (4) MR. KOREA returned from four months off to pull off a somewhat unexpected win at the distance a month ago. His reward is to move up in class but he’s very nicely weighted and may challenge for the places. The favourite may face stiffer competition from (1) MYEONGSIN POWER and (3) GAMUNUI YEONGGWANG. The former ran well for 5th in a tougher race than this last time while the latter is second up after five months off and should improve. (8) CHIEF TIME was 6th behind A Pure Good Man last month but has since run a solid 3rd at 1000M and may get closer today.

Selections (6) A Pure Good Man (1) Myeongsin Power (3) Mr. Korea (3) Gamunui Yeonggwang
Next Best 8, 11
Fast Start 6, 7, 11

 Busan Race 5: Kookje Shinmun Cup (Listed) 1400M Weight for Age / KRW 350 Million

  1. WINNER RED – Recent form doesn’t read well although he should go better than he did when here for the Mayor’s Cup in July. Only start since 7th of 12 in class 1 handicap at Seoul and 7th would be an excellent result here.
  2. DROP THE BEAT – A winner at this distance in March before injuries kept him out for six months. Returned with 7th of 9 behind Ace Korea, Morning Daero and Perdido Pomeroy at 1200M on October 21st. Needed that run and distance should suit more here but more to find.
  3. SPEED MARK – Returned from six months off to run a good if unexpected 3rd behind King of Ace at this distance on September 16th. Top jockey gets on but plenty more is going to be needed here.
  4. TODAY – Looked set to become Korea’s top sprinter before being beaten by Doraonpogyeongseon in the SBS Sports Sprint in Seoul in June. Ran well for 3rd at Kranji a month later before struggling in the Korea Sprint in September. Don’t rule out a return to form and looked very fast in a trial last week.
  5. RICH YEOJANGGUN – Won five of her first six starts but has stalled since reaching class 2. Last ran here in August when 10th of 16 in the KNN Cup over a mile and it would be a surprise if she finished much higher than that today.
  6. DORAONPOGYEONGSEON – The top sprinter in Korea. A two-time winner of the SBS Sports Srpint and twice placed in the Korea Sprint. 2000M was an ask too much on last month’s KRA Cup Classic at Seoul but back at one turn today, if he runs to his best, he may be too good.
  7. ACE KOREA – 5th place-getter in the Korea Sprint and with the potential to usurp Doraonpogyeongseon at the top of the sprinting ranks. Didn’t get off to the best of starts on return to Busan last month but still overcame it to run a fast time in victory at 1200M. That looks to be his best trip with his only prior try at 1400M ending in 2nd place at class 3. He’s come on since then and he’ll be on pace here, that final furlong is going to be testing though.
  8. CITY STAR – Began the year with back to back runner-up finishes in Listed and Graded company but didn’t race again until last month when he completely blew the start and finished last over 1200M. Evident talent but hard to back.
  9. SILVER WOLF – Swept all before her last year but it’s been harder this term. Ran 3rd here to Doraonpogyeongseon at a mile in the Owners’ Cup before running a good 4th behind Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine in the KRA Cup Classic last month over 2000M. First run at 1400M in over a year, she gets a couple of kilos from most, is reasonably well drawn and with luck in running she can win.
  10. SINGIPARANG – Still at class 2 and yet to win at that level. This will be very challenging for him.
  11. KING OF ACE – Won at class 1 over this distance in September and then repeated the feat when pushed up to 1800M three weeks ago. Both times he was getting weight from rivals and he hasn’t got the ideal draw here. This is a big test for him but he looks to be getting better and better. If he gets to the front early, he has a chance.
  12. CHEONJEOK – Always takes his chance in listed or graded races but does tend to find himself overmatched. That will be the case here too.
  13. MORNING DAERO – Ran 2nd to Ace Korea at 1200M on October 21st which was a big uptick in form for him. Plenty more to find here though and he won’t be among the fancies.
  14. PERDIDO POMEROY – At one time set to become the top sprinter around, he just seems to have lost a little bit of pace recently. Always races in tough company and comes in having been 3rd to Ace Korea last month.
  15. BAEDARI BOBAE – Comes in off the longest losing streak of any of these at nineteen starts since his last win and that looks sure to be extended. Was dropped out of class 1 and despite one or two creditable recent performances, shows few signs of returning.

Verdict: 3rd in the Korea Sprint at 1200M and winner of the Owners’ Cup at a mile earlier this year, (6) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON has marked himself at as the Gold-Standard for horses in Korea over one-turn. A line can be drawn through the KRA Cup Classic last month as it can be for (9) SILVER WOLF too, although she ran rather well for 4th. Up until then, Doraonpogyeongseon had her number this year but she remains a fine sprinter and can’t be ruled out. The presence of those two makes this race a big litmus test for the up and comers. Peter Wolsley’s pair of (7) ACE KOREA and (11) KING OF ACE especially. If the race was at 1200M, Ace Korea could well be favourite but the extra furlong will be the big test here. The distance will suit King Of Ace very well and he could well pull off a surprise. The other main contender is (4) TODAY. Earlier this year he looked set to wrest the sprinting crown away from Doraonpogyeongseon but the older horse has since bested him twice at 1200M. Don’t rule him out here though.

Selections (6) Doraonpogyeongseon (7) Ace Korea (11) King Of Ace (9) Silver Wolf
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 2, 4, 11, 14

Race 6: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

It didn’t happen for (1) SUN DAY when sent to Seoul for the Jeju Governor’s Cup last month where she suffered her second defeat in six starts. Her previous one came on her only foray up to a mile and it’s interesting to see her sent up to 1800M for her Busan return. She has plenty of talent though and shouldn’t be ignored. It may be safer though to side with a couple who have already demonstrated ability at this class over at least a mile. (4) WONDERFUL MEMORY fits the bill having run a very good 2nd in a tough race on October 19th, beating a couple of decent ones along the way. It will be interesting to see how his front-running style works for him at 1800M, but he looks to have potential for more. (3) MORNING KOREA beat a couple of these on his way to 4th place at class and distance on October 14th. He’s only won one of nineteen but is rarely far from the money. (2) I’M YOUR MOTHER and (10) DAEHO MYEONGGA are others who could come into play.

Selections (4) Wonderful Memory (1) Sun Day (3) Morning Korea (10) Daeho Myeongga
Next Best 2, 7
Fast Start 1, 4, 5

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) CHONGAL GACHI returned from eight months off to run 5th over this distance on October 21st, running after a slow start to finish ahead of three of his rivals here. His manners were poor that day but he should have come on for that run and could well prevail here. (9) RAON BULPAE finished 6th in that race, less than a length behind Chongal Gachi and can challenge again today. (7) AQUA STROM makes a comeback of his own today following five months out. He was going well before the layoff and trialled (more…)

Power Blade Pushed But Prevails On Busan Homecoming

Down in Australia on Saturday, only two showed up to face the phenom that is Winx. Korean Triple Crown winner Power Blade didn’t quite command that amount of respect on his return to his home track of Busan on Sunday but he came close with only four rivals venturing out against him – one of them a stablemate – in the Kookje Sinmun Cup.

In fairness, this has never been hugely supported race, despite its hefty prize money – boosted even further this year – but the whole day was very much billed as the Power Blade celebration day. This would be the first time the Busan-trained colt had races at his home track since winning the first jewel of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, all the way back in April.

Since then, Power Blade has gone on to romp both the Derby and the Minister’s Cup, becoming the first horse to sweep the K-Triple Crown in its current format and then, despite looking as flat as a pancake in the build-up, registered a hugely creditable 4th place in the Korea Cup at Seoul last month.

A jaunt around seven furlongs at Busan was never going to be too taxing but Power Blade’s neighbour from a few boxes down in Kim Young Kwan’s barn is an interesting talent himself. As a juvenile, Seoul Bullet was part of the KRA’s “maybe the horse isn’t the problem” program, which involved sending Korean-bred horses overseas for early training and racing. He went to Florida where he actually managed to get claimed out of a race at Gulfstream Park (the KRA claimed him back the next time he was entered) and recorded one 3rd from 4 outings.

On his return from Korea Seoul Bullet joined some of the other returnees in proving that no, the Korean-bred horse isn’t the problem, winning 6 out 6 starts, including the 2015 Gold Circle Trophy ahead of a young Macheon Bolt, before injury intervened. He would be off for more than a year and finally returned in inauspicious fashion in August.

Today was expected to be better for Seoul Bullet. It was. Under Seo Seung Un, he hot the front three furlongs out to get first run in the straight. Kim Yong Geun quickly brought Power Blade alongside and for a moment the battle was joined. Power Blade quickly got the best of it and Kim’s whip use was sparing, the Triple Crown winner always in command but only winning by half a length on the line.

So Seoul Bullet is back as a force in the Busan ranks but Power Blade retains his star status.  A good day all round. A journey back to Seoul for the President’s Cup next month is possible but his stable has an embarrassment of riches for that race including Triple Nine, who bested Power Blade to finish 3rd in the Korea Cup. By virtue of their in-the-money finishes in the Cup, both Power Blade and Triple Nine can receive international ratings enabling them to be considered for the Dubai World Cup Carnival and there is no denying it would be wonderful to see a fit Korean Triple Crown winner lining up at Meydan in the New Year.

For now though, Power Blade is back home.

Power Blade Faces Four In Kookje Sinmun

Triple Crown winner Power Blade will be the prohibitive favourite when he makes his return to his home track of Busan for the first time since winning the first jewel in the Crown all the way back in April. He has scared off all but four other entrants in the Kookje Sinmun Cup which will be run over 1400M on Sunday afternoon.

Power Blade Banjiui

Power Blade, seen here becoming Champion Juvenile on the last occasion he raced at 1400M, faces four in the Kookje Sinmun Cup on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

While still lightly campaigned – Power Blade has only raced a total of ten times in his career, there were fears among some that a trip to Seoul for the Korea Cup last month would be a race too far. He defied those to some extent by finishing 4th in the Cup, albeit a full twenty lengths behind winner Chrysolite and four lengths behind Stablemate Triple Nine in 3rd.

It’s another stablemate that could provide the main danger in Sunday’s kookje Sinmun. Seoul Bullet, who was six for six before injury struck in Spring of 2015 and perhaps returned a little too soon when racing last when finally reappearing in August. Significantly better is expected of him today.

Kookje Sinmun Cup (Listed-Weight for Age) – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – Sunday October 9 (16:15)

1. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee] 3 C (10/7/2/0) – Kim Yong Geun
The Triple Crown winner drops back to seven furlongs for the first time since he was a juvenile – a race in which he recorded a faster time than any of his oppponents here have managed at this distance. Tactically versatile, fully fit or not, he should have far too much for these.

2. Hangangui Gijeok (KOR) [Didyme] 5 G (15/10/1/0) – Choi Si Dae
Two years ago he was one of the best horses on the peninsula. Ruled out with tendinitis for seventeen months from March of 2015 until August of this year, his return was an inauspocious one, only beating one home over 1200M. Two months down the line we’re expecting improvement. We’re not expecting him to beat Power Blade. Likely to lead.

3. Yuseong Fighting (KOR) [Didyme] 4 C (21/6/3/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
Decent sprinter whose connections are never afraid to send him out in tough company. Beat Seoul Bullet on the latter’s return from injury. He’ll join Hangangui Gijeok in looking for the early lead and he he should stay on to be competitive.

4. Seoul Bullet (KOR) [Peace Rules] 5 G (7/6/0/0) – Seo Seung Un
Sent to Florida as a juvenile he raced there four times for one third before returning to Korea towards the end of his three-year-old season. Stronger, fitter and more muscular than his contemporaries, he promptly went six for six before injury intervened. He lost his unbeaten record on his return after fifteen months out in August, behind Yuseong Fighting. He’ll settle handy probably close to Power Blade.

5. Royal Impact (KOR) [Cielo Gold] 5 H (33/5/6/0) – Song Keong Yun
Drops back to 1400M for the first time in some considerable time, he has struggled to make an impact in class 1 but scored a creditable 5th behind Triple Nine in the Owners’ Cup at a mile in August. He’ll settle at the back and try to be the closer here.

The Kookje Sinmun Cup is the feature among a 6-race card at Busan from 12:50 to 17:05. There are also 11 races at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00. The Seoul meeting will be broadcast live on Sky Racing in Australia and a full race-by-race preview will follow.