Korean Derby

Ecton Blade & Franco Da Silva Win The 2018 Korean Derby

Ecton Blade (Ecton Park) won the 2018 Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse Park on Sunday afternoon.

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Pics by Ross Holburt

How they went:

1.  Ecton Blade – Settled prominently behind Hiddden Champ and had things his own way. Once he struck the front he never looked like being beaten

2. Mask – Really good performance, finishing well down the outside for a fine 2nd. He’ll be a danger in the Minister’s Cup too.

3. Choinma – Made for two Seoul horses in the top three. Raced in midfield and kept to the rail in the straight holding off Divide Wind by a neck.

4. Divide Wind – Began poorly and never looked settled. Clearly considered the second string from his stable despite his KRA Cup Mile win. Jockey – a very good jockey – slightly fortunate to only get a three-day suspension for the incident which saw World Sun cut-off in the home straight.

5. World Sun – Settled at the back as expected but just as in the KRA Cup Mile got a bad trip. Had the door slammed shut by Divide Wind as he was trying to find a run in the home straight. Would never have got to the winner though.

6. Hiddden Champ – Looked very coltish in the parade ring and sweated up badly on the way to the gate. Went to the lead as expected but never looked truly settled and faded when put under pressure.

7. Fire Wind – Close to the pace in the early part of the race but found the competition too stiff at the business end of the race. All being well she should be back for the Oaks.

8. Clean Up Teukgeup – Made little impression throughout.

9. Icheon Ssal – Last all the way around until passing a tiring Let’s Yeongcheon in the closing stages.

10. Let’s Yeongcheon – Tried to keep up early but was under pressure early on and weakened to last before the final furlong.

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Korean Derby Day 2018: Race-By-Race Preview (May 13)

It’s the 2nd leg of the 2018 Korean Triple Crown as 10 horses line up for the 21st running of the Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. And Divide Wind will join his stablemate Ecton Blade, who he beat by a length to capture the first jewel in the crown, the KRA Cup Mile, as favourite. The big race is the highlight of an 11-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 which also includes the ARF Commemorative Race, to mark the opening of the 37th Asian Racing Conference. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

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Divide Wind won the KRA Cup Mile. Can he add the 2nd leg of the 2018 Triple Crown? (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Divide Wind and Ecton Blade have been joined on the trip to Seoul by World Sun and Hiddden Champ. World Sun was a fast finishing 3rd in the Cup Mile and could challenge the two favourites here. As for Seoul, the challenge is led by Mask, who also ran well in the Mile for 4th and an upset is not impossible. Here is the race-by-race preview of all 17 Derby Day races at both Seoul & Busan with horse-by-horse comments for the ARF and Derby races?

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

(1) SEUNGRI PLUS will be strong favourite to score here, having been getting progressively closer across his latest outings. He was 2nd to a good winner at this distance last time on April 7th and should have too much today. (4) MAIN RACER has shown some ability across three starts so far and can build on the 5th he managed last time while (5) RAON OPTIMUS enters after back to back 4th place finishes and should be looking to at least match here. (6) BARAM KING and (8) MAJJABEUN SON are others who can be considered.

Selections (1) Seungri Plus (6) Baram King (4) Main Racer (8) Majjabeun Son
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 1, 4, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) BLACK SPIRIT was an improved 3rd at 1300M on her last start at the beginning of March and returns here after a couple of months off with solid claims. She can come from just off the pace and finish strongly. (8) SANTOS showed prominently before weakening over 1300M two weeks ago. He drops back slightly in trip here and may benefit. (2) CLEAN FLOWER showed some signs of life with 5th place at 1300M last time and gets Manoel Nunes on board today. (6) ARGO UNIQUE and (11) DONGBANG JIJU are others with potential to improve on recent outings.

Selections (7) Black Spirit (8) Santos (2) Clean Flower (11) Dongbang Jiju
Next Best 6, 1
Fast Start 8, 9, 10, 11

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

(8) MACHA BUCHA ran a close 2nd at class and distance on April 7th having been prominent throughout and leading briefly close to home. He can go one better this time. (2) BOLD NINER comes in following back to back 4th place finishes at this distance and at 1200M and surely comes close again while (12) LEAD UP can overcome the widest draw to get close to the pace early and can match the 3rd she managed last tie. (4) EVER A ONE beat Macha Bucha at the distance two starts ago and while he didn’t go well at 1300M on reappearance last month, can be given another chance today. (9) STIRLING returns to action after a three-month absence and can be considered too.

Selections (8) Macha Bucha (2) Bold Niner (4) Ever A One (12) Lead Up
Next Best 9, 7, 1
Fast Start 8, 9, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) L CAR romped home to easily win his second start on April 14th. It was at 1000M, so he is up in both class and distance today, but he could well have enough to prevail again. (3) EAGLE SKY could be the one to beat though. He improved significantly last start on April 15th when ridden by Johan Victoire for the first time, just beaten half a length at this distance and looks set to go well here. (7) EUMAK DAEJANG beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd at 1300M on April 14th and should have the beating of plenty once more. One of those behind him that day was (1) REBECCA and the slight drop in trip may benefit her today. (9) SPECIAL LIGHT ran 4th in a solid race at 1300M last month and is another to consider. He usually comes from well off the pace so will need things to set up just right for him. (4) CHEON MONG is up in class after a somewhat unexpected win at 1300M and while he perhaps has a bit more to find, shouldn’t be ruled out completely.

Selections (3) Eagle Sky (8) L Car (9) Special Light (1) Rebecca
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 1, 4, 7

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

(7) HOTHAE is up in class following a convincing win over this distance on April 13th. He made all that day and could well do so again here. It won’t be easy. (3) HANGIL too steps up following her maiden win which came at the fourth time of asking. Her triumph was over 1000M, so she faces an increase in distance as well but should be able to cope with it. (5) GEUJIKOJI had a hard time at a mile last time but should be more comfortable dropped back today. (1) BLUE DANCER defied her odds to run a good 2nd at class and distance three weeks ago and will not more respect here. (9) SWEET MEMORY steps up in trip after a 3rd and a 4th behind some useful ones in her latest two and can come under consideration.

Selections (7) Hothae (3) Hangil (9) Sweet Memory (1) Blue Dancer
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 1, 3, 7, 9

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) JANGSAN WILD has won two from three so far and is up in both class and distance today. He had to work for his win last time but looks to have scope for more improvement and he’s the one they’ll need to beat today. He had to battle last time though and if the additional furlong is a concern then (6) DAESEUNG BIBEOB is the one to turn to. He drops back in trip after some good efforts around two turns and will surely run on strongly. (7) TEUKBYEOL STAR still somehow remains a maiden. She’s a good filly and rarely misses the money but can’t quite make the breakthrough. That will probably be the case again, but she’ll be firmly in the placing hunt. (5) FINE CHAMP and (10) SPEED CHEONGNYONG, the latter up in class, both enter in good form and should also be involved.

Selections (1) Jangsan Wild (6) Daeseung Bibeob (7) Teukbyeol Star (10) Speed Cheongnyong
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 1, 2, 9

Busan Race 2:  Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(9) MAKGANG BOLT has won his latest two in decent fashion, his latest at this class. He’s a front-runner and with an apprentice keeping his carried weight nice and low, he has every chance of making it three in a row. (2) YUKRYONGI ran poorly when favourite last time out four weeks ago but had been showing enough prior to that to suggest he’s worth another chance today and he should be a threat. (11) QUEEN THE QUEEN is up in class following back to back runner-up finishes, both at this distance. She’s never been worse than 3rd and despite the step up in level, she can maintain that record today. (10) CHARTERED DREAM came home 2nd and 5th respectively when they raced each other at (more…)

Final Boss Wins The 2017 Korean Derby

Final Boss came wide and late but ended up scoring a remarkably convincing victory in the Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

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All alone, Final Boss and Choi Bum Hyun win The Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Out of sorts in the Cup Mile at Busan last month and at the back of the field for much of the Derby, last year’s Champion Juvenile Final Boss came through very late and very wide to claim victory. Royal Ruby was 2nd with American Power just pipping Cup Mile winner Indian King to repeat his Cup Mile 3rd place.

Royal Ruby was sent off as the slight favourite. The Peter Wolsey trainee had come desperately close to catching Indian King in the Cup Mile and punters clearly felt that Sunday’s extra furlong would suit. It was not to be once more. Nor would it be for Indian King himself who despite being pushed slightly wide on the first turn, rallied well and raced prominently to end in 4th.

It was the unconventional stretch run of Final Boss that was the story. He was last as they sighted the line just over two furlongs out. On the race video, you can’t see him until they are within a furlong on the finish. By this time he is front having shifted all the way over to the stands-side rail. Generally, horses that do that lose. And get sent back to trial to improve their manners. Final Boss just ran on and on and had three lengths on Royal Ruby on the line.

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – May 14, 2017

1. Final Boss (KOR) [Menifee-Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 6.6, 2.0
2. Royal Ruby (KOR) [Chapel Royal – Red Ruby (Yehudi)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.3
3. American Power (KOR) [Ecton Park – White Angelica (Quiet American) – Francisco Da Silva 1.5
Distances: 3 lengths / 1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Indian King 5. Adele Ace 6. Taeyangui Sinhwa 7. Daeho Sidae 8. Muhan Yeoljeong 9. Jangsan Power 10. Lion Rock

Final Boss [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] provided his sire, Menifee, with his 5th consecutive Korean Derby winner. His dam, Sinsok Dolpa, ran 23 times in Korea for 2 wins. She was bred in Japan. Final Boss is her 4th foal to make the track with two of the other three having been winners. She has a two-year-old Rock Hard Ten filly called Raise Me Up set to begin racing this year and a yearling by 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (the last non-Menifee to win the Derby).

Jigeum I Sungan was also saddled by trainer Ji Yong Cheol. That colt would go on to claim the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown, as well and Final Boss is now surely favourite to go on to repeat that feat. Ji has been training since 1986 and has won plenty of big races. Jigeum I Sungan has been his best so far but Final Boss looks very exciting – especially if he can learn to run in a straight line.

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Final Boss with connections in the Derby winner’s circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

For jockey Choi Bum Hyun, it was a first Derby. The 38-year-old won the Grand Prix twice on Dongbanui Gangja in 2008 and 2009 but this was his first success in any of the three-year-old classics.

So Seoul wins the Derby for the first time since 2012 and only the third time since Busan horses began competing in 2008. The best of the three-year-old crop will reconvene in Seoul on July 16th for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown. Before that, the fillies Classic – the Korean Oaks – is at Busan on June 11th.

 

 

Korean Derby 2017 – Preview

A confident Darryl Holland couldn’t have been more emphatic: “I wouldn’t swap my mount” the jockey declared as he prepared to partner Indian King in Sunday’s Korean Derby (KOR G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The KRA Cup Mile winner heads into the race looking to add the 2nd leg of the 2017 Korean Triple Crown to the first jewel he won at Busan a month ago.

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Indian King and Darryll Holland winning the KRA Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

Meeting the media, Holland bristled at any suggestion that the 75/1 Indian King’s Cup Mile victory was down to chance. “I don’t think there was any fluke about the win because he did it the hard way”, he said of Indian King taking up the running a long way out and staying on to win by half a length from the fast closing Royal Ruby. Nor will the distance or the outside gate be an issue: “We’ve got one furlong more to go and I don’t think that will present a problem…I don’t think the gate is a big problem. I’ve rode in enough big races all around the world to overcome it.”

Nevertheless, as much as Holland praised his horse, many observers felt at the time that the decisive factor in the race was the jockey himself and Indian King isn’t expected to start as favourite for Sunday’s showpiece. Royal Ruby, runner-up in the mile, returns again and the Peter Wolsley trained colt is set to be a big danger again as is 3rd placed American Power whose jockey Francisco Da Silva senses an opportunity to turn things around: “There was only half a length between Indian King and my horse. Royal Ruby was there as well and I expect those three to fight again. 1800M is no problem”.

In the Cup Mile those three were five lengths clear of pre-race favourites Daeho Sidae and Final Boss. Cypriot jockey Marios Mina will get the leg up on Daeho Sidae for the first time and was in good spirits. “My horse is in great condition and training very well” said Mina, “the last race wasn’t the best of him”. It wasn’t the best of Final Boss either who didn’t enjoy travelling to Busan and arrived in the parade ring looking a shadow of the horse who had won his two tune-up races in explosive fashion but may be better back on home sand. Here’s that Cup Mile:

There are ten runners in total in the Derby:

1. Lion Rock – He was undefeated heading into the Cup Mile but stumbled coming out of the gate and was never involved. There is still a feeling that we may not see the best of him until later this year. He’s a full-brother to Triple Nine, who ran at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. If he gets away ok this time, he is expected to sit handy.

2. Daeho Sidae – Commanding wins over 1800M and a mile saw him sent off as slight favourite in the Cup Mile but he wasn’t able to reproduce the kick in the home straight that he has shown before and ended up 4th. Better is possible. Likely to settle in the rear of midfield.

3. Taeyangui Sinhwa – A stablemate of American Power, he didn’t run in the Cup Mile. A good winner over 1400M a month ago, this is his first try at further so there are some unknowns and he is the second string. Was beaten by Indian King in March. In his races so far, he has settled in midfield.

4. Adele Ace – A stablemate of Daeho SIdae he gets to take his chance having scored a seven-length win over a mile on April 7th. It was all the way down at class 5 though and it was his maiden triumph. Looks to have plenty to find. He has tended to settle handy or in midfield.

5. American Power – Just a head behind Royal Ruby in the Cup Mile on what was just his second start of the year having been surprisingly beaten in the first of them. He won all three as a juvenile. From Busan’s top stable, he will be very well supported and may start as favourite. Not usually the quickest of starters, it’s his first try at the distance but he should get back.

6. Final Boss – Last year’s champion juvenile didn’t look himself at Busan for the Cup Mile but despite that, he still finished off the race very well, quicker than all but Royal Ruby and American Power in the final furlong having travelled poorly for the first half of the race. He won at this distance with dismissive ease in February. It will be important to see him in the parade ring. Expected to be on the early pace today.

7. Muhan Yeoljeong – A touch unlucky in the Cup Mile, never really finding a run and ending up in 7th place, he had been very impressive in beating some useful horses over a mile in his preparation. 3rd behind Final Boss and Daeho Sidae in the Championship Juvenile race last December. Runs best when on or close to the early speed.

8. Jangsan Power – He didn’t go to the Cup Mile but won three consecutive races between January and March. 3rd on his first try at 1800M last time, running on well. Most likely be ridden in a forward position today.

9. Royal Ruby – There weren’t high hope of him as a 2-year-old but he won three races in a row to begin 2017 including twice at this distance beating some good horses along the way. Almost got up in the Cup Mile. Barrier is irrelevant as he’ll get back and Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley has a big chance of winning his first Derby. He will likely settle towards the rear of the field.

10. Indian King – The Cup Mile winner may not start as favourite but don’t rule him out. He ran on strongly at the end having led for a decent portion of the race. As before he’ll most likely settle in midfield and if the opportunity comes, there’s no reason why he can’t take it.

Power Blade Powers To Derby Glory

In a monsoon downpour at Seoul, Power Blade added the Korean Derby to his victory in the KRA Cup Mile and heads into the final leg of the Triple Crown with two jewels safely  secured and looking for all the world like he will be the first horse to sweep the crown in its current form.

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Power Blade makes it through the rain to win the Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Jockey Kim Yong Geun surprised many and opted to go right to the front out of the gate on Power Blade, having been slightly more leisurely away in previous starts. He was joined by stablemate World Champion along with Tohamsan and Banjiui Jewang. He would see them all off comfortably.

World Champion failed to stay on the fast running track, Tohamsan ran out and unseated his rider on the final turn. The others would stay on and challenges emerged from Zettabyte and Stealth, 4th and 3rd in the Cup Mile. Challenge is too strong a word though as this was always to be Power Blade’s and he romped away to win by three lengths on the line. Zettabyte was 2nd a further six lengths ahead of Stealth.

Winners Glory was Seoul’s best finisher in 4th place with Banjiui Jewang a creditable 5th. It is another Derby for trainer Kim Young Kwan. Few will bet against him completing his first Triple Crown on July 17th.

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – May 15, 2015

1. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.2, 1.0
2. Zettabyte (KOR) [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] – Lim Sung Sil – 3.7
3. Stealth (KOR) [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower (Woodman)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.2
Distances: 3 lengths/6 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Winners Glory 5. Banjiui Jewang 6. Cheonji Storm 7. Siseon Pochak 8. Saeroun Stealth 9. Gongryong 10. Theme Deunggeuk 11. Ever In Ever 12. V Man 13. World Champion 14. Seungniui Chukje DNF: Tohamsan

Derby Sunday Race Notes

It’s one of the biggest days of racing of the year; Korean Derby day! There are 10 races at Seoul from 10:50 to 18:00 and 6 races at Busan from 13:00 to 17:30.

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Yeongcheon Ace won last year’s Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

English Racecards are available hereFull preview of the Derby here. Three races from Seoul, including the Derby, will be shown on Sky Racing 2 in Australia. Here are notes on them:

Race 7: Class 2 “The Sports Kyunghyang Cup” / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 15:05 (KST)

(5) BLACK TRAIN has a knack of finding one or two too quick but he is a strong finisher and is slightly favoured to come from off the early speed to claim what would be his first win since last August. (10) DORGON defeated both Black Train and (7) SIMSIN JIRYEO when the three of them met in February and should be respected, however, the main danger looks to be (8) JINGYEOGUI GEOJANG. Unlike many of these, he is still on the way up and while the Aussie bred colt struggled on his first try at 1800M last month, he should be much happier back in a one-turn race today. He’ll look to lead early. (2) ILGI DANGCHEON and (11) SEUNGNIYEOJE look best of the rest.

Selections (5) Black Train (8) Jingyeogui Geojang (7) Simsin Jiryeo (10) Dorgon
Next Best 2, 11, 3, 9
Outsiders 1, 4, 6, 12
Fast Starters 2, 6, 8

Race 8: Class 1 – “China Horse Industry Association Trophy” / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 110 Million / 15:55 (KST)

(10) LUCKY LIGHT beat five of these when running 2nd over this distance on April 3rd and he looks to be the one to beat here. He is a fast starter and will look to lead straight from the gate. Among those he beat last time, (7) CHEONMANG got the closest to him and that one can also be considered for improvement today, however, it’s likely to be (9) SEONBONG who punters consider the greater threat. His 2016 hasn’t really got going yet but he is a very solid sprinter and he can come from just behind the speed here. (12) BRIG has the outside gate to deal with but like Seonbong, will likely be content to avoid the cavalry charge to the corner and will still have plenty of backers. (5) MAGIC DANCER has perhaps seen better days but remains a threat.

Selections (10) Lucky Light (12) Brig (9) Seonbong (5) Magic Dancer
Next Best 7, 8, 2, 1, 3
Outsiders 4, 6, 11
Fast Starters 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11

Race 9: Class Open – The Korean Derby / 1800M / Allowance / KRW 700 Million / 17:00 (KST)

SEE HERE FOR A FULL RUNNER BY RUNNER PREVIEW

(12) POWER BLADE won the 1st leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, last month by a facile four-lengths and will be strong favourite to add the second jewel today. He has drawn gate 12 but that won’t matter as his style is to be away patiently and then improve in the back straight. On all form, he looks the best. It’s wide open behind though. (3) STEALTH and (4) ZETTABYTE ran 3rd and 4th in the Cup Mile with the former slightly favoured again at the extra distance today. (1) BANJIUI JEWANG ran poorly in the Cup Mile but performed well at Seoul in the Breeders’ Cup last year and can be given another chance. The biggest threat to Power Blade though may come from his own stablemate. (13) WORLD CHAMPION didn’t get to the Cup Mile but comes to Seoul after four consecutive victories, the most recent of which was a gate-to-wire romp at this distance. He’ll get forward early and the favourite will have to come past him. (9) GONGRYONG and (10) WINNERS GLORY look to be Seoul’s best chances while (7) EVER IN EVER and (14) TOHAMSAN look decent outside bets. Another longshot angle is that (6) SISEON POCHAK has been moved to a new trainer specifically so that he can take part in this race (trainers and owners may not enter any more than two horses in the same race – he was with Power Blade and World Champion).

Selections (12) Power Blade (13) World Champion (10) Winner’s Glory (1) Banjiui Jewang
Next Best 3, 9, 7, 4, 14, 6, 5
Outsiders 2, 8, 11, 15
Fast Starters 1, 10, 13, 14