Korean Derby

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.

Indian King

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.

Korean Derby 2017 – Video Preview

Early preview of Sunday’s Korean Derby here:

Lots of support in the racing media in Korea for American Power. KRA Cup Mile winner Indian King, Royal Ruby, Final Boss and Daeho Sidae also get plenty of backing.

And yes, I know I look like the Phantom of the Opera’s waiter in this video.

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.

D3

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.

Yeongcheon Ace 2

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

The Korean Derby 2015: How They Went

Yeongcheon Ace was the winner of the 2015 Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The second-favourite secured victory by two lengths to ensure that no horse will sweep the Triple Crown this year with KRA Cup Mile victor Rafale ending in 3rd.

Choi Si Dae and Yeongcheon Ace return to the unsaddling area after winning the Derby (Pic: Slickpix)

Choi Si Dae and Yeongcheon Ace return to the unsaddling area after winning the Derby (Pic: Slickpix)

Yeongcheon Ace is the third consecutive Korean Derby winner to have been sired by Menifee following the fillies Speedy First in 2013 and Queen’s Blade in 2014. He is also the 6th horse from Busan to win the Derby from the 8 editions that have taken place since horses from that track became eligible.

Here’s how they went:

1. Yeongcheon Ace (Choi Si Dae) – Away steadily and sat towards the back until they entered the home straight. He closed strongly and took the lead inside the final furlong to win by two lengths, going away. 4.8 to win, 1,7 to show.

2. Triple Nine (Oh Kyoung Hoan) – Ostensibly Kim Young Kwan’s second string, after receiving a lot of backing in the morning’s racing media, he was quite heavily backed. He sat in midfield but improved around the home-turn to second. He was passed by the winner and was labouring a little towards the line. 6.6, 2.5 (2 lengths behind the horse in front)

3. Rafale (You Hyun Myung) – The KRA Cup Mile winner, who’s lost 13kg since that race, sat comfortably in the middle of the pack and closed down the outside in the home straight. Finished strongly but was three-quarters of a length behind Triple Nine. 5.0, 1.7 (0.75 lengths)

4. Daegunhwang (Seo Seung Un) – When he opened up a lead of two lengths at the top of the stretch, the race was his to lose. Lose it he did but it was still a solid run from Seoul’s best finisher who was close to the front throughout and took things up as they began to turn for home. Weakened in the last half furlong. 9.1, 2.1 (0.75 lengths)

5. Doraon Hyeonpyo (Kim Dong Young) – The pre-race favourite raced in 4th or 5th the whole way around. Although he he quickened sufficiently to pass the early leaders as they tired, he too was passed in the home straight. 2.4, 1.2 (0.5 lengths)

6. Seonbong (Lee Joon Chel) – A good run although he just missed out on the prize money. He went towards the back early and closed well although couldn’t make inroads into the big guns in the final furlong. 113.9, 9.9 (1.5 lengths)

7. Smart Time (Ham Wan Sik) – The lowest rated pre-race was the first of the two fillies to finish and it was creditable enough. Went back early but passed four in the home straight. Was finishing the 3rd quickest in the race, she may be Oaks bound. 148.8, 28.5 (1 length)

8. Yuseong Fighting (Lee Hee Cheon) – We said in the preview that this one would go forward as there was no way he would be able to win from the back. Well they did totally the opposite, going right to the back and then closing impressively. Of course, there was far too much to do but only the winner finished quicker. The last of those who were in touch with the winner and can be said to have had a good race. 161.2, 15.6 (1.5 lengths)

9. Mac And Cheese (Joe Fujii) – After his performance in the KRA Cup Mile, expectations were low and he duly lived down to them. He went towards the back early and didn’t quicken when asked. 58.0, 13.7 (5 lengths)

10. Yeongung Bolt (Song Keong Yun) – The other filly, she went towards the back of midfield early and didn’t find anything in the home straight, finishing slowly. After the race she was found to have bled and will be suspended for one month. 165.4, 25.0 (5 lengths)

11. Yeonggwanguitaepung (Masa Tanaka) – He’d lost 14kg since his KRA CUp Mile 4th and the race went exactly the opposite to how it was expected. Instead of starting slowly and finishing strongly, he went towards the front early and finished weakly. Didn’t look 100% right. 19.7, 4.2 (Nose)

12. New White Socks (Moon Se Young) – A big disappointment, this one showed close to the front much of the way around but was passed on the home turn and was slow in the straight. 16.3, 3.9 (0.5 lengths)

13. Sanggam Mama (Park Eul Woon) – As expected, he went out quickly and took the early lead. As expected, he couldn’t keep it up and was done by the time they got to the home straight. 75.7, 15.8 (2.5 lengths)

The Korean Oaks will be run at Busan on June 21 while the final leg of the Triple Crown is the Minister’s Cup, back at Seoul on July 19.

Aced It! Yeongcheon Ace Wins The Korean Derby

Yeongcheon Ace came through with a powerful finish to win the 2015 Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon.

Yeongcheon Ace beats Triple Nine (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Yeongcheon Ace beats Triple Nine (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Third in the KRA Cup Mile, the extra furlong proved all the difference as Yeongcheon Ace swept past the front running Daegunhwang in the final furlong and went on for a 2-length victory from Triple Nine and Cup Mile winner Rafale.

Yeongcheon Ace and Choi Si Dae in the Derby winner's circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Yeongcheon Ace and Choi Si Dae in the Derby winner’s circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

It was another big race win for jockey Choi Si Dae and yet another Classic winner from Busan. Daegunhwang was Seoul’s best finisher, battling on for 4th ahead of pre-race favourite, Doraon Hyeonpyo.

The Korea Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – May 17, 2015

1. Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae – 4.8, 1.7
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant tap)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 2.5
3. Rafale (KOR) [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.7
Distances: 2 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Daegunhwang 5. Doraon Hyeonpyo 6. Seonbong 7. Smart Time 8. Yuseong Fighting 9. Mac And Cheese 10. Yeongung Bolt 11. Yeonggwanguitaepung 12. New White Socks 13. Sangam Mama

Full report to follow.

The Korean Derby 2015: The Final Preview

The 18th running of the Korean Derby takes place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. Eight horses from Busan, including the KRA Cup Mile winner Rafale take on five from Seoul in the second leg of the 2015 Korean Triple Crown.

Queen's Blade won last year's Derby. Who will succeed her in 2015? (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade won last year’s Derby. Who will succeed her in 2015? (Pic: Ross Holburt)

If you’ve never been before, get down to Seoul Racecourse for this one. Although the Derby is the feature, it is one of ten races with the first at 10:50 and the last at 18:00. The Keeneland Cup is another big race on the day while K-Pop is provided by “Mamamoo”.

Here is a full run-down of the field (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) – Jockey):

The Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – May 17, 2015 (16:55)

1. Yeonggwanguitaepung [Menifee – Grand Pass (Grand Slam)] (9/3/2/2) – Masakazu Tanaka
A really quick finisher, he flew home in the Cup Mile to just be edged into 4th. He is a winner over 1800M already and is likely to go to the back early and try to close. Trainer Kim Young Kwan won the Derby in 2009, 2013 and 2014 and there is a real chance here of Masa Tanaka becoming the second foreign jockey to win the race.

2. Daegunhwang [Menifee – Lusi Pond (Elusive Quality)] (6/5/1/0) – Seo Seung Un
Seoul’s great hope. After a second place on his debut, he’s won five in a row generally from the front and without coming under any real pressure. He should be close to the early pace and is going to finally be subjected to a stern examination here. So far there is nothing to suggest he isn’t up to it and failure to at least place will be very disappointing.

3. New White Socks [Secret Weapon – Wonder Queen (Canadian Silver)] (7/5/0/0) – Moon Se Young
Another highly promising one from Seoul. He was a winner over 1700M last time out in a decent time beating both Seonbong and Smart Time in the process. He has raced close to the front on most starts – although he has had little to stop him doing that, has plenty of potential and may sneak into the money. Jockey Moon Se Young won the Derby in 2012 on Jigeum I Sungan while trainer Lee Shin Young would become the first female Derby winner.

4. Doraon Hyeonpyo [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] (7/5/2/0) – Kim Dong Young
He and Rafale exchanged Champion Juvenile races last year and he was then overhauled in the closing stages of the Cup Mile by the same horse having hit the front three furlongs out. He won a slow mile race the time before that but hasn’t been tried at this distance. He will probably try to take the early initiative and with the home straight at Seoul generally being less taxing than at Busan, he may well hold on.

5. Triple Nine [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (5/4/1/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan
The second string from the Kim Young Kwan stable didn’t run in the Cup Mile but comes in here after four consecutive wins, the most recent two of which were over a mile. He also has a quick finish and will try to come from just off the pace. Jockey Oh Kyoung Hoan, now based at Busan, won the Derby on Gwangyajeil in 2011.

6. Yeongcheon Ace [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] (8/3/3/2) – Choi Si Dae
Along with Yeonggwanguitaepung, this is the other noted closer in the race. He came from off the pace to finish 3rd in the Cup Mile and has never been worse than 3rd in eight career starts. The distance won’t be a problem – he beat Rafale over 1900M in March and he must be strongly considered. Jockey Choi Si Dae won last year’s President’s Cup and Grand Prix at Seoul but is yet to win the Derby.

7. Sanggam Mama [Peace Rules – Miss Merit (Old Trieste)] (5/3/1/1) – Park Eul Woon
He has plenty of speed, putting in some really quick times but is yet to be tried at further than 1400M. As such, others will be favoured although he did beat Seonbong over 1300M earlier this year. His only shot is perhaps to go out quickly and try to hold on so expect to see his jockey try to get to the front before the first turn. Park Eul Woon is yet to win a Graded race.

8. Yeongung Bolt [Colors Flying – Haneul Gisang (Duality)] (7/3/1/1) – Song Keong Yun
One of two fillies in the race, she didn’t run in the Cup mile and her saddle slipped on her only try at further than 1400M so far. She won at that distance last month and is likely to try to take up a position just behind the early leaders. She won’t be among the favourites as the others are far more proven but it is worth noting that fillies do have an excellent record in this race and have won the last two renewals.

9. Mac And Cheese [Menifee – Squared (Posse)] (8/5/0/1) – Kanichiro Fujii
Well-fancied for the Cup Mile, he was a real disappointment, never getting into the right position and never travelling well ending 8th of 11. He had been an impressive winner over the same distance the time before A disappointment in the Cup Mile, running 8th of 11 when well-fancied, he had been an impressive winner over the same distance the time before. If he can get to the front entering the home straight, he has a chance but he won’t be among the favourites this time. Joe Fujii won the 2013 Derby on Speedy First.

10. Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Cheogo (Al Naba)] (8/5/2/0) – You Hyun Myung
The KRA Cup Mile winner will no doubt have plenty of support in the Derby too. He won a class 2 race at this distance in January although Doraon Hyeonpyo beat him on his only previous visit to Seoul and he also finished behind Yeongcheon Ace over 1900M in March. Others were finishing faster in the Cup Mile but he got the job done. He won’t want to lead but neither will he want to be too far away and if he finds a run in the home straight, he can win this. You Hyun Myung is yet to win the Derby but he has won the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul.

11. Smart Time [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (6/3/2/0) – Ham Wan Sik
The other filly in the race, she will one of the rank outsiders.A filly, she will be an outsider here. She was second to her talented stablemate Meni Money in the Sports Seoul Cup but was 4th on her only try around two turns so far with both New White Socks and Seonbong beating her and this will be a tough ask.

12. Yuseong Fighting [Didyme – Maggies Prayer (Songandaprayer)] (7/4/0/1) – Lee Hee Cheon
He led for much of the Cup Mile but didn’t stay on, fading to 6th. Going an extra furlong today, the distance will again be the primary negative against him as he gives every impression of being a sprinter. He will probably go forward again as he’s certainly not going to win by coming from the back, but he will be a long shot. Jockey Lee Hee Cheon’s biggest win came at Seoul last October on Never Seen Before in the Minister’s Cup

13. Seonbong [Duality – Megabuck Gal (Montbrook)] (7/3/2/1) – Lee Joon Chel
He was just beaten a neck by New White Socks last time out over 1700M having led at one stage. He will probably settle in the middle of the pack and should stay on. He will not be among the favourites but is certainly capable of putting in a good performance. Jockey Lee Joon Chel’s biggest win to date came in the Owners’ Cup in March this year.

Derby Weekend Preview

The Korean capital is bathed in sunshine as one of the biggest weekends of racing of the year gets underway. The Korean Derby will be run at 4:55pm on Sunday afternoon and we will have a full, runner-by-runner preview later today. For now, here’s what’s happening over the next couple of days.

Mamamoo will be at the Korean Derby

Mamamoo will be at the Korean Derby

Click Here For Full Race Cards

Saturday May 16
Seoul Racecourse: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00: As has become tradition in Korea, the feature race on the eve of the Derby is the JRA Trophy. Restricted to fillies and mares, the strong favourite is likely to be Jangmi Eondeok, who was a class 2 winner on her only appearance of 2015 so far. Moon Se Young will ride.
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday May 17
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00: It’s the big one. KRA Cup Mile winner Rafale heads a strong raiding party from Busan seeking to race off with the brightest jewel in the Triple Crown. Full preview will be right here later today. In addition to the Derby, a strong class 1 field will line up for the 1st Keeneland Cup while K-Pop group “Mamamoo” will also be in attendance.
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30

Korean Derby 2015 – First Preview

One of the biggest days of the year is almost upon us. The 2015 Korean Derby will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday May 17. The Grand Prix has the prestige while the new Asia Challenge Cup has the international visitors but the Derby is still the Derby.

image

Speedy First won the Korean Derby and Oaks a couple of years ago

Eight are scheduled to make the trip up from Busan headed of course by Rafale. He won the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean 2000 Guineas) at his home track last month.

The horses who finished 2nd to 4th in the Cup Mile will also be there. Connections of Doraon Hyeonpyo, Yeongcheon Ace and Yeonggwanguitaepung will be hoping that the additional furlong of the Derby will make all the difference.

Unlike for the Cup Mile last month, Seoul looks set to at least provide a challenge for the visitors with the exciting Daegunhwang perhaps best placed to keep the silverware in the capital. Two fillies are entered; Smart Time from Seoul and Yeongung Bolt (she of saddle-slipping fame) from Busan.

Here is a full run down of the 13 in at this stage, listed in order of prize money won over the past six months (Runs/1st/2nd/3rd):

The Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – Sunday May 17, 2015

Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Cheogo (Al Naba)] (8/5/2/0)
The KRA Cup Mile winner will no doubt have plenty of support in the Derby too. He won a class 2 race at this distance in January. Others were finishing faster in the Cup Mile but he got the job done. He won’t necessarily want to lead but he will want to be close.

Doraon Hyeonpyo [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] (7/5/2/0)
Last year’s champion juvenile was overhauled in the closing stages of the Cup Mile by Rafale having hit the front three furlongs out. He won a slow mile race the time before that but hasn’t been tried at this distance.

Daegunhwang [Menifee – Lusi Pond (Elusive Quality)] (6/5/1/0)
Seoul’s great hope. After a second on his debut, he’s won five in a row generally from the front and without coming under any real pressure. It is going to be very interesting to see what he can do when subjected to a proper examination.

Yeongcheon Ace [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] (8/3/3/2)
This one likes to come from off the pace which he did to run third in the Cup Mile. Has never been worse than 3rd in eight career starts and will have no trouble with the distance.

New White Socks [Secret Weapon – Wonder Queen (Canadian Silver)] (7/5/0/0)
Another highly promising one from Seoul. He was a winner over 1700M last time out in a decent time and has plenty of potential.

Mac And Cheese [Menifee – Squared (Posse)] (8/5/0/1)
A disappointment in the Cup Mile, running 8th of 11 when well-fancied, he had been an impressive winner over the same distance the time before. He’ll get another chance here.

Triple Nine [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (5/4/1/0)
He didn’t go in the Cjup Mile but comes in here after four consecutive wins, the most recent two of which were over a mile. A very quick finisher, he is from the Kim Young Kwan stable.

Yeonggwanguitaepung [Menifee – Grand Pass (Grand Slam)] (9/3/2/2)
This is another quick finisher, he flew home in the Cup Mile to just be edged into 4th, he was a winner over 1800M the time before and has a real chance here.

Smart Time [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (6/3/2/0)
A filly, she will be an outsider here. Second in the Sports Seoul Cup but 4th on her only try around two turns so far, this will be a tough ask.

Yeongung Bolt [Colors Flying – Haneul Gisang (Duality)] (7/3/1/1)
The other filly, her saddle slipped on her only try at a mile so far. She returned to win over 1400M. Likely to be showing towards the front early but she probably won’t be among the favourites. Fillies do have an excellent record in this race recently though.

Seonbong [Duality – Megabuck Gal (Montbrook)] (7/3/2/1)
Just beaten a neck by New White Socks last time out over 1700M, he was leading at one stage and is certainly capable of putting in a good performance.

Yuseong Fighting [Didyme – Maggies Prayer (Songandaprayer)] (7/4/0/1)
He showed the way for much of the Cup Mile but didn’t stay on, fading to 6th. The distance will again be the big question mark here.

Sanggam Mama [Peace Rules – Miss Merit (Old Trieste)] (5/3/1/1)
Plenty of speed, putting in some really quick times but is yet to be tried at further than 1400M. As such, others will be favoured.

We will have another detailed preview once final declarations have been made, jockey bookings have been confirmed and all horses have arrived in Seoul. This has the makings of a very interesting Derby.

Filly Queen’s Blade Romps to Korean Derby Victory

A Triple Crown may on the cards in the United States but any hope we may have had of getting our own in Korea this year vanished in the Seoul sunshine this afternoon as filly Queen’s Blade crushed all-comers in the Korean Derby.

Kim Yong Geun and Queen's Blade Cross the line as Derby winners (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Kim Yong Geun and Queen’s Blade Cross the line as Derby winners (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Most morning lines had KRA Cup Mile winner Cheongnyeong Bisang down as the likely winner so it was mildly surprising to see punters send Queens Blade, who had finished 5th in that race, off as the slight favourite for this, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown.

They were very quickly vindicated. Raon Morris, 4th in that Cup Mile in Busan last month, set the pace but Queen’s Blade went right with him. Cheongnyong Bisang tried to close in the home straight but he had too much to do. Queen’s Blade was out of sight.

Queen's Blade in the Derby Winner's Circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade in the Derby Winner’s Circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The distance on the line was 10 lengths. It may as well have been 20 such was her superiority today. Jeongsang Bima, a 40/1 outsider, was the only one who did close semi-successfully, coming home 2nd while Raon Morris stayed on for 3rd, one place ahead of Cheongnyong Bisang.

Peter Wolsley’s Jungle Jim managed an unlikely 5th but it was a generally depressing race for the foreign contingent; Darryll Holland the highest finisher among the 5 foreign jockeys in the race, coming 6th on Wild Rush.

Connections get a cake in the VIP room after a Stakes win, trainer Kim Young Kwan is on the right of the picture (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Connections get a cake in the VIP room after a Stakes win, trainer Kim Young Kwan is on the right of the picture (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade is a half-sister to 2008 Korean Oaks winner Jeolho Chance and was today recording her 5th win from 9 career starts. She looks set to be heavy favourite to follow her big sister in the Oaks in Busan in August.

For jockey Kim Yong Geun, it was just a second Stakes race win and his first Classic. For the remarkable trainer Kim Young Kwan, however, it was a third Korean Derby win. All three of those have been with fillies with today’s win adding to those of Sangseung Ilro in 2009 and Speedy First a year ago.

Another winner's circle pose (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Another winner’s circle pose (Pic: Ross Holburt)

It’s also another classic win for Busan means the southern track leads Seoul by 4 Derby victories to 3 since competition between the two began in 2008.

While Queen’s Blade and the other fillies today have the Oaks to attend to, the rest of the best of the 3-year-old crop won’t reassemble until the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in October. How many of today’s field make it there is open to debate.

Nothing else in sight. Kim Yong Geun and Queen's Blade win the 2014 Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Nothing else in sight. Kim Yong Geun and Queen’s Blade win the 2014 Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

A number of high-profile names didn’t make it into the starting gate today. Gilbert, who placed 2nd in the Cup Mile and the promising Yeonggwanguichampion both suffered injuries after the Cup Mile. Meanwhile Peter Wolsley’s best 3-year-old Never Seen Before failed his barrier trial last week and wasn’t allowed to run.

So dominant was Queen’s Blade today though that it is unlikely any of those three would have come any closer to her than the fourteen she left strung across the track in her wake today. The Queen from Busan, Queen’s Blade is our 2014 Korean Derby Champion.

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 18, 2014

1. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Kim Yong Geun
2. Jeongsang Bima (KOR) [Forest Camp – Smokegetenyoureyes (Smokester)] – Ham Wan Sik
3. Raon Morris (KOR) [Yankee Victor – Thunder By Night (Thunder Gulch)] – Moon Se Young
Distances: 10 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Cheongnyong Bisang 5. Jungle Jim 6. Wild Rush 7. Royal Impact 8. Namdo Trio 9. Gumpo Sky 10. Gangchi 11. Cupid Girl 12. Clean Up Speed 13. Pureun Geotap 14. Jangsan Horangi 15. Super Rider