Korean Oaks

Korean Oaks Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview for Seoul & Busan (July 15)

It’s the Korean Oaks! The 2018 edition of the filly Classic takes place at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and has attracted an ultra-competitive sixteen-strong field to do battle over 1800M. The horse-by-horse preview is below as is race-by-race for both Busan and Seoul. Busan has 6 Sunday races from 12:40 to 17:10 while Seoul runs 11 from 10:45 to 18:00.

Yeongcheon Derby

Yeongcheon Derby, seen here winning a big juvenile race last year, is one of the major contenders for the Korean Oaks (Pic: KRA)

Busan:

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

(5) HOTHAE and (7) A PURE GOOD MAN came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on June 10th. There was very little between them that day and that could be the case once more, this time with them battling it out for top honours with A Pure Good Man slightly favoured to get what would be his maiden win. (9) MACHO MYEONGUN was 4th that day but others may be more dangerous today. Peter Wolsley’s (1) THUNDER STRUCK was 2nd, albeit a long way back behind a good winner, at the distance on June 15th and should benefit from Fergus Sweeney riding today. (10) EURO SHINHWA is up in class following a goof win at this distance last month and can be competitive. (4) DAEDONG GISANG was slightly disappointing last start but come in following a couple of months off and can be given another chance.

Selections (7) A Pure Good Man (5) Hothae (1) Thunder Struck (10) Euro Shinhwa
Next Best 4, 6, 8
Fast Start 1, 4, 5, 7

Race 2:  Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A winner on debut back in January, (1) MR. SCAT has subsequently been beaten twice when favourite, running 4th and 3rd in his latest two at 1200M and 1400M respectively. We’re going to persevere with him today, however, and it really should be third time lucky here. He’ll be close to the early pace and should be too strong late on. (8) COOL MINT finds himself up in class after back to back 2nd places. He hung outwards last time and if he can correct that today, can get close. (7) EXPRESSIVE demonstrated even worse manners when finishing 6th when favourite four weeks ago. He’s definitely talented though and will be backed to put things right here. (4) WHITE POINT has been slightly inconsistent recently but is rarely far away and the jockey change today could tempt. (3) BIG RED IJI resumes after a couple of months off and can get close.

Selections (1) Mr. Scat (7) Expressive (8) Cool Mint (4) White Point
Next Best 3, 9, 2
Fast Start 1, 8, 11

Race 3: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) ORYONG comes in looking for a hat-trick of wins having prevailed over 1600M and 1300M in May and June. The latter was at this class and while he hung in throughout, was a comfortable enough winner and he’ll be hard to beat again. (9) STAR LINE enters having run a good 2nd at class and distance on June 10th and should be close again while (3) FINE POWER and (4) WINDY PARK both come in after running 4th in their latest efforts, the latter beaten by (11) EOROK at this distance. All three have placing chances here with Fine Power most favoured. (6) PRIME RACE is another who has been beaten by Eorok in recent outings but is form has picked up in his latest two with 2nd and 3rd and he is another who shouldn’t be too far away.

Selections (7) Oryong (6) Prime Race (11) Eorok (9) Star Line
Next Best 3, 4
Fast Start 1, 4, 8

Race 4: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(3) BANJIUI YEOJEONSA was a strong 2nd over 1400M last start on June 17th, continuing her recent upturn in form and a similar performance today can get her home in front. (7) V MAN has the scalps of several of these, including Banjiui Yeojeonsa, in his recent record. His latest race can written-off after he made a bad start and later lost more ground when clipping heels with another and he can be in the mix today. (2) CAPTAIN GUY is another of those who has finished behind V Man. That was on his latest start all the way back in April. He comes in here fresh and with chances to improve – earlier this year, he finished 5th of 8 in Busan’s Classic Trial and does have some ability. (4) JAYU DAERO and (5) WIN GO MAN look best of the rest.

Selections (3) Banjiui Yeojeonsa (7) V Man (2) Captain Guy (5) Win Go Man
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 2, 6

Race 5: Class Open (1800M) The Korean Oaks (KOR G2) / Allowance / KRW 600 Million

  1. YEONGHUI SIDAE – The Hansen filly has won six of eleven starts up to a mile. She comes in having finished 4th at class 2 over 1400M on June 22nd but had a poor trip that day having been slow away. She will want to get on pace early here and if she does, she has a chance.
  2. SPECIAL STONE – Has won twice already over 1700M if only up to class 4 at Seoul. Beat Mone Flying comfortably last start. Trialled well at the end of June, distance suits and it’s not impossible. Wants to be close to the speed.
  3. MONE FLYING – Second trip to Busan having finished 7th in the KRA Cup Mile in April. Only one start since, running 2nd to Special Stone over 1700M in May. Settles towards the rear and a bit to find here.
  4. QUEEN OF CAPTAIN – Solitary victory was at 1000M last September. Has never raced at further than 1300M and enters off 2nd place at that distance at class 5 last time. A lot to find.
  5. YUHWI – One win from eight came at 1000M and she’s still rated at class 5. Latest was 3rd place at a mile a month ago and this is considerably stiffer.
  6. CATCH NINE – Stepped up to a mile for her latest start on June 3rd and got her maiden win at the fifth time of asking. It was an impressive performance and there’s nothing to suggest the extra distance won’t suit. Hasn’t raced above class 5 but has plenty of potential. Likely to be on the early pace.
  7. STAR CAT – Class 3 winner over 1400M at Seoul a month ago, her third win on her eighth start. That was the furthest she’s run so the distance will be new for her, but a top jockey comes down from the capital to ride.
  8. UJU DAEWANG – Won three consecutive races between December and March and ran well when 3rd of 7 on her first try at this distance on June 10th with Blue Flag behind her in 4th. She led for much of that race before being passed at the top of stretch and fought on gamely.
  9. PEACE TOUR – Three wins from eleven came in consecutive races between February and April and she enters after back to back 3rd place finishes over 1200M and 1300M at class 4. She’s been versatile in her tactics so far and could have more improvement in her.
  10. BLUE FLAG – “Full” sister to Gyeongbudaero, the 2014 Grand Prix Stakes winner, she began her career with four consecutive wins up to a mile and class 4. Her two class 3 outings have seen her come up short though, both times as favourite and he was beaten by Uju Daewang at this distance last time. The form being overturned can’t be ruled out.
  11. GYOHAKSANGJANG – Stablemate of Blue Flag, she was a good winner over a mile at class 4 in April. Stepped up to this distance on May 11th and ran 2nd to the exciting four-year-old Rock Hard Seven. She was well beaten but that was no disgrace and she will be expected to go very close here for a trainer who has won the race five times.
  12. MAGIC TEN – Won four of her first five starts up to 1700M but has met her match at class 3 in Seoul. Weakened to 6th having led last time out at 1700M, she will need to improve here.
  13. SEOURUI BYEOL – Well beaten in Seoul’s Classic Trial, back in March but has come back into form in three outings since then, culminating in a win over 1400M on June 10th. Has raced at 1700M in the past although didn’t impress and likely plenty to find here.
  14. NIKE STREET – Burst onto the scene with an emphatic win last autumn but was beaten in her only two subsequent runs as a juvenile before being out for six months. She’s run well since returning though, winning both of two starts, including last time at 1700M. A chance under former top Busan jockey Kim Yong Geun.
  15. YEONGCHEON DERBY – Half-sister to 2015 Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace. Four wins from five starts with her only defeat coming in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown against the colts. Dropped back to 1400M for her re-appearance which she won, she has won at a mile before and the distance should be fine. She is a front-runner though so will need to overcome the wide draw.
  16. FIRE WIND – The only filly to have taken her chance in the Derby – she finished 7th – she is a class 3 winner at this distance in Seoul. The draw is not ideal, but it can be overcome, and she has a real chance here.

VERDICT: Wildly competitive race which could go any number of ways. All things considered, from what we’ve seen so far, (15) YEONGCHEON DERBY is probably the best horse in the race – not many of the others could have got as close as she did in the KRA Cup Mile – but that doesn’t mean she’ll win. Her first time at the distance and needing to overcome a wide draw to get to where she wants to be counting against her, but class may well win out. The Kim Young Kwan factor could see (11) GYOHAKSANGJANG beginning as favourite and she should be spot on for this while his (10) BLUE FLAG has strong claims too as does (8) UJU DAEWANG, who beat her last time out. Up from Seoul, (14) NIKE STREET looks a big danger. We’ll go with (1) YEONGHUI SIDAE though. Not yet proven at the distance but she has beaten some good horses and ran on really well despite the poor trip last time. It could be a first Classic winner for her sire Hansen.

Selections (1) Yeonghui Sidae (15) Yeongcheon Derby (11) Gyohaksangjang (14) Nike Street
Next Best 10, 8, 16
Fast Start 2, 7, 8, 12, 15

Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(9) KING OF ACE set off in front of Cheongdam Dokki in the Busan Mayor’s Cup over 1800M two weeks ago but ended up reeled in well before the line and finishing 7th of 13. His is a career that has been beset by injury, but he gets dropped back to a sprint distance today and should be a very different prospect to when he was beaten by several of these on his return from his latest layoff in May. With a good start – which he didn’t get that day – he can win. (4) ADELEUI CHUKJE finished 3rd to King Of Ace at a mile in early June and can go close today. (1) BANJIUI JEWANG was further back in that race but was a class and distance winner as recently as May and can be considered. Similarly, (2) SUCCESS (more…)

Kim Hye Sun Becomes 1st Female Rider To Win Korean Classic as Jejui Haneul Stuns in The Oaks

There was a thrilling finish to the Korean Oaks at Busan this afternoon and at the end of it, plenty of Korean racing history was made. Kim Hye Sun became the first Korean female jockey to win a Group race while Masteru Mizutani became the first foreign owner to do the same as 56/1 outsider Jejui Haneul pulled off a shock win

OaksFinish

Jejui Haneul (near side) bests Bright Star in the Korean Oaks (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Jejui Haneul was unfancied but was never likely to be a no-hoper having been one of the few in the field that had already performed creditably around two turns. However hers and all others chances were boosted when pre-race favourite Ice Marine blundered on exiting the gate, putting herself at a huge disadvantage before the race had even got going.

She never really recovered from that and things looked set up for 2nd and 3rd in the betting, Uju Star and Bright Star to dispute the finish. They reckoned without Jejui Haneul, who flew home on the stands-side under Kim Hye Sun to pip Bright Star by a head on the live. Longest shot on the board, the 183/1 chance Teukbyeol Star got up for an even unlikelier 3rd and almost break the tote system with an unprecedented tierce pool dividend.

Jejui Haneul

Jejui Haneul and Kim Hye Sun in the Korean Oaks winner’s circle (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Since debuting in 2009, Kim Hye Sun has already established herself as the most successful Korean female rider of all time, the Oaks being her 225th win from just shy of 3000 mounts. No Korean woman had ever won a Group race though, much less one of the Classics. There were tears in the post race interview but 30 minutes later, Kim was back out and riding in the day’s finale.

Kim Hye Sun Oaks

Kim Hye Sun after winning the Korean Oaks (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

It was a great ride and while time will tell how good this current crop of fillies is, it was another win for Seoul. The capital track has now won three out of four encounters involving this year’s three-year-olds. That’s something we didn’t think we’d be seeing anytime soon.

Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 11, 2017

1. Jejui Haneul (KOR) [Raconteur – Isanghwa (Didyme)] – Kim Hye Sun -56.0, 14.4
2. Bright Star (KOR) [Menifee – L Vicar (Vicar)] – Francisco Da Silva – 2.7
3. Teukbyeol Star (KOR) [Air Shady – Teukbyeolhwanhui (White Muzzle)] – Lee Hae Dong – 29.4
Distances: Head / 2 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Uju Star 5. Yesangbaek Seung 6. Queen’s Queen 7. Ice Marine 8. Yongwangdam 9. Daeho Chukje 10. Take Four Meals 11. Morning Baramse 12. Goldstar Hills 13. Ecton Bulpae 14. Sun Smart 15. Gasok Champion 16. Happy Gongju

Busan Sunday: Korean Oaks Day (June 11)

It’s Korean Oaks day at Busan. There are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:10. Meanwhile, the Seoul has just got underway where there are 11 races with the last at 18:00. Notes on Busan races below:

Race 1: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

1. DANCER – Really struggled in her latest few and can’t be recommended here.

2. JEONSAUI HUYE – Disappointed on first try at this level two weeks ago but is worthy of another chance here.

3. BEONGGEULBEONGGEUL – Capable of beating plenty at this level. Win would be a surprise but should be looking for the places.

4. SEONGGONG PLAN – Struggled in three outings at this level since maiden win in January.

5. PEACE BERY – 2nd of 10 behind a very useful one in a quick time on May 12th and has to be in the frame here.

6. HANNAM ROOKIE – Yet to win in 17 but does occasionally find the minor money. A win would surprise though. (more…)

Ottug Ottugi Too Good In Korean Oaks

Ottug Ottugi strolled to victory in the Korean Oaks at Busan on Sunday afternoon, the odds-on favourite led from gate-to-wire to win by an eased down five lengths on the line.

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Ottug Ottugi and Choi Si Dae in the Oaks winner’s circle (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Ottug Ottugi finished 2nd to her stablemate Power Blade in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile in April, and just as with Power Blade in the Derby last month so long as Ottug Ottugi completed the race, it seemed a case less of “if” but more of “by how many lengths?”

In the end it was five. Under Choi Si Dae, Ottug Ottugi led from the gate into an easy lead and never for a second looked like being caught. Outsider Quick Force, the only maiden in the race, adding a fifth 2nd place to her record, got the closest in the end ahead of Hoseungjibyeok – the latter having been sent off as 2nd favourite at odds approaching 10/1.

Embarassingly, no Seoul fillies bothered to make the trip down while Jangguneui Huye, Bart Rice’s first Korean Classic runner, gave it a go but ended in 8th.

Ottug Ottugi’s win means that trainer Kim Young Kwan has now won the Oaks for four years running. For jockey Choi it was a second win in the race following his triumph on Useung Touch in 2011.

Ottug Ottugi herself is by Forest Camp and out of the Main Objective (Lion Heart). Main Objective was purchased for the princely sum of $1200 at the 2009 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale. Ottug Ottugi is her third foal to race in Korea and a two-year-old colt by Rock Hard Ten recently went through the Jeju Sales. The other two failed to make much of an impression scoring just one win between them

Ottug Ottugi has certainly made an impression.

The Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 12, 2016

1. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.1, 1.0
2. Quick Force (KOR) [Vicar – Madam Winette (Danewin)] – Lim Sung Sil – 3.9
3. Hoseungjibyeok (KOR) [Didyme – Everything Nice (Elusive Quality)] – Song Keong Yun – 1.3
Distances: 5 lengths / 1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Special Rookie 5. Santa Gloria 6. Steal The Show Why 7. Byeolmuri 8. Jangguneui Huye 9. Miracle Bolt

The Korean Oaks 2016: Full Preview

Ottug Ottugi will be hot favourite when nine fillies line up for the 2016 Korean Oaks at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. If the race goes as expected, she will give trainer Kim Young Kwan his fourth consecutive victory in the race.

Ottug Ottugi

Ottug Ottugi is the strong Oaks favourite (Pic: KRA)

Rather shamefully, Seoul has not managed to muster a single filly in this crop to take part in the Classic so the Oaks is a 100% Busan affair this year.

South African trainer Bart Rice saddles his first Korean runner and while Jangguneui Huye will be an outsider, beyond the favourite, the race is quite open. Paolo Aragoni is the only foreign jockey to secure a mount in the race and will partner Steal The Show Why.

While a succession of odds-on favourites went down at Busan on Friday (including some trained by Kim Young Kwan), were Ottug Ottugi – whose conqueror in the KRA Cup Mile Power Blade went on to romp home in the Derby at Seoul last month – to be defeated, it would be as big a shock as when Derby winning filly Sangseung Ilro lost the race in the final strides back in 2009.

Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 12, 2016 (16:30)

1. Steal The Show Why (KOR) [Whywhywhy – Steal The Show (Cat Thief)] (11/2/2/3) KY Baik – Paolo Aragoni
Fifth in the trail in March she has followed up with 3rd place finishes at a mile and at this distance of 1800M. One of a number of likely early front-runners, she will stay on and could challenge for a place.

2. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] (9/6/2/0) YK Kim – Choi Si Dae
The hot favourite, she will be odds-on. She won the Trial easily and was then 2nd to stablemate Power Blade in the first leg of the Triple Crown before comfortably winning her first try at 1800M last month. No reason to oppose her, she should lead from gate to wire.

3. Special Rookie (KOR) [Menifee – Swing City (Carson City)] (3/2/0/0) YK Kwan – Kim Yong Geun
Stablemate of Ottug Ottugi and still a slightly unknown quantity. She beat Santa Gloria when winning at a mile in April but hasn’t raced since. Won a trial just last week and Kim Young Kwan’s horses must never be underestimated. Goes forward with Ottug Ottugi.

4. Hoseungjibyeok (KOR) [Didyme – Everything Nice (Elusive Quality)] (6/4/1/0) BE Kang – Song Keong Yun
More advanced than the rest of the field with the exception of Ottug Ottugi, she has made it up to class 3, despite being beaten by three of these in March’s trial. She came 2nd on her first try at 1800M last month in a decent but not overly convincing performance. She deserves second-favourite status but still has things to prove. She will sit behind the early lead and if the others go too fast, she can take advantage.

5. Miracle Bolt (KOR) [Sharp Humor – C’Mon Maria (Maria’s Mon)] (7/3/3/0) KH Choi – Seol Dong Bok
All three of her wins have come at 1000M and she is yet to show anything that would suggest she is capable of getting 1800M at this stage, let alone competing at it. The outsider of the field, she may as well go out as quickly as possible and see what happens.

6. Jangguneui Huye (KOR) [Gaeseon Janggun – Mercy Matters (Cozzene)] (3/1/0/0) BN Rice – Chae Sang Hyun
Bart Rice’s first Korean Classic runner and a welcome entrant by Gaeseon Janggun, who won the final leg of the Triple Crown in 2008. Only three runs so far and only one this year which was a 5th place in a tough race over 1300M. She will therefore be one of the outsiders here

7. Byeolmuri (KOR) [Colors Flying – Sink Or Swim (Meadowlake)] (10/3/3/0) SB Han – Kim Dong Young  
Yet to be tried at further than 1300M, she comes in following two convincing wins at that distance and looks to have solid potential. She has tended to be on the early speed but may let others go forward here and she can find the money.

8. Quick Force (KOR) [Vicar – Madam Winette (Danewin)] (6/0/4/2) SJ Kwon – Lim Sung Sil
The only one of these yet to get her maiden victory and it is unlikely to arrive here. She has done ok, never finishing any worse than 3rd but this is obviously a significant step up and a top five finish would be a good result.

9. Santa Gloria (KOR) [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] (7/1/1/2) KY Baik – Seo Seung Un
Third in the March Oaks Trial, she was just beaten a neck by Special Rookie over a mile in April. That was her most recent start although she won a trial last month. Like to have no problems with the distance, she will be ridden patiently by Seo Seung Un, who is in great form at the moment. She could go very well.

Jangpung Parang Makes All To Dominate Korean Oaks

Jangpung Parang led out of the gate and all the way around to dominate the 16th running of the Korean Oaks at Busan Racecourse this afternoon.

As expected there were plenty who were looking to get towards the front early but Kim Yong Geun got Jangpung Parang, who was sent off as fourth-favourite, away well to lead into the first turn with Queen Two Hearts and Dangdae Cheonha in close attendance.

That is how it would remain until the field turned for home. Dangdae Cheonha faded away while favourite Meni Money came through with her expected late run. It was to no avail though as Jangpung Parang had already kicked on to an unassailable lead, giving jockey Kim the luxury of easing slightly as they approached the line. Meni Money would get to within five lengths with Queen Two Hearts a further couple behind.

Hot Commend closed strongly to claim 4th place with Smart Time claiming the final prize-money spot in 5th. Outsider Purple Ocean was 6th while the well-fancied Jibong Sarang was the disappointment of the race in 7th.

It was a third consecutive Oaks win for trainer Kim Young Kwan following Speedy First in 2013 and Queen’s Blade last year. Jockey Kim Yong Geun also partnered Queen’s Blade and was winning his second Oaks.

Jangpung Parang is by Creek Cat, who passed away in 2012. It broke Menifee’s four-year winning streak in the event. She is out of the Canadian-bred mare Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm) who was unraced and was purchased for $30,000 at Keeneland in November 2007.

As for Seoul, while Sports Seoul Trophy winner Meni Money was sent off the slight favorite, her 2nd place was creditable while Smart Time also ran well for 5th. The capital desperately needs to get a big race win over Busan but today once more, it was not to be.

It wasn’t quite the fairytale ending to his Korean-career for Joe Fujii. Dangdae Cheonha showed towards the front early but faded to last in the home-straight. Masa Tanaka and Nobuyuki Oyama though guided the unfancied pair of Hot Commend and Purple Ocean to 4th and 6th respectively.

The Oaks was run two months earlier this year in order to fit in to a new compressed Triple Crown schedule. That means the final leg, with the colts involved once more, is less than a month away. Janpung Parang will almost certainly stay the 2000M should connections choose to bring her up to Seoul for the Minister’s Cup next month.

Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 21, 2015

1. Jangpung Parang (KOR) [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] – Kim Yong Geun – 5.9, 2.0
2. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.3
3. Queen Two Hearts (KOR) [Menifee – Ghostly Gal (Silver Ghost)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.5
Distances: 5 lengths / 2.5 lengths. Winning Time: 1:56.5

Also Ran: 4. Hot Commend (Masa Tanaka) 5. Smart Time (Ham Wan Sik) 6. Purple Ocean (Nobuyuki Oyama) 7. Jibong Sarang (You Hyun Myung) 8. Queen Creek Cat (Kim Hye Sun) 9. Grace (Kim Dong Young) 10. Dia Girl (Kim Cheol Ho) 11. Dangdae Cheonha (Joe Fujii)

Winning Owner: Lim Chong Jae
Winning Breeder: Jang Kyoung Ae
Winning Traner: Kim Young Kwan

The Korean Oaks 2015: Full Preview

Eleven fillies will line up at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon to contest the 16th running of the Korean Oaks.

Joe Fujii and Speedy First winning the Oaks in 2013

Joe Fujii and Speedy First winning the Oaks two years ago

A Seoul-based filly has only won one of the seven running of the race since it was shifted to Busan in 2008 but in Meni Money, the capital this year brings one with a very good chance in what is the first Oaks to be run in June.

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

The 16th Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 21, 2015 (16:30)

1. Purple Ocean [Volponi – Espirito (Prince Of Birds)] (4/1/0/0) An Woo Sung – Nobuyuki Oyama (Busan)
She’s had the fewest starts of any in the field and got her maiden win in May over 1400M. She beat some reasonably promising horses that day but she is yet to show much speed. Add to that the question of the distance and while she clearly has potential, she will be an outsider. Jockey Nobuyuki Oyama takes his first mount in a Korean Classic.

2. Dia Girl [Didyme – Gild Regal (Gilded Time)] (9/3/2/1) Song Moon Gil – Kim Cheol Ho (Seoul)
She has good speed and having led most of her races to date, is likely to be among the frontrunners early on. However, she was beaten by both Meni Money and Smart Time in the Sports Seoul Cup over 1400M in March and stamina is likely to be a key factor here. It would be a surprise if she stayed on. Kim Cheol Ho has been in good form this year.

3. Hot Commend [Commendable – Hot Red (Thunder Gulch)] (6/1/2/0) Yoo Byung Bok – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
Yet to progress beyond class 5, and yet to go further than 1300M. However, she should be able to stay the distance and has generally been ridden back at the start of races before closing effectively. Speed is one thing that has been lacking so far and others may be quicker at the business end of the race. Masa Tanaka has been having a great year and while he is yet to win a Stakes race, he is firmly established in the top tier of jockeys at Busan.

4. Queen Creek Cat [Creek Cat – Hwamongnan (Umatilla)] (8/3/3/1) Kim Hyo Seob – Kim Hye Sun (Seoul)
Her Seoul form is good and she comes in having won at class 4 over this distance. She led from gate to wire but it was a very slow race and while she will likely be another looking to get off to a fast start, whether she can maintain it in what is sure to be a faster run race will be the real test. Kim Hye Sun has ridden more thoroughbred winners than any other female Korean jockey.

5. Dangdae Cheonha [Forest Camp – Dangdaeteukgeup (Tayasu Meadow)] (9/2/5/0) Peter Wolsley – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
Another front-runner, she was 2nd behind Jibong Sarang in the MJC Trophy in March but has been a little disappointing in three starts since then. She is by no means the quickest in this race and is yet to be tested at the distance – although her dam was a winner at 1900M – and she won’t be among the favourites. Jockey Joe Fujii won the Oaks on Speedy First in 2013 and this could be his last ride in Korea for the time being.

6. Queen Two Hearts [Menifee – Ghostly Gal (Silver Ghost)] (5/4/0/1) Yoo Byung Bok – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
She won her first four races with considerable ease but didn’t quite stay on when stepped up to this distance at the beginning of May. She has plenty of speed though and if she stays a little better this time she must be seriously considered. She is another one who likes to go forward early – it could be very crowded up there. Jo Sung Gon is Busan’s leading jockey and he won the Oaks on Rising Glory in 2012.

7. Meni Money [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] (9/5/4/0) Kim Dong Kyun – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
Seoul’s best chance and very possibly the favourite. She won the Sports Seoul Cup in March, beating Smart Time and Dia Girl and went on to win consecutive races at 1700M and 1800M. She doesn’t generally lead early so if there is a race to first corner, she should avoid it and she scores highly in terms of speed and staying ability. Her dam still holds the Seoul Racecourse 1800M track record and a Menifee filly has won each of the past four Oaks. Seo Seung Un is considered one of the rising stars in the jockey ranks and gives up a weekend of rides at Seoul to come to Busan for this.

8. Jangpung Parang [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] (8/3/2/2) Kim Young Kwan – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Another with a chance. She finished 3rd behind Jibong Sarang and Dangdae Cheonha in the MJC Trophy in March and has since run well at a mile and 1800M. Decent speed and she is yet another who in her previous races has liked to go forward early. She has every chance of going close. Jockey Kim Yong Geun won the Korean Derby and Oaks double last year on Queen’s Blade.

9. Smart Time [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (9/3/2/0) Kim Dong Kyun – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
She is the only filly in the race who ran in the Korean Derby last month, finishing 7th. Prior to that, she was beaten by Meni Money by just half a length in the Sports Seoul Cup in March and then ran reasonably well over 1700M. She hasn’t shown exceptional speed so far but she is solid and reliable and she should stay on. She was slow away in the Derby and closed well and that strategy may serve her well here too. Ham Wan Sik won two Stakes races on filly Ua Deungseon last year.

10. Jibong Sarang [Officer – Meryl’s Spirit (Storm Boot)] (6/2/3/1) Kim Jae Seob – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
The winner of the MJC Trophy on March 1. She won by five lengths and probably could have won by more. Shea beat Dangdae Cheonha and Jangpung Parang what day and while she hasn’t raced since, she will be one of the favourites here. In her early starts she looked to lead but in the MJC, she went to the back out of the gate and closed very strongly and should try similar in this. Jockey You Hyun Myung has won plenty of big races but never the Oaks.

11. Grace [Vicar – Attendance (A.P. Indy)] (10/2/1/1) – Baik Kwang Youl – Kim Dong Young (Busan)
Likely to be the outsider of the field, she was 7th of 8 in the MJC Trophy behind Jibong Sarang. She’s run three times since then and most recently was a winner over 1200M. She has raced over a mile unsuccessfully over a mile before and this is a big step up today. She has tended to go forward in most of her races but may struggle to get to the front from the outside gate here. That may not be a bad thing though and she doesn’t seem to have reached her full potential yet. Jockey Kim Dong Young has won the KRA Cup Mile but never the Derby.

*The Oaks is race 5 of a 6-race card at Busan with a first post time of 12:45. K-Pop girl-band “Red Velvet” will be performing. There are also 10 races at Seoul Racecourse from 10:50 to 18:00 and the Oaks – and all of the races from Busan – will be telecast live to Seoul.

Weekend Race Times

It’s Korean Oaks weekend. Eleven fillies will line up at Busan on Sunday afternoon for their Classic and we will have a full preview of the race later on.

Final days: Joe Fujii

Final days: Joe Fujii

In addition to the Oaks, the unbeaten Seoul Bullet, winner of the Gold Circle Trophy last month, makes his first class 1 appearance at Busan on Sunday while there is class 1 action at Seoul too.

English language racecards are available here.

Here’s what’s happening when and where and be sure to check back tomorrow for the full Oaks preview:

Friday June 19
Busan Racecourse: 10 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:15 to 17:35

Saturday June 20
Seoul Racecourse: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:30

Sunday June 21
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30

The Korean Oaks 2015: First Preview

We’re just over a week away from the Korean Oaks and thirteen are currently set to line up for the fillies’ Classic at Busan Racecourse on Sunday June 21.

Eurofighter was the last filly from Seoul to win the Korean Oaks

Eurofighter was the last filly from Seoul to win the Korean Oaks

For the first time since 2012, there isn’t a Derby winner among them. Speedy First and Queen’s Blade completed the Derby/Oaks double in 2013 and 2014 respectively but this year, only two fillies took their chance in the Derby and of those only Smart Time, who was 7th, is also entered here.

Meni Money heads a five-strong challenge from Seoul. She won an early Oaks trial in the capital in March and is on a five-race unbeaten streak. The last filly from Seoul to win the Oaks was Eurofighter in 2010.

We will have a full preview of the race next week but in the meantime, here are the horses left in (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer (Home track):

The Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – June 21, 2015

Meni Money [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] (9/5/4/0) Kim Dong Kyun (Seoul)
Jibong Sarang [Officer – Meryl’s Spirit (Storm Boot)] (6/2/3/1) Kim Jae Seob (Busan)
Lucky Music [Creek Cat – Dangdae Jeil (Lucky Ruler)] (11/4/1/3) Seo Heung Soo (Seoul)
Queen Two Hearts [Menifee – Ghostly Gal (Silver Ghost)] (5/4/0/1) Yoo Byoung Bok (Busan)
Queen Creek Cat [Creek Cat – Hwamongnan (Umatilla)] (8/3/3/1) Kim Hyo Seob (Seoul)
Smart Time [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (9/3/2/0) Kim Dong Kyun (Seoul)
Dangdae Cheonha [Forest Camp – Dangdaeteukgeup (Tayasu Meadow)] (9/2/5/0) Peter Wolsley (Busan)
Dia Girl [Didyme – Gild Regal (Gilded Time)] (9/3/2/1) Song Moon Gil (Seoul)
Jangpung Parang [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] (8/3/2/2) Kim Young Kwan (Busan)
Hot Commend [Commendable – Hot Red (Thunder Gulch)] (6/1/2/0) Yoo Byoung Bok (Busan)
Grace [Vicar – Attendance (A.P. Indy)] – Baik Kwang Youl (Busan)
Pandora [Menifee – Format II (Furiously)] (9/1/0/3) Kim Jae Seob (Busan)
Purple Ocean [Volponi – Espirito (Prince Of Birds)] (4/1/0/0) An Woo Sung (Busan)

Queen’s Blade Wraps-Up Derby/Oaks Double With Dominating Busan Win

Queen’s Blade becam the second filly is as many years to complete the Korean Derby and Korean Oaks double with a comfortable win in the fillies’ Classic at Busan on Sunday.

Queen's Blade and Kim Yong Geun win the Korean Oaks (KRA).

Queen’s Blade and Kim Yong Geun win the Korean Oaks (KRA).

Having run – and won – just once since winning the Derby at Seoul in May, Queen’s Blade was sent-off as the long odds-on favourite.

She didn’t disappoint. Close to the front throughout, jockey Kim Young Geun eased Queen’s Blade away from the field in the final straight and they cruised to a 5-length victory.

One of the Seoul raiders, Nubi Queen, grabbed second while Winner’s Marine was a further length back in third.

It’s another Classic winner for Busan training machine Kim Young Kwan, following on from Speedy First, the filly who won last year’s Derby and Oaks. It’s to be hoped that Queen’s Blade doesn’t face the same fate as her predecessor. Speedy First only ran a couple more times and was last seen on the North East coast of the US.

Next on the agenda for Queen’s Blade should be the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in October.

Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – Aug 24, 2014

1. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.3, 1.1
2. Nubi Queen (KOR) [Menifee – Dream Runner (Our Poetic Prince)] – Seo Seung Un – 4.5
3. Winner’s Marine (KOR) [Volponi – Graceful Ballerina (Posse)] – Yang Young Nam – 3.0
Distances: 5 lengths/1 length
Also Ran: 4. Geumbit Hwanhui 5. Jungang Cheonhae 6. Jungang Gongju 7. Ua Deungseon 8. Argo Aseet 9. Secret Garden 10. First One 11. Gamun Yeojanggun 12. Daeryuk Gangja 13. Bravo Life 14. Zenith 15. Ohio Girl NR: Hwanggeumbitjijunghae