Magic Dancer

Weekend Preview

It’s Magic Dancer vs Gumpo Sky in the feature contest of another busy weekend of racing in Korea

Magic Dancer and Joe Fujii go in Busan's Sunday feature

Magic Dancer and Joe Fujii go in Busan’s Sunday feature

Fields are a little on the short-side at Busan on Friday but there is still plenty of betting interest (click here for full race by race preview) and it could be another good day for the foreign connection with Joe Fujii and Masa Tanaka both on fancied mounts while trainer Peter Wolsley sends out the banker of the day in the shape of Lucky Gangja in race 5.

On Sunday on the south coast, Joe Fujii will partner Magic Dancer as top weight in the feature handicap, taking on one of last year’s top three-year-olds in the shape of Gumpo Sky.

There are competitive cards too at Seoul on both Saturday and Sunday with the capital’s only class 1 event of the weekend being Sunday’s finale.

It’s set to be a reaonably mild weekend, so come racing!

Click here for full racecards from the KRA but here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday January 9
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:20 to 17:20

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

Sunday January 11
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

Gyeongbudaero Wins President’s Cup At Third Attempt

The expressway between Seoul and Busan is called “Gyeongbu”. Given that so much big race prize-money has disappeared down that road from the capital, it is perhaps appropriate that a horse called Gyeongbudaero, returned back South with the biggest prize of them all in the President’s Cup yesterday.

Gyeongbudaero (far side) just edges Best Captain in the President's Cup (Pic: KRA)

Gyeongbudaero (far side) just edges Best Captain in the President’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Now five-years-old, Gyeongbudaero won the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown in 2012.

He followed it up with a third place in the Korean Derby and that year’s President’s Cup. Last year he would come back to Seoul and finish second. This year he finally got it right in the nation’s richest race.

It was another Busan raider, Hangangui Gijeok, who was sent off as the pre-race favourite, with Magic Dancer also ahead of Gyeongbudaero in the betting. And it was Magic Dancer who set much of the early pace with the favourite and Ganghae, a shock third in the Minister’s Cup, in close attendance.

This would turn out to be a race for the closers though and as first Ganghae disappeared and then Hangangui Gijeok Magic Dancer began to wane, it was Gyeongbudaero and outsider Best Captain who took full advantage. They would battle all the way to the line but it was Gyeongbudaero who got there first by a head.

Magic Dancer came home three lengths back in third ahead of Hangangui Gijeok with Derby and Oaks winning filly Queen’s Blade in fifth.

It was a tenth career victory for Gyeongbudaero and his fourth Stakes win. Twelve of his twenty-seven starts have been in Stakes company and he is now approaching the KRW 2 Billion mark in prize-money won.

If connections want it, they will be sure of getting an invite back to Seoul next month for the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes. Gyeongbudaero’s sixth place in last year’s race is one of only two occasions to date on which he has been out of the money.

President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – November 9. 2014

1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 6.7, 1.9
2. Best Captain (KOR) [Revere – Onethindime (Tactical Advantage)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 4.9
3. Magic Dancer (KOR) [Forest Camp – Woldly Magic (Peterhof)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.7
Distances: Head / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Hangangui Gijeok 5. Queen’s Blade 6. Haneuli Chubok 7. Gumpo Sky 8. New And Best 9. Gwanggyo Bisang 10. Success Story 11. Gumanseok 12. Heukgisa 13. Ganghae

* So yet another big race win for Busan and it is the southern track that looks likely to take the honours when horses from the two tracks clash again next Sunday – this time on the South Coast – in the Gyeongnam Owners’ Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour.

Hangangui Gijeok Downs Magic Dancer And Gyeongbudaero To Win Owners’ Cup

Hangangui Gijeok took his record to 8 wins from 10 starts, powering away from Magic Dancer and Gyeongbudaero to claim victory in the Owners’ Cup at Busan on Sunday.

Hangangui Gijeok and You Hyun Myung win the Owners' Cup at Busan

Hangangui Gijeok and You Hyun Myung win the Owners’ Cup at Busan

Magic Dancer, winner of the Jeju Governor’s Cup in Seoul back in June, was sent off as favourite with Hangangui Gijeok second in the betting, just ahead of former Classic winner Gyeongbudaero, who was returning to the track after a 7-month layoff.

It was Seoul filly Joy Lucky who set the early pace in the 1800 metre race, one of the richest of the year on the South coast. However, for the 2nd time in a row at Busan, the 4-year-old, who won the Seoul edition of the Owners’ Cup back in May, faded without trace as the runners entered the business end of the track.

Instead it was the big three who came to the front. Gyeongbudaero and Hangangui Gijeok on the rail and stand sides respectively and Magic Dancer squeezed in between them as they fought down the home straight.

It was the 3-year-old Hangangui Gijeok who found the most, eventually striding away for victory by a length and a half.

Ineligible for the Triple Crown due to being a gelding, Hangangui Gijeok has been quietly going about becoming one of the most formidable competitors on the track.

The narrow winner of the Gyeongnam-Do min Ilbo Cup in July, he came into this race off the back of six straight victories and now joins Magic Dancer and Derby and Oaks winner Queen’s Blade as Busan’s top rated horse.

Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – September 21, 2014

1. Hanguaui Gijeok (KOR) [Didyme – Legendary Destiny (Giant’s Causeway)] – You Hyun Myung – 4.2, 1.4
2. Magic Dancer (KOR) [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.1
3. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.8
Distances: 1.5 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Hanuelui Chibok 5. Magic Light 6. My Winner 7. Gangson 8. Major King 9. Like The Sun 10. Royal Gelloper 11. Tongjesa 12. Joy Lucky 13. Bukdaepung

Magic Dancer Too Good In Jeju Governor’s Cup

There’s no point lamenting what wasn’t there. Instead today was about celebrating what was and Magic Dancer put in the best performance of his career to date to win the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse today.

Joe Fujii and Magic Dancer in the Jeju Governor's Cup winner's circle

Joe Fujii and Magic Dancer in the Jeju Governor’s Cup winner’s circle

Sent of as the odds-on favourite, it was a point-and-steer job for jockey Joe Fujii who kept Magic Dancer just off the shoulder of the early leader before taking over as they rounded the home turn. The pair then accelerated away from the field in the home straight before easing down to a 2.5 lengths win.

Chasing them home was Peter Wolsley’s My Winner, a fine performance from a gelding getting better as a 5-year-old. He was the only other one really in the race, with third placed Impetus a full 7 lengths behind.

Magic Dancer, a 4-year-old colt from the formidable Kim Young Kwan training machine has long been thought of as one of the best of his year-group, yet today was his first trip to Seoul and his first victory in a Stakes race. His overall record though moves onto 10 wins from 15 starts and, with Indie Band out of the picture, he should play a big role in the big Stakes races to come.

Magic Dancer leads My Winner to the line in the Jeju Governor's Cup

Magic Dancer leads My Winner to the line in the Jeju Governor’s Cup

As for his jockey, Joe Fujii cemented his reputation as the most popular Japanese man in South Korea. Today was his 5th Korean Group race victory among 6 Stakes wins in all. He didn’t have to do a whole lot today, but as always, he got it done, wife and son joining him in the winner’s circle afterwards.

That celebration wasn’t before Fujii and Magic Dancer somehow managed to get lost on the way back to scale after they inexplicably found themselves on the inner track and had to double back all the way to the backstretch to get across and then trot back to a warm reception from punters.

So another piece of silverware disappears down the Gyeongbu Expressway. Seoul shows no sign of upping its game and the next big clash of the tracks is the Busan Metropolitan City Cup on the South Coast next month,

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – June 29, 2014

1. Magic Dancer (KOR) [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] – Kanichiro Fujii – 1.4, 1.1
2. My Winner (KOR) [Vicar – Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] – 2.7
3. Impetus (KOR) [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] – 2.9

Distances: 2.5 lengths/7 lengths
Also ran: 4. Singgeureounachim 5. Cheonnyeon Dongan 6. Chowon Yeoje 7. Last Mudae 8. New And Best 9. Road To Prince

Indie Band Break Leaves Magic Dancer Heading Jeju Cup Field

Genuine stars are few and far between in Korean horse racing at the moment. The glory days of a couple of years ago when the likes of Mister Park, Dongbanui Gangja, Tough Win, Dangdae Bulpae, Smarty Moonhak and Yeonseung Daero made each Stakes race one to savour, are gone.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President's Cup. He'll now be out for up to a year,

Indie Band plays up after winning the President’s Cup. He’ll now be out for up to a year,

The emergence therefore of Indie Band, who stormed to victory first in the President’s Cup and then in the Grand Prix Stakes at the tail end of last year, was warmly welcomed and his return to Seoul to compete for the Jeju Governor’s Cup was hotly anticipated.

The news that came through this week that Indie Band had suffered a fracture to his leg that is likely to keep him off the track for a minimum of nine months. Indeed, whether he ever returns must be open to debate.

Never a very good worker in the mornings, Indie Band had, by all accounts appeared even more out of sorts on arrival in Seoul last week, with an x-ray on Wednesday confirming the break.

His absence leaves just nine in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, a race which was won by another now retired star, Jigeum I Sungan, a year ago. Here’s a full run-down of the field (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1/2/3) – Jockey (home track):

Jeju Governer’s Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – June 29, 2014 – 16:40

1. Road To Prince [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] (22/9/4/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Came back into form after an indifferent spell with a 2nd place last time over a mile. Likes to go from the front and should be in contention for a place.

2. My Winner [Vicar – Bridlingbride (Unbridled’s Song)] (21/6/6/0) – Lee Hee Cheon (Busan)
Peter Wolsley’s entrant has a definite chance here. Unfashionable jockey should mean generous odds and while his last visit to Seoul didn’t go well, we can expect improvement here. Worth investing in at least a place.

3. Singgeureounachim [Vicar – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] (41/9/7/11) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
A very consistent performer who was in the winner’s circle over this distance last time out in May. Likes to come from off the pace and while he’s not the quickest, he has plenty of stamina and will pick off any tired front-runners.

4. Impetus [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] (16/6/2/3) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
A solid performer although 2000 metres might be at the limits oof his ability. Difficult to recommend to win but is one of a number with the possibility of placing.

5. Magic Dancer [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic (Peterhof)] (14/9/3/0) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
The de-facto favourite was a 7-length winner over this distance at Busan last start. Won from the front that day and will probably try to do so again. Big race jockey on board and difficult to look past.

6. Chowon Yeoje [Forest Camp – Navigation (Big Sur)] (30/5/7/6) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
Another consistent sort who is likely to show at the front early. He’ll be an outsider here.

7. Last Mudae [The Groom Is Red – White Aloe (White Muzzle)] (26/4/6/4) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
Beaten into 4th by Singgereounachim last time out, he’ll benefit from the return of Moon Se Young to the saddle and has strong place hopes.

8. Cheonnyeon Dongan [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] (13/7/1/3) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
Beaten by Joy Lucky in the Seoul Owners’ Cup last time out, this filly has only run twice all year but if she’s at her best, she will give Magic Dancer a very strong test. Likes to come from just off the pace and she’ll have plenty of support here.

9. New And Best [Trick Of Fate – Yongunch’eon (Phizam)] (56/4/6/3) – Bang Choon Sik (Seoul)
A reliable old handicapper, but New And Best will find a few of these far too quick here.

Mari Daemul, Magic Dancer Win Features

Mari Daemul and Magic Dancer both bounced back from recent reverses to claim the feature races at Seoul and Busan respectively today.

Mari Daemul, see here after his KRA Cup Classic win, was back in the winner's circle today

Mari Daemul, see here after his KRA Cup Classic win, was back in the winner’s circle today

KRA Cup Classic winner Mari Daemul has flopped in the Grand Prix Stakes at the tail-end of last year and could only manage third place on his season-debut last month.

However, that didn’t stop him from being sent off the even-money favourite for Seoul’s feature, which included a host of the track’s top class 1 horses.

Ultimately, Mari Daemul (Go For Gin) was the comfortable winner, scoring a 3-length victory over fellow US import Unbeatable (Eddington). Former Grand Prix winner and one-time Horse of the Year Tough Win (Yonaguska) was a neck back in third.

Talented but frustratingly inconsistent, it was an 8th win from 23 starts for the 5-year-old Mari Daemul.

Down at Busan, Magic Dancer (Forest Camp) was given few problems by his own class 1 rivals. The 4-year-old colt could only manage 4th place in the Busan Ilbo Cup last month but was untroubled today, seeing off Cheogang Dancer – to who he was conceding 8kg – by half a length.

In other races at Seoul, highly rated filly Clean Up Speed (Pico Central) landed her 4th win from 6 starts and her first around two turns. Although not entered for the KRA Cup Mile at Busan in two week’s time, she must be considered among the potentials for the year’s later Classics.

Clean Up Speed also provided the third in a treble of winners for Ikuyasu Kurakane. The Japanese jockey reached a milestone 200 Korean winners last weekend and shows no signs of slowing down.

Weekend Preview: Busan Takes Centre-Stage

Seoul Racecourse takes a weekend off so Busan switches to Saturday and Sunday for the final racedays of 2013.

Busan is the place to be this weekend

Busan is the place to be this weekend

Both days see class 1 action and while Saturday’s feature isn’t exactly one to set pulses beating too fast, Sunday’s sees the Kim Young Kwan trained duo of Road To Prince and Magic Dancer face off over 1900 metres. The 3-year-old Magic Dancer missed the Classics but has amassed 7 wins and 2 second places from his 9 starts to date and is quite a talent.

Meanwhile, the similarly prolific winner Road To Prince will be looking to get back into form after souring a fantastic year with a couple of lacklustre runs of late. Minister’s Cup victor Major King and Peter Wolsley’s Cheongchun Bulpae also go in what should be a decent contest.

In addition to the thoroughbreds at Busan, there are pony racing cards on Jeju Island on Friday and Saturday. Despite there being no live racing in the capital, Seoul Race Park will be open for simulcasting from Friday to Sunday.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday December 27
Jeju Race Park: 13 races from 11:50 to 18:00

Saturday December 28
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 7 races from 11:25 to 16:35

Sunday December 29
Busan Race Park: 14 races from 11:00 to 18:00