Munhwa Ilbo Cup

Silver Wolf Maintains Outstanding 2017 Record in Munhwa Ilbo

Silver Wolf may only have run five times in 2017 but it’s been a golden year for the Aussie import. Last Sunday at Seoul, she took home yet another big prize, scoring in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup over six furlongs.

Having won the Ttukseom Cup over 1400M and the KNN Cup at a mile, Silver Wolf has essentially already won the “Queens’ Tour” series for fillies & mares even before the final leg – the 2000M Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup in November. She has spent the early autumn sprinting, running a very creditable 5th in the Korea Sprint in September and then picking up Sunday’s Munhwa.

The strong early pace suited Silver Wolf’s style and under a patient ride from Djordje Perovic, Silver Wolf turned on the accelerator just as the early leaders started to fade. She went away to win by just under two lengths from two other fast finishers, Daisyan and Parang Juuibo.

Munhwa Ilbo Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – October 15, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Oratorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] Djrodje Perovic – 1.5, 1.0
2. Daisyan (USA) [Rock Hard Ten – My Catriona (Tactical Cat)] – Shinji Hatanaka – 2.5
3. Parang Juuibo (USA) [With Distinction – Spicy Souffle (French Deputy)] – Lim Gi Won – 1.8
Distances: 1.75 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Wonder Bolt (USA) 5. Choegangja USA) 6. Cheonjiga (USA) 7. Always Winner (KOR) 8. Zentenary (USA) 9. Clean Up Bingo (KOR) 10. Cheonma (USA)

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Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview

Big race action returns to Seoul today (Sunday) with the running of the Munhwa Ilbo Cup. The Sprint is the feature of an 11-race program in the capital which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. At Busan, there are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:05.

Silver Wolf

Silver Wolf goes in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(6) MASK is ready to win. He almost slipped over turning into the home straight on debut in July but still managed to finish 3rd before running 2nd on his return in August. He’ll be on the early speed here and really should be winning. (3) LUCKY BONGHWA was 3rd, two and a half lengths behind Mask in that August race, continuing the progression that he’s shown in each of his three outings so far and he looks to be the main danger although (5) ROYAL ACE has come close once or twice and could be in the hunt too. (2) M.J. CAPTAIN comes in off a 2nd place finish last start and will likely join Mask on the early speed while (10) DAECHEON ACE was a creditable enough 5th of 9 on debut a month ago and the jockey booking will attract some.

Selections (6) Mask (3) Lucky Bonghwa (2) M.J. Captain (5) Royal Ace
Next Best 10, 12
Fast Start 2, 6

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Enhanced prize money for this juvenile contest and it sees six first-timers taking on six others who have each started once before. And a number of those experienced ones did well on debut and are likely to be favoured over the newcomers here. (3) KING POSE is the pick, running on fluently for 3rd on debut over 1000M on September 10th and the extra furlong should suit just fine today. (5) EMERALD KING and (12) BAEKSAN GUNJU (more…)

Cheongdam Dokki, I’m Your Father Claim 2yo Prizes

Big prizes were on offer for imported two-year-olds at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday . 23/1 outsider Cheongdam Dokki took the honours in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul while at Busan, jockey Francisco Da Silva continued his recent run of form, guiding  well-backed I’m Your Father to victory in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo.

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Francisco Da Silva interviewed post-race

I’m Your Father (Tiznow) entered having won one of three starts so far with 2nd and 3rd places in the other two – all against older horses. Accordingly he was sent off as the slight favourite for the 1200M Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup, Busan’s most valuable race for imported juveniles. I’m Your Father, a $50,000 yearling purchase from the Fasig Tipton sale last autumn raced handy throughout, hitting the front early in the home straigth and running on to win by a dominant four lengths.

It was jockey Francisco Da Silva’s 11th Korean winner and he would quickly add another as he guided Main Stay to beat stablemate and Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi and highly rated sprinter Perdido Pomeroy in the class 1 feature.

Seoul too hosted its most valuable race for juvenile imports on Sunday and if Busan’s was practically a procession for the winner, in the capital it was anything but. Spirit Of Hansen (Hansen) was sent off as a vulnerable favourite in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup but it was another 23/1 chance, Cheongdam Dokki (To Honor And Serve) who closed from 9th to 1st in the final furlong to snatch it on the line under Park Eul Woon.

Cheongdam Dokki cost just $20,000 at Keeneland’s yearling sale in 2015. The munhwa Ilbo was just his second lifetime start and he’s won both of them

Next week sees one of the biggest races of the season at Seoul in the shape of the President’s Cup. It’s Korea’s most valuable race of the season that’s restricted to domestic-bred horses.

Sunday Preview: Munhwa Ilbo, Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo (November 6)

Busy day of racing at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday with big prizes at both tracks for imported 2-year olds. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:50 to 17:00.

Ottug Ottugi

Oaks Winner Ottug Ottugi faces Perdido Pomeroy on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

At Seoul, It’s the Munhwa Ilbo Cup and Spirit Of Hansen looks set to be favourite for a race that has attracted a full field of fourteen runners. Fourteen go too in Busan’s equivalent, the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup, a really open event in which the excellently named I’m Your Father, Sillaui Jeonseol, and Wonder Wall are likely to be among the favourites.

Also at Busan, there is an intriguing match-up in the finale as two of the track’s best sprinters, Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi and Korea/Japan Cup winner Perdido Pomeroy face off over six furlongs. Races 9-11 at Seoul will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2. English race cards are here. Notes on those three races below:

Race 9: Class Open – The Munhwa Ilbo Cup / 1200M / Allowance (2yo Only) / KRW 200 Million / 16:35

Following three 2nd place finishes, (5) SPIRIT OF HANSEN was perhaps a touch fortunate to get his maiden victory last time out when his main rival missed the break enabling him to comfortably make all. Nevertheless he has shown enough to suggest he should be favourite to take this valuable prize with champion jockey Moon Se Young on board for the first time. (14) NEW CITADEL made his own breakthrough last time with a visually impressive win over 1400M and while the draw is far from ideal, looks the main danger. There are plenty of unknowns in the race though. (7) CHEONGDAM DOKKI and (2) GRACE CITY have both won their only starts to date and will have backers while (8) DOLKONG may have only managed 2nd on debut behind one of his rivals at the end of August but clearly needed further and gets it today. (12) INGWANGDO has also shown promise in two outings so far and is to be considered.

Selections: (5) Spirit Of Hansen (14) New Citadel (7) Cheongdam Dokki (8) Dolkong
Next Best: 12, 2, 11
Rating: 5, 14, 4, 1=2
Fast Starters: 3, 4, 5, 12
Start-200M: 12, 4, 3, 14, 10
200M-Finish: 8, 11, 7, 13, 14

Race 10: Class 2 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 17:30

Nice competitive race here and while (6) SMART TIME found herself overmatched in the Jeju Governor’s Cup last month, she should go much better here in more amenable company. She races best when she gets a forward position from the gate and can do that today. (2) GREY KAISER beat a couple of these when racing 3rd over 1200M a month ago and will also be on speed today while (3) BAEKSAN can improve on a 6th place in tough company last start. (4) CUPID POWER and (12) SUN SHOT look best of the rest.

Selections: (6) Smart Time (2) Grey Kaiser (3) Baeksan (4) Cupid Power
Next Best: 12, 5, 1, 8
Rating: 85=85, 83=83, 82
Fast Starters: 2, 5, 6, 12
Start-200M: 12, 5, 1, 10, 2
200M-Finish: 4, 8, 7, 12, 3

Race 11: Class 1 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 110 Million / 18:00

It took (10) WINNER RED six starts to get his maiden win but he’s now won four of his last five and tackles class 1 opposition for the first time here with every indication being that he can be equal to the task. Also up in class is (11) SAMBONG. He was a, eight-length winner over 1900M last month but is a very solid sprinter too and must be considered. (7) DIPLOMATIC MISSION was 2nd at class and distance three weeks ago and can match that today while (1) WORLD JJANG and (6) CITY HUNTER have proven competitive at this level, the latter having returned from seven months out with a solid 3rd last month. (4) SUN STRONG and (12) GUMANSEOK are longer shots who also can’t be ruled out.

Selections: (10) Winner Red (7) Diplomatic Mission (11) Sambong (4) Sun Strong
Next Best: 12, 1, 6
Rating: 12, 8, 10, 2=7
Fast Starters: 2, 7, 8, 9
Start-200M: 8, 9, 10, 2, 7
200M-Finish: 6, 11, 1, 2, 10

Yeongsan Too Good In Munhwa Ilbo

Yeongsan made it five wins from five Korean starts, claiming the Munhwa Ilbo Cup in emphatic fashion at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Yeongsan II

Yeongsan II

The gelding, who was sold to Malaysia as a 2-year-old, only to be re-imported at the end of last year, was sent off as the long odds-on favourite for the 7 furlong race.

Under champion jockey Moon Se Young for the first time, Yeongsan was taken to the lead early on and, with minimal promoting from his jockey, accelerated away from the field in the home straight to record one of the easiest Stakes race victories seen at Seoul for a long time. At least since Magic Dancer last month. Or Queen’s Blade the month before.

In the entirely separate race for second place, Sun Gear got the better of Clean Up Speed, a full 12-lengths behind the winner.

Yeongsan is yet to be tested in Korea. He didn’t especially impress on the turf in Malaysia where he scored one 2nd place from two total starts, but has taken to the Seoul sand exceptionally well and is, at least until this year’s 2-year-old crop start proving their worth, currently the most exciting horse on the peninsula.

Yeongsan II [Menifee – Foxxy Cleo (Peintre Celebre)] (he has to officially be named “II” due to a previous “Yeongsan”), has now won 5 races at distances between 1200 metres and 1700 metres all by wide margins and without facing any challenge. Still officially at class 2, at least for one more race, it may still be a while before we see what he is capable of.

It’s wise not to be carried away as we’ve been here before with the likes of Feel So Good and Fly Top Queen. While the latter has turn out to be a very good horse, she hasn’t been quite the international class race she looked early on.

Where Yeongsan goes next is the big question. In an ideal world, he would be taking on the visitors from Japan and Singapore in the SBS Asia Challenge Cup at the end of August over the same distance.

Munhwa Ilbo Stakes – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – July 13, 2014

1. Yeongsan II (KOR) [Menifee – Foxxy Cleo (Peintre Celebre)] – Moon Se Young – 1.2, 1.2
2. Sun Gear (KOR) [Vicar – Arabian Jewel (Fraar)] – Lee Chan Ho – 1.8
3. Clean Up Speed (KOR) [Pico Central – Rich Emotions (Rizzi)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.8

Distances: 12 lengths/0.75 lengths – 13 ran

Gwanggyo Bisang & Park Tae Jong Win Munhwa Ilbo Cup

Gwanggyo Bisang, a 3-year-old gelding, cruised to victory in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul Race Park today.

Gwanggyo Bisang and Park Tae Jong in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup Winner's Circle

Gwanggyo Bisang and Park Tae Jong in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup Winner’s Circle

Geldings are ineligible for the 3-year-old Classics. If they were, Gwanggyo Bisang (Menifee) would surely have been a leading contender. He came into the race today with 5 wins from 6 starts at a variety of distances and, after sitting towards the back of the field during th early stages, he made short work of passing the whole lot to win by just under 3 lengths. K Tap (Menifee), a Derby also-ran was 2nd with the promising Heukgisa (A.P.Dancer) in 3rd.

It won’t be long until we see Gwanggyo Bisang in class 1 action and his is a name to look out for later in the year.

While it was a first visit to the Stakes winner’s circle for Gwanggyo Bisang, for his jockey it was anything but. Park Tae Jong has won more races than any other rider in Korean history – he’s closing in on 2,000 – and is one of only 3 jockeys still riding who first qualified for their license at the old Ttukseom Racecourse.

The 47-year-old Park’s first Stakes win came in the now discontinued Mugunghwa Cup in 1992 and with the exception of the Oaks, has won every big race in Korea. He may win a few more on Gwanggyo Bisang.

Munhwa Ilbo Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – July 14, 2013

1. Gwanggyo Bisang (KOR) [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] – Park Tae Jong – 4.5, 1.9
2. K Tap (KOR) [Menifee – Summit Party (Ecton Park)] – Moon Se Young – 2.4
3. Heukgisa (KOR) [A.P. Dancer – Mansumugang (Half Term)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.9

Distances: 2.5 lengths/Neck – 14 ran

* Next week sees the start of what is perhaps the highlight of the Korean racing year – four weeks of evening racing. During that time, the first race at Seoul will be around 2pm with the last around 9pm.