My Key

Se Young Storms Back At Seoul / Cinderella Man Steps Up At Busan

The fun’s over for the Seoul Jockey colony. There have been plenty of wins to go around so far this year but the main man was back this weekend. And Moon Se Young promptly asserted his dominance riding eight winners across the weekend.

And well he might smile. Moon Se Young was back and in-form this weekend (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

And well he might smile. Moon Se Young was back and in-form this weekend (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Last year’s champion jockey picked up a 6-meeting ban during the final weekend of 2014 giving him a pleasant few weeks off on what should have been the coldest race-days of the winter. As it transpired, it wasn’t that cold but in his return to race riding this weekend, Moon was red-hot.

To the surprise of no-one, he was in the winner’s circle after his first ride back on Saturday and he would return there a further seven times across the weekend – two more on Saturday followed five on Sunday. He added three 2nd places and two 3rds and is remarkably already in 3rd place in the 2015 Jockey Championship. Park Tae Jong, racing’s “President”, will know its odds-on Moon Se Young will have overtaken him at the top by the end of next weekend.

At Busan, the performance of the day came from Cinderella Man. The Peter Wolsley trained 4-year-old made his class 1 debut in the feature handicap. Under Jo Sung Gon, he led home last year’s Derby winner Queen’s Blade and solid handicapper My Key for victory by just under three lengths.

Cinderella Man (Southern Image) now has seven wins from ten career starts and looks a force to be reckoned with. Aussie trainer Wolsley has built up another strong stable this year and already sits in third place in the Trainer Championship. Another promising one of his, the (poorly-spelled, in an orthographical rather than a having a rest on the farm way) Diferent Dimension (Into Mischief) was an easy winner on Friday.

Also on the foreign training front, Bart Rice saddled his first winner of the year on Friday, with his Aussie-bred filly Ace Sinhwa (Onemorenomore) scoring on her racing debut.

As for the foreign jockeys, both Ikuyasu Kurakane at Seoul and Joe Fujii at Busan were among the winners on Sunday.

Back at Seoul, the feature race of the weekend was won by Strong Road (A.P.Warrior) who, just like Cinderella Man at Busan stepped up to class 1 for the first time and duly registered his 7th win from 10 career starts so far.

Racing Review: My Key Unlocks Busan Feature

Always a horse with a lot of attention on him, My Key delivered the goods at Busan this afternoon, landing his second class 1 victory in the afternoon’s feature race.

As half-brother of US champion Game On Dude, big things were expected of My Key (Macho Uno), now a 4-year-old gelding. He’s no superstar but has developed into a decent campaigner. Entering today’s race with 6 wins from 16 starts behind him, he was sent off as the 2nd favourite in the 13-runner, 2000 metre race.

Jockey Lim Sung Sil saved ground before unleashing My Key in the home straight and they eased away from the field to record victory by just over a length from Cheogo Gangja.

It was the second class 1 race of the weekend at Busan with Friday having seen the previously unbeaten US import Cowboy Son (Cowboy Cal) struggle to 3rd place as Oreuse (Smoke Glacken) took the win in the 7-furlong feature.

Up at Seoul, there was an interesting debutant on Sunday in the shape of another 4-year-old gelding, this one called Yeongsan (Menifee).

It was a Spring-like weekend at Seoul Racecourse

It was a Spring-like weekend at Seoul Racecourse

One of 6 Korean-bred horses exported to Malaysia in 2012, Yeongsan ran there twice on turf before quietly returning home at the end of last year.

Looking an absolute beast in comparison with a woefully overmatched class 6 field, Yeongsan sauntered to a 13-length win. We’ll take a closer look at him and the circumstances of his return over the next few days.

At the business end of Seoul’s card were two class 1 races, one for foreign-bred horses and the other for domestic-bred.

The foreign-bred one saw a very close finish which 8/1 chance Double Shining (Rockport Harbor) just got the best of ahead of Kentucky Galloper (Tiz Wonderful) and KRA Cup Classic winner Mari Daemul (Go For Gin).

Thirty minutes later, odds-on favourite Heukgisa (A.P.Dancer) claimed the domestic race to wrap-up another weekend of racing.

Ttukseom Cup Champion Keeps Her Winning Touch

Useung Touch, winner of last month’s Ttukseom Cup in Seoul returned to action at her home track of Busan this afternoon with some style as she defeated a field full of imported horses to win the first of co-main events.

Useung Touch

Useung Touch

The 2011 Korean Oaks winner had a solid if unspectacular 4-year old season last year, always managing a money-winning finish but generally finding one or two too quick for her.

However, her year ended with a big jump up in performance when she finished 2nd to another filly, Gamdonguibada in the Grand Prix Stakes.

Returning to the capital she dominated the Ttukeseom Cup, the first leg of the “Queens’ Tour” that will decide Korea’s champion filly and mare.

Today, Useung Touch (Menifee) was sent off the hot favourite, despite being one of only three Korean-bred runners in the mile-long race. In the end, she fought out a tough finish with US-bred colt Wild Myeongun (D’Wildcat), getting the better of him by just over a half a length on the line. The rest of the field trailed in a full eleven lengths behind the leading pair.

Useung Touch now has 8 wins from 22 starts – but with a further 7 seconds and 2 thirds to her name and over 1 Billion won in prize money in the bank, she currently just edges Gamdonguibada (who has 8 wins but from just 12 starts) as the most successful filly or mare on the peninsula right now. Jockey Choi SI Dae felt he should have won the Grand Prix when Useung Touch started at 100/1. A rematch between the two could be very interesting.

In the other co-feature at Busan, 4-1 chance Baekho Janggun (Pico Central) took a narrow win by a neck from Peter Wolsley’s old-stager Khaosan (Sunday Well). Wolsley also saddled the 3rd horse home, Ghost Whisper (Gotham City).

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Japanese jockey Joe Fujii continued his excellent form. He landed races 1 and 2 to take his tally to the weekend for 6. Fujii’s countryman Ureshi Katsunori was also on the board again but Darryll Holland’s best finish was the second on Wild Myeongun.

Also at Busan, My Key (Macho Uno), a half-brother to US champion Game On Dude, recorded his 3rd career win on his 7th start. He won the 1500 metre race 4 by a comfortable 5 lengths.

Up at Seoul, the feature race also went to a filly. 2012 Nonghyup Chairman’s Stakes winner Speedus (Menifee) found her way back to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2013 with a 2-length victory in the 1800 metre main event.

Next week, Busan is the focus again with a small but top class field set to compete for the Gukje Sinmun Cup. Three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) and the afore-mentioned Gamdonguibada (Werblin) are among those currently set to run.

Weekend Round-up: Global Fusion Takes New Year Stakes While Moon Se Young Rides First Winner in Macau

The first Stakes race of 2013 was run at Seoul Race Park on Saturday afternoon and it went the way of 3/1 joint second-favourite Global Fusion (Menifee).

Global Fusion and Cho Kyong Ho return after winning the New Year Stakes

Global Fusion and Cho Kyong Ho return after winning the New Year Stakes

Yaho Pilseung (Exploit) was sent off as favourite but, despite jockey Choi Bum Hyun’s frantic efforts, refused to break when the gates opened, leaving himself with 20 length to make up on the field – much to the chagrin of punters. In his absence at the business end of the race, Global Fusion, who was always well-placed, got the better of Naejangsan (Menifee) in the final furlong.

Global Fusion (Menifee-Morning Red Sky) is a 4-year-old colt and moves onto 6 wins from 12 starts, qualifying for class 1 races in the process. For jockey Cho Kyoung Ho, it was a welcome return to big race form after a disappointing end to 2012.

Another jockey enjoying a good start to 2013 was Yukio Abe. The Japanese rider has had a challenging time getting rides since moving to Seoul midway through last year after a successful stint at Busan. He’s begun the year well though, landing a double on Saturday first through Sudden Fortune (Latent Heat) in race 5 and then on Appealing Jeil (Exploit) in race 13.

Winning: Seo Seung Un

Winning: Seo Seung Un

The best start of all, however, was made by Seo Seung Un. The second year jockey ride four winners across the weekend and, along with Jo In Kwen, looks set to make Champion Jockey Moon Se Young work very hard if he is to retain his title.

They will certainly have a chance to gain a big lead as Moon is spending the early part of the season riding in Macau. On Saturday, Moon rode his first winner there, partnering 22/1 chance Mr. Excellency to victory over 1200 metres on turf. As well as Moon, Boo Min Ho is also riding on a short-term license in Macau but is yet to score after 5 ides.

* One notable result from Busan on Friday was a second consecutive win for 3-year-old gelding My Key (Macho-Uno-Worldly Pleasure). The half-brother of US champion Game On Dude broke his maiden last time out by 10 lengths and on Friday, despite stepping up in class, was a 7 length winner in race 6.

Busan’s Sunday feature race was won by another horse with a famous sibling – in Korean terms anyway. Dongteuja (Montbrook-Maremaid) is the half-sister of two-time Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja. She was the 3 length winner of the 1800 metre contest to record her 7th victory from 12 starts.

Yapung Leads Home A Menifee Trifecta In Breeders’ Cup

Yapung’s late charge saw him claim Champion Juvenile status by winning the Breeders’ Cup Stakes, the nation’s top race two-year olds at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

The colt, who had to come through heavy traffic before grinding down the field in the home straight, led home a one/two/three for his sire Menifee who has not only already been crowned Champion sire of this year, now looks set to be so for the foreseeable future too.

For the second week in a row in a Stakes race at Seoul there were ugly scenes. This time it was Kim Hae Sun on outsider Storm Music, who was responsible for starting a chain of events that ultimately saw Jo In Kwen unseated from Rapide Bullet in the back straight. Like Cho Kyoung Ho last week, jockey Kim finds her season prematurely ended by the stewards.

Yapung was able to avoid the trouble but still had plenty of work to do in the final two furlongs. Under Park Geum Man, he managed to find plenty and the manner of his acceleration suggests that there will be plenty more to come from him as a three-year old next year.

Sire Menifee is now responsible for almost twice as much prize money than his nearest rival, 2011 champion sire Exploit. The sixteen year old stallion fell critically ill earlier this year and required a team of vets to be flown in to save him. Even with foals from the likes of Ecton Park, One Cool Cat and Officer soon to hit the track, Menifee is undoubtedly by far and away the KRA’s top breeding asset.

Breeders’ Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Race Park – 1300M – November 25, 2012

1. Yapung (KOR) [Menifee-Wild Life (Wild Again)] – Park Geum Man – 5.3, 1.5
2. K Tap (KOR) [Menifee-Summit Party (Ecton Park)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
3. Fantastic Jazz (KOR) [Meniffe-Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.0

Distances: 1.5 lengths/1 length – 10 ran

In other news this weekend, there was a maiden victory for two-year old gelding My Key (Macho Uno-Worldly Pleasure) at Busan on Friday. My Key is a half-brother to US champion racehorse Game On Dude, through their dam, Worldly Pleasure.

Worldly Pleasure was purchased by Jeju Island’s Nokwon Farm in December 2009 while she was in foal to Macho Uno but before Game On Dude started winning big races in the US. Just before the 2011 Breeders’ Cup (the real one, not the pretend one we had at Seoul today) she was sold on to Japan’s vast Shadai operation in exchange for a number of broodmares and a sizable wad of Yen.

While at Nokwon she was covered by Volponi and the resulting colt is now a yearling. Meanwhile, the result of her liaison with Macho Uno was My Key and here he is winning by an impressive 11 lengths on Friday:

Dangdae Bulpae Owns Busan

Easy win for Dangdae Bulpae in Owners’ Cup / Gerrit Schlechter wins Gold Circle Trophy in Fine Fine / Jigeum I Sungan takes victory in Seoul / Game On Dude’s half-brother debuts

It was one of very few Stakes races he was eligible for that he hadn’t won but today, Dangdae Bulpae added the Busan Owners’ Cup to his massively impressive resume in almost contemptuous fashion at a rainswept Busan Race Park.

Sent off as the overwhelming favourite in the 12-strong field, the two-time President’s Cup champion was taken straight to the front by jockey Jo Sung Gon and the pair never looked like giving up that position, Jo easing Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) to a 2 length victory on the line.

Behind them, KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) got the best of a competitive battle for second place, just edging out Powerful Korea (Distilled).

Dangdae Bulpae moves on to 17 wins from 26 starts and with today’s victory he becomes the first Korean horse to win more than US $2Million in prize-money and has won a record-breaking 8 Korean Stakes races. His next target looks set to be an attempt on a third consecutive President’s Cup at Seoul in November, after which connections will have to decide whether to pit him against Tough Win in the Grand Prix Stakes.

Busan Owners’ Cup (KOR.G3) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – September 9, 2012

1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – Jo Sung Gon 1.2, 1.0
2. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Narazaki Kosuke – 1.5
3. Powerful Korea (KOR) [Distilled – Bound To Score (Quick Score)] – You Hyun Myung – 4.5
Distances: 2.5 lengths/0.5 lengths – 12 ran

Dangdae Bulpae isn’t the only one with an impressive record in big races. Before today, two of Gerrit Schlechter’s 30 Korean winners had come in Stakes races – the KNN Cup and Geyongnam Governor’s Trophy. Today the South African jockey added a third, appropriately enough in the Gold Circle Trophy, a race sponsored by South Africa’s Gold Circle Turf Club.

Schlechter guided second favourite Fine Fine (Forest Camp) to an extremely comfortable 7 length victory in the 1400 metre race.

Longest shot on the board Pull Queen (Giacomo) was second while pre-race favourite Myeongun Jewang (Forest Camp), who fetched the highest bid at last year’s Jeju Sales, was third. Fine Fine now has 6 wins from his 13 starts and looks set to be in class 1 company next time.

Gold Circle Trophy – Busan Race Park – 1400M – September 9, 2012

1. Fine Fine (KOR) [Forest Camp – Dream Fantasy (Manlove)] – Gerrit Schlechter – 3.4, 1.4
2. Pull Queen (KOR) [Giacomo – Gold Buzz (Touch Gold)] – Jo Chan Hoon – 11.1
3. Myeongun Jewang (KOR) [Forest Camp – Fully Approved (With Approval)] – 1.3
Distances: 7 lengths/0.75 lengths – 9 ran

Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan back in the winner’s circle at Seoul

It may have been a dreadful day weather-wise at Busan but up in the capital Seoul, it was quite beautiful. In the feature race, Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since his victory in the Korean Derby in May.

The colt was far too quick for his rivals in his first attempt among older class 1 company and stretched away for a 4 length victory.

Jigeum I Sungan will now be prepared for the final leg of the 2012 Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul next month, when he will likely meet Gyeongbudaero, who ran second to Dangdae Bulpae today, as well as Oaks winner Rising Glory.

*There was a notable debut at Busan today. Two year old gelding My Key (Macho Uno) is a half-brother of American champion Game On Dude. He is one of two foals to be delivered by their dam Worldly Pleasure during her time at Nokwon Farm on Jeju Island before she was sold to Japan’s Shadai Operation just prior to Game On Dude’s second place in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year.

My Key’s debut today was low-key. He finished was 5th of 12 over 5 furlongs in the opening race at Busan

Weekend Preview – Busan Owners’ Cup

Dangdae Bulpae at Busan, Jigeum I Sungan at Seoul while Game On Dude’s little brother debuts

It’s a big weekend on the south coast as Metropolitan City Stakes winner Dangdae Bulpae heads the field for a competitive renewal of the Busan Owners’ Cup.

Dangdae Bulpae will most likely be back in the winners’ circle this Sunday

Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) is a two-time President’s Cup winner and beat both Smarty Moonhak and Tough Win to claim the Metropolitan in July. He should be a strong favourite to take his sixth Stakes win but that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily have it all his own way.

KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee), who was third in the Korean Derby, takes his chance as does another three-year old with a good set of wins to his name, Himchan Jilju (Kwaedo Nanma). The evergreen Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) is there while Peter Wolsley’s tough Khaosan (Sunday Well), winner of this race last year after the disgqualification of Cheonnyeondaero, is always due respect.

The big race is off at 15:50 on Sunday afternoon and is immediately followed by another Stakes race, the Gold Circle Trophy.

Up at Seoul, Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) heads Sunday’s feature race in what will be only his second start since claiming the Classic in May. He was second in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup in July and is the only three-year old in a ten furlong test.

Back at Busan, there is a notable debut on Sunday as two-year old gelding My Key (Macho Uno-Worldly Pleasure), a half-brother of US Champion Game On Dude, makes his racecourse debut over five furlongs in race 1.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday September 7

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 14:30 to 18:35

Saturday September 8

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:15

Sunday September 9

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45