NACF Chairman’s Trophy

Seoul & Busan Sunday: NACF Chairman’s Trophy / Gyeong DoMin Ilbo – Race-By-Race Preview (November 25)

It may not be until next week then the top hopes for the 2019 Triple Crown trail come together to decide the title of Champion Korean Juvenile in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul but this Sunday in the capital will also give a glimpse of some potential future stars as the top imported juveniles compete for the NACF Chairman’s Trophy over 1200M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05:

Spring Back KRA

Spring Back is one of the leading contenders for the NACF (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Last year the race was won by PK. Party, who has gone on to win seven of eleven starts to date but also featured this year’s KRA Cup Classic 3rd place-getter Moonhak Chief as well as two of the stars of the Queens’ Tour, Ttukseom Cup winner Cheongsu Yeogeol and Sky Bay, victorious in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup.

So, who are the top contenders this time around? Spring Back looked sensational in his first two starts this summer, recording one of the fastest times of the year when winning on his second start over 1400M. He didn’t impress when 2nd on his reappearance in October though and that may open the door for others.

Since running 3rd to Spring Back on debut in July, Thank You Charlie has won three in a row, culminating in a facile six-length score at the big-race distance last month. He’s one of two Adios Charlie colts in the race – the other being Havana Charlie – and both will have plenty of backers. Kitten’s Joy colt Munhak Joy has won three out of five so far and looks a solid prospect while Wang Beotkkot was a solid winner at the distance earlier this month and looks dangerous too.

Both Medici Glory and Ultra Punch tackle six-furlongs for the first time and are others who could play a big part in the race.

At Busan, the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo highlights. It too has illustrious alumni with I’m Your Father taking victory in 2016 before going on to win the Busan Mayor’s Cup the following summer. Last year Ace Korea, who won last weekend’s Kookje News Sprint and looks to be Dubai World Cup Carnival-bound, ran 4th. Ace Korea’s trainer Peter Wolsley saddles one of the main hopes, Pro Consul while another foreign trainer Thomas Gillespie comes in with the hitherto unbeaten Mujeok Yeongung.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) SATO ROYAL improved to 3rd place on what was her first try at this distance on October 27th and her third career start in total. It’s true she’s not shown much in the way of speed, but she has shown progress and with a bit more today, she can win. (8) RAON STELLA is similar in that she’s shown potential if not much swiftness across four starts to date. She’s also gone well at this trip and beat a couple of these over 1000M last time out. (6) GEUP HAENG MA steps up in trip for the first time after a decent showing in 3rd at 1000M last time and should be challenging for the early lead here. (3) GWANGPOK JUHAENG and (11) CHEONGDAM QUEENS are others who may go close.

Selections: (7) Sato Royal (6) Geup Haeng Ma (8) Raon Stella (11) Cheongdam Queens
Next Best: 3, 1
Fast Start: 6, 7, 10, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here with just three of them making their debuts. They’ll be up against it as plenty of those who have raced have demonstrated some ability. (9) SIMPLIFY ran 3rd on debut on October 27th, beaten less than a length at this distance. He ran on strongly and should have come on for it. (5) WONDERFUL BRUSH was 5th when debuting in that very same race. He was very keen at the halfway point and ran out of room slightly and he can improve today. (8) RED BLADE debuted in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at the end of September and while that was too much too soon, he ran well for 3rd on his re-appearance last month and is likely to be well-backed here. (12) WONDERFUL MARIA also did nothing wrong when 5th on debut at this distance and is another who can get close. Of those three first-timers, (7) GEUMSUNI STAR trialled nicely and looks the most forward at this stage.

Selections: (9) Simplify (8) Red Blade (5) Wonderful Brush (12) Wonderful Maria
Next Best: 7, 11
Fast Start: 5, 6, 8, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(4) SPEED WINNER ran a good 2nd on debut over 1000M a month ago, beaten only by a very nice-looking winner, Havana Charlie, who goes in the big race later this afternoon. He ran through the line strongly and can be confident stepped up to 1300M today. He’ll be on pace from the start, as will (8) DAEGUNUI GEOM, 3rd over 1200M on his first start seven weeks ago and who looks to be the main threat. (3) GEUMSEOK DOLPA was a little slow to begin on debut on October 6th but ran on well over 1000M to finish 6th. More trip may suit here. (6) MALIBU GINGER has plenty of experience compared to the rest and while he will need to improve if he is to compete for top honours, he’s capable of beating plenty of these. There are two debut-makers and (5) INCHEON CHIEF looks a potential prospect. The Pioneerof The Nile colt has looked more than competent in two trials and could go well first-up.

Selections: (4) Speed Winner (8) Daegunui Geom (5) Incheon Chief (3) Geumseok Dolpa
Next Best: 6, 12
Fast Start: 4, 6, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) FIGHTING HERO got the best of a tight finish to win by a nose on debut at this distance four weeks ago. He’s up in class here but looks the one to beat. He’ll settle just behind the early leaders and look to be too strong late on. (2) MISS PYEONGCHON may have only won one of her seventeen outings to date, but she enters with strong recent form and was last seen running 3rd at class and distance with three of her rivals here behind her. She’ll be on the early speed and could win. One of those behind her that day was (7) HANIL MAGIC and he too can get a little closer this time. (5) GEUMA KINGDOM remains a maiden after three attempts but is up in class today following two runner-up finishes and a 3rd place. She’ll be competitive at this level. (11) ARABIA GONGJU looks best of the rest.

Selections: (3) Fighting Hero (2) Miss Pyeongcheon (5) Geuma Kingdom (7) Hanil Magic
Next Best: 11, 4
Fast Start: 2, 4, 10

Busan Race 1 Selections: 10 (This is New Legend, a Korean bred who ran seven times in the USA, including winning at Arlington Park in July of this year. This is his Korean debut) 6, 11, 7

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

Wildly competitive contest here. Five of these raced each other at class and distance on October 27th and it was two rank outsiders that day (3) SHADOW MONEY and (2) YEONGWONHAN SUNGAN who finished the best in 2nd and 3rd respectively. They will require more respect today although the margins weren’t huge and it’s more than possible that the best backed of them there, (11) HEUNG KKAEBI, who finished 6th, can overturn the form today. That was his first try at this distance and only his second start overall following a maiden win on debut, and he can have come on for that run. (12) SABA KINGDOM is another who can be given another chance following his latest effort. That was in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, so this is far more amenable company and he can get close. (7) GOODCHOICE ran 3rd on his first try at this class three weeks ago and should be very much in the placing frame again.

Selections: (11) Heung Kkaebi (3) Shadow Money (7) Goodchoice (12) Saba Kingdom
Next Best: 2, 8
Fast Start: 4, 8, 10, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) SANGSEUNG DAEHAN remains a maiden after six starts but enters off the back of three consecutive 2nd place finishes, two of them at tis distance and the latest at this class. An apprentice jockey takes significant weight off his back today and he could well make the breakthrough. (10) ECTON SPEED is up in class following her maiden win which came via a six-length score over 1300M on October 26th. She made all that day, running on well and should be able to handle to rise in both class and distance. (7) (more…)

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Cheonnyeon Dongan Injury Mars NACF Trophy Victory

Favourite Cheonnyeon Dongan raced to her second NACF Chairman’s Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday but it is likely to have been the last time we see the mare in action on the track as she suffered a breakdown on being pulled up.

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Lee Chan Ho win the NACF Chairman's Race (Pic: KRA)

Cheonnyeon Dongan and Lee Chan Ho win the NACF Chairman’s Race (Pic: KRA)

There was little indication in the race that anything was amiss with Cheonnyeon Dongan trading the lead with 25/1 shot Beaux Arts before taking things up for good in the home straight and outsprinting Korean Oaks runner-up Meni Money for victory by just under a length on the line.

It wasn’t until a full furlong after the line that the winner stumbled, dumping jockey Lee Chan Ho out of the saddle and onto the track. She was quickly attended to but x-rays revealed a fracture of both proximal sesamoid bones of her left foreleg. Surgery will attempt to save her for a breeding career.

Cheonnyeon Dongan was a late starting two-year-old in 2012 but had shown sufficient promise in her early races to be sent to the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown, the following Spring. That didn’t go well but a 4th place in the Korean Oaks marked her out as one of the top fillies of her crop. She confirmed that with victories in the Donga-Ilbo Cup and then her first NACF Trophy in the autumn.

2014 would see two Class 1 wins and four 2nd places among seven starts for the year. This season as a five-year-old, she won her second Donga-Ilbo Trophy and added a 2nd place in the Sports Seoul Trophy before her final victory this past weekend, her 11th from a total of 26 career races.

NACF Chairman’s Trophy – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – October 4, 2015

1. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessey)] – Lee Chan Ho – 2.5, 1.3
2. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.4
3. Shine Clover (KOR) [Revere – Prairie Township (Smarty Jones)] – Kim Dong Soo – 15.6
Distances: 0.75 lengths/1.75 lengths – 13 ran

With Cheonnyeon Dongan’s long-time rival Joy Lucky disappointing once more after being sent off as 2nd-favourite it looks as though there is a changing of the guard among the distaff ranks at Seoul. Meni Money perhaps hasn’t quite lived up to her early potential just yet but still looks to have plenty more in her while the lowest rated filly in the race, Shine Clover pulled off a shock 3rd place.

Shine Clover, the second foal out of the Smarty Jones mare Prairie Township, has won just once from ten career starts but has only been out of the money once.

This coming week, attention turns to the 2-year-olds with Juvenile Championship races at both Seoul and Busan in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup race at the end of November.