Nolbu Manse

Tough Win Back On Form at Seoul but Gyeongbudaero is Aced at Busan

Tough Win may have lost his Grand Prix Stakes title to Gamdongubada last month but the six-year old showed he’s still the horse to beat at Seoul as he began 2013 with a routine win this afternoon.

Tough Win and Cho Kyoung Ho return as winners

Tough Win and Cho Kyoung Ho return as winners

Sent off the overwhelming favourite and back at his favoured 1800 metres, Tough Win (Yonaguska) was never troubled as he coasted to a six-length victory.

60/1 outsider Imperial Girl (Imperialism) was the well-beaten second while Stakes winners Kkakjaengi (Put It Back) and Nolbu Manse (Simon Pure) trailed in fourth and fifth.

The victory was Tough Win’s 19th from his 26 starts and jockey Cho Kyoung Ho, who missed the mount in the Grand Prix due to suspension was clearly a very happy man as they crossed the line.

One race earlier, former champion filly & mare Top Point (Tom Cruiser) made her return to racing after a 6-month lay-off. And it was an encouraging performance as, while the race was won by 66/1 Brothers (Vicar) she finished a close third just a length back. Now 9-years old, Top Point still looks as though she has a season or more’s running in her.

Down at Busan, Geyongbudaero (Menifee) made his Open company debut. In the absence of the well-fancied Prince Kingdom, last year’s KRA Cup Mile winner was backed into favouritism, however, he ran slap-bang into an in-form Viva Ace (Macho Uno) who started quickly and made all to pull-off an 8-length romp.

Viva Ace has been one of the most consistent – and underbet – horses at Busan. Very rarely sent off as favourite, he has now amassed 11 wins from his 22 starts.

Also at Busan, there was success for the new combination of the track’s best Korean jockey Jo Sung Gon and only foreign trainer, Peter Wolsley. The pair combined to win the first of the co-feature races with Secret Whisper (Sea Of Secrets). The 5-year old mare has now won 8 of 19 starts.

Weekend Preview: Tough Win, Gyeongbudaero Set For Season Debuts

We didn’t have to wait too long for the big boys to come out the barn and onto the track this year as several of the country’s most well-known horses make their 2013 debuts this weekend.

Tough Win is back

Tough Win is back

Chief among them is Tough Win (Yonaguska). Now a 6-year old, he failed to successfully defend his Grand Prix Stakes title last month but should really be back to winning ways on Sunday at Seoul.

He will, however, be giving 4 kilos to Nolbu Manse (Simon Pure), who also disappointed in the Grand Prix but is a Stakes winner and did finish ahead of Tough Win in the KRA Cup Classic. What should be an entertaining race over 1800 metres is one of co-features at Seoul on Sunday.

The other co-feature sees a return to the track after 6 months of rest for former Champion Filly & Mare Top Point (Tom Cruiser). The 9-year-old will need to be close to her old best though to beat a competitive field of 14 in a handicap which, like its partner feature, will also be run over 1800 metres.

Taking on the foreigners: Gyeongbudaero (Pic: KRA)

Taking on the foreigners: Gyeongbudaero (Pic: KRA)

Down at Busan, Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) is the first of last year’s Classic winners to make his 4-year-old debut. The KRA Cup Mile winner will take on a field of imported horses including consistent winner Viva Ace (Macho Uno).

Owner Jang Kwang Hwa also owns Yeonseung Daero and took a very similar approach with him when he reached 4 years old.

Korean bred horses receive a weight allowance when running against imports and, while Yeonseung Daero has won nowhere near the number of races he would most likely have done had he just raced his compatriots, he has had more than his fair share of success and his career has been a delight to watch. Hopefully we are in for more of the same with Gyeongbudaero.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday January 11

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday January 12

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday January 13

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00

Gamdonguibada And Joe Fujii Land Historic Grand Prix Stakes Win

Gamdonguibada became the first filly for twelve years and Joe Fujii the first ever foreign jockey to win the nation’s most prestigious race, the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

Joe Fujii and Gamdonguibada win the Grand Prix Stakes (KRA)

Joe Fujii and Gamdonguibada win the Grand Prix Stakes (KRA)

In weak sunshine on a bitterly cold day in the Korean capital, the three-year old US-bred Ganmdonguibada, already champion filly & mare of 2012 after her win in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, became overall champion racehorse of the year as, under a brilliantly timed ride from Japanese jockey Fujii, she edged out outsider Useung Touch and three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae by a neck on the line.

Gamdonguibada gets the better of Useung Touch and Dangdae Bulpae

Gamdonguibada gets the better of Useung Touch and Dangdae Bulpae

Tough Win had been sent off as slight favourite but while the defending champion looked to be well placed coming into the final straight, his challenge faded around the furlong pole as he eventually finished in fifth. Other reasonably well-fancied horses Nolbu Manse and Smoking Gun were never able to get properly involved while Oh Kyoung Hoan left his challenge on the fast-finishing Jumong slightly too late.

It was left therefore to second favourite Dangdae Bulpae to battle it out with Useung Touch and Gamdonguibada for the victory. Dangdae Bulpae was the first to go, beaten with 100 metres to run but 2011 Korean Oaks winner Useung Touch was stubborn until the very end as Fujii coaxed one last effort from Gamdonguibada to take the prize.

Gamdonguibada and Joe Fujii in the Grand Prix Winner's Circle

Gamdonguibada and Joe Fujii in the Grand Prix Winner’s Circle

Gamdonguibada [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] was a $31,000 purchase from the Ocala Spring sale of Two-year olds in training last year has won 6 of her 10 career start. Three of them have come in Stakes races; the Gukje Sinmun in April, the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup in early November, which saw her take overall victory in the “Queens’ Tour” to become champion filly & mare for the year and now, the biggest of the lot today. She’s earned just shy of $1 Million in prize money.

As for her jockey, Kanichiro “Joe” Fujii debuted in May this year and has ridden 30 winners from 207 rides. He partnered Gamdonguibada to her Governor’s Cup win last month to claim his first Korean Stakes triumph and was in top form to get her home today.

Unusually for visiting riders who win races, Fujii seems popular with the other jockeys – Jo Sung Gon was among the first to congratulate him after the race – and, while he will now have to sit out the rest of the season due to an eight-day ban, it is to be hoped he’ll have his license extended in the New Year.

So Gamdonguibada becomes only the fourth filly – and the first since Cheolgeoun Party – to win the Grand Prix Stakes. With Useung Touch in second, it made for an exacta paying out at 1400/1. Only three-years old, we have plenty more to look forward to from our Champion Racehorse of 2012.

Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – Sunday December 9, 2012

1. Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] – Kanichiro Fujii – 21.7, 3.9
2. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] – Lim Sung Sil – 20.6
3. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] – 1.5

Distances: Neck/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Jumong (USA) 5. Tough Win (USA) 6. Nolbu Manse (USA) 7. Seungniuihamseong (KOR) 8. Sing Sing Cat (USA) 9. Smoking Gun (USA) 10. Sydney Jewelry (AUS) 11. Sangnyu (USA) 12. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) 13. Tamna Hwangje (USA)

Derby Weekend Round-Up: JRA Trophy Goes To Nolbu Manse

The Korean Derby wasn’t the only big race at Seoul this past weekend. Saturday saw the annual running of the JRA Trophy and there was a surprise as favourite Grand Niner, unbeaten in all of his four previous starts, slumped to a disappointing tenth placed finish while 12/1 chance Nolbu Manse took the victory:

JRA Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1200M – May 19, 2012

1. Nolbu Manse (USA) [Simon Pure-Reason To Fear (Kris S.)] – Ham Wan Sik – 12.6, 3.1
2. Haedongcheorwang (USA) [West Acre-Sienna’s Honor (Honor Grades)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 1.6
3. Nano City (AUS) [King Of Roses-Meribel (Centaine)] – Moon Se Young – 1.9

Distances: 1 length/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Winner Trophy (USA) 5. Runway (NZ) 6. No Secret More (USA) 7. Geumdongi (USA) 8. Yeongungiyagi (USA) 9. Samogok (USA) 10. Grand Niner (USA) 11. Lopin Joe (USA) 12. Damas Ruler (NZ) 13. Mangmugane (USA) 14. New Terracan (USA)
Winning Trainer: Ji Young Hoon Owner: Park Si Yong Breeder: Tim & Karen MaWhinney (Florida)

* At Busan there were shocks in both of Sunday’s feature races. Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley would have expected to win the first of these, however, he wouldn’t have expected it to come by way of his second string entrant Pnata Rhei (Stormy Atlantic) getting the better of his first string and race favourite Secret Whisper (Sea Of Secrets). Joe Murphy’s Deep Desire (Jump Start) completed the placings for an all-foreign trained 1, 2, 3.

In the second feature, there was disappointment for Wolsley as his Ghost Whisper (Gotham City) reared up in the starting gate and got left behind. It was left to 28/1 outsider Haengbok Dream (Lammtarra) to take a shock four-length win from the previously unbeaten US import Smoking Gun (Hat Trick).

With both Smoking Gun and Grand Niner losing their unbeaten records, it wasn’t a good weekend for those hoping to see a star emerge to potentially take on Smarty Moonhak later in the year.