Owners’ Cup

Always Winner All The Way Again

He did it in January in the Segye Ilbo Cup and today in Group company, Always Winner once more got the jump on the field and scored an all the way victory in the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy.

Always Winner Owners

Always Winner and Park Eul Woon return to scale having won the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy

Always Winner was sent off as a 20/1 outsider in the Segye Ilbo but hit the front early to beat a decent field that included four who returned to face him again. This time he was a little bit more respected, punters making him the 7/1 fourth choice.

Today under Park Eul-woon, Always Winner once more broke the best and found the front form the gate and once more it was a lead he would not relinquish as he ran on to win by half a length. Coming 2nd was favourite Cheonji Storm who, while expected to be on pace instead went right to the back of the field before flying home down the outside. A few more strides and he would have won – and surely will will plenty later this year.

Best Guy, 2nd in the Segye Ilbo, put in another creditable run in 3rd while Gorgeous Dream returned to some semblance of form in 4th. There was no luck for Brian Dean’s Jangsanjewang, however, who gave it a good go tracking Always Winner early in the race but just couldn’t get home.

Always Winner, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Shim Seung-tae was winning for the 7th time in 24 races.

Owners’ Association Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 12, 2017

1. Always Winner (KOR) [Creek Cat – Hallat’Eukgeup (Land Rush)] – Park Eul Woon – 7.8, 2.7
2. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.5
3. Best Guy (KOR) [Didyme – Madam Winette (Danewin)] – Kim Cheol Ho – 3.4
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 3 lengths – 13 ran

Seoul Owners Association Trophy: Runner-By-Runner Preview

Thirteen horses will line up on Sunday afternoon for Korea’s first domestic Group race of 2017, the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy. And there are plenty in with a shout in the Group 3 contest.

(Always Winner made all to beat a number of his rivals here in the Segye Ilbo Cup in January. Can he do the same on Sunday?)

The Owners Trophy is race 9 on an 11-race Sunday ard at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:35 to 17:05. Here’s a run down of the field:

1.  Cheonji Storm – 6th in last year’s President’s Cup and class 1 winner over 1800M on season debut a month ago. Steps back to 1200M for the first time since debut as a 2-year-old. Front runner and strong claims.

2 . Cheonnyeonuigippeum – Has suffered plenty of setbacks and last raced at the beginning of December, only beating two. Hard to see him having the required speed to be a danger here.

3 . Chang Se – Won a good race last summer but has gone cold in three starts since, most recently a one-paced effort over this distance on Feb 5th. Improvement not impossible but big upturn in form needed.

4 . Sambong – Consistent performer who, surprisingly, has never actually raced at 1200M before. Latest was 2nd behind Cheonji Storm at 1400M in February and he should be a danger again.

5 . Haemaru – Won this race last year and followed up with 2000M Stakes win a month later. Only returned to winner’s circle once since & was 5th in the Segye Ilbo Cup, despite suffering interference and laying out throughout. A closer, even in sprints, he’ll need some luck in running but it’s not impossible.

6.  Global Fusion –  3rd in the Segye Ilbo running on really well having been bumped at the start. Good winner at the distance the time before. Tactically versatile, Djordje Perovic take the mount for the first time and he has a chance.

7. Winner’s Glory – 4th in last year’s Korean Derby, he enters having won three in a row around two turns. Back to 1200M for the first time since he was a juvenile, he should be on pace early and has solid claims.

8. Theme Deunggeuk – Beaten by plenty of his rivals here in his last two races but both were over 1800M. He was a winner at class 2 over 1400M last November. Won’t be among the favourites but can give a decent account of himself.

9. Always Winner – Got the jump on the field to make all in the Segye Ilbo Cup ahead of five of these at odds of 20/1 in February. Tougher ask today but with a good start must be respected.

10. Best Guy – 2nd to Always Winner in the Segye Ilbo running on very nicely. He is a decent sprinter with class 1 wins to his name. Others will be favoured but another good run can’t be ruled out.

11. Jangsanjewang – Brian Dean’s gelding is a top-class sprinter who won his first class 1 outing at this distance last month. Trialled up very nicely last week, this is his toughest ask to date but he has every chance.

12. Gorgeous Dream – Looked a potential star winning 8 of his first 9 starts but has gone off the rails lately. Had excuses when beaten in November but fewer in his last two, including 7th in the Segye Ilbo Cup. Undoubetedly talented though and will be backed.

13. Gumanseok – Very solid competitor who won over 1800M in January beating a couple of these. Well back behind Cheonji Storm last time though. Steps back to this distance for the first time since this race last year, he always gives an honest account of himself.

 

Triple Nine Bests Success Story & Rock Band

Triple Nine returned to the winner’s circle in some style as he defeated Success Story and stablemate Rock Band to win a strong renewal of the Owners’ Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Despite having suffered reverses to Diferent Dimension and Beolmaui Kkum in his last two outings, Triple Nine was sent off the slight odds-on favourite for the mile long race which was dominated by the favourites for the duration.

Success Story and Rock Band started quickly as expected but under Kim Yong Geun, Triple Nine was always handy and comfortably got the best of them in the home straight, running on to win by a length from Success Story with Rock Band a further half back in 3rd.

Success Story keeps his run of solid performances going since returning from Dubai. He is yet to win but has two 3rds and now a 2nd racing in very tough company. Rock Band, three races into a comeback following a lengthy spell out through injury also showed he is back to near his best.

Triple Nine and Success Story were both among preliminary nominations for September’s Korea Cup at Seoul. Given the strength of some of the overseas nominations, they are going to be very much up against it. Success Story was up against it in Dubai too though and he exceeded expectations. Hopefully they can both exceed expectations next month.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview of Owner’s Cup Day (August 14)

Overseas-trained accepted nominations for the Keeneland Korea Cup & Sprint have been released as have the preliminary ones for Korean-trained horses. And some of those Korean-trained ones will line up at Busan on Sunday afternoon in the valuable Group 3 Owners’ Cup.

Triple Nine, Success Story and Gumpo Sky are all nominated for the Cup and they along with Rock Band will be the top fancies for the Owner’s Cup which will be run over a mile and will be available for betting on the TAB in Australia. English racecards are here. Brief notes on selected races below:

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 12:20 (SIN)

(6) HONEY BUTTER NINO is ready to win again on what will be his fourth attempt at this class. Beaten four lengths into 2nd last time, he can go one better here. The danger is (8) DEVIL MAN, who’s had a string of near misses and drops back in trip following back to back 3rd places at 1700M Both will look to come from just off the pace. That pace is likely to be set by (2) PINK STAR, who’s been in form of late and can stay on while (5) WANJEON MULGYEOL and up-in-class (1) HAPPIEST are others with claims.

 

Selections (6) Honey Butter Nino (8) Devil Man (2) Pink Star (1) Happiest
Next Best 5, 3, 12, 4
Outsiders 7, 9, 10, 11
Fast Starters 2, 3

Busan Race 1: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 12:40 (SIN)

(10) FEISTY flopped when favourite in a competitive race over 1300M on July 8th but Kim Young Kwan’s gelding showed good ability in two starts prior to that and is favoured to come back into form here. Similarly disappointing when well backed last time was (8) ICE MARINE and she too should improve today. One who ran to expectations last time was (6) CHOA, the gelding running 2nd over class and distance on July 15th and a repeat should be aimed for here. (4) SUNGANUI BEOPCHIK and (5) ONLY BLUE are also in contention.

Selections (10) Feisty (8) Ice Marine (6) Choa (5) Only Blue
Next Best 4, 9, 7
Outsiders 1, 2, 3
Fast Starters 5, 8

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 13:05 (SIN)

With two wins from four and back to the minimum distance today, (1) GOLD MORNING has plenty of potential and is the one to beat here. She should lead gate-to-wire. It won’t be a procession though. Both (5) JOARA and (9) GOLD MUSIC have proved capable at this level and will be dangerous. The former beat (2) BEYOND LIMIT last start but Beyond Limit too could welcome the opportunity to run at the minimum distance again. (10) JINNGYEONGUI GEOIN hasn’t really pushed on from an impressive start to his career but was a close 5th last time and is one of the quickest of these on his day.

Selections (1) Gold Morning (2) Beyond Limit (10) Jinngyeongui Geoin (5) Joara
Next Best 9, 4, 3, 8
Outsiders 6, 7, 11
Fast Starters 1, 7, 8, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 13:25 (SIN)         

Small but competitive field here. Both (5) OCEAN LINE and (6) ACE SINHWA drop back in trip today, the latter for the first time in many months. Ocean Line will look to lead while the Aussie-bred Ace Sinhwa will try to come from just off the pace and both should be involved at the business end of the race. (8) BIO BLUE is two races into a comeback following a lengthy absence. Neither have gone especially well but both have been at 1000M and the increased trip should be beneficial and we will expect an improvement today. (9) TOUGH COUNTRY is still looking for his maiden win but comes in following consecutive 3rd places and should match. (1) SEVEN PARTY will welcome the drop back in distance.

Selections (6) Ace Sinhwa (8) Bio Blue (5) Ocean Line (9) Tough Country
Next Best 1, 4, 3
Outsiders 2, 7
Fast Starters 3, 5, 8

Busan Race 3: Class 3 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 14:15 (SIN)

 He struggled in the Korean Derby and also in the Minister’s Cup, the final two legs of the Korean Triple Crown at Seoul, but back in Busan and back at seven furlongs today, (8) SAEROUN STEALTH should have far too much for this field. (3) SUPER STORM and (6) MACHU PICCHU, who ran 2nd in decent races at 1400M and 1600M respectively last time are the two with the strongest claims to be able to compete with the favourite while (4) BYEOLMURI was an improved 5th (behind Super Storm) last start and can look for more improvement. Second place specialist (2) WIN GO MAN is rather unfortunate to find himself up in class here but should be able to give a good account of himself.

Selections (8) Saeroun Stealth (3) Super Storm (6) Machu Picchu (2) Win Go Man
Next Best 4, 7
Outsiders 1, 5
Fast Starters 3, 4

Seoul Race 9: Class 3 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 15:00 (SIN)

Up in class following a comfortable victory over a decent class 4 field at 1200M at the end of June, (7) CLEAN UP KING can make an immediate impact here. Most likely content to let others lead, he has strong finishing speed and the lightly raced three-year-old can win this. (1) MENI MUSIC hasn’t quite lived up to her early potential but is always well backed and generally gives a good account of herself. She will set the pace here and winning this is within her scope. (8) JEWELRY PARK was a well-beaten 3rd of 7 on her first try at this level last month but with champion jockey Moon Se Young returning to the ride, she’ll have backers to make amends here. (2) HUIMANG ROCKET, up in class after a solid win, and (6) NORTHERN HOJAE best of the rest.

Selections (7) Clean Up King (1) Meni Music (8) Jewelry Park (2) Huimang Rocket
Next Best 6, 5
Outsiders 3, 4
Fast Starters 1, 2, 5

Busan Race 4: Class Open – The Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) – 1600M / Weight for Age / KRW 400 Million / 15:30 (SIN)

(5) TRIPLE NINE has suffered unexpected reverses in his last two races but he will still be heavy favourite to triumph here. He won Korea’s richest race last year and beat Success Story by a nose in the 1800M Mayor’s Cup last start. He is the one to beat. (8) SUCCESS STORY landed two 3rd place finishes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival earlier this year and since returning to Korea has added two more 3rd places. He’ll be on speed early as ever and this time can go at least one better. (10) ROCK BAND is Triple Nine’s stablemate and was his big rival last autumn before injury saw him out of action for several months. He returned in June and was back in the winner’s circle in July winning an admittedly indifferent handicap over 1800M. With a bit more progress he will be competitive again here. (4) GUMPO SKY was well beaten in the Mayor’s Cup but remains a danger and will be on the early speed. (7) CHEONJI PARK is an improver and looks to be the wildcard.

Selections (5) Triple Nine (8) Success Story (10) Rock Band (4) Gumpo Sky
Next Best 7
Outsiders 1, 2, 3, 6, 9
Fast Starters 2, 4, 8, 10

Seoul Race 10: Class 3 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 16:00 (SIN)

It took (4) BOEUN YONGSA ten goes to get his maiden victory but once he did, another win followed right away at class and distance and he’s got every chance of making it three in a row here. Although he did win at class 4 carrying this weight, today he’s giving plenty away, including 5kg to (8) FORMER MISSION. The US import by Temple City is up in class following his own maiden win on July 17th. The class gap shouldn’t be a problem and the increased trip should be to his advantage. (2) REWARD HIGH is up in class following her maiden win at the ninth time of asking and can be competitive at this level while (7) KWAESOK POWER completes the set of those at this level for the first time and is a winner at this distance.  (1) TRIPLE SHINING should improve today in more favourable company than his last two outings.

Selections (8) Former Mission (4) Boeun Yongsa (2) Reward High (1) Triple Shining
Next Best 7, 3
Outsiders 5, 6
Fast Starters 1, 5

Seoul Race 11: Class 1 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 120 Million / 16:30 (SIN)

A disappointingly small field here as Seoul’s class 1 contingent remains in its boxes instead of facing (7) CLEAN UP JOY, who will be a prohibitive favourite to maintain his 100% record at his home track this year. He was beaten by Triple Nine and Success Story by a length in the Busan Mayor’s Cup last month but is superior to his rivals here even if he is giving them all a minimum of 8kg. That weight is perhaps the only doubt and should anyone wish to take him on they should look to YTN Cup winner (5) MISO WANGJA who is still a work in progress with plenty of potential. (3) BEST RUN and (4) WINNING ANDY are other candidates for places.

Selections (7) Clean Up Joy (5) Miso Wangja (3) Best Run (4) Winning Andy
Next Best 1, 6, 2
Fast Starters 2, 5

Late Show Haemaru Owns SROA Trophy

8/1 chance Haemaru was the winner of the first Korean Group race of 2016, getting up for a last-gasp victory over Segye Ilbo Cup victor Global Fusion in the Seoul Racecourse Owners’ Association Trophy this afternoon.

Punters couldn’t come to any kind of consensus. Magic Dancer ended up sent off as a weak favourite but while he would show close to the front for most of the race he, along with all the early pace-setters; Yaho Sky Cat, Sun Lordly and Always Winner, would fade badly in the home straight.

It would be left to the closers and Global Fusion, the shock winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January with a similar late late show, took control with a furlong to go. His lead looked to be big enough to ensure lightning would indeed strike twice but that was to reckon without Haemaru. Fifth at the furlong pole, he relentless ground down the leader under jockey Choi Bum Hyun and snatched victory in the final strides.

Sotong Sidae, Sun Burster and Seonbong would likewise fly home from the back to occupy the minor prize money positions.

For Haemaru (Vicar), a 5-year-old gelding, it was an 8th career win on his 25th start and first Stakes victory. He was 9th in this race last year. For Jockey Choi Bum Hyun, at one-time the go to man in the weighing room for the big occasions, it was a first return to the Stakes winner’s circle since 2012.

SROA Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 13, 2016

1. Haemaru (KOR) [Vicar – Forest Flower (Timber Country)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 8.6, 2.9
2. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 4.0
3. Sotong Sidae (KOR) [Gold Money – Myeonggahuiye (Black Minnaloushe)] – Park Byeong Yun – 3.1
Distance: Head/2.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sun Burster 5. Seonbong 6. Always Winner 7. Yaho Sky Cat 8. Singyu Gangja 9. Best Guy 10. Gumanseok 11. Goldholic 12 Magic Dancer 13. Power City 14. Impetus 15. Raon Morris 16. Sun Lordly

Down at Busan, Beolmaui Kkum (Wildly Magic) cemented his return to the top of racing on the south coast, beating Gamdonguibada (Werblin)for a second consecutive time. over 1400M. There was a length between the pair on the line and they were split by Darkest Night (Ghostly Minister), who recorded a very solid 2nd place on his first try at class 1.

Rock Band Plays Winning Encore In Owners’ Cup

In what turned out to be a repeat of the Minister’s Cup, Rock Band led home stablemate Triple Nine and Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace to score a commanding victory in the Owners’ Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

Rock Band wins the Minister's Cup (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Rock Band wins the Minister’s Cup (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

In the final leg of the Triple Crown at Seoul in July, Triple Nine had been sent off as the odds-on favourite with Rock Band fourth in the market. With Triple Nine, 2nd in the Derby and the Minister’s Cup, having finally got a Stakes race win in the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo Cup in August, he was favourite again ahead of Success Story and with Rock Band third choice.

Rock Band in the Owners' Cup winner's circle (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Rock Band in the Owners’ Cup winner’s circle (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Once more, Rock Band made a mockery of that. Success Story, showed the way early on but Rock Band was always very handy and took things up entering the home straight. From then on the result was never in doubt.

Under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Rock Band ran on to win by just under two lengths with Triple Nine and Yeongcheon Ace chasing him home to complete an identical 1-2-3 to that in Seoul in July.

Jockey, Trainer and Breeder (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Jockey, Trainer and Breeder (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

It was Rock Band’s 6th win from 7 career starts, his only defeat coming when he got a dreadful trip in his first try around two-turns in June.

A full-brother of Indie Band, the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner, Rock Band didn’t race as a 2-year-old but now looks the pick of his crop. Hopefully, he will return to Seoul to attempt to emulate big brother in the President’s Cup later this autumn.

It was another solid performance by Triple Nine in 2nd. He has now raced 10 times with 6 wins and 4 second places. He too is trained by Kim Young Kwan, Busan’s top trainer and just like the winner, is by Ecton Park. The 1-2 was another triumph for Isidore Farm, where Ecton Park stands

Owners’ Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – September 6, 2015

1. Rock Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 6.4, 3.1
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5
3. Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae
Distances: 1.75 lengths/3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Ildeung Hanghaesa 5. Doraon Hyeonpyo 6. Success Story 7. Gumpo Sky

* Elsewhere over the weekend, the Seoul Racecourse track-record for 1700M fell for the third time this year. The capital’s track – quicker than ever in recent months – was racing extremely fast following a storm on Saturday morning. Perfect Clone (Exploit), having broker the Korean-bred record for five furlongs earlier in the day before Special Joy (Kitten’s Joy), under Djordje Perovic, took a second off the previous best set by New White Socks in July, in winning the 1700M race 9

Weekend Preview: Indie Band Returns in Gujke Sinmun / Owners’ Cup At Seoul

After three cancellations due to the Sewol Ferry disaster, racing returns to the peninsula this weekend. And there is big Stakes action in store as Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band finally makes his 2014 debut. Meanwhile at Seoul, the delayed Owners’ Cup will also be run Sunday.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President's Cup. He returns this weekend.

Indie Band plays up after winning the President’s Cup. He returns this weekend.

Indie Band ended 2013 with back-to-back dominant wins at Seoul in the nation’s two richest and most prestigious races; the President’s Cup and the Grand Prix Stakes. On Sunday, he returns to his home track of Busan to face 9 rivals in what looks a very tough Gukje Sinmun Cup.

Aside from Indie Band, Cheonji Bulpae, third in the Grand Prix goes as one of two entrants for Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley, Ghost Whisper being the other. Prolific winner Magic Dancer takes his chance while champion jockey Jo Sung Gon returns from Macau to partner undefeated up-and-comer Strictly Two Step.

Oreuse can never be ruled out while Dynamic Jilju and Sand Hi also know where the winning line is. It should be a great race.

The ferry disaster resulted in the postponement of the Seoul Owners’ Cup two Sundays ago. The race will be run this Sunday instead and 10 of the original 11 entrants will take their chance with only Heukgisa dropping out. Read our original preview here.

Generally big fields abound on a welcome return to racing. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday May 2
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:25 to 17:40

Saturday May 3
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:15

Sunday May 4
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00 including the Gukje Sinmun Cup at 16:10.