Juveniles take centre-stage this weekend as both Seoul and Busan hold their respective Championship races for 2-year-olds. The best performers in each race will then meet in Seoul next month to decide the peninsula’s overall best up-and-coming young horse.
As has been the case for the past few years, Busan looks to have the edge in terms of quality. A total of 14 runners – 7 colts and 7 fillies – will line up for the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup on Sunday afternoon, only 2 of whom are yet to win. Yeonggwanguichampion and Cheonha Ullim have perhaps been the most impressive coming into the race but anything could happen in what looks a very competitive field.
Up at Seoul just 8 colts and 2 fillies will take their chance in Saturday’s Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup. Nubi Queen, Cheonwang Dungi and Raon Morris have been the stand-out performers among them so far.
In the week that it was announced that US 2011 Breeders’ Cup winner Hansen would be coming to Korea, there is plenty of diversity among the stallions represented in both races, unlike the Menifee and Forest Camp dominance of the past 2 years. Freshman sires here One Cool Cat and Peace Rules both have runners in Korean Stakes races for the first time.
The weekend’s other race of note is the last at Seoul on Saturday as Fly Top Queen (Henny Hughes) makes her 4th appearance. The 3-year-old filly – Korea’s most expensive ever imported racehorse – has won her first three races in dismissive fashion and will be heavily favoured to make it 4. If all goes to plan, she will travel to Tokyo next month to represent Korea in the 2nd leg of the Korea vs Japan Challenge races.
Down on Jeju, Saturday’s short 5-race pony card forms part of the Jeju Horse Festival and includes the Jeju Open and Jeju Classic, the track’s 2 richest races of the year.
Here’s what’s happening when and where:
Friday October 11
Busan Race Park: 13 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Saturday October 12
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at 16:30
Jeju Race Park: 5 races from 12:20 to 16:00
Sunday October 13
Seoul Race Park: 13 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 4 races from 12:50 to 15:20 including the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at 14:30