Pinot Noir

Another Pinot Noir Spring Vintage

Pinot Noir just loves this time of year and she loves this race too. The 7-year-old mare was in fine form as she claimed victory in the Group 3 “Spring Stakes” (planned to be the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

This race was intended to be the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup but due to the impending Presidential election, that had to be dropped with the Governor himself still potentially a candidate and therefore conflict of interest rules coming into play. Pinot Noir won the race in 2014, was 2nd in 2015 and then won again in 2016. She went cold towards the tail-end of last year but came back into form by running 2nd to Meni Money in the Donga Ilbo Cup –  a prep for this race – a month ago.

This time around, with the race being over an extra furlong and at level weights, punters found it hard to split Meni Money and Pinot Noir, ultimately sending the former off as the very slight favourite. Outsider Gold Wave, one of just two in the race who didn’t take part in the Donga Ilbo, took the initiative while Moon Se Young opted for a steady start on the favourite. Meanwhile Park Hyun Woo on Pinot Noir used the same tactics as always on the mare; drop right to the back at the start before coming wide around the field in the back-straight.

The field was nicely bunched together in the home straight and once it became apparent Gold Wave wasn’t going anywhere, things started to get interesting. Meni Money just couldn’t hit top gear leaving it to Pinot Noir to tackle her inside the final furlong and run on to win by an ever increasing margin.

In total it was Pinot Noir’s 8th win on her 32nd start and the 5th to arrive in Stakes races. She may very well not win again this year but if she’s still racing this time next, it wouldn’t be hugely surprising to see her back here again.

Spring Stakes (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – March 26, 2017

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Hyun Woo – 2.4, 1.1
2. Gold Wave (KOR) [Volponi – Geumbit Yuhok (Exploit)] – Kim Yong Geun – 3.2
3. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] Moon Se Young – 1.1
Distances: 1 length / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. The Queen Silver 5. Argo Champ 6. Namsan Chukje 7. Lakshmi 8. Simsin Jiryeo

At Busan, Sunday’s feature saw Perdido Pomeroy (Pomeroy) fall to defeat. The four-year-old who last year won the Korea v Japan race at Seoul, had returned to the winner’s circle in January but turned in a flat performance this time over 1400M as Doraonpogyeongseon (Kantharos), two starts into a comeback from a lengthy absence, took the honours.

This coming week it’s Triple Crown time!. The first jewel in the crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean Guineas) will be run at Busan on Sunday April 2nd.

Meni Money Downs Pinot Noir In Donga Ilbo

Last year’s winner Pinot Noir put up a valiant defence of her Donga Ilbo crown but ultimately was to be denied as Meni Money came home in front  in Seoul’s second Listed Race of 2017.

With the well-fancied Touch Flying found lame and declared a non-runner less than an hour before the race, it was Meni Money who was sent off as favourite and she was kept handy by champion jockey Moon Se Young in the early stages. Meanwhile, Park Hyun Woo on Pinot Noir employed the now 7-year-old mare’s familiar tactics of dropping to the rear on leaving the gate before going wide around the field in the back straight to take the lead.

Pinot Noir would lead into the straight but Meni Money came alongside with a furlong to go and ran on to prevail by just under a length and a half. Argo Champ ran on well for 3rd.

Meni Money [Menifee-Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] is out of a dam who for a number of years held the track record at today’s distance of 1800M. She won five and was runner-up in five of her first ten career starts, including 2nd place in the Korean Oaks in 2015. However, since then she had only added a further two victories prior to today. Her previous biggest victory came in the 2015 Sports Seoul Cup.

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – Feb 19, 2017

1. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Moon Se Young – 2.3, 1.2
2. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Hyun Woo – 1.6
3. Argo Champ (KOR) [Menifee – Doo Dah Day (Woodman)] – Djordje Perovic – 2.1
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 3 lengths – 9 ran

The win was one of five on the day for defending champion jockey Moon Se Young. Earlier, he won on Lion Rock (Ecton Park), a three year-old “full” brother to reigning Horse of the Year Triple Nine. Lion Rock moved to three from three with a facile victory in the 1700M race 8.

Two unbeaten records came to an end at Busan though. American Power (Ecton Park) didn’t travel especially well on his first try at a mile and gave himself too much to do in race 5, ending up in 2nd place. A race later, US import Drop The Beat (Mad Flatter) also went down to his first defeat.

Those defeats were in contrast to the showing a day earlier by Final Boss (Menifee). The champion juvenile of 2016 barely required second gear to maintain his winning streak over 1800M at Seoul:

Pinot Noir Easily Wins Gyeonggi Governor’s / Triple Nine Beats Bold Kings

In a near repeat of February’s Donga Ilbo Cup, Pinot Noir dominated the Group 3 Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Last month’s Donga had been run in a snowstorm but while the weather was very different at a sun-bathed Seoul, the result was exactly the same. Sent off as the hot favourite ahead of the other seven who raced in the Donga – as well as three less than stellar others – Pinot Noir hit the front as they began to turn for home and raced on for an easy victory.

The always game X File came home in 2nd with Smart Time in 3rd. The mismatch, coming so soon after the Donga, wasn’t a great advert for Stakes racing – the inevitable result of extra big money races for fillies and mares in order to encourage owners to buy them but as yet there not being much depth of talent, especially at Seoul. Hopefully Pinot Noir will face tougher challenges in the Queens’ Tour races later this year.

Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – March 27, 2016

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman] – Park Eul Woon – 1.3, 1.1
2. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee]- Kim Dong Soo – 1.7
3. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charon] – Djordje Perovic – 1.6
Distances: 2.5 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Lucky Music 5. Meni Money 6. Pureun Geotap 7. Argo Asset 8. Space Shuttle 9. Punggwae 10. Shine clover 11. Queen’s Win

At Busan, Grand Prix Stakes winner Bold Kings suffered the first defeat of his career on what was his eighth start. Under Kim Yong Geun, Bold Kings was beaten by President’s Cup winner Triple Nine by a length with Gumpo Sky just a nose back in 3rd.

Class 1 Handicap – Busan Racecourse – 2000M / March 27, 2016

1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke] – You Hyun Myung – 2.0, 1.1
2. Bold Kings (USA) [Afleet Express – Bold Arrival] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.2
3. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm] – Seo Seung Un – 1.8
Distances: 1.25 lengths / Nose
Also Ran: 4. Heba 5. Cheonji Bulpae 6. Viva Ace 7.Forest Bold 8. Nobody Catch Me

Next week, the three-year-olds take centre-stage with the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, at Busan.

Full Sunday Preview: Bold Kings v Triple Nine, Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup

It’s a big Sunday of racing in Korea. Pinot Noir heads the field for the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul but the most interesting race of the day is in Busan where Grand Prix winner Bold Kings takes on President’s Cup winner Triple Nine and also Gumpo Sky in a real class 1 test.

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Bold Kings beat Gumpo Sky by a neck in the Grand Prix. They face off again, with Triple Nine also in attendance, on Sunday

The first race at Seoul is at 10:50am and the first at Busan at 1pm. 12 races will be simulcast to Singapore and Malaysia while Seoul races 7, 8 and 9 will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2.

English language racecards are here. Notes on all simulcast races are below (we spent most of Friday dodging winners so treat with caution):

Busan Race 1: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:00 

(6) ILMANGMUJE got back to back wins in December and January and following a creditable 3rd place last time, can get back to winning ways today. She’ll likely come from just off the pace along with (5) QUICK FORCE, how has two 2nds and two 3rds from four starts to date and can go close again. Up front early will be (8) ACE POWER and (3) BLUE STORM, both of whom have claims although on Friday it wasn’t easy for horses to lead all the way. Next best is (7) MAJOR WINNER.

Favourites: (6) Ilmangmuje (5) Quick Force (8) Ace Power (3) Blue Storm
Next Best: 7, 2, 4, 9
Remainder: 1, 10
Fast Starters: 3, 4, 8, 9

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:20 

Big field and a competitive one too (2) JISANG BIHAENG just gets the nod over (11) SUSEONG CAPTAIN; both come in following 2nd place finishes at this class with the former having done it at this distance. Both will go forward early and both have claims. (5) BEST TAKER drops back in distance after a decent 4th at 1700M last month and can go well while both (9) GWASOK DOLPUNG and (13) FLY WING can be given further chances after slightly disappointing recent starts. (10) KKUMDONGNE, who beat Gasok Dolpung when winning at class and distance in December, may also be considered.

Favourites: (2) Jisang Bihaeng (11) Suseong Captain (5) Best Taker (9) Gwasok Dolpung
Next Best: 10, 3, 13, 1, 6, 8
Remainder: 4, 7, 12, 14
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 5 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40 

(14) DAMYANG JANGGUN is up in class and distance following a maiden win at the fifth time of asking last month and he is more than capable of following up here. (11) FOUR STAR actually beat Damyang Janggun when recording his own maiden win in January. He went on to run 3rd behind (3) GARAK GONGWON at this distance on his first try at class 5. Garak Gongwon followed up with another 2nd place and both must be considered here. (6) DAEHANUIMYEONGSEONG returned from a six-month spell with a very solid run over 1300M three weeks ago and can show more progress here. (4) WISH ME LUCK hasn’t excelled in two starts at this class since winning on his debut but gets another chance while (7) PEACE BERY and (10) POWER CUPS are among a number of others not to be overlooked in a really competitive race.

Favourites: (14) Damyang Janggun (3) Garak Gongwon (6) Daehanuimyeongseong (11) Four Star
Next Best: 4, 7, 12, 1, 10, 2, 5
Remainder: 8, 9, 13
Fast Starters: 6, 7, 12, 14

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:05

Banker favourite of the day here in the shape of (2) SUPER BROAD. A Korean bred taking on mild imported opposition – who only have one win between them – and a really good winner last time, he’ll come from just off the early pace and it is hard to see him getting beaten. Those with the best chance of pulling off a surprise are (4) PRO MATHEUS, who has shown some glimpses in three starts to date and (5) DALLYEORA GANGJEOK, who has won plenty of money but never finished any better than 3rd. (1) CHIEF DRESSEL and (10) MADURYEONG are others who will be expecting to finish in the money.

Favourites: (2) Super Broad (4) Pro Matheus (5) Dallyeora Gangjeok (1) Chief Dressel
Next Best: 10, 8, 9, 7
Remainder: 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14
Fast Starters: 3, 10, 12

Busan Race 3: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:30

From Kim Young Kwan’s stable, (13) MATCH POWER makes his racecourse debut here having won a trial in good fashion last month. The Cowboy Cal colt will be expected to go very well. The main obstacle to his securing a debut victory is (9) WORLD QUEEN, a very reliable filly who will be on pace early and won’t let many past here. (12) ILLYUCHEON looks to have a win in her at some point and beat (11) BUYEONG TOWER as the pair raced 3rd and 4th over 1200M last month. (3) SEUNGNI PARK and the up in class (4) GOOD TOUCH are the others with claims.

Favourites: (13) Match Power (9) World Queen (12) Illyucheon (4) Good Touch
Next Best: 11, 3, 5, 7,
Remainder: 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 14
Fast Starters: 6, 9, 11, 12

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:55

(3) GANGSEONG DAEGUK, a winner at domestic class 4 and 2nd in a similar race at the end of last month is the pick to claim this competitive affair. He’ll look to lead all the way. (2) BALIOS QUEEN and (7) BEONGAE BIHO both enter following decent 2nd places last time, the latter defeating (11) NEW VETERAN who can also be expected to go well here. (6) PYEONGCHONYEONGUNG has a pair of 2nd places among four previous outings and will surely get a win at some stage. He can come close here. (14) RAON TROY was disappointing last time out but can be given another chance here.

Favourites: (3) Gangseong Daeguk (7) Beongae Biho (6) Pyeongchonyeongung (2) Balios Queen
Next Best: 11, 14, 5, 1, 4
Remainder: 8, 9, 10, 12, 13
Fast Starters: 3, 5, 14

Seoul Race 8: Class 2 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 15:45

Much more competitive but the verdict goes the way of (10) SUN STRONG who has beaten (1) SUPER TANK over this distance before. The latter went on to pick up an 1800M victory of his own and is the main danger. Those two will look to come from off the pace, a pace that could be set by (2) GOLD MOUNTAIN and (6) ILJIN HWARANG, both of whom are capable of staying on. (8) CHASING DOLLARS is reunited with jockey Lee Chan Ho, who has gone well on him in the past and should be competitive here.

Favourites: (10) Sun Strong (1) Super Tank (8) Chasing Dollars (2) Gold Mountain
Next Best: 6, 4, 7, 5
Remainder: 3, 9
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 6

Busan Race 5: Class 2 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 16:10

Very open race and (1) HEUKGANGJA makes a quick return following a good 3rd place at a mile two weeks ago and likely to be among the favourites here. (9) MAGIC PARK actually beat Heukgangja over 1800M last month and will have backers to repeat while (3) MEDA GLORIA is up in class following one too many near misses at class 3. She may struggle to win here but should be close. (4) DREAM TOWER and (14) PROFESSOR SILVER raced 4th and 5th at 1900M last month and both can go well here. The wildcard is (11) SUMMIT MYEONGUN. One of the most highly thought-of three-year-olds at the beginning of last season, he hasn’t raced since the KRA Cup Mile almost exactly a year ago. He’s been gelded and came through a barrier trial very nicely earlier this month.

Favourites: (1) Heukgangja (9) Magic Park (11) Summit Myeongun (14) Professor Silver
Next Best: 3, 4, 5, 13
Remainder: 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12
Fast Starters: 1, 4, 9

Seoul Race 9: Class Open – The Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – 2000M / Allowance / KRW 300 Million / 16:40

This is practically a rerun of the Donga Ilbo Cup, which took place over 1800M on February 28th. All eight fillies & mares who too part that day line up again and with (6) PINOT NOIR having won that race by a full nine-lengths, there aren’t too many reasons to oppose her today. She will go back early and look to hit the front entering the home straight. The other market leaders are likely to be the ones who chased her home forlornly. (1) SMART TIME was 2nd, (3) X FILE was 3rd and (9) MENI MONEY was 4th. Also expected to go ok is (10) LUCKY MUSIC while among the three who didn’t go in the Donga Ilbo, (2) SHINE CLOVER perhaps has the best chance of an upset. But not much.

Favourites: (6) Pinot Noir (10) Lucky Music (9) Meni Money (1) Smart Time
Next Best: 3, 2, 8, 11
Remainder: 4, 5, 7
Fast Starters: 2, 7

Busan Race 6: Class 1 / 2000M / Handicap / KRW 105 Million / 17:05 

The big money may have been in the previous event at Seoul but this is undoubtedly the race of the day. Grand Prix Stakes winner (1) BOLD KINGS makes his eagerly awaited four-year-old debut. He’s seven for seven but faces President’s Cup winner (7) TRIPLE NINE over the latter’s preferred distance of 2000M. It could go either way but Bold Kings has raised himself on every occasion so far and there’s no reason why he can’t do it again. It’s set to be a terrific contest. (3) HEBA ran Triple Nine very close last month and can’t be ruled out and while (5) GUMPO SKY could only manage 5th in that race, he was only beaten a neck in the Grand Prix and will surely give a good account of himself. He and Bold Kings will lead, Triple Nine will come from just behind. The evergreen (4) VIVA ACE can never be ruled out of the money.

Favourites: (1) Bold Kings (7) Triple Nine (5) Gumpo Sky (3) Heba
Next Best: 4, 2
Remainder: 6, 8
Fast Starters: 1, 5

Seoul Race 10: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 17:30 

After the likely fireworks in the previous contest, this is rather more run of the mill. (1) GWANGBOK CHILSIP is favoured to get back to winning ways over this modest class 3 field. (7) BIG MOUNTAIN and (8) JANGSAN TAEYANG provide the sternest competition for the three-year-old while (2) READ AGAIN and (3) HWANGGEUM GASOK can’t be ruled out. However, the most likely outcome is Gwangbok Chilsip leading from gate to wire.

Favourites: (1) Gwangbok Chilsip (7) Big Mountain (8) Jangsan Taeyang (3) Hwanggeum Gasok
Next Best: 2, 6
Remainder: 4, 5, 9
Fast Starters: 1, 6, 9

Seoul Race 11: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 18:00

Really nice contest to finish with which sees four up and coming fillies taking each other on. (2) DONGHAE CHEONHA is unbeaten in two starts and was a dominating winner over this distance at the end of last month. (1) KATIE STAR has been beaten, at this distance at the end of January, but was impressive over 1000M three weeks ago and has very solid claims. The third filly is (6) JEWELRY PARK, an eye-catching six-length winner last month. (7) BEYOND LIMIT won three of her first four and while she has struggled a bit in her most recent two, can get back in form here especially if the others go too fast early. Aside from those it is a slightly older filly, (5) BIHOBARAM who looks next best while (8) SSONSALGACHI and (13) MUHANDOMA can also go well.

Favourites: (1) Katie Star (6) Jewelry Park (2) Donghae Cheonha (7) Beyond Limit
Next Best: 5, 8, 13, 4
Remainder: 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
Fast Starters: 1, 2, 5, 6

Pinot Noir Is Seoul’s Snow Queen While Triple Nine Scores At Busan

A frenetic day of racing on the peninsula saw a total of four races lost due to a combination of a Tote system failure and then a late-winter blizzard. However, both of the day’s biggest races survived, with Pinot Noir running out the dominant winner of Seoul’s snowbound Donga Ibo Cup and, in altogether more agreeable conditions in Busan, last year’s President’s Cup winner and top three-year-old Triple Nine got his 2016 campaign off to a winning start.

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Pinot Noir slips and slides around the Donga Ilbo Cup winner’s circle

Pinot Noir was sent off the 2nd favourite for the Donga Ilbo Cup, an early prep race for the Queens’ Tour races later in the year. And while, as in recent starts, she was slowly away, she quickly improved and once she took the lead on the turn for home, there was only ever going to be one winner. She and jockey Park Eul Woon crossed the line a full nine lengths clear of their nearest rivals.

Smart Time and Djordje Perovic got the best of a photo-finish for 2nd, nosing ahead of X File. Pre-race favourite Meni Money, 2nd in last year’s Korean Oaks, was a disappointing seven further lengths back in 4th place. It was Pinot Noir’s 6th career victory.

Donga Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Feb 28, 2016

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.9, 1.2
2. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft.Stockton – Caron (Jade Robbery)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.5
3. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee (Woodman)] – Kim Dong Soo – 2.9
Distances: 9 lengths/Nose – 9 ran

At Busan, President’s Cup winner Triple Nine (Ecton Park) was making his seasonal debut and he was sent off at odds-on to score in the class 1 handicap over 2000M. He was made to work for it, although not by second favourite Gumpo Sky (Vicar) who as usual set the early pace but this time failed to get home.

Instead, on a day when the road to the Queens’ Tour began in Seoul, it would be last year’s “Queen” Heba (Peace Rules) would run Triple Nine all the way to the line, ultimately going down by only half a length. Old-stager Viva Ace (Macho Uno), nowin his sixth season racing at Busan, ran a huge race and pipped Gumpo Sky by a nose for 3rd.

Neither were perhaps the story of the day. There had been carnage in race 6 at Seoul when filly Brown Rocket broke down when leading, unseated jockey Jang Chuyoul in front of a wall of horses. Three more jockeys would be brought down in the aftermath; Jeong Jeon Hee, Kim Hye Sun and Lee Hae Dong. Remarkably, between them, the most serious injury was a broken arm. Brown Rocket, sadly, was not so fortunate.

While races 3 at Busan and 7 at Seoul proceeded without incident, the tote system then malfunctioned – Busan and Seoul both running the same system. This caused the cancellation of Busan race 4. For a few worrying moments it became clear that not only could the system not take bets, it could not payout or refund tickets either. A ripple of discontent started to appear although to punters’ credit, tempers remained intact.

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A tractor does its best

With snow now blizzard-like at Seoul, race 8 was cancelled in any case although to the relief of almost all, the tote system came back online to allow Busan race 5 to go ahead as planned. The two feature races were then run before with dusk falling but the snow not yet abating, Seoul races 10 and 11 were cancelled on safety grounds in accordance with jockeys’ wishes.

And so ended an eventful day’s racing. Or mostly racing. It’s March in a couple of days and we should be done with this kind of nonsense. Next Sunday sees early Korean Oaks trials at both Seoul and Busan.

Pinot Noir The Toast Of Ladies’ Day At Seoul

Pinot Noir produced a late run to upset hot favourite Cheonnyeon Dongan to win the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday and in doing so, be crowned the capital’s Champion filly or mare of 2014.

Pinot Noir gets up to beat Cheonnyeon Dongan to win the Gyeonggi Governor's Cup (Pic: KRA)

Pinot Noir gets up to beat Cheonnyeon Dongan to win the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Cheonnyeon Dongan was a proven winner at class and distance against colts. Pinot Noir on the other hand, was running in class 1 company for the first time after winning the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy in August and then running a creditable third in the Donga Ilbo Trophy last month.

And it was the favourite, always travelling well under Seo Seung Un, who looked to be in the box seat she hit the front as the field entered the home straight at the end of the 10 furlong race. However, Park Hyun Woo on Pinot Noir had other ideas, shifting his filly to the rail and making up ground rapidly.

The two would battle it out in the final furlong and it was the 12/1 chance Pinot Noir who just had her neck in front as they hit the line. Choichoro, a 10/1 chance ridden by Moon Se Young came home in third place, 4 lengths behind the leading pair.

It was a 5th win in 15 starts for the 4-year-old Pinot Noir and the first really big win for jockey Park Hyun Woo.

Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – Oct 26, 3014

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacific Bounty)] – Park Hyun Woo – 12.4, 2.1
2. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.1
3. Choichoro (KOR) [Concept Win – Eunbiryeong (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – 2.1
Distances: Neck/4 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Chiming VIcar 5. Full Moon Party 6. Dangchan Miso 7. X File 8. Chongal Gongju 9. Bongamsa 10. Chowon Yeoje 11. Mighty Forever 12. Bukdaepung

* Cheonnyeon Dongan wasn’t the only favourite to go down at the weekend. Saturday at Seoul saw a number of odds-on shots turned over, principal among them the highly rated Power City (Archer City Slew) who was beaten in the final strides of race 10 by Jeil Jal Naga (Dice Dancer), a horse he had beaten by 9-lengths just a month ago.

Also losing (again) was Call Me Rocket (Colonel John) who finished last in Saturday’s race 11 which was won by 25/1 Wahaha under a very good ride by Lee Ah Na. And in Saturday’s final race 12, Foolish Scip (Scipion) finished 2nd for the 5th consecutive race, this time losing out to up-and-coming import Clean Up Joy (Purge).

Favourites had a slightly better time of things at Busan where the feature race was, unusually, on Friday. Nobody Catch Me (With Distinction), the shock winner of July’s Busan Metropolitan City Stakes made his first start since his victory that day and indeed, nobody could catch him as he cruised to a 5-length win over veteran Viva Ace (Macho Uno) in the 1900M class 1 event.

There’s no Stakes action next weekend but we are now less than two weeks away from Korea’s richest race, the President’s Cup, which will be run at Seoul on Sunday November 9.

International Exchange Race / YTN Cup Round-Up

No International jockey Challenge this year – we’ll have 6 visiting jockeys in town for the Asia Challenge Cup later this month – but the annual international exchange races went ahead at Seoul Racecourse this past weekend.

Pinot Noir and Park Hyun Woo win the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy (KRA)

Pinot Noir and Park Hyun Woo win the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy (KRA)

Four exchange races were held on Saturday(the Singapore Turf Club Trophy will this year be run on August 30, the day before the Challenge Cup) while the YTN Cup, traditionally the finale of the Jockey Challenge took place on Sunday.

First up was the Macau Jockey Club Trophy. Three-year old colt Clay Shot (Wildcat Heir), 5/1 chance, took the honours by just under a length under jockey Choi Bum Hyun.

Next came the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy which saw odds-on favourite Sun Gear beaten into fourth place in a tight finish where 7/1 shot Pinot Noir (Capital Spending) just got the better of Revereduction (Revere) right on the line.

On a blustery day where national flags were hoisted and lowered over the racecourse at a speed greater than that of some of the runners, the VIP balcony groaned under the strain of a procession of visiting dignitaries that included the Ambassadors of Turkey and Ireland.

One race later, Choi Bum Hyun made his 2nd visit of the day to the Presentation stage after guiding Ganghae (Didyme) to victory in the Selangor Turf Club Trophy. Ganghae’s victory came at the expense of the much vaunted Raon Morris who despite being sent off at long odds-on following a very easy win last time out, faded in the home straight as Ganghae came past to record his 4th win from 13 starts.

The feature race of the day, however, was the Turkey Jockey Club Trophy, the only class 1 event on the program. And in what was a very open betting race, 50/1 outsider Seoul Jeongsang (Capital Spending) swooped late to claim a narrow victory, giving jockey Lim Gi Won his biggest race win to date. It was also the biggest win in 6-year-old Seoul Jeongsang’s career, and only his 5th from 36 starts.

Stakes action returned to Seoul on Sunday in the shape of the YTN Cup, one of very few televised live races in Korea (by virtue of it being sponsored by the YTN Cable News Channel).

Run under the floodlights and in a torrential downpour, 5-year-old American-bred mare Big Power (A.P.Warrior) beat out Dragon Hill and Strong Wind to win by a length under Ham Wan Sik.

YTN Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1900M – Aug 10, 2014

1. Big Power (USA) [A.P.Warrior – Dixie Satin (Dynaformer)] – Ham Wan Sik – 7.4, 1.9
2. Dragon Hill (USA) [Afleet Alex – Caracara (Nashwan)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.6
3. Strong Wind (NZ) [Duelled – Seams Of Gold (Made Of Gold)] – Moon Se Young – 1.1
Distances: 1.25 lengths/1 length – 13 ran

Riding the third horse home was Moon Se Young. The champion jockey rode six winners across the weekend and moves onto 999 for his career. Next weekend, he’ll bid to become only the 2nd Korean jockey in history to ride 1000 career winners.