Prime Galloper

Weekend Preview

Night racing draws to an end this weekend as Seoul, Busan and Jeju all play host to their final twilight cards of the year.

Evening racing at Seoul is for everyone!

There’s no Stakes racing this week but still plenty to keep us occupied. Feature races at both Seoul and Busan are on Sunday. In the capital, Prime Galloper (Strodes Creek) is on a four-race winning streak and will be favourite as he faces nine class 1 rivals, headed by Singgeureounachim (Exploit) over 1900 metres.

Meanwhile at Busan, it’s imported horses who take part in the big race. Smoking Gun (Hat Trick) did well to finish fifth behind Dangdae Bulpae and Smarty Moonhak in the Buan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Stakes last month and has every chance of getting back to winning ways in a competitive race over 2000 metres.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday August 17

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 15:00 to 21:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 16:40 to 21:00

Saturday August 18

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 14:20 to 20:50
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 16:20 to 21:00

Sunday August 19

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 14:20 to 21:10
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 16:25 to 20:45

Weekend Review: Washouts & Winners

The monsoon season finally arrived in Seoul with a vengeance on Friday evening. The rain was so hard that Gyongmaman struggled to keep his red wine dry. It all proved too much for Seoul Race Park’s drainage system and with no let-up on Saturday morning, the decision was made to call off the day’s racing.

Uh oh: The Seoul track was designed to cope with the monsoon but it couldn’t cope on Saturday (Pic: Ilgan Sports)

The monsoon season happens every year and racing continues even during the most extreme downpours, however, this time the 15 hour deluge was overwhelming and the track was deemed unsafe to race.

The rain stopped mid-afternoon Saturday and Sunday was a glorious day at both Seoul and Busan. The pick of the action was on the South Coast and the foreign jockey contingent was in fine form. South African Gerrit Schlechter got things rolling with a win on Peter Wolsley’s promising filly Sangseungdaecheong (Ft. Stockton) in race 1.

Winners: Yukio Abe

Yukio Abe took race 2 on US import Kellan (Cape Town) before he and fellow Japanese rider Narazaki Kosuke took the honours in the two feature races. Kosuke rode hot favourite Tamna Hwangje (Montbrook) to a comfortable six-length victory in race 5 before Abe and five-year-old Saeroun Taeyang (Volponi) upset KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero in the finale.

With Joe Fujii coming in second to Abe twice today, the foreigners continue to do well down in Gyeongnam

* Up at Seoul, the feature race went to favourite Prime Galloper (Strodes Creek), with a dominant 8 length win. It was a fourth straight victory for the four-year old who, if he continues his current form, could find himself competing for some very big prizes later in the season.

Weekend Round-Up: Abe, Kosuke, Schlechter In-Form at Busan

Foreign Jockeys Win Five Of Six

It wasn’t a good Sunday for the local Jockeys’ Union in Busan. While apprentice rider Jeong Dong Cheol did manage to win race 2, he was the only Korean rider to score on the six-race card at the south-coast track as the visiting jockeys continued to show how things are done.

Winners: Yukio Abe

Yukio Abe, Narazaki Kosuke and Gerrit Schlechter had all ridden winners on Friday and it was the Japanese pair who led the way again today, each landing a double.

Abe guided one-time Korean Derby hopeful Predict (The Groom Is Red) to a five-length win in race 3 before landing the afternoon’s feature race on Champion Belt (Exploit).

Winners: Narazaki Kosuke

Kosuke meanwhile bookended the card with wins in race 1 on US filly Damyang Jukbuin (Harlan’s Holiday) and in race 6 on hot favourite Tamna Hwangje (Montbrook).

As for Schlechter, the South African came very close to pulling off a shock in the feature race on Peter Wolsley’s Khaosan (Sundaw Well), however, Champion Belt just had enough in him to hold off the ever-game seven-year old by a nose. Schlechter was not to be denied in race 4 though, partnering Jeoldae Jijon (Dixieland Band) to a similarly narrow win.

Although all three are relative newcomers to the track, Abe, Kosuke and Schlechter now make up three of the top four riders at Busan with Jo Sung Gon the only local able to compete with them. Wherther this inspires the local riders or simply fosters resentment remains to be seen. One thing that is for sure though, is that the visitors are getting the best rides because connections believe they are far more likely to help their horse win than the locals.

Winner: Gerrit Schlechter

How different to Seoul where Makoto Noda, who has been plugging away manfully for nearly a year now with little success, must look at his countrymen down south with something approaching envy. On the plus side, his license keeps on getting renewed, on the minus side, that may be because he doesn’t win very much. At least he gets plenty of rides. Some of the visitors, such as young JRA jockey Sho Ueno who went back to Japan last week, don’t even get that. Today, Noda was on plenty of horses but for the most part, they were slow horses.

Winner: Prime Galloper

Not slow was Prime Galloper (Strodes Creek), winner of the Sports Kyeonghyang Cup, Seoul’s Sunday feature race. Under veteran jockey Park Tae Jong, the four-year old scored a narrow win over Geuma Champ (Vicar) and Andy’s Runner (The Groom Is Red). It was his seventh win from eighteen career starts.

Saturday at Seoul saw feature race favourite Jumong (Johar) struggle under top weight for the second consecutive start. This time he went down to a four-length defeat at the hands of fellow US import Sing Sing Cat (D’Wildcat).

Stakes action returns to Seoul next Sunday in the shape of the Sports Chosun Cup. We also have potential appearances at Seoul by Tough Win and at Busan by Mister Park – the two top-rated horses on the peninsula.