Queens Tour

Silver Wolf Completes Queens’ Tour Sweep

Silver Wolf cruised to victory in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup on Sunday and in doing so, completed a clean sweep of the 2017 Queens’ Tour, assuring her the title of Champion Filly or Mare of the year.

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Silver Wolf & Yoo Seung Wan complete the Queens’ Tour sweep (Pic: KRA)

Having narrowly won the Ttukseom Cup over 1400M in June and then easily winning the KNN Cup at a mile a month later – and finding time then to run 5th in the Korea Sprint and win the Munhwa Ilbo Cup – Silver Wolf was sent off a prohibitive favourite for the 2000M final leg, a race in which she could only manage 8th place last year and 7th in 2015.

It was never in doubt this time. Queen’s Queen provided the early drama by dumping Song Keong Yun on the ground exiting the starting gate but the race from then on was routine with jockey Yoo Seung Wan content to keep Silver Wolf in 2nd behind early pacesetter Hello Venus. Entering the home straight, they struck the front and never looked like being caught, finishing two lengths clear of fellow Seoul-raider O.K. Yeondab. Gold Blue arrived on the scene late to take 3rd with KNN Cup runner-up Mighty Gem in 4th.

Silver Wolf [Oratorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] is a five-year-old Australian-bred mare. She was a $40,000 purchase from the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale in 2014. She’s won nine of nineteen outings to date with career winnings not in excess of US$1Million.

 

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Seoul & Busan Sunday – Queens’ Tour Finale: Race-By-Race Preview (November 12)

Silver Wolf on Sunday gets the chance to make a clean sweep of the 2017 Queens’ Tour when she lines up at Busan Racecourse for the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. The Aussie-bred 5-year-old by Oratorio  narrowly won the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul in June but then romped away with the KNN Cup over a mile month later. She returns to Busan as favourite but having to go 2000M in a race in which she was 8th last year.

Silver Wolf

Along with winning the Ttukseom, KNN & Munhwa Ilbo Cups this year, Silver Wolf also found time to run 5th in the Korea Sprint (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The Cup is the highlight of a 6-race program at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 while up at Seoul there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Small field of fillies to begin with and the champion jockey should get off to a winning start on (3) SAUVIGNON. She’s been getting closer over three starts to date and should have too much for these. (2) CUPID DOCTOR has also made a positive start to her career although Sauvignon’s experience over this distance is what gives her the edge. (4) RUBY BEOLKIN is two starts into a comeback following a layoff and was only narrowly beaten by Sauvignon last time so does have claims too but it’s slim pickings among the rest with possible (5) BABY STAR most likely to improve.

Selections (3) Sauvignon (2) Cupid Doctor (4) Ruby Beolkin (5) Baby Star
Next Best 1, 6
Fast Start 2, 3, 4

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Two standouts here who both look close to their maiden wins. (8) WONDERFUL CHAMPION was a close 3rd over 1200M last time out and comes in fresh following eight weeks off. He’s not a fast starter but should be able to sit handy from gate 8 and finish strongly. The other likely one is (5) GIDONG DAEJANG. Much improved on first try at this distance last time out, he narrowly missed out on 2nd place and should make the running here. (9) STORMY also showed improvement when finishing 4th last time out while (1) JEGUKUI HUYE and (11) NEULPUREUN CHEONHA are also capable of finding the money.

Selections (8) Wonderful Champion (5) Gidong Daejang (9) Stormy (1) Jegukui Huye
Next Best 11, 10
Fast Start 5, 6, 7, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / 60 Million

Three of these have raced before, five haven’t and of those with experience, both (2) CITY ANGEL and (3) HIGH BEAT ran 5th. Neither were particularly impressive although probably did enough to be reasonably well fancied here but we should give a chance to some of the debut-makers. (5) BACK TO BACK looks the pick of them following a swift showing in a trial at the end of October while both (1) ACE CANT and (4) HWANSANGUI BIT also showed they know what they are supposed to do and have every chance of going well first up.

Selections (5) Back To Back (2) City Angel (1) Ace Cant (3) High Beat
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 2, 4

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Allowance / 40 Million

(7) LUCKY MISS was a three-length winner on debut over this distance on October 14th and while she steps up in class today, she is favourite to strike again. There will be plenty looking to get on the early speed and (1) REBECCA and (3) NAMWON QUEEN are contenders to do just that and stay on for the business part of the race. The latter was 5th behind (11) PARTY POWER last start but is better drawn to overturn that form today. (12) (more…)

Silver Wolf Adds KNN To Ttukseom In Busan Romp

Plenty doubted her but today at Busan, Silver Wolf answered in emphatic fashion, crushing her rivals in the KNN Cup to add to her Ttukseom Cup last month and put herself withing touching distance of a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour series.

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Silver Wolf & Yoo Seung Wan win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

There was an enforced jockey change with Djordje Perovic being indisposed and also the nagging doubt that Haeya only allowed herself to be caught in the Ttukseom Cup because she had set off early in the race in pursuit of a couple going too fast. Haeya was duly sent off the odds-on favourite with Silver Wolf in excess of 7/1 on the Korean tote.

The early but not unexpected scratching of Ottug Ottugi meant there was going to be one less on the early speed but as it was, Gaenari, under Kim Yong Geun set off from gate 13 like the proverbial scalded cat, looped the field and had three lengths on the rest withing a furlong. Concerningly for favourite backers, Haeya, this time with Ham Wan Sik on board, gave chase with Silver Wolf and Yoo Seung Wan tracking her every move.

So they remained until the straight until Gaenari, inevitably, ran out of steam (she would equally inevitably finish last). With her out of the way though, it was Silver Wolf took charge with Haeya having nothing to give. The race was won a furlong and a half from home and the Aussie-bred 5-year-old cruised home with a winning margin of five lengths.

That nine lengths wasn’t to Haeya. She found herself caught by the game Mighty Gem, who dispelled the ever-present doubts about her soundness by running on tremendously to go from 10th to 2nd in the home straight and snatch the big runner’s-up purse. Another pair of outsiders, O.K. Yeondap and The Queen Silver came home next to make it four Seoul horses out of the top five.

Silver Wolf [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] was a $40,000 purchase from Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2014. Today was her 7th win in 16 career starts and takes her to over 800 Million Korean Won in Prize money. For trainer Song Moon Gil, it was his 3rd Group race win – his others coming through Clean Up Joy in last year’s Grand Prix and of course, Silver Wolf in the Ttukseom Cup. It is jockey Yoo Seung Wan’s first Group win. His previous biggest victories had come with a pair of wins in the Segye Ilbo Cups of 2013 and 2016.

The final leg of the Queens’ Tour is the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup which will run at Busan on November 12th. A lot can happen between now and then and it will be over 2000M. Nevertheless, that just means Silver Wolf has an extra few months to get even better. A clean sweep could very well happen.

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Silver Wolf in the KNN Cup winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

KNN Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 23, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 8.3, 1.8
2. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] – Kim Hye Sun – 12.6
3. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxaholic (Macho Uno)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.1
Distances: 9 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. O.K. Yeondab (USA) 5. The Queen Silver (KOR) 6. Gold Blue (JPN) 7. Supreme Magic (USA) 8. Black Sapphire (KOR) 9. Santa Gloria (KOR) 10. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 11. Steal The Show Why (KOR) 12. Queen’s Queen (KOR) 13. Queen Two Hearts (KOR) 14. Gaenari (CAN). NR: Ottug Ottugi (KOR)

KNN Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (July 23)

The second leg of the Queens’ Tour Champion Filly & Mare series is the highlight of a busy Sunday of racing in Korea. The KNN Cup will be run over a mile at Busan. There are 6 races at Busan from 13:25 to 17:40 and 11 at Seoul from 11:45 to 19:00. English racecards are here.

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Silver Wolf defeated Haeya in the Ttukseom Cup. They race again in the KNN Cup at Busan (Pic: KRA)

Silver Wolf defeated Haeya to win the first leg of the Tour, the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul on June 4th. However, that day Haeya went off a little too fast trying to chase down an early leader and paid for it in the closing stages. She could overturn that form today. Silver Wold will be dangerous but there are concerns over the fitness of another contender, last year’s Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi, about whom a final decision will be made in the morning. If she doesn’t run, it could change the complexion of the contest given her front running style.

Other contenders include Black Sapphire although it is perhaps a furlong shorter than she would like and Seoul raider Areumdaundonghaeng. Last year’s winner Supreme Magic won’t be among the favourites but can’t be completely ruled out. Form comments on all 13 Sunday races fro overseas simulcast are below:

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

1. SINUI MYEONGRYEONG – Hansen 2yo made all to win very easily on debut a month ago. Up in class but should have few problems with this lot.
2. JUGEUKSEONG – Well back in recent outings.
3. USEUNG DESIGN – Maiden winner over 1200M in May but only beat one home on first try at this class.
4. PARTY TIME – Not too far away from minor placings most times and could sneak some here.
5. FIRSTIGE – Up in class following maiden win at 1200M last month. This is harder but he should be competitive.
6. SIMON MISSILE – Up in class after maiden win at 1300M all the way back in April. Not favoured to repeat but can get some minor money.
7. JINGYEOGUI RACE – Yet to win but has come close on plenty of occasions. First try at class 5 and should go well.

Verdict: Four of the seven are racing at this class for the first time and the three that aren’t look to be the outsiders. (1) SINUI MYEONGRYEONG should win and win well at (more…)

Silver Wolf Wins Ttukseom Cup While Last-Gasp Doraonpogyeongseon Claims SBS Sports Sprint

Sunday was a big day of Group race action at Seoul and it ended with Silver Wolf taking the Black Type win in the Ttukseom Cup followed by Doraonpogyeongseon getting the best of the tightest of three-way finishes to the SBS Sports Sprint.

Silver Wolf (Orotorio) started as second-favourite for the Group 2 Ttukseom Cup, the first leg of the Queens’ Tour that will decide the year’s champion filly or mare, and she and the one ahead of her in the market, Haeya, turned things into a two-horse race as they entered the straight.

As it turned out, Silver Wolf was just too strong, gaining the upper hand just over half a furlong out and running on to win by two lengths. Gaenari came home in 3rd just ahead of the fast finishing Gold Blue.

Australian bred Silver Wolf was a A$40,000 purchase from the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2014. She finished 4th in this race last year and today was making just her second start of 2017. In total it was her 6th win on her 15th career start. It was a first Korean group race victory for Serbian jockey Djordje Perovic and another milestone in his burgeoning partnership with trainer Song Moon Gil (of Clean Up Joy fame).

One race later was the Group 3 SBS Sports Sprint. Punters ignored most local pundits and sent off Japanese visitor Party Dress off as the favourite ahead of 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller and Success Story, who won the first leg of the Sprint Series, the Busan Ilbo Cup, at Busan last month.

It wasn’t to be for the Japanese pair, with neither Party Dress nor Kimon Avalon being involved and coming home in 8th and 12th respectively. Not was it for Success Story who showed early but weakened to 7th. Instead, it was 60/1 outsider Parang Juuibo who looked like he was about to produce a shock upset as having always been close to the speed, he struck the front just over a furlong out and kept on going.

He came so close. Choegang Schiller flew home in pursuit under Perovic on the outside but in between them came Doraonpogyeongseon. The line arrived with all three together but the photo showed the narrowest of narrow wins for the 4-year-old Doraonpogyeongseon.

SBSSprint Photo

Doraonpogyeongseon’s (centre) nose is just in front on the line

The game Parang Juuibo clung on to 2nd ahead of Choegang Schiller. A full four-lengths behind, 90/1 outsider Best Guy brought home the rest.

Doraonpogyeongseon [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] was a US$50,000 purchase from the OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds at Ocala in 2015. It was the four-year-old’s 13th career start and his 7th win. Trained by Min Jang Ki, he’s a stablemate of Success Story. For jockey Ham Wan Sik, it was a successful return to Seoul where he rode Clean Up Joy to win the Grand Prix Stakes last December.

“Doraon” means “Again” or “Return Of” while “Pogyeongseon” was the name of a horse who ran in Korea in the 1980s, winning the Grand Prix Stakes in 1985 and 1986.  That was held at Ttukseom. Maybe someday, there will need to be a Doraon Silver Wolf, or even a Doraon Doraonpogyeongseon.

How they finished:

Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) 1400M – Seoul Racecourse – June 4, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Djordje Perovic – 4.6, 1.7
2. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxaholic (Macho Uno)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.3
3. Gaenari (CAN) [Philanthropist – Happy To Be Home (Langfuhr)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 5.2
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 8 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Gold Blue (JPN) 5. Mighty Gem (USA) 6. Indian Star (KOR) 7. Holiday Dream (USA) 8. Supreme Magic (USA) 9. Bear Queen Trophy (USA) 10. Hidden Indian (USA)

SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3) 1200M – Seoul Racecourse – June 4, 2017

1. Doraonpogyeongseon (USA) [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] – Ham Wan Sik – 10.2, 1.8
2. Parang Juuibo (USA) [With Distinction – Spicy Souffle (French Deputy)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 15.7
3. Choegang Schiller (USA) [Artie Schiller – Changeable (Miswaki)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.5
Distance: Nose / Nose
Also Ran: 4. Best Guy (KOR) 5. Perdido Pomeroy (USA) 6. Dynamic Jilju (USA) 7. Success Story (KOR) 8. Party Dress (JPN) 9. Geuma Rapid (AUS) 10. Always Winner (KOR) 11. Wonder Bolt (USA) 12. Kimon Avalon (JPN) 13. Choegangja (USA)

International Sunday: Preview (June 4)

It’s a Group race double-header at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Black-type is up for grabs in the Ttukseom Cup while one race later it is Korea vs Japan in the SBS Sports Sprint. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

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Success Story winning May’s Busan Ilbo Cup (Pic: KRA)

Both races are part of a series. The Ttukseom Cup gets the “Queens Tour” for fillies and mares underway while the SBS Sports Sprint is the 2nd leg of the “Sprint Series” which will culminate in the international Korea Sprint in September.

The winner of the first leg of the Sprint Series returns here and could well be favourite. Success Story made his name with a pair of 3rd place finishes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2016 and having returned to winning ways over 1800M in February, got the better of a strong field in the Busan Ilbo Cup on the south-coast last month. Only one other participant from that 1st leg tries his luck again; that’s Perdido Pomeroy, who won this race last year but has struggled for form since.

Japan sends two. Kimon Avalon, who finished 5th in the race last year, returns to the peninsula to try again but there will be more attention paid to 6-year-old mare Party Dress who operates at JRA level at home. It’s the Korea-based one that will be fancied though with 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller, in-form Doraonpogyeongseon and Brian Dean’s Choegangja all set to be well-backed.

The Ttukseom Cup, named after the district of downtown Seoul that was home to the racecourse before it moved to its present site in the satellite city of Gwacheon, is one of six Korean races included in this year’s international “Blue Book” and there are ten fillies and mares vying for the Black Type it confers – not to mention a 228Million Won first prize.

US import Haeya went down to her first defeat in April but looks to be the one to beat in the 1400M test. Form comments below:

Race 8: Class Open (1400M) Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) / KRW 400 Million

1. INDIAN STAR – Stakes winner at this track last October. Narrowly beaten last time out at this distance, she’s a fast starter and should be in the mix at the end.

2. MIGHTY GEM – Ended last year in great form but hasn’t looked right in three starts so far this term. Strong finisher but looks up against it here.

3. HAEYA – Suffered her first defeat in April, fading late on. That was her first start since January after lots of setbacks. If she’s right, she will be hard to beat.

4. GOLD BLUE –Won consecutive races in January and February but two subsequent class 1 starts have been at long distances. Very strong finisher, so long as she doesn’t leave too much to do, she could be in the hunt late on. (more…)

Ms. Margaux Lands Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup For Irish Trainer Thomas Gillespie

 Ms. Margaux, so often runner-up over her career,got it right in spectacular style at Busan Racecourse this afternoon. The five-year-old mare got the better of Ttukseom Cup winner Bichui Jeongsang in a stretch duel to win the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, and hand a first Korean Group win to Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie.

Ms. Margaux (Midnight Lute) a class 1 winner at the 2000M distance in September, was sent off as favourite for the final race in the series which is held to decided the Champion filly or mare of the year, having been 6th in both the two shorter legs. Surprise KNN Cup winner Supreme Magic was 2nd favourite and Queens’ Tour veteran New York Blue 3rd in the market.

Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi showed the way early along with perennial fast-starter Halla Chukje and well-fancied Seoul raider Touch Flying. Bichui Jeongsang and and Ms. Margaux both made ground in the back straight and around the home turn and as the leaders faltered, they led into the straight.

It was one-on-one from then on and under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Ms. Margaux kicked clear in the final furlong to take the honours by just over a length on the line. FIve lengths behind Bichui Jeongsang, the unheralded Mighty Gem put in a huge run to edge New York Blue out of 3rd place in a photograph.

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First Korean Group winner – Thomas Gillespie (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Ms. Margaux was a $15,ooo purchase at the September yearling sales at Keeneland in 2012. Today she took her earnings to in excess of $700,000. She’s had quite a remarkable career, most of it spent with Peter Wolsley before transferring to Thomas Gillespie this season. She took thirteen races to get her maiden win but finished 2nd or 3rd in all of the previous 12. In 29 starts she has only finished outside the money on five occasions with a total of ten 2nd places and eight 3rds. Today she got by far the biggest of her four wins.

It was another group success for jockey Kim Yong Geun, who remains in punters’ bad books after Perdido Pomeroy’s performance against Ottug Ottugi last month but who once again ends up in a big race winner’s circle. For Thomas Gillespie, it is a 35th winner since debuting at Busan last summer. Gillespie maintains a win-rate of almost 14% and his horses find the top three well over 40% of the time. He’s proven a very solid addition to the training ranks at Busan.

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – November 20, 2016

1. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.6, 1.2
2. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] – Jo Sung Gon – 3.3
3. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] – Kim Hye Sun – 12.2
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. New York Blue (USA) 5. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) 6. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 7. Hay Queen (USA) 8. Silver Wolf (AUS) 9. Santa Gloria (KOR) 10. Touch Flying (KOR) 11. Supreme Magic (USA) 12. Halla Chukje (USA) 13. Naesarang Damyang (USA)