SBS Sports Sprint

Gaon Champ, Doraonpogyeongseon, Ace Korea in SBS Sports Sprint / Silver Wolf in Ttukseom Cup: SUNDAY RACE-BY-RACE PREVIEW (June 2)

It’s a massive day of double Graded Stakes action at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The second leg of the Sprint Series sees Busan Ilbo Cup winner facing off against Ace Korea and two-time winner Doraonpogyeongseon. Meanwhile, the great Aussie mare Silver Wolf will be hot favourite to win the Ttukseom Cup. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

Gaon Champ KRA

Gaon Champ won the 1st leg of the Sprint Series (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(3) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM is the most experienced galloper of the field and has started to show some consistency in his racing. He finished second last start behind Geumbit Yeoljeong in a time that was good considering a dry track. (8) NEOSEONG BYOKRYOK has placed at his last two starts over the 1000m. With four weeks between runs he should be freshened up for another good performance over the 1000m. (10) O PI M J has ran some handy races over the 1000m prior to this event. Expect the three-year-old to drop back as he normally does suggesting the wide draw will not be a problem. (9) HYEONGMA PUBU is first up since July last year but had a trial coming into this event. The four-year-old showed some promise in this type of race last year.

Selections (3) Cheonnyeonui Baram (8) Neoseong Byokryok (10) O Pi M J (9) Hyeongma Pubu
Next Best 6, 11
Fast Start 3, 11, 12

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

The second on the card has twelve engaged all looking for their first win. (2) UTGE HAEJULGE gets his best chance to notch his maiden win. The three-year-old has drawn ideally for his style of racing. He should sit right behind the speed and Lim Gi-Won can produce him at the top of the straight. (6) SEOUL MAGIC has shown some form over the 1000m of late. The chestnut has early speed so expect him to be in the first couple in running. (3) ANYANG LEOPARD finished runner up behind Independence last start which a few of these are coming out of that particular race. (8) MOONHAKCHEETAH notched his first place finish last start and can improve today.

Selections (2) Utge Haejulge (6) Seoul Magic (3) Anyang Leopard (8) Moonhakcheetah
Next Best 5, 10
Fast Start 5, 6, 10

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

The third has a field of twelve engaged where we can make a case for almost half the field. (3) CAMP BADA saluted in good fashion last time out when dropping back to the 1000m. With the similar draw to that of last time she will be in this for a long way down the Seoul straight. (2) MISS GELLA doesn’t like winning but she continues to keep the stakes rolling over for connections. She can jump quickly and sit in the leading division. (5) BAEKSANG showed a clean set of heels last time out when leading from gate to line. Moon Sung-Hyeok retains the ride and gets small weight relief with the rise in class. (4) GABO PULL QUEEN saluted at an each-way price last time out over the 1300m when overcoming barrier eleven. This is tougher but keep her safe.

Selections (3) Camp Bada (2) Miss Gella (5) Baeksang (4) Gabo Pull Queen
Next Best 10, 6
Fast Start 3, 4, 5, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

A field of eight maidens take to the track in the fourth where there only appears to be a few chances. The Kim Soon-Keun trained (3) ROYAL GHOST looks hard to beat at her fourth career start. Kim Yong Geun will partner the three-year-old who had a trial earlier this month. Expect her to sit closer in the small field. (7) MIGHTY LUCK was promising on debut last time out when she finished fourth over the 1000m. Expect improvement from the athletic looking chestnut today. (6) COILRO looked green in the run home last time out. She was beaten a big margin, but she did still have fuel in the tank at the post unlike the majority who finished behind her. (4) MACH THUNDER appears the best of the rest in a maiden that lacks form.

Selections (3) Royal Ghost (7) Mighty Luck (6) Coilro (4) Mach Thunder
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 3, 7

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

The engagement of Kim Yong-Geun gives confidence when looking at the chances of (5) CHODONG BOBAE. The filly hit overdrive in the last furlong when winning last time out, but she did look like she would benefit from a senior rider. (11) PRIME QUEEN broke maiden status last time out in good style. She wasn’t given the most economic run by Moon Se-Young but her brute strength won her the race. She is a winning chance and will be ridden by Johan Victoire with Moon Se-Young on forced vacation. Look for improvement from (4) BIG PRO after and encouraging second last start when running through the line strong. (8) MAPAEBONG has finished in the top five on eight occasions from eleven starts and should be considered in your novelties.

Selections (5) Chodong Bobae (11) Prime Queen (4) Big Pro (8) Mapaebong
Next Best 2, 9
Fast Start 2, 9, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A small field of eight will line up over the 1300m in the second at Busan. It appears that there will be a short-priced favourite in the form of (3) ULTRA POWER. The three-year-old broke maiden status two starts back in Class 6 company and then backed it up with a respectable fourth last time out when beaten 2.5L by Dodohan who has a significant weight advantage. This looks a weaker task and the colt gets the services of the in-form Seo Seung-Un. (4) CHOEGANG STEALTH starts a new preparation and has the benefit of a trial coming into this assignment. The five-year-old has shown glimpses of ability including a last start second before going to the paddock. Four-year-old (7) WANBONG looks the best of the rest. He failed to muster last time out and was hemmed away on the fence in traffic. His runs prior were respectable and he can be considered a place chance. (8) ROYAL CLUB has been out of form recently but has placed in this company.

Selections (3) Ultra Power (4) Choegang Stealth (7) Wanbong (8) Royal Club
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 3

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Three-year-old daughter of Menifee (3) TAP LINE looks hard to beat after a dominant win over 1300m last start. She jumped out of the gates and went straight to the lead only to accelerate in good fashion at the top of the straight. Johan Victoire takes over from the suspended Alan Munro. (5) MALAKAS won in similar company last time out in a blanket finish. She rises 2kg in the weight scale is considered an each-way chance. There are some speedy ones engaged in this event so it won’t surprise if she gets a fair way back. (more…)

Doraonpogyeongseon Seals Second SBS Sports Sprint Win / Cheongsu Yeogeol Claims Ttukseom Cup

Doraonpogyeongseon produced a thundering late run to win the SBS Sports Sprint for the 2nd year running at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The five-year-old gelding saw off a field studded with some of the country’s top sprinters to win by a length.

Doraonpogyeongseon SBS

Trained at Busan by Min Jang Gi, Doraonpogyeongseon seems to love racing at Seoul. After his win in this race last year, he returned to the capital in September to run a huge 3rd in the Korea Sprint. A repeat attempt on that race, the final leg of the Sprint Series is surely inevitable.

Having finished 3rd in the 1st leg of the series, the Busan Ilbo Cup last month, Doraonpogyeongseon was duly sent off as third-favourite in the betting market behind champion mare and winner of that 1st leg Silver Wolf, second-favourite behind the Kim Young Kwan trained Today, a winner of 10 of his 12 prior starts and running in Stakes company for the first time.

Silver Wolf was never in contention. The wide draw wasn’t supposed to be a problem but under Kim Dong Soo, who had successfully navigated a way through traffic in the Busan Ilbo, she found herself at the back of the sixteen-strong field on the turn and had to go very wide to find a run in the straight. She could only make it up to 6th. Doraonpogyeongseon, on the other hand, coming out of gate 2 was able to settle in on the fence just behind the early speed of which Today was a big part.

Main pace-setters Indian Star and Perdido Pomeroy weakened early in the straight leaving Choegang Schiller in front with a furlong to go. It looked as though Today would be the track-record holder’s primary challenger until Doraonpogyeongseon’s late show. Final Boss came with a big run for 4th.

Doraonpogyeongseon [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] was a $50,000 purchase form the OBS two-year-old sales at Ocala in 2015. He’s won 9 of his 22 starts and is approaching $1Million in prize-money. Trainer Min Jang Gi was winning a Stakes race for the third time while for jockey Kim Cheol Ho, a revelation since transferring to Busan at the start of this year, it was his first success in a principle race.

The Ttukseom Cup, while more valuable than the SBS Sports Sprint, had been overshadowed by the other race in the build-up. That was partly because it was expected to end with a comfortable winner. It did, but not the one that was expected.

Haeya, runner-up last year was sent off as the prohibitive favourite but scarcely featured as Cheongsu Yeogeol, a three-year-old who had only raced six times previously, struck the front a furlong from home and ran on to win by three-lengths under a delighted Moon Se Young. Busan-trained pair Damyang Hwanho and Gold Blue were 2nd and 3rd with Haeya only managing 8th and the well-backed Hi Sexy even further back in 13th.

Cheongsu Yeogeol [Run Away And Hide – Fan Appeal (Lear Fan)] cost just $8500 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2016.

SBS Sports Sprint/Ttukseom Cup Day: Full Race-By-Race Preview (June 3)

On this weekend last year, Silver Wolf was setting out on a clean-sweep of the Queens’ Tour Series with a narrow win over Haeya in the Ttukseom Cup. This Sunday at Seoul, it’s surely Haeya’s turn to win the Ttukseom while Silver Wolf turns her attention to the SBS Sports Sprint, the 2nd leg of the Sprint Series, having already won the Busan Ilbo Cup last month. The exciting Today, a winner of 10 of 12 starts is among a full field of fifteen rivals and the Aussie-bred superstar will be under huge pressure in the 1200M test, but she has the class to overcome it. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

Silver Wolf Power Blade Busan Ilbo 2018

Silver Wolf beat Power Blade in the 1st leg of the Sprint Series. Can she win again in the SBS Sports? (Pic: KRA)

A$40,000 yearling purchase, Silver Wolf was last year’s champion filly/mare in Korea. In between winning all three legs of the 2017 Queens’ Tour series, she also went sprinting, winning the Munhwa Ilbo Cup and running a strong 5th in the Korea Sprint. Silver Wolf has made an unbeaten start to 2018 with three consecutive victories including the Donga Ilbo Cup at 1800M in February and significantly, the 1st leg of the Sprint Series at Busan last month, when she downed Today’s stablemate Power Blade over this distance.

Six-years-old and arguably still getting better, the mare by Orotorio is the one to beat. Tactically versatile, she can win from anywhere but is usually ridden patiently and with lots of early speed in the race, it may well play to her advantage.

Drosselmeyer colt Today was imported in-utero and has set about winning ten of his twelve starts so far at distances of up to a mile. The Kim Young Kwan stable has such an embarrassment of riches that Today has gone somewhat under the radar and with any stable only permitted to run a maximum of two in any race, he is yet to get the opportunity to run in Stakes company. However, with Power Blade kept home, Today gets his chance here.  He enters on a four-race winning streak with his latest having been at this distance on March 25th. Jockey Franco Da Silva rode the winner of the Korean Derby three weeks ago and returns to Seoul with another big chance.

The three who contested last year’s finish all return. Doraonpogyeongseon got the decision that day by the narrowest of margins ahead of Parang Juuibo and Choegang Schiller. Doraonpogyeongseon has won just the once since but was an excellent 3rd in the Korea Sprint, beating Silver Wolf, and remains a danger at the top level.

Parang Juuibo isn’t quite of the elite but rarely finishes outside the top five – although making top five will take some doing this time. Choegang Schiller has only raced four times (and switched trainers twice) since the race a year ago. He’s won two of them, most recently in February at this distance and broke the track record in the other and is a live chance.

There are wildcards. Today’s stablemate Finest Warrior gets to step up. A winner of four from seven so far, he was unconvincing when sent up to class 1 for the first time last month but it’s unlikely trainer Kim Young Kwan has opted to bring him to Seoul simply for the experience. There is further Australian interest as Peter Wolsley brings Ace Korea up from Busan. The three-year-old Smiling Tiger colt has won his latest two in facile fashion, both at this distance and while this is a huge step up, he’s highly thought of. It’s a massively competitive contest bit Silver Wolf can win it from Today, Doraonpogyeongseon and Cheogang Schiller.

The Ttukseom Cup should be a little bit more straightforward in terms of finding the winner.

Haya at the Korea Sprint

Haeya (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Haeya is rated no fewer than 27 points higher than the next best and that fact alone tells its own story. She’s been plagued by soundness issues across her career which has restricted her to thirteen starts of which she has won six. The ones she has lost, however, have tended to be in top class company. She was 2nd to Silver Wolf in this race last year before running 3rd in the second leg, the KNN Cup at Busan.

With a mile considered her limit, she didn’t run in the concluding race of the series but did take a crack at the Korea Sprint in which she finished 11th. Haeya has begun 2018 in good form with a win and a 2nd place in two class 1 outings, both at this distance of 1400M. Her last start was in March, but she was kept ticking over with a trial win in late April. A front-runner, this could be her year.

Behind Haeya though, it is anyone’s race, with all fifteen other competitors having at least some claim on the places. Hi Sexy and Cheongsu Yeogeol look to have the best claims but Luigi Riccardi’s Rocket Queen might make for an interesting one at odds. Here is the race-by-race:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Just one debut-maker among the eleven who kick us off but he’s probably going to start the favourite. (1) WINNER SPIRIT took part in an outrageously fast trial on May 18th, registering the kind of time that would win the vast majority of actual class 6 races at this distance. It was a wet track, but he certainly looked competent and while he will surely be slower today, can still win. (2) LIVINGSTONE comes in off back to back 4th place finishes and looks to be improving, despite disappointing when favourite last start. (5) I’M HAPPY and (6) MONKEY SOCKS have both shown glimpses of ability and should go close. (11) RAON SITIEOSEU beat (3) GOLD SEUTAK and (8) NAMJJOK NARA as the trio filled out 3rd to 5th at the distance on May 5th and he should beat plenty again.

Selections (1) Winner Spirit (2) Livingstone (5) I’m Happy (6) Monkey Socks
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 10

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(4) BARAM KING beat a couple of these on his way to 4th place at this distance on April 29th. He’s not been too far away in five of his six starts so far and against this modest opposition, with Moon Se Young taking over in the saddle, looks the most likely to make the breakthrough. (8) SEUNGNI PLUS started favourite against Baram King last time but could only manage 6th place. Nevertheless, he is one of only two horses in the race who have managed a 2nd place finish and he can be given another chance. The other one with a 2nd is (6) KHENDUM POWER though he looks to have more to find on recent form. (5) ROAD WOMAN and (11) MACHO HIME can improve on recent starts while (10) DAEJIUI SAESSAK was so slow on debut last month, she was sent back to trial. She completed that trial well last week though and could do much better this time around.

Selections (4) Baram King (8) Seungri Plus (11) Macho Hime (5) Road Woman
Next Best 1, 9, 10
Fast Start 3, 6, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(4) SPECIAL GOLD got her second 3rd place finish from four starts so far and she could well be the one getting it right in this maiden for three-year-olds. She’s finished well in all her starts so far and so long as she doesn’t leave herself with too much to do, she can win. She was chased home that day by (5) HANEUL ACE and (1) HYEONGMA PUBU, the (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.

Success Story Busan Ilbo 2017

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…)