Segye Ilbo Cup

Raon First Downs East Jet, Meni Hero to win Segye Ilbo Cup

The Stakes race season got underway at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday, and it was a mare who claimed the spoils as Raon First scored a comprehensive victory in the Listed Segye Ilbo Trophy.

Raon First and Choi Bum-hyun have time to soak in the acclaim in the Segye Ilbo Cup (Pic: KRA)

The Segye Ilbo was missing from the abbreviated Stakes Calendar in 2021 but returned to its usual spot as the first big race of the year in Korea and the 1200M sprint was, for the first time, open to all Korean-bred runners, regardless of whether they are trained in Seoul or Busan.

Busan supplied a genuine contender in the shape of Classic winner Touch Star Man, and punters sent him off fourth in the market with Owners’ Cup winner Meni Hero favourite, ahead of the solitary filly or mare in the race, Raon First, and the Group-winning sprinter East Jet. Punters would prove correct with their top four, although not quite in that order.

From gate six, East Jet got the best of the start, racing into an early lead alongside outsider World Day, with Raon First sitting handy under jockey Choi Bum-hyun on the rail in 5th place. On the rail and in box seat is where she would stay as the leaders peeled off at the top of the straight and as soon as Raon First struck the front, there was only every going to be one winner.

East Jet came home in 2nd place, three-lengths in arrears, while Meni Hero came third. Touch Star Man, racing at a sprint distance for the very first time since his debut seventeen starts back, emerged from the pack for fourth with Roller Blade rounding out the prize-getters in 5th.

It was the Park Jong-kon trained Raon First’s ninth career win on her fifteenth start and followed her first Group race score in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) in December. That race was restricted to her fellow fillies and mares, although she had already proved herself in open company when winning at class 1 last October.

Today’s opposition was a cut above those she beat in either of those races and having won at distances up to 1800M, there are plenty of options open for the five-year-old, be it in the Queens’ Tour or even the Sprint Series races.

Raon First is by Musket Man and out of the Southern Image mare, Pink Candy. She was bred by her owners, Raon Company, at their farm where they stand the American stallion Musket Man. Raon First has a four-year-old “full” sister, Raon Pink, who won the Luna Stakes in 2021 before running 2nd in the Korean Oaks. Raon have a currently unrivalled array of talent at their disposal, spearheaded by their unbeaten star, Raon The Fighter.

Earlier at Seoul, the KRA Cup Mile and Minister’s Cup placegetter Chief Indy (by Take Charge Indy) defeated Korean Oaks winner Choegang Black (by Purge), the pair coming home 1st and 3rd over 1800M at class 3 level. Chief Indy was one of four winners on the day for reigning champion jockey Moon Se-young, one of which was a dead-heat as the judges failed to split his Saryeoni Queen with Thunder Wind, ridden by Antonio Da Silva, in race 7.

At Busan, Barbarian added to his burgeoning reputation, dropping back in trip after recent successes to easily win the feature class 1 event over 1400M under You Hyun-myung. A five-year-old entire, Barbarian, who is by Competitive Edge and out of the Unbridled’s Song mare White Haven, registered his eighth win at start number sixteen and his first at class 1 level.

There is no racing in Korea this coming weekend, due to the Lunar New Year break. Racing returns to Busan on Friday February 11th and Seoul on Saturday February 12th.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Segye Ilbo Cup Day Race-By-Race Preview (January 30)

The 2022 Stakes race season gets underway at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon with the twentieth running of the Segye Ilbo Cup. A field of fourteen that includes several Group winners will contest the Listed event over the sprint distance of 1200M, which returns to the calendar after having to be pandemically postponed in 2021.

The Segye Ilbo Cup will be run for the first time since 2020 when Simjangui Godong won. Do Kki Blade, who was 3rd that day, returns (Pic: KRA)

Raon First – the only filly or mare in the race – is the probable favourite, coming off her comfortable win over her distaff contemporaries in t Jeju Governor’s Cup at 1400M in December, but she has beaten the males at class 1 level too and with a weight allowance and a great draw she may prove hard to catch.

2020 Owners’ Association Trophy winner East Jet also lines up and will be a big danger while Busan’s challenge is led by Classic winner Touch Star Man and the speedy Doctor Carson. The Segye Ilbo Cup is race 9 on the 11-race program at Seoul Racecourse which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:00 to 16:40. All betting locations are open but attendance must be pre-booked through the MyCard app. Evidence of up to date vaccination against Covid-19 is required. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maiden fillies in the opener with no fewer than ten of the twelve racing for the very first time. One of those first-timers goes on top in the shape of (5) HAMPYEONG NABI, who caught the eye in a heat, leading almost the entire way around before crossing the line in 2nd in a fast time. She draws nicely here and appears set for a bold showing first up. The two with experience both raced adequately enough on debut to suggest they should be in the frame here. (7) MENI SPEAR came home 4th on debut on Christmas Day at this distance having previously won a trial while (8) DOLBAE debuted a day later and ran 5th in a fair time. With natural improvement both can go closer this time around. Returning to the newcomers, (11) MENI ACE and (4) SONGAM NURI trialed up together and could be the best of the rest.

Selections(5) Hampyeong Nabi (7) Meni Spear (8) Dolbae (11) Meni Ace
Next Best4, 11
Fast Start4, 5, 7, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Small field as it’s restricted to sales graduates. Moon Se-young climbing aboard (6) FLYING ATHENA will prick some ears. He’s run adequately for 6th in both starts so far, last time running on over 1200M. Expect him to be up front early here and he could well break through. The primary danger is set to be (3) NAUI NARA. She’s improved across three outings so far, culminating with a 3rd place over 1400M on December 25th when she was prominent throughout. Expect her to be challenging for the early lead and to be in this a long way. Draw a line through the latest effort from (5) BIG ENERGY when he failed to settle from a wide draw. He had run consistently prior to that though and is worth another chance here. (1) MILLION QUEEN didn’t do much on debut but finished midfield and may improve from the inside gate. (9) GEOLJAK MAN has a 3rd place to his name and that’s enough to bring him into the calculations today.

Selections(6) Flying Athena (3) Maui Nara (5) Big Energy (1) Million Queen
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 7

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(1) GRAND STAR beat three of these on his way to 3rd place at this distance on December 19th when handy throughout. That was his best finish to date in nine attempts and from a good draw on the inside, he can sit handy again and this time break through. (3) DIVINE POWER has raced adequately in three attempts at this distance, posting fair times. He generally settles midfield or worse and then runs on and should get past plenty here. (4) GEUMSEONG MAN comes up in trip following a much-improved 2nd place when stepped up to 1400M on December 25th, beating a couple of today’s rivals in the process and the additional distance may suit even more. (11) APPLE MINT and (8) M J STORM among others to enter the calculations.

Selections(1) Grand Star (3) Divine Power (4) Geumseong Man (11) Apple Mint
Next Best8, 2
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 10

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Busan’s opener is a maiden for three-year-olds with four of the twelve making their racecourse debuts. We’ll tentatively side with experience as (7) JEONGDEUN-RO ran a solid 3rd on debut at this distance on January 10th, sitting handy all the way and completing the course in a fair time, albeit well back behind a good winner. She should have come on for that. Likely favourite is one of the first timers. (5) STAR ACE sat handy in his trial, finishing 2nd in a decent time. The Kim Young-kwan/You Hyun-myung combination is bound to make punters take note and from a good draw, there is no reason why he can’t win first-up. (12) INDIE MAGIC won a trial and while the draw does him no favours, in this company he can have claims first up. (1) GASOK DAY was 5th on debut in what was a monumentally slow race at the distance. He is surely capable of quicker and can improve from the inside gate. (9) SUNSHINE STAR maybe best of the rest.

Selections(7) Jeongdeun-Ro (5) Star Ace (12) Indie Magic (1) Gasok Day
Next Best9, 11
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

She’s yet to break through in thirteen starts to date but (6) GOLDEN BADGE has a strong of near-misses and has also run a fast time at this distance. She comes in having come from well back to run 2nd over 1400M on Boxing Day and has solid claims here. So too (7) SARYEONI FIRST, who won over 1200M at class 6 level last November before finishing 3rd at this class and distance on December 12th. He will probably settle midfield and run on and shouldn’t be far away. (11) ADELE NARAE took to this distance well when stepped up to it on January 9th and running 2nd, ahead of a couple of today’s rivals. He can build on that today. (9) BRAVO SOCKS and (3) RUFFIAN PARK are others who can have designs on the places.

Selections(6) Golden Badge (7) Saryeoni First (11) Adele Narae (9) Bravo Socks
Next Best3, 12
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(10) KING SATURDAY will be one of the hotter favourites of the weekend. He has finished 3rd and 2nd in his two starts so far at 1000M and 1200M and while he comes up in trip again here, he should be exiting class 6 with a win. (6) DROMOS ran fairly for 4th at her latest outing over 1200M and also has a 2nd at that distance to her name. She generally works home well, and the extended trip may be in her favour today. (12) NAMYANG CHEOLLI improved significantly when tried at this distance at start number three on December 24th when she led for much of the way, ultimately finishing in 2nd place in front of a couple of today’s rivals. The draw does her no favours here but with a touch of luck early, she can be in the finish. (1) QUEEN’S DAERO and (4) RUN AND GUN others to take into consideration.

Selections(10) King Saturday (6) Dromos (12) Namyang Cheolli (1) Queen’s Daero
Next Best4, 13
Fast Start6, 8, 11, 12

Gaon Champ & Triple Nine Both Beaten But Bigger Challenges Await

Listed action returned to Korean racing this past weekend with the Segye Ilbo Cup kicking off the 2020 feature race schedule at Seoul on Sunday afternoon. And it was last year’s champion three-year-old Simjangui Godong who prevailed, defeating Do Kki Blade and favourite Gaon Champ in a tight three-way finish. Meanwhile down at Busan, four-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine returned following a thirteen-month absence but was unable to overcome a 60kg impost in the class 1 Handicap.

Simjangui Godong Segye Ilbo

Simjangui Godong (number 12) gets up to deby Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Racing for the first time since running an excellent 3rd in last year’s Korea Sprint over the same 1200M distance, Gaon Champ was sent off as favourite for the Segye Ilbo Cup. For a first-up effort, he ran very well, recovering from a slightly sluggish start to put in a strong effort, briefly heading the field a furlong out.

He would be reeled in though as first Do Kki Blade and then ultimately Simjangui Godong swept past at the death with Simjangui Godong getting up to win by a head. It was a fine performance from Simjangui Godong, who was dropped back to six-furlongs for the first time having ended last season in big Stakes races around two turns, including a 3rd place in the President’s Cup that along with his runner-up finish in the Derby, secured him Champion Three-Year-Old honours.

It is likely that all three place-getters will next be targeted towards the SROA Chairman’s Cup, at the same distance on March 15, which is the first Group race of the year. It’s also the first leg of the Sprint Serie and it would be no surprise if  Gaon Champ overturns the form that day.

Returning from an even longer absence was Triple Nine. He didn’t race at all as a seven-year-old with his most recent appearance before Sunday coming in his victorious effort in the Grand Prix Stakes in 2018.

Such is his rating though that Triple Nine was assigned 60kg to carry in the 2000M handicap – 8kg more than any other in the race. With his customary late speed, Triple Nine almost defied the handicapper but it wasn’t to be as Jumbo Blade and New York Mangchi clung on to dispute a photo-finish – Jumbo Blade taking it by a neck.

Given the ansence and the weight, it was an excellent performance by Triple Nine and – his notoriously problematic fetlock issue permitting – one he can build on. At set weights there are still not many in Korea you would back against him.

Further down the ranks, things are looking quite promising. A couple of weeks ago, US import Mark Story (Dreamlicious) took his record to three wins from three starts, all of which had been achieved in fast times and in a facile manner. Last Saturday it was the turn of fellow American-bred Eoma Eoma (Algorithms) to burnish his credentials. The $60K purchase made his second start in Saturday’s race 8 and stepping up to 1300M, won by as many as he pleased, finishing just half a second outside the track record despite being eased down in the final furlong. Both look potentially the real deal and their inevitable meeting will be eagerly awaited.



Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 28) Segye Ilbo Cup Day

The first Korean Listed or Stakes race of 2018 takes place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and a good one it is too as thirteen runners, including last year’s Derby winner Final Boss, go in the Segye Ilbo Cup over 1200M. In total there are 11 Sunday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews:

Always Winner

Always Winner won the Segye Ilbo Cup last year but he’ll have a hard time defending it (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

An improved 3rd on what was her third start on January 6th leads us to put (9) SEOUL STORY on top in this all-filly (and one mare) event. She raced prominently that day and seems to be figuring things out. The primary danger is (12) BURUI SOKDO, 2nd on debut a full twelve-lengths behind the promising Galaxy Power but nevertheless showing promise herself. The wide draw is perhaps not ideal but can certainly be overcome. (1) ROAD WOMAN and (5) ORANGE SOCKS have shown some glimpses of potential talent and may improve while among the four first-time starters, (11) QUEEN FORCE ONE is the standout. She looked good in trials and has a top jockey on board first-up.

Selections (9) Seoul Story (12) Burui Sokdo (11) Queen Force One (1) Road Woman
Next Best 5, 8
Fast Start 2, 5, 9, 12

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(5) GLOBAL NEWS will be overwhelming favourite to win this. He was a very solid 2nd to Nam Son and ahead of one who won yesterday in what is turning out to have been a very decent race on debut in December and if he runs anything like that, there is nothing here that can challenge him. He should get and easy lead and an easy win. Slim pickings among the rest. (4) GRAND DOLPUNG was well down the track debuting in that very same race as Global News but may improve while of the debut-makers, (2) HAPPY MAUNTAIN and (3) SKY STORM perhaps have the best chance of doing well in their first outings.

Selections (5) Global News (4) Grand Dolpung (2) Happy Mauntain (3) Sky Storm
Next Best 8
Fast Start 5

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million 

(9) GUREUM SONJITHAE managed a decent 2nd place back in November over 1300M which led him to be sent off as favourite for his reappearance over the same trip just before Christmas. It didn’t quite work out as she came home 5th but stepped back to the minimum today and with seemingly slightly softer opposition, she can win this. (1) RAON DOLPUNG was an improved 3rd when tried at this trip for the first time on Christmas Eve and should be the main threat, likely joining the favourite on the early speed. (2) JEWANGUI BYEOL was a creditable 5th on debut in a different race on the same day and can build on that today. (4) EMERALD KING and (8) AREUMDAUN CHEONSA both went poorly last start but can improve.

Selections (9) Gureum Sonjithae (1) Raon Dolpung (2) Jewangui Byeol (4) Emerald King
Next Best 8
Fast Start 1, 8, 9

Seoul Race 4: Class5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million 

(8) BRANDON beat (3) STRONG MAN as the pair raced 1st and 3rd at class and distance on a very wet track on Christmas Eve. Both were outsiders that day and the conditions will be very different but both are very much in the frame again. (12) LUCKY BONGHWA may be yet to win in six attempts but he’s never been any worse than 5th and has generally been beaten by decent types. He’ll be looking to get into a forward position early from the widest gate and if he manages it, he can be close. (5) DAECHEON ACE is perhaps the one who enters in the best form though. 2nd and 3rd in his last two, both competitive contests at this class, he’s ideally drawn to get the early lead and can go all the way this time.

Selections (5) Daecheon Ace (12) Lucky Bonghwa (8) Brandon (3) Strong Man
Next Best 7, 10
Fast Start 5, 7, 8, 12

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Aussie import (4) PRINCE MEMORY led for much of his debut on December 17th but just came up short over 1200M. The Sepoy gelding drops back to the minimum distance today and has solid claims for a maiden victory here. (1) TONGIL DAERO steps up in class following an all the way win over the distance at domestic class 5 three weeks ago and can follow-up. Those two will likely be contesting the early lead. (11) BEST YEJI was a (more…)

Always Winner Makes All In Segye Ilbo Cup

Sunday saw the first listed race in Korea of 2017 and there was something of a shock as 20/1 chance Always Winner made all to land the valuable 1200M test.

It was a race that always looked rather open with the favourites having plenty of question marks against them and so it proved as under Lim Gi Won, Always Winner (Creek Cat) hit the front early – as he always does – and gave the rest simply too much to do, winning by a comfortable three-lengths on the line. Another 20/1 shot, Best Guy, came home 2nd with 13/1 Global Fusion completing an unlikely trifecta.

Of the favourites, Haemaru was best in 4th but it was another chastening experience for Gorgeous Dream who won eight of his first nine but is now winless in his last three. He came home in 7th, one place below recent frequent nemesis Yaho Sky Cat.

Always Winner is a five-year-old gelding and he was winning for the 6th time in 23 starts. He won the JRA Trophy race last year which encouraged connections to take him to Kranji in Singapore for the KRA Trophy the following month. That didn’t go well and not only is the Segye Ilbo by far his biggest triumph, it’s his first victory since returning to Korea,

At Busan, there was a Championship Series race over 2000M and the honours went to Dongbang Daero (Curlin), who got the best of a photo finish ahead of Tariat Tale.

Segye Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Jan 22, 2017

1. Always Winner (KOR) [Creek Cat – Hallat’Eukkeup (Land Rush)] – Lim Gi Won – 20.3, 4.8
2. Best Guy (KOR) [Didyme – Madam Winette (Danehill)] – Kim Cheol Ho – 4.8
3. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 3.7
Distances: 3 lengths/2 lengths – 12 ran

There is no racing at all in Korea this coming weekend as all three tracks take a break for the Lunar New Year Holiday. Racing returns on Friday February 3.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 22)

Sunday sees the first Listed race of the season in the shape of the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul. It’s attracted a full field and headlines an 11-race card in the capital from 10:40 to 18:00. There’s action too at Busan with 6 races from 12:35 to 17:05.

English race cards can be found here. Notes on all races to be simulcast overseas below:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 10:40

(4) PERFECT SOCKS was totally unfancied on debut in November but came a good 2nd. She’s had two months off since and has to be favourite for this. As he’s run already and didn’t disgrace himself, (5) YES YOU CAN will be 2nd favourite. Of the eight the debut-makers. (6) SILVER LION and (12) HERO KING look the most promising.

Selections (4) Perfect Socks (5) Yes You Can (6) Silver Lion (12) Hero King
Next Best 2, 7, 11
Fast Starters  
Start-200M 4, 7, 5, 2
200M-Finish 4, 5, 2, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 11:05

(6) TOUR ROSE was much improved second-time out Christmas Day over this distance and she’s the pick to score here. The other contenders are all stepping up to this distance for the first time. (7) LEAD QUEEN was 2nd in a weaker than average class 6 but did little wrong so can be considered although (3) AMAZONAS looks a little easier to recommend. (11) NEW HIGH TIME also looked promising while (2) DANSEONG RUBY has run on well in her past two and may appreciate the step up.

Selections (6) Tour Rose (3) Amazonas (7) Lead Queen (11) New High Time
Next Best 2, 8, 4
Fast Starters 3, 5, 6
Start-200M 7, 3, 11, 12, 9
200M-Finish 3, 11, 9, 10, 6

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 11:30 (more…)

66/1 Global Fusion Stuns In Segye Ilbo Cup

The 2016 Principal Race program got underway at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon and the majority of punters were left frustrated as 66/1 chance Global Fusion emerged the winner of the six furlong Segye Ilbo Cup.


Global Fusion in the Segye Ilbo Cup winner’s circle

On a bright but chilly afternoon in the Korean capital, Seonbong was sent off as a warm favourite but while he wasn’t too far off the early pace, which as expected was set by Kim Dong Soo on Always Winner, he would fail to be involved at the business end of the race.

Always Winner would battle on well but while the well-backed Power City would come with a late run, quicker than them all would be Global Fusion. A 7-year-old gelding, Global Fusion hadn’t visited the winner’s circle since the New Year’s Commemorative race all the way back in 2013.

Under Yoo Seung Wan, Global Fusion broke from gate 7 and settled towards the rear of the 12-strong field. Still in eighth place entering the home straight. His finish though was too strong as he passed first Magic Dancer and finally Always Winner close to the line.

It was a seventh win in total for Global Fusion and for jockey Yoo Seung Wan, his 2nd Segye Ilbo Cup, having partnered Indian Blue to victory three years ago (when the race was  for fillies).

Segye Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Jan 31, 2016

1. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky] – Yoo Seung Wan – 67.6, 8.9
2. Always Winner (KOR) [Creek Cat – Halla’Teukgeup] – Kim Dong Soo – 6.6
3. Power City (KOR) [Archer City Slew – Power Bull] – Park Tae Jong – 1.6
Distances: Neck/3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Magic Dancer 5. Forty Cure 6. Seonbong 7. Geomtan 8. Long Speed 9. Royal Star 10. Lion Star 11. Yaho Sky Cat 12. Portray

At Busan on Sunday afternoon, Beolmaui Kkum, for some time ranked as the number one horse in Korea, returned to the track for the first time in over six months in winning fashion. The six-year-old beat Gamdonguibada and Cowboy Son in a high class 1400M race in track-record-equaling time.

Segye Ilbo Cup: Runner-by-Runner Preview

The deep freeze has lifted -at least temporarily – and big race action returns to Seoul on Sunday with the first principal race of the season in the shape of the Segye Ilbo Cup.


Seoul hosts the first big race of the season on Sunday

Twelve will line-up for the 1200M Listed racewith the likes of Seonbong, Power City and Yaho Sky Cat expected to head the betting market. The Cup is race 8 of a 10-race card at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. There is also a live card at Busan.

English language racecard here.

Full rundown of the runners and riders below:

Segye Ilbo Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – Jan 31, 16:00

1. Power City [Archer City Slew-Power Bull] 5 G (16/9/2/1) – Park Tae Jong
He won three in a row last summer, including the Ilgan Sports Cup. He was then off until the start of this month when he ran 6th behind Seonbong and Geomtan, a run which he should have come on for. He didn’t get forward that day although he finished well enough and should be more prominant here. One of the favourites.

2. Forty Cure [Field Asuka – Sunrise] 5 G (20/5/3/2) – Yuri Takahashi
An outsider, he was relocated from Busan last summer and has a best of 2nd in five starts in Seoul. 9th in the race behind Seonbong on January 3rd, he will need to find plenty here.

3. Always Winner [Creek Cat – Hallat’eukkeup] 4 G (14/4/3/2) – Kim Dong Soo
Well beaten by Seonbong over 1000M in Octboer, he followed up with a 3rd and a 2nd at class 2 both over 1700M. Likely to go forward early but others will be favoured here.

4. Royal Star [Eternal Champion – Royal Champion] 4 F (12/6/2/0) – Nicola Pinna
Nicola Pinna has proven to be a big-race jockey since arriving here and he has an outside chance. Royal Star was a class 2 winner at 1000M in December and while she will need to improve in this company, she can go well.

5. Seonbong [Duality – Megabuck Gal] 4 C (16/6/6) – Lee Joon Chel
Strong claims to be favourite, he won class 2 races at 1000M and 1800M and comes in following back to back 2nd places at class 1. He beat four of his rivals here last time out and can beat them again.

6. Yaho Sky Cat [Peace Rules – The Relentless Cat] 4 G (7/4/1/0) – Djordje Perovic
One on the up, he comes in following three consecutive victories, all of them at 1400M and all of them comfortable. He is yet to race at higher than class 3 so this is a big step-up in terms of opposition but there’s no reason to suggest he will be out of his depth and he will be backed.

7. Global Fusion [Menifee – Morning Red Sky] 7 G (35/6/3/6) – Yoo Seung Wan
An outsider, it’s been a long time since the most recent of his six career wins. Lots of class 1 experience but nothing in his recent form to suggest he can make an impression on this.

8. Geomtan [Ft. Stockton – Alchan Useung] 6 G (33/6/4/8) – Lee Hyeon Jong
He was 3rd behind Seonbong but ahead of Power City last time on what was his first attempt at class 1. Prior to thathe was a solid class 2 winner over 1400M. He’s finished strongly on both his last starts and can be looking to find the money here.

9. Lion Star [Exploit – Oakmart] 4 C (13/4/4/1) – Jo Sung Gon
He has the fastest time of any of these at this distance, achieved when romping home on his most recent start at the end of November. He didn’t have much to beat that day and this is a big step up but he will look to get to the front straight from the gate and could be an interesting outsider.

10. Portray [Ft. Stockton – Miss Impromptu] 5 M (19/3/5/3) – Shin Hyoung Chul
She ran 2nd to the promising OS Hwadap over 1000M in November and generally isn’t too far away. Others should be quicker here though.

11. Long Speed [Commendable – Speed Bag] 6 H (30/5/5/3) – Lee Hyeok
A stablemate of Forty Cure, he was last among the five of these who raced each other on January 3rd. He may once again find this field a little challenging.

12. Magic Dancer [Forest Camp – Wildly Magic] 6 H (24/10/4/2) – Ham Wan Sik
The venerable Magic Dancer isn’t quite the horse he once was and has struggled to make an impact since relocating from Busan. The drop back too this distance though could be very interesting. He likes to lead and flew through a barrier trial on New Year’s Eve before being 5th a week later over 1800M. He can’t be ruled out.

The Seoul track is extremely dry at the moment and will be so tomorrow as well. Temperatures are set to be on the chilly side with highs around 0C. Which is still a vast improvement on last week.

At Busan, the feature race is a class 1 event over 1400M and features a number of big names. Gamdonguibada, Beolmaui Kkum and Cowboy Son are among thirteen runners.

Gwanggyo Bisang Cruises To The Segye Ilbo Cup While Gyeongbudaero Proves His Worth At Busan

Gwanggyo Bisang strolled to his third career Stakes win with an easy victory in the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul last Sunday. However, the star of the weekend was Gyeongbudaero, who carried 60kg to victory in the first class 1 “Open” race at Busan.

Gwanggyo Bisang was an easy winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul on Sunday

Gwanggyo Bisang was an easy winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul on Sunday

Now a 5-year-old, Gwanggyo Bisang is the top rated Korean bred horse in the capital and he showed exactly why when coming from behind in the final two furlongs of the 1200M Segye Ilbo Cup to take the line almost two lengths clear of closest rival Ganghae.

A slight disappointment in the President’s Cup last November and then again when sent off the strong favourite in a class 1 handicap just before Christmas, Gwanggyo Bisang this time made no mistake as he secured the 12th win of his 19 race career to date.

Segye Ilbo Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – February 8, 2015

1. Gwanggyo Bisang (KOR) [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.4, 1.0
2. Ganghae (KOR) [Didyme – Ocelot (Catrail)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.3
3. Global Fusion (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Red Sky (Chisos)] – Lee Joon Chel – 12.8
Distances: 1.75 Lengths / 0.75 lengths – 13 ran.

The winner of that aforementioned President’s Cup was, of course, Gyeongbudaero. He would then go on to win the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes as well and his eagerly anticipated 2015 debut also came on Sunday.

It was a debut that was given extra significance in that it was in the first class 1 race to take place since the practice of providing separate races for Korean bred horses at the top-level was ended (except for some Stakes races).

Gyeongbudaero and Choi Si Dae win at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Gyeongbudaero and Choi Si Dae win at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Despite carrying top weight and facing some very good imports in the shape of Spring Gnarly (Master Command), undefeated in seven and Cheonji Bulpae (Bernardini), one of the highest rated horses in the country, the Korean horse was immense.

Under jockey Choi Si Dae, Gyeongbudaero was in close attendance the whole way around before accelerating away in the home straight. He held off the challenge of fellow domestic-bred Gumpo Sky (Vicar) for victory by just over a length.

It was his 12th win in 29 career starts, however, 13 of those starts have been in Stakes races. He’s only ever been out of the money twice and has won over US$2 Million in prize money. And he’s certainly not finished yet.

Class 1 – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – February 8, 2015

1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.7, 1.1
2. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] – Kim Dong Young – 2.2
3. Chogwang (AUS) [Lion Heart – Colonial Dancer (Pleasant Colony)] – Noboyuki Oyama – 5.7
Distances: 1.25 lengths/Neck
Also ran: 4. Ildeung Hanghaesa (KOR) 5. Spring Gnarly (USA) 6. Cheonji Bulpae (AUS) 7. Biryong (NZ) 8. Full Forest (USA) 9. Cheonjae Bogo (NZ) 10. Kellan (KOR) 11. Sarang Dream (KOR) PU: Haneului Chubok

Weekend Preview: Segye Ilbo Highlights Slimmed Down Seoul / Gyeongbudaero Up For The Fight At Busan

It has been a tense week in Korean racing. However, despite the threat of a boycott by owners, declarations went ahead as normal at Seoul Racecourse on Thursday morning following Busan where it had been business as usual the day before. Although some planned races have been cancelled, a big weekend still awaits.

Let's Run! And we are running this week, albeit not much at Seoul

Let’s Run! And we are running this week, albeit not much at Seoul

There have been a couple of casualties from the uncertainty earlier in the week. The scheduled overseas simulcast on Friday and Saturday was cancelled in case a large scale boycott materialised and a last minute reorganisation of the schedule was required, while there are also no regular class 1 or class 2 races in the capital. The Segye Ilbo Cup, a Stakes race, will go ahead, however, as it remains restricted to Korean bred runners.

Busan hosts class 1 action on Sunday afternoon though and there is a mouth watering clash in store as Gyeongbudaero heads the weights on his first appearance of 2015. The Grand Prix Stakes winner is the best of six Korean bred horses taking on six imports in exactly the kind of race the new rating system was intended to provide. Gumpo Sky (taking on foreign-bred horses fort he first time), and imports Cheonji Bulpae and Spring Gnarly will also be going in the handicap over 2000M.

At Seoul, where not all stakeholders are yet onboard with the new system, we are down to eight races on Saturday and ten on Sunday. The highlight is the Segye Ilbo Cup on Sunday in which the track’s top-rated Korean-bred horse Gwanggyo Bisang will be favoured to get back to winning ways.

To make up for the lost races on Saturday, eight of the nine pony races from Jeju Island will be simulcasted back to punters at Seoul instead of the usual four.

It’s the first weekend of the post Ikuyasu Kurakane era at Seoul but the four Japanese jockeys at Busan; Joe Fujii, Masa Tanaka, Nozomu Tomizawa and Nobuyuki Oyama are all in action.

Full race cards are available here. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday February 6
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 13:20 to 17:20

Saturday February 7
Seoul Racecourse: 8 races from 11:15 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 10:50 to 17:30

Sunday February 8
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00