Shim Seung Tae

Always Winner All The Way Again

He did it in January in the Segye Ilbo Cup and today in Group company, Always Winner once more got the jump on the field and scored an all the way victory in the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy.

Always Winner Owners

Always Winner and Park Eul Woon return to scale having won the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy

Always Winner was sent off as a 20/1 outsider in the Segye Ilbo but hit the front early to beat a decent field that included four who returned to face him again. This time he was a little bit more respected, punters making him the 7/1 fourth choice.

Today under Park Eul-woon, Always Winner once more broke the best and found the front form the gate and once more it was a lead he would not relinquish as he ran on to win by half a length. Coming 2nd was favourite Cheonji Storm who, while expected to be on pace instead went right to the back of the field before flying home down the outside. A few more strides and he would have won – and surely will will plenty later this year.

Best Guy, 2nd in the Segye Ilbo, put in another creditable run in 3rd while Gorgeous Dream returned to some semblance of form in 4th. There was no luck for Brian Dean’s Jangsanjewang, however, who gave it a good go tracking Always Winner early in the race but just couldn’t get home.

Always Winner, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Shim Seung-tae was winning for the 7th time in 24 races.

Owners’ Association Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 12, 2017

1. Always Winner (KOR) [Creek Cat – Hallat’Eukgeup (Land Rush)] – Park Eul Woon – 7.8, 2.7
2. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.5
3. Best Guy (KOR) [Didyme – Madam Winette (Danewin)] – Kim Cheol Ho – 3.4
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 3 lengths – 13 ran

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Too Smart By Far

Smarty Moonhak Beats Dongbanui Gangja By Ten Lengths

He announced his arrival by winning the Turkey Jockey Club Trophy before going on to stun Korean racing fans by not only becoming the first two-year old to run in the Grand Prix Stakes but managing to finish third. Today, just six weeks later, Smarty Moonhak [Smarty Jones-Madeira M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] was back in the Seoul Race Park winner’s circle.

Smarty Moonhak, with Dongbanui Gangja in the background - this was about as close as the double Grand Prix winner got to him

Despite there being thirteen horses lining up for the 2000M handicap, it was billed as a match-race. Dongbanui Gangja, the two-time Grand Prix Stakes winner and former Horse Of The Year and at seven-years-old, still a formidable contender, against the now three-year old Smarty Moonhak. In the end, it was a mismatch.

After a slow start, Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow-Maremaid) came around the field in the back straight to take the lead. At one point he had three lengths on the field but, rounding the home-turn, Smarty Moonhak, shrugging off some bumping like an old pro, was asked to quicken slightly and the gap closed almost immediately.

Another reminder as they entered the home straight and the young colt was away. The distance n the line was ten lengths but it could have been more had jockey Shim Seung Tae decided it was absolutely necessary.

Dongbanui Gangja held on for a comfortable second place while long-shot Wind King (Montjeu) was third.

Smarty Moonhak now moves onto five wins from seven starts and a quarter of a million dollars in the bank. His two losses came in his racecourse debut and in the Grand Prix. Where he goes from here though is open to question. If he stays sound, his handicap mark is likely to quickly rise – he carried 57Kg today – and, just like Dongbanui Gangja and Bally Brae before him, he could find himself essentially eliminated from the handicap division.

While his next couple of appearances will almost certainly be in handicaps, the main focus is going to have to be on the few Stakes and Conditions races that are open to foreign-bred horses. The Busan Metropolitan, the KRA Cup Classic and ultimately of course, the Grand Prix are the most likely targets for this year. In the course of this campaign, he will almost certainly run into Mister Park and Tough Win.

It says something about the impact he has had that just one race into his three-year old season, those two are the only rivals on the peninsula that Smarty Moonhak has unfinished business with. He is, of course, yet to meet two-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae but this too is likely to happen. On today’s evidence, they are all likely to suffer the same fate as Dongbanui Gangja

Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – January 28, 2012

1. Smarty Moonhak (USA) [Smarty Jones-Madeira M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] – Shim Seung Tae – 1.3, 1.0
2. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow-Maremaid (Storm Bird)] – Moon Se Young – 1.4
3. Wind King (NZ) [Montjeu-Blessing (Sir Tristram)0] – Jo In Kwen – 15.9

Distances: 10 lengths/1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Larrycat (USA) 5. Necromancer (JPN) 6. Celebrate Tonight (USA) 7. Baekjeonmupae (NZ 8. Indian Secret (USA) 9. Out And About (USA) 10. Royal Missile (USA) 11. Mr. Loving Life (USA) 12. Yaho Cat (USA) 13. Adam One (USA)

Tough Win Grabs Grand Prix Glory

Tough Win Beats Mister Park & Smarty Moonhak to Win Korean Racing’s Showcase Race

Tough Win ended the seventeen run unbeaten streak of defending champion Mister Park as he took victory in a thrilling renewal of the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

The four-year old gelding was sent off third in the betting but made no mistake with a perfectly timed run as he came through late to overtake Mister Park in the final furlong and win by just over half a length.

As expected, Tamna Ace made the early running but it was Akane Yamamoto and Mister Park who quickly took over at the front. In the backstraight there was excitement as Shim Seung Tae brought the two-year old prodigy, Smarty Moonhak up alongside the leader and these two were neck and neck as they rounded the home turn.

Tough Win in the Grand Prix winner's circle

Behind them though, Tough Win and Cho Kyoung Ho had begun to make their move. In the home straight, Mister Park managed to shake Smarty Moonhak but on the outside, Tough Win was always closing and when he went by, Mister Park had no response.

It was a 14th win from 18 lifetime starts for Tough Win, a $12,000 purchase at the June 2009 Ocala Two-year old Sales. He suffered his first loss in this race last year and was out of the money for the only time in his career in this summer’s Busan Metropolitan. Today, however, everything came together as he scored the win his talent has always promised to deliver.

Mister Park - Unbeaten run came to an end

Mister Park’s front-running style means he always runs the risk of not having enough left in the home straight. Akane Yamamoto managed to control his pace well but he simply couldn’t hold on.

Completing the first three was the wildcard, Smarty Moonhak. In the build-up to the race, few people were talking about anything other than the first two-year old in the Grand Prix’s 30 year history to take his chance. Although he didn’t win, he proved he is the real deal.

Smarty Moonhak - Big run in third

There’s no disgrace in being beaten by a pair such as Tough Win and Mister Park and, having stayed the distance, he was six lengths clear of the fourth horse home. Provided he stays sound, at this moment in time, it is hard to see anything beating him next year. Tomorrow morning, updated rankings will be published and Smarty Moonhak will find himself the first two-year old ever to be promoted to Class 1, the highest level of racing here.

As for the others, 2010 Korean Derby winner Cheonnyeon Daero went quietly into retirement in 9th place while KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper was a disappointing 11th. Peter Wolsley’s first attempt at a Grand Prix was not a happy one with the grey Gyeongkwaehanjilju tailing the field home in 14th.

Today though was about three top horses. One has the Korean racing world abuzz with his potential and ran today like no two-year old should; one met with no disgrace as he saw his record-breaking winning streak come to a battling end. The other, Tough Win, is Korea’s Champion Racehorse of 2011.

Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – December 11, 2011

1. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska-Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 5.2, 1.7
2. Mister Park (KOR) [Ecton Park-Formal Deal (Formal Gold)] – Akane Yamamoto – 1.3
3. Smarty Moonhak (USA) [Smarty Jones-Madeira M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] – Shim Seung Tae – 2.0

Distances: 0.75 lengths/1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Tamna Ace (KOR) 5. Dongseo Jeongbeol (KOR) 6. Triple Sinhwa (KOR) 7. Queen Of Rain (USA) 8. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) 9. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) 10. Gippeun Sesang 11. Ace Galloper 12. Jumong 13. Yodongjewang 14. Gyeongkwaehanjilju

Tough Win wins the Grand Prix in front of a packed house at Seoul Racecourse (Pic: E-Today)