Singapore

Some Thoughts on the KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore This Coming Sunday

The Korea Racing Authority Trophy will be run at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore on Sunday and for the fourth year in a row, Korean horses will be taking part. The record of those who have made the trip in previous years is somewhat less than stellar so can Today, Gakbyeolhan and Approach do differently this time around?

The trio hve been at Kranji for almost a week now and the Singapore Turf Club has an excellent write up of their progress as well as an interview with Franco Da Silva, who will be partnering Today in the 1200M race, which is worth S$250,000.

First the history, and it’s not good from a Korean perspective. 2015 saw the inaugural running of the race with Gamdonguibada, Cheon Gu and Nobody Catch Me making the trip. Cheon Gu led  into the home-straight before tiring and being passed. Gamdonguibada, perhaps predictably for a miler dropping down to six furlongs, took a while to get going and never really fired, beating just one. Nobody Catch Me, however, ran on well for 6th place, just over four lengths behind the winner.

In 2016, it was the turn of Always Winner, Triple Five and Parang Juuibo with the latter of them being the best finisher, matching Nobody Catch Me’s 6th. Last year neither Choegangja, who was highly thought-of going into the race, nor Zentenary – who was less so – were able to make much impact, with Choegangja coming back with heat-stroke.

While the surface is evidently very different, that alone is insufficient in explaining away the hitherto poor performances; Korean horses have run well on dirt in Dubai, albeit with a longer acclimatization period. The tempo of the races is also something that tends to test Korean-trained horses when going overseas with a higher “cruising speed” required rather than the “go as fast as you can from the gate” tempo that tends to be prevalent here. They’re capable of doing it but it isn’t easy – Power Blade, for example, ran very well in Dubai but he was an exhausting watch with his rider having to contantly battle simply to keep him in contention.

So can this year’s trio make an impression? On paper, we should be very excited about Today (Drosselmeyer) and if the race was on the Korean sand, he would be the favourite. And if he takes to the polytrack even slightly, then he should be right in it. Paper isn’t polytrack though. A winner of 10 from 13, the one concern is that when Today finally met top class opposition in the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul in early June, he came up slightly short running 3rd behind Doraonpogyeongseon and Choegang Schiller – both very accomplished sprinters. It was also his first time racing away from his home track of Busan. Da Silva rode him for the first time that day and explained that he didn’t feel the horse was as balanced as he could have been but still ran well.

In Today’s favour, he is still relatively young at four and with just those thirteen starts behind him, is perhaps not so set in his ways as to find it impossible to adapt to a different tempo of race running. He is very nicely drawn in gate 7 but he doesn’t need to lead from the start. This is a horse who has run 1:11.1 for the 1200M on the sand of Busan and 1:12.5 when carrying 58kg, a half kilo above Sunday’s assignment. He can post a competitive time on the polytrack.

A stablemate of Today, Gakbyeolhan (Big Brown) was a standout juvenile who won four of his first five races. He then missed more than a year through injury, returning in the middle of his four-year-old season in June 2017. He’s won twice since coming back but both of them have been in the last four months over 1800M and 2000M respectively. Dropping back to a sprint distance today makes for a bit of an unknown but he will be expertly piloted by Fergus Sweeney, who rides in Singapore for the first time. Gakbyeolhan can give a good account of himself although expectations will not be high.

Approach (Pico Central) beat Gakbyeolhan on the way to his latest victory on what was his most recent start back at the beginning of May. That was over 1800M and he hasn’t raced at Sunday’s distance since his second ever start all the way back in October of 2014. That doesn’t mean he can’t sprint, but once a horse gets up to class 1 in Korea, there are more oportunities around two-turns. As with Gakbyeolhan, a creditable showing is a realistic target. Lee Hyo Sik, who has ridden Approach in his latest two starts (and has won on Today as well), rides.

Both Da Silva and Sweeney have picked up outside mounts and so will be familair with race riding on the track before the Trophy race. As for the Singapore horses, they look as competitive as ever in the race which will jump at 17:05 local time. Based on previous experience with Korean horses in Singapore, where even the ones with expectations upon them have come unstuck, it would be easy to toss out the chances of any of them. However, taking this set of three in isolation, we can be cautiously optimistic about Today at least, holding his own.

 

 

 

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Korean Champion Jockey Moon Se Young Granted Singapore License

The Singapore Turf Club has announced that eight-time Korean Champion jockey Moon Se Young has been granted a three-month visiting jockey’s license to ride at Kranji.

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Kranji-bound: Moon Se Young (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Now 36, Moon debuted in 2001 and upon returning from national service, won his first Championship in 2008. Injury prevented him from repeating the feat in 2009 but in each subsequent year he has ended the season as Seoul’s Champion jockey, partnering more than 100 winners every time.

Moon rode his first Listed race winner in 2003 and his first Korean Group winner in 2004. He won Korea’s most prestigious race, the Grand Prix Stakes on Bally Brae in 2007 and the Korean Derby on Jigeum I Sungan in 2012. In total he has ridden more than 1300 winners and is only the second Korean jockey to surpass more than 1000.

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Moon Se Young being greeted by the female members of the weighing room after his 1000th winner career winner

A brief suspension and a trip to Macau (where he rode for a short time in 2012/2013) for a Jockey Challenge meant Moon had made an uncharacteristically slow start to 2017, however, he roared back into form this past weekend winning the last four races on Sunday’s card at Seoul including his 3rd Donga Ilbo Cup win. That came on Meni Money, whose dam Pocketful Of Money, Moon partnered to win the KRA Cup Classic in 2007.

While the presence of Djordje Perovic in the Seoul weighing room had at last presented him with some domestic competition, Moon has long harbored ambitions to test himself in superior riding company. Additionally, with Busan-trained horses dominating the major races in Korea in recent years (internal Jockey Union rules prevent Seoul jockeys riding Busan horses and vice-versa), Moon’s opportunities in the very biggest races have been limited, leading him to look elsewhere for a new challenge.

Moon Se Young will relocate to Kranji for an initial 3-month period as soon as his work permit is issued.

 

KNN Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (July 24)

Sunday sees the 2nd leg of the 2016 Queens Tour and a strong challenge has headed south from Seoul to Busan for the KNN Cup, which will be run over a mile. Also, three Korea-trained horses are in Singapore for this afternoon’s KRA Trophy at Kranji Racecourse.

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For the first time ever in Korea, a “contest” – not actual betting which remains illegal – will be offered on an overseas race, the KRA Trophy in Singapore

Of those three, it is Busan-based Triple Five that looks to have the most chance of making an impact in what looks a tough race over 1200M. The race will be beamed back live to Korea where punters are being offered a free to enter betting “event”. Plenty going on at home though and English racecards can be found here. Notes on selected races at Seoul and Busan, including the KNN Cup below:

Busan Race 1: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:00 (KST)

A comfortable winner on debut over 1000M last month, (3) ICE MARINE steps up in class and is favourite to land this all-filly contest. She should be on speed early and can lead all the way. (8) HWANGGEUM GEOTAP beat (6) TEXAS RUSH and (9) WINNING GILI at 1300M on Jun 24th. All three are accordingly up in class today and Hwanggeum Geotap is favoured to be most suited to this level and looks a danger again. Among those with experience of this class, (7) CHALLANHAN ACE and (10) VICAR HOPE, the latter of whom struggled in wet conditions last start, look the best while front-runner (1) LION PARK can’t be discounted either.

Selections (3) Ice Marine (8) Hwanggeum Geotap (10) Vicar Hope (7) Challanhan Ace
Next Best 6, 1, 2, 4
Outsiders 5, 9, 11, 12
Fast Starters 1, 3

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:25 (KST)

A winner on debut, Brian Dean’s (3) JUNGL DRUMMER couldn’t follow up when favourite for his first try at this class on June 25th, finishing 4th. Since then, he’s gone back to trial – which he won – and he should be given another chance here. (8) DOLCE VITA beat (1) MINSON as they finished 2nd and 3rd respectively at class and distance in June. Minson is slightly favoured here. (4) GEUMTAEPUNG and (10) YAHO GIANT look best of the rest.

Selections (3) Jungl Drummer (1) Minson (8) Dolce Vita (10) Yaho Giant
Next Best 4, 7
Outsiders 2, 5, 6, 9
Fast Starters 3, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 13:50 (KST)

Thomas Gillespie’s (1) HANEOLUI JILJU was the easy winner of a weak race at class and distance on July 3rd and should really have too much against similar opposition today. (9) PRIVATE DANCER saw a run of three straight wins come to an end last time out but can be given another chance here while similarly (6) GABOGAPJJANG disappointed when favourite on his return from five months out last month but can go better today. (7) LET’S WIN is yet to, but has shown promise in two outings and looks ready to try this distance again. A $50,000 purchase and impressive in trials, (3) B.K PARK may be considered on debut.

Selections (1) Haneolui Jilju (9) Private Dancer (7) Let’s Win (6) Gabogapjjang
Next Best 3, 11, 10, 2
Outsiders 4, 5, 8, 12
Fast Starters 1, 5, 8, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40 (KST)

Competitive race this but despite being beaten into 4th when favourite last time we’ll make (2) DOCHI, who tries this distance for the first time, the slight favourite. He started badly last time but should be on the early speed here. (8) MAKGANG JILJU is also up in distance following a solid 3rd last start and can be considered. (3) NOBLE WARRIOR was a class and distance winner just two weeks ago and should go well again – he does carry an extra 3.5kg though. (1) YEONGUNG CHULGYEOK and (7) RUN STAR also look capable.

Selections (2) Dochi (3) Noble Warrior (8) Makgang Jilju (1) Yeongung Chulgyeok
Next Best 7, 11, 12, 6, 4
Outsiders 5, 9, 10
Fast Starters 2, 3

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 15:05 (KST)

Up in class following two consecutive wins, (7) GOLD MORNING looks very much the one to beat here. She should make all. (8) RAON ROUIS and (9) SSONSALGACHI are capable and should be competitive while (3) SHINE CLOVER and (6) BARWONJI can find at least the places. Two others up in class following wins are (5) S CLASS and (10) SOKBO WANGJA and both have a bit to find today.

Selections (7) Gold Morning (8) Raon Rouis (9) Ssonsalgachi (10) Sokbo Wangja
Next Best 3, 5, 6, 2
Outsiders 1, 4, 11
Fast Starters 3, 5, 7, 8

Busan Race 4: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 15:30 (KST)

(6) TOP FIGHTER beat (1) GUMPO MIRACLE (and three others who go again here) by a full ten lengths at class and distance on June 26th. However, while Top Fighter may well end up being favourite, he carries an extra 5kg today and that may be enough to give Gumpo Miracle the edge. (7) BOHEMIAN was another of those beaten that day but can be given another chance here while (2) GOSOK JILJU and (8) MORNING GANGJA look best of the rest.

Selections (1) Gumpo Miracle (6) Top Fighter (7) Bohemian (2) Gosok Jilju
Next Best 8, 4
Outsiders 3, 5
Fast Starters 3, 7

Seoul Race 8: Class 3 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 15:55 (KST)

Small but very competitive field. (6) THEME DEUNGGEUK, an also ran in the Korean Derby, is up in class after a facile win at 1300M last month and looks an intriguing prospect here. He will have to deal with another intriguing prospect in the shape of (7) SEOMGWANGI, who tries this distance for the first time following a solid 2nd place at 1200M at this class a month ago. (4) SPACE SHUTTLE and (8) MUSOE are proven at the distance and will be dangerous while (3) INBEACTIVE looks best of the rest.

Selections (7) Seomgwangi (6) Theme Deunggeuk (8) Musoe (4) Space Shuttle
Next Best 3, 5
Outsiders 1, 2
Fast Starters 6, 7

Busan Race 5: Class Open – The KNN Cup (KOR G3) /1600M / Allowance (Fillies & Mares) / KRW 400 Million / 16:30 (KST)

The 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour and many see this as a contest between the winner of the 1st leg (14) BICHUI JEONGSANG and (8) NEW YORK BLUE. The latter was 3rd in that race, the Ttukseom Cup and has home-track advantage this time. Bichui Jeongsang looks strong though and the wide gate shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Both look very competitive as does TJK Trophy winner (1) AREUMDAUNDONGHAENG who champion jockey Moon Se Young returned a week earlier than expected from injury in order to ride. Last year’s Oaks winner (4) JANGPUNG PARANG was 5th in the Ttukseom Cup and will be more suited to today’s distance. (13) MS. MARGAUX and (6) SILVER WOLF are among a number of others set to be dangerous.

Selections (14) Bichui Jeongsang (8) New York Blue (13) Ms. Margaux (1) Areumdaundonghaeng
Next Best 4, 6, 9, 15, 11, 5
Outsiders 2, 3, 7, 10, 12
Fast Starters 4, 5, 6, 11, 12

Seoul Race 9: Class 2 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 17:00 (KST)

(8) CHANG SE is up in class following a smart win at 1200M a month ago. Back in March, she won the Sports Seoul Oaks Trial at this distance and it’s hard to see her getting beaten here. The experienced pair of (1) OSAENG MYEONGJANG and (9) CLEAN UP STAR can be competitive in this company while (4) GREY KAISER and (5) BLACK DIA are others to take into consideration.

Selections (8) Chang Se (9) Clean Up Star (1) Osaeng Myeongjang (4) Grey Kaiser
Next Best 5, 2, 7
Outsiders 3, 6
Fast Starters 4, 6, 8

Busan Race 6: Class 2 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 17:30 (KST)

(1) READY WHEN YOU ARE was surprisingly beaten by Power Bullet last start at 1400M having led for most of the way, but coming in after seven weeks off and back at 1200M today, can reverse that form. (6) MORNING DAERO and (7) WORLD LOVE are capable at this class and can go close. (3) POKPUNG CHOEGANG has beaten plenty of these recently and while the new apprentice jockey may deter some, there’s no reason why he can’t perform well.

Selections (1) Ready When You Are (6) Morning Daero (3) Pokpung Choegang (7) World Love
Next Best 8, 4
Outsiders 2, 5
Fast Starters 1, 2, 5

Seoul Race 10: Class 1 / 2000M / Handicap / KRW 110 Million / 18:00 (KST)

Really competitive event to end with and while (3) SPACE PORT was overmatched in last month’s Busan Mayor’s Cup and is carrying 59kg today, he should still be very competitive. At the other end of the weight scale, (5) GOLDHOLIC looks beautifully in here and should have a chance. (8) BICHUI WANGJA will be on speed early and could go all the way while (7) IMPETUS and the returning from a short spell (2) DAEHAN JANGGUN could also be dangerous.

Selections (5) Goldholic (3) Space Port (8) Bichui Wangja (7) Impetus
Next Best 11, 9, 2, 12
Outsiders 1, 4, 6, 10
Fast Starters 4, 8

Korean Horses Return Home From Singapore

Three Korean horses who ran in the KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore on Sunday touched back down at Incheon Airport this afternoon.

The race was broadcast live in Korea

The race was broadcast live in Korea

The two Busan horses; Gamdonguibada and Nobody Catch Me, will stop off at the quarantine centre at Jangsu Stud & Training Farm in Jeolla Province, while Seoul-based Cheon Gu has gone straight back to the Seoul Racecourse which has its own quarantine facilities.

As for the race – the S$250,000 KRA Trophy – the horses did ok. Nobody Catch Me was 6th, Cheon Gu 9th and Gamdonguibada 11th in the twelve-strong event with the pack finishing together.

There had been some mildly silly talk in the local racing media here – not exactly discouraged by trainer Kim Young Kwan – about the possibility of one of the Korean horses actually winning the race. However, those of us who were hopeful of a decent performance, but still had nagging fears that they may be left behind in a race that was restricted to Singapore-trained horses with a rating of 90 or lower, were re-assured.

As it was, Cheon Gu led out of the gate and into the home-straight before tiring and being passed. Gamdonguibada, a little predictably for a miler dropping down to six furlongs, took a while to get going and never really fired. However, the pleasant surprise was Nobody Catch Me. Few had given him much chance of beating anything but he finished strongly on the outside to get up to 6th place, just over four lengths behind the winner.

That winner was the modestly-named Super Winner (Kaphero). Super Winner’s jockey, Soo Khoon Beng (more often known as KB Soo) has plenty of history with Korea having had a short stint at Busan in 2008 before returning and winning the Seoul International Jockey Challenge in 2012. Manoel Nunes, who also particiapted in that 2012 event, rode My Lucky Strike (Charge Forward), to 2nd place.

The race was beamed back live to racecourses and OTBs in Korea, the first time for an overseas race. While no betting markets were offered, a good number of the 40,000 crowd at Seoul Racecourse seemed to take an interest. It is to be hoped that those punters will start pushing for an opportunity to watch more overseas racing and for the necessary change in the law to allow legal betting on it. One or two races from places such as Singapore would be an ideal addition to either a Friday card at Busan or a Sunday mixed card.

There are many hurdles still to clear before that can become a reality but getting last Sunday’s race onto Korean screens means the first of those has been successfully navigated. The more exposure there is to high quality overseas racing, the better it will be for development here.

In some ways the result was a good one in that the horses did well enough to mean there is no reason to feel discouraged or embarrassed. And equally, they didn’t do well enough for anybody here to think the job is anywhere near done and there is no need to improve.

The next big event is just a little over a month away in the shape of the Asia Challenge Cup, for which the first nomination stage is this Friday. Nominations are expected from Singapore and Japan while a quarantine protocol has just been concluded in time with the UAE, however, it may be a little too late to get horses racing under that flag this time. The ACC is an invitational race but the KRA Cup Classic, held the same day, is also open to overseas runners this year.

Weekend Race Times

Seoul takes centre-stage this weekend as Busan goes off on its summer-holidays. Meanwhile, three Korea-trained horses are in Singapore for Sunday’s KRA Trophy.

Cheon Gu, Gamdonguibada and Nobody Catch Me, the three Korea-trained horses in SIngapore

Cheon Gu, Gamdonguibada and Nobody Catch Me, the three Korea-trained horses in SIngapore

Seoul flying solo means there is a bumper 15-race-card on Sunday in the capital which rather bizarrely will be followed after racing at 8pm by a pair of motorbike races on the track and K-Pop performances by 4Minute and Hong Jin Young. Which should be…interesting.

Also on Sunday, the KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore will be beamed back live. No betting markets will be operated in Korea (that’s still illegal) on the 1200M race which Gamdonguibada, Cheon Gu and Nobody Catch Me will take part in. The travelling Korean contingent in Singapore report that Cheon Gu and Gamdonguibada – the two who have the most chance of putting on a decent show – are both well.

Saturday July 25
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 13:00 to 17:45
Jeju Racecourse: 5 races from 17:20 to 20:00

Sunday July 26
Seoul Racecourse: 15 races from 13:00 to 20:00

Gamdonguibada, Nobody Catch Me and Cheon Gu Set To Represent Korea In Singapore

Three Korean-trained horses have been nominated to run in the Korea Racing Authority Cup at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore on Sunday July 26.

Gamdonguibada

Gamdonguibada

In what is set to be a quite historic occasion, the race will mark not only the first time Korean horses have run in Singapore but also the first time that an overseas race will be beamed back live to racecourses in Korea.

The KRA Trophy will be run over 1200M on the Kranji Polytrack with a prize fund of S$250,000. Crucially, only Singapore horses with an MRA rating no higher than 90 are eligible and this could make for an interesting race.

Busan’s top trainer Kim Young Kwan will send two horses. The best known is his 2013 Grand Prix Stakes winner and 2014 Queens’ Tour champion mare Gamdonguibada. The other is the 2014 Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup winner Nobody Catch Me. From Seoul, trainer Seo In Seok sends his up and coming colt Cheon Gu.

Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin – Radyla (Country Pine)] 6yo mare (28/13/4/6/1/1) – She won the Grand Prix Stakes in 2013 and has gone on to become one of the most successful fillies or mares ever to race in Korea. In addition to the Grand Prix, she has won the the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup twice, the KNN Cup and the Ttukseom Cup on the way to earning more than KRW 2 Billion in prize money. After completing a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour races in 2014, she was expected to retire but returned as a 6-year-old and won her most recent race on May 17. She hasn’t run at such short a distance as 1200M since she was a 2-year-old in 2011. Lim Sung Sil is expected to ride her at Kranji.

Nobody Catch Me (USA) [With Distinction – Nana’s Babe (Allen’s Prospect)] 5yo gelding (20/6/4/2/0/0) – The wildcard. He was the winner of the Busan Mayor’s Cup last year at odds of over 50/1 and added one win after that but was a disappointment – and eventual disqualification – from the Grand Prix Stakes last year. He’s only run twice in 2015 and has struggled. However, he may well appreciate running at a sprint distance once more.

Nobody Catch Me won the 2014 Busan Metropolitan (Newsis)

Nobody Catch Me won the 2014 Busan Metropolitan (Newsis)

Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] 3yo colt (6/4/1/1/0/0) – The only one of the three to be based at Seoul Racecourse and the only one who still looks yet to reach his full potential, Cheon Gu has won four of his six starts to date. He was beaten in his only Stakes race when second in the Herald Business Cup over 1400M in May but returned to the winner’s circle in a class 2 race at the same distance last week and is considered one of the brightest imported prospects at Seoul. Yoo Seung Wan is expected to ride him in Singapore.

Cheon Gu will carry 54.5kg, Nobody Catch Me 57.5kg and Gamdonguibada 56kg. While the Korean horses had to be nominated by Monday this week, Singapore based horses have until July 15 to enter the race.

The KRA Trophy will come under orders at 17:15 Singapore time and will be shown live at Seoul and Busan Racecourses during the normal raceday broadcast. No betting markets will be offered in Korea – the law needs to change before that can happen – nevertheless, having permission granted for it is a big step in the right direction. The Singapore Turf Club has been a great friend of Korean racing in recent years and it is fitting that Kranji hosts the first race to be beamed back.

The Singapore Turf Club has been a big supporter of the internationalization of Korean racing

The Singapore Turf Club has been a big supporter of the internationalization of Korean racing

The history of Korean-trained horses racing abroad is extremely brief. Watts Village pulled off a remarkable victory in the Interaction Cup in Japan in 2013 but the following year, the three Korean horses who went fared less well. Meanwhile, Singapore trained El Padrino came to Seoul last August and broke the track record for 1400M in the process of winning the Asia Challenge Cup.

While it remains to be seen what kind of line-up Singapore puts out, the horses nominated from Korea have every chance of acquitting themselves well. Whatever happens, it will be an important milestone in the internationalization of Korean racing.

Asia Challenge Cup: Korea vs. Japan vs. Singapore

After last summer’s successful Korea/Japan Goodwill Cup, this year the race has been extended to runners from Singapore and on August 31, three Singaporean-trained horses and three from Japan will join eight from Korea in what will be the first ever International Invitational race to be run on the peninsula. The race will be shown live on TV in Korea on the SBS Sports Channel and there will also be a live simulcast to Singapore.

Tosen Archer poses for the cameras after winning the SBS Goodwill Cup last year

Tosen Archer poses for the cameras after winning the SBS Goodwill Cup last year

The star attraction is set to be well-known Singapore based sprinter El Padrino but he will face tough competition from fellow Kranji runner Trudeau. For the home team, Watts Village, who pulled off a remarkable victory in Tokyo last November, will aim to repeat his heroics. He’ll be joined by Fly Top Queen and Wonder Bolt as well as Cowboy Son and New York Blue, who will be making the trip up from Busan.

SBS will be showing the Asia Challenge Cup live on August 31

SBS will be showing the Asia Challenge Cup live on August 31

Here’s a full run-down of the likely runners:

ASIA CHALLENGE CUP – 1400M – SEOUL RACECOURSE – AUG 31, 2014

SINGAPORE

EL PADRINO (NZ) [Mr. Nancho – Crownie (Luskin Star)] 6-year-old Gelding (28/7/5/4) – One of Asia’s top Sprinters, El Padrino won the Merlion Cup, the first leg of Singapore’s Sprint Series, in March this year. He has also run and won in Dubai. He was 6th in the Krisflyer International Sprint in May this year and his Merlion victory earned him an invitation to the Golden Shaheen at this year’s Dubai World Cup. He didn’t go but he will be looking for international glory in Seoul instead.

TRUDEAU (AUS) [Exceed And Excel – Canadian Legacy (Kris)] 7-year-old Gelding (33/7/5/9) – A surprise winner of the Garden City Trophy in Singapore last September, he followed that up with another victory a month later. He comes to Korea having won a Malaysian Group 1 race in June and with Noel “King” Callow, the winner of last year’s Seoul International Jockey Challenge, on board Trudeau could have a very good chance.

SPEEDY CAT (NZ) [Scaredee Cat – Lane Cove (Magic Of Sydney)] 6-year-old gelding (35/8/7/5) – This very experienced horse has eight career wins to his name including two at this distance, one of which was last year’s Singapore Stewards’ Cup. Yet to win in 2014 but he has gone close and can’t be ruled out.

JAPAN

CHOCOLAT VERRINE (JPN) [Gold Allure – Breezy Woods (Timber County)] 5-year-old Mare (24/6/5/3) – Runner-up in the Narashino Kirrato Sprint at Funabashi in July, Chocolat Verrine comes into this race in fine form, having finished outside the top two only once in five starts in 2014.

TOSHI GANG STAR (JPN) [Kurofune – Pisa no Birkin (Sunday Silence)] 7-year-old Horse (46/4/6/0) – A vastly experienced horse, Toshi Gang Star has two big race wins to his name. He’s only run four times so far in 2014 with a 2nd place at Ohi his best result. Returning to the track for the first time in April, a change of scenery in Seoul could be just what he needs.

PIERRE TIGER (JPN) [Cacoethes – Be Fragrant (Daitaku Helios)] 6-year-old Horse (38/13/5/4) – Recently back in action after a 5-month layoff, Pierre Tiger has two stakes wins among his thirteen career victories to date. His biggest win came in the 2012 Mile Grand Prix at Ohi. His best performance in three runs this year was a 3rd place finish over a mile at Kawasaki.

KOREA

WATTS VILLAGE (USA) [Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)] 4-year-old Colt (14/6/4) – Secured his place in Korean racing history by being the first Korean-trained horse to win overseas when he won the Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo last November. He was 2nd in this race last year. Recently returned after a six-month layoff, finishing 2nd behind Wonder Bolt in his first race back and should improve.

FLY TOP QUEEN (USA) [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)] 4-year-old Filly (9/6/1/1) – The most expensive racehorse ever imported to Korea, Fly Top Queen has won 6 of her 9 starts to date including the Segye Ilbo Cup this February. A very quick sprinter, she had an off-day in her last start, finishing 3rd behind Wonder Bolt and Watts Village. She can run much better than that.

WONDER BOLT (USA) [Desert Warrior – Little Champ (Great Gladiator)] 4-year-old Colt (19/5/7/1) – Currently the hottest sprinter in Seoul following his 9-length demolition of Watts Village and Fly Top Queen in mid-July. Very experienced and versatile – he was 5th in last year’s Grand Prix Stakes; he comes into this race in the form of his life.

PERSIA WANGJA (CAN) [Ghostzapper – Dynamite Dancer (Lite The Fuse)] 3-year-old Colt (10/5/1/1) – Has won his last two races, both of them at this distance and looks ready to challenge some of the more established sprinters. Like Wonder Bolt, he can run at any distance but 1400 metres is his best.

CHANGIPARANG (USA) [Touch Gold – Victory Roll (Deerhound)] 5-year-old Mare (27/2/5/3) – A reliable mare with a lot of experience under her belt but only two wins. She regularly picks up prize money but she will be a big outsider to do so here.

BICHUI JEONGSANG (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] 3-year-old filly (6/4/2/0) – Lightly raced, Bichui Jeongsang has won four of her six starts to date including a comfortable victory in the JRA Trophy in May. She was second on her last start in June but remains one of Seoul’s most promising fillies.

COWBOY SON (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallachievement (Smart Strike)] (11/8/1/2) 3-year-old colt – Having finished third in the Busan Mayor’s Trophy in July, Cowboy Son drops back to his favored sprint distance for his first visit to Seoul. He is his sire’s highest earner anyway in the world and one of the most formidable sprinters in Korea.

NEW YORK BLUE (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] (11/5/4/0) 3-year-old filly – She was second in her first Stakes race, the KNN Cup, at Busan in June and followed it up with a dominant three-length win last month against strong opposition. A likely front-runner, she could be very dangerous on her Seoul Racecourse debut.

INDIAN BLUE (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gambler’s Passion (Prospector’s Gamble)] (18/5/4/4) 4-year-old filly – Firmly as one of Seoul’s top horses at any distance, her win record doesn’t reflect her true ability. She was 2nd in last year’s KRA Cup Classic and 4th in the Grand Prix Stakes. She beat Watts Village earlier this year and, while she may not be able to win this, she could be close.