Sports Seoul Cup

Seungbusa & Man Of The Year End Long Training Droughts In Classic Trials

The last Triple Crown season may only just have entered the books less than three months ago but we’re already just over a month away from the 2022 renewal and on Sunday, Seungbusa and Man Of The Year staked their claims by winning the main Classic trials at Seoul and Busan.

Seungbusa & Jang Chu-youl return to scale after winning the Sports Seoul Cup (Pic: KRA)

At Seoul, the 2021 Champion Juvenile, Complete Value, unbeaten in five starts last term, including the Breeders’ Cup championship race, was favourite for the Sports Seoul Cup, the capital’s principal trial. Also lining up were Nonghyup Chairman’s Cup winner Aspen Taeyang and Nonghyup and Breeders’ Cup runner-up Double Edge, among a ten-strong field.

It would be 5/1 chance Seungbusa who got the jump on the pack though, bounding out of gate eight under jockey Jang Chu-youl and into an early lead in the 1400M Listed test and from that moment on, the rest never looked like getting to him. The margin on the line was just over a length from the fast-finishing Complete Value, who got a little far back and was then wide around the turn. Aspen Taeyang was a further half-length back in 3rd.

Complete Value, perhaps caught a bit far back early and then a little wide around the turn, finished well and while he suffered his first defeat, there was nothing about the run that suggested he won’t still be a leading contender for the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, in April.

Seungbusa is a colt by Mischievously and out of the Flatter mare T P Mc G. Bred by Bae Eun-jeong, he is owned by Kim Gwang-myeong and trained by Jung Ho-ik. He has now won five of seven starts in total and never finished worse than 3rd.

Trainer Jung Ho-ik was winning his first Listed or Stakes race of any kind since 2009 and he was understandably delighted although the gameplan was simple: “We needed to get in front of Complete Value and make him come past us. When Complete Value was gaining in the last part of the race, I was nervous but confident in our horse. He didn’t quite manage to get a big race win as a two-year-old, but he had been training well and we will carefully prepare him for what’s next.”

For jockey Jang Chu-youl, it had also been a long time between Stakes winning drinks. “I won my first big race in 2012 (Cheoneun in the G3 Owners’ Association Trophy), when I had only been riding for two years, and I admit I really didn’t think then that it would take ten more years to get back here. I know now just how hard it is and how much work is required to get here again.”

At Busan, Rookie Stakes winner and Gimhae Mayor’s Cup runner-up Man Of Year was sent off as favourite for the south-coast track’s Classic trial, the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup.

And Man Of The Year duly obliged, sitting handy early before asserting his authority as the field turned for home and running on to win by a full three-lengths from Captain Yankee, with Beomi Naeryeo Onda a further four-lengths away in 3rd.

Man Of The Year is a colt by Federalist and out of the Menifee mare Over Speed. He was bred by Ko Seok-hoon and is owned by Shin Yoon-gyeong and trained by Kim Byung-hak. It was his trainer’s first Listed or Stakes winner of any kind since taking out his license in 2004. 

Now a winner of two from seven, Man Of The Year was ridden by Franco Da Silva, who firmed up his status as one of Korea’s all-time leading visiting jockeys. He won the Korean Derby on Ecton Blade in 2018 and has ridden in excess of 250 winners since his 2016 debut.

The first leg of the 2022 Korean Triple Crown is the KRA Cup Mile and will be run at Busan on Sunday April 17.

Classic Trial Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (March 6)

It’s been less than three months since the last Triple Crown series finished but what with the Three-Year-Old Championship moving back to its usual place on the calendar, we are just over a month away from the first leg the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on Sunday April 17th. Therefore both Seoul and Busan run trials on Sunday with the Sports Seoul Cup in the capital and the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup at Busan, both Listed races over 1400M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:00 to 16:40. All betting branches are open and while the vaccine pass system has now been ended, attendance myst still be pre-booked using the MyCard app. Here are the previews:

Complete Value was champion Juvenile last year and kicks off his 2022 campaign in the Listed Sports Seoul Cup on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens open proceedings. (7) YESULIYA shapes as the one to beat having hinted at ability across five starts to date including an on-pace 2nd place over 1000M at his latest. He also has the fastest time among any of these at today’s distance and is likely to be on the lead early with claims to go all the way. (12) PURGE DAY was an improved 2nd place over 1000M on his second start back in November. He comes in here following seventeen weeks off and while the draw isn’t ideal, this looks a nice race to return in. (9) P N S GOLD ran a good 2nd on debut and while she hasn’t quite managed to build on that yet, Moon Se-young climbs back aboard and she should be in the frame today. First-timer starter (11) SAEBYEOK BAND put in a decent trial and can be considered first-up with (10) CASH BACK also entering the calculations. 

Selections(7) Yesuliya (12) Purge Day (9) P N S Gold (11) Saebyeok Band
Next Best10, 6
Fast Start1, 7, 9, 10

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

It’s hard to look far past (1) FINAL CHARM here. He ran on well from a wide gate for an improved 4th on his second start on January 29th, running on well. There isn’t much early speed here so he may be on pace from the start and be hard to run down. (6) DISCO BOY is the logical second pick. He has come on from well back in his two starts so far to finish 6th and 5th. He comes up in trip today and in this limited company, should be finding at least the places. Those two should fill out the quinella as the form drops off a cliff after them. (3) MIR BEST from a good draw may improve, while (4) MONEY TAP too made-up ground after a bad start last time and can sneak some minor money too. (8) DONGBANGUI HON perhaps another one capable of getting round.

Selections(1) Final Charm (6) Disco Boy (3) Mir Best (4) Money Tap
Next Best8, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 7, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Another hot favourite here, this time in the shape of (4) DREAM SPEED. She has finished in the top five in five of her six starts so far and has a 2nd and a 3rd from her latest two. She tens to settle handy or midfield and should have way too much for this lot. (8) SHINE MUSIC comes back in trip after a spin over 1700M when she led but weakened in the home straight. She possesses the fastest time of any of these over today’s distance and has much chance as any of placing. (2) BANGTAN YEOGEOL and (3) DDATTEUTHANBIT can both be forgiven their respective latest outings. Both have performed fairly at this distance and should be in the placing frame here. (9) FYING BARIBE another with minor money hopes.

Selections(4) Dream Speed (8) Shine Music (2) Bangtan Yeogeol (3) Ddatteuthanbit
Next Best9, 1
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 5

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

Small field and probable warm favourite in (8) FLYING THE CHAMP. After a nondescript debut, he was a much-improved 3rd on his second start which came over 1300M on February 13th in a good time. In such a small field the outside gate shouldn’t be a problem and he may take some beating. (4) EUNSEONG YEONGUNG came from well off the pace to run a fast-finishing 2nd over 1200M on February 11th, very nearly getting to the winner. The additional half furlong can work in his favour here and he will surely be coming on strong late again. (5) DONGBU WORLD was 4th behind Eunseong Yeongung in his racecourse debut. He’d previously been through plenty of trials, worked home well and can build on that performance here. (2) PHANTOM ACE and (7) DOCTOR KONGDOLI others to consider.

Selections(8) Flying The Champ (4) Eunseong Yeongung (5) Dongbu World (2) Phantom Ace
Next Best7, 6
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 6

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) BLACK MASK has raced three times and finished as runner-up on all three occasions, twice at 1000M and most recently at 1200M. That’s enough to send him up in class here but that shouldn’t matter as from a great draw he should be on pace from the start and can lead all the way. (8) TES GO DAEBO looks to be the main danger. He too is up in class following a maiden win at start number four, but it had been coming. He can settle handy here and run on. (9) FLEX QUEEN will need a line drawn though her latest when she was slowly away from a wide gate and never made an impact. She has run well at this distance at class 6 level though and with a better start can challenge for the places. (4) ROCK FIGHTER too had a hard time at his latest when drawn wide but from a much better gate today can be given more of a chance. Another up in class following a last start win, (7) DIAMITE is another to keep safe.

Selections(2) Black Mask (8) Tes Go Daebo (9) Flex Queen (4) Rock Fighter
Next Best7, 6
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 8

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

(9) UNJU BULPAE looks to be working towards a win with a 2nd and a 3rd from his latest two, both over 1200M. He has raced at this distance too, posting a fast time (albeit at a time when the track was extremely fast). He will be expected to be on pace or handy here and could well have too much. Both Kim Young-kwan and Djordje Perovic are in form, and they team up here with (6) WONDERFUL FILE. The filly was much improved at her second outing at this distance on February 18th and will tempt plenty here. (11) SKY JEJUHYANG has got forward in all three of her races so far. She doesn’t draw well here but has good early speed and can go close again. (4) HWARANG BRAVO and (7) BLUE CAPTAIN are others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(9) Unju Bulpae (6) Wonderful File (11) Sky Jejuhyang (4) Hwarang Bravo
Next Best7, 8
Fast Start2, 9, 10, 11

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

(6) EUNSEONG MARU was a good winner on debut over 1000M when coming from a handy position and running on but whatever could go wrong did on his reappearance at this class and distance on January 23rd. He pulled hard early before his saddle shifted forward at the 1000M and then he came back slightly lame. He has been back in work since mid-February and can return to winning ways here. (10) BYEOLBIT BOSEOK is yet to win in nine attempts but has six top-four finishes including at his latest start on January 22nd when he was 3rd at class and distance, settling midfield and running on. He comes up 3.5kg in the weights but should be going close. (9) NEW HOPE also comes in off a good 3rd last time out and while up in class can measure up. (11) NONSTOP CAT comes up a couple of kilos in the weights on a good 2nd place last time but should be competitive again. (4) TANK SOCKS will need to be forgiven his latest two, first over 1700M and then when getting too far back at this distance. He does have ability though and can go better this time.

Selections(6) Eunseong Maru (10) Byeolbit Boseok (9) New Hope (11) Nonstop Cat
Next Best4, 7
Fast Start2, 4, 10, 11

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

(7) LIGHT STORY has mixed his form since an impressive win on debut, but he has placed at this class over 1400M and comes in having run 4th over 1800M at his latest start when close to the pace throughout. He can return to winning ways today. The main danger is (9) YEONSEUNG BRAVO. He got his maiden win over this distance at class 6 level two starts back before running 3rd on his first try at this class on January 21. He goes best when on pace and will be aiming to get forward early here. (1) PICTURE JASPER remains a maiden but comes up in class after a good 2nd place at his latest start on February 11th. From a wide draw he got on pace and ran on well and under a lighter weight and much better gate, he can overturn the form on (6) DIA FORCE, who won that race and comes up in class too. That was a big upturn in form for the latter, but he can’t be completely ruled out here. (10) ALIVE CAPTAIN another to consider.

Selections(7) Light Story (9) Yeonseung Bravo (1) Picture Jasper (6) Dia Force
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start5, 7, 8, 9

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Tricky race here as the form isn’t especially convincing all round. Without much confidence, we’ll go with (5) RUFFIAN PARK, whose sole win was at this class and distance. He also has the fastest time of any of these at the distance and comes in following a decent 3rd place finish – again at class and distance – on January 30th. He carries the same weight here and from a good draw can go well. (10) DOUBLE TAKE is yet to win in eleven but has run well at this distance, albeit at class 6 level. Choi Bum-hyun, who rode him to his best finish, climbs back aboard today and he can be competitive. (9) CHALLAN HANNAL has decent experience at this class including a runner-up finish over 1400M. In this company he should be there or thereabouts. (2) FAST TRACK and (8) REAL PACK are others in the frame.

Selections(5) Ruffian Park (10) Double Take (9) Challan Hannal (2) Fast Track
Next Best8, 4
Fast Start2, 3, 7, 8

Busan Race 4: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million


Classic Trials: Mask Beats Gaon Champ To Win Sports Seoul / Divide Wind Cruises At Busan

With the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown just a month away, there were Classic trials at both Seoul and Busan. At Seoul, Mask handed Gaon Champ his first defeat while at Busan, it was a Kim Young Kwan-trained one-two as Divide Win led home Captain Force.

Having already stepped up to – and won at – 1700M, Mask was likely headed to the Triple Crown trail anyway but he was only sent off as third-best in the betting for the Sports Seoul Cup behind the hitherto undefeated Gaon Champ and Seoul’s top juvenile of 2017, Choinma. It was Gaon Champ who showed the way early and at the top of the stretch looked poised to go on keep his 100% record intact.

Mask was too strong. Under the urging of Shin Hyung Chul, he came alongside Gaon Champ, who was all-out under Park Tae Jong, and went past in the final half furlong to win by just under a length. Choinma was a long way back in 3rd.

Mask (Testa Matta) has now won three from seven in total but crucially, both of this year’s outings. He’ll not find it easy in Busan though.

Sports Seoul Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 4, 2018

1. Mask (KOR) [Testa Matta – Fire And Vice (Latent Heat)] – Shin Hyung Chul – 6.0, 1.4
2. Gaon Champ (KOR) [Ecton Park – Ruby Queen (Badge Of Silver)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
3. Choinma (KOR) [Menifee – Kkummaeul(Curia Regis)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.1
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 8 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sharp Kaylan 5. Sinui Myeongryeong 6. Seourui Byeol 7. Eclair Beauty 8. Meni Bada

Down South, the Kim Young Kwan machine grinds on relentlessly and even without Champion juvenile Ecton Blade lining up, it seemed inevitable he was going to saddle the winner of the Gyeongnam Shinmun.

Divide Wind (Menifee) was favourite and he made short-work of the field, running away in the closing stages to win by three-lengths on the line. Stablemate Captain Force (Peace Rules), a half-brother to 2016 Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi came home 2nd.

Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 4, 2018

1. Divide Wind (KOR) [Menifee – Grand Slam (Grand Pass)] – You Hyun Myung – 2.6, 1.2
2. Captain Force (KOR) [Peace Rules – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Lee Hyo Sik – 1.2
3. World Sun (KOR) [Officer – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.2
Distance: 3 lengths / 1 length
Also Ran: 5. Captain Guy 6. Baedu Jeonggi 7. May Star 8. Bugyeong Bolt

In other news at Busan, Drop The Beat bested Haeya in the feature class 1 handicap, a sprint over 1400M.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 4)

Choinma vs Gaon Champ at Seoul / Divide Wind vs Captain Force & Haeya vs Captain Blade at Busan

Sunday’s Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Racecourse may have only attracted a field of eight-runners but it features two of the hottest three-year-olds at the track right now as Choinma and Gaon Champ meet over 1400M. Meanwhile at Busan, Divide Win faces stablemate Captain Force as well as Gimhae Mayor’s Cup winner Major Sun in another big three-year-old contest, the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup


Choinma was Seoul’s best juvenile in 2017 but he didn’t have to race Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Choinma was Seoul’s top juvenile of 2017 winning both the Gyeonggi Governor’s and Gwacheon Mayor’s Cups before running 2nd to Busan prospect Ecton Blade in the Breeders’ Cup in December.

Gaon Champ wasn’t involved in any of those races, however, the Ecton Park colt only debuted at the start of December and picked up two modest races before blowing away a strong field in a valuable juvenile race in December, two weeks after the Breeders’ Cup. He’s won his three starts to date by a combined margin of thirty-lengths. There have been concerns throughout about his soundness and he does race at 1400M for the first time, but he is reportedly fit and ready to go and will surely be hard to beat.

Choinma has raced once as a three-year-old already, surprisingly beaten into 2nd in his first try around two turns at 1700M in January but he is still very much in the hunt. Neither he nor Gaon Champ are front-runners so the early pace will most likely be set by Mask and Sinui Myeongryeong, both good prospects themselves, while Sharp Kaylan too looks a better horse than he was when beaten by Gaon Champ in December – since then he’s won two in a row by six and four-lengths respectively.

The Sports Seoul Cup is the highlight of an eleven-race Sunday program at Seoul while at Busan, The Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup headlines five races. Only Seoul is available on overseas simulcast so only full comments for Seoul but Busan Selections are at the bottom:

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

This one looks to be (11) ROAN DOLPUNG’s to lose. The Victoire Pisa gelding didn’t show much in his first two starts but has since followed up with consecutive 3rd place finishes both at this distance and at 1000M and should take some beating today. Despite being drawn wide, he should get on the early speed and lead all the way. The others have plenty to find. (3) BLACK SPIRIT and (7) SPEED YEONGUNG have both hinted at some potential talent, the latter beating a couple of these on his latest outing. (8) EOMJI YEOWANG showed signs of improvement when 5th last start and could maintain that momentum here. (2) FIRST THUNDER the best of a limited rest.

Selections (11) Raon Dolpung (8) Eomji Yeowang (7) Speed Yeongung (3) Black Spirit
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 5, 6, 10, 11

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

(2) DAE CAIN was considered promising enough by connections to be given a run in Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, one of Seoul’s top juvenile races, las October. He was overmatched, only beating two home. He has since bounced back and his latest two starts, both at this distance and ending in 4th and 2nd placed finishes suggest a maiden win isn’t too far away and he’s the pick to score. (10) ONLY BARAM enters off back to back 3rd places and should be competitive again, while one of those he beat a couple of starts ago, (6) MIGHTY COOL, hasn’t been too far away in his recent tries and can be close again. (7) RUN AWAY was an improved 4th last time and enters the placing frame as does (12) SKY DOLPUNG, who can be given another chance after a lacklustre effort behind Dae Cain a month ago.

Selections (2) Dae Cain (10) Only Baram (6) Mighty Cool (7) Run Away
Next Best 12, 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 7, 8, 9

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

(2) GULCHARMNAMUSUP finished strongly to record a maiden win on debut on January 20th and while she is up in class today, she showed enough to suggest she is going to be very dangerous once more. (4) GANGCHONUI BYEOL used different tactics on her own debut two weeks later, leading from the gate, but the result was the same as she made all for a very comfortable win and she too steps up in class. At least one 100% record is going to be broken and it could go either way. We’ll come down marginally on the side of Gulcharmnamusup. Should both be beaten then it’s another up in class one, (7) SEONGBUL CHAMP, who could be best placed to take advantage. She has never been worse than 5th and was a really good winner last start at this distance. (1) HI EUREKA was a decent class and distance 4th last time while (8) SIMPLE RULES is better than the 8th place he registered on his first try at this class back in December and should be better dropped back in trip today.

Selections (2) Gulcharmnamusup (4) Gangchonui Byeol (7) Seongbul Champ (8) Simple Rules
Next Best 6, 9
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 7

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG steps up in class today following a commanding four-length win over 1000M at the end of January. On his only previous try at this distance he led early only to fade to 5th late on but he should be better now and can stay on this time. The big danger is (7) HYEONMU. He couldn’t get on the early pace from a wide draw when well-backed last time but looks better positioned to do so today and is a proven performer at this class. (9) DICE KING must be respected entering as he does a class and distance winner a month ago. It wasn’t an especially strong race, but Dice King won (more…)

Chang Se & Ottug Ottugi Land Oaks Trials, Doraon Hyeonpyo Wins Again

Chang Se and Ottug Ottugi ran out the dominant winners of the Sports Seoul and GC Trophies at Seoul and Busan respectively and to head into the Spring Classics as the top rated 3-year-old fillies.


Chang Se was restless in the Sports Seoul winner’s circle

At Seoul, Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup winner Waikiki was scratched from the Sports Seoul leading Daehan Cheonwang and Chang Se to be sent off almost as co-favourites. In the end though it was Chang Se all the way as she led from gate-to-wire under apprentice jockey Lee Hyeon Jong to win by four lengths on the line.

Sports Seoul Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 201

1. Chang Se (KOR) [Forest Camp – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 2.6, 1.6
2. Meni Music (KOR) [Menifee – Morning Music (Songandaprayer)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.8
3. Sidaeyeowang (KOR) [Vicar – Fier Time (Fiercely) – Djordje Perovic – 2.0
Distances: 4 lengths / 1.25 lengths – 7 ran

In the GC Trophy at Busan, Ottug Ottugi fully justified punters’ confidence in backing her into odds-on as she made all to romp home by six lengths under Oh Kyoung Hoan. Second favourite, the previously unbeaten Hoseungjibyeok, was a disappointment, beating only on home.

GC Trophy – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 2016

1. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 1.9, 1.3
2. Yuseong Tiger (KOR) [Discreet Cat – Comarille (Deputy Commander)] – Kim Dong Young – 4.1
3. Santa Gloria (KOR) [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] – Pasquale Borelli – 6.3
Distances: 6 lengths / 1.5 lenghts – 6 ran

In other news, Doraon Hyeonpyo (Colors Flying) continued his impressive run of form, lugging top weight around 1800M in Busan’s feature and not only getting up in the final strifes to win by a nose, but breaing the track record for the distance at the same time. Champion Juvenile back in 2014, Doraon Hyeonpyo had a middling first half to his three-year-old season but really stepped up as the year drew to a close and has now won four in a row to become one of the top rated horses in the country.

Sunday Filly Classic trials: Full Preview

The current cream of the domestic bred three-year-old filly crop are in action at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday with the running of a pair of early season classic trials, the Sports Seoul Cup in the capital and the Gold Circle Trophy on the south coast.

Ottug Ottugi

Ottug Ottugi goes in Busan’s early Oaks trial

Unsurprisingly the fields are small but nevertheless interesting. Seoul on Sunday runs 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00 while Busan runs 6 from 13:00 to 17:05.

English Racecards can be found here. Entry to the racecourse is free for all punters on Sunday to compensate for the loss of four races due to the weather (among a number of issues) last Sunday.

Here’s a full rundown of the fields in both trials. All are three-year-old fillies and all will carry 55kg.

Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey

GC Trophy (Special) – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 2016 (16:10)

1. My Alice [Limitless Bid – Allie’s Premo (Alex’s Pal)] (3/2/1/0) JB Mun – Ikuyasu Kurakane
A possible front-runner here, she’s done little wrong so far although is tried at the distance for the first time. Four-length winner last start.

2. Yuseong Tiger [Discreet Cat – Comarillo (Deputy Commander)] (4/2/1/0) DS Bang – Kim Dong Young
The most likely to be happy to sit back and let others lead, she was an easy five-length winner last time over 1300M and can go close.

3. Steal The Show Why [Whywhywhy – Steal The Show (Cat Thief)] (8/2/2/1) KY Baik – You Hyun Myung
A four-length winner at class 5 over 1300M last time beating one who went on to win very smartly on Friday, she will sit just off any early pace.

4. Hoseungjibyeok [Didyme – Everything Nice (Elusive Quality)] (3/3/0/0) BE Kang – Song Keong Yun
Unbeaten and a class 4 winner at this distance beating the well-thought of Evangeline last time. She will want to settle in midfield and will be second favourite.

5. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] (6/4/1/0) YK Kim – Oh Kyoung Hoan
This is the favourite, however her only previous try at 1400M – the Breeders’ Cup in Seoul, she did not stay on for this distance. We are three months on now and we will give her another chance. She sets the pace and she is the favourite.

6. Santa Gloria [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] (4/1/0/1) KY Baik – Pasquale Borelli
The outsider of the field, she has been beaten by Yuseing Tiger and is yet to perform at anything higher than class 6. The only one for whom a win would be a big shock.

Sports Seoul Cup (Listed) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 6, 2016 (16:40)

1. Chang Se [Forest Camp – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] (7/3/2/1) JW Park – Lee Hyeon Jong
She’s won three of seven and beat imported opposition at class 4 last time. Tries the distance for the first time but will stay. Could lead and in the absence of Waikiki is the likely favourite.

2. La Reine [Menifee – Souther Splendour (Southern Halo)] (2/1/0/0) YJ Choi – Jo Sung Gon
A winner on debut in an event where all were previously unraced, she showed nothing next up and is an outsider here.

3. Sidaeyeowang [Vicar – Fier Time (Fiercely)] (4/2/0/0) JW Park – Djordje Perovic
Two wins and two fourths and has been beaten by Meni Money, she will need to find something here. Likely to sit behind the early lead.

4. Ujuchoegang [Creek Cat – Sonoray (Gone West)] (3/0/0/0) HS Seo – Bang Choon Sik
An outsider, she;s one of two yet to win and it’s hard to see her doing so here.

5. Meni Music [Menifee – Morning Music (Songandaprayer)] (7/3/1/1) YG Park – Park Eul Woon
At one time believed to be the pick of the crop, she has stuttered as the competition has grown stronger. Goes at this distance for the first time, she will probably look to lead but others will be favoured.

6. Argo Queen [Creek Cat – Lunar Colony (A.P. Indy)] (6/0/1/1) BJ Choi – Kim Dong Soo
Along with Ujuchoegang, this one hasn’t wn and she probably won’t here either. Still at class 6 and not much to recommend.

7. Daehan Cheonwang [Forest Camp – Seonju Jangsu (Happy Jazz Band)] (5/3/1/0) HJ Bae – Lim Gi Won
Can be forgiven her most recent try in January, she is a winner at this distance at class 5. She will sit just behind any early pace and may be considered.

8. Waikiki [Pico Central – Wyvern (Didyme)] (6/2/2/0) JH Ha – Park Byeong Yun

Meni Money On The Money In Sports Seoul

Jibong Sarang Takes MJC / Beolmaui Kkum Too Good At Busan

It was billed as an Oaks trial but that was always going to be stretching things a bit. A 1400M race at Seoul on the first day of March isn’t much prep for an 1800M one at Busan in late June. Nevertheless, Meni Money showed that she could be a filly to be reckoned with later in the year as she ran off with the Sports Seoul Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Meni Money and Seo Seung Un in a rather crowded Sports Seoul Winner's Circle

Meni Money and Seo Seung Un in a rather crowded Sports Seoul Winner’s Circle

Meni Money was sent off as the favourite for the trial, coming in off the back of four 2nd places and two wins in her career to date. She didn’t disappoint. Under Seo Seung Un, she overhauled Smart Time in the closing stages to secure a half-length win.

Meni Money is the first foal out of Pocketful Of Money, winner of the KRA Cup Classic in 2007 and who to this day still holds the Seoul Racecourse track record for 1800, a mark she set in 2008. Both her foals born in 2013 and 2014 died.

Sports Seoul Trophy – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 1, 2015

1. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Seo Seung Un – 3.1, 1.4
2. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft.Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] – Park Eul Woon – 1.5
3. Lucky Music (KOR) [Creek Cat – Dangdae Jeil (Lucky Ruler)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 3.1
Distances: 0.5 lengths/2 lengths – 11 ran

The first Classic of the season, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan, is just a month away.
Meni Money may not even go but down on the south coast yesterday, a couple of three-year-olds were also improving their reputations.

Mac And Cheese (Menifee) ran out a three-length winner in a class 2 race over the mile course and must come into consideration for the Triple Crown races. One race later it was the turn of a filly, Jibong Sarang (Officer) to impress as she claimed victory by a full five-lengths in the Macau Jockey Club Trophy.

In Busan’s feature handicap Beolmaui Kkum (Put It Back) once again showed his class. Carrying 60kg he was a comfortable five-length winner over 1900M. Old-stager Viva Ace was a very good second while Gandai put in a solid performance in third ahead of the better-known pair of Magic Dancer and Gamdonguibada.

As impressive as Gyeongbudaero was two weeks ago, up to 2000M, Beolmaui Kkum remains the one to beat.

* On Friday, 2014 Minister’s Cup winner Never Seen Before (Ecton Park) made his first appearance since winning that Classic at Seoul in October. He put in a decent performance but could only manage third place behind rising star import Damyangui Jilju (Two Punch), who’s now won six of his nine starts.

What’s the surest sign the Spring is on the way? Punters not having to sprint from the gates to the grandstand to avoid the cold? Horses beginning to lose their winter coats? Perhaps, but K-Pop back at the racecourse is the clincher.

"G-Friend" braving the cold and wind at Seoul Racecourse yesterday

“G-Friend” braving the cold and wind at Seoul Racecourse yesterday

It was back yesterday. That didn’t stop it from being very cold.

Joy Lucky Wins Seoul Oaks Trial

Joy Lucky put herself among the leading contenders for the Korean Oaks with a commanding win in the Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

The promising filly was sent off as second favourite for what is Seoul’s premier Oaks trial race and having taken an early lead. she was never troubled as she stretched away for a 9-length victory.

Favourite Dewma straggled home in 2nd place with Cheonnyeon Dongan in 3rd. However, the race was all about Joy Lucky whose only defeat to date was in the Korean Derby last month. Of course, the Derby winner, Speedy First is a filly and so long as she stays sound, is likely to be prohibitive favourite for the Oaks, which will be run at her home track of Busan in August. Joy Lucky will need to show even more improvement to overturn the Derby result.

It was a first Stakes win for young jockey Seo Seung Un. Seo, who debuted in 2011 has quickly established himself as among the top riders at Seoul with 84 winners plus a succesful stint in the United States to his name already. It won’t be the last time we see him in a big race winner’s circle

Sports Seoul Oaks Trial – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – June 23, 2013

1. Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] – Seo Seung Un – 3.1, 1.3
2. Dewma (KOR) [Forest Camp – Wild Cat Strike (Wild Again)] – Moon Se Young – 1.2
3. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennesey)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 2.4

Distances: 9 lengths/1.25
Also ran: 4. Jumbo Speed 5. Storm Music 6. All With Me 7. Hurricane Jump 8. Dashing Diva NR: Smarty Road

* Seo Seung Un is the man this year’s new jockeys will be looking to emulate and Lee Chan Ho today became the first of their number to ride a winner. Lee, who debuted last week, guided filly Last Love (Volponi) to victory in race 6.

It was another good day for the Japanese contingent. Ikuyasu Kurakane rode another double with victories in races 1 and 5 while Yukio Abe was also among the winners. Down at Busan, Joe Fujii also scored his now regulation winner.

Next week it is Seoul vs Busan in a new race on the calendar, the Jeju Governor’s Cup. A big prize is on offer as Seoul’s top horse Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) faces a formidable foursome from Busan that at this stage comprises Stakes winners Useung Touch, Yeongdusong, Gyeongbudaero and prolific winner Road To Prince.