Sports Seoul Trophy

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

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…)

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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.