Tamna Ace

Road To Prince Drives On At Busan

The final weekend of racing before the Korean Derby saw low-key cards at both Seoul and Busan although there were one or two notable performances.

Even as Best Captain made it 3 from 3, lots of minds were on next week at Seoul today

Lots of minds were on next week at Seoul today

Win of the day went to Road To Prince (Pico Central) in the feature race at Busan. The 4-year old colt recorded his 8th victory in 12 starts with a crushing 9-length win over Tamna Ace (Thunder Gulch) under Joe Fujii. A late-starter, Road To Prince didn’t run as 2-year old but is turning into a very fine racehorse.

Seoul’s feature race was a less than exciting affair but saw a first class 1 win for filly Chowon Yeoje (Forest Camp). She led home Super Rich (Osumi Jet) and favourite Special Win (Tahamkke) by just over a length at the end of the 10 furlong handicap.

Earlier in the day, there was a maiden win for 3-year old US import Jijonui Sinsegi (Leroidesanimaux). The colt made his only previous start last year before getting injured but was on good form today taking the 6-furlong race 5 by a considerable margin.

Also impressive was locally bred colt Best Captain (Revere-Onethindime) who remains unbeaten after landing his 3rd victory in race 8. It’s too late for the Derby but, if he continues to show this kind of development, he may well be a contender come the final leg of the Triple Crown in October.

Now, however, attention focuses on next week’s Korean Derby.
KRA Cup Mile winner Sting Ray (Forest Camp) will be travelling up from Busan and will be the likely favourite to take his second Classic of the year. We start the build-up very soon.

Weekend Preview

We’re just a week away from the Korean Derby so it’s a pretty quiet weekend of racing in store for us across the peninsula.

Springtime in Seoul

Springtime in Seoul

As has been the case for the past couple of weeks, Busan sees perhaps the best of the action. Tamna Ace (Thunder Gulch), with 10 wins from his 15 career starts, headlines Sunday’s feature race. He’ll be up against Road To Prince (Pico Central) who has 7 from 11, in the 1600 metre handicap.

At Seoul, the weekend’s feature race is the very last on Sunday although while an interesting betting test, it’s not likely to set any pulses racing from a sporting point of view.

Overseas jockeys Darryll Holland, Joe Fujii and Ureshi Katsunori have plenty of rides and chances across the weekend at Busan while Ikuyasu Kurakane also has opportunities to get among the winners at Seoul.

One jockey who won’t be in contention, however, is Park Geum Man. The 2010 Derby winning rider has picked up a 3-month ban for a ride last Friday.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday May 10

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday May 11

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:30

Sunday May 12

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:00

Viva Cat Among The Classic Hopefuls

Viva Cat Impressive at Seoul / Eiki Bows Out with a Winner / Murphy Scores

We’re less than two months away from the KRA Cup Classic, the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown, and while the weather remains cold, things are starting to heat up in the three-year old ranks.

Viva Cat saunters to victory at Seoul this afternoon

While Busan’s Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) remains most people’s early pick for Classic glory, each week others are staking their claim. At Busan on Friday, Good Time (Yehudi) won by a visually impressive nine lengths over a mile but today at Seoul, it was the turn of Viva Cat (Creek Cat) to show why he should be taking the trip down south in early April.

Sent off as favourite against a field containing only older horses, Viva Cat was a comfortable length-and-a-half winner in a fast time over 1700 metres. The colt has now won five of his six starts while Gyeongbudaero has been beaten on both of his attempts at further than seven furlongs, albeit in slightly better company.

With the likes of Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) and Cheoneun (Forest Camp) recording important wins last week, the signs so far are good for this year’s three-year old crop being more competitive than the disappointng one last year.

Down at Busan, hot favourite Tamna Ace (Thunder Gulch) scored a routine victory in the feature handicap to take his record to en wins from fourteen starts. Joe Murphy’s top rated horse Deep Desire (Jump Start) was a disappointing last in that race but there was success earlier for the American trainer as his filly De Bora (Dehere) broke her maiden in race 1.

It was Murphy’s second win of what, given that he only had seven successes in the prvious eighteen months, is looking an ever more promising 2012. Murphy himself ascribes the new positive feeling in his barn to having had an Australian trackwork rider join him in January which has made communication in training much easier. Whatever the reason, his runners are ones to follow over the next few months.

Finally at Busan it was a day of farewells for Japanese rider Eiki Nishimura. The 36-year-old completed his second stint at the track today and bowed out with a winner, partnering 3/1 shot Camilla (Menifee) to victory in race 2. Popular with just about everybody, Eiki scored a total of 13 winners from 109 rides in his four months here.

He previously rode 38 winners during 2009, including winning that year’s KRA Cup Classic on Sangseung Ilro. He will be missed.

* Next weekend, we have Stakes action at Seoul in the shape of the Segye Ilbo Cup for foreign bred fillies and mares. As ever, we’ll have all the build up here on Thursday.