Top Point

Weekend Preview: Tough Win, Gyeongbudaero Set For Season Debuts

We didn’t have to wait too long for the big boys to come out the barn and onto the track this year as several of the country’s most well-known horses make their 2013 debuts this weekend.

Tough Win is back

Tough Win is back

Chief among them is Tough Win (Yonaguska). Now a 6-year old, he failed to successfully defend his Grand Prix Stakes title last month but should really be back to winning ways on Sunday at Seoul.

He will, however, be giving 4 kilos to Nolbu Manse (Simon Pure), who also disappointed in the Grand Prix but is a Stakes winner and did finish ahead of Tough Win in the KRA Cup Classic. What should be an entertaining race over 1800 metres is one of co-features at Seoul on Sunday.

The other co-feature sees a return to the track after 6 months of rest for former Champion Filly & Mare Top Point (Tom Cruiser). The 9-year-old will need to be close to her old best though to beat a competitive field of 14 in a handicap which, like its partner feature, will also be run over 1800 metres.

Taking on the foreigners: Gyeongbudaero (Pic: KRA)

Taking on the foreigners: Gyeongbudaero (Pic: KRA)

Down at Busan, Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) is the first of last year’s Classic winners to make his 4-year-old debut. The KRA Cup Mile winner will take on a field of imported horses including consistent winner Viva Ace (Macho Uno).

Owner Jang Kwang Hwa also owns Yeonseung Daero and took a very similar approach with him when he reached 4 years old.

Korean bred horses receive a weight allowance when running against imports and, while Yeonseung Daero has won nowhere near the number of races he would most likely have done had he just raced his compatriots, he has had more than his fair share of success and his career has been a delight to watch. Hopefully we are in for more of the same with Gyeongbudaero.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday January 11

Busan Race Park: 11 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday January 12

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday January 13

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

Ace Galloper Upset At Seoul But Nothing Careless From Ghost Whisper At Busan

Ace Galloper was sent off as the odds-on favourite for this afternoon’s feature race at Seoul, however, the KRA Cup Classic winner was beaten, succumbing in the final few metres to the late challenge of Suseong TX.

Smiles: Moon Se Young dismounts from Suseong TX, the third of his four winners

Coming into the race with a record of 16 wins from his 23 career starts but carrying 4kg more than rivals Top Point (Tom Cruiser) and 6kg more than Suseong TX (Put It Back), Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) was nowhere near a certainty to win the 10 furlong race.

Moon Se Young reacts as Suseong TX wins Sunday's feature race at Seoul

However, he was well placed entering the home straight and, having hit the front with a furlong left to run, he seemed to have got the job done.

Coming down the outside though was Suseong TX and, under Moon Se Young, the 7-year old chased down the leader, passing him with 30 metres to go and running on to a half-length win.

For Suseong TX it was a first win for over a year though he has placed many times since then. Ace Galloper meanwhile remains Seoul’s top-rated Korean born horse.

In the feature race at Busan, the favourite made no mistake as Pegasus Farm and Peter Wolsley’s Ghost Whisper (Gotham City) made his first class 1 start a winning one. The grey 4-year old was always travelling well under Kim Jeong Woong and took the lead with a sharp bust of pace in the final furlong to record a victory of just under 2 lengths from Sinheung Daejanggun (Happy Jazz Band).

With his best horse Gyeongkwaehanjilju (Tapit) out of action and facing an uncertain future since finishing last in the Grand Prix at the end of last season, Wolsley has been seeking a new stable star. With 6 wins and 3 second places from 9 career starts, Ghost Whisper could be that horse.

Earlier at Busan, filly Geumdda (Officer) looked very comfortable in beating a small class 2 field to record her 6th win from 7 starts. Next time out, she’ll be joining Ghost Whisper among the elite.

* Next week it is the big one! The first leg of the 2012 Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile – the Korean Guineas – is at Busan.

American Revival (far side) gets his nose in front to win at odds of 110/1 at Seoul this afternoon

Weekend Preview

A bit of a holding weekend in Korea between last week’s Ttukseom Cup and next week’s KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the 2012 Korean Triple Crown. However, there’s still plenty to keep us occupied.

Ace Galloper and Park Tae Jong winning the KRA Cup Classic

Feature races of the weekend at both Seoul and Busan are on Sunday. Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal), with 16 wins from his 23 starts heads the big race at Seoul.

He’s up against last year’s champion mare Top Point (Tom Cruiser) in the 2000 metre event.

Down at Busan, Peter Wolsley’s Ghost Whisper (Gotham City), with 5 wins and 3 seconds from his 8 starts to date, makes his class 1 debut in Sunday’s feature. Earlier on Sunday, promising filly Geumdda (Officer) will be aiming to make it 6 wins from 7 starts.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday March 30

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

Saturday March 31

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:20
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday April 1

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:40
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:15 to 16:40

Ace Galloper Does His Job

Dangdae Bulpae Beaten / Sad sub-plot to Seoul’s Feature

Four horses came into Sunday’s feature races at Seoul and Busan with high expectations. Only one could live up to them.

Ace Galloper and Park Tae Jong return as winners

At Busan, both Dangdae Bulpae and Jeonseong Sidae found themselves on the wrong end of a blanket finish but at Seoul Ace Galloper came out with his head held high after a battling win which saw champion mare Top Point well beaten.

Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) hadn’t raced since successfully defending his President’s Cup crown in November and he was sent off the slight favourite ahead of Aussie import Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson).

As they entered the home straight it was these two who looked set to battle out the finish. However, they reckoned without a late challenge on the outside from old warrior Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) and, even more surprisingly, 21/1 outsider Full Forest (Full Mandate) who ultimately got the decision in a tight five-way finish.

It was a disappointing start to 2012 for Dangdae Bulpae, a horse who was undoubtedly the outstanding Korean bred competitor of last year. For Full Forest, a veteran US bred six-year-old, it was the biggest of six wins from thirty-five career starts.

Up at Seoul, KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) didn’t have things all his own way but ultimately came out on top of a very competitive handicap. Main rival Top Point (Tom Cruiser), the champion mare of 20111 disappointed but Blue Pin (Lion Heart) pushed Ace Galloper all the way to the line, the margin of victory being just a neck on the line.

Ace Galloper and Blue Pin have the kind of connection that only horse racing – for all its joys and all its heartbreaks – can give. Ace Galloper, who is now five-years old, was not an especially impressive two-year-old.

However, in his second start, on July 25, 2009, he finished second – a very distant second – to a horse called Northern Ace. They were racing over five furlongs that day and Northern Ace, a ten-length winner, broke the track record. Tragically, Northern Ace (Didyme) went on to fatally break-down during the Korean Derby in May 2010.

Northern Ace was the first Korean bred foal out of mare Telegraph Road (Royal Academy). Champion Belt, currently one of Busan’s top horses was the second. When she arrived in Korea in early 2006 though, she was in foal to Lion Heart. That foal would be called Blue Pin.

Today we salute Ace Galloper who is a truly a great champion. But we also remember Northern Ace. And all those others whose potential was cruelly taken away.

Weekend Preview: The Big Boys Are Back

Smarty Moonhak vs Dongbanui Gangja vs Larrycat, Dangdae Bulpae vs Yeonseung Daero & Ace Galloper vs Top Point

A very Happy Year Of The Dragon to all punters out there. Gyongmaman spent the break “watching football” in Thailand and generally avoiding all things racing, but things are back to normal this weekend and for the first time in 2012, we’re getting some heavyweight clashes at both Seoul and Busan.

Smarty Moonhak (KRA)

If he’d won the Grand Prix, there was a good chance he’d have been sent to the US to try his hand on the Kentucky Derby trail. Lucky for us in Korea that Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) finished third and he makes his three-year-old debut in Saturday’s feature at Seoul.

In a mouth-watering main-event, he’s up against two-time Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow) as well as the horse who finished second in the race in 2010, Larrycat (Fantasticat).

The young Smarty Moonhak should relish the 2000 metre distance and could make full use of the four kilo weight advantage he has over the now seven-year old Dongbanui Gangja.

A day later at Seoul there’s another clash of track’s top level stars as KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) makes his 2012 debut, headlining the feature race going up against Champion Mare of 2011, Top Point (Tom Cruiser).

Down at Busan, the feature event of the weekend sees two Korean-bred horses crashing an event for foreign-breds as double President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) takes on old rival Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) over 1800 metres.

Dangdae Bulpae

They have plenty to keep them company too as prolific Aussie three-year-old Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson), the evergreen Mighty Hero (Buddha) – who’s now left Peter Wolsley’s barn – and the well-handicapped but dangerous Viva Ace (Macho Uno) join them.

It should be a cracking race.

On Friday at Busan, Minister’s Cup winner Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar) looks for his second win of the year already as he heads the feature race. Winning Perfect (Doyen) and 2008 Derby winner Ebony Storm (Buster’s Daydream) will be among those looking to stop him as will be Joe Murphy’s very well-handicapped Deep Desire (Jump Start) and the in-form Bada Jewang (Social Charter).

The past few days have been some of the coldest of winter so far, however, the forecast for the weekend is bright. Temperatures should be into positive territory and the sun is set to shine. Come Racing!

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday January 27

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

Saturday January 28

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:10 to 17:30
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:10

Sunday January 29

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:30 to 17:00