Triple Seven

Weekend Preview: Selangor Turf Club and Seoul Owners’ Trophies

It’s been an absolutely stunning week on the peninsula. Temperatures have been in the low twenties, the sun has been shining and the cherry blossoms have finally come out. Naturally as soon as the working week is done, it’s set to pour with rain on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully that rain won’t put too much of a dampener on what is a double-header of big race action at Seoul Race Park this weekend.

Triple Seven is a Ttukseom Cup winner

On Saturday, it’s the Selangor Turf Club Trophy while Sunday sees the Group 3 Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy.

The STC Trophy is the latest edition of the exchange race that the KRA holds in partnership with Malaysia’s Selangor Turf Club. Two apprentice riders have joined the usual dignitaries in making the trip to Seoul this week and will ride in the race which sees fourteen class 2 Korean bred runners compete over 9 furlongs.

The main event of the weekend, however, is on Sunday. The Owners’ Trophy also has a full field of fourteen and is headed by former Ttukseom Cup winner Triple Seven (The Groom Is Red). Ilgan Sports Cup winner Geuma Champ (Vicar) makes his first appearance since finishing third in last year’s Minister’s Cup while in-form Real Victor (Biwa Shinseiki) and Suseong TX (Concept Win) also go along with the always dangerous Magnifique (Menifee) and Cheonun (Ft. Stockton). It is set to be an intriguing race.

Once the Owners’ Cup is done, Grand Prix champion Tough Win (Yonaguska) will make his second appearance of 2012. He’ll be carrying an unprecedented 63.5kg against eleven rivals in a 1900 metre handicap.

Down at Busan there are co-feature races on Sunday. Double President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) is the star attraction.

Of the foreign jockeys at Busan, Gerrit Schlechter has eleven rides across the weekend, Narazaki Kosuke has twelve and Yukio Abe fourteen, which may be some kind of record for foreign jockeys in Korea. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday April 20

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

Saturday April 21

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:40 including the Selangor Turf Club Trophy at 16:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday April 22

Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including the Owners’ Association Trophy at 16:15
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45

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Triple Seven’s Luck Back In

He’s a Ttukseom Cup winner and is the most successful runner by his late sire The Groom Is Red. And today, Triple Seven was back in the winner’s circle at Seoul Race Park after scoring an upset win in the afternoon’s feature handicap.

Triple Seven & Choi Bum Hyun return to the winner's circle for the first time for nearly a year

Starting as a 14/1 outsider behind favourite High Point, currently ranked behind only Ace Galloper in terms of domestic bred horses in the capital, Triple Seven was always close to the front as the field set a very slow pace in the 1900 metre race.

While Suseong TX, Money Teukgeup and Cheot Insang all took part in a closely fought finish, High Point was nowhere to be seen and eventually finished last but one as Triple Seven took victory by a length and a half.

The victory took Triple Seven past the One Billion Won prize money mark and was his thirteenth win from thirty-five career starts. It was his first start since September last year and the extended break appears to have him back looking something like the horse he was two years ago. He’ll not be in the Ttukseom Cup this year – it’s now for fillies and mares only – but whatever race he starts next, he won’t be 14/1 again.

In other races, it was a big day for apprentice jockey Lee Hyeok. The 25-year-old (these days Korean jockeys have to complete their education and then study full-time at the KRA jockey academy before they can get a license – the majority of new jockeys are in their mid-20’s) landed the first double of his career to get his fourth and fifth winners since debuting last summer.

Later in the day, he suffered his first in-race fall as Kwaegamhaengjin appeared to break down on the second corner in race 9. Lee was sent tumbling and was narrowly missed by horses coming through behind him. Remarkably after being treated on the track for five minutes, he was able to walk away.

Kwaegamhaengjin

Kwaegamhaengjin [Newsprint-Yeonseung Kwaegam (Real Quiet)] sadly was not so lucky. The four-year-old was starting for the twelfth time and had two wins and three second places to his name. Those two wins had come in his last three outings and he was looking set for a successful season.

A few years ago, a horse would break down and the vet would be nowhere to be seen. In some ways it is a sign of how far racing here has come that today the horse was being attended to as quickly as the fallen jockey; just seconds after it happened.

The most difficult moment in racing has been made as humane and dignified as it has been anywhere. Nevertheless, every time it happens is once too often. The track may have had nothing to do with Kwaegamhaengjin’s fate, but the breakdown rate is still too high. It is surely time to get rid of this sand.

Racing returns to Seoul on Sunday with Dongbanui Gangja
and Kkakjaengi fighting it out in the feature race. Down at Busan, it is the first Stakes race of the season and Yeonseung Daero is set to be favourite for the Busan Ilbo Cup.

Sunday February 26

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:50
Busan Race Park: 8 races from 11:50 to 16:50 including the Busan Ilbo Cup at 15:55