Raon First asserted her authority atop the filly and mare ranks at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday with a dismissively easy win in the Ttukseom Cup (1400M KOR-G2) and in doing so, moved closer to what seems an inevitable victory in the Queens’ Tour. A potential new foe has appeared, however, as a day earlier on the same track Golden Power completed a clean sweep of the filly Triple Crown with a similarly comprehensive triumph in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3).
Returned to its early spot on the calendar, the filly Triple Crown – or “Triple Tiara” as it is known locally – was a three-way affair throughout the series between the only fillies who really looked up to the task at this stage; Golden Power, who secured narrow wins in the Luna Stakes (1600M KOR-L) and the Korean Oaks (1800M KOR-G3), and rivals Raon The Spurt and Chamjoeun Chingu, who filled out the placings in both those races.
Mindful of the extended trip, punters couldn’t split Golden Power and Raon The Spurt, the latter having finished off very well in the Oaks and sent them off as practically co-favourites in Saturday afternoon’s Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup.
Outsider Lunar Silver bounded out of the gate and led for most of the way around but as they got down to business in what was unchartered territory distance-wise for the entire field in the home straight, the usual suspects amassed at the front.
Then Golden Power took control. She struck the front just inside the final furlong and eased clear to score by four-lengths on the line from Raon The Spurt in 2nd with the fast finishing Eunseong Winner edging out Chamjoeun Chingu for 3rd.
Golden Power is by Afleet Express and is out of Cherokee Sheikh (by Cherokee Run). Owned and bred by Song Boing-chul, she is trained by Kwon Sung-ju at Busan and was ridden in all three legs of the filly Triple Crown, by Choi Si-dae. She now has five wins from ten starts.
A likely target next year for Golden Power is the Queens’ Tour and potential meeting, with Raon First, who on Sunday all but wrapped up victory in this year’s series with two races to spare by winning the Ttukseom Cup as easy as her triumph in the Segye Ilbo.
Sent off as an almost un-bettable favourite in the local market, Raon First settled in 2nd place early with jockey Choi Si-dae content to allow second-favourite Wish Me, who was drawn much better, to set the pace. That’s how it remained until the home straight and once Choi asked for an effort, Raon First’s superior acceleration took her to the lead and away from the field.
Wish Me held on for a battling 2nd place four-lengths behind the winner, while Lady Kelly also stayed on well for 3rd.
Raon First is by Musket Man and is out of Pink Candy (by Southern Image). She was bred by her owner Son Chun-soo and is trained by Park Jong-kon at Seoul, who trains the majority of the “Raon” horses. The Ttukseom Cup was Raon First’s eleventh win from eighteen starts.
The third leg of the Queens’ Tour is the KNN Cup (1600M KOR-G3) which will be run at Busan on Sunday July 17th. The series then goes on hiatus for four months before the concluding race, the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) on Sunday November 27th, also at Busan. Next weekend the focus returns to the three-year-old colts and the final leg of their Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2). The winners of the first two-legs, Captain Yankee (KRA Cup Mile) and Winner Star (Korean Derby) are both expected to be in the starting gate at Seoul Racecourse this coming Sunday.
Dia Road firmly established herself at the top of the filly and mare division by taking out the Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and in doing so, beat perennial champion Silver Wolf for the second consecutive time. One race later, British jockey Alan Munro recorded his first Korean Stakes race victory when guiding East Jet to a smart victory in the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association (KOR G3).
Coming into the Ttukseom Cup, the first leg of the Queens’ Tour, Dia Road [Captain Coltish – Gieongnal Geunal (Menifee)] had won seven of her eight prior races, including that meeting with stablemate Silver Wolf in the Donga Ilbo Cup prior to the shutdown earlier this year when she had a 5kg weight advantage.
At level weights this time, Dia Road was slowly out of the gates but by the end of the back straight, jockey Kim Yong-geun had threaded a way through the field and was up just behind the leaders. She struck the front at the top of the home straight and powered away from the rest to record a six-length win from early pacesetter Raon First and closer Ice Marine. Silver Wolf, who took a long time to find space for a run, came home 5th.
If all goes to plan – and that is a big “if” with Korean racing in an uncertain position due to the recent COVID-19 resurgence, the four-year-old Dia Road and the eight-year-old Silver Wolf will most likely meet again in the final two legs of the Queens’ Tour – of which Silver Wolf is already a two-time winner – in the autumn.
The SROA Trophy (KOR G3) brought back together some of the nation’s top sprinters including the first five home in last month’s SBS Sports Sprint. Most pre-race attention focused on the young up and comer Eoma Eoma who after three straight wins, had suffered her first career defeat when a gutsy 3rd in the SBS Sports Sprint a month ago.
Despite a much better draw, this time Eoma Eoma had to settle for 2nd place as East Jet [Strike Again – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)], the only other three-year-old in the race, made short work of a wide draw to get right on pace with the leaders and then proved too strong in the straight, holding off Eoma Eoma by just under a length. SBS Sports Sprint winner Morfhis produced his customary late charge but had to settle for 3rd.
East Jet was ridden by Alan Munro, who was recording his first Koream Stakes race victory. Munro, who only returned earlier this month from a broken wrist suffered prior to the KRA Cup Mile has now ridden 67 winners from 570 rides in the country since debuting in February 2019.
It’s Double Graded Stakes Sunday at Seoul with the Ttukseom Cup and Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy set to be r0un in the capital. There are 12 races in Seoul from 10:25 to 18:00.
In The Ttukseom Cup, Silver Wolf will get the opportunity to avenge defeat earlier this year at the hands of Dia Road while the SROA Trophy brings SBS Sprint winner Morfhis back together with Do Kki Blade and exciting newcomer Eoma Eoma. See below for previews of all Seoul races plus horse by horse for the two Stakes.
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
The two-year-old gallopers will kick off proceedings on a twelve event card from Seoul. (10) VICTORICA is the on top selection after powering to the line last start to finish fourth behind Hwanggeum Power. The Colonel John filly can position in the second half of the field before reeling of a quick sectional. (2) KKANGDORI looks as if she is one of the debutants ready to fire early in her career. The grey won her trial in good style clocking a reasonable time for the juveniles. (4) DAESAN TEUKGEUP is another trial winner who looks capable of performing at his debut run. He overcame a wide gate and covered the ground nicely to win his heat when clocking 62.7 seconds on a muddy track. (3) ACE PRINCE comes out of the race that Victorica lined up in where he finished fifth. With some improvement he can be considered an each way chance.
(10) Victorica (2) Kkangdori (4) Daesan Teukgeup (3) Ace Prince
2, 4, 6
Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(11) NINE EYE was a significantly improved 2nd when stepped up to this trip for the first time on August 2nd recording in the process the fastest time of any of these so far over the 1300M. He’ll have to overcome the outside gate to work forward but should be capable and can in. (2) GEUMSEONG ACE looks to be steadily improving and is another who has demonstrated that she can run a time. She remains nicely weighted and should go close here. (4) GO GO GO debuted in that race, coming from off the pace to run 5th. She He should have come on for that and get closer this time. (7) LOVING DANCER tackles the distance for the first time following a useful enough 3rd over 1200M. She hasn’t shown much in the way of speed so far but that was a big improvement and she can build on it today.
(11) Nine Eye (2) Geumseong Ace (7) Loving Dancer (4) Go Go GO
2, 3, 11
Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
The third will see the Class Five gallopers go over the 1300m where there are numerous chances. (3) GLOBAL GOLD is the on top selection coming off a third behind Jeonjeongsaguem where the Thunder Mocassin gelding powered to the line in the final stages. With a better draw Lee Hyeok should be able to settle the three-year-old closer before unleashing him as they balance up for the run home. (2) LAO JIN is second up after finishing third behind Tiz City in similar company last time out. The filly will get the services of Moon Se-young for the first time. (5) TANK SOCKS is another that is second-up coming off a good performance. The filly finished second when resuming over this distance after sitting in the leading division. If Park Eul-woon can cross the filly early on she looks a big chance. (1) GOLD FIELD looks a place chance from an inside draw. The filly broke maiden status two starts ago before finishing midfield behind Yeolrin Mun last time out.
(3) Global Gold (2) Lao Jin (5) Tank Socks (1) Gold Field
Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(8) COIN BLADE came from way back to get his maiden win over 1200M on June 28th. Having previously run 3rd on debut at 1300M all the way back in early 2019. He looks set to be a two-turn horse but 1400M should give him enough opportunity to stretch out and he can win again today. This is a really good race for the level though. (3) TOP SEED got his maiden win at this distance in June, making all, but was touch slow away on his first crack at this level last month, ending up in 3rd. With a better start he can be right back in the mix today. (1) CHEONJI YEOGEOL and (6) UNOECHANCHEON are both up in class following maiden wins last month at 1300M and 1200M respectively. Both ran through the line strong and should adapt to the increased trip with few difficulties. (5) CHEOGANG MAGIC comes in following a class and distance 3rd a month ago and can aim to follow up here while (7) CHOEGANG PARTY drops back in trip following a useful 3rd place around 1700M last start and is one of a number of others who can also come into consideration.
A field of eleven will line up over the seven furlongs in the fifth. (2) HAENGBOK WANGJA looks extremely hard to beat notching two runner-up performances in a row since resuming. The Daredevil colt comes off a last start second behind Mighty New which reads extremely well for this event. (4) SOUL MERIT will be sure to attract attention in betting markets. The American Pharoah colt trialed up in good fashion and was a Class Four winner before the racing hiatus. The three-year-old will have to carry 57.5kg, a substantial increase on the 52.5kg he carried to victory last start. (5) GOOD SENSE produced a solid performance when resuming last start. The Street Sense four-year-old is up in class on the strength of a second last start and as a result will carry just the 52kg. (7) BULGULUI RUNNER looks next best after finishing third behind Jangsan Forever last time out. The King Cugat gelding has been settling rearwards this time in before hitting the line strong in the final stages.
(2) Haengbok Wangja (4) Soul Merit (5) Good Sense (7) Bulgului Runner
Race 6: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Entertaining little race this. (1) RUNNING BOX has looked in good form since the restart. She ran 3rd behind East Jet, who has very quickly gone on to better things, in June before running a narrow 2nd to My Hawk last month when having a hard time getting a good position from a wide draw. She has the inside gate today and could well be peaking with a real winning chance. (8) RAON TAP MAN has only finished outside the top three once in seven starts and comes in having scored at class 4 over this distance in June and then run 2nd on his first try at this class a month ago. She carries significantly less weight this time and has a real chance. (9) NEUL PUREUN CAT was well back behind Running Box last start but that was his first-up run and he has previously proven himself more than competitive at class and distance. (3) CHOIN BOLT hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise but has a class and distance 3rd place to his name since the restart and should be in at least the placing hunt again.
(1) Running Box (8) Raon Tap Man (3) Choin Bolt (9) Neul Pureun Cat
5, 6, 8
Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
The Class Four gallopers will go over the two turns in the seventh event where four of the engagements come off last start wins. (8) JEONGSANG YEOSIN is the on top selection after a very consistent career to date. The Colors Flying filly has notched four wins from ten starts with two minor placings. She resumed in good style when finishing second behind Best Lucky over the 1700m. (9) JANGSAN BADA is another progressive type who has notched two wins and a minor from three career starts. The Old Fashioned colt sits handy in his runs and has clocked some good times in his short career to date. (5) GAROSUGIL was a surprise winner last time out when leading throughout. The win was over the two turns, he is up in class but will carry just 54kg. (6) JEONJEONGSAGEUM is another progressive type notching two wins from the four starts as well. Lim Gi-won has been aboard the filly at all four starts to date. She normally has plenty of early speed so expect her to shoot across from barrier six. Good race.
(8) Jeongsang Yeosin (9) Jangsan Bada (5) Garosugil (6) Jeonjoengsageum
3, 5, 6, 10
Race 8: Class 3 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
This is a super race for the level and is suitably tricky to solve. (1) GEUMA WHOLESOME has not only recorded the fastest time of those who have raced at the level before but also beat a number of these on his was to 3rd place behind Brigadier General on July 26th. He carries even more weight today but has plenty of quality and should go close. No fewer than three last-start winners are up in class here. (5) ECHO BILL won well at this distance on July 6th in a useful time. He was beaten by (6) SHU LEUB first-up in June, also at today’s distance, but can overturn that form today. (8) MOONHAK EMPIRE was a good winner over 1400M on July 19th and steps up to two-turns for the first time. His running style to date would suggest that won’t be a problem and he should be competitive here. (2) SHARK JJANG and (4) MUDO are others in the hunt.
Race 9: Class Open (1400M) Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) Allowance / KRW 400 Million
The time-honoured Ttukseom Cup is the ninth event on the card where the fillies and mares will line up over the 1400m at Korean Group Two level. A field of fourteen will face the starter where last year’s winner Silver Wolf will rematch Dia Road, who turned the tables on the eight-year-old back in January winning the Donga Ilbo Cup. Here’s a look at each of the runners:
DAEBAK HAENGJIN – Good performance last start to finish third behind Wang Beotkkot when second-up. Somewhat of a non-winner notching just one victory from fifteen starts. Looks to be up against it at set weights.
SKY BAY – Light raced five-year-old who needs to be considered an each way chance after a very good win at Class 1 level when first up over the 1400m. Never been able to match Silver Wolf previously but has resumed in great order.
SILVER WOLF – Last year’s champion mare clean sweeping the Queen’s Tour. Found the Grand Prix not suitable and then finished second to Dia Road in the Donga Ilbo before the enforced hiatus. Will be interesting to see her run after a lengthy break.
RAON FIRST – Seems the logical choice to line up in after struggling to run a strong 1600m out in the Luna Stakes and subsequentially bypassing the Oaks. A winner of four from six she is an on-pace runner that must be respected.
SEOURI BYEOL – Has performed admirably at the highest level behind the likes of Dia Road and Silver Wolf. Whilst she is unlikely to match their efforts, she is normally a live place chance. Query lies with the 1400m.
ICE MARINE – Winner of eight from twenty-six including a last start victory when defeating last year’s Oaks winner Deep Mind. The seven furlongs not her ideal distance as she normally takes time to find her feet before hitting the line strong.
HWA GI – Hard to suggest on her two performances since resuming in June.
SEONNYANG CHEOLLI – Class 3 winner last start over 1200m. Yet to be stretched beyond the six furlongs and she looks outclassed against this field.
DIA ROAD – A winner of seven from eight starts including the Donga Ilbo back in January when beating Silver Wolf. She is all class and looks the one to beat. Resumed with a win when made to work for it over 1800m. The one to beat.
DAMYANG HWANHO – A long time between drinks and looks safely held.
CHEONGSU YEOGEOL – Lacks to class to match it with a field of this caliber. Unlikely.
LEAD MONEY – Resumed in good fashion to finish third behind Dia Road over the 1800m. Always thereabouts in Class 1 level. Place chance at best.
CHOCO CANDY – Last start Class 2 winner when carrying only 53.5kg. Another filly who is capable of finishing in the minor money.
UJU DAEWANG – Career best performances to date include a win in Class 3 company. Looks outclassed.
VERDICT: (9) DIA ROAD showed us in January that she has more than enough ability to stamp herself as the best filly or mare in Korea. Now we get to see this rematch between her and (3) SILVER WOLF for the first time since the Donga Ilbo. There is so much intrigue watching these two superstars face each other at equal weights. In January’s Donga Ilbo Silver Wolf had to carry 5kg more than Dia Road only going down three lengths. At set weights with fresh legs she is more than capable of regaining the upper hand. (2) SKY BAY showed us that she has resumed in brilliant style when winning over this distance last time out. She has placed behind the likes of Silver Wolf previously and we know she can carry weight. (4) RAON FIRST knows one way only and that is to jump and run. The Musket Man filly looks perfectly suited over the 1400m with a good draw.
(3) Silver Wolf (9) Dia Road (2) Sky Bay (4) Raon First
2, 4, 9, 14
Race 10: Class Open (1200M) SROA Trophy (KOR G3) Weight for Age / KRW 400 Million
1. WONDER BOLT – The 10-year-old never disgraces himself and will likely finish in midfield again but he simply doesn’t have the kind of speed anymore to be a serious contender in races such as this.
2. SPRING BACK – Good class 1 sprinter but perhaps not quite of the elite level at equal weights. Finished 7th in the SBS and while he could better that, he has a little too much to make up.
3. ULTRA PUNCH – Establishing himself as a competent class 1 campaigner although he is yet to win at the top level. Ran 2nd to Complete Sweep last start. Great draw so expect him to challenge for the early lead but others should end up too quick.
4. COMPLETE SWEEP – Good all the way win at this distance in July before running 3rd in a fast race on a very wet track earlier this month sandwiched between Jjang Kong and Mask in 3rd place. He’ll be aiming to get on speed from the start but isn’t among the favourites.
5. M J POWER – A very good 4th behind Do Kki Blade in the Busan Ilbo, he skipped the SBS and instead ran 2nd to Sky Bay over 1400M. Likes to come from just off the pace with a strong finish, he is unlikely to win but shouldn’t be far away.
6. EOMA EOMA – The up and comer put in a huge run to finish a desperately close 3rd in the SBS, his first serious race after three easy wins. He had to come from gate 10 that day but has fared much better with the draw this time. Moon Se-young being available means Song Jae-chul misses out despite doing everything right last time. Expect a fast start and this time he can win.
7. JJANG KONG – Put in a massive effort to run 2nd at this distance on a very wet track, beating Complete Sweep and Mask, on August 1st. That earns him his shot here but while he will grind away, aiming to close from a midfield position, surely this is too hard
8. CHEUNGDAM GENIE – Well back behind Morfhis in June, he takes his chance here having pulled off a good win over the distance on July 12th. Still potential to improve but may not have the speed to compete for the money here.
9. MASK – Returned from a lengthy absence to run 4th behind Jjang Kong and Complete Sweep on August 1st. That was a good first-up run and he has consistently posted solid times at this distance. In this company though, a few others may just be a bit quicker.
10. GLOBAL CAPTAIN – Loads of talent but he is unreliable in terms of manners. From an unpromising gate, he managed to run 6th in the SBS, coming from well back late on. At his best he is capable of winning but there are too many questions over him.
11. MEDICI GLORY – Made his way rapidly up the levels and ran a very solid 5th in the SBS. Runs best on the early speed but both draw and quality of opposition will make it difficult for him to get there. Matching that SBS performance would be a good result.
12. DO KKI BLADE – Brilliant winner of the Busan Ilbo and he can desperately close in the SBS before Morfhis snatched it away. A front-runner, his draw is worse today then in both the Busan Ilbo and SBS and he has a lot of speed inside him. Nevertheless, his quality should see him close.
13. EAST JET – A winner of five from his first six he was then a revelation in the SBS when he ran a close at hand 4th. One of just two three-year-olds in the race, along with Eoma Eoma, he gets weight allowance, but the draw isn’t kind. Will be hard to better that 4th but not impossible.
14. MORFHIS – That rarest of things in Korea; a closer who wins Group level Sprints. As in the SBS, the wide draw is arguably in his favour as he can keep out of both trouble and kickback and run his own race until the business end. If he is to repeat though he will need a lot to go right for him. A real chance once more.
15. SEONGPA – Struggled in the Busan Ilbo and skipped the SBS in order to run in the Jjang Kong race in which he finished 8th. He has posted a fast time when winning at this distance but it’s hard to make a case for him on most recent form.
VERDICT: (14) MORFHIS will aim to repeat his SBS Sports Sprint win with his customary late charge and it’s not impossible he could be successful. However, the up and comer (6) EOMA EOMA impressed that day and has drawn a much better gate. It may be that by the time Morfhis arrives on the scene, it’s too late. This time the draw does no favours to (12) DO KKI BLADE but he has plenty of quality and should be present at the business end of the race. Likewise (13) EAST JET will have to come from wide, but the wily Munro isn’t one to throw the kitchen sink early and he’ll surely be around to challenge late on. (9) MASK and (10) GLOBAL CAPTAIN are among others in the hunt for the minors in what should be a tremendous race.
Race 11: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
There looks an abundance of speed engaged in the eleventh where a field of eleven will line up over the 1400m. (4) DAEGUN CHEONHA has been a model of consistency in his thirteen start career. The Verrazano colt has won just the two races but has never finished worse than fifth including eight minor placings. From barrier four he should get every chance to figure, expect him to be hitting peak fitness at his third start back from the racing hiatus. (7) FLYING FORD put his brilliant turn of foot on display last start when gobbling up a good bunch of gallopers. The Shackleford four-year-old goes up a considerable 4.5kg which will make his task tougher, but his last win was very good. (3) KILIUI JEWANG is second-up after a midfield performance behind Munhak Tiger in this company last start. Expect improvement from the five-year-old second-up. (2) INCHEON CHIEF will drop back to the 1400m after finishing midfield at his first start back. He will take improvement out of that first up run, expect him to be on speed from gate two over the 1400m.
Race 12: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(3) STRETTO came back into form with a strong 2nd place over class and distance on August 1st. He gets in again under a very light weight and going one better isn’t impossible. (10) LUMINESCE and (11) HIGH BEAT came home 1st and 2nd at class and distance with not much between them on July 18th. Winner Luminesce was giving away 3kg that day but it’s up to 5kg today and that, coupled with the former being drawn much wider this time, may be enough to allow the consistent High Beat to overturn the form. (5) JEONGSANG ETTEUM almost made all but ultimately finished 2nd over 1400M on July 11th. From a good draw, he’ll be on pace again and has every chance. (1) PSYCHIC BOSS and (6) GLOBAL CHEONHA came home 3rd and 4th when they raced each other on July 25th at class and distance and both can aim to go close again.
(3) Stretto (11) High Beat (10) Luminesce (5) Jeongsang Etteum
It’s a massive day of double Graded Stakes action at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The second leg of the Sprint Series sees Busan Ilbo Cup winner facing off against Ace Korea and two-time winner Doraonpogyeongseon. Meanwhile, the great Aussie mare Silver Wolf will be hot favourite to win the Ttukseom Cup. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.
Gaon Champ won the 1st leg of the Sprint Series (Pic: KRA)
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(3) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM is the most experienced galloper of the field and has started to show some consistency in his racing. He finished second last start behind Geumbit Yeoljeong in a time that was good considering a dry track. (8) NEOSEONG BYOKRYOK has placed at his last two starts over the 1000m. With four weeks between runs he should be freshened up for another good performance over the 1000m. (10) O PI M J has ran some handy races over the 1000m prior to this event. Expect the three-year-old to drop back as he normally does suggesting the wide draw will not be a problem. (9) HYEONGMA PUBU is first up since July last year but had a trial coming into this event. The four-year-old showed some promise in this type of race last year.
(3) Cheonnyeonui Baram (8) Neoseong Byokryok (10) O Pi M J (9) Hyeongma Pubu
3, 11, 12
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
The second on the card has twelve engaged all looking for their first win. (2) UTGE HAEJULGE gets his best chance to notch his maiden win. The three-year-old has drawn ideally for his style of racing. He should sit right behind the speed and Lim Gi-Won can produce him at the top of the straight. (6) SEOUL MAGIC has shown some form over the 1000m of late. The chestnut has early speed so expect him to be in the first couple in running. (3) ANYANG LEOPARD finished runner up behind Independence last start which a few of these are coming out of that particular race. (8) MOONHAKCHEETAH notched his first place finish last start and can improve today.
Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
The third has a field of twelve engaged where we can make a case for almost half the field. (3) CAMP BADA saluted in good fashion last time out when dropping back to the 1000m. With the similar draw to that of last time she will be in this for a long way down the Seoul straight. (2) MISS GELLA doesn’t like winning but she continues to keep the stakes rolling over for connections. She can jump quickly and sit in the leading division. (5) BAEKSANG showed a clean set of heels last time out when leading from gate to line. Moon Sung-Hyeok retains the ride and gets small weight relief with the rise in class. (4) GABO PULL QUEEN saluted at an each-way price last time out over the 1300m when overcoming barrier eleven. This is tougher but keep her safe.
(3) Camp Bada (2) Miss Gella (5) Baeksang (4) Gabo Pull Queen
3, 4, 5, 8
Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
A field of eight maidens take to the track in the fourth where there only appears to be a few chances. The Kim Soon-Keun trained (3) ROYAL GHOST looks hard to beat at her fourth career start. Kim Yong Geun will partner the three-year-old who had a trial earlier this month. Expect her to sit closer in the small field. (7) MIGHTY LUCK was promising on debut last time out when she finished fourth over the 1000m. Expect improvement from the athletic looking chestnut today. (6) COILRO looked green in the run home last time out. She was beaten a big margin, but she did still have fuel in the tank at the post unlike the majority who finished behind her. (4) MACH THUNDER appears the best of the rest in a maiden that lacks form.
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
The engagement of Kim Yong-Geun gives confidence when looking at the chances of (5) CHODONG BOBAE. The filly hit overdrive in the last furlong when winning last time out, but she did look like she would benefit from a senior rider. (11) PRIME QUEEN broke maiden status last time out in good style. She wasn’t given the most economic run by Moon Se-Young but her brute strength won her the race. She is a winning chance and will be ridden by Johan Victoire with Moon Se-Young on forced vacation. Look for improvement from (4)BIG PRO after and encouraging second last start when running through the line strong. (8) MAPAEBONG has finished in the top five on eight occasions from eleven starts and should be considered in your novelties.
(5) Chodong Bobae (11) Prime Queen (4) Big Pro (8) Mapaebong
2, 9, 11
Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
A small field of eight will line up over the 1300m in the second at Busan. It appears that there will be a short-priced favourite in the form of (3) ULTRA POWER. The three-year-old broke maiden status two starts back in Class 6 company and then backed it up with a respectable fourth last time out when beaten 2.5L by Dodohan who has a significant weight advantage. This looks a weaker task and the colt gets the services of the in-form Seo Seung-Un. (4) CHOEGANG STEALTH starts a new preparation and has the benefit of a trial coming into this assignment. The five-year-old has shown glimpses of ability including a last start second before going to the paddock. Four-year-old (7) WANBONG looks the best of the rest. He failed to muster last time out and was hemmed away on the fence in traffic. His runs prior were respectable and he can be considered a place chance. (8) ROYAL CLUB has been out of form recently but has placed in this company.
(3) Ultra Power (4) Choegang Stealth (7) Wanbong (8) Royal Club
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Three-year-old daughter of Menifee (3) TAP LINE looks hard to beat after a dominant win over 1300m last start. She jumped out of the gates and went straight to the lead only to accelerate in good fashion at the top of the straight. Johan Victoire takes over from the suspended Alan Munro. (5) MALAKAS won in similar company last time out in a blanket finish. She rises 2kg in the weight scale is considered an each-way chance. There are some speedy ones engaged in this event so it won’t surprise if she gets a fair way back. (more…)
Doraonpogyeongseon produced a thundering late run to win the SBS Sports Sprint for the 2nd year running at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The five-year-old gelding saw off a field studded with some of the country’s top sprinters to win by a length.
Trained at Busan by Min Jang Gi, Doraonpogyeongseon seems to love racing at Seoul. After his win in this race last year, he returned to the capital in September to run a huge 3rd in the Korea Sprint. A repeat attempt on that race, the final leg of the Sprint Series is surely inevitable.
Having finished 3rd in the 1st leg of the series, the Busan Ilbo Cup last month, Doraonpogyeongseon was duly sent off as third-favourite in the betting market behind champion mare and winner of that 1st leg Silver Wolf, second-favourite behind the Kim Young Kwan trained Today, a winner of 10 of his 12 prior starts and running in Stakes company for the first time.
Silver Wolf was never in contention. The wide draw wasn’t supposed to be a problem but under Kim Dong Soo, who had successfully navigated a way through traffic in the Busan Ilbo, she found herself at the back of the sixteen-strong field on the turn and had to go very wide to find a run in the straight. She could only make it up to 6th. Doraonpogyeongseon, on the other hand, coming out of gate 2 was able to settle in on the fence just behind the early speed of which Today was a big part.
Main pace-setters Indian Star and Perdido Pomeroy weakened early in the straight leaving Choegang Schiller in front with a furlong to go. It looked as though Today would be the track-record holder’s primary challenger until Doraonpogyeongseon’s late show. Final Boss came with a big run for 4th.
Doraonpogyeongseon [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] was a $50,000 purchase form the OBS two-year-old sales at Ocala in 2015. He’s won 9 of his 22 starts and is approaching $1Million in prize-money. Trainer Min Jang Gi was winning a Stakes race for the third time while for jockey Kim Cheol Ho, a revelation since transferring to Busan at the start of this year, it was his first success in a principle race.
The Ttukseom Cup, while more valuable than the SBS Sports Sprint, had been overshadowed by the other race in the build-up. That was partly because it was expected to end with a comfortable winner. It did, but not the one that was expected.
Haeya, runner-up last year was sent off as the prohibitive favourite but scarcely featured as Cheongsu Yeogeol, a three-year-old who had only raced six times previously, struck the front a furlong from home and ran on to win by three-lengths under a delighted Moon Se Young. Busan-trained pair Damyang Hwanho and Gold Blue were 2nd and 3rd with Haeya only managing 8th and the well-backed Hi Sexy even further back in 13th.
Cheongsu Yeogeol [Run Away And Hide – Fan Appeal (Lear Fan)] cost just $8500 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2016.
On this weekend last year, Silver Wolf was setting out on a clean-sweep of the Queens’ Tour Series with a narrow win over Haeya in the Ttukseom Cup. This Sunday at Seoul, it’s surely Haeya’s turn to win the Ttukseom while Silver Wolf turns her attention to the SBS Sports Sprint, the 2nd leg of the Sprint Series, having already won the Busan Ilbo Cup last month. The exciting Today, a winner of 10 of 12 starts is among a full field of fifteen rivals and the Aussie-bred superstar will be under huge pressure in the 1200M test, but she has the class to overcome it. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.
Silver Wolf beat Power Blade in the 1st leg of the Sprint Series. Can she win again in the SBS Sports? (Pic: KRA)
A$40,000 yearling purchase, Silver Wolf was last year’s champion filly/mare in Korea. In between winning all three legs of the 2017 Queens’ Tour series, she also went sprinting, winning the Munhwa Ilbo Cup and running a strong 5th in the Korea Sprint. Silver Wolf has made an unbeaten start to 2018 with three consecutive victories including the Donga Ilbo Cup at 1800M in February and significantly, the 1st leg of the Sprint Series at Busan last month, when she downed Today’s stablemate Power Blade over this distance.
Six-years-old and arguably still getting better, the mare by Orotorio is the one to beat. Tactically versatile, she can win from anywhere but is usually ridden patiently and with lots of early speed in the race, it may well play to her advantage.
Drosselmeyer colt Today was imported in-utero and has set about winning ten of his twelve starts so far at distances of up to a mile. The Kim Young Kwan stable has such an embarrassment of riches that Today has gone somewhat under the radar and with any stable only permitted to run a maximum of two in any race, he is yet to get the opportunity to run in Stakes company. However, with Power Blade kept home, Today gets his chance here. He enters on a four-race winning streak with his latest having been at this distance on March 25th. Jockey Franco Da Silva rode the winner of the Korean Derby three weeks ago and returns to Seoul with another big chance.
The three who contested last year’s finish all return. Doraonpogyeongseon got the decision that day by the narrowest of margins ahead of Parang Juuibo and Choegang Schiller. Doraonpogyeongseon has won just the once since but was an excellent 3rd in the Korea Sprint, beating Silver Wolf, and remains a danger at the top level.
Parang Juuibo isn’t quite of the elite but rarely finishes outside the top five – although making top five will take some doing this time. Choegang Schiller has only raced four times (and switched trainers twice) since the race a year ago. He’s won two of them, most recently in February at this distance and broke the track record in the other and is a live chance.
There are wildcards. Today’s stablemate Finest Warrior gets to step up. A winner of four from seven so far, he was unconvincing when sent up to class 1 for the first time last month but it’s unlikely trainer Kim Young Kwan has opted to bring him to Seoul simply for the experience. There is further Australian interest as Peter Wolsley brings Ace Korea up from Busan. The three-year-old Smiling Tiger colt has won his latest two in facile fashion, both at this distance and while this is a huge step up, he’s highly thought of. It’s a massively competitive contest bit Silver Wolf can win it from Today, Doraonpogyeongseon and Cheogang Schiller.
The Ttukseom Cup should be a little bit more straightforward in terms of finding the winner.
Haeya (Pic: Ross Holburt)
Haeya is rated no fewer than 27 points higher than the next best and that fact alone tells its own story. She’s been plagued by soundness issues across her career which has restricted her to thirteen starts of which she has won six. The ones she has lost, however, have tended to be in top class company. She was 2nd to Silver Wolf in this race last year before running 3rd in the second leg, the KNN Cup at Busan.
With a mile considered her limit, she didn’t run in the concluding race of the series but did take a crack at the Korea Sprint in which she finished 11th. Haeya has begun 2018 in good form with a win and a 2nd place in two class 1 outings, both at this distance of 1400M. Her last start was in March, but she was kept ticking over with a trial win in late April. A front-runner, this could be her year.
Behind Haeya though, it is anyone’s race, with all fifteen other competitors having at least some claim on the places. Hi Sexy and Cheongsu Yeogeol look to have the best claims but Luigi Riccardi’s Rocket Queen might make for an interesting one at odds. Here is the race-by-race:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Just one debut-maker among the eleven who kick us off but he’s probably going to start the favourite. (1) WINNER SPIRIT took part in an outrageously fast trial on May 18th, registering the kind of time that would win the vast majority of actual class 6 races at this distance. It was a wet track, but he certainly looked competent and while he will surely be slower today, can still win. (2) LIVINGSTONE comes in off back to back 4th place finishes and looks to be improving, despite disappointing when favourite last start. (5) I’M HAPPY and (6) MONKEY SOCKS have both shown glimpses of ability and should go close. (11) RAON SITIEOSEU beat (3) GOLD SEUTAK and (8) NAMJJOK NARA as the trio filled out 3rd to 5th at the distance on May 5th and he should beat plenty again.
Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(4) BARAM KING beat a couple of these on his way to 4th place at this distance on April 29th. He’s not been too far away in five of his six starts so far and against this modest opposition, with Moon Se Young taking over in the saddle, looks the most likely to make the breakthrough. (8) SEUNGNI PLUS started favourite against Baram King last time but could only manage 6th place. Nevertheless, he is one of only two horses in the race who have managed a 2nd place finish and he can be given another chance. The other one with a 2nd is (6) KHENDUM POWER though he looks to have more to find on recent form. (5) ROAD WOMAN and (11) MACHO HIME can improve on recent starts while (10) DAEJIUI SAESSAK was so slow on debut last month, she was sent back to trial. She completed that trial well last week though and could do much better this time around.
(4) Baram King (8) Seungri Plus (11) Macho Hime (5) Road Woman
1, 9, 10
3, 6, 8
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(4) SPECIAL GOLD got her second 3rd place finish from four starts so far and she could well be the one getting it right in this maiden for three-year-olds. She’s finished well in all her starts so far and so long as she doesn’t leave herself with too much to do, she can win. She was chased home that day by (5) HANEUL ACE and (1) HYEONGMA PUBU, the (more…)
It’s a Group race double-header at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Black-type is up for grabs in the Ttukseom Cup while one race later it is Korea vs Japan in the SBS Sports Sprint. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.
Success Story winning May’s Busan Ilbo Cup (Pic: KRA)
Both races are part of a series. The Ttukseom Cup gets the “Queens Tour” for fillies and mares underway while the SBS Sports Sprint is the 2nd leg of the “Sprint Series” which will culminate in the international Korea Sprint in September.
The winner of the first leg of the Sprint Series returns here and could well be favourite. Success Story made his name with a pair of 3rd place finishes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2016 and having returned to winning ways over 1800M in February, got the better of a strong field in the Busan Ilbo Cup on the south-coast last month. Only one other participant from that 1st leg tries his luck again; that’s Perdido Pomeroy, who won this race last year but has struggled for form since.
Japan sends two. Kimon Avalon, who finished 5th in the race last year, returns to the peninsula to try again but there will be more attention paid to 6-year-old mare Party Dress who operates at JRA level at home. It’s the Korea-based one that will be fancied though with 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller, in-form Doraonpogyeongseon and Brian Dean’s Choegangja all set to be well-backed.
The Ttukseom Cup, named after the district of downtown Seoul that was home to the racecourse before it moved to its present site in the satellite city of Gwacheon, is one of six Korean races included in this year’s international “Blue Book” and there are ten fillies and mares vying for the Black Type it confers – not to mention a 228Million Won first prize.
US import Haeya went down to her first defeat in April but looks to be the one to beat in the 1400M test. Form comments below:
Race 8: Class Open (1400M) Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) / KRW 400 Million
1. INDIAN STAR – Stakes winner at this track last October. Narrowly beaten last time out at this distance, she’s a fast starter and should be in the mix at the end.
2. MIGHTY GEM – Ended last year in great form but hasn’t looked right in three starts so far this term. Strong finisher but looks up against it here.
3. HAEYA – Suffered her first defeat in April, fading late on. That was her first start since January after lots of setbacks. If she’s right, she will be hard to beat.
4. GOLD BLUE –Won consecutive races in January and February but two subsequent class 1 starts have been at long distances. Very strong finisher, so long as she doesn’t leave too much to do, she could be in the hunt late on. (more…)
The Korean Derby is now behind us and we won’t be getting a Triple Crown winner this year. We have to wait until July to see if impressive Derby winner Final Boss can win the Minister’s Cup too but in the meantime, we have a big month ahead of us. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up in June and July in Korean racing.
All being well, Derby Winner Final Boss will aim for July’s Minister’s Cup (Pic: KRA)
June International Weekend (Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th)
The big one is of course the Korea Cup & Sprint in September but to mark the start of summer, the first weekend of June sees plenty of good racing. On the Saturday there will be excahnge races with the Selangor Turf Club, Turkey Jockey Club and China Horse Industry Association before two big group races on Sunday:
Sunday June 4 – SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3 – Sprint Series), Seoul: The 2nd leg of the Sprint Series doubles up as this year’s edition of the Korea vs Japan race. Success Story won the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first leg of the series, and he is expected to be in Seoul to try to make it two out of two in advance of the final leg, the Korea Sprint, in September. Last year’s winner Perdido Pomeroy is also expected to be there but with Power Blade now likely to stay home and Busan Ilbo 2nd place-getter Seoul Bullet spelled, Busan’s challenge is not as strong as usual. That gives opportunities to Seoul horses including Brian Dean’s Choegangja, who is 5 for 5 for the Aussie handler and could well give Dean a chance to return to his old haunt of Kranji for the KRA Trophy in July.
Currently there are two Japan-trained entrants for the race; Kimon Avalon who ran a solid 5th in the race last year, and Party Dress, a winner of 5 from 21, both trained by Arayama Katsunori.
Sunday June 4 – Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2 – Queens Tour), Seoul – The Queens’ Tour to decide the year’s champion filly or mare gets underway with the shortest race of the series, the 1400M Ttukseom Cup. This division is not especially strong at the moment and favourites are likely to include last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup winner Indian Star and KNN Cup winner Supreme Magic.
Sunday June 11 – Korean Oaks (KOR G2) Busan – There were 27 early entries for the fillies’ Classic and we’ll get a clearer picture in the next week or so. Nevertheless, Ice Marine is set to be favourite. She won a valuable trial for the race in March and while her 6th place in the KRA Cup Mile meant she didn’t go for the Derby, she’s the standout so far. Plenty of unexposed ones could test her though.
They’re followed by:
Sunday June 28: Sports Chosun Cup (L) Seoul Sunday July 9: Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) Busan – Informally known as the “Summer Grand Prix” it is, ater the Oaks, Busan’s 2nd most valuable race of the year. This year it will be run over 1800M. Past winners include Dangdae Bulpae, Tough Win (twice) and Gamdonguibada. Sunday July 16: Minister’s Cup (KOR G2)Seoul – There’s no Triple Crown on the line this year but the final Classic of the year still has its intrigues. Final Boss’s Derby win was rated lower than that of Power Blade last year so can he burnish his credentials before taking on older, proven horses later in the season? Sunday July 23: KNN Cup (KOR G3) Busan – They step up to a mile for the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour. Sunday Jul 30: Ilgan Sports (L) Seoul
The nightracing season is shorter this year than last. From June, Friday meetings at Busan will switch to their night race times. Seoul will run Night meetings on Saturdays and twilight meetings on Sundays in July and August only.
It’s not often that Seoul bests Busan when horses from the two tracks meet in Stakes races but that’s exactly what happened in the first leg of the Queen’s Tour on Sunday afternoon as Bichui Jeongsang justified her favourite status to win the Ttukseom Cup.
Jo Sung Gon and Bichui Jeongsang win the Ttukseom Cup (Pic: KRA)
The race attracted thirteen fillies & mares with Bichui Jeongsang, 3rd in last year’s race and a multiple time class 1 winner, sent off just the right side of even money for the 1400 series opener.
Under former Champion Busan jockey Jo Sung Gon, Bichui Jeongsang was slowly away as last year’s Oaks winner Jangpung Parang showed the way early on. The latter though would fade and eventually finish i 5th place as Buchui Jeongsang improved around the home turn and then powered away from her rivals in the home straight, beating 20/1 shot Halla Chukje by half a length on the line. New York Blue, 2nd in last year’s race was Busan’s best finisher in 3rd.
Bichui Jeongsang was purchased for $30,000 at Fasig Tipton in 2013 and won four out of her first five on her way to a quick elevation to class 1 racing. She was slightly disappointing in some big Stakes races in the second half of last year which led to her missing out on a trip to the Dubai Carnival but scored back to back class 1 wins at the turn of the year and now heads the favourites as the Queen’s Tour contenders reassemble in Busan for the KNN Cup next month.
The Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – June 5, 2016
1. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] – Jo Sung Gon – 2.3, 1.2 2. Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player (Montbrook)] – Lee Hyeok – 4.9 3. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5 Distances: 0.5 lengths / 0.75 lengths Also Ran: 4. Silver Wolf (AUS) 5. Jangpung Parang (KOR) 6. Ms. Margaux (USA) 7. Queen’s Champion (USA) 8. Supreme Magic (USA) 9. Hay Queen (USA) 10. Model Line (USA) 11. Bukbeol Sinhwa (KOR) 12. Winner’s Marine (KOR) 13. Indian Star (KOR)
This coming week, attention shifts to the next generation of fillies in the shape of the Korean Oaks at Busan. It is unlikely Seoul will be able to follow up with another victory.
Peter Wolsley’s Ms. Margaux, who specializes in coming 2nd or 3rd, looks to be the pick here but she will face strong competition from the likes of Bichui Jeongsang, New York Blue and last year’s Oaks winner Jangpung Parang. Indian Star is also likely to be among the favourites.
Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – May 5, 2016 (17:05)
1. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] 5 (20/7/5/4) IS Seo – Jo Sung Gon 2. Queen’s Champion (USA) [Colonel John – Side Venture (Touch Gold)] 4 (12/4/3/1) SK Kim – Moon Se Young 3. Jangpung Parang (KOR) [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] 4 (13/4/2/5) YK Kim – Kim Yong Geun 4. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Oratorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] 4 (9/4/3/0) MG Son – Yoo Seung Wan 5. Indian Star (KOR) [Adcat – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] 4 (12/8/1/1) JB Mun – Yoo Hyun Myung 6. Supreme Magic (USA) [Lookin At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] 4 (11/4/2/2) WS An – Yonekura Satoshi 7. Model Line (USA) [Desert Party – Playing Footsie (Valiant Nature)] 4 (16/3/1/0) IS Seo – Imran Chisty 8. Bukbeol Sinhwa (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] 5 (15/6/2/1) YK Kim – Paolo Aragoni 9. Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player (Montbrook)] 5 (28/5/5/2) JG Yu – Lee Hyeok 10. Winner’s Marine (KOR) [Volponi – Graceful Ballerina (Posse)] KH Choi – Choi Si Dae 11. Hay Queen (USA) [Hold Me Back – Jack’s Touch (Touch Gold)] JH Koo – Song Jae Chul 12. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux)] 5 (24/2/9/8) PM Wolsley – Lee Hee Cheon 13. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] 5 (22/7/8/1) KM Lim – Lim Sung Sil