Watts Village

Fly Top Queen, Watts Village, Full Moon Party Settle In At Ohi

After spending a week at a quarantine facility 200km north of the Japanese capital, Fly Top Queen, Watts Village and Full Moon Party have finally arrived at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo.

Morning trackwork at Ohi (Pic: Ryu Seung Ho/KRA)

Morning trackwork at Ohi (Pic: Ryu Seung Ho/KRA)

The trio have made the trip across the East Sea to take part in the 2nd leg of the Korea vs Japan Challenge at Ohi next Tuesday evening.

Watts Village in his new box at Ohi (Pic: Ryu Seung Ho/KRA)

Watts Village in his new box at Ohi (Pic: Ryu Seung Ho/KRA)

We’ll have a full preview of the race next Monday. In the meantime, check out our Facebook page for more pictures.

Korean Horses Arrive Safely In Japan

The three horses who will represent Korea in the second leg of the Korea vs Japan Challenge, have been in trackwork since touching down on Japanese soil last week.

The horses arrived by Korean Air last Thursday

The horses arrived by Korean Air last Thursday

After a stable-to-stable trip of 16 hours, Fly Top Queen, Watts Village and Full Moon Party arrived at the NAR Education Centre at Nasu, about 200km north of Tokyo where there is a quarantine facility.

Into the light: Trackwork at Nasu (Pic: KRA)

Into the light: Trackwork at Nasu (Pic: KRA)

All three horses travelled well and will soon relocate to Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo, where the race will take place next Tuesday evening (November 26). We’ll have more of the build up over the coming days. See Facebook for more pictures.

Fly Top Queen, Watts Village, Full Moon Party To Represent Korea In Japan

Fly Top Queen, unbeaten in all of her 4 lifetime starts, heads the line-up Korean-trained horses who will go to Tokyo next month to compete in the 2nd-leg of the Korea Vs Japan Challenge. The race will be held at Tokyo-Ohi Racecourse on November 26.

Fumio Matoba and Tosen Archer in the SBS Korea Vs Japan Cup Winner's Circle at Seoul in September

Fumio Matoba and Tosen Archer in the SBS Korea Vs Japan Cup Winner’s Circle at Seoul in September

The first leg was won by Japanese raider Tosen Archer at Seoul Race Park on September 1. The Ohi race will be run over 1200 metres.

The undefeated Fly Top Queen (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Fly Top Queen (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Fly Top Queen (USA) [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)]

The 3-year-old filly was the most expensive racehorse ever imported into Korea when she arrived in mid-2012.

However, after suffering setback after setback, it took her over a year to reach the racecourse. She’s been worth the wait with all of her 4 victories coming in crushing style and all over the 1200 metre distance she will compete in here.

She’ll get her first proper test at Ohi. If she is good as she promises to be, she may very well come through it. 4 Runs 4 Wins

Watts Village

Watts Village

Watts Village (USA) [Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)]

A 3-year-old colt who was 2nd to Tosen Archer in the 1st leg at Seoul last month.

In doing so, he earned an official rating of 100 from the Singapore Turf Club handicapper who rated the race.

This ensured an invitation to the Dubai Carnival which remains an option (albeit unlikely). Many in Korea felt the rating to be slightly on the high side for a horse who had just finished 2nd to a 9-year-old Japanese sprinter (you’ll not see Tosen Archer in Dubai) but Watts Village is a talented competitor who could surprise again. 12 Runs 6 Wins 2 Seconds 1 Third

Trainer Lee Shin Young with Full Moon Party in the TJK Winner's Circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Full Moon Party(Pic: Ross Holburt)

Full Moon Party (KOR) [Vicar – Platinum Wildcat (Forest Wildcat)]

Set to be the only Korean-bred horse to take part in either “Korea Vs Japan” race, the 4-year old filly got her first Stakes win in the Turkey Jockey Club Cup in August but was very disappointing on her class 1 debut earlier this month.

That was over a much longer distance but while she’ll appreciate the sprint, she’ll still be very much the outsider. (17 Runs 7 wins 0 Seconds 3 Thirds 3)

With Ohi, located between Haneda Airport and downtown Tokyo, racing on dirt as opposed to the Korean style sand and, moreover, running clockwise, the home-team will be favourite to complete a double over Korea. However, don’t rule out an upset.

We’ll have plenty more on the build-up to the big race over the next month.

Major King Crowned Minister’s Cup Champion

Major King led from gate-to-wire to land the Minister’s Cup as the 2013 Korean Triple Crown wrapped up at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

He might have fluffy ears, but Major King is now a Classic winner

He might have fluffy ears, but Major King is now a Classic winner

Korean Derby and Oaks winning filly Speedy First was sent off as the short-priced favourite but she was never in the race and faded in the home straight to finish a tailed-off last.

Third in the Derby on this track in May, the grey Major King was a 9/1 chance at the start and was immediately sent into the lead by jockey Jo Sung Gon. When the expected challenges from Speedy First and Derby-second Unhae failed to materialise, it was left to outsider High Five and Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo winner Indie Band to apply the pressure.

They didn’t come close. Instead, Major King kicked on for victory, leading his fellow Busan visitors home by 2-lengths on the line.

Major King is by the late Brazilian sire Pico Central, who died earlier this year. The victory is his 6th from 10 career starts to date. For trainer Kim Sang Seok, it was a 3rd Classic winner, having won both the Korean Derby and Oaks in 2008 with Ebony Storm and Jeolho Chance respectively. For jockey Jo Sung Gon, Busan’s current champion, it was a 4th Classic and his 2nd in this race, having previously won it in on Sangseung Ilro in 2009.

As for the favourite, Speedy First returned with no obvious sign of injury, although fellow disappointment Unhae was found to be lame.

So, after Jigeum I Sungan upset the order of things by winning two Classics for Seoul last year, normal service has been resumed this with Busan horses winning all 4 Classics. When the two tracks collide again in the Gyeongnam Governor’s and President’s Cups over the next few weeks, it seems unlikely that this will change.

Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – October 6, 2013

1. Major King (KOR) [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)] – Jo Sung Gon – 9.1. 2.4
2. High Five (KOR) [Creek Cat – Nam’s Gulch (Gulch)] – Choi Si Dae – 5.5
3. Indie Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5

Distances: 2 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. K Tap 5. Brig 6. Geumbin Mannam 7. Sting Ray 8. Last Mudae 9. Best Captain 10. Unhae 11. Rising Joy 12. Speedy First

* There was no fairy-tale return to the track today for Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones). The 4-year-old, returning to racing for the first time since successful treatment for tendinitis which had kept him sidelined for 15 months, could only manage 6th in the class 1 race 13.

The event was won by the improving Watts Village (Forestry), who was 2nd in the Korea vs Japan race last month and who will travel to Tokyo for the return leg next month. The old Smarty Moonhak would have made short work of the likes of Watts Village but, while he was 5-lengths behind the winner, he was just 2 lengths adrift of 2nd and the run showed some promise.

* Down at Busan, Darryll Holland was the star of the show for the 2nd time this week. The British jockey notched up 4 winners on Thursday and added another 2 during the short 4-race card this afternoon. His haul included the feature race, where he partnered Peter Wolsley’s Perfect Jilju (Paradise Creek) to a very comfortable victory.

Weekend Round-Up: Watts Village Beaten at Seoul / Khaosan Wins for Wolsley at Busan

With all the Stakes races scheduled for 2012 now behind us, there were no big prizes on offer but still plenty of interesting action across the weekend.

Chilly but bright - Seoul Racecourse, December 16, 2012

Chilly but bright – Seoul Racecourse, December 16, 2012

On Saturday, two-year old US import Watts Village (Forestry), winner of last month’s TJK Trophy went looking ofr his fifth straight victory at Seoul Race Park. Although sent off heavy favourite for the 1900 metre handicap, it wasn’t to be as he fell to defeat for the first time, Gwanggaetoham (Mizzen Mast), a year his senior taking the honours.

Having won the TJK Trophy, the same race that Smarty Moonhak won last year, there had been plenty of hype surrounding Watts Village. His third place yesterday suggests that while he is not the finished article, there is plenty of promise for next year.

At Seoul today there were upsets in both co-feature races. Haedongcheonwang (West Acre), odds-on favourite for the first of these, a class 1 handicap over 1800 metres, could only manage fifth place as 11/1 Cheonha Daeseung (Broken Vow) romped to a four-length win. In the finale, a rare class 1 sprint over 1300 metres there was an even bigger shock as 70/1 outsider Yeongung Icheon (Concept Win) just got up on the line to win by a neck.

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan, who won today

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan, who won today

There was a similar margin of victory at Busan as Peter Wolsley’s old battler Khaosan (Sunday Well) engaged in a final furlong tussle with last year’s Minister’s Cup winner Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar).

It went right to the wire but under Jo Sung Gon, Khaosan just got victory on the nod. If the winning post had been a stride sooner or a stride later, the result would have gone the other way but it didn’t and the records will show an eighth win for the seven-year old.

The win was Khaosan’s first since he won the Owners’ Cup last year on appeal and incredibly, his first by actually crossing the line in first place since April 2010. Khaosan is not a fast horse but he is tough and sound – he’s run fourteen times this year – and thrives on the Busan sand. His win today takes his career earnings up to nearly US$800,000.

In the other feature at Busan, Canadian bred 27/1 shot Ilgeumbit (Don Eduardo) was the surprisingly comfortable winner, giving young apprentice jockey Kim Hyun Joong the biggest victory of his career to date.

To conclude, a story of another apprentice. At Seoul this afternoon, Ahn Hyo Ri rode the eighth and ninth winners of her career before finding herself unceremoniously thrown off her mount inside the gate before race 8. There were a nervous few moments as she was carried away from the scene. She got up and walked into the ambulance herself but it was a reminder of both the highs that jockeys can experience along with the dangers they face.

Next weekend, Busan takes a break but there is racing as usual at Seoul and Jeju.

Dangdae Bulpae Bidding For Third President’s Cup

Dangdae Bulpae will line up at Seoul Race Park on Sunday afternoon bidding to claim an unprecedented third consecutive victory in the President’s Cup.

Dangdae Bulpae in the President’s Cup winner’s circle last year

Though not as prestigious as the Grand Prix Stakes due its being restricted to Korean bred horses, the President’s Cup is the nation’s richest race.

Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) first won this race as a three-year old and, if he’s going to complete the hat-trick, he’s going to need to defeat all of this year’s Classic winners.

Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup victor Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) will be there, as will KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee) and Oaks winning filly Rising Glory (Menifee) among thirteen rivals. It is set to be one of the highlights of the year

Today at Seoul, the Turkey Jockey Club Cup was won by two-year old US import Watts Village (Forestry-Edey’s Village). The youngster beat 13 older horses by an impressive four lengths over 1800 metres.

It was the second time in as many years that the race was won by a juvenile. Last year, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones), currently sidelined indefinitely with tendinitis, stormed to a ten-length win that saw him ultimately become the first two-year old to enter the season ending Grand Prix Stakes.

Whether Watts Village will even appear on the ballot for the Grand Prix is open to question, however, the manner of his gate-to-wire victory suggests that there is plenty to come from this young talent.

Sunday November 11

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the President’s Cup at 16:15
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45