Yeongsan

Round-Up: Yeongsan II Suffers First Defeat But Watts Village Wins Prep

Queen’s Blade getting beaten in the Minister’s Cup on Sunday may have been a surprise but the Derby and Oaks winning filly’s reverse in the final Classic of the season wasn’t the biggest shock of the weekend at Seoul.

Gwanggyo Bisang - seen here after a Stakes win, became the first Korean horse to beat Yeongsan II

Gwanggyo Bisang – seen here after a Stakes win, became the first Korean horse to beat Yeongsan II

Yeongsan II had won all six of his races in Korea in dismissively easy fashion, culiminating in the Ilgan Sports Cup in September. However, on Saturday afternoon, he stepped up in class and distance and finally met his match in the shape of last year’s Ilgan winner, Gwanggyo Bisang.

Sent off as the odds on favourite, Yeongsan II set the pace under Moon Se Young and as they entered the home straight looked ready to cruise to another routine victory. That was to reckon without Gwanggyo Bisang though as while Yeongsan II was by no means slow in the final furlong, his fellow 4-year-old – depite carrying 60Kg – was able to go up a gear to reel him in and pass him to win by just under a length on the line.

The result, along with Queen’s Blade’s setback, Indie Band on the long-term injured list, and Wonder Bolt on the doubtful list, sets next month’s President’s Cup – Korea’s richest race – wide open with Busan’s Hangangui Gijeok, currently on a winning streak of seven, now the likely favourite. Gwanggyo Bisang, now with eleven wins from sixteen starts, may have to now be considered too.

Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – October 4, 2014

1. Gwanggyo Bisang (KOR) [Menifee – Touch Upon (Touch Gold)] – Park Tae Jong – 3.8, 1.3
2.Yeongsan II (KOR) [Menifee – Foxxy Cleo (Peintre Celbre)] – Moon Se Young – 1.2
3. Gumanseok (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme) – Ham Wan Sik 1.5
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 3 lengths – 10 ran

Another race that is on the near horizon is the Japan/Korea Interaction Cup at Tokyo Ohi on November 11. With big prizes such as the President’s Cup on offer at home in November and only Seoul horses able to make the trip, there is a diminishing pool of talent available to make the trip to defend the title so memorably won by Watts Village last year.

And it was Watts Village (Forestry) who won a preparation race for the Interaction Cup on Sunday afternoon, getting the disappointment of his performance in the Asia Challeng Cup at the end of August out of his system.

Watts Village is unlikely to go to Tokyo but back at his favourite distance of 1200M and under Moon Se Young for the very first time, the 4-year-old led from gate-to-wire to win by 7-lengths in what was one of the fastest ever recorded times over the distance at Seoul. Sing Sing Cat was 2nd with Here He Comes, who is in-line to go to Japan, a creditable 3rd.

This coming weekend it is the 2-year-olds who take centre stage with Juvenile Championship races at both Seoul and Busan. The capital hosts the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup on Saturday with the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup at Busan on Sunday. The best performers will re-convene in Seoul at the end of November to decided the nation’s overall champion juvenile in the Korean Breeders’ Cup.

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Yeongsan Too Good

Yeongsan strolled to victory for the 6th time in 6 starts in Korea, securing his second Stakes win in the process, in the Ilgan Sports Trophy at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon.

Yeongsan II and Moon Se Young after winning the Ilgan Sports

Yeongsan II and Moon Se Young after winning the Ilgan Sports

Unsurprisingly for a horse who had won his 5 previous starts by a combined margin of 53 lengths, Yeongsan was sent off the long odds-on favourite – indeed at 1.0, all that punters who backed him could hope for, was to get their money back.

At least they were never in any danger of losing it. Moon Se Young brought Yeongsan to the front early and controlled the race, accelerating away from the field in the home stretch and then easing down for a 7-length win on the line.

Pretty sure Se Young only did this because K-Pop girl group Dal Shabet were looking on

Pretty sure Se Young only did this because K-Pop girl group Dal Shabet were looking on

Yeongsan (Menifee) – who is officially known as “Yeongsan II” as there was an Australian filly of the same name in Korea 15 years ago – was exported to Malaysia as a 2-year-old but returned a year later. Yet to be seriously challenged by anything domestically, his next target is expected to be the President’s Cup, Korea’s richest race, in November and then a possible shot at the Grand Prix Stakes a month later.

Ilgan Sports Trophy – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – September 14, 2014

1. Yeongsan II (KOR) [Menifee – Foxxy Cleo (Peintre Celebre)] – Moon Se Young – 1.0, 1.0
2. Citadel (KOR) [Sakura Seeking – Tropic (Danehill)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.6
3. K-Man (KOR) [Volponi – Sash Of Silver (Woodman)] – 1.5
Distances: 7 lengths / 2.5 lengths – 11 ran

* Speaking of the Grand Prix, a former winner was in action at Busan today. However, it didn’t go well for Gamdonguibada (Werblin) who, despite being sent off as a short-price favourite, was beaten a length and a half by old favourite Lion Santa (Lion Heart).

Now 6-years-old, Lion Santa won his first 9 starts back in 2010 and 2011. While never really being able to go on and win the very biggest races, he’s been a solid money winner since and his victory today was his 13th from 30 lifetime starts.

And it is at Busan where the focus will be next week when the southern track hosts the Busan Owners’ Cup. Magic Dancer, Gyeongbudaero, Joy Lucky – and back from his US jaunt – Major King, are among the entrants for this Busan vs Seoul race.

Yeongsan Too Good In Munhwa Ilbo

Yeongsan made it five wins from five Korean starts, claiming the Munhwa Ilbo Cup in emphatic fashion at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Yeongsan II

Yeongsan II

The gelding, who was sold to Malaysia as a 2-year-old, only to be re-imported at the end of last year, was sent off as the long odds-on favourite for the 7 furlong race.

Under champion jockey Moon Se Young for the first time, Yeongsan was taken to the lead early on and, with minimal promoting from his jockey, accelerated away from the field in the home straight to record one of the easiest Stakes race victories seen at Seoul for a long time. At least since Magic Dancer last month. Or Queen’s Blade the month before.

In the entirely separate race for second place, Sun Gear got the better of Clean Up Speed, a full 12-lengths behind the winner.

Yeongsan is yet to be tested in Korea. He didn’t especially impress on the turf in Malaysia where he scored one 2nd place from two total starts, but has taken to the Seoul sand exceptionally well and is, at least until this year’s 2-year-old crop start proving their worth, currently the most exciting horse on the peninsula.

Yeongsan II [Menifee – Foxxy Cleo (Peintre Celebre)] (he has to officially be named “II” due to a previous “Yeongsan”), has now won 5 races at distances between 1200 metres and 1700 metres all by wide margins and without facing any challenge. Still officially at class 2, at least for one more race, it may still be a while before we see what he is capable of.

It’s wise not to be carried away as we’ve been here before with the likes of Feel So Good and Fly Top Queen. While the latter has turn out to be a very good horse, she hasn’t been quite the international class race she looked early on.

Where Yeongsan goes next is the big question. In an ideal world, he would be taking on the visitors from Japan and Singapore in the SBS Asia Challenge Cup at the end of August over the same distance.

Munhwa Ilbo Stakes – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – July 13, 2014

1. Yeongsan II (KOR) [Menifee – Foxxy Cleo (Peintre Celebre)] – Moon Se Young – 1.2, 1.2
2. Sun Gear (KOR) [Vicar – Arabian Jewel (Fraar)] – Lee Chan Ho – 1.8
3. Clean Up Speed (KOR) [Pico Central – Rich Emotions (Rizzi)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.8

Distances: 12 lengths/0.75 lengths – 13 ran