Yeonseung Daero

Dangdae Bulpae Heads Strong Busan Ilbo Cup Field

Busan hosts its first Stakes race of the year this coming Sunday as nine horses go to post for the Busan Ilbo Cup.

Stakes races usually end up with Dangdae Bulpae and Jo Sung Gon in the winner's circle

Stakes races usually end up with Dangdae Bulpae and Jo Sung Gon in the winner’s circle

It has attracted a high quality field with last year’s winner Yeonseung Daero set to have his work cut out to retain the trophy as three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae the likely favourite. Here’s a full run down of the runners with name, pedigree, sex, age, weight (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) and Jockey:

Busan Ilbo Cup – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Sunday February 24, 2013 – 16:15

1. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] H 6 61kg (28/18/2/2) – Jo Sung Gon
One of the best Korean bred horses there has ever been. A three-time winner of the President’s Cup and the winner of more Stakes races than any other horse in Korean history. Against Korean bred opposition he should always be favourite at any distance between 1400 metres and 2000 metres and he will be here. The only consolation for his rivals is that he has never won when carrying more than 60kg and when he’s not on form, he’s really not on form. If he’s anything close to his best, he wins.

2. Dongseo Jeongbeol (KOR) [Vicar – Rendezvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] H 5 55.5kg (21/9/3/0) – Kanichiro (Joe) Fujii
Minister’s Cup winner in 2011, he struggled for form last year although he did finish 2nd in this race and picked up a win over the distance. He ended the year in good shape but will have to improve to win here but taking into weight and jockey, cannot be ruled out.

3. Road To Prince (KOR) [Pico Central – Ransom Bay (Red Ransom)] C 4 58kg (9/6/2/0) – Lim Sung Sil
A horse who has really crept up to class 1 under the radar. This will be his debut at this level and as such is a slightly unknown quantity. Seems to have plenty of improvement in him and will like the distance.

4. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee – Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] C 4 58.5kg (16/5/4/5) – Choi Si Dae
Remarkably this colt hasn’t won since he took the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown, last April. The reason is that he only ever runs against the best. 3rd in the Derby, 2nd in the Owners’ Cup, 3rd in the Minister’s Cup, 3rd in the President’s Cup. He usually runs into just one or two who are faster. That could well be the same here.

5. Alpha Myeongjang (KOR) [Pico Central – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)] C 4 61kg (16/7/5/0) – You Hyun Myung
An out-and-out sprinter he was very exposed in the Minister’s Cup last year. If the race was 400 metres shorter, he’d be favourite. It’s not, so he is an outsider. The consitions of the race also land him with 61kg, the same as Dangdae Bulpae.

6. Born To Win (KOR) [Archer City Slew – Bayou Blues (Cure The Blues)] M 5 54.5kg (25/4/5/3) – Narazaki Kosuke
She may well be Born To Win but she doesn’t do it very often and he’ll not do it here either. A pair of class 2 victories last autumn propelled her into the elite class and she beat some useful horses when finishing second over 1900 metres last month but there’s not much in her favour here.

7. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] H 7 56.5kg (47/17/9/5) – Park Geum Man
A wonderfully game horse and the defending champion. Yeonseung Daero has been campaigned almost exclusively against foreign-bred horses, hence “only” having 17 wins to his name. Struggled for much of 2012 but was right back in form at the end of the year, he can never be written off. Stablemate of Gyeongbudaero.

8. Geumsangeo (KOR) [Volponi – Dactique’s Quest (Coronodo’s Quest)] M 5 52kg (20/3/5/3) – Chae Gyu Jun
A relative unknown who has risen to class 1 through placing more than winning. Has never faced a field of this quality before and while she does have a big weight advantage, it would be a surprise to see her involved at the business end of the race.

9. Powerful Korea (KOR) [Distilled – Bound To Score (Quick Score)] G 5 58kg (20/6/3/4) – Kim Dong Young
He spent his 2-year old season in the USA and even ran in 3 races in Florida but Powerful Korea has never really lived-up to his potential. He has just a solitary class 1 victory to his name and while he has undoubted ability, will need to find a lot of improvement to win here.

Gyongmaman’s verdict: Even taking into account the weight (which is too high – horses do not need to be carrying this kind of weight in a race that isn’t even a handicap but this is an argument for another day) it is difficult to look beyond Dangdae Bulpae for the win but there won’t be much value in that. Therefore, Gyongmaman will probably leave him alone in the betting and look for options involving Yeonseung Daero and Dongseo Jeongbeol both of whom are carrying reasonable weights, have good jockeys and are almost certain to run solid races.

Advertisements

Weekend Preview: The Big Boys (& Girls) Are Back

Dangdae Bulpae, Gyeongbudaero, Jigeum I Sungan, Feel So Good, Gamdonguibada, Lion Santa, My Key All in action!

A spectacular weekend of racing by Korean standards is in store this weekend as a whole host of the nation’s top horses will be on show at Seoul and Busan.

Will Yoo Byung Bok be greeting Dangdae Bulpae like this again on Sunday?

Will Yoo Byung Bok be greeting Dangdae Bulpae like this ahgain on Sunday?

The feature race of the weekend is the Busan Ilbo Cup, the first Stakes race of 2013 to be run at Busan. Defending champion Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) will be there but it will be a tough ask for him to retain his title with competition in the shape of three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) and KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero (Menifee). We’ll have a full preview of the race, including a run-down of each entrant’s chances, up on the blog on Friday.

Friday is when things start off at Busan and there will be a couple of horses worth keeping an eye on. Being the half-brother of US champion Game On Dude, My Key (Macho Uno) has had plenty of expectations placed on him. He’s just started living up to them with two consecutive wins. He goes looking for his 3rd in race 8.

Also on Friday, US import Yonggwanguijehyun (Rockport Harbor) will look for his 6th straight victory when he goes in the finale over 1600M.

Grand Prix Stakes winner Gamdonguibada and Joe Fujii will be reunited on Sunday

Grand Prix Stakes winner Gamdonguibada and Joe Fujii will be reunited on Sunday

In addition to the Busan Ilbo Cup, Sunday at Busan sees a big class 1 handicap and it is in that race where current Grand Prix Stakes winner Gamdonguibada (Werblin) will make her 2013 debut. The 4-year-old filly won’t have things easy though as she’ll take on Lion Santa (Lion Heart) who returned to the track in style after a long lay-off last month.

He has a record of 11 wins from 15 starts and if he’s in the kind of form he’s capable of, he’ll be tough to beat. Throw the ever dependable Viva Ace (Macho Uno) into the mix as well and ou Grand Prix Champion faces a challenging start to her campaign.

His moment again...Jigeum I Sungan

His moment again…Jigeum I Sungan

Up at Seoul there is plenty to keep us occupied too. On Saturday, 2012 Korean Derby winner Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) heads the feature race. He won his season debut last month and while he faces New Year Stakes victor Global Fusion (Menifee), as well as tough campaigners Singgereounachim (Exploit) and Geuma Champ (Vicar), he should be favourite.

On Sunday at Seoul, possibly the hottest property in Korean racing right now makes his second appearance. Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton) spent nearly 2 years in the US and was a winner at Calder in Florida last autumn before being brought back home. He won his Korean debut by 10 lengths and steps up in class and distance in race 7. He should romp it.

Check back tomorrow for the full handicap of Sunday’s Busan Ilbo Cup but in the meantime, here’s what’s happening when and where this weekend:

Friday February 22

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

Saturday February 23

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

Sunday February 24

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:05 including the Busan Ilbo Cup at 16:15

Yeonseung Daero Closes Out 2012 At Busan

Murphy Bows Out / Kim Yong Geun Stood-Down

If every horse in Korea was campaigned in the same way that Yeonseung Daero has been, the standard of the nation’s thoroughbred may just be a little bit higher.

Yeonseung Daero - (Pic: KRA)

Yeonseung Daero – (Pic: KRA)

The six-year old has won over US$ 1.5Million in prize money but it would surely have been higher were he not to almost always be put in against imported horses. You don’t have to be very good to win a race restricted to Korean bred entrants, however, the prize money is higher so there is little point going up against the (rather average but better trained) imports.

Of course, Yeonseung Daero’s owner can afford the luxury of being a sportsman – he has owned a string of top Korean horses including this year’s KRA Cup Mile winner Gyeongbudaero – and he doesn’t do it with all of them. Nevertheless, Yeonseung Daero’s career has been a joy to watch. Since completing his three-year old season, Yeonseung Daero has very rarely run in domestic company and he has more than held his own.

He had been without a win – without evene finishing in the money – since triumphing in the Listed Busan Ilbo Cup way back in February. However, today, Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) was right back in form, swooping late to deny three-year old US colt Grand Distinction (With Distinction) in the final few strides of the first of Busan’s co-feature race with Haengbok Dream (Lammtarra) also in close-attendance in third.

Yeonseung Daero has now won 17 of his 46 career starts. No doubt he’ll continue to compete in 2013.

Closing day for 2012 at Busan saw what was for the track, an unrecedented 14 race card. It was also the last day training in Korea for American Joe Murphy. His horse Atanarjuat was scratched out of the finale, so his last runner was filly Uddukseon, who finished 7th of 14 in race 10.

A 50/1 outsider finishing in the middle of the field perhaps describes Murphy’s time at Busan perfectly although to be fair to the trainer, he has had very little ammunition in his barn during his two years here nor has he had the original amount of time he understood he would have – and felt was required – to turn things around.

There was also more depressing news off the track as it emerged that Busan’s newly crowned Champion Jockey Kim Young Geun has been stood down pending investigation into possible breaches of racing’s integrity rules. More on this, and on Murphy’s last day, later this week.

A mixed ending to the year then. We don’t have to wait long to get going again though. Racing returns next weekend, with the feature being the New Year’s Commemorative Stakes at Seoul.

Tough Win vs Smarty Moonhak – The Preview

It’s time! The race that we’ve been waiting for all year will take place under the floodlights at Busan Race Park this Sunday evening as Tough Win and Smarty Moonhak square-off in the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup. Informally billed as the Summer Grand Prix, it’s the climax of the first half of the season in the same way that the actual Grand Prix – at Seoul in December – rounds off the year.

Tough Win takes the Grand Prix (KRA)

It was in the Grand Prix that Tough Win and Smarty Moonhak met for the first and only time to date. Tough Win won that day, with the late Mister Park beating the then two-year-old Smarty Moonhak into third place. Seven months on and things could very well be different this time.

It’s not a match-race. Last year’s winner Yeonseung Daero returns to try to defend his title while double President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae is also among a field of twelve who will contest the 2000 metre race on Sunday.

Here is a full run-down of all the runners, starting with the big two (gate, name, pedigree (runs/1/2/3) sex, age, weight to carry):

Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Stakes (K.G3) – Busan Race Park – 2000M – Sunday July 22, 19:40

Tough Win (KRA)

6. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] (21/17/2/0) G 5 58Kg – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
Reigning Grand Prix champion and the best horse in Korea at the moment. He won this race as a three-year old in 2010 but then last year inexplicably got sucked into an early speed duel with Dangdae Bulpae and was exhausted by the time he reached the home straight.

That’s unlikely to happen this time as Cho Kyoung Ho has tended to keep him well back in the early stages of recent races. Tough Win suffered his first bleeding attack last time out while carrying a ridiculous 64kg and while the weight won’t be an issue here, just how much that race took out of him might be. He’s worked well though and is the one to beat.

Smarty Moonhak (KRA)

9. Smarty Moonhak (USA) [Smarty Jones – Maderira M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] (10/8/1/1) C 3 55Kg – Park Tae Jong (Seoul)
We still have no idea how good this colt is. Aside from his debut, the only time he has had to work in a race was in the Grand Prix and, bearing in mind the distance of the race and his tender age at the time, he wasn’t pushed. His races this year have been little more than public workouts.

This will be his first run at Busan where the back straight is more undulating and the home straight longer than that at Seoul and how he deals with these will be key. With regular jockey Moon Jung Kyun injured, Park Tae Jong, who has ridden more winners than anybody else in Korean racing history, gets the ride. With no disrespect intended to Moon, this can only help his cause. In Korea, jockeys wear their own colours, so Park will be wearing blue.

1. Lion Santa (USA) [Lion Heart – Santa Fe Strip (Phone Trick)] (13/10/1/0) C 4 58Kg – Gerrit Schlechter (Busan)
Won his first nine starts but has only won once from three tries this year and has never even attempted further than 1800M. In Gerrit Schlechter, he has the track’s in-form jockey in board and the South African has picked this one over two others.
2. Cheonjidolpung (USA) [Tactical Cat – Luminate (A.P.Indy)] (34/5/0/4) G 7 58Kg – Seo Do Soo (Seoul)
His third consecutive year running in the race, he took advantage of the favourites’ mistakes to finish fourth last year. He will be hard pushed to equal that this year.
3. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] (42/16/8/5) H 6 55kg – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
A wonderful horse, one of the best ever at Busan. Took full advantage of Tough Win and Dangdae Bulpae’s mistakes last year to claim a career capping victory and his been winning since. He can never ever be counted out.
4. Adam One (USA) [Sligo Bay – Toddles (Real Courage)] (30/3/3/3) G 5 58Kg – Lee Gi Hweoi (Seoul)
Smarty Moonhak’s work and stablemate, he’s here because there was space both in the race and in the horsebox on the way down. The only horse in Ko Ok Bong’s stable who can keep up with Smarty Moonhak in trackwork, he’ll not be able to in the race.
5. Jeonseong Sidae (AUS) [Stromberg Carlsen – Jessie’s Journey (Crown Jester)] (13/6/4/3) C 4 58Kg – Jo Chang Wook (Busan)
Without a win this year but with plenty of talent. However, an outside chance of a place at best.
7. Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] (24/15/2/1) H 5 55Kg – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
Last year’s favourite and the two-time President’s Cup winner. An in-form Dangdae Bulpae should be able to live with anybody, including Tough Win and Smarty Moonhak. Whether he can beat them though is another question entirely. Looking at it objectively, the conclusion must be that he can’t.
8. Sangseung Geotap (USA) [Indian Charle – Mirta (Theatrical)] (19/7/2/1) F 4 56Kg – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
The only filly in the race won the KNN Trophy last time out but the fact that Gerrit Schlechter has decided to get off her may say somethng about her chances here.
10. Smoking Gun (USA) [Hat Trick – Desdemona’s Dream (Announce)] (5/4/1/0) C 3 55Kg – Yukio Abe (Busan)
The wildcard. Lightly raced but very impressive, this may appear to be too much too soon. However, with Yukio Abe on board and a confident trainer (who also trains Lion Santa), he may be worth an outside bet for a place.
11. Jumong (USA) [Johar – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] (30/9/7/4) H 5 58Kg – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
A very solid competitor and half-brother to the late Subsidy, Jumong runs in all the big races. He looks overmatched but has every chance of finishing in a moneying position.
12. Ghost Whisper (KOR) [Gotham City – Emmy’s Lullaby (Unbridled’s Song)] (11/7/3/0) G 4 56Kg – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Australian trainer Peter Wolsley lets his new stable star take his chance here, the grey was disqualified last time but otherwise was on a run of three straight wins inclusing two at class 1. Kim Yong Geun is an able rider and he may be worth backing for a place.

Verdict: Tough Win is a very strong competitor and most believed that it would not be until later in the year that Smarty Moonhak would be able to challenge him. Neither has put a foot wrong this year but his progress has been such that Smarty Moonhak can be the one who leaves Busan with the title “Best Horse in Korea”.

* Last year’s Busan Metropolitan was a disaster for jockeys Cho Kyoung Ho and Jo Sung Gon on Tough Win and Dangdae Bulpae respectively. They both get a chance to put things right this year – here’s what happened:

Tough Win, Smarty Moonhak Set For Busan Metro Showdown

Dangdae Bulpae, Yeonseung Daero, Lion Santa, Smoking Gun Also Go In “Summer Grand Prix”

It’s been confirmed that Grand Prix Stakes winner and current top-rated horse in Korea Tough Win (Yonaguska) and the horse considered his closest challenger, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones), will both travel to Busan on July 22nd for the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Stakes.

The “Troika”: Tough Win (centre) will be up against Smarty Moonhak (left) in the Busan Metropolitan. The late Mister Park (right), who split them in the Grand Prix, is sorely missed

The race, the south coast’s richest is also known as the “Summer Grand Prix” and it will see Tough Win and Smarty Moonhak face each other for the first time since last December when the then two-year-old Smarty Moonhak finished third behind the victorious Tough Win in the nation’s most prestigious race.

Tough Win was a narrow winner of this race as a three-year-old in 2010. However returning to Busan last year and sent off as the heavy favourite, he inexplicably became involved in an early speed duel with Dangdae Bulpae. This left both horses exhausted in the home straight and allowed Yeonseung Daero to come through for the win.

Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) will also be back this year as will Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki), now a two-time President’s Cup winner. Aussie-bred Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson) will be there as will prolific winner Lion Santa (Lion Heart) and young US import Smoking Gun (Hat Trick).

While this race is the biggest of the year so far and the clash between Smarty Moonhak and Tough Win the most eagerly awaited since Tough Win himself then the upstart, faced Dongbanui Gangja in the same race two years ago, there is nevertheless a touch of sadness surrounding the occasion.

Were it not for the break-down and death of Mister Park during his tune-up race last month, this would have been a three-way rematch from the Grand Prix. We still have a great race but we will also be remembering the record-breaking champion.

Here are the entries:

Busan Metropolitian City Stakes – Busan Race Park – 2000M, July 22, 2012

Jeonseong Sidae (AUS) [Stromberg Carlson-Jessie’s Journey (Crwon Jester)] (13/6/4/3) Busan
Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat-Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] (42/16/8/5) Busan
Sangseung Geotap (USA) [Indian Charlie-Mirta (Theatrical)] (19/7/2/1) Busan
Smoking Gun (USA) [Hat Trick-Desdemona’s Dream (Announce)] (5/4/1/0) Busan
Lion Santa (USA) [Lion Heart-Santa Fe Strip (Phone Trick)] (13/10/1/0) Busan
Dangdae Bulpae (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki-Indeed My Dear (Alydeed)] (24/15/2/1) Busan
Gamdonguibada (USA) [Werblin-Radyla (Country Pine)] (7/4/2/1) Busan
Smarty Moonhak (USA) [Smarty Jones-Madeira M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] (10/8/1/1) Seoul
Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska-Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] (21/17/2/0) Seoul
Adam One (USA) [Sligo Bay-Toddles (Real Courage)] (30/3/3/3) Seoul
Jumong (USA) [Johar-Foreign Aid (Danzig)] (30/9/7/4) Seoul
Cheonjidolpung (USA) [Tactical Cat-Luminate (A.P.Indy)] (34/5/0/4) Seoul

Weekend Preview: Weighty Task for Smarty Moonhak / Gukje Sinmun Stakes at Busan

Smarty Set To Extend Winning Streak At Seoul / Lion Santa Defends Gukje Sinmun At Busan

Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) makes his fourth appearance of 2012 at Seoul Race Park this coming Sunday and the three-year-old phenom will need to be strong as he will carry 61Kg over 2000 metres in the feature handicap.

Smarty Goes Again: Smarty Moonhak runs on Sunday

Regardless of the weight, he still shouldn’t have much trouble seeing off the 13 horses who will challenge him. The best class 1’s have stayed away leaving Jewang Tansaeng (Petionville) the next highest rated in the race.

Few will bet against Smarty Moonhak extending his record to 8 wins from 10 starts, nor against jockey Moon Jung Kyun once more not needing to use his stick, as he builds up for his eventual showdown with Grand Prix champion Tough Win.

Down at Busan there is Stakes action on Sunday in the shape of the Gukje Sinmun Cup. This time last year, Lion Santa (Lion Heart) won this race to maintain his then unbeaten record and have people talk about him in the same way that they talk about Smarty Moonhak now.

It didn’t quite work out though and he proved to be beatable. However, he’s only lost twice in twelve career starts and has every right to be favourite here. The evergreen Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) will be out to stop him as will proven winners Full Forest (Full Mandate), Dangdae Champ (Falkirk) and Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson).

Yeonseung Daero – out to beat Lion Santa in the Gukje Sinmun

It should be a cracking race. Yukio Abe is suspended this weekend, but both Gerrit Schlechter and Narazaki Kosuke have rides in the big race.

Schlechter, who has 10 rides across the weekend will ride venerable old-stager Admiral Reigart (General Royal) while Kosuke (who has 13 rides) gets the mount on the in-form Sand Hi (Stormy Atlantic) who, on recent form, must be in with as chance.

Here’s what’s happening when and where on what is set to be a beautiful weekend in Korea:

Friday May 4

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

Saturday May 5

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

Sunday May 6

Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 17:45 – Smarty Moonhak will race at 17:15.
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45 including the Gujke Sinmun Stakes at 15:50

Creek Cat, Former Leading Sire in Korea, Dies Aged 15

Creek Cat [Storm Cat-Vivano (Island Whirl)], Leading Sire in Korea in 2010 and fourth on the list in 2011, has died. The fifteen year old stallion suffered a sudden heart-attack at Evergreen Farm on Jeju Island on March 12.

Creek Cat - 1997-2002 (Pic: KRA)

Unraced but well-bred, Creek Cat was sold from Kentucky to Korea for an undisclosed fee as a three-year old in 2000.

Joining the then-newly established Korean breeding program, he would go on to become an extraordinarily consistent producer of quality racehorses for the next ten years.

He sired a Korean Derby winner, Cheonnyeon Daero, who in 2010, helped him to the top of the Leading Sire list for the first and to date, only time. Other notable gets include the multiple Stakes winner Yeonseung Daero and 2010 Champion filly Love Cat.

Creek Cat is well represented on this year’s Triple Crown trail, with his colt Viva Cat one of the most highly rated three-year olds on the peninsula.

These days, as Korean buyers can import big names such as Vicar, Menifee, Forest Camp, One Cool Cat and Officer seemingly at will, there are fewer opportunities for untested sires in Korea. However, with the KRA eager to see a successful Korean born stallion, it is possible that Creek Cat’s line may live on. While a number of his fillies have become broodmares, Cheonnyeon Daero entered Stud this year.

Whatever happens, Creek Cat has had a major influence on horse racing in Korea over the past decade. He will be missed.

Cheonnyeon Daero wins the 2010 Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)