Yeonseung Daero

Ace Galloper Does His Job

Dangdae Bulpae Beaten / Sad sub-plot to Seoul’s Feature

Four horses came into Sunday’s feature races at Seoul and Busan with high expectations. Only one could live up to them.

Ace Galloper and Park Tae Jong return as winners

At Busan, both Dangdae Bulpae and Jeonseong Sidae found themselves on the wrong end of a blanket finish but at Seoul Ace Galloper came out with his head held high after a battling win which saw champion mare Top Point well beaten.

Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) hadn’t raced since successfully defending his President’s Cup crown in November and he was sent off the slight favourite ahead of Aussie import Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson).

As they entered the home straight it was these two who looked set to battle out the finish. However, they reckoned without a late challenge on the outside from old warrior Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) and, even more surprisingly, 21/1 outsider Full Forest (Full Mandate) who ultimately got the decision in a tight five-way finish.

It was a disappointing start to 2012 for Dangdae Bulpae, a horse who was undoubtedly the outstanding Korean bred competitor of last year. For Full Forest, a veteran US bred six-year-old, it was the biggest of six wins from thirty-five career starts.

Up at Seoul, KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) didn’t have things all his own way but ultimately came out on top of a very competitive handicap. Main rival Top Point (Tom Cruiser), the champion mare of 20111 disappointed but Blue Pin (Lion Heart) pushed Ace Galloper all the way to the line, the margin of victory being just a neck on the line.

Ace Galloper and Blue Pin have the kind of connection that only horse racing – for all its joys and all its heartbreaks – can give. Ace Galloper, who is now five-years old, was not an especially impressive two-year-old.

However, in his second start, on July 25, 2009, he finished second – a very distant second – to a horse called Northern Ace. They were racing over five furlongs that day and Northern Ace, a ten-length winner, broke the track record. Tragically, Northern Ace (Didyme) went on to fatally break-down during the Korean Derby in May 2010.

Northern Ace was the first Korean bred foal out of mare Telegraph Road (Royal Academy). Champion Belt, currently one of Busan’s top horses was the second. When she arrived in Korea in early 2006 though, she was in foal to Lion Heart. That foal would be called Blue Pin.

Today we salute Ace Galloper who is a truly a great champion. But we also remember Northern Ace. And all those others whose potential was cruelly taken away.

Weekend Preview: The Big Boys Are Back

Smarty Moonhak vs Dongbanui Gangja vs Larrycat, Dangdae Bulpae vs Yeonseung Daero & Ace Galloper vs Top Point

A very Happy Year Of The Dragon to all punters out there. Gyongmaman spent the break “watching football” in Thailand and generally avoiding all things racing, but things are back to normal this weekend and for the first time in 2012, we’re getting some heavyweight clashes at both Seoul and Busan.

Smarty Moonhak (KRA)

If he’d won the Grand Prix, there was a good chance he’d have been sent to the US to try his hand on the Kentucky Derby trail. Lucky for us in Korea that Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones) finished third and he makes his three-year-old debut in Saturday’s feature at Seoul.

In a mouth-watering main-event, he’s up against two-time Grand Prix winner Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow) as well as the horse who finished second in the race in 2010, Larrycat (Fantasticat).

The young Smarty Moonhak should relish the 2000 metre distance and could make full use of the four kilo weight advantage he has over the now seven-year old Dongbanui Gangja.

A day later at Seoul there’s another clash of track’s top level stars as KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) makes his 2012 debut, headlining the feature race going up against Champion Mare of 2011, Top Point (Tom Cruiser).

Down at Busan, the feature event of the weekend sees two Korean-bred horses crashing an event for foreign-breds as double President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shinseiki) takes on old rival Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat) over 1800 metres.

Dangdae Bulpae

They have plenty to keep them company too as prolific Aussie three-year-old Jeonseong Sidae (Stromberg Carlson), the evergreen Mighty Hero (Buddha) – who’s now left Peter Wolsley’s barn – and the well-handicapped but dangerous Viva Ace (Macho Uno) join them.

It should be a cracking race.

On Friday at Busan, Minister’s Cup winner Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar) looks for his second win of the year already as he heads the feature race. Winning Perfect (Doyen) and 2008 Derby winner Ebony Storm (Buster’s Daydream) will be among those looking to stop him as will be Joe Murphy’s very well-handicapped Deep Desire (Jump Start) and the in-form Bada Jewang (Social Charter).

The past few days have been some of the coldest of winter so far, however, the forecast for the weekend is bright. Temperatures should be into positive territory and the sun is set to shine. Come Racing!

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday January 27

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

Saturday January 28

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:10 to 17:30
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:10

Sunday January 29

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:10 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:30 to 17:00

Grand Prix: The Final Rundown

The Grand Prix Stakes is the highlight of the Korean racing year. It’s not the most valuable race but it is unquestionably the best. This year, we have the defending champion Mister Park, looking to stretch his unbeaten run to 18, an Australian trainer looking to make Korean racing history, and a two-year old who, if he is as good as his hype, could be the best thing we’ve seen on the peninsula for years.

Grand Prix Champion: Mister Park

It’s going to be cold but it’s free entry to Seoul Race Park tomorrow and there should be 60,000 in attendance for what is going to be an absolute belter of a race. Here’s the rundown on all the contenders with pedigrees, age, home track, race records and jockey:

Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – Sunday December 11, 16:35

1. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat-Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] Horse, 5, Busan (37/15/7/5) – Choi Si Dae
A really nice horse who would have a far better win record had his connections not been sportsmen and always run him in the most competitive company possible. Third in this race last year and winner of the Busan Metropolitan this summer but has put in three disappointing runs since. He can never be ruled out and could be a value bet.

2. Queen Of Rain (USA) [Lion Heart-Prosperous Move (Arch)] Filly, 3, Busan (13/4/2/3) – Song Keong Yun
The only filly in the race is tough to recommend. She was a well beaten fourth in the Gyeongnam Sinmun last month and is in far stronger company here.

3. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska-Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] Gelding, 4, Seoul (17/13/2/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
Last year’s favourite didn’t get the distance and in his last Stakes race got sucked into a ridiculous speed duel into the first corner with Dangdae Bulpae which left both of them exhausted, handing victory to Yeonseung Daero. He’s back in winning form though and, while the distance remains a concern, he’ll be among the top three in the betting for good reason.

4. Smarty Moonhak (USA) [Smarty Jones-Maderia M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] Colt, 2, Seoul (5/4/1/0) – Shim Seung Tae
The wildcard. A two-year old has never even run in the Grand Prix, let alone won it. We knew Smarty Moonhak was a little different to most imports who win a few races easily as a juvenile when he trotted up in the TJK Trophy last month but jaws dropped when he was entered for the Grand Prix. He’s worked well and connections are adamant that the distance is no problem and he’s ready. It’s a big test for jockey Shim Seung Tae because if Smarty Moonhak does indeed stay the distance, things are going to get very interesting. A potential superstar, there’s no downside to this colt. Except that he is two.

5. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat-Doneitmyway (Northen Flagship)] Colt, 4, Busan (27/7/14/3) – Park Geum Man
This will be the final race for the 2010 Korean Derby winner before he is retired to stud. The trouble with him is that he keeps on coming second – he’s been runner-up in his last five races. He’s a very good bet to be second again but winning may be pushing it. If he did, however, it would be a fine finale to a very fine career.

6. Tamna Ace (KOR) [Thunder Gulch-Eacape (A.P. Indy)] Colt, 3, Busan (12/9/2/0) – Kim Dong Young
A good solid performer, while he’s got the stamina, he perhaps hasn’t got the speed that will be needed at the end of this race. A placing chance. He’ll likely make the early running so will certainly have a big impact on the outcome of the race.

7. Gippeun Sesang (CAN) [Behrens-Bellus (Saint Ballado)] Horse, 5, Seoul (40/4/4/4) – Choi Bum Hyun
Not a whole lot to recommend this one. Has been in poor form since winning a handicap in Septemebr and on paper is the weakest of all entrants.

8. Triple Sinhwa (KOR) [Capital Spending-Claudia’s Secret (Crafty Prospector)] Colt, 4, Busan (20/6/7/2) – Lee Sung Jae
A perennial placer, Triple Sinhwa will be hard pushed to achieve that here. Second to 2008 Derby Winner Ebony Storm last time out, the competition should be too strong.

9. Mister Park (KOR) [Ecton Park-Formal Deal (Formal Gold)] Gelding, 4, Busan (18/17/0/1) – Akane Yamamoto
The defending Champion. The favourite. He’s won his last 17 races, a Korean record but this is his toughest test. Akane Yamamoto has the chance to become to the first foreign jockey to win the Grand Prix and she’ll have to be at her best here. Mister Park likes to start quickly so it will be important that he doesn’t get sucked into an early speed battle. Get this right and in the home straight, he has all the weapons needed to become the third horse to win two Grand Prixs and take that record to eighteen unbeaten.

10. Yodongjewang (KOR) [Field Asuka-Mary Wonder (Shahrastani)] Colt, 4, Seoul (14/5/4/1) – Moon Se Young
A late developer, this is his first ever start at class 1. However, he should find himself outclassed here.

11. Jumong (USA) [Johar-Foreign Aid (Danzig)] Colt, 4, Seoul (24/8/4/4) – Jo In Kwen
He’s the half-brother of 2005 winner – the legendary Subsidy, last son of Mr Prospector, who cut his teeth on the inner-dirt at Aqueduct in New York before being brought to Korea to be a champion – but Jumong is a decent horse in his own right. The distance counts against him and there are others with better claims – he was well beaten by Ace Galloper in the KRA Cup Classic – but there may be some place value.

12. Dongseo Jeongbeol (KOR) [Vicar-Rendexvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] Colt, 3, Busan (13/7/1/0) – Chae Gyu Jun
That he’s the only three-year old Classic winner to make it to the Grand Prix isn’t his fault. However, it’s been a disappointing year for Korean bred three-year olds. He looked to be flying as they turned for home in the President’s Cup at Seoul last month but he ended up finishing almost last. It would be a big surprise if he returned to form here.

13. Gyeongkwaehanjilju (KOR) [Tapit-Cozzie Maxine (Cozzene)] Colt, 4, Busan (15/9/3/0) – Kim Nam Sung
Peter Wolsley has the chance to become the first foreign trainer to saddle a Grand Prix winner. The best horse Wolsley has trained in Korea, Gyeongkwaehanjilju is in great form and will love the distance. While he would be easier to bet had intended jockey Nathan Stanley not been suspended and had Jo Sung Gon, his previous regular rider, come to Seoul. Nevertheless, Wolsley’s stable jockey Kim Nam Sung gets the biggest chance of his career so far.

14. Ace Galloper (KOR) [Chapel Royal-Explicitly (Exploit)] Colt, 4, Seoul (21/15/3/1) – Park Tae Jong
The KRA Cup Classic winner and one of Mister Park’s biggest threats. The distance is a concern but the talent isn’t. If he’s there at the end, he’ll be very difficult to beat.

Gyongmaman’s verdict: Mister Park must be favourite to successfully defend his title and must be the pick for the win. Smarty Moonhak is the one to watch as a racing fan for the great story it would be but is not one to bet as a hard-hearted punter. The same is true of Gyeongkwaehanjilju. The value may lie with Yeonseung Daero.