Queen’s Blade Wraps-Up Derby/Oaks Double With Dominating Busan Win

Queen’s Blade becam the second filly is as many years to complete the Korean Derby and Korean Oaks double with a comfortable win in the fillies’ Classic at Busan on Sunday.

Queen's Blade and Kim Yong Geun win the Korean Oaks (KRA).

Queen’s Blade and Kim Yong Geun win the Korean Oaks (KRA).

Having run – and won – just once since winning the Derby at Seoul in May, Queen’s Blade was sent-off as the long odds-on favourite.

She didn’t disappoint. Close to the front throughout, jockey Kim Young Geun eased Queen’s Blade away from the field in the final straight and they cruised to a 5-length victory.

One of the Seoul raiders, Nubi Queen, grabbed second while Winner’s Marine was a further length back in third.

It’s another Classic winner for Busan training machine Kim Young Kwan, following on from Speedy First, the filly who won last year’s Derby and Oaks. It’s to be hoped that Queen’s Blade doesn’t face the same fate as her predecessor. Speedy First only ran a couple more times and was last seen on the North East coast of the US.

Next on the agenda for Queen’s Blade should be the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in October.

Korean Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – Aug 24, 2014

1. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee - Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.3, 1.1
2. Nubi Queen (KOR) [Menifee - Dream Runner (Our Poetic Prince)] – Seo Seung Un – 4.5
3. Winner’s Marine (KOR) [Volponi - Graceful Ballerina (Posse)] – Yang Young Nam – 3.0
Distances: 5 lengths/1 length
Also Ran: 4. Geumbit Hwanhui 5. Jungang Cheonhae 6. Jungang Gongju 7. Ua Deungseon 8. Argo Aseet 9. Secret Garden 10. First One 11. Gamun Yeojanggun 12. Daeryuk Gangja 13. Bravo Life 14. Zenith 15. Ohio Girl NR: Hwanggeumbitjijunghae

Korean Oaks 2014: Queen’s Blade Seeks Derby/Oaks Double – Full Preview

Derby winner Queen’s Blade will head the field in the Korean Oaks at Busan Racecourse this Sunday.

Nothing else in sight. Kim Yong Geun and Queen's Blade win the 2014 Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Nothing else in sight. Kim Yong Geun and Queen’s Blade win the 2014 Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Last year Speedy First landed the Derby/Oaks double and Queen’s Blade, who has run just once since that Classic win – a 12 length stroll – should be the favourite. Here’s a full run down of the runners and riders with pedigrees and race records:

Korea Oaks (KOR GII) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – Aug 24, 2014 – 18:00

1. First One [Peace Rules - Keep This Cat (Z Z Cat)] (11/3/2/2) – Seong Keong Yun (Busan)
Last when stepping up in class and distance last time out against a challenging field following two consecutive victories. Others are more proven.

2. Nubi Queen [Menifee - Dream Runner (Our Poetic Prince)] (12/4/1/2) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
7th in the KRA Cup Mile at Busan in April and 6th in the Seoul Oaks trial. In between that she landed a class 3 victory at this distance to suggest she has potential and Seo Seung Un making the trip to Busan to partner her suggests an outside chance.

3. Jungang Gongju [Menifee - Command And Hope (Commands)] (10/3/3/0) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
An also-ran in the KRA Cup Mile but has shown steady improvement in two starts since, including a class 3 win at this distance in a reasonably competitive time. Likely to come from just off the pace and could be one to watch in the home straight.

4. Hwanggeumbitjijung [Menifee - Firstclasscat (Catienus)] (8/5/0/1) – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
Disappointed in the Gyongnam DoMin Ilbo last time out and hasn’t done anything to suggest that this is her ideal trip. However, she has the fastest recorded final furlong of the whole field and if she stays, she may surprise.

5. Gamun Yeonjanggun [Revere - Wild Triple (Military)] (6/2/1/1) – Kim Do Hyun (Busan)
A bit of an unknown quantity, she’s yet to try further than 1400M. She’s undoubtedly quick though and is not without a chance of sneaking a place.

6. Bravo Life [Peace Rules - Melina's Fuse (Light The Fuse)] (7/5/0/0) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
She comes into this race after 5 consecutive wins. The toughest of those was only at class 3 – beating Jungang Gongju by a length. She’ll need to find more to win here but has great potential. Expect her to be looking for the lead early.

7. Secret Garden [Archer City Slew - Powerful Runner (Bertolini)] (12/3/1/1) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
Tried her luck against imported horses last month without success. She does have a win at this distance, however, and with Busan’s champion jockey on board, look for her to make a move around the home turn. Whether she’ll be fast enough in the straight is another matter.

8. Ohio Girl [Mupae Gangja - Victor Gypsy (Creek Cat)] (8/1/2/1) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Korean-bred Sire and Dam means this is the purists’ favourite. Shan’t be the punters’ favourite though. 7 of her 8 starts have been at 5 furlongs and there’s little recommend.

9. Geumbit Hwanhui [Peace Rules - Sincheongchun (Silent Warrior)] (9/4/0/2) – Jang Chuyoul (Seoul)
The winner of the Seoul Oaks Trial by 3-lengths at long odds, she’ll most likely be at reasonably long-odds to repeat. It was a slow time that day and while Geumbit Hwanhui is talented, she may find one or two too quick here.

10. Zenith [Duality - Need More Business (Alzao)] (7/1/0/0) – Lee Gang Seo (Seoul)
Never tried at further than 1300M and hasn’t been especially impressive in the process. Difficult to reccommend here.

11. Daeryuk Gangja [Revere - Rendezvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] (12/0/1/2) – Lee Ah Na (Seoul)
She’s never won in 12 starts to date and that’s unlikely to change here. She’ll find this field very challenging.

12. Queen’s Blade [Menifee - Harboring (Boston Harbor)] (10/6/3/0) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
The Derby winner. She’s run once since then, a front-running 12-length win over a mile at class 1 and that was enough to suggest that on form, she’s very difficult to beat here. Physically impressive, she’s a top quality filly.

13. Ua Deungseon [Menifee - Singgereoun (Mr. Adorable)] (6/4/0/0) – Shin Hyung Chul (Seoul)
A 6-length win over this distance at class 3 last time suggests there’s more to come and although she’ll have to go much quicker than she did that day to compete here, she’s not without hope. Could be in with a chance of a place.

14. Argo Asset [Menifee - Honeypit (Fusaichi Pegasus)] (10/4/3/1) – Shinichi Terachi (Seoul)
Sent off as favourite for the Seoul Oaks Trial but finished 4th. She’d already shown she could compete at a higher level. A lot of improvement will be needed here though.

15. Jungang Cheonhae [Creek Cat - Pupil (Unbridled)] 11/3/4/1) – Kim Dong Young (Busan)
Third at this distance in a decent time last month building on some decent results at sprint distances. Was behind Winner’s Marine that day but could go close.

16. Winner’s Marine [Volponi - Graceful Ballerina (Posse)] (9/5/2/0) – Yang Young Nam (Busan)
She won her first 5 races before crashing back to Earth in the KRA Cup Mile. Hasn’t won since but comes into the race off the back of two consecutive 2nd places, including one at this distance suggests that more is to come and she can’t be discounted.

Asia Challenge Cup: Korea vs. Japan vs. Singapore

After last summer’s successful Korea/Japan Goodwill Cup, this year the race has been extended to runners from Singapore and on August 31, three Singaporean-trained horses and three from Japan will join eight from Korea in what will be the first ever International Invitational race to be run on the peninsula. The race will be shown live on TV in Korea on the SBS Sports Channel and there will also be a live simulcast to Singapore.

Tosen Archer poses for the cameras after winning the SBS Goodwill Cup last year

Tosen Archer poses for the cameras after winning the SBS Goodwill Cup last year

The star attraction is set to be well-known Singapore based sprinter El Padrino but he will face tough competition from fellow Kranji runner Trudeau. For the home team, Watts Village, who pulled off a remarkable victory in Tokyo last November, will aim to repeat his heroics. He’ll be joined by Fly Top Queen and Wonder Bolt as well as Cowboy Son and New York Blue, who will be making the trip up from Busan.

SBS will be showing the Asia Challenge Cup live on August 31

SBS will be showing the Asia Challenge Cup live on August 31

Here’s a full run-down of the likely runners:



EL PADRINO (NZ) [Mr. Nancho – Crownie (Luskin Star)] 6-year-old Gelding (28/7/5/4) – One of Asia’s top Sprinters, El Padrino won the Merlion Cup, the first leg of Singapore’s Sprint Series, in March this year. He has also run and won in Dubai. He was 6th in the Krisflyer International Sprint in May this year and his Merlion victory earned him an invitation to the Golden Shaheen at this year’s Dubai World Cup. He didn’t go but he will be looking for international glory in Seoul instead.

TRUDEAU (AUS) [Exceed And Excel – Canadian Legacy (Kris)] 7-year-old Gelding (33/7/5/9) – A surprise winner of the Garden City Trophy in Singapore last September, he followed that up with another victory a month later. He comes to Korea having won a Malaysian Group 1 race in June and with Noel “King” Callow, the winner of last year’s Seoul International Jockey Challenge, on board Trudeau could have a very good chance.

SPEEDY CAT (NZ) [Scaredee Cat – Lane Cove (Magic Of Sydney)] 6-year-old gelding (35/8/7/5) – This very experienced horse has eight career wins to his name including two at this distance, one of which was last year’s Singapore Stewards’ Cup. Yet to win in 2014 but he has gone close and can’t be ruled out.


CHOCOLAT VERRINE (JPN) [Gold Allure – Breezy Woods (Timber County)] 5-year-old Mare (24/6/5/3) – Runner-up in the Narashino Kirrato Sprint at Funabashi in July, Chocolat Verrine comes into this race in fine form, having finished outside the top two only once in five starts in 2014.

TOSHI GANG STAR (JPN) [Kurofune – Pisa no Birkin (Sunday Silence)] 7-year-old Horse (46/4/6/0) – A vastly experienced horse, Toshi Gang Star has two big race wins to his name. He’s only run four times so far in 2014 with a 2nd place at Ohi his best result. Returning to the track for the first time in April, a change of scenery in Seoul could be just what he needs.

PIERRE TIGER (JPN) [Cacoethes – Be Fragrant (Daitaku Helios)] 6-year-old Horse (38/13/5/4) – Recently back in action after a 5-month layoff, Pierre Tiger has two stakes wins among his thirteen career victories to date. His biggest win came in the 2012 Mile Grand Prix at Ohi. His best performance in three runs this year was a 3rd place finish over a mile at Kawasaki.


WATTS VILLAGE (USA) [Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)] 4-year-old Colt (14/6/4) – Secured his place in Korean racing history by being the first Korean-trained horse to win overseas when he won the Interaction Cup at Ohi Racecourse in Tokyo last November. He was 2nd in this race last year. Recently returned after a six-month layoff, finishing 2nd behind Wonder Bolt in his first race back and should improve.

FLY TOP QUEEN (USA) [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)] 4-year-old Filly (9/6/1/1) – The most expensive racehorse ever imported to Korea, Fly Top Queen has won 6 of her 9 starts to date including the Segye Ilbo Cup this February. A very quick sprinter, she had an off-day in her last start, finishing 3rd behind Wonder Bolt and Watts Village. She can run much better than that.

WONDER BOLT (USA) [Desert Warrior – Little Champ (Great Gladiator)] 4-year-old Colt (19/5/7/1) – Currently the hottest sprinter in Seoul following his 9-length demolition of Watts Village and Fly Top Queen in mid-July. Very experienced and versatile – he was 5th in last year’s Grand Prix Stakes; he comes into this race in the form of his life.

PERSIA WANGJA (CAN) [Ghostzapper – Dynamite Dancer (Lite The Fuse)] 3-year-old Colt (10/5/1/1) – Has won his last two races, both of them at this distance and looks ready to challenge some of the more established sprinters. Like Wonder Bolt, he can run at any distance but 1400 metres is his best.

CHANGIPARANG (USA) [Touch Gold – Victory Roll (Deerhound)] 5-year-old Mare (27/2/5/3) – A reliable mare with a lot of experience under her belt but only two wins. She regularly picks up prize money but she will be a big outsider to do so here.

BICHUI JEONGSANG (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] 3-year-old filly (6/4/2/0) – Lightly raced, Bichui Jeongsang has won four of her six starts to date including a comfortable victory in the JRA Trophy in May. She was second on her last start in June but remains one of Seoul’s most promising fillies.

COWBOY SON (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallachievement (Smart Strike)] (11/8/1/2) 3-year-old colt – Having finished third in the Busan Mayor’s Trophy in July, Cowboy Son drops back to his favored sprint distance for his first visit to Seoul. He is his sire’s highest earner anyway in the world and one of the most formidable sprinters in Korea.

NEW YORK BLUE (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] (11/5/4/0) 3-year-old filly – She was second in her first Stakes race, the KNN Cup, at Busan in June and followed it up with a dominant three-length win last month against strong opposition. A likely front-runner, she could be very dangerous on her Seoul Racecourse debut.

INDIAN BLUE (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gambler’s Passion (Prospector’s Gamble)] (18/5/4/4) 4-year-old filly – Firmly as one of Seoul’s top horses at any distance, her win record doesn’t reflect her true ability. She was 2nd in last year’s KRA Cup Classic and 4th in the Grand Prix Stakes. She beat Watts Village earlier this year and, while she may not be able to win this, she could be close.

Magnificent Moon Se Young – 1,000 Up

Moon Se Young today went where only one Korean man has ever gone before and rode his 1000th winner.

Moon Se Young greets punters after his 1000th winner

Moon Se Young greets punters after his 1000th winner

A four-timer last Sunday had taken him to the brink and while he couldn’t quite close it out in the rain last week, it didn’t take him very long today.

Riding Cheonha Miin in race 1, a horse who under any other jockey would probably have been 2nd or 3rd favourite but under Moon was odds-on, he settled just off the pace, before finding the rail in the home straight and guiding his filly to a comfortable win.

An Hyo Ri greets Moon Se Young in the winner's circle

An Hyo Ri greets Moon Se Young in the winner’s circle

There was no overt celebration; a brief handshake with 2nd placed jockey Choi Won Joon as they pulled up was the only sign that this was anything other than another routine victory.

Indeed back in the winner’s circle, Moon tried to play it down, however, the presence of a KRA broadcast team and a large number of well-wishing punters scuppered that idea.

After a brief interview, Moon was ambushed by the several female members of the jockey colony who, just like those punters who had gathered, were determined not to let such an occasion pass without due recognition.

1,000 winners may not sound like a lot, especially for a 33-year-old. However, Korea is a little different. Moon Se Young qualified in 2001, in an age when jockeys were restricted to just 5 rides a week. Not a day, a week. Even when that restriction was lifted – and after Moon had served his time in the military – he could (and still can) only race 2 days a week; an absolute maximum of 20 rides.

An unconventional means of congratulations from Lee Ah Na

An unconventional means of congratulations from Lee Ah Na

Yet in that time, Moon Se Young has won everything. Among almost every big Stakes race, his most memorable victories came in the 2007 Grand Prix Stakes on Bally Brae in 2007 and then in a string of big races, including the Korean Derby in 2012, on the remarkable Jigeum I Sungan.

Only “President” Park Tae Jong has won more races than Moon. Park, 15 years Moon’s senior, is currently out injured but is approaching 2,000 winners. He is probably the only jockey who is a household name in Korea.

Moon Se Young, one of Korea’s great sportsmen, must soon be approaching that status. He finished the day on 1,002 winners.

Race 1 – Seoul Racecourse – 1300M – August 16, 2014

1. Cheonha Miin (KOR) – Moon Se Young – 1.9, 1.4
2. Royal Power (KOR) – Choi Won Joon – 3.3
3. Morning Heights (KOR) – Lim Gi Won – 1.2
Distances: 1.75 lengths/2.5 lengths – 7 ran

International Exchange Race / YTN Cup Round-Up

No International jockey Challenge this year – we’ll have 6 visiting jockeys in town for the Asia Challenge Cup later this month – but the annual international exchange races went ahead at Seoul Racecourse this past weekend.

Pinot Noir and Park Hyun Woo win the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy (KRA)

Pinot Noir and Park Hyun Woo win the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy (KRA)

Four exchange races were held on Saturday(the Singapore Turf Club Trophy will this year be run on August 30, the day before the Challenge Cup) while the YTN Cup, traditionally the finale of the Jockey Challenge took place on Sunday.

First up was the Macau Jockey Club Trophy. Three-year old colt Clay Shot (Wildcat Heir), 5/1 chance, took the honours by just under a length under jockey Choi Bum Hyun.

Next came the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy which saw odds-on favourite Sun Gear beaten into fourth place in a tight finish where 7/1 shot Pinot Noir (Capital Spending) just got the better of Revereduction (Revere) right on the line.

On a blustery day where national flags were hoisted and lowered over the racecourse at a speed greater than that of some of the runners, the VIP balcony groaned under the strain of a procession of visiting dignitaries that included the Ambassadors of Turkey and Ireland.

One race later, Choi Bum Hyun made his 2nd visit of the day to the Presentation stage after guiding Ganghae (Didyme) to victory in the Selangor Turf Club Trophy. Ganghae’s victory came at the expense of the much vaunted Raon Morris who despite being sent off at long odds-on following a very easy win last time out, faded in the home straight as Ganghae came past to record his 4th win from 13 starts.

The feature race of the day, however, was the Turkey Jockey Club Trophy, the only class 1 event on the program. And in what was a very open betting race, 50/1 outsider Seoul Jeongsang (Capital Spending) swooped late to claim a narrow victory, giving jockey Lim Gi Won his biggest race win to date. It was also the biggest win in 6-year-old Seoul Jeongsang’s career, and only his 5th from 36 starts.

Stakes action returned to Seoul on Sunday in the shape of the YTN Cup, one of very few televised live races in Korea (by virtue of it being sponsored by the YTN Cable News Channel).

Run under the floodlights and in a torrential downpour, 5-year-old American-bred mare Big Power (A.P.Warrior) beat out Dragon Hill and Strong Wind to win by a length under Ham Wan Sik.

YTN Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1900M – Aug 10, 2014

1. Big Power (USA) [A.P.Warrior - Dixie Satin (Dynaformer)] – Ham Wan Sik – 7.4, 1.9
2. Dragon Hill (USA) [Afleet Alex - Caracara (Nashwan)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.6
3. Strong Wind (NZ) [Duelled - Seams Of Gold (Made Of Gold)] – Moon Se Young – 1.1
Distances: 1.25 lengths/1 length – 13 ran

Riding the third horse home was Moon Se Young. The champion jockey rode six winners across the weekend and moves onto 999 for his career. Next weekend, he’ll bid to become only the 2nd Korean jockey in history to ride 1000 career winners.

Beolmaui Kkum Blasts Back At Busan

With Seoul having taken its annual summer vacation this past weekend, all eyes were on Busan as the only venue for thoroughbred racing on the peninsula. And for Beolmaui Kkum, it was a welcome return to form after a long absence.

Beolmaui Kkum, seen here at the Grand Prix in Seoul, returned to form at Busan on Saturday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Beolmaui Kkum, seen here at the Grand Prix in Seoul, returned to form at Busan on Saturday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Touted as a potential star at the end of last season having won 7 of his 10 starts, Beolmaui Kkum (Put It Back) led the way in the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December before fading in the home straight to end up near the back. This would be repeated on two starts at the beginning of this year before he was given close to six months off.

Returning to the track in Saturday’s feature race, punters clearly hadn’t forgotton about him, sending him off as 3rd favourite in the 1900M class 1 handicap.

As he tends to do, Beolmaui Kkum went straight to the front but this time had plenty left when jockey Lee Hee Cheon asked him for an effort in the home straight and he cruised away from his rivals to record a 5-length victory.

Beolmaui Kkum’s return to form was welcome in what had been looking a rather stale group of class 1 horses at both Seoul and Busan. Over the weekend, however, enough up-and-coming imports put in solid enough performances to suggest that we have plenty to look forward to over the coming months.

On Saturday, there were two such stand-out performances. First, Australian colt Gumpo Daeseung (Shaft) made it 4 wins from 5 starts in a class 2 race over 1400M. He had to work for it though. Late to the gate after being re-shoed, Gumpo Daeseung was tracked all the way to the line by 2nd-favourite Uregachi, just holding on to win by a nose.

At a lower class, there was far less stress for US gelding Spring Gnarly (Master Command), who was guided to a 3-length win by apprentice rider Chae Sang Hyun and now moves onto 3 wins from 5 starts.

Sunday’s marathon 15-race card saw another import put in an impressive performance as Mujinjang (Silver Train) strolled to his 6th win in 7 career starts, claiming the class 2 race 14 by two lengths.

On the domestic fron there were encouraging performances too. Derby also-ran Gumpo Sky (Vicar) offered further proof that his disappoiting run in the Classic at Seoul was an aberration, by strolling to a 7-length victory in Saturday’s class 2 race 6. One race earlier, Peter Wolsley’s Never Seen Before (Ecton Park), who didn’t even make it to the Derby, was similarly impressive in deconstructing a similar class 2 field by the same 7-length margin.

Both are now likely to be pointed towards the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in October.

Next week, action returns to Seoul and it is International Exchange race weekend.
Although there is no International Jockey Challenge this year (due to the Asia Challenge Cup being run later in the month which will include 6 visiting jockeys), there will still be plenty to look forward to. Full previews up soon.

Weekend Race Times

Seoul takes its summer holiday this weekend so Busan moves to Saturday and Sunday.

With Seoul on holiday, the focus is on Busan this weekend

With Seoul on holiday, the focus is on Busan this weekend

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday August 1
Jeju Race Park: 15 races from 13:30 to 19:50

Saturday August 2
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 14:40 to 19:50
Jeju Race Park: 6 races from 13:00 to 15:55

Sunday August 3
Busan Race Park: 15 races from 13:00 to 19:50