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.

Shinichi Bows Out Of Seoul But Nozi’s Back At Busan And Fujii Is Recovering

Shinichi Terachi has finished up his stint rising at Seoul Racecourse but there’s a familiar face back on the Korean racing scene as Nozomu Tomizawa returns to the peninsula to take up a 4-month jockey license at Busan.

Shinichi Terachi's biggest win in Korea came on Geumbit Hwanhui in the Seoul Oaks Trial (KRA)

Shinichi Terachi’s biggest win in Korea came on Geumbit Hwanhui in the Seoul Oaks Trial (KRA)

It was a challenging four months at Seoul for Terachi. The 35-year-old was able to get on plenty of horses but he wasn’t given a whole lot of quality to work with and ends with 7 winners from 159 rides. Whenever he got a horse with a chance of winning, he got the job done including two winners on his final weekend.

He also won on one which didn’t look to have a chance. Terachi’s biggest victory came in June’s Sports Seoul Cup, the capital’s main Oaks trial race, on 27/1 outsider Geumbit Hwanhui.

Nozomu Tomizawa in the Seoul paddock during his first stint in Korea (KRA)

Nozomu Tomizawa in the Seoul paddock during his first stint in Korea (KRA)

His departure leaves the remarkable Ikuyasu Kurakane, currently 2nd in the Seoul Jockey Championship, as the only foreign rider in the capital.

That’s because it’s to Busan, where Masa Tanaka has been having to talk to himself in the weighing room since the departure of Darryll Holland and long-term injury to Joe Fujii, that Nozomu Tomizawa will go as he returns to Korea five years after he finished up his first stint here.

Tomizawa arrived in August 2007 and battled away for almost two years racking up 47 winners from 722 rides at Seoul. He didn’t win any Stakes races but is best remembered for his partnership with the gelding Gamadongja - a horse that was really a sprinter – on whom Tomizawa won four Class 1 races at distances from 1200M to 2000M.

It won’t be Tomizawa’s first time at Busan. He has one win from eight mounts at the South Coast track on weekends when he visited to ride in Stakes races. The 33-year-old has spent most of his riding career in Australia and should fit in well with the similarly Antipodean-accented Tanaka, who is also committed to the track until at least the end of this year.

As for Masa Tanaka himself, the hugely personable jockey currently lies in 8th position in the Busan Championship and produced a cracking ride in Seoul this past Sunday to guide New York Blue to 3rd place in the Asia Challenge Cup.

Two days before the Asia Challenge Cup, Tanaka rode a double at Busan, one of which was for trainer Bart Rice. The South African is maintaining his superb strike rate with 21% of his starters winning since he opened his barn at the track last December.

Rice currently lies in 12th position in the Trainers’ Championship, having saddled more than 100 fewer starters than all but two of the trainers ahead of him. One of those two is Peter Wolsley, currently clear in 2nd place.

No update on foreign riders in Korea would be complete though without talking about Joe Fujii, The man who took over Toshio Uchida’s title as “the most popular Japanese person in Korea” was in Seoul last weekend to watch the Asia Challenge Cup.

While his broken shoulder is expected to keep him out for another three months, the ever-positive Fujii was in high spirits and with his license to ride in Korea having been extended despite his injury, he was looking forward to getting back to business on the track as soon as possible.

Fujii has won the Derby, the Oaks and the Grand Prix Stakes. Korean punters are looking forward to his return just as much as the man himself.

Joe Fujii watches the races at Seoul on Sunday. All punters want him back riding as soon as possible

Joe Fujii watches the races at Seoul on Sunday. All punters want him back riding as soon as possible

El Padrino Historic Winner Of Inaugural Asia Challenge Cup

El Padrino showed his class with a dominant victory for Singapore in the inaugural Asia Challenge Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

El Padrino wins the Asia Challenge Cup under David Flores (Pic: Elan959)

El Padrino wins the Asia Challenge Cup under David Flores (Pic: Elan959)

Sent off as the pre-race favourite by Korean punters, El Padrino made a steady start, settling into the middle of the pack under jockey David Flores as local contenders Fly Top Queen, Watts Village and Cowboy Son made the early pace.

Flores started to make up ground as they began the long-turn for home, improving around the outside – just like he had done on one earlier mount in a previous race. Tracking him was Lee Chan Ho on Wonder Bolt, the 3rd favourite.

It would be these two who would dominate the remainder of the race, El Padrino hitting the front just after the two-furlong pole, Flores shifting inside and then letting loose. Wonder Bolt chased gallantly on the outside but never came close to catching him

Ultimately, El Padrino would win by two lengths in a track record time of 1:23.8. Wonder Bolt also finished inside the old record, a full eight lengths ahead of 3rd placed New York Blue. The Japanese pair of Toshi Gang Star and Pierre Tiger came home in 4th and 5th.

There was disappointment for the other two Singaporean raiders; Speedy Cat and Trudeau never getting into a rhythm and coming home 9th and 10th respectively. Meanwhile, those early pace-setters and frequent rivals, Fly Top Queen and Watts Village were the last two home.

El Padrino and David Flores fly the flag in the Winner's Circle

El Padrino and David Flores fly the flag in the Winner’s Circle

The race capped an important weekend for Korean horse racing. Unprecedented work had gone into securing a quarantine protocol which would allow the Singaporean runners to visit – a similar one was completed with Japan last year and involved the creating of an expanded quarantine zone at the racecourse.

At a welcome dinner the previous evening, the Chairman of Toko City Keiba, representing Japan – where there will be a return leg for three Korean horses in November, a race won by Watts Village last year – spoke as did the Chairman of the Singapore Turf Club. The race was broadcast live to Singapore where it made up part of the Sunday card at Kranji. Regular simulcast broadcasts to Singapore – 14 races were broadcast on Saturday – also began earlier this summer and is generating a steady turnover.

At the track, the usually stuffy 6th floor was livened up by the presence of some boisterous visiting connections, especially those representing Trudeau. Even the parade ring actually looked like a big race was about to take place.

A year ago, simulcasting and an international race of this standard – even after the successful running Japan/Korea Goodwill Cup, looked an incredibly long way off. But it has happened. Even some imitators of this blog have started up. After years of nothing, progress has suddenly gathered pace.

On Sunday, the pace everyone was talking about, belonged to El Padrino.

Asia Challenge Cup 2014 – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Aug 31, 2014

1. El Padrino (NZ) [Mr. Nancho – Crownie (Luskin Star)] – David Flores – 2.8, 1.3
2. Wonder Bolt (USA) [Desert Warrior – Little Champ (Great Gladiator)] – Lee Chan Ho – 2.0
3. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] – Masakazu Tanaka - 4.9
Distances: 2 lengths / 8 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Toshi Gang Star (JPN) 5. Pierre Tiger (JPN) 6. Indian Blue (KOR) 7. Chocolat Verrine (JPN) 8. Cowboy Son (USA) 9. Speedy Cat (NZ) 10. Trudeau (AUS) 11. Persia Wangja (CAN) 12. Changiparang (USA) 13. Watts Village 14. Fly Top Queen

Seoul All Set For SBS Asia Challenge Cup

The horses have arrived, the speeches have been made, the dinners have been served, the wine has been drunk. Now all that’s left is the actual race. Later on Sunday, the SBS Asia Challenge Cup will finally go to post at Seoul Racecourse.

Can Wonder Bolt keep the Asia Challenge Cup in Korea? (Pic: Elan959)

Can Wonder Bolt keep the Asia Challenge Cup in Korea? (Pic: Elan959)

And an extremely open race it is too. On paper, the three horses visiting from Singapore look too good. El Padrino, Trudeau and Speedy Cat all have ratings well in excess of 100 and are a class above the home team.

However, the race isn’t being run on paper. More to the point, it’s not being run on turf or polytrack either, but on sand. Alien to the blue-blooded visitors, but totally natural to the Korean racers.

Then there is the Japanese challenge. The NAR has great depth in its sprint ranks – arguably more so then the JRA – and while Chocolat Verrine, Pierre Tiger and Toshi Gang Star are no world beaters, they are all proven winners and will have few problems in Seoul’s sandpit.

It’s a wide open contest and while class may eventually win out, it is set to be a great race.

SBS Asia Challenge Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – August 31, 2014 (17:25 KST / 16:25 SIN)

1. PERSIA WANGJA (CAN) [Ghostzapper – Dynamite Dancer (Lite The Fuse)] 3-year-old Colt (10/5/1/1) – Park Hyun Woo
Unbeaten at this distance, however, this is a far stronger field than he’s ever faced before. Expect him to try to come from just off the pace, but it is going to be very difficult.

2. TRUDEAU (AUS) [Exceed And Excel – Canadian Legacy (Kris)] 7-year-old Gelding (33/7/5/9) – Noel Callow
A big chance with a perfect draw and Noel Callow, who has a 50% strike rate on this track, at the controls. He’ll try to close in the home straight and if he does it, expect Seoul to be drunk dry of wine by the end of the night.

3. CHANGIPARANG (USA) [Touch Gold – Victory Roll (Deerhound)] 5-year-old Mare (27/2/5/3) – Shin Hyoung Chul
Likely to be outclassed here. By no means a bad horse, but doesn’t have the speed to compete in this company.

4. EL PADRINO (NZ) [Mr. Nancho – Crownie (Luskin Star)] 6-year-old Gelding (29/8/5/4) – David Flores
Racked up another big race win earlier this month, how he takes to the sand is the big question. If he does, then he really should be winning.

5. CHOCOLAT VERRINE (JPN) [Gold Allure – Breezy Woods (Timber County)] 5-year-old Mare (24/6/5/3) – Daisuke Mashima
Perhaps the best of the Japanese visitors, certainly on recent form. Should come from just off the pace and has every chance.

6. WONDER BOLT (USA) [Desert Warrior – Little Champ (Great Gladiator)] 4-year-old Colt (19/5/7/1) – Lee Chan Ho
Perhaps the best hope for Korea. Absolutely belted Watts Village and Fly Top Queen last time out and unlike most Korean sprinters, he doesn’t need to lead from gate to wire to win.

7. PIERRE TIGER (JPN) [Cacoethes – Be Fragrant (Daitaku Helios)] 6-year-old Horse (38/13/5/4) – Fumio Matoba
Veteran jockey Matoba won the SBS Cup last year on a relatively unfancied Japanese raider last year. Pierre Tiger should welcome the drop back in trip and could make it a double for Matoba.

8. TOSHI GANG STAR (JPN) [Kurofune – Pisa no Birkin (Sunday Silence)] 7-year-old Horse (46/4/6/0) – Takayuki Yano
The least fancied of the Japanese trio, the grey is likely to be one of the front-runners but may have a hard time staying there.

9. WATTS VILLAGE (USA) [Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)] 4-year-old Colt (14/6/4/1) – Seo Seung Un
Overcame all the odds to record an incredible win for Korea in Tokyo last year but he’s going to have to overcome them again to win here. That 9-length defeat at the hands of Wonder Bolt was a bad one.

10. NEW YORK BLUE (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] 3-year-old filly (11/5/4/0) – Masakazu Tanaka
One of two raiders from Busan and both have a chance. A really good filly with a lot of potential at any sprint distance, she should take to the Seoul track well.

11. INDIAN BLUE (USA) [Henny Hughes – Gambler’s Passion (Prospector’s Gamble)] 4-year-old filly (18/5/4/4) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
An extremely versatile filly, she’s yet another who has the potential to win this. Hasn’t really been herself on two visits to Busan in her last two races but back in Seoul, she should be back to her best.

12. SPEEDY CAT (NZ) [Scaredee Cat – Lane Cove (Magic Of Sydney)] 6-year-old gelding (35/8/7/5) – Danny Beasley
An unhelpful draw but there is plenty of time to overcome it before the turn. He’s not won this year but is a classy horse with classy jockey on board.

13. COWBOY SON (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Nosmallachievement (Smart Strike)] 3-year-old colt (11/8/1/2) – Yoo Hyun Myung
The second of Busan’s entries and this one is just as good. Surprised everybody by grabbing 3rd in the Busan Metropolitan over 2000M, he should love the step back to his favoured sprint distance.

14. FLY TOP QUEEN (USA) [Henny Hughes – Cape Discovery (Cape Town)] 4-year-old Filly (9/6/1/1) – Park Tae Jong
Just like Watts Village, that defeat at the hands of Wonder Bolt dealt quite a blow to her reputation. As a result, she’s likely to start at the longest odds of her career. There’s never been a better time for her to put that right.

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:

ASIA CHALLENGE CUP – 1400M – SEOUL RACECOURSE – AUG 31, 2014

SINGAPORE

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.

JAPAN

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.

KOREA

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.