Five Overseas-Trained Horses Here For Asia Challenge Cup

Defending champion El Padrino is at Seoul Racecourse in preparation for this Sunday’s Asia Challenge Cup, the highlight of the International Racing Festival weekend.

Three Singapore-trained horses arrived at Incheon Airport last Friday (Pic: KRA)

Three Singapore-trained horses arrived at Incheon Airport last Friday (Pic: KRA)

El Padrino arrived in Korea last Friday afternoon accompanied by stablemate Happy Money and a third Singapore-trained entrant, Valevole; the latter two replacing originally nominated horses who have been pointed elsewhere. The Japanese pair of Kogyo Douglas and Taisei Legend arrived at the racecourse late last Wednesday.

Oscar Chavez will ride El Padrino this year with Danny Beasley partnering Happy Money and Barend Vorster taking the mount of Valevole. Veteran NAR rider Fumio Matoba, who won this race’s predecessor, the Korea-Japan Goodwill Cup on Tosen Archer in 2013, is back and will ride Taisei Legend while Takehiro Kashigawa will be on board Kogyo Douglas.

A total of twelve remain in the Asia Challenge Cup, which this year will be run over 1200M, ahead of Thursday’s final declarations and barrier draw:

SBS Asia Challenge Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – August 30, 2015

El Padrino (NZ) [Mr. Nacho – Crownie (Luskin Star)] – Singapore
Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] – Seoul
Choegang Schiller (USA) [Artie Schiller – Changeable (Miswaki)] – Seoul
Gabo Myeongun (USA) [Sharp Humor – Tingwithasting (Wild Rush)] – Busan
Super Gangja (USA) [Simon Pure – Honey Fritters (Helmsman)] – Busan
Oreuse (USA) [Smoke Glacken – Heavenly Splendor (Point Given)] – Busan
Wonder Bolt (USA) [Desert Warrior – Little Champ (Great Gladiator)] – Seoul
Geumbit Hwanhui (KOR) [Peace Rules – Sincheongchun (Silent Warrior)] – Seoul
Happy Money (AUS) [Econsul – Gem Of Gems (Peintre Celebre)] – Singapore
Taisei Legend (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Sharp Kick (Mejiro McQueen)] – Japan
Kogyo Douglas (JPN) [Amore Rose – Sterling Pegasus (Mejiro Ryan)] – Japan
Valevole (BRZ) [Our Emblem – Garland Queen (Ghadeer)] – Singapore

The weekend also sees the Asian Young Guns Jockey Challenge as well as trophy exchange races with the Singapore Turf Club, Selangor Turf Club, Turkey Jockey Club and Horse Racing Ireland.

In addition to the Asia Challenge Cup, the Korean Group 2 KRA Cup Classic will also take place on Sunday.

Asian Young Guns Jockey Challenge Set For Saturday At Seoul

The 7th Asian Young Guns Jockey Challenge will be held at Seoul Racecourse this coming Saturday August 29. Two apprentice jockeys from Korea will be joined by nine others from around Asia, Oceania and South Africa for the four-race series which is being held in Korea for the first time.

Jye McNeil will be representing Australia in the Asian Young Guns (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Jye McNeil will be representing Australia in the Asian Young Guns (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Asian Young Guns was first held in 2009 at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne and has since been run in Singapore, Macau, New Zealand and South Africa. Jockeys will be arriving in Korea on Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thursday’s barrier draw where their mounts will be drawn.

The Challenge is the opening event of the International Racing Festival at Seoul Racecourse this coming weekend which also includes trophy exchange races with a number of other racing authorities and culminates in the Asia Challenge Cup on Sunday afternoon.

Two horses from Japan arrived in Korea last Wednesday and three from Singapore, including defending champion El Padrino, arrived last Friday.

The Asia Challenge Cup will be screened live by the SBS Sports Channel while another big Stakes race, the KRA Cup Classic, will also be run on Sunday to conclude an important weekend for Korean racing.

Here are this year’s Asian Young Guns Challengers with their Career Rides (1st/2nd/3rd):

Jye McNeil (Australia) 2384(201/219/245)
Jack Wong (Hong Kong) 161(9/13/9)
Fuma Matsuwaka (Japan – JRA) 1021(82/64/66)
Tsubasa Sasagawa (Japan – NAR) 2202(165/159/164)
Dong Soo Kim (Korea – Seoul) 417(30/30/36)
Hee Won Jo (Korea – Busan) 255(12/21/14)
Yee Mo Choi (Macau) 1014(77/115/86)
Wong Kam Chong (Malaysia) 271(44/37/29)
Joshua Oliver (New Zealand) 661(37/32/57)
Zhi Yong See (Singapore) 863(56/42/54)
Craig Zackey (South Africa) 1599(126/116/125)

Click here to download full profiles and Challenge information

Points will be allocated to jockeys whose horses finish in the first 8 positions, ranging from 25 points for a win to 1 point for 8th as follows – 1st: 25; 2nd: 15; 3rd 10; 4th: 7;  5th: 5; 6th: 3; 7th: 2; 8th: 1 (if a horse is scratched, the affected rider will be awarded 6 points).

The four races will be over various classes and distances and will culminate with the KRW 150 Million Singapore Turf Club Trophy.


Gumpo Sky & Sotong Sidae Take Busan & Seoul Honours

There were two hot favourites for the two big races in Korea on Sunday afternoon and they met with contrasting fortunes with just the one coming home victorious.

That was Gumpo Sky. 2nd in the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Korean Triple crown last year and also 2nd in the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo, this time the 4-year-old made no mistake in a Stakes race as he led home a small field of five rivals by half a length in the Busan Ilbo Cup.

Busan Ilbo Cup – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – August 16, 2015

1. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] – Kim Dong Young – 1.7, 1.2
2. Ildeung Hanghaesa (KOR) [Ecton Park – Saeroun Bulpae (Northern Afleet)] – 1.4
3. Goliath Marine (KOR) [Volponi – Queenie Bee (Geri)] – Jo Sung Gon
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Baekgyeong (KOR) 5. Jungang Haeju (KOR) 6. No Peers (KOR)

At Seoul it was a different story for Brig in the Sports Chosun Cup. The even-money favourite faltered when exiting the gate and although he recovered to look right in contention turning for him, he had nothing left in the home straight and faded to last.

That left 20/1 shot Sotong Sidae to get the best of a tight finish, flying home from last to first in the home straight under Park Byeong Yun to win by half a length from the mare Cheonnyeon Dongan. It was the 4-year-old gelding’s 7th career win from 27 starts but his 6th from his past 10.

Sports Chosun Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – August 16, 2015

1. Sotong Sidae (KOR) [Gold Money – Myeonggauihuye (Black Minnaloushe)] – Park Byeong Yun – 20.8, 2.6
2. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennessy)] – Lee Chan Ho – 1.7
3. Haemaru (KOR) [Vicar – Forest Flower (Timber Country)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 2.2
Distances: 0.5 lengths/0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Gumanseok (KOR) 5. Pinot Noir (KOR) 6. Heukgisa (KOR) 7. Magic Dancer (KOR) 8. Brig (KOR)

Sunday Preview: Sports Chosun & Busan Ilbo Cups

There’s a big Stakes Race Sunday in prospect in Korea. However, both the Sports Chosun Cup at Seoul and Busan Ilbo Cup at Busan, which will both be run over 2000M, are set to feature strong favourites.

Gumpo Sky (black cap) was just beaten in last year's Minister's Cup. Can he get his first Stakes win in the Busan Ilbo Cup? (Pic: choi9036903)

Gumpo Sky (black cap) was just beaten in last year’s Minister’s Cup. Can he get his first Stakes win in the Busan Ilbo Cup? (Pic: choi9036903)

Not that there’s anything especially wrong with that although field size for both is disappointing to put it mildly. At Busan, just six will line up for the Busan Ilbo Cup and the aforementioned favourite will be Gumpo Sky. The four-year-old hasn’t had much luck in Stakes company so far, coming very close on two occasions last year, including the final leg of the Triple Crown. Most recently he ran 6th in the Busan Mayor’s Cup over a mile.

He should have too much for his five rivals tomorrow though. If he is to be beaten, Ildeung Hanghaesa or Goliath Marine look like the ones who can do it. Yeonseung Daero and Gyeongbudaero are two previous winners of the race meaning that the winner has big hooves to fill.

A couple of hours earlier at Seoul, eight will have gone to post for the Sports Chosun Cup. Favourite to come back in front will be Brig, a five-year-old who was 4th in the Korean Derby in 2013, and has gone on to become one of the most consistent performers in the capital and who was an 11-length class 1 winner over 1800M on his most recent start.

Brig has never won over 2000M before – this is only his 2nd start at the distance – and if that continues, then Haemaru or Busan exile Magic Dancer are perhaps best placed to take advantage.

Click here for full English language race cards at the KRA’s website

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Sunday August 16
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 13:00 to 17:45
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 16:20 to 20:00

Power City, Triple Nine Claim Owners’ Cup Trials

Power City beat out New White Socks in a final furlong duel in the Ilgan Sports Cup at Seoul while things were a little more straightforward for Triple Nine in the Gyeongnam Domin Ilbo Cup at Busan, both races intended as trials for next month’s Busan Owners’ Cup.

In the capital, New White Socks, who had broken the 1700M track record on each of his last two starts, was sent off as the favourite. The grey led from the gate but was reeled in and eventually passed in touching distance of the line by Power City, who powered home down the outside under veteran jockey Park Tae Jong.

For Power City (Archer City Slew), it was an 8th win from 14 career starts. He and New White Socks (Secret Weapon) finished a full ten lengths clear of 3rd placed Bujeon Jajeon (J.S. Hold). That order allowed the rare case of two of the three place-getters in a big race as being by sires who raced in Korea.

Ilgan Sports Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – August 9, 2015

1. Power City (KOR) [Archer City Slew – Power Bull (Holy Bull)] – Park Tae Jong – 4.1, 1.7
2. New White Socks (KOR) [Secret Weapon – Wonder Queen (Canadian Silver)] – Moon Se Young – 1.3
3. Bujeon Jajeon (KOR) [J.S. Hold – Michel With One L (Pacific Waves)] – Shin Hyung Chul
Distances: Neck/10 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Last Mudae (KOR) 5. Meni Money (KOR) 6. Citadel (KOR) 7. Mahanaim (KOR)

At Busan, Triple Nine, 2nd in both the Korean Derby and the Minister’s Cup, was sent off as the overwhelming favourite for the Gyeongnam DoMinIlbo Cup. And he didn’t disappoint this time, cruising to a four-length win.

High Five was 2nd with Oaks winner Jangpung Parang coming home in 3rd having led for much of the race.

Gyeongnam Domin Ilbo Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – August 9, 2015

1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.3, 1.0
2. High Five (KOR) [Creek Cat – Nam’s Gulch (Gulch)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.8
3. Jangpung Parang (KOR) [Creek Cat – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.4
Distances: 4 lengths/1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Winner’s Marine (KOR) 5. Mac And Cheese (KOR) 6. Royal Impact (KOR) 7. Major Star (KOR) 8. Sinsegye (KOR)

In other races across the weekend, New York Blue (Candy Ride) was an impressive winner of the class 1 feature at Busan on Friday while Saturday’s main event at Seoul saw a 5th career win for US import Clean Up Joy (Purge).

Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie continued his very solid start in Korea with one of his four runners at Busan on Friday coming home a winner, Joiner Captain (Ecton Park) taking race 7 Under Ikuyasu Kurakane. At Seoul, Serbian jockey Djordje Perovic reached 20 Korean winners with a double on Saturday.

Cheongnyong Bisang The Ranch Horse

Over the past seven years, one of the best things about writing this blog has been getting to hear lots of horse stories. From the well known Sgt. Reckless to the unknown Mystery Clearance, hearing about the weird and wonderful way in which the racing world is interconnected is always fascinating. Cheongnyong Bisang’s story is right up there with the best.

Cheongnyong Bisang wininng the KRA Cup Mile in 2014 under Seo Seung Un (Pic: KRA)

Cheongnyong Bisang wininng the KRA Cup Mile in 2014 under Seo Seung Un (Pic: KRA)

A couple of weeks ago I received an email about him and was quite taken aback to learn that the 2013 Korean Breeders’ Cup and 2014 KRA Cup Mile winner was now in South Dakota being trained to be a ranch horse. The question I had was “how on Earth did that happen?”

Well that has now been explained in detail by Gate To Great, the thoroughbed re-training program that Cheongnyong Bisang has landed on his feet in. The Paulick Report also covered the story and as Jen Roytz writes, “We couldn’t have told his story better ourselves” so do click through to the blog post by Gate to Great. It is wonderfully written and well worth a read.

Singapore’s El Padrino On For Korea Return In Asia Challenge Cup

El Padrino is set to return to Korea to defend the Asia Challenge Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday August 30.

El Padrino wins the 2014 Asia Challenge Cup  (Pic: Elan959)

El Padrino wins the 2014 Asia Challenge Cup (Pic: Elan959)

The 7-year-old will face a stern test in this year’s event which will be run over the shorter distance of 1200M. Scheduled to accompany him from Singapore is Daniel, who comes into the race off the back of consecutive victories, along with Huka Falls, another very solid runner.

Two are expected from Japan. Taisei Legend and Kogyo Douglas, the latter of which has run in both editions of the Interaction Cup against Korean opposition at Ohi in 2013 and 2014.

As for the home team, Wonder Bolt and New York Blue, 2nd and 3rd respectively in last year’s race, are set to go again as is Watts Village, winner of the Interaction Cup at Ohi in 2013. Oreuse, on his day Korea’s best sprinter, is also among the nomnations while Cheon Gu, who has just returned from Singapore is likely to be there too.

El Padrino (NZ) [Mr. Nancho – Crownie (Luskin Star)] 7 G (36/10/5/4)
Daniel (NZ) [Guillotine – Tina (Danasinga)] 5 G (18/7/5/1)
Huka Falls (NZ) [Align – Diamond Lady (Senor Pete)] 6 G (37/14/2/6)

Taisei Legend (JPN) [King Kamehameha – Sharp Kick (Mejiro McQueen)] 8 H (39/9/5/2)
Kogyo Douglas (JPN) [Sterling Rose – Amore Pegasus (Mejiro Ryan)] 8 H (37/13/6/2)

Yeongung Champ (USA) [More Than Ready – Word Of Mouth (Saint Ballado)] 3 C (7/4/1/0)
New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] 4 F (19/6/8/1)
Super Gangja (USA) [Sharp Humor – Honey Fritters (Helmsman)] 5 H (24/4/8/1)
Oreuse (USA) [Smoke Glacken – Heavenly Splendor (Point Given)] 6 H (28/12/4/3)
Gabo Myeongun (USA) [Sharp Humor – Tingwithasting (Wild Rush)] 3 C (8/4/2/1)
Watts Village (USA)[Forestry – Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)] 5 H (19/8/5/2)
Wonder Bolt (USA) [Desert Warrior – Little Champ (Great Gladiator)] 5 G (23/6/9/1)
Choegang Schiller (USA)[Artie Schiller – Changeable (Miswaki)] 4 G (12/6/2/1)
Geumbit Hwanhui (KOR) [Peace Rules – Sincheonchun (Silent Warrior)] 4 F (16/5/3/2
Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] 4 F (14/5/4/2)
Cheon Gu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] 3 C (6/4/1/1)

The Asia Challenge Cup is the showpiece even of this year’s international weekend at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 August, which will also involve Trophy Exchange races with the Singapore Turf Club, Selangor Turf Club, Turkey Jockey Club and Horse Racing Ireland as well as the Asia Young Guns Jockey Challenge and the KRA Cup Classic.