Cheongu & Success Story Trot-Up At Seoul & Busan

Cheongu and Success Story left their respective class 1 opponents at Seoul and Busan seemingly running in different races as they dominated the weekend’s feature events. 

Cheongu has had an entertaining year, with a third place in the Asia Challenge Cup behind Choegang Schiller and El Padrino sandwiched between trips to Singapore and Japan. In all three of those races, he went out quickly only to be reeled back in the closing stages.

On Sunday, back in the comfort of a regular class 1 field at Seoul, the familiar tactics paid off with Cheongu making all over seven furlongs to win by an irrelevant margin of three lengths on the line with Mirae Yeongung and Parang Juuibo the somewhat surprising other placegetters. Cheongu has now won 5 of 8 starts in Korea.

Class 1 – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Nov 22, 2015

1. Cheongu (USA) [Old Fashioned – So Much Fun (Speightstown)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 1,9, 1.2
2. Mirae Yeongung (KOR) [Aragorn – Willing Miss (More Than Ready)] – Djordje Perovic – 4.3
3. Parang Juuibo (USA) [With Distinction – Spicy Souffle (French Deputy)] – 13.4
Distances: 3 lengths/5 lengths – 12 ran

Busan’s Sunday feature saw a welcome return to the winner’s circle for Success Story. The four-year-old has had a bit of a stop-start year but if Cheongu’s win was easy, Success Story’s was barely a race.

With apprentice Lee Yong Ho on board, Success Story was carrying less weight than in previous starts this year and by the end of the race jockey Lee seemed likely to end up needing treatment for a sore neck so much time he spent looking over both shoulders as Success Story sauntered away from a small, but by no means soft field over a mile.

Despite not breaking into a sweat, Success Story won by seven lengths from outsider Baksuchyeo in a time not far outside of the track record.  Success Story moves on to 10 wins from 18 starts and one hopes tougher challenges await for this horse who is yet to perform in a Stakes race.

Class 1 Handicap -Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Nov 22, 2015

1. Success Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] – Lee Yong Ho – 2.4, 1.4
2. Baksuchyeo (USA) [Bob And John – Say Amen (Pulpit)] – Lee Hee Cheon – 5.3
3. Oreuse (USA) [Smoke Glacken – Heavenly Splendor (Point Given)] – Jin Kyum
Distances: 7 lengths/3 lengths – 7 ran

In other news, Masa Tanaka came one winner closer to his stated goal of 100 winners in Korea; he partnered Bart Rice’s debut-making US gelding High Five (Girolamo) to victory in race 1 at Busan on Sunday. It takes the Japanese rider to 97 for his time in the country so far.

Next Sunday sees the Juvenile highlight of the year, the Breeders’ Cup race at Seoul

Weekend Race Times

No Stakes action on the peninsula this weekend but as usual there is plenty going on at both Seoul and Busan.

March 2 2014

I don’t think it’s going to be this sunny at Seoul this weekend but we can hope

Seoul has one additional race than it usually would on a non-Stakes weekend in order to make up for the one that was lost to a tote-board malfunction two weekends ago.

There are some decent looking races across the weekend. Cheon Gu, who has raced in both Singapore and Japan this year, runs on Sunday at Seoul while Oreuse, Success Story and Cowboy Son are among the contenders for Busan’s big race that same afternoon. Here is what is happening when and where:

English race cards here
Notes on simulcast races (Friday/Sunday) here

Friday November 20
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:20 to 16:50

Saturday November 21
Seoul Racecourse: 13 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday November 22
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

2015 Grand Prix Stakes Voting Begins

Voting is underway for the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes which will take place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday December 13. Like Japan’s Arima Kinen, entry to the race is determined by a vote among racing fans. The vote opened on Friday at the Korea Racing Authority’s website with polls due to close on Sunday November 22.

Gamdonguibada won the Grand Prix Stakes in 2012. Now six-years-old, she is on the ballot once more

Gamdonguibada won the Grand Prix Stakes in 2012. Now six-years-old, she is on the ballot once more

A total of 28 horses; 14 from Seoul and 14 from Busan, have been nominated for the race and there will be a maximum field size of 16. Among the nominees is one former winner, Gamdonguibada, who took the honours as a three-year-old in 2012.

For the last two years, the winner of the President’s Cup has gone on to take the Grand Prix, Indie Band in 2013 and Gyoengbudaero last year. While those two are respectively on the long-term injured list and retired, this year’s President’s Cup victor, Triple Nine is on the ballot and will be a strong contender.

Also nominated is Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace and Queen’s Tour overall winner Heba as well as the hitherto unbeaten three-year-old Bold Kings. Cinderella Man who won a trial for the race over the Grand Prix distance last week, is another on the ballot.

Here is a full list of the nominees with links to their English language Korean Studbook pages, age, sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) and notable recent Stakes and Listed race achievements:

Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2300M – December 13, 2015

Meni Money (KOR) 3 F (14/6/6/1) – 2015 Sports Seoul Cup (1st) Korean Oaks (2nd) Jeju Governor’s Cup (3rd)
Sotong Sidae (KOR) 4 G (27/7/4/6) – 2015 Sports Chosun Cup (1st)
Cinderella Man (KOR) 4 G (17/10/4/0)
Pinot Noir (KOR) 5 M (23/5/7/2) – 2015 Jeju Governor’s Cup (2nd)
Chief Red Can (USA) 5 G (16/6/3/1) – 2015 KRA Cup Classic (1st)
Clean Up Cheonha (USA) 4 C (16/7/6/2)
Clean Up Joy (USA) 4 G (13/6/5/0)
Unbeatable (USA) 5 H (36/6/6/9)
Best Run (USA) 4 C (19/3/5/1)
Daisyan (USA) 4 G (25/5/4/2)
Space Port (USA) 5 H (37/2/9/2)
Damyang Chukje (USA) 6 H (30/5/3/4)
Winning Andy (USA) 4 C (25/3/6/5)

Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) 3 C (12/4/3/4) – 2015 Korean Derby (1st), KRA Cup Mile (3rd)
Triple Nine (KOR) 3 C (11/7/4/0) – 2015 President’s Cup (1st) Domin Ilbo Cup (1st) Minister’s Cup (2nd) Korean Derby (2nd)
Gumpo Sky (KOR) 4 C (25/9/7/3) – 2015 Busan Ilbo Cup (1st)
Ildeung Hanghaesa (KOR) 4 G (24/5/5/5)
Daepungnyeon (KOR) 3 G (11/7/0/1)
Gandai (KOR) 5 H (39/8/2/5)
Gamdonguibada (USA) 6 M (29/14/4/6) – 2015 Busan Mayor’s Cup (1st), 2012 Grand Prix Stakes (1st)
Heba (USA) 5 M (35/9/5/2) – 2015 KNN Cup (1st) Guengnam Governor’s Cup (1st)
Ms. Margaux (USA) 4 M (21/2/8/7) – 2015 Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2nd)
Bold Kings (USA) 3 C (6/6/0/0)
Donggeupcheogang (USA) 5 H (32/7/5/5)
Goji Jeongbeol (USA) 4 G (21/5/4/5)
Cheonjae Bogo (NZ) 7 G (62/6/4/11)
Nobody Catch Me (USA) 5 G (22/6/5/2) – 2014 Busan Mayor’s Cup (1st)

Queen’s Blade Welcomed Home A Winner

After fifteen long months in the Korean racing wilderness, Queen’s Blade, the 2014 Korean Derby and Oaks winning filly, was back in the winner’s circle at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon having triumphed in the Jeju Governor’s Cup.

Queen's Blade in the Jeju Governor's Cup winner's circle

Queen’s Blade in the Jeju Governor’s Cup winner’s circle

Being sent to the USA is generally a career death-knell for a Korean racehorse with connections understandably taking advantage of the inexplicably generous subsidy available for running a Korean Group race winner in the States (you have to do it three times and one of them must be a Stakes race) only when they feel their horse isn’t going to win an equivalent amount at home anymore.

And while Queen’s Blade, unlike another Derby winning filly Speedy First, was at least sound, she wasn’t in race shape in America and duly met with the now familiar humiliation that greets participants in this program. Home, retirement and the breeding shed seemed to await, not the racecourse.

This filly was a little different though and after the three-month spell on the farm that she was long overdue, she returned to work last month, flying through a barrier trial and found herself in the starting gate today.

True, this was not the toughest assignment first up with race-watchers here scratching their heads trying to recall a weaker looking Stakes race which had no upper class or rating limit on its entrants. They put on a decent show though and under a characteristically skilful ride from Japanese jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane, Queen’s Blade battled hard to earn victory by a neck.

Queen’s Blade was always handy and while she and stablemate Bukbeol Sinhwa (a full sister to President’s Cup winner Triple Nine) stayed on, the rest of the early front-runners would fade in the closing stages and it was left to closers Pinot Noir and Meni Money to get the closest to the winner with Pinot Noir, an 18/1 chance, just running out of track in the end.

Queen’s Blade is a half sister to 2008 Korean Oaks winner Jeolho Chance and was recording her first victory since her own Oaks success last August. It was her 8th career win in total from sixteen (Korean) starts. For jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane it was a third Korean Stakes race win while for trainer Kim Young Kwan it was business as usual in the biggest races.

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – November 15, 2015

1. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 2.9, 1.6
2. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] – Park Eul Woon – 2.9
3. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.7
Distances: Neck/2 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Bukbeol Sinhwa 5. X File 6. Smart Time 7. Winner’s Marine 8. Indian Star 9. Hwanggembitjijung 10. Jokwang 11. Jibong Sarang 12. Appealing Star 13. Space Shuttle 14. Chongal Gongju 15. Blue Guardian 16. Geumbit Hwanhui

Jeju Governor’s Cup – Runners & Riders

This afternoon’s sees the final stakes race of the season for fillies & mares in the shape of the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul. And it has attracted a full field of sixteen in what looks an interesting, if underwhelming, contest.

Queen's Blade won last year's Derby and returns to Korean action at Seoul today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade won last year’s Derby and returns to Korean action at Seoul today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Interesting it may be but the Cup has drawn the short straw somewhat in that it falls just two weeks after the final leg of the Queens’ Tour, in which a number of the best domestic bred fillies, such as Oaks winner Jangpung Parang participated in and the lack of depth in the distaff ranks is shown up quite starkly by a line-up lacking in quality.

The 2014 Korean Derby winner Queen’s Blade returns to action in Korea after a pointless trip to the United States. She is at least fit now (had she been fit earlier this year, she would have stayed in Korea but that is another gripe for another day) and she could very well get back in the winner’s circle today under Ikuyasu Kurakane. However, stablemate Bukbeol Sinhwa, who won the Busan trial for this race last month will also be expected to go close with another Japanese jockey, Masa Tanaka on board.

Others who will be backed include Indian Star and Winner’s Marine who were 2nd and 3rd behind Bukbeol Sinhwa in that trial race and have managed to attract top Busan jockeys Jo Sung Gon and Kim Yong Geun to the capital to ride while Nozi Tomizawa is a also in town and may go well on Jokwang. Meni Money is perhaps the pick of a weak home team but whoever wins this isn’t exactly going to be a world beater.

Here is the full list of runners and riders:

Jeju Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – Nov 15, 2015

1. Hwanggeumbitjijung (KOR) [Menifee – Firstclasscat (Catienus)] (18/6/2/1) – Yang Young Nam
2. Chongal Gongju (KOR) [Vicar – Isis (Didyme)] (41/3/9/3) – Kim Hye Sun
3. Bukbeol Shinhwa (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (13/6/2/1) – Masakazu Tanaka
4. Winner’s Marine (KOR) [Volponi – Graceful Ballerina (Posse)] (20/5/2/3) – Jo Sung Gon
5. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee (Woodman)] (36/5/3/10) – Moon Se Young
6. Space Shuttle (KOR) [Menifee – Jeongtongseong (Lassigny)] (17/3/0/3) – Jo Jae Ro
7. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charon (Jade Robbery)] (10/4/3/0) – Ham Wan Sik
8. Jibong Sarang (KOR) [Officer – Meryl’s Spirit (Storm Boot)] (9/3/3/1) – Jo Chang Wook
9. Meni Money (KOR) [Menifee – Pocketful Of Money (Running Stag)] (13/6/6/0) – Seo Seung Un
10. Indian Star (KOR) [Adcat – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] (6/5/1/0) – Kim Yong Geun
11. Geumbit Hwanhui (KOR) [Peace Rules – Sincheongchun (Silent Warrior)] (18/5/3/2) – Jang Chu Youl
12. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] (15/7/5/0) – Ikuyasu Kurakane
13. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] (22/5/6/2) – Park Eul Woon
14. Blue Guardian (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Timber Side (Timber Country) (12/2/3/1) – Kim Dong Soo
15. Jokwang (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charming Roman (Gadabout)] (35/3/4/4) – Nozomu Tomizawa
16. Appealing Star (KOR) [Duality – Appealing Satin (Valid Appeal)] (29/4/3/2) – Lee Hyun Jeong

Weekend Race Times

This weekend sees the final Stakes race of the year for Fillies & Mares, the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul on Sunday. We will have a full preview on the morning of the race but there is plenty more going on over the next three days.

Seoul hosts the final filly & mare Stakes race of the season on Sunday

Seoul hosts the final filly & mare Stakes race of the season on Sunday

English race cards can be found here
Notes on simulcast races can be found here

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday November 13
Busan Racecourse: 11 races from 11:40 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:20 to 16:50

Saturday November 14
Seoul Racecourse: 13 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:20

Sunday November 15
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:30

Weekend Round-Up: Cinderella Man & Bold Kings Star

Cinderella Man charged back into the winner’s circle at Seoul while Bold Kings maintained his 100% record at Busan as the pair emerged victorious from Sunday’s two Grand Prix Stakes trials.

Cinderella Man had run just twice in the capital since his ownership transferred from Pegasus Stables to Ruairi O’Coilean and he joined the stable of Seoul’s fast emerging trainer Lee Shin Young. The first of those was the KRA Cup Classic when questionable riding tactics scuppered his chances but he looked sharp when running 2nd last month over 2000M

He had to battle on Sunday when racing over the Grand Prix distance for the first time but once he had finally managed to get past long time leader Hwanggeum Tap in the final furlong, Cinderella Man ran on for victory by just over a length under champion jockey Moon Se Young. It was Cinderella Man’s 10th win from 17 career starts.

Class 1 Handicap – Seoul Racecourse – 2300M – Nov 9, 2015

1. Cinderella Man (KOR) [Southern Image – Tiza Fast Kat (Tiznow)] – Moon Se Young – 2.7, 1.3
2. Hwanggeum Tap (USA) [Tiz Wonderful – La Tulipe (Silver Deputy)] – Lee Sang Hyeok – 3.4
3. Winning Andy (USA) [Cowboy Cal – Belvedere Miss (Pleasant Colony)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.5
Distances: 1.5 lengths/1.5 lengths – 9 ran

At Busan, three-year-old US import Bold Kings confirmed his status as one of the hottest emerging talents in Korean racing. He too had to battle in the 2200M class 1 event but under Jo Sung Gon, he finally got the better of Goji Jeongbeol by a head after the two dueled for the final furlong. Bold Kings is now six for six.

The Grand Prix at Seoul next month would be a big ask for both of them. Bold Kings is three, has only run six times and is yet to travel to race. Cinderella Man, while reasonably conservatively campaigned this year (he has run eight times) did suffer setbacks over the summer. Their presence though would be a huge boost for the race.

Class 1 Handicap – Busan Racecourse – 2200M – Nov 8, 2015

1. Bold Kings (USA) [Afleet Express – Bold Arrival (Gilded Time)] – Jo Sung Gon – 2.5, 1.3
2. Goji Jeongbeol (USA) [Congrats – I Love CIndy (Adonis)] – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 1.5
3. Gandai (KOR) [ Don’t Get Mad – Gamble To Victory (Prospector’s Gamble)] – Song Keong Yun – 2.7
Distances: Head / 2.5 lengths – 8 ran

Bold Kings was ridden for the first time by Jo Sung Gon as regular rider Kim Yong Geun was riding Nobody Catch Me for Kim Young Kwan. It may be a good thing that he won’t be going to the Tokyo Daishoten and he probably won’t be going to the Grand Prix either as he faded to a well-beaten 6th having shown prominently early in the race.

Trainer Kim will still have plenty of options for the season-ending showpiece – which once again will be available to European punters through the PMU – with three-year-olds Rock Band and Triple Nine among them.

On a weekend when it rained practically non-stop and the track at times resembled more a rowing lake than a racecourse, the pari-mutuel system decided that it was as wet and fed-up as everybody else and packed up immediate following race 3 at Seoul. It was a good 40 minutes before it could be coaxed into life again and that meant the abandonment of race 4. It’s not the first time it’s happened.

Jockey of the weekend was once more Djordje Perovic who rode another treble on Saturday and a further winner on Sunday. Jockey of the weekend wasn’t Nicola Pinna who while finally making his debut on Saturday, had to get off two later mounts – one of which Perovic won on.

Jockey of the weekend wasn’t Kim Hye Sun either. She will be having nightmares over getting Saetbyeori beaten in Saturday’s race 4 when the race looked won. While it looked to be a total brain freeze rather than anything nefarious (the Stewards adjourned their inquiry), the punters who backed the 10/1 shot won’t have been amused. However, those who were on the favourite that Kim failed to notice closing on her inside until it was too late, wouldn’t have minded at all. The usually reliable Kim was much more vigilant on Sunday with a very good ride on 38/1 shot Beongae Power, who she coaxed home when looking about to be beaten.

In other jockey news, Japanese rider Makoto Okabe debuted at Busan with seven rides across the weekend. He didn’t manage to get a winner but did land two 2nd places and one 3rd. Pasquale Borelli, Ikuyasu Kurakane and Masa Tanaka all did manage to find their way into the winner’s circle though.