This Saturday night, Sept. 8th, marks the 2018 Korea Autumn Racing Carnival and the latest chapter in Korea’s drive to position itself as the next horse racing superpower. This year’s edition is poised to be biggest and most geographically diverse to date, with nine different countries represented across the two main features. Fans in the United States could have an especially exciting evening ahead of them as Chublicious, the only entrant both bred and trained in the USA, has a strong chance for a podium finish in the night’s main event.
In its third year, the carnival’s showpiece races, the G1 Keeneland Korea Cup (1800M/1 1/8 Mile) and G1 Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200M/6 Furlongs) are already established as the premier horse racing events on the local calendar. The USA’s formidable presence (i.e. 19 locally-bred horses across both races) is also a key factor in Korean racing’s rising status amongst US audiences.
The USA, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Japan will all face host nation Korea on Saturday at Seoul Racecourse, where they will attempt to claim a share of the Cup’s purse of 1 Billion Korean Won (US$894 000) and the Sprint’s 700 Million Korean Won (US$626 000) prize money.
TVG will provide live coverage of the Korea Cup and Sprint in the Americas. Fans can tune into TVG1 at 3:45 p.m. Seoul local time on Sunday, Sept. 9th (2:45 a.m. EDT, or 11:45 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Sept. 8th) for the Korea Sprint (Race 8). The Korea Cup can be viewed at 4:55 p.m. Sunday local time (3:55 a.m. EDT, or 12:55 a.m. PDT) (Race 9).
The Carnival’s 2017 sophomore edition marked the first chance for the USA to race on Korean soil. While Japan was victorious in both races, Linda Rice’s Papa Shot (third in the Cup) and Kenny McPeek’s The Truth or Else (fourth in the Sprint), made sure that America’s first Carnival appearance was a memorable one.
This year the Ron Faucheux-trained Chublicious will be the only US-based horse in action when he takes part in the Sprint. Chublicious earned his first graded win this time last year as a longshot who powered his way to an upset victory over the favorite in the Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.
With Chublicious (Sire: Hey Chub) having ended only once outside the top three in his last ten starts, the Sprint will more than likely feature an American podium finish as the race includes a total of nine US-bred horses. Two of them, the Ji Yong Cheol-trained Wonder Bolt (Sire: More Than Ready) and Seo In Seok’s Zentenary (Sire: First Defence), are among the highest-rated horses in training at Seoul.
Further highlighting US-bred talent with overseas training are Ennobled Friend (UAE/Sire: Malibu Moon) and Maximus (Singapore/Sire: Lemon Drop Kid) in the Cup as well as Wild Dude (UAE/Sire: Wildcat Heir) and Moanin (Japan/Sire: Henny Hughes) in the Sprint.
Moanin will carry Japan’s hope in the Sprint, while fellow Japanese runner London Town heads into the Korean Cup to retain his title and become the first horse to post back-to-back wins. One of his challengers will be the Irish-bred Riven Light, who overcame an injury and made a remarkable comeback to win the Galway Festival as the topweight and widest draw.
Korean Champion Cheongdam Dokki
The Korea Cup also boasts a squad brimming with US-bred horses currently training in Korea. The host nation’s side is yet to seal victory in the Cup or Sprint, although that may very well change this year with US-bred Cheongdam Dokki (Sire: To Honor and Serve), a champion four-year-old winner who has enjoyed a hot run of form with 11 wins and 3 placings from 16 starts. The combination of Cheongdam Dokki’s potential and a home track advantage should make for a compelling evening as Korea looks to assert their standing in the Carnival’s main event.
The rivalry between Korean runners Final Boss and Cheonji Storm is set to cause great excitement and expectation among fans. Final Boss is last year’s Korean Derby winner and a son of Menifee, one the leading US-bred sires in Korea. The pair showed a strong fighting spirit at this year’s Segye Ilbo Cup, which ended in second favorite Final Boss stealing the moment from the heavily backed Cheonji Storm.
The Korea Autumn Racing Carnival is the renewed collaboration between the Korean Racing Authority and Keeneland as part of a long-standing tradition to export the best bloodlines to Korea and take its horse racing to world-class status. The participation of horses trained in nine different countries this year as well as increased popularity of Korean racing in the US, reflects the quality and global recognition the Autumn Carnival has achieved.
The Korea Cup and Korea Sprint from Seoul Racecourse will be broadcast live on TVG this Saturday night. Handicappers will want to note that races will be available to bet on at two tracks in Korea during the evening – Seoul (10 races) and Busan (5 races). They can also tune in and wager on leading ADW platforms such as TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, AmWager, and BetAmerica. For the most comprehensive offering of past performances, expert picks and to watch live they can visit skyracingworld.com.
Content provided by Sky Racing World
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South Korean racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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