The Korea Racing Authority last week announced the international entries for the 2017 Keeneland Korea Cup and Keeneland Korea Sprint, to be held as part of the Korea Autumn Racing Carnival at Seoul Racecourse (LetsRun Park Seoul) on September 10th, 2017.
There are six foreign nations represented across the two races with runners from France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, and the USA.
The Keeneland Korea Cup, racing for a stake of 1bn Korean Won (approximately US$885,000), has received six foreign entries, from France, Hong Kong, Japan, and the USA.
The Japanese-trained Chrysolite (JPN), who won the inaugural Keeneland Korea Cup in 2016 will attempt to defend his crown and will be ridden by world-renowned Japanese jockey Yutaka Take.
London Town (JPN) will also represent Japan, while the Danny Shum-trained Circuit Land (USA) will make the trip from Hong Kong.
Two French-trained horses will take their chance. Namely, Nimr (FR) and Skiperia (FR), who have both been in good form this season.
Finally, US contender Papa Shot (USA) will become the first US-trained Keeneland Korea Cup runner.
“I am very excited that the Korea Racing Authority has selected Papa Shot to run in the Keeneland Korea Cup,” said owner Barry K Schwartz, former Chairman of the New York Racing Association.
“Racing on an international stage such as the biggest race day in Korea is a wonderful opportunity and I applaud the efforts of the KRA to improve its status as a major player on the global scene. Papa Shot will be the first American-based horse to ever compete in the Korea Cup and hopefully many will follow in the coming years.”
The Keeneland Korea Sprint, racing for a stake of 700k Korean Won (approximately US$620,000) has received six foreign entries, from France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, and the USA.
Globe-trotting Group 1 winner Gordon Lord Byron (IRE) will run for Irish trainer Tom Hogan and will surely attract great attention from Europe and the rest of the world.
The Singapore-trained Wimbledon (AUS), trained by James Peters, will represent the China Horse Club and brings notable stakes form to the race. As does Hong Kong runner Lucky Year (AUS), winner of the Group 3 Sha Tin Vase for trainer Danny Shum.
Listed scorer Graceful Leap (JPN) flies the flag for Japan, while US-trained The Truth Or Else (USA), who won the Listed Shackleton Stakes at Gulfstream Park in May, will run for trainer Kenny McPeek.
French-trained City Money (IRE) completes the foreign Keeneland Korea Sprint entries and will be ridden by Seoul-based French jockey Johan Victoire.
The 2nd Korea Autumn Racing Carnival, the centrepiece of Korean racing, runs over two days of September 9th and 10th.
2016’s inaugural edition was a great success, drawing runners and attention from across the globe and contributing meaningfully to the continuing development and internationalisation of horse racing in Korea.
This year’s programme commences on Saturday, September 9th, revolving around five trophy races organised in association with the racing authorities of Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Japan, and Ireland.
The following day, Sunday September 10th, the Carnival will reach its climax with the Korean Group 1 races, the Keeneland Korea Cup and Keeneland Korea Sprint.
Both feature races are sponsored by Keeneland, which has a longstanding connection with horse racing in Korea.
“Keeneland is pleased to team up with KRA in this exciting endeavour,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “For many years, Keeneland has enjoyed a successful partnership with Korea and its horsemen through our premier horse sales. We now look forward to supporting the KRA as they once again prepare to welcome the world to Seoul.”
The KRA hosted its first international race in 2013, when three Japanese-trained horses competed in Seoul. The race (Asia Challenge Cup) was then expanded to include horses from Singapore in 2014. Singapore’s El Padrino won that year, while Korean-trained Keeneland sales graduate Choegang Schiller was victorious in 2015.
Last year’s inaugural running of the Korea Cup attracted runners from six countries, with the Japanese-trained Chrysolite landing the spoils in impressive fashion. The 2016 Korea Sprint also featured runners from six nations and fell to the Hong Kong-trained Super Jockey.
“Having now been promoted to Part II of the IFHA’s global pattern, the KRA’s ambition is to see its feature races ranked at the top level,” said Dr. Seungho Ryu, KRA International Racing Manager.
“With highly rated nominations for both the Korea Cup and Sprint in 2017, it is hoped that this designation will soon be achieved.”
In addition to domestic expansion, Korean horses have also been making their presence felt abroad. In January 2016, Korean runners competed for the first time at the Dubai World Cup Carnival and in 2017 history was made as Main Stay became the first Korean-trained horse to win in Dubai.