Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 28)

Sunday sees a behind closed-doors meeting at Seoul with 15 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Racecourses and OTB’s in the south of the country will be open to spectators with advance reservations (made through the MyCard app) at 20% of the indoor seated capacity. The open locations are Jeju Racecourse and Busan Racecourse as well as the off-track betting centres in Busan (both of them), Changwon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Cheonan. All betting locations in the Greater Seoul area. including Seoul Racecourse remain closed to customers. Here are the Seoul previews:

Those were the days…

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Twelve previously unraced three-year-olds make their racecourse debuts here so it’s to the trial videos that we head. And we quickly find that (2) MORNING HILL is going to be a strong favourite. He went through two heats and while poor in the first of those, won his second on February 4th in a fast time with three of his rivals here down the track behind him. He’s well drawn and should win. (12) NORWAY THIRD came 2nd in the same heat, also in a good time. She’s a half-sister to Golden Winner, who has won five of twelve starts to date. (9) VICTORY SAM also looked very handy in her trial and is set to go well first up while (6) LONDON POWER’s time may have been slower but she won her heat well on a track surface that was considerably drier – and therefore slower – than some of the others here. (10) TIFFANY BLUE is out of Fly Top Queen, the most expensive horse imported to Korea for racing and whose other foal has won four from ten. She will have backers.

Selections(2) Morning Hill (12) Norway Third (10) Tiffany Blue (9) Victory Sam
Next Best6, 5
Fast Start2, 9, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here and the two prior winners in the field look set to battle it out for top spot. (1) DAUL QUEEN has raced twice, winning well on debut before running 3rd on reappearance in December. Both were at this distance and both in more than competitive times for this level and she has every chance of winning again. The main danger is (2) IRON MUSKET. She’s one for one having scored a comfortable win on debut on January 8th, with a front-running performance over 1000M. This is tougher but she has every chance. (6) CUPID WONDER hinted at ability when stepped up to this distance last start and while she will need to improve if she is to challenge the favourites, should be aiming for a place. So too (11) ROSEDAY MARINE and (13) GO GO STAR.

Selections(1) Daul Queen (2) Iron Musket (11) Roseday Marine (13) Go Go Star
Next Best6, 12
Fast Start1, 2, 13, 14

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Three-year-old maidens here. Both (7) RUNNING KING and (14) TOUGH MAN have raced twice and both have finished in 2nd place twice. Tough Man has recorded the superior times at both 1000M and 1200M but Running King has drawn considerably the better of the pair today. He is a front-runner, and it is possible that could be key. (13) ILGYEOK PILSAL led for much of the way on debut over 1000M on January 8th, ultimately ending up 2nd behind a good winner. He beat a couple of today’s rivals and can build on that today. (5) RAON CHAMPSELY was 5th behind Running King last start and can improve today while (1) NEW HOPE ran better than his 7th on debut suggests and could also get in the placing mix.

Selections(7) Running King (14) Tough Man (13) Ilgyeok Pilsal (1) New Hope
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start6, 7, 12, 14

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here and it’s a competitive one. (9) JOYFUL K will almost certainly be favourite. She’s not finished worse than 3rd in four starts so far and registered a good win over 1200M two starts back. She steps up slightly in trip for the first time and has very solid claims. (2) ADAMS APPLE remains a maiden but has come close twice. A front-runner she is nicely drawn to get on pace and looks primed to go close today. Challenging for the early speed too will be (5) K N YEOSIN, a last start winner at class and distance. The apprentice who won on her keeps the weight nice and low and she has the fastest time of all those who have raced at the distance before. (11) EUNHYE PADO and (13) YULONG STAR, the latter a winner over 1200M last start, are others firmly in the frame.

Selections(9) Joyful K (2) Adams Apple (5) K N Yeosin (13) Yulong Star
Next Best11, 6
Fast Start2, 5, 8, 9

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(7) MORNING NEWS hasn’t exactly pulled up trees across her three starts so far but then again few of these have. What she has done is shown a little consistency and sticks to her task well. Johan Victoire takes the mount today and having run on well last time, expect her to be a little bit more forward a bit earlier today. (5) CHEON GONG ran poorly over 1200M on his latest outing but looks to be more suited by a bit of distance. He’ll ne close to the pace and should run on. (1) ROAD PINK is the only one of these to have recorded a good time at this distance and for that reason alone she has to enter the equation. That came in a good 4th last time out, her best to date and it could be that she’s finally figuring out what she’s meant to do. (8) CURRERECUS and (14) WONDERFUL JOY are others in the placing frame.

Selections(7) Morning News (5) Cheon Gong (1) Road Pink (14) Wonderful Joy
Next Best8, 3
Fast Start5, 6, 11, 13
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Busan Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 27)

Saturday’s racing is at Busan with a 10-race card from 13:30 to 18:00. Racecourses and OTB’s in the south of the country will be open to spectators with advance reservations (made through the MyCard app) at 20% of the indoor seated capacity. The open locations are Jeju Racecourse and Busan Racecourse as well as the off-track betting centres in Busan (both of them), Changwon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Cheonan. All betting locations in the Greater Seoul area remain closed. Here are the Busan previews:

We’re at Busan on Saturday

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Twelve previously unraced three-year-olds tackle the opener and we have plenty coming in off good trial performances. The fastest was (4) MUJEOK BULPAE, who responded well when asked and ran 2nd in his heat to an already established racehorse. It bodes well for his debut here. (12) AMAZING FOOT was green in the home straight in his trial but was able to pull himself together and go up a gear to cross the line 1st. He looks like he has a nice – if not yet amazing – turn of foot and can go well under Seo Seung-un. You Hyun-myung rode both of those horses in their respective trials but he jumps aboard (1) WIND HARPOON and that alone will probably be enough for local punters to make the Thunder Moccasin filly the favourite. She led her trial, ultimately finishing a close at hand 3rd and from the inside gate, should be able to lead again. Also attracting attention will be the combination of trainer Kim Young-kwan and jockey Djordje Perovic with (2) OLD CHEONHA. He ran well in a competitive heat and has every chance of going close. (7) ADELE SMART and (8) PICTURE JASPER are others who showed promise in trials.

Selections(4) Mujeok Bulpae (1) Wind Harpoon (12) Amazing Foot (2) Old Cheonha
Next Best7, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here and the solitary previous winner among them is set to be the warm favourite. That’s (6) SAGARMATHA, who was a winner on debut last October with a front-running performance and who has since followed up with back to back 3rd places. She’s much better than class 6 and should be proving that here. (13) A PLUS ONE ran 4th to Sagarmatha on debut, running on strong from well off the pace. She was 4th on her return too in November and comes back in after three months off as one of the primary dangers. Other dangers include (1) SECOND WIND, who has the second fastest time among these at the distance. All her four races were last summer but she comes in here having looked strong in a January trial and should be very much in the hunt. (9) BAEK SEOL QUEEN has some speed about her but has just failed to hit top gear in her latest two. She’s perhaps worth another chance for a place here while (14) MASTER QUEEN led in her last start before ending up in 4th and while she has the outside gate to contend with, is another who could go close.

Selections(6) Sagarmatha (13) A Plus One (1) Second Wind (9) Baek Seol Queen
Next Best14, 12
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 14

Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

We have three nailed on favorites across the card and this is the first of them. (13) MILLION MAKER came from just behind the speed to get his maiden win over 1200M on November 29th. While he’s not raced since and does have a wide draw, the additional furlong should only suit and it is hard to see him being beaten here. If he does slip up, then (10) YEONGGWANGUI TEUKG is most likely to advantage He’s yet to win in eleven attempts but has steadily improved and beat three of his rivals here on his way to a solid if unspectacular runner-up finish over this distance on January 8th. (8) CHEONMA HASEO was 3rd in that same race having previously recorded the fastest time of these at this distance – although it has to be said, it wasn’t especially swift – and he looks next best. (11) LEGEND BOSS and (12) MAGIC STEALTH also came out of the January 8th race – 5th and 4th respectively – and they too look set to be in the placing frame today.

Selections(13) Million Maker (10) Yeonggwangui Teukg (12) Magic Stealth (8) Cheonma Haseo
Next Best11, 2
Fast Start1, 9, 13, 14

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million

Cases can be made for a few of these. Given the draw though, we’re going to put (1) TWO TWO WILD THING on top. The Modern Cowboy colt has never finished worse than 4th and runs best when he gets an early lead. He can certainly do that here and while he is carrying more weight than he has done to date, he looks well placed to get his third career victory. The draw has been less kind to another front-runner, (14) MACH TITAN. That said, he managed to overcome gate 11 to win well last start at class 6 over this distance. That took his record to two wins from four starts and if he can cross the field early, then he has a chance again. (2) JEONGMUN POWER ran 2nd to Mach Titan in that race having previously won on debut at this distance back in November. He is another front-runner and can challenge Two Two Wild Thing for the early lead. One of Mach Titan’s defeats was in a top class juvenile race last November when he was 4th, one ahead of (5) B.K. LOOKS. The latter comes in off a useful class and distance 2nd a month ago and is another in the hunt here. So too is (10) ROCK PEGASUS, already a winner at this class, as well as (9) QUEEN VRONSKY, an excellent winner at class 6 last start but facing tougher opposition today.

Selections(1) Two Two Wild Thing (14) Mach Titan (2) Jeongmun Power (9) Queen Vronsky
Next Best10, 5
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 14
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Jeju Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 26)

Just like last week, the three Korean tracks will take it in turns to race this weekend with Jeju on Friday, Busan on Saturday and Seoul on Sunday. Racecourses and OTB’s in the south of the country will be open to spectators with advance reservations (made through the MyCard app) at 20% of the indoor seated capacity. The open locations are Jeju Racecourse and Busan Racecourse as well as the off-track betting centres in Busan (both of them), Changwon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Cheonan. Seoul’s Sunday meeting will be behind closed doors and all betting locations in the Greater Seoul area remain closed. Jeju kicks things off with a 10-race pony meting on Friday. Here is the preview for those so-inclined:

Jeju Ponis kick off the weekend’s action on Friday (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (800M) Allowance / KRW 9 Million

1YANGDAEBAK – Offered little in three starts so far. Big outsider.
2EOLLUKBOBAE – Began career well with 2nd and a 3rd. Need to forgive latest outing on a muddy track and down in weights he can be a place chance here.
3TEAYANGSINGONG – 2nd and 5th in two starts so far and beaten by the two favourites here. Decent speed and placing chances.
4NAEONYEOSIN – 2nd on debut before winning on January 15th beating three of these in the process. His times haven’t been that special but he is clear 2nd favourite here.
5SANGGODAE – A long last on debut and. Any improvement today a plus.
6BONGSEONGYEOJE – Offered little in two starts to date.
7OHRAYEOGEOL – Won her first two outings very smartly indeed before narrowly failing to complete a hat-trick when 2nd last start. Has run consistently fast times and should lead gate to wire here. Strong favourite.
8TEUKBYEOLSUSADAE – Best finish of 8th was on debut and little to recommend today.
9BIYANG – Solitary debut-maker, looked competent when trialing and could be in the placing mix first up here.
10BONGGAEJARANG – Improved across three starts so far and was 3rd behind Naenyeoshin on January 15th. Wide draw not a problem and placing chances again.
Selections(7) Ohrayeogeol (4) Naeonyeosin (2) Eollukbobae (9) Biyang
Next Best3, 10
Fast Start4, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (800M) Allowance / KRW 9 Million

1DUMOAK – Consistent over five starts so far finishing 3rd to 5th and running into a couple too quick each time. Similar today.
2JAGEUNBYEOL – Good winner over the distance on January 12th making all. Well drawn to lead again and while this is tougher, she’s firmly in the hunt again.
3NAKCHEONGISANG – Best finish was a 5th in debut. Yet to show she is capable of running the kind of time that can trouble the scorers.
4JANGGUNDAEJWA – Best finish of 5th. Has tended to get a bit too far back in races. 5th would be a realistic aim here.
5MYUNGINHWANGJAE – First time starter who trialed up ok. Others favoured but no reason she can’t go well.
6SARAGONGJU – Promising 5th on debut at this distance last November. Can match or build on that here.
7CHACALL – 5th and a 9th from two starts so far. Well back behind the winner on both occasions and not among the favourites here.
8EUTTEUMYEONGWUNG – First-time starter. Looked well in his trial and with an in-form jockey aboard, is sure to have plenty of backers first-up. Place chance.
9IMMYEONGJANG – 2nd and 3rd in her first two starts she blotted her copybook somewhat with a poor effort in January on a sloppy track. Worth another chance today but only for a place.
10MYUNGSEONGYEOGEOL – The likely favourite. She has a win and a 2nd from two starts and the fastest time among these. Front-runner, if she crosses the field to lead, she will be hard to beat.
Selections(10) Myungseongyeogeol (2) Jageunbyeol (1) Dumoak (8) Eutteumyeongwung
Next Best9, 6
Fast Start2, 10

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 12 Million

1JUNGMUNSINHWA – Recent form has been consistent. Settles midfield and runs on well with a place a realistic target here.
2CHUGYEOKJEON – Ran 2nd to Nokwonjeil in December before beating three of these on his way to 3rd over this distance last start. Yet to win in twenty-three attempts a place looks more realistic again.
3HWANGGEUMJEGUK – Got his maiden win at start thirty-one in December before running 4th behind Chugyeokjeon last month. Outside chance of placing.
4SEOBUPYEONGJEONG – Found himself overmatched but not disgraced when 9th of 12 in Stakes company last time. He has the fastest time at the distance and is the highest rate. Giving weight away but his class may see him through. Big chance.
5GANGNAMJAEBEOL – Still lightly races, she should benefit from returning to the distance at which she recorded her only win to date. Others may be favoured but can go well.
6BIRYONGGISANG – 4th in each of her latest three outings, all of them at 800M. This looks a tougher ask and she’d do very well to match those finishes today.
7GOSUCHEONHA – Beaten by plenty of these in recent outings and while he occasionally snatches a money finish, he has plenty of form to overturn today.
8SINHEUNGYEOSIN – Class and distance winner last start, he can mix his form but while he is up in weights and this is a tougher race, he should be in the hunt again.
9NOKWONJEIL – A win and two runner-up finishes from his last three. He steps up an additional half furlong today but he should be able to cope with that. A real chance.
10YONGSEOLLAN – Super experienced and along with Sinheungyeosin, is the only one to have won at this distance. Not too far away in recent outings but others surely favoured.
Selections(9) Nokwonjeil (4) Seobupyeonjeong (8) Sinheungyeosin (2) Chugyeokjeon
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start 
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Cheongdam Dokki Makes Winning Return / Munro Lands Four-Timer

Local legal betting resumed on a limited scale in Korea this past weekend and those lucky few admitted into a small number of betting branches in the south of the country were treated on Sunday to two masterclasses beamed live from Seoul Racecourse – one from Cheongdam Dokki and another from jockey Alan Munro.

Making his first appearance as a seven-year-old, Cheongdam Dokki was sent off as a heavy faovurite for Sunday’s feature class 1 handicap over 1800M. With the race run under handicap conditions, Korea’s favourite chestnut was not only giving away 8kg to his thirteen rivals but also had to contend with the widest draw.

Neither mattered a jot. David Breux opted to jump out fast on Sun Lighting giving Park Tae-jong on Cheongdam Dokki a perfect lead across to the head of the field. With five-furlongs remaining, Park allowed Cheongdam Dokki to pass Sun Lighting as the field became ever more stretched out and from then on it was a formality with the son of To Honor And Serve going away to win by five-lengths on the line.

David Breux’s tactics on Sun Lighting were thoroughly vindicated with his mount staying on for an excellent 2nd while there was a pleasing 3rd from the locally bred Mask.

For Cheongdam Dokki it was a seventeenth win on his thirty-second career start and a reassuring statement after he had stuttered a little – but still won – on his final appearance of 2020. He had spent the summer dueling with Tiz Plan, defeating him in the Herald Business and YTN Cups in June and July, before suffering a reverse in the Busan Mayor’s Cup in August.

The 2019 Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Moonhak Chief missed the short 2020 summer season through injury but returned to action at the end of January to thump Tiz Plan by six-lengths. While this year’s Stakes schedule is still to be confirmed due to COVID-19’s continuing interference, the trio of Cheongdam Dokki, Moonhak Chief and Tiz Plan are sure to square off sooner or later. At this stage, Moonhak Chief remains favourite but few will be writing off Cheongdam Dokki.

While Cheongdam Dokki completed a double on the day for veteran jockey Park Tae-jong, another fifty-something put on a riding clinic for those paying attention. Alan Munro began his day with victory on Spot Flatter in race 4 and then came out later in the card to win on both East Ban in race 11 and Lord Ban in race 13, both for owner Lim Jong-geun and trainer Seo Bum-seok.

Munro then completed a four-timer by guiding the very promising Jangsan Missile, an American import by Will Take Charge, to an easy win in race 14. It might have been five as when trainer Tony Castenheira was seeking a late replacement for the indisposed Antonio Da Silva in race 2, Munro was his first port of call. However, the English jockey, not due to begin until race 4, could not be roused from his nap and Kim Dong-soo duly did the business on The King Blade.

In other Seoul news from Sunday, trainer Hong Dae-you, saddled his 300th career winner when filly Grace Queen scored in race 5. Hong gained a license in 2006 with his solitary Group success to date coming a year later with Bally Brae in the 2007 Grand Prix Stakes, a horse he had previously ridden as a jockey.

Next weekend’s racing in Korea is scheduled for Busan on Saturday 27th with ten races and Seoul on Sunday 28th with fifteen races.

Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 21) – “Dokki Day”

Cheongdam Dokki makes his seasonal re-appearance at Seoul on Sunday and the now seven-year-old will have a weighty task to overcome in the Class 1 feature if he is to make a winning start to the season. There are 15-races at Seoul on from 10:45 to 18:00. The meeting is behind closed doors although betting locations in Busan, Jeju, Gwangju, Daegu, Daejeon, Changwon and Cheonan will be open for betting. Here are the previews:

Seasonal reappearance – Cheongdam Dokku

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

A filly maiden to begin with and of the twelve, seven have raced before. They have all been extremely slow, so we’re going to pass on all of them and focus on the debut-makers and if (4) NAMSAN CHOCOLATE brings his trial form into the race itself, he should be winning fairly easily. She finished 3rd in a creditable time and the Tony Castenheira filly can lead all the way from a good draw here. (10) SMART DAEBO was 4th in the same trial not too far behind and that automatically makes her the second pick on debut as well. (2) FIRENZE CASTLE and (8) LOVE ARCH both posted decent enough times when finishing in midfield in their respective heats, while (1) SWEET KAKAO was a little slower but came out of a trial where there wasn’t much pace and she looks to have a good chance of aiming for some money on debut too.

Selections(4) Namsan Chocolate (10) Smart Daebo (1) Sweet Kakao (2) Firenze Castle
Next Best8, 9
Fast Start2, 4, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(9) THE KING BLADE has never been outside the top three in three starts so far and got his maiden win on December 20th at this distance. His winning time was more than a second faster anything else in the field has achieved and he really should be backing up with another win today and complete what should be an early double for trainer Tony Castenheira. (6) GEOSEN DOLPUNG looks next best. He ran a useful enough 4th of fourteen on debut a month ago having previously won a trial. While those two jump off the page of the form guide, not much else does. (7) GRAND FLY ran on to record a creditable enough time on what was his second start on December 19th and that may be enough to put him in contention here. (14) RAON THE CHOEGANG was last in that race but previously showed a bit of speed over 1000M and can be included in the numbers here. In such a weak race, it’s worth looking at the first-timers, and of the pair, (4) MAGIC MANJEOM looks the more likely to make an impact first-up.

Selections(9) The King Blade (6) Geosen Dolpung (4) Magic Manjeom (7) Grand Fly
Next Best14, 13
Fast Start6, 8, 9, 14

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Good little race this and having come close to leading all the way his second start on December 6th, (3) DAEHAN JILJU returns to action here extremely well drawn to get to the lead again this time to hold on.  He’ll be joined on pace by (1) ELITE POWER, who has the fastest time of any of these at the distance. She has tended to weaken late on but looks a potential place line today. (4) GEUMA FLAWLESS is another who looks to be approaching a win.  He ran a solid 2nd place over this distance last start and while a touch consistent should be right in this. The main danger, however, could be (9) GRAND CASTLE. The only one of the fourteen to have visited the winner’s circle already, he stuck on debut last October and followed up with a 3rd and a 2nd. His times have been consistent, and he is another who should be competing for the early lead. (10) CHEROKEE MARINE and (14) NONSTOP CAT are others who are in at least the placing frame.

Selections(3) Daehan Jilju (9) Grand Castle (10) Cherokee Marine (4) Geuma Flawless
Next Best14, 1
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 5, 9

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Another class 6 with one previous winner in it. That’s (9) SEO E BEONJJEOK and he achieved it last time out at start number three, running on strong from midfield for a tight score at 1200M. The additional half furlong today shouldn’t matter, and he can win again. We’re going to look elsewhere though and in particular to (1) SPOT FLATTER. He was well beaten into 2nd by a good winner last time out but ran on well and with Alan Munro remaining aboard, looks to have solid claims to make the breakthrough this time. (2) TEUKGEUP YEOWANG was 3rd in that same race just before Christmas and can get close again here. The only one of the fourteen to have tackled this distance before is (13) BRAVO MAY. He did it in a reasonable time too and then ran 3rd back at 1200M last start. The draw shouldn’t matter, and he has placing chances. In a race in which overseas jockeys should do well, (4) MAGICUI HAMSEONG, to be partnered by David Breux, looks best of the rest.

Selections(1) Spot Flatter (9) Seo E Beonjjeok (13) Bravo May (4) Magicui Hamseong
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 9, 10

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies (and one mare) only here and it looks wide open. We have one previous winner in the shape of (10) GRACE QUEEN, who bested three of these on her way to victory over 1200M on December 20th. Can she do it again? She’ll certainly have her supporters and while she hasn’t tried this distance before, she does have a 3rd place at 1300M. Nevertheless, the runner-up that day (4) ABOUT SOMETHING, has to be strongly considered. She is yet to score in seven but has run very well at this distance and today could well be her day, coming from off the pace. With an extra furlong, she may well have got there last time. (3) SEMYEONG NARAE come sin of a decent 2nd place over 1200M last start. She’s been relatively one-paced so far but sticks to her task well and she may appreciate the additional trip. Similarly, (5) SPEED FLYING doesn’t exactly fly home but does persevere and is consistently close. (9) TELOS has recorded the fastest time of any of these who have tried the distance before and along with (6) REMEMBER WHEN, has place chances here.

Selections(4) About Something (10) Grace Queen (3) Semyeong Narae (9) Telos
Next Best5, 6, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 10

Race 6: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

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Busan Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 20)

Busan flies solo on Saturday with 10-races from 13:30 to 18:00. A reminder that Busan Racecourse as well as Off-track betting centres across the south of the country will be open (attendance must be pre-booked using the MyCard app, Seoul Racecourse and all locations in the Greater Seoul area remain closed. The meeting is on the international simulcast. Here are the previews:

There will be one or two punters at least at Busan on Saturday

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only to kick things off. Six of the twelve have raced before and one of them is a prior winner. That’s (2) DONGBANUI SIJAK, who scored on debut back in October over 1200M. She ran poorly on reappearance but bounced back with a 3rd place just before Christmas. She drops back to the short course for the first time today and is in with a shout. So too (7) SEOBU QUEEN. A half-sister to the outstanding Seobu Cat, she ran 3rd on debut at this distance before running out of steam a little second-up at 1200M but drops back today and into contention. As for the first-timers, the standout is (4) BLACK OLIVE. She was an accomplished 3rd in a fast trial behind two experienced racehorses and should go well first up. (1) RAON THE BLUE did absolutely nothing in her two trials but she is a half-sister to an Oaks winner (as well as a few ordinary ones too) and has a top jockey on so may attract some interest. Returning to those with experience, (6) PARTY INDY has two 5th place finishes among three starts to date and can aim for some minor money again.

Selections(4) Black Olive (2) Dongbanui Sijak (7) Seobu Queen (6) Party Indy
Next Best1, 10
Fast Start4, 6, 8, 10i

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) AFLEET TAPIT didn’t do an awful lot on debut over 1200M back in October but returned with a positive trial two weeks ago and looks set to improve today. Likely favourite and one to beat though is (3) DONGNAM BULPAE. While he hasn’t shown a lot in the way of speed across three starts to date, he impressed with a front running 2nd over this distance last time out from a favourable draw again, can go one better this time. Also expected to be on pace will be (6) KING BID. He came home 5th last start beating a couple of these in the process, having previously run 3rd at 1000M. Seo Seung-un remains aboard and he should go close. Plenty of others have the potential to step up into the placing frame with (9) DREAM DANCER and (8) WONDERFUL SMARTY perhaps the best credentialed to do so.

Selections(3) Dongnam Bulpae (1) Afleet Tapit (6) King Bid (9) Dream Dancer
Next Best8, 12
Fast Start3, 6, 10, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

After running 4th on debut all the way back last July, (13) ETERNAL HERO returned in November and closed out the year with back to back runner-up finishes over 1200M. He gets another crack at class 6 today and stepping up to 1400M for the first time, can defy the wide draw to make the breakthrough. (10) KING BROTHER comes in off a 2nd place last start when he beat a couple of his rivals here. He has mixed his form over seven outings to dare but does have experience of the distance and looks a solid place chance. So too does (3) GREAT GO. She too beat two of these on his way to a useful 4th continuing a positive run of form. The filly can settle in midfield and finish strongly and having a 5th to her name over a mile already means there shouldn’t be any questions about the trip. (4) K K WON came from off the pace to run a much improved 3rd on his latest start and is another who can be considered for the minors. (7) FIRST WIND and (8) STAR EYE should also be in the hunt.

Selections(13) Eternal Hero (10) King Brother (3) Great Go (8) Star Eye
Next Best4, 7
Fast Start1, 7, 13

Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million

Fillies and mares only here. (1) ADELE PUPIL was a smart winner on debut back in July last year over 1200M. She’s not raced since but trialed two weeks ago in adequate fashion. The trip looks likely to suit and it’s not impossible she could win first-up again, despite being up in class. She may need this though so punters may be tempted by a couple of others. (7) MARK ACE is perhaps the most likely. She’s never been worse than 5th in five starts to date and comes in off a strong 3rd over 1200M. (9) ACHIM BIT is similar, having run on well for 3rd in both her latest two outings and the additional trip may suit here. (11) PORRIMA has been the bane of punters – or at least tipsters – in the past, frequently looking like she is just one race away from breaking through only to just come up short. A couple of months off may have done her good and while she can’t be put on top, she may well place. (2) JANGMI GONGJU, a last start 3rd, is another in the frame.

Selections(7) Mark Ace (1) Adele Pupil (9) Achim Bit (11) Porrima
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start3, 7, 11

Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 42 Million

Competitive race here. (3) RAON SKY MAN won his first two and while it has seemingly taken him a couple of races to get to grips with this level of racing, he comes in here following a strong 3rd place over this distance in a decent time just before Christmas. He has experience of the distance and shouldn’t be far away today. (5) YESULUI GYEUNGJI likewise began her career in a hurry with two wins from her first three before stuttering a little. She too is back in form with a front-running 2nd last start and has claims to go one better today. (6) WINNING DANCER is two from four so far and her class and distance 7th last start was no disgrace at all. She should have come on from that and has the combination of a top jockey and a very light weight on her back. The only last start winner in the field is (14) CAPTAIN STEALTH. He came from well off the pace to score at this class over 1200M on December 19th. The outside gate shouldn’t cause too many problems and he can go close again. 

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Betting Locations Open In Some Parts of Korea from Friday – Jeju Preview

With the Covid-19 social distancing level having being lowered to “1.5” in all areas except Greater Seoul, some betting locations are permitted to reopen to customers from Friday. Those locations are the Busan and Jeju Raceourses, plus the off-track betting centres in Busan, Changwon, Gwangju, Daegu, Daejeon and Cheonan. They will be allowed to admit up to 20% of their official capacity. Seoul Racecourse and all off-track locations in the Greater Seoul area (Seoul and Gyeonggi Province) must remain closed as the social distancing level remains at “2.0”.

Pony racing on Jeju will be first action that some punters in Korea will be able to have a legal bet on this Friday

This means that instead of all three tracks racing simultaneously on Friday, each track will get a day to itself. Jeju will race on Friday, Busan on Saturday and Seoul on Sunday. Seoul will not be allowed to admit customers but its races will be beamed for betting to the nine open locations in the south of the country.

To mark the re-opening, just for fun (and due to Busan and Seoul declarations having been held back until today), here’s a pony by pony preview of Friday’s 10 race meeting on Jeju Island.

Race 1: Class 6 (800M) Allowance / KRW 9 Million

1CHOOJEOKJA – 5th on three of four starts so far, latest behind Tamraingi. Fourth fastest time at the distance among these and that would be a good finish today.
2WAHEULGONGWON – First time starter. Went ok in trial behind Cheonmahwangje. Watching brief first-up.
3SAEBYEOKYANGGI – First-time starter. Nothing wrong in trial but was behind both Cheongmahwangje and Waheulgongwon.
4JANGTAUIBYEOL – 2nd and 3rd in two starts so far both at this distance in races with wildly differing paces. Should be on the early speed and goes close.
5TAMRAINGI – 2nd in both starts so far having led almost the whole way on both. Fastest time of any of these at the distance, should lead again and is the one to beat.
6SEUNGJEONSOSIK – Won a trial before debut but not made much of an impact in three starts since. Well back behind Tamraingi last time
7JEILBOMUL – Offered few clues when midfield on debut. Watching brief again today.
8YESONE – No worse than 5th in four starts so far. 2nd first-up following six months off in January and a place chance again here.
9CHEONGMAHWANGJE – Best looking of the three first-time starters having run 2nd in his heat. Can be competitive.
10TTUBEOGI – Mid position in both outings so far at this this distance, sticking to task both times. Maybe more to come.
Selections(5) Tamraingi (4) Jangtauibyeol (8) Yesone (1) Choojeokja
Next Best9, 10
Fast Start4, 5

Race 2: Class 6 (800M) Allowance / KRW 9 Million

1GWANGMYEONGWHANGJE – First-time starter. Well back in trial. Watching brief first-up.
2HEALINGSTAR – Last of ten on debut on November. The time was ok compared to some of the others but it was favourable conditions and he was a long way behind the winner. Fresh start today but plenty to find.
3YANGDAESAN – Had a couple of trials before coming from off the pace to run 4th on debut behind Jejumulyeol on January 8th. Can build on that today.
4JUNGMUNILLO – Improved to 6th on his second start to date.Time hardly fast but in this company can get closer.
5CHEONJITIME – 7th of ten in debut a long way behind a super winner. That was all the way back in August of last year so it’s a fresh start today.
6SOLDIER – Made all to win his trial and needs to be considered in weak company first up.
7JEONGUISILCHEON – Last of ten on debut behind Cheonjitime. Lots to find today.
8JEJUCHEOMDAN – 7th of ten on debut, not too far behind in a slow run race at this distance. Potential for improvement here.
9JEJUMULYEOL – 4th on debut before running 2nd, ahead of Yangdaesan on reappearance on January 8th. Fastest time of these and the likely favourite.
10SINCHEONJILJU – First-time starter. Went ok in his trial in an adequate time and can be in the minor money mix first-up.
Selections(9) Jejumulyeol (6) Soldier (3) Yangdaesan (8) Jejucheomdan (5) Cheonjitime
Next Best2, 4
Fast Start4, 6, 9

Race 3: Class 6 (800M) Allowance / KRW 9 Million

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Eoma Eoma Super at Seoul but Blue Chipper Upset on Busan Return

Eoma Eoma began 2021 the way he left off in 2020 with an easy Class 1 win over 1400M at Seoul, but Blue Chipper could only manage 5th place in his long awaited return to action at Busan as Mr. Afleet took out the feature race on the south coast.

Seoul’s feature class 1 event was essentially a Group race run under handicap conditions over 1400M. With Morfhis having taken out the SBS Sports Sprint last summer as well as a pair of full prize-money class 1 races, his rating had risen to the extent that he had to carry 60kg as was giving away 8kg to all of his prominent rivals.

Morfhis was game coming through late as usual to finish in 4th place, but he was always going to struggle to catch Eoma Eoma who, under Moon Se Young, led from gate to wire to score by three-lengths from Do Kki Blade in 2nd and Jjang Kong in 3rd.

For Eoma Eoma it is now six wins from eight starts and punters and fans alike will be desperately hoping that circumstances will allow he and Morfhis – along with the likes of East Jet – to clash at level weights for a big prize at some point this year.

At Busan, Blue Chipper was making his return to racing for the first time since running 3rd in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

It wasn’t to be for the now six-year-old who missed all of his five-year-old season after getting travel sickness on the way to the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Blue Chipper led out of the gate in the Mile-long Busan feature, which like the races at Seoul, was being contested for reduced prize-money, but started to tread water once they entered the home straight.

Mr. Afleet, trained by Peter Wolsley and ridden by Seo Seung-un, went on to win the race by four-lengths from Core Blade.

For Blue Chipper, who missed his planned final gallop earlier in the week due to heavy rain, a mile was always going to be a tough ask first up and so long as he pulls up without any issues, perhaps little should be read into his performance. There will hopefully be bigger things to come for him later in the year.

Seoul Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 5)

Blue Chipper will be going around at Busan on Friday but we’re turning our attention to Seoul which will be the location for the international simulcast this week and there are no fewer than 15 races from 10:00 to 17:00. The feature sees what is essentially a Group race run at handicap conditions when Morfhis renews hostilities with Eoma Eoma and Do Kki Blade over 1400M. Here are the previews:

Morfhis beat Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma in last summer’s SBS Sprint but Eoma Eoma now holds the 1400M track record and gets an 8kg handicap advantage on Friday

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Three-year-old maidens here with only four of them having raced before. Of those four, (8) HOLIDAY CHARM ran 2nd on debut over this distance back on November 11th. He registered a creditable time and while it isn’t the most fashionable trainer/jockey combination and perhaps wants a bit further, he is probably worthy of being favourite today. (4) CUPID BULLET ran creditably enough for 5th place on debut at 1200M in December and can improve today while (7) TORUK MAKTO too did nothing wrong on her first try and she should be set to get much closer this time. Of the first timers, the most impressive in trials was (5) CHEONSANGSEONG, who won his heat three weeks ago in the kind of time that if replicated in this kind of race, would usually see him right in the mix. (6) DESK TAP, who came through the same trial, and (9) STAR CRAZY are others who can go well first up.

Selections(8) Holiday Charm (4) Cupid Bullet (5) Cheonsangseong (7) Toruk Makto
Next Best6, 9, 3
Fast Start3, 6, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) WINNER IS WELL struck on debut in December, coming from midfield to score at this distance in a time faster than any of the others here have achieved. He is a five-year-old so he is making up for lost time and he surely makes the most of getting a free hit in the shape of another crack at class 6 today. As for the rest of them, we’re looking for potential rather than achievement with not a single one of them having finished better than 6th. (4) BEST CHEONSANG led for much of the way around on her debut on December 19th before fading in the closing stages for 6th. She should have come on fitness wise for that run and can get closer today. (13) OLD SPECIAL debuted adequately all the way back last July. He’s not been seen since but trialed up in January looking well and should be a factor first up here. (5) ICE STAR and (6) GLOBAL CHEONSA have both been solid if unspectacular across two starts apiece and solid might be enough to get some money today.

Selections(1) Winner Is Well (13) Old Special (4) Best Cheonsang (6) Global Cheonsa
Next Best5, 3
Fast Start4, 13

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

It seems unlikely that this year’s Oaks winner will emerge from this very modest maiden for three-year-old fillies (6) DANCING WITH YOU has shown the most so far, leading for much of the way on debut before finishing 3rd, while racing just off the speed and ending up 4th on her second attempt with both races having been at today’s distance. She has a better draw today and every chance of making the breakthrough. (4) BORAQUEEN has improved across two starts so far, running 5th in her latest having expended up a bit of effort getting to the lead from a wide fate. She too is much better drawn today and can be a danger. Another couple of with seemingly the right trajectory are (2) LUCKY BALLY and (11) DAEJIUI YEOGEOL with both having shown improvement in their respective second outings. (10) K N MENIQUEEN will attract attention as Moon Se Young stays aboard. It is possible that he is simply maintaining relations with a top trainer but while his filly has finished well back in both starts so far, both have been tougher assignments than this and she has the fifth fastest time of the twelve who have raced at the distance already.

Selections(6) Dancing With You (4) Boraqueen (10) K N Meniqueen (2) Lucky Bally
Next Best11, 7
Fast Start4, 6

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

All fourteen tackle 1300M for the first time. We do have two last start winners though and it would be no surprise to see them competing for the win here, despite both having drawn wide. (12) HI HI is slightly favoured. A fast trial winner, he ran 3rd on debut before coming from midfield to comfortably score second up over this distance on December 19th in a decent time. A day later (13) STAR WARS made his own breakthrough. He led from gate to wire to win comfortably having run 2nd on debut. Another who improved on his second start is (14) TAP QUALITY. He is yet to win but ran a good 2nd on his latest outing and it was from the same outside gate that he has to deal with today. Plenty of others have hinted at ability too with (1) ADELE NARAE and (10) THE FIGHTING perhaps best placed to compete for the money here.

Selections(12) Hi Hi (13) Star Wars (14) Tap Quality (10) The Fighting
Next Best1, 3
Fast Start3, 6, 9, 13

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here and (3) CHEONMA TODAY has the opportunity to do something that will hopefully never happen again and that’s win three races in class 6. She has won her latest two in fine fashion by seven and six lengths respectively. She, along with every other runner in the field, steps up to the distance for the first time and there is no reason why it can’t suit. It’s very competitive though. (1) YEONGGWANGUI MISO broke through at start number three on December 20th. She had two 3rd place finishes prior to that and should be on pace from the start here. (9) BLACK ROOKIE was a much improved 2nd on her second start on December 20th, beating a couple of the others who go here in the process. She ran through the line well and may like the additional furlong today. (7) FOREVER ONE and (11) RUBICON also come in off the back of a runner-up finish and have placing claims at least again. There is another previous winner in the field in the shape of (4) QUEEN OF BEST. She scored in a fast time over 1200M in October but was disappointing on her return in December. Up in trip she is worth another chance.

Selections(3) Cheonma Today (1) Yeonggwangui Miso (9) Black Rookie (4) Queen Of Best
Next Best7, 11, 2
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 7

Race 6: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million

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Blue Chipper Returns To Racing On Friday

After fifteen months off the track, Blue Chipper will return to racing on Friday afternoon at Busan Racecourse. The now six-year-old hasn’t competed since finishing 3rd behind Spun To Run and Omaha Beach in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

Blue Chipper returns to action at Busan on Friday

It’s all very different to how his homecoming was supposed to be as Blue Chipper lines up the favourite in what is a strong class 1 race handicap over a mile but which, due to the straightened circumstances that Korean racing finds itself in due to the Covid-19 pandemic putting a stop to legal betting, can only offer a KRW 28 Million (US$25,000) to the winner.

After his 3rd place in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile, Blue Chipper returned briefly to Korea before being shipped to Dubai for a campaign at the 2020 World Cup Carnival. Calamity struck on arrival though with Blue Chipper diagnosed with shipping fever, something he would fail to shake off to the extent that he could race. It was June until he could get a flight back to Korea and after a spell at the Jansgu Farm, he returned to training just in time to see the pandemic halt local racing again.

Blue Chipper trialed up nicely in January and having had plenty of setbacks across his career, is accustomed to producing first-up. He is the track record holder over a mile at Busan and even if not 100% race ready, will be expected to dispatch a field containing the dangerous Doraonpogyeongseon, World Power and Mr. Afleet. Now in the stable of Min Jang-ki, he will be ridden by Serbian jockey Djordje Perovic.

No Stakes or Graded races have yet been confirmed this year in Korea but providing Blue Chipper comes through this test in good shape, it is thought likely that the Korea Cup , should it go ahead in September, would be the ultimate aim. He is not expected to be asked to travel overseas again.

The race is the concluding race 10 at Busan on Friday and is scheduled to jump at 3.20pm Korean time. The international simulcast will be from Seoul throughout February so the race will not be screened live either inside or outside of Korea. However, the race video will be uploaded within ten minutes of the conclusion of the race at the KRA’s official website and the “KRBC Race” YouTube channel.