Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 23)

There are 9 races on the behind-closed-doors card at Seoul on Saturday, running from 11:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Moon Se Young is back on Saturday

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens get us underway with five of the twelve racing for the first time. It’s very hard to look beyond (11) COMPLETE TIME. The only one in the field who has raced twice already, he was 4th on debut behind Wonpyeong Gasok, before coming back out and running 2nd to Raon The Spurt on August 28th, overcoming a wide draw to be on pace and then running on strong in a fast time. He’s drawn wide again but should have little trouble getting to the front and it’s hard to imagine him beaten here. (5) DAEBAK STAR won an August trial and then ran creditably on debut on September 12th when 4th practically the entire way around. He’ll be looking to get on pace with the favourite here and can improve his finishing position. A few of the first timers showed promise in their respective trials. (8) EUNHYE SERVE posted the fastest time, sitting midfield and finishing off well, while (1) HWARANG TODAY led all the way around in his heat. (9) JAY RAPTOR another who led throughout her trial and can give a good account of herself first up here.

Selections(11) Complete Time (5) Daebak Star (8) Eunhye Serve (1) Hwarang Today
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start1, 6, 9, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another juvenile maiden with five of the twelve racing for the first time. Again, there is going to be a hot favourite in the shape of (2) GLOBAL MAGIC. After winning an August trial in fine style, he debuted at this trip on September 18th, he came out of gate eight and sat towards the front of midfield before finishing off well for 3rd place behind Cowboy King in a decent time. He should have come on for that experience, draws better here and should be winning. (10) MAGIC GRACE actually ran a faster time than Global Magic on his debut on August 28th, although he was assisted in that by a wet track. He and sat just behind the leaders throughout when finishing 4th and while the draw is not ideal as he will want to get on pace, he has claims. (11) YESULIYA has raced twice and while on the surface, 9th and 7th doesn’t sound great, those two races are looking among the stronger juvenile affairs we have seen this year. She ran fair times in both and can improve. Similarly (1) BICHUI DAERYUK, 8th behind Global Magic on her second start but runner-up at this distance on debut in August, should be in at least the placing hunt. Of the first time-starters, (12) GEOMOON showed improvement in her second trial and is perhaps the most likely to make an immediate impact. 

Selections(2) Global Magic (10) Magic Grace (11) Yesuliya (1) Bichui Daeryuk
Next Best12, 7
Fast Start1, 2, 10, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Regular maiden here. We’ll take a chance on (2) NAMSAN CHOCOLATE, wo steps up to 1300M for the first time following back-to-back 4th place finishes at 1200M. They have been in contrasting styles, with one of them being running on from midfield and the other leading then being passed, bus she seems to be finding some consistency and won’t need to improve too much to score in this company. She will though need to overturn the form on (9) OKDONG GONGJU, who beat Namsan Chocolate over 1200M on September 11th when running 2nd and accordingly will probably start as favourite. That was her best finish in nine starts so far and she was ridden a little more prominently, having tended to get too far back in her races. A repeat performance will see her in the finish again. Further back still in that September race was (4) SEMYEONG GANGJA. She may well be better back up at 1300M, a distance at which she has performed well already, and draws nicely to get to the front. (12) M J STORM, on the other hand, comes back in trip after a decent 4th over 1400M last start and has placing chances along with (5) MONEY GARAK, who came from well off the pace to run 3rd at this trip at his own latest appearance. That was a full thirteen weeks ago though.

Selections(2) Namsan Chocolate (9) Okdong Gongju (4) Semyeong Gangja (12) M J Storm
Next Best5, 11
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 7

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

After six weeks out following a fall, Moon Se-young returns, just in time to ride Eoma Eoma in the SBS Sports Sprint tomorrow, and he could be straight back in the winner’s circle here with (12) GREAT EYE set to be favourite. The Transcend colt has shown improvement across four starts so far, notably last time out on September 18th, when 2nd on his first try at this distance. He settled midfield that day and ran on so the wide draw may not be an issue and while he benefitted from a 4kg apprentice allowance that day, the “Moon factor” may compensate for that. The main danger draws wide too. (11) HWARYEOHAN MISO has made both her starts so far over 1200M, but she has run 5th and 2nd with the latter a significantly improved time. She has gone right back both times and worked home very well and the extended trip today just might suit. (3) GEOSEN JILPUNG returns from three months off and looked well when 3rd in a good time in a September trial. He draws well and can be a factor. (8) REAL PACK has mixed his form over six starts so far but along with (2) MAIN OF KING is another capable of competing for the minors.

Selections(12) Great Eye (11) Hwaryeohan Miso (3) Geosen Jilpung (8) Real Pack
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 10

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 1400M

(7) CHOEGANG BLACK drops back in trip following a decent enough 3rd place over 1700M at this class on September 18th. That made it two 3rd and a 4th in three attempts since being promoted to this level following a class 6 score over 1300M back in May. She has run good times, including at this trip and can sit on pace or handy and run on here. (6) YEONGWANGUI CAPTAIN comes up in class and distance having broken through at start number two on August 29th when sitting behind the early speed and then running on well for a comfortable victory over 1200M. She ran through the line well and the additional furlong should be within her capabilities. (3) BODYGUARD ran a strong class and distance 3rd at class and distance on September 11th and from a much better draw, can be looking to at least match that today. He can settle handy or midfield and run on. (12) SPEAR GUN remains a maiden after eight attempts, but he has been a model of consistency which has forced him up in class here. He ran Bodyguard close at 1300M back in June and his times suggest he will measure up in this company. (2) LUCKY APPEAL, up in class following a come from behind win over this distance a month ago, is another with placing claims.

Selections(7) Choegang Black (6) Yeongwangui Captain (3) Bodyguard (12) Spear Gun
Next Best2, 11
Fast Start4, 6, 7, 8

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 22)

The main action this weekend is at Seoul with the SBS Sports Sprint and the KRA Cup Classic, both Graded races, taking place on Sunday and featuring some of the biggest names in the older horse ranks from both tracks. The weekend’s action though gets underway at Busan on Friday with 6 races from 13:25 to 18:00. Here are the previews:


Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with seven of the twelve racing for the first time. There are two standouts and we will side with experience and (10) SHY DRAGON, who was slowly out of the gate on debut on September 12th, but was quickly up with the pace and ran on well for 2nd behind a good winner in a fair time at this distance. With some natural improvement on that run, he can compete for the win here. The big danger and probable favourite is (9) HANEUL JEONSA. He debuts having won two trials, first in August and then again in September, both in good times. In the latest of those, he overcame a wide draw to sit handy and run on strong and he has every chance of scoring first-up. Those two should fill out the quinella, while clear third choice is (5) FANTASTIC LOVE. She’s the only one in the field to have raced twice already and has a 2nd and a 3rd to her name. In the latest of those she sat handy and finished off well in a fast time which was assisted by a very wet track. She will be in the finish here. (12) WISE BOY ran adequately for 5th on debut and can build on that here while (2) BLUE CAPTAIN was similarly solid when 6th behind Fantastic Love on his debut and can also be in the hunt for the places.

Selections(10) Shy Dragon (9) Haneul Jeonsa (5) Fantastic Love (12) Wise Boy
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start2, 5, 9, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maiden fillies here. (12) MILLION BANK beat three of these on her way to 2nd place on debut at this distance on September 19th when from a similarly wide draw, she settled in midfield, improved turning into the straight and then ran on well behind a good winner. A similar run today would make her the one to beat. In that September race, she was pulling clear of (6) BEST HAMSEONG, who led through the early stages and into the straight but couldn’t quite see the race out, ultimately finishing a creditable 4th. She should have come on for that run and from a good draw is likely to be leading again. After running well on debut in early August, (4) SLIM QUEEN was scarcely a factor in two subsequent outings. She went back to trial after the latest of those and looked well when winning her heat a couple of weeks ago. She has the fastest time of any of these who have raced at the distance and from a much better gate today, she can be given another chance. (3) DROMOS was an also-ran in the Million Bank race last month but had run well on debut in August when she led and ended up 3rd. She draws nicely to be on pace here. (7) QUEEN OF SPIRIT another who can compete for the minors.

Selections(12) Million Bank (6) Best Hamseong (4) Slim Queen (3) Dromos
Next Best7, 10
Fast Start3, 6, 8, 10

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(10) DONGBANUI SIJAK beat three of today’s rivals when winning at class and distance on September 10th. He then dropped back to 1400M and ran a decent 3rd place. An apprentice jockey climbs aboard today which brings his carried weight back down to similar to what he won under, the draw shouldn’t matter too much and he has every chance. (2) ACE FOUR TEN beat four of these when runner- up at class and distance on October 1st. He settled just forward of midfield that day and stuck to his task well although could do nothing about a swooping late winner. His sole victory came at this distance at class 6 level in August and while he can mix his form and comes slightly up in the weights, he can win this. (6) WONDERFUL LADY remains a maiden but has to come up in class following a creditable 2nd place over 1400M at her latest start two weeks ago. She tackles a mile for the first time and while she doesn’t look a winning chance, she can compete for the places in this company. (12) THE FIRST FACTOR finished 3rd behind Ace Four Ten earlier this month. She led that day and while the draw obviously does her no favours in that regard, she can be competitive again. (4) BEAUTY HILL another in the hunt.

Selections(10) Dongbanui Sijak (2) Ace Four Ten (6) Wonderful Lady (12) The First Factor
Next Best4, 3
Fast Start3, 4, 8, 12

Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(11) ENDLESS RUNNING comes in here looking for a fourth straight win. His latest was at class 5 level over 1200M when he was quickly into the lead and dominated, having plenty in hand despite drifting very wide in the straight. He is up in class here and tackles 1400M for the first time. He also has a far worse draw than in any of his wins so far. Regardless of that, the manner of his victories suggest that all those things can be overcome and while he won’t want to be wandering in the straight against this opposition, he can win again. (9) FLAT BABE recorded her worst finish to date on her first try at this level over 1400M on October 10th. It was a tough race and she didn’t run badly and is worth another chance here. (7) CRONUS was a class and distance winner two starts back. He runs consistent times at this distance and should be going close here. (6) FIRST STAR and (4) VEGA THUNDER others in the placing frame.

Selections(11) Endless Running (9) Flat Babe (7) Cronus (6) First Star
Next Best4, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 10, 11

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(5) HAPPY WOMAN has won two of her latest three to be rapidly promoted to this class. She also comes up in trip to a mile for the first time but here is no reason why it shouldn’t suit. She runs best when on pace or handy and she should measure up in this company. Stablemate (1) YEOWANGAUI MISO could prove to be one of the biggest dangers. She races for the first time since August when she beat a couple of these on her way to a class and distance 6th and while she can mix her form, an apprentice takes a couple of kilos off and she can go close here. (4) FUNKY was one of those behind Yeowangui Miso in August but bounced back to run 3rd at class and distance on September 12th when she went right back before closing strongly. She will be finishing fast again here. (2) ITSMYLUCKYBOY has won at this class over 1800M and while 10th at his latest start, the margins weren’t huge and it wasn’t necessarily a bad run. He has since looked well in a trial and can be dangerous here. (9) ARAM NARAE another in the placing frame.

Selections(5) Happy Woman (1) Yeowangui Miso (4) Funky (2) Itsmyluckyboy
Next Best9, 8
Fast Start2, 6, 8, 10

Busan Race 6: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Can (2) B.K JOHN shake off his runner-up habit and go one better? He’ll be favourite to do so. The Colonel John gelding comes on off four consecutive 2nd place finishes, the latter two at this class over a mile and 1400M. During that run, he has finished 2nd when leading and finished 2nd when coming from off the pace. He steps up to 1800M for the first time, draws nicely and while he does come up in the weights, he can go one better today. (8) CHANGE BACK beat several of these when coming from well off the pace to run 2nd at class and distance on September 19th The start before he was a class 4 winner at this distance and under the same weight today has significant claims. (5) NANGMAN JEONSA came home in 3rd place in that race continuing a consistent run of recent form and he looks to have placing chances again. (9) FREEDOM KNIGHT led that day before ultimately running 5th and can get closer this time. (6) MAN OF TOP another who should be in the hunt.

Selections(2) B.K John (8) Change Back (5) Nangman Jeonsa (9) Freedom Knight
Next Best6, 12
Fast Start4, 6, 9, 11

Raon Fillies First & Pink On Top At Seoul & Busan

It’s becoming an unwelcome habit that we are posting these things days late, but it was a pair of “full” sisters ( I dislike that term, for some reason), who took top honours at Seoul and Busan last Sunday. Four-year-old Raon First took out Seoul’s Class 1 feature while a year here junior, Raon Pink won the Luna Stakes, the first leg of the 2021 Filly Triple Crown. Both are by Musket Man and out of the Southern Image mare, Pink Candy.

Raon First (Pic: KRA)

Raon First was a champion as a juvenile and has since gone on to establish herself at class 1 level, running 2nd to Dia Road in a Graded race for fillies and mares last year and finishing 2rd in her latest two, including behind Eoma Eoma. In all those races she had led, only to be taken down close to the line every time.

On Sunday though, Raon First would be no sitting duck. acing up and comers Legend Day and Carving Cross, among others, Raon First was drawn wide but instead of being ridden up hard to the pace, after being slightly slow away, Choi Bum-hyun in the saddle took a sit behind the lead and waited patiently. Choi made his move on Raon First at the top of the straight, punching through a gap with ease and the filly ran on to score by a length and a half in a fast time for the 1400M.

Outsiders Cupid Guy and Myeongpum Chukje chased Raon First home in 2nd and 3rd with Legend Day and Carving Cross both enduring poor days at the office and in the case of the latter especially, seeing their chances of qualification for any of the late season Stakes races diminishing. For Raon First it was seventh win in fourteen starts as she stakes her claim to succeed Dia Road as the top filly or mare in training in Seoul.

At Busan, younger sister Raon Pink was imperious in the Luna Stakes. Sent off as favourite in a sixteen-strong field of three-year-old fillies, who had thirty-six race victories between them coming in, Raon Pink jumped well and slowly worked to the lead and was comfortable in the pace she set. On the corner she slipped away and on straightening went well clear and was strong to the finish under Park Tae-jong. Jedi was 2nd and Smart Officer, who missed the break an excellent 3rd as Seoul fillies swept the top five finishing positions.

Raon Pink now moves on as favourite for the Korean Oaks, back at Busan over 1800M on November 14.

Sunday Busan & Seoul: Luna Stakes Day Race-By-Race Preview (October 17)

Following Heat Yegam’s victory in the KRA Cup Mile last weekend, the fillies get their chance this Sunday with the opening leg of the filly Triple Crown, the Luna Stakes, over 1600M at Busan. The race is part of 6-race card at Busan from 12:10 to 17:30 while there is also a 9-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

The scene on Luna Stakes day last year…. (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

As is almost always the case right now, juvenile maidens kick things off and this time four of the nine race for the very first time. One of the experienced ones will be the hot favourite though. That’s (3) TOUGH GUY, who after posting a good time in a trial in August, debuted on September 12th when he put in a front-running effort at today’s trip to ultimately finish 3rd in a good time. He draws well here and should have too much. Running better on debut that his finishing position suggests was (4) AMAZON KING. Ran 6th but in a fast time in a good race. That came off an impressive trial and is the main danger to the favourite here. (8) CHAMJOEUN CHINGU was slowly away from a wide gate on her debut but did make ground late and finished in a decent time in a fats race and she too will be expected to improve here. Among the first-timers, (7) EUNHYE was the fastest in trials and perhaps has the best chance of making an impression first-up. (2) SUNNY BLADE too did nothing wrong in her heat.

Selections(3) Tough Guy (4) Amazon King (8) Chamjoeun Chingu (7) Eunhye
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Fillies only here. (5) FLYING FULL MOON has been knocking on the door in his latest three outings including 3rd place last start on September 19th at this distance with a couple of today’s rivals behind him. A front runner, he draws nicely so expect him to be on pace and he can lead gate to wire. (1) VIENTO came home 4th behind Flying Full Moon in that race on what was her fourth career start. She looks like she is figuring things out and from another very good draw she could make further progress today. (4) EOMCHEONGNAN GIRL put in a significantly improved 2nd at this distance on August 15th in a fair time behind a good winner. She had already shown she can finish off her races well but for the first time raced prominently throughout and a similar run should see her in the finish again. (7) SEMYEONG HAETSAL is the only previous winner in the field and as such comes into the calculations after three consecutive 4th place finishes. (11) SISEON JUMA has made an encouraging start to her career with three top five finishes from three starts. She led in her best finish to date when 2nd but has run well from behind as well and steps up to 1300M for the first time with solid claims to continue her development.

Selections(5) Flying Full Moon (1) Viento (4) Eomcheongnan Girl (7) Semyeong Haetsal
Next Best11, 10
Fast Start3, 5, 11, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Unchartered territory for all of these maidens as none of them have tackled two-turns before. A few have hinted at ability and finished off their races well at shorter distances, including (5) FLYING BARBIE. She comes on off a decent 3rd place at 1300M, her best performance to date, when she came from well off the pace run down plenty. The extended trip may be what she needs. That’s true too for (4) SEMYEONG CAPTAIN. He ran fairly for 3rd over 1400M at his latest start on August 22nd when he overcame a wide gate to do his best work late. He should be in the finish here. (1) TAEYANGTAGO was 4th in that race behind Semyeong Captain in August and followed it up with another 4th place a month ago, also at 1400M when she made ground from last place entering the straight. She too may like the additional trip. (6) SEONBONG GOLD and (3) HELLO GEUMSEONG are others to consider.

Selections(5) Flying Barbie (4) Semyeong Captain (1) Taeyangtago (6) Seonbong Gold
Next Best3, 11
Fast Start2, 7, 8, 10

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A small field of juvenile maidens get things underway in Busan and (3) YEONGCHEON SOLEMIO is set to be a warm favourite. He made a bold showing on debut when overcoming gate eleven to lead before being ground down and ultimately finishing 4th in a fast time. He draws better today, should lead and should win (5) FUNNY LIFE registered a faster time than Yeongcheon Solemio when also 4th on her own debut on September 17th although it was on a much wetter and faster track. She too was on pace and looks to be the primary danger here. There are two first-timer starters and both warrant mentions. (8) RAON THE GUTSEN went through two trials, improving in the second of them, crossing the line 3rd in a decent time. He can sit outside the early speed and run-on. (2) LIGHT STORY clearly knows what to do having won his own trial. He draws well and can go well first-up. Returning to those with experience, (6) YOUNG BOSS looks to have the most potential to improve.

Selections(3) Yeongcheon Solemio (5) Funny Life (8) Raon The Gutsen (2) Light Story
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 6

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

We’ll go with (6) THE QUEEN JUSTICE here on the grounds that she has the fastest time of any of these at the distance (albeit recorded on a very wet track) and draws a much better gate than her primary rival. She comes in off a decent 2nd place at class and distance on September 11th when she went back and made ground and from the middle can perhaps pick her spot. That main rival is likely to be (12) JEONGMUN JIJON, who comes up in class after a good win on September 12th when she sat handy to the lead, striking the front in the home straight and running on well. This might be trickier from the wide draw, but she still looks nicely in and should measure up at this level. (4) GO GO STAR led at her latest start at class and distance ultimately finishing in 5th place. She draws nicely to lead again and can be challenging for a money finish. (10) JANGSAN GUARD had a poor day at the office in that race, his first at this class, but is better than that and can be given another chance. (1) YULONG STAR another in the frame.

Selections(6) The Queen Justice (12) Jeongmun Jijon (4) Go Go Star (10) Jangsan Guard
Next Best1, 2
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Very tricky race. (11) GIANT CAL steps up to this distance for the first time and it may well suit. He doesn’t run on pace so the wide draw shouldn’t be a problem and last time he emerged from the back to run 3rd in a solid time over 1300M. Today could be his day. (8) TRIPLE STORM comes back in trip after a couple of spins around a mile. He ran well at class and distance three starts back when 3rd in a time faster than any of the others here have recorded at the distance and he has to be considered a leading contender. (3) DAEHOMA has raced eight times, finishing no better than 4th although that is something he has managed on each of his latest four starts. He draws well to get on pace again and has claims here. (10) OLD CHEONHA hinted at ability in two starts in the early part of the year. He hasn’t been seen since April but trialed up adequately last month and a nice race has been picked for his return. (4) RAPIDO QUEEN another who should be competing for at least a place.

Selections(11) Giant Cal (8) Triple Storm (3) Daehoma (10) Old Cheonha
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 6

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Competitive race. (8) K N LIGHT has finished no worse 5th in six starts to date and comes up in class following a runner-up finish at this distance on August 29th when handy to the lead throughout and briefly leading in the closing stages. The time was good when compared with his rivals here and he should be competitive at this level. (10) CHALLAN HANNAL got preomotd to this class following a win two starts back over 1200M when he flew home from the back of the field. He stepped up to 1300M for his first try at this level on August 29th and almost managed to repeat the trick, ultimately settling for 2nd in a fast race. The slightly extended trip should suit, the draw should be no issue at all, and he will be competitive here. A wide draw shouldn’t be too much of a problem for (12) SECRET BOSS either. He ran 3rd in that race behind Challan Hannal at the end of August and has since repeated the finish, again at 1300M. Expect him to be challenging late here. (9) CHEONGSAN GASE and (2) JOY OF KING are others who can be in the placing frame.

Selections(8) K N Light (10) Challan Hannal (12) Secret Boss (9) Cheongsan Gase
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start2, 3, 8, 11

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview

Saturday’s racing is hopefully one of the last behind-closed-doors meetings at Seoul. There are 9 races from 11:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A small field of juvenile maidens to kick things off with five of the nine racing for the first time. Two of those first-timers were trial winners and we’ll put them on top. Slightly favoured is (2) HATMURI, who sat just off the pace in his heat before improving and then being asked for effort in the final furlong which he responded to well. The time was good, and he has every chance from a good gate. Also impressive in the trial was (3) TES GO DAEBO. He emerged from a wide gate before settling behind the leading group. He hit the front at the 400M and went on comfortable with minimal encouragement. The time was a bit slower than Hatmuri’s although the track was a little drier and slower, but he has solid claims. (8) SANSO POWER can also go well first-up. He improved in the second of two trials when he was handy then midfield, then found the inside fence and finished off well in a reasonable time. Of those with experience, (9) DUSON FANTASTIC got a good start on debut before being found a touch one-paced and ultimately finished 6th. He should have come on for the experience. (4) RAON THE WILD may also improve.

Selections(2) Hatmuri (3) Tes Go Daebo (8) Sanso Power (9) Duson Fantastic
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start2, 4, 6, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Maiden juvenile fillies here with six of the ten racing for the first time. (7) BLACK MASK looked very accomplished in her trial, quickly establishing a lead and then cruising around to cross the line first by a substantial margin without having been asked a single question. If she brings anything like that to the races, then she wins. (9) HWANGGEUM CHEONJI won a June trial before debuting at this distance at the end of August when she emerged from the widest gate and got pushed wider before finding the rail on the turn and stealing a few lengths then working home well. She should have benefited for the experience and can be in the mix here. (2) THE FAVORITE won’t be favourite but she settled back on debut on September 11th and then put in a good effort from the 300M to run 4th. She can get closer today and can aim to be on pace. (8) SILVER STAR raced a touch greenly on debut, being slow out and not looking totally comfortable in the kickback. She finished off well enough and can improve today. Returning to the debut-makers, (5) MIRACLE K trialed up in 4th behind the very good Chief Indy and finished in a fair time.

Selections(7) Black Mask (9) Hwanggeum Cheonji (2) The Favorite (8) Silver Star
Next Best5, 10
Fast Start2, 5, 7, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Standard class 6 here. We’ll take a chance on (7) DESK TAP, as he has been consistent across his seven starts to date which includes a 2nd and a 4th and the best time of any of these at the distance. He was a touch disappointing at his last start when he drew a wide gate and took a long time to get involved but he is worth another chance today. Based on his latest effort on September 12th, (2) JISANGUN will probably start as favourite. He showed significant improvement that day when coming from off the pace to run 2nd in a fair time at this distance. He draws much better this time around and has every chance. (11) SMART HIGH too looks to be on the right trajectory having improved with a 3rd place at her latest start. That was back in July, and she does draw an unfavourable gate, but she can challenge for a place again. Resuming after almost twice as long away is (1) SAMJEONG TAPAS. He is the only one in the field to have a win to his name, achieved at this distance almost a year ago, and he comes in having trialed pleasingly. He makes his first start for Tony Castenheira and can go well. (3) LONDON POWER another in the hunt.

Selections(7) Desk Tap (2) Jisangun (11) Smart High (1) Samjeong Tapas
Next Best3, 4
Fast Start1, 3, 7, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

It’s hard to look too far past (1) BURUI YEOWANG. A winner of two from five so far, she comes in off a very smart 2nd place over 1300M on September 5th when handy throughout. She does come up 2kg in the weights but should benefit from the inside barrier and can lead from gate to wire here. Logical second pick is (6) LADY FIRST. She was a winner on debut on August 7th over 1000M and before running 6th in the Rookie Stakes at this distance on September 5th. She is in shallower waters today and should get closer. (10) SOEWAKKOT is perhaps a bit better than her first go at this class over 1300M suggests. True, she runs better on pace, so the draw today isn’t great, but she has outside placing claims. (8) LONDON QUEEN ran well for 3rd at class and distance on September 11th and while she does mix her form a little, should be in the finish while (9) BEST CHEONSANG also enters the calculations following a good runner-up finish at class and distance a month ago.

Selections(1) Burui Yeowang (6) Lady First (10) Soewakkot (8) London Queen
Next Best9, 3
Fast Start1, 6, 9, 12

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 15)

There will be more Stakes action at Busan on Sunday in the shape of the first leg of the filly Triple Crown, the Luna Stakes. Sixteen fillies go around and we will have a full preview over the next couple of days. In the meantime, the weekend’s action gets underway at Busan on Friday with a six-race card from 13:25 to 18:00.

Busan (Pic: KRA)

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A small field of juvenile maidens line up in the opener with three of the eight racing for the first time. The only one of the remaining five to have raced twice already, (2) ADELE BOSS, probably did enough on the latter of those appearances to warrant favourite status. Having done little on debut in August, Adele Boss was significantly better on September 17th when settling handy and running on for 2nd place, albeit a long was behind a very good winner, in a decent time. He won’t need to improve much on that in order to win here. (3) OREUDA and (5) I WILL BE FREE trialed up in the same hear on September 11th with Oreuda finishing the better of the pair in a good time. Both hinted at some competence though and they look to be the biggest dangers here. Returning to the experienced ones, (6) GOLDEN BROOM ran a fair race on debut on a wet track and he along with (1) NOBLE SPIRIT have placing claims.

Selections(2) Adele Boss (3) Oreuda (5) I Will Be Free (6) Golden Broom
Next Best1, 7
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 5

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(7) CROWN KING STAR led for much of the way around 1300M at his latest start on September 17th, ultimately being passed at the furlong pole by a good winner and having to settle for a career-best to date of 2nd. He comes back in trip today, draws fairly and this time could lead from gate to wire. (12) RUN AND GUN has been consistent in recent outings with a couple of 3rd places along the way, including last start at this distance. She also has the fastest time of any of these at the distance. She tends to go back in her races so the wide draw shouldn’t be an issue and she has claims here. (5) UNBRIDLED QUEEN was a significantly improved 2nd when returning to action a full ten-months after her original debut. She should have come on for that run and can go close again here. (6) USEUNG HUNTER and (9) HOT PLAY among others in the frame.

Selections(7) Crown King Star (12) Run And Gun (5) Unbridled Queen (6) Useung Hunter
Next Best9, 3
Fast Start1, 5, 6, 12

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(12) PUREUN JANGMI broke through at start number three back in July when she made all over 1200M. That followed 3rd and 2nd place finishes form her first two attempts. There are a couple of things to be careful of. She races for the first time in thirteen weeks, she is up in class and she is an on-pace runner drawn in the widest gate. But she should be able to overcome all three and she will be favourite. (6) MARK ACE may only have won one of his twelve races so far but he has finished in the top three on seven occasions. He has run consistently good times at this distance and drops back in trip having beaten a couple of these on his way to a creditable 6th over a mile a month ago. He can settle handy to the speed here and should be a danger at the business end. (7) HAEUNDAE BADA has also run good times at this distance including at his latest start on September 12th when he ran 3rd having led for part of the way around, beating a couple of these in the process. (1) INDIAN PARTY should be better for coming back in trip today while (4) CHOEGANG LIGER is another with placing hopes.

Selections(12) Pureun Jangmi (6) Mark Ace (7) Haeundae Bada (1) Indian Party
Next Best4, 2
Fast Start7, 8, 10, 12

Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(10) MENI GLORY has three runner-up finishes from four starts so far, with his latest coming on September 10th when he was returning from five months off. He should strip fitter for that and tackles the mile today with fair claims to register a maiden win. Also on the hunt for a maiden score is (2) K K WON. He has raced thirteen times to date, finishing in the top three on six occasions but still finding the breakthrough elusive. He could well start as favourite here though on the back of a solid class and distance 3rd on September 10th when he overcame the widest draw to almost lead the entire way around. From a better gate this time, he surely goes close. (12) GEUMA GOOD POINT finished behind K K Won back in July but has since put in a couple of decent spins around 1800M and despite the wide draw, can be expected to go close here. (11) KWAEHAN HWANGGEUM is better than his latest couple of outings suggest and along with (4) GOLDEN KAISER, also has placing claims.

Selections(10) Meni Glory (2) K K Won (12) Geuma Good Point (11) Kwaehan Hwanggeum
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 10, 12

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(2) HILL MORE registered his maiden win two starts back at class 6 level over a mile before running 2nd on his first try at this class and distance on September 10th, beating several of today’s rivals in the process and only beaten a neck on the line. He comes up 2kg in the weights under today’s conditions but from a great draw can pick his spot and he should be too strong in the closing stages. That 2kg swing can work most in favour of (9) BURNING PARTY, who having led for part of that race on September 10th, ultimately finished in 3rd place and has a four-length deficit to overturn on Hill More. She may well get closer this time. (10) DUMUSAN is the only one of these to have won at this distance. That came at his latest start on September 3rd when he came from well off the pace to win at class 5 level. Despite being in class, he also comes up in the weights but don’t rule out a strong finish from him here. (11) CLEAN SHOT was 4th in the September 10th race continuing his run of consistent finishes and should be in amongst the action again while (8) TRIUMPH KING may also enter the calculations.

Selections(2) Hill More (9) Burning Party (10) Dumusan (11) Clean Shot
Next Best8, 12
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 12

Busan Race 6: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

(7) SONIC KING IJI beat four of today’s rivals on his way to an excellent win at this class over 1400M on September 17th. He is back in trip and up in the weights but he is set to be favourite to prevail once more. (3) MIRACLE DREAMING led for much of that race before ultimately coming home in 2nd place. He has three wins but now has no fewer than eight runner-up finishes to his name, He draws nicely here and should be close to the pace again but may well have to settle for 2nd again. (8) FANTASTIC ROAD returns from seven months off but trialed competently enough a couple of weeks ago and comes in here under a light weight. He has every chance of going well first-up. (2) YES PERFECT has a hard time when tried over 1800M at his latest start in August but should be much better for being dropped back to today’s distance – he has beaten plenty of these at it already. (4) I’M YOUR FASHION another with genuine placing claims.

Selections(7) Sonic King Iji (3) Miracle Dreaming (8) Fantatsic Road (2) Yes Perfect
Next Best4, 6
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 8

KRA Cup Mile 2021 Review

A little late but: It was billed as the hottest opening leg to a Korean Triple Crown ever but in the end Heat Yegam turned it into a procession with a scorching gate to wire win in the KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) at Busan last Sunday afternoon.

The first race of the three-year-old Classic series had been delayed from its usual April spot by six months due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the racing industry. That delay led to what is usually green and unexposed field in the Cup Mile, reaching the starting line this time with in-excess of sixty previous race wins between them.

Heat Yegam was sent off as the betting favourite and from gate nine he got a beautiful start while some of the expected speedsters on his inside faltered and was quickly into an early and surprisingly easy lead. Big rival Winner’s Man was quickly on his shoulder but having come out of gate twelve was being made to work hard. Meanwhile Seoul’s big hope, Heungbaragi, was content to sit handy and wide with jockey Choi Bum-hyun having quickly abandoned any hopes of leading from gate fifteen.

By the top of the stretch, Heat Yegam and Winner’s Man held a four-length advantage over the rest of the field, but it was clear the latter was feeling the effects of the early pace. Heat Yegam though was fresh and while he drifted a little in the final furlong and a half, he cruised home two-lengths to the good. Heungbaragi – who having been wide for most of the race, ended up on the inside fence – ran a strong race in 2nd, while another Seoul raider, Chief Indy closed ominously for 3rd. Mr. Indie was 4th and Winner’s Man a brave 5th.

The win itself may have been soft but the performance was anything but. Heat Yegam completed the first six furlongs just one-tenth of a second outside the track record for that distance – no wonder Winner’s Man couldn’t cope any longer – and then ran on to record an overall time only a second shy of the track record for a mile, held by Blue Chipper.  It was his eighth win in nine starts.

For jockey You Hyun-myung, post-race feelings were a mixture of elation and relief. “Going on my experience with this horse so far, I had to expect him to win,” You told the Korea Racing Broadcasting Channel (KRBC) after the race. “There was always going to be a lot of pressure at the start, so I just wanted to get out of the gate in a straight line with no trouble. As it happened, we got away very well and, in the end, everything was much smoother and easier than I expected.” 

Next up will be the Korean Derby in Seoul on November 7th, as Heat Yegam seeks to emulate J.S. Hold and Power Blade in winning a Triple Crown. You Hyun-myung thinks the horse will be ready. “

Heat Yegam was bred by the Yeonhak Agricultural Corporation at the Yeonhak Farm on Jeju Island and was sold privately to owner Kim Joon-hyun for 150 Million Korean Won as a yearling in September 2019. Sired by Take Charge Indy, during that stallion’s brief sojourn in Korea before his American farm bought him back due to the unexpected success of his Stateside progeny, he is out of Desert Heat, a mare from the final crop by the legendary sire, Mr. Prospector.

How they ran:

1st  Heat Yegam – started favourite today  showed great speed to sit a tad wide but a fast comfortable rhythm, on the corner he applied some pressure to get a good break on the field and while he drifted out in the early part of the straight came back towards the finish. This was a sensational run and the fastest ever KRA Cup Mile run to date.

2nd Heungbaragi – He had a challenge from barrier 15 but showed  good speed to get forward however he was very wide most of the journey lost ground on the corner and then fought on strongly in the straight making up much ground. A stellar performance

3rd  Chief Indy – Settled wide and midfield then on the corner the jockey elected to go inside near the fence where he was balanced up and urged forward. It was at the 150m when he came into the picture and kept taking ground off the leaders. A great run and further distance will also suit him.

4th Mr. Indie – He was ridden hard early to get a more forward position settling on the fence midfield then slotted forward just behind Mach Titan. He stayed on the rails saving much ground, into the straight and he was a clear 4th he kept fighting in the straight to maintain 4th in a strong run.

5th Winner’s Man – Ridden hard early to be on the shoulder of Heat Yegam and was wide from a less favourable gate. Couldn’t maintain that pace after such a fast opening but plenty of merit in the way he ran on for 5th. He may be a different prospect in Seoul at the Korean Derby.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: KRA Cup Mile Day Race-By-Race Preview (October 10)

Sunday is KRA Cup Mile Day! See below for selections for the big race or here for a runner-by-runner preview. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:10 to 17:30 and 9 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

There were no spectators at the KRA Cup Mile last year. A year later and only 20% is allowed at Busan. And still none at Seoul. (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to get us underway and it involves one of the banker favourites of the day. Having won a trial in fine fashion in August, (4) WORLD FORCE ran a close 3rd on debut on September 4th having led from the gate until the closing stages, only to get narrowly overhauled close to the line. It was a fast time, and she won’t need to have improved very much – if at all – to win this. The others will need to improve. (5) JILJU JEONSA has raced twice before and showed improvement at the second of those on August 28th, running 5th at this distance in a good time, albeit someway behind a good winner. He will settle midfield and run on and should be looking for a better finish today. (7) SPEED GALLOP goes for the second time having run 5th on debut behind Bencal Princess, who has since gone on to run well in two big Juvenile Stakes race. She came from well off the pace after a slow start that day and should be ready to improve. (9) YOUNG BLOOD beat a couple of these when 4th on debut and along with (2) NO SMALL SUN, has placing claims here.

Selections(4) World Force (5) Jilju Jeonsa (7) Speed Gallop (9) Young Blood
Next Best2, 6
Fast Start4, 5, 7, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Competitive maiden with a couple of them looking ready to win. (2) REAL CONCORD comes in following her best finish to date when 2nd over this distance on August 8th. She has run good times at the distance, is well drawn and while she does come in off a nine-week layoff, has solid claims here. So too does (1) GRAY CAT. He has gone even faster at this distance and should strip fitter second up following his return from five-months out in early September when he ran 4th at 1200M. With an apprentice climbing aboard today he gets a 4kg allowance and the inside gate should allow him to get to a prominent position early and maybe lead – if he does, he can win. It is the low numbers who are favoured here. (3) DOUBLE TAKE has mixed her form but ran well for 3rd over 1400M at her latest start when settling back and running on. She should be in the mix here. (4) TEUKGEUP YEOWANG weakened badly having led over this distance last time but has shown some ability and may be worth another chance. (5) YELLOW CAT, 5th on debut at the end of August is another in the hunt.

Selections(2) Real Concord (1) Gray Cat (3) Double Take (4) Teukgeup Yeowang
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start1, 4, 7, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

All twelve of these maidens step up to racing at two turns for the very first time and the one it should benefit the most is (9) WONDERFUL K. The Purge colt has been consistent over seven starts so far with his best result being 3rd over 1200M two starts back. He ran well at his latest effort for 4th over 1400M and there is no indication that the additional 300M won’t suit. He’s the one to beat. (10) WONDERFUL SAM has been doing his best work late in both his two outings so far at 1200M and 1400M. Both times he has been right at the back entering the straight and has only started to pick up when too late. His final furlong times have been good so the extra distance to play with may help today. (12) SANGSEUNG HAENGJIN has been showing signs of improvement in his latest couple of outings including last time when he came from well back to run 4th over 1300M. An apprentice keeps the weight nice and light which he may benefit from given the extended trip today. (11) SINUI HANSU has only raced three times and has stuck to his task on all three occasions. He’ll probably be aimed for the early lead here and could still be around at the business end. If you prefer your two-turn picks to come from a good barrier, then (1) LUCKY BALLY could be the one.

Selections(9) Wonderful K (10) Wonderful Sam (12) Sangseung Haengjin (11) Sinui Hansu
Next Best1, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 9, 11

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile filly maidens get to compete for a big prize here with six of them racing for the first time. It’s the experience that’s favoured though with all five who have previously raced having shown enough to suggest they have wins in them. We’ll take a chance with (8) GREEN SPEED, who ran 3rd on debut on September 12th. That day’s impressive winner didn’t run well on reappearance last week, but Green Speed should have improved for the run and the Bart ice/Seo Seung-un combination is a good one. (5) H. DAY will probably be betting favourite. After three trials, she ran 3rd on debut in a scorching time on September 17th. It was a very wet track that day which made it quicker, but it was very promising and from a good draw she should be leading or on pace here. (1) B.K. MARSHALL has raced twice before, notching a 3rd and a 2nd, both at this distance and both in decent times. She has sat handy before running on and from the inside gate is another who will be on pace here. (3) STELL LUNA ran 4th behind B.K. MARSHALL on what was her debut on September 3rd when she settled in midfield and finished well. With some natural progression she can go close here. This is a really tough race to debut in but if any of the first-timers is to break through, (10) DOCTOR KONGSUNI looks the most likely.

Selections(8) Green Speed (5) H. Day (1) B.K. Marshall (3) Stell Luna
Next Best10, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million

(9) NAMSAN SIDAE is the clear pick here on the basis of a close 2nd at this distance on September 11th. That was first-up and his first time up in class too following a maiden win in April. The time was good and while he comes up 2kg in the weights and draws a touch wider than ideal, he will try to sit handy to the lead and is the one to beat. (5) SILVER DRAGON is worth some thought following his last start 5th over 1300M on his first try at this class. He had the outside barrier that day and after a slow start settled a long last before swinging wide in the straight to come home very nicely. The extra distance appears to be in his favour as his solitary win came at this trip and while those slow starts are a habit of his, the better gate may limit the damage this time. (6) NONSTOP GISANG drops back in trip and into contention after a couple of swings around 1700M. He is a winner at 1300M at class 6 level and ran a fair 5th at that distance at this class. He is another who likes to be handy to the lead and then run on. (2) WONDERFUL ORANGE is up in class after a win over 1300M when she was midfield before finishing strongly for a narrow score. While the margin wasn’t big on the line, she was running on and has the benefit of a good gate today giving her placing chances. (7) ROCK FIGHTER another with placing claims.

Selections(9) Namsan Sidae (5) Silver Dragon (6) Nonstop Gisang (2) Wonderful Orange
Next Best7, 12
Fast Start7, 8, 10, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Not the strongest of maidens and that allows us to take a chance on a debut-maker. Isidore Farm’s homebred (3) SUNSET MELODY looked accomplished in her trial, given an easy time early and then responding very well when asked for an effort in the straight. It seems she knows her business and there’s every chance she could score right away here. If you prefer your maidens to be experienced, (5) MY DESTINY is the one to go for. She has four top four finishes from six starts so far and has run consistently decent times. She draws well and should be in the mix. Back to the first-timers and (9) BLUE SKY went through two trials showing improvement in the second of them to the extent that she may be considered a placing chance first up. (11) MYEONGSEONG CHARGE was handy to the lead on debut on September 9th before ultimately coming home in 5th. She should strip fitter for the experience and get closer today. (8) DAEHO PYEONGEONG the best of the rest.

Selections(3) Sunset Melody (5) My Destiny (9) Blue Sky (11) Myeongseong Charge
Next Best8, 4
Fast Start2, 5, 7, 11

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here. (7) DREAM KNOCK won a class 6 race over 1200M in fine style by eight-lengths in July before following up with 2nd place in a similar all-filly affair on her first try at this class on August 28th, beating several of today’s rivals in the process. She will have benefited from that experience and looks hard to beat here. (12) BLACK ROOKIE is a filly who is adapting to class 5 and at her last start was a good 3rd over 1300M when wide all the way yet still ran on. Given some better luck in running and ideally a bit of cover, she could be a threat here. (4) K BLADE ran 6th on his first try at this class on September 4th. That was over 1400M, and he came out of gate ten but two starts back he got his maiden win at this distance when handy from the same gate as today and he is in with a shout here. (11) DANCING WITH YOU ran 3rd behind Dream Knock on August 28th showing she is getting to grips with racing at this level and while her draw isn’t great, she can go close again. (5) GOLD SPIKE another in the hunt.

Selections(7) Dream Knock (12) Black Rookie (4) K Blade (11) Dancing With You
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start4, 6, 7, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million


Jockey Lee Hyo-sik Targets Cup Mile Salute Before Obeying Marching Orders

The jockey game is a tough one where even at the best of the times, a rider can never be certain when or why he or she might be replaced on a good horse. It’s different this time for Lee Hyo-sik, who knows that even if he rides a flawless, winning race on leading KRA Cup Mile (1600M – KOR G2) contender Winner’s Man on Sunday, he won’t be aboard the colt in next month’s Korean Derby. That’s because by that time, he will be in boot camp beginning his eighteen months of mandatory military service.

Lee Hyo Siks in the Stakes race winner’s circle with King Socks 2 years ago

“Of course, I am a little disappointed that just when we finally have Stakes races back, I have to go,” Lee told in-house broadcaster KRBC this week. “But there is nothing I can do about it.” He then quipped “Maybe Winner’s Man will wait for me. He will still only be five-years-old when I come back.”

For now, Lee preferred to focus on the business at hand with his mount being one of the favourites in what is arguably the highest ever quality field for the opening leg of a Korean Triple Crown. “I believe in (Winner’s Man); his condition is similar to how it was at his last win. He has always been a mature horse and forward in his ability.”

Identifying Heat Yegam and Seoul raider Heungbaragi as the primary dangers among the sixteen strong field, Lee was able to reflect on the fact that he knows one of those rivals very well and sought to ease any pressure. “I have ridden both Heat Yegam and Winner’s Man. I think they are of similar ability but maybe Heat Yegam is slightly better right now.”

Heat Yegam, a winner of seven from eight and likely to be the betting favourite inside Korea, will be ridden by You Hyun-myung whose own military experience is long in the rear-view mirror, but he knows how his younger rival will be feeling. “He’s starting his military service next week so he will be very hungry to win.” You missed Heat Yegam’s latest two victories in August. “I was injured in August so Lee Hyo-sik rode him twice and won twice. He ran very well. Since I have come back, I have been working on getting my strength up for this race.”

On Heat Yegam’s readiness for the race, You Hyun-myung was confident. “I don’t really need to worry about the horse because the stable management is so good there isn’t very much the rider needs to do. We have galloped him, and he was good and fast. Our draw isn’t great, but others have worse.” On which horse he fears most, he was clear. “Winner’s Man is the most dangerous rival.”

It is by no means a two-horse race as the fact that the sixteen runners have no fewer than sixty-one victories between them heading in bears out. Five of those wins belong to Galaxy Road, so could he upset the favourites? “Yes,” according to trainer Kim Kil-jung. “We finished up the main training with him on Thursday morning and I was very satisfied,” Kim told KRBC. “It’s my first runner in a Triple Crown race so I’m excited, we’ve got a great draw and we can run well. (Jockey) Lee Sung-jae has ridden him a lot and I think his expectations are high too. We are well prepared, so we are confident.”

The Seoul challenge is headed by Heungbaragi. He may have been drawn wide but remains dangerous for trainer Lee Joon-chel, who rode him in his earlier races before taking over the training license this summer. Lee has made a super start to his career with eight wins from his first thirty runners.

Joining Heungbaragi in making the journey from the capital was Chief Indy, who will give Antonio Da Silva his very first ride at Busan, despite him having ridden in Korea for more than four years now. “Moon Se-young usually rides the horse but he had a fall last month, so I got the call three weeks ago and rode him in work and then a barrier trial. He seems to be a good horse and in good condition,” Da Silva said of the colt who has won his latest four. “On Sunday I hope we can show 100% of our ability. I know it is a strong race, he likes to sit behind the lead, I am not sure if the middle gate is good or not, but he is a good horse, and we can win.”

The theme of the strength of the race was echoed by Kim Yong-geun, who won the Cup Mile on eventual Triple Crown winner Power Blade in 2016 and is a former Busan Champion jockey now plying his trade in Seoul. “I’ve ridden in a lot of these races and usually there are just one or two standouts but not this time. There are the two big ones though (Heat Yegam and Winner’s Man), who look like class 1 horses already.” As for his own mount, Royal Road: “It’s going to be important to get a good racing position. Get a good start and be up with the pace. If we’re up there at the beginning of the straight, then we have a chance.”

Spot Flatter earned his spot with back-to-back wins at Seoul over 1400M and jockey Ham Wan-sik rides him for the first time. “(Alan) Munro usually rides him but he needed to be in Seoul this week, so I got the chance,” said Ham. “I think he is a good horse; the distance is good. We know there are some very good horses in this race and there will be a hot pace early. I won’t worry about. I will ride my own race and not get impatient.

Patience is something Lee Hyo-sik is going to need during his next year and a half in uniform. Whether he can play a role in helping Winner’s Man on the way to a Triple Crown will become clear on Sunday afternoon.

The KRA Cup Mile is race 5 at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

KRA Cup Mile 2021: Horse-By-Horse Preview

The 2021 Korean Triple Crown gets underway a full six-months later than originally planned with the KRA Cup Mile taking place at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. As a result of the delay, the depth of form is incredible with the full field of sixteen having collectively won sixty-one races between them already and all runners will go to post with some justifiable confidence. Last year the race was won by Touch Star Man, who went on to finish 5th in the Korean Derby before winning the final leg of the Crown, the Minister’s Cup Here is a run-down of the field:

Touch Star Man won last year’s KRA Cup Mile

1. SPOT FLATTER [Cowboy Cal – Palmetto Flatter (Flatter)] – Gets his chance after back to win wins over 1400M up to class 4 level in Seoul when sitting midfield and running on with both times good. He draws nicely draw and should get the trip, but this is a level up in difficulty for him.

2. MACH TITAN [Hansen – Send An Angel (Street Sense)] – Scorching winner at this distance at class 3 two starts back in a time that would have won every edition of this race to date. He did though run poorly at his latest start over 1800M three weeks ago, running very wide early before working hard to be on the pace but then finding the extended trip a bit much. Back at a mile he should be a different prospect and he is the big winner from the draw. He likes to sit handy and run on.

3. GALAXY ROAD [Afleet Express – How Bout Tonight (Proud Citizen)] – Winner of his latest three including last start when he overcame gate twelve to lead all the way over 1800M at class 4. He has the second fastest time among those who have tackled a mile and won at this distance when sitting handy and running on strong. May lead but there is plenty of other speed in this race. Placing chances.

4. MR. INDIE [Indie Band – Candace Gold (Seeking The Gold)] – Races for the first time since July when he ran out a comfortable front-running class 4 winner over 1800M. Twelve weeks off since then but he looked well when trialing up last week. Jockey Seo Seung-un won this race in 2014 and a bold showing is possible from a nice draw.

5. ROYAL ROAD [Afleet Express – Officer Lady (Officer)] – An all the way nine-length win at class 5 over 1700M put him on the radar for this although he was a touch disappointing when 3rd at class 4 over the same distance four weeks ago. He did have to contend with gate twelve that day and drifted wide on jumping before eventually finding the rail. He is better than that and can get an easier run from a better draw, but he is not in the first line of favourites here. Jockey Kim Yong-geun partnered Power Blade to victory in the race in 2016 on his way to sweeping the Triple Crown.

6. DONGJIN CHOEGANG [Officer – Pureun Miso (Malibu Moon)] – Untried at further than 1400M and his best form has been at 1200M, he come in following a narrow runner-up finish at that distance in a very fast time on a wet track on September 12th. It’s deeper waters today and despite Park Tae-jong, who won the race on Money Car in 2010, being engaged to ride, others are favoured.

7. WILD INDIE [Indie Band – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – Yet to be out of the top two in five career starts, he won back-to-back races at this distance to be rapidly promoted up to class 4. On his first try at that level he ran 2nd over 1800M, sitting midfield and then running on strong. He has one of the strongest finishes in the race so don’t rule him out of passing plenty late on. Definite place chances.

8. CHIEF INDY [Take Charge Indy – City Splash (City Zip)] – He has won his last four starts including carrying 58kg to victory over 1700M at class 4 level. He hasn’t raced since June which may be a concern, but he looked well when winning a trial in mid-September. He will want to sit handy to the lead and run on and the jockey booking is a plus.

9. HEAT YEGAM [Take Charge Indy – Desert Heat (Mr. Prospector)] – Super horse who beat Winner’s Man when the pair were juveniles. Both have come a long way since and Heat Yegam enters following a strong of four victories up to Class 2 level when made all over 1200M on August 27th by seven-lengths. He was an eleven-length all the way winner on his only try at this distance which came at class 3 level in June in a fast time. His style is to get out in front and just go. If he gets the lead, he may be hard to catch. He’s the favourite, with jockey You Hyun-myung bidding for an unprecedented third win in the race.

10. TK BOY [Cowboy Cal – Indian Myeongun (Indian Charlie)] – Not likely to be among the top line of favourites but could be an interesting outsider. Has a fast finish on him and while he just missed out when 2nd over 1700M at class at his latest start, he has won well at 1400M, and he will be flashing home strong. May prefer it if it’s wet.

11. JERA [Musket Man – High Key (Menifee)] – A good winner two starts back at this distance at class 4 when he settled in midfield before taking the lead entering the straight. That was in May though and he was out of sorts in his latest race when having been in a prominent position early, he weakened to last in the straight. That makes him hard to have here but punters will always take note of jockey Lim Sung-sil climbing aboard in a big race.

12. WINNER’S MAN [Musket Man – Winner’s Marine (Volponi)] – A winner of seven races so far and he fairly bolted in by eight-lengths in class 2 company over 1800M when eased down at the 50M on September 12th. He has won at a mile and there should be no issue in dropping back today and while he will need some luck position-wise from his wide draw, he is race fit and is a big chance.

13. DOCTOR GIANTS [Cowboy Cal – Ms. Fool Proof (Not For Love)] – A fine 3rd over 1400M on September 17th, it was at class 4 level and while in four attempts at that class he has shown he is competitive he hasn’t looked like winning in it. Accordingly, in much deeper waters today, this appears to be a hard ask.

14. ONNURI JILJU [Officer – Onnuri Plaza (Touch Gold)] – Super consistent type who since a 4th place on debut, has finished no worse than 2nd in eight subsequent outings. That includes a runner-up finish to Mach Titan at 1400M in June and most recently, 2nd to the excellent filly Doctor Fappiano (who skips this to go for the filly Triple Crown, which begins next week) over 1800M at class 3. Times are very good, and he has a big race jockey aboard, so he is not to be dismissed, but he looks more a place line.

15. HEUNGBARAGI [Old Fashioned – Grand Marketing (After Market)] – Top juvenile in Seoul last year, he could not have been more impressive on his latest start on September 12th when a runaway gate-to-wire winner by six-lengths over 1800M. He likes to lead though, and this barrier draw has done him no favours. Nevertheless, he will be in this a long way and a win isn’t impossible.

16. YUJEONG CHAMP [Forest Camp – Yujeong Yeojanggun (Warrior’s Reward)] – Back-to-back wins over 1400M in fast times at classes 6 and 5 allow him to take his chance here but he struggled behind Royal Road on his first go at class 4 level over 1700M on September 12th. That suggests this is going to be tough.