Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 20)

It’s been a baking hot week on the Korean peninsula and that looks set to continue as we head into the weekend’s racing. Things kick off at Busan on Friday with 10 races from 14:30 to 21:00:

RH7_2448

It’s Friday, It’s Busan!

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Five of these raced each other over the distance on June 22nd and (5) OFFICE TAP, who was debuting that day, came out the best of them finishing in 3rd place. He was well beaten by the top two place-getters but showed enough to suggest he can build on it here and can win. It is fair to say though that the ones he beat that day aren’t necessarily his main rivals here. Instead, the debut-maker (3) MUJEOK VETERAN looks dangerous following a nice-looking trial and can be backed first up while (4) FASHION WANG was 2nd when sent off as favourite at the distance last month and will be in the frame to go one better here, likely leading from the start. (7) BREAKING NEWS and (11) QUEEN’S FANTASY, the latter another debut-maker and form the strong Kim Young-kwan stable, are others to take into account.

Selections (5) Office Tap (3) Mujeok Veteran (4) Fashion Wang (11) Queen’s Fantasy
Next Best 7, 1
Fast Start 1, 4, 7, 11

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

A maiden for two-year-olds only. Two of the eight have raced before and it’s one of those, (3) YEONGGWANGUICHEON, who will start the strong favourite here. He ran a good 2nd, leading in the closing stages, on his debut on June 22nd and he should be quick out of the gate here and lead all the way. (5) GIMABUDAEJANG was 7th on his own debut in that same race and showed enough to suggest he can build on that here. Thomas Gillespie sends out two first-timers and both can go well first-up. (2) MUJEOK YEONGUNG will be the most favoured of the two having won a trial in fine fashion at the end of June. (8) ACE CRUSH too ran well in his trial, finishing behind a pair of experienced horses while beating other newcomers. (4) B.K. THUNDER looks best of the rest.

Selections (3) Yeonggwanguicheon (2) Mujeok Yeongung (5) Gimabudaejang (4) B.K. Thunder
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 2, 3

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(5) CHEONHAUI KKUM has race eleven times and is yet to finish any better than 3rd but he comes in with recent form reading well having managed a 5th and two 4th place finishes from his latest three in similar strength company to this. He can settle behind the early leaders and may well pass them all late on. (1) MONEY BLACK HOLE is the only one in the field who has a 2nd place finish to his name, achieved over a mile in May. He was well-backed for his re-appearance dropped back to 1200M last month and while he never really got involved – and lost a shoe along the way – could be better at slightly further today. (2) BAENGNYEON JIJON ran a good 5th on debut on May 25th and can build on that under a top jockey today. (8) TOJONG CHAMP and the solitary debut-maker (9) CHALLANHAN MISO, are other who should be in the hunt.

Selections (5) Cheonhaui Kkum (1) Money Black Hole (2) Baengnyeon Jijon (9) Challanhan Miso
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 1, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

On the strength of a 2nd place over 1200M in June, (7) I’M YOUR STAR was sent off as favourite for his latest start at that same distance two weeks ago. He didn’t get off to a great start that day and then became stuck in kickback which made him run wide around the turn and he ended up in 4th. He’s given a bit more distance today which could well suit, and he gets another chance. (6) SILENT PARK is another for whom the extended (more…)

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Some Thoughts on the KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore This Coming Sunday

The Korea Racing Authority Trophy will be run at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore on Sunday and for the fourth year in a row, Korean horses will be taking part. The record of those who have made the trip in previous years is somewhat less than stellar so can Today, Gakbyeolhan and Approach do differently this time around?

The trio hve been at Kranji for almost a week now and the Singapore Turf Club has an excellent write up of their progress as well as an interview with Franco Da Silva, who will be partnering Today in the 1200M race, which is worth S$250,000.

First the history, and it’s not good from a Korean perspective. 2015 saw the inaugural running of the race with Gamdonguibada, Cheon Gu and Nobody Catch Me making the trip. Cheon Gu led  into the home-straight before tiring and being passed. Gamdonguibada, perhaps predictably for a miler dropping down to six furlongs, took a while to get going and never really fired, beating just one. Nobody Catch Me, however, ran on well for 6th place, just over four lengths behind the winner.

In 2016, it was the turn of Always Winner, Triple Five and Parang Juuibo with the latter of them being the best finisher, matching Nobody Catch Me’s 6th. Last year neither Choegangja, who was highly thought-of going into the race, nor Zentenary – who was less so – were able to make much impact, with Choegangja coming back with heat-stroke.

While the surface is evidently very different, that alone is insufficient in explaining away the hitherto poor performances; Korean horses have run well on dirt in Dubai, albeit with a longer acclimatization period. The tempo of the races is also something that tends to test Korean-trained horses when going overseas with a higher “cruising speed” required rather than the “go as fast as you can from the gate” tempo that tends to be prevalent here. They’re capable of doing it but it isn’t easy – Power Blade, for example, ran very well in Dubai but he was an exhausting watch with his rider having to contantly battle simply to keep him in contention.

So can this year’s trio make an impression? On paper, we should be very excited about Today (Drosselmeyer) and if the race was on the Korean sand, he would be the favourite. And if he takes to the polytrack even slightly, then he should be right in it. Paper isn’t polytrack though. A winner of 10 from 13, the one concern is that when Today finally met top class opposition in the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul in early June, he came up slightly short running 3rd behind Doraonpogyeongseon and Choegang Schiller – both very accomplished sprinters. It was also his first time racing away from his home track of Busan. Da Silva rode him for the first time that day and explained that he didn’t feel the horse was as balanced as he could have been but still ran well.

In Today’s favour, he is still relatively young at four and with just those thirteen starts behind him, is perhaps not so set in his ways as to find it impossible to adapt to a different tempo of race running. He is very nicely drawn in gate 7 but he doesn’t need to lead from the start. This is a horse who has run 1:11.1 for the 1200M on the sand of Busan and 1:12.5 when carrying 58kg, a half kilo above Sunday’s assignment. He can post a competitive time on the polytrack.

A stablemate of Today, Gakbyeolhan (Big Brown) was a standout juvenile who won four of his first five races. He then missed more than a year through injury, returning in the middle of his four-year-old season in June 2017. He’s won twice since coming back but both of them have been in the last four months over 1800M and 2000M respectively. Dropping back to a sprint distance today makes for a bit of an unknown but he will be expertly piloted by Fergus Sweeney, who rides in Singapore for the first time. Gakbyeolhan can give a good account of himself although expectations will not be high.

Approach (Pico Central) beat Gakbyeolhan on the way to his latest victory on what was his most recent start back at the beginning of May. That was over 1800M and he hasn’t raced at Sunday’s distance since his second ever start all the way back in October of 2014. That doesn’t mean he can’t sprint, but once a horse gets up to class 1 in Korea, there are more oportunities around two-turns. As with Gakbyeolhan, a creditable showing is a realistic target. Lee Hyo Sik, who has ridden Approach in his latest two starts (and has won on Today as well), rides.

Both Da Silva and Sweeney have picked up outside mounts and so will be familair with race riding on the track before the Trophy race. As for the Singapore horses, they look as competitive as ever in the race which will jump at 17:05 local time. Based on previous experience with Korean horses in Singapore, where even the ones with expectations upon them have come unstuck, it would be easy to toss out the chances of any of them. However, taking this set of three in isolation, we can be cautiously optimistic about Today at least, holding his own.

 

 

 

Special Stone Wins The 2018 Korea Oaks

Special Stone has won the 2018 Korean Oaks. The Limitless Bid filly, sent off as a 22/1 chance among the sixteen-strong field, raced away to win the fillies’ Classic by a clear seven-lengths, ridden by trainer Kim Jeong-jun for Seoul trainer Kang Hwan-min at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Special Stone Korea Racing Authority

Special Stone wins the 2018 Korean Oaks under Kim Jeong-jun (Pic: Korea Racing Authority)

In a race that always looked fiendishly difficult to predict, Yeonghui Sidae was ultimately sent off as a very slight favourite, ahead of Blue Flag, Gyohaksangjang and Yeongcheon Derby. None of them would get close though with Blue Flag the best of the in 4th. By the time she crossed the line, jockey Kim Jeong-jun was celebrating his biggest career win to date.

Special Stone began steadily as an overly keen Star Cat set the early pace. Jockey Kim kept his mount to the rail and the pair steadily gained ground in the back straight, improving to 2nd on the turn for home. Once they hit the straight and others swung wide, Special Stone found the front and then found another gear, leaving the rest trailing far down the track.

Seoul horses completed an unlikely 1, 2, 3 with Firewind coming home in 2nd and Seouri Byeol beating out Blue Flag in the photo-finish for 3rd, the Tierce paying out on that combination at 25850/1.

Trainer Kang Hwan-min only took out his license a year ago and has now won a Classic having had only slightly over 100 starters.

Special Stone is by Limitless Bid, a Korea-based Japanese-bred stallion by Sunday Silence. He is out of Grey Stone, Korean-bred mare who did her racing at Seoul, winning 2 of 28 starts between 2010 and 2013. Special Stone was her first foal. Grey Stone was by Walkslikeaduck (Blushing John), who was imported to Korea in 2002.

Korea Oaks (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 15, 2018

1. Special Stone (KOR) [Limitless Bid – Grey Stone (Walkslikeaduck)] – Kim Jeong-jun – 22.9, 7.6
2. Fire Wind (KOR) [Colors Flying – Chukje (Bellamy Road)] – Jeong Jeong-hee – 5.7
3. Seouri Byeol (KOR) [Limitless Bid – Busanui Byeol (Generous)] – Parl Eul-woon – 16.3
Distances: 7 lengths / 0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Blue Flag 5. Gyohaksangjang 6. Yeongcheon Derby 7. Catch Nine 8. Mone Flying 9. Yeonghui Sidae 10. Peace Tour 11. Queen Of Captain 12. Magic Ten 13. Yuhwi 14. Star Cat 15. Uju Daewang 16. Nike Street

Korean Oaks Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview for Seoul & Busan (July 15)

It’s the Korean Oaks! The 2018 edition of the filly Classic takes place at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and has attracted an ultra-competitive sixteen-strong field to do battle over 1800M. The horse-by-horse preview is below as is race-by-race for both Busan and Seoul. Busan has 6 Sunday races from 12:40 to 17:10 while Seoul runs 11 from 10:45 to 18:00.

Yeongcheon Derby

Yeongcheon Derby, seen here winning a big juvenile race last year, is one of the major contenders for the Korean Oaks (Pic: KRA)

Busan:

Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(5) HOTHAE and (7) A PURE GOOD MAN came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on June 10th. There was very little between them that day and that could be the case once more, this time with them battling it out for top honours with A Pure Good Man slightly favoured to get what would be his maiden win. (9) MACHO MYEONGUN was 4th that day but others may be more dangerous today. Peter Wolsley’s (1) THUNDER STRUCK was 2nd, albeit a long way back behind a good winner, at the distance on June 15th and should benefit from Fergus Sweeney riding today. (10) EURO SHINHWA is up in class following a goof win at this distance last month and can be competitive. (4) DAEDONG GISANG was slightly disappointing last start but come in following a couple of months off and can be given another chance.

Selections (7) A Pure Good Man (5) Hothae (1) Thunder Struck (10) Euro Shinhwa
Next Best 4, 6, 8
Fast Start 1, 4, 5, 7

Race 2:  Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A winner on debut back in January, (1) MR. SCAT has subsequently been beaten twice when favourite, running 4th and 3rd in his latest two at 1200M and 1400M respectively. We’re going to persevere with him today, however, and it really should be third time lucky here. He’ll be close to the early pace and should be too strong late on. (8) COOL MINT finds himself up in class after back to back 2nd places. He hung outwards last time and if he can correct that today, can get close. (7) EXPRESSIVE demonstrated even worse manners when finishing 6th when favourite four weeks ago. He’s definitely talented though and will be backed to put things right here. (4) WHITE POINT has been slightly inconsistent recently but is rarely far away and the jockey change today could tempt. (3) BIG RED IJI resumes after a couple of months off and can get close.

Selections (1) Mr. Scat (7) Expressive (8) Cool Mint (4) White Point
Next Best 3, 9, 2
Fast Start 1, 8, 11

Race 3: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) ORYONG comes in looking for a hat-trick of wins having prevailed over 1600M and 1300M in May and June. The latter was at this class and while he hung in throughout, was a comfortable enough winner and he’ll be hard to beat again. (9) STAR LINE enters having run a good 2nd at class and distance on June 10th and should be close again while (3) FINE POWER and (4) WINDY PARK both come in after running 4th in their latest efforts, the latter beaten by (11) EOROK at this distance. All three have placing chances here with Fine Power most favoured. (6) PRIME RACE is another who has been beaten by Eorok in recent outings but is form has picked up in his latest two with 2nd and 3rd and he is another who shouldn’t be too far away.

Selections (7) Oryong (6) Prime Race (11) Eorok (9) Star Line
Next Best 3, 4
Fast Start 1, 4, 8

Race 4: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(3) BANJIUI YEOJEONSA was a strong 2nd over 1400M last start on June 17th, continuing her recent upturn in form and a similar performance today can get her home in front. (7) V MAN has the scalps of several of these, including Banjiui Yeojeonsa, in his recent record. His latest race can written-off after he made a bad start and later lost more ground when clipping heels with another and he can be in the mix today. (2) CAPTAIN GUY is another of those who has finished behind V Man. That was on his latest start all the way back in April. He comes in here fresh and with chances to improve – earlier this year, he finished 5th of 8 in Busan’s Classic Trial and does have some ability. (4) JAYU DAERO and (5) WIN GO MAN look best of the rest.

Selections (3) Banjiui Yeojeonsa (7) V Man (2) Captain Guy (5) Win Go Man
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 2, 6

Race 5: Class Open (1800M) The Korean Oaks (KOR G2) / Allowance / KRW 600 Million

  1. YEONGHUI SIDAE – The Hansen filly has won six of eleven starts up to a mile. She comes in having finished 4th at class 2 over 1400M on June 22nd but had a poor trip that day having been slow away. She will want to get on pace early here and if she does, she has a chance.
  2. SPECIAL STONE – Has won twice already over 1700M if only up to class 4 at Seoul. Beat Mone Flying comfortably last start. Trialled well at the end of June, distance suits and it’s not impossible. Wants to be close to the speed.
  3. MONE FLYING – Second trip to Busan having finished 7th in the KRA Cup Mile in April. Only one start since, running 2nd to Special Stone over 1700M in May. Settles towards the rear and a bit to find here.
  4. QUEEN OF CAPTAIN – Solitary victory was at 1000M last September. Has never raced at further than 1300M and enters off 2nd place at that distance at class 5 last time. A lot to find.
  5. YUHWI – One win from eight came at 1000M and she’s still rated at class 5. Latest was 3rd place at a mile a month ago and this is considerably stiffer.
  6. CATCH NINE – Stepped up to a mile for her latest start on June 3rd and got her maiden win at the fifth time of asking. It was an impressive performance and there’s nothing to suggest the extra distance won’t suit. Hasn’t raced above class 5 but has plenty of potential. Likely to be on the early pace.
  7. STAR CAT – Class 3 winner over 1400M at Seoul a month ago, her third win on her eighth start. That was the furthest she’s run so the distance will be new for her, but a top jockey comes down from the capital to ride.
  8. UJU DAEWANG – Won three consecutive races between December and March and ran well when 3rd of 7 on her first try at this distance on June 10th with Blue Flag behind her in 4th. She led for much of that race before being passed at the top of stretch and fought on gamely.
  9. PEACE TOUR – Three wins from eleven came in consecutive races between February and April and she enters after back to back 3rd place finishes over 1200M and 1300M at class 4. She’s been versatile in her tactics so far and could have more improvement in her.
  10. BLUE FLAG – “Full” sister to Gyeongbudaero, the 2014 Grand Prix Stakes winner, she began her career with four consecutive wins up to a mile and class 4. Her two class 3 outings have seen her come up short though, both times as favourite and he was beaten by Uju Daewang at this distance last time. The form being overturned can’t be ruled out.
  11. GYOHAKSANGJANG – Stablemate of Blue Flag, she was a good winner over a mile at class 4 in April. Stepped up to this distance on May 11th and ran 2nd to the exciting four-year-old Rock Hard Seven. She was well beaten but that was no disgrace and she will be expected to go very close here for a trainer who has won the race five times.
  12. MAGIC TEN – Won four of her first five starts up to 1700M but has met her match at class 3 in Seoul. Weakened to 6th having led last time out at 1700M, she will need to improve here.
  13. SEOURUI BYEOL – Well beaten in Seoul’s Classic Trial, back in March but has come back into form in three outings since then, culminating in a win over 1400M on June 10th. Has raced at 1700M in the past although didn’t impress and likely plenty to find here.
  14. NIKE STREET – Burst onto the scene with an emphatic win last autumn but was beaten in her only two subsequent runs as a juvenile before being out for six months. She’s run well since returning though, winning both of two starts, including last time at 1700M. A chance under former top Busan jockey Kim Yong Geun.
  15. YEONGCHEON DERBY – Half-sister to 2015 Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace. Four wins from five starts with her only defeat coming in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown against the colts. Dropped back to 1400M for her re-appearance which she won, she has won at a mile before and the distance should be fine. She is a front-runner though so will need to overcome the wide draw.
  16. FIRE WIND – The only filly to have taken her chance in the Derby – she finished 7th – she is a class 3 winner at this distance in Seoul. The draw is not ideal, but it can be overcome, and she has a real chance here.

VERDICT: Wildly competitive race which could go any number of ways. All things considered, from what we’ve seen so far, (15) YEONGCHEON DERBY is probably the best horse in the race – not many of the others could have got as close as she did in the KRA Cup Mile – but that doesn’t mean she’ll win. Her first time at the distance and needing to overcome a wide draw to get to where she wants to be counting against her, but class may well win out. The Kim Young Kwan factor could see (11) GYOHAKSANGJANG beginning as favourite and she should be spot on for this while his (10) BLUE FLAG has strong claims too as does (8) UJU DAEWANG, who beat her last time out. Up from Seoul, (14) NIKE STREET looks a big danger. We’ll go with (1) YEONGHUI SIDAE though. Not yet proven at the distance but she has beaten some good horses and ran on really well despite the poor trip last time. It could be a first Classic winner for her sire Hansen.

Selections (1) Yeonghui Sidae (15) Yeongcheon Derby (11) Gyohaksangjang (14) Nike Street
Next Best 10, 8, 16
Fast Start 2, 7, 8, 12, 15

Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(9) KING OF ACE set off in front of Cheongdam Dokki in the Busan Mayor’s Cup over 1800M two weeks ago but ended up reeled in well before the line and finishing 7th of 13. His is a career that has been beset by injury, but he gets dropped back to a sprint distance today and should be a very different prospect to when he was beaten by several of these on his return from his latest layoff in May. With a good start – which he didn’t get that day – he can win. (4) ADELEUI CHUKJE finished 3rd to King Of Ace at a mile in early June and can go close today. (1) BANJIUI JEWANG was further back in that race but was a class and distance winner as recently as May and can be considered. Similarly, (2) SUCCESS (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 14)

A familiar face will be in action on Saturday as jockey Masakazu Tanaka returns to Korea to take up an initial four-month engagement at Seoul Racecourse. There are 11 races from 14:00 to 21:00.

Masa Tanaka

Masa Tanaka (Pic: Busan Ilbo)

Now 34, Tanaka, who has spent the majority of his career riding in New Zealand, joined Busan Racecourse in June of 2013 and returned solid results, riding 24 winners in his first seven months up to the end of that year.

2014 was challenging for the Japanese rider, but Tanaka still emerged with 29 winners from 330 rides. It would be in 2015, however, when his persistence paid off and he became acknowledged as one of the top jockeys in the country. He rode 49 winners that season, taking him to 5th place in the jockey championship.

Although he couldn’t secure a Stakes race victory, he landed a 3rd place on New York Blue in the Asia Challenge Cup in 2014 and the following year another 3rd, on Ildeung Hanghaesa in the President’s Cup, at that time Korea’s joint-richest race. He left Busan having ridden 101 winners from 907 rides and returned to New Zealand where he has been riding since.

Tanaka, who this time will be based in Seoul, has four rides in the capital on Saturday but the odds are against him making an immediate winning return although some of the other foreign jockeys at the track should be in the winner’s circle at some stage with Johan Victoire, Manoel Nunes and Antonio Da Silva all on plenty of live mounts.

The day’s feature is a class 2 handicap over 1800M (race 10). Samjung Tapit, Thunder Light and Tosconova Cat, who came home 2nd, 4th and 6th respectively in last month’s TJK Trophy will be among the favourites in an ultra-competitive eleven-runner race.

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Just seven runners to kick us off with and it’s as weak a maiden as you’ll find. (2) HANIL GANGJA ran reasonably well in three outings around the turn of the year before being taken lame. He returned to training a couple of months ago trialling up in early June in good order and he should have far too much here. He will try to lead from gate to wire although he will be challenged for the early lead by (4) GOODCHOICE, who has show a couple of glimpses across eight outings so far and should be aiming for a career-best finish here. (6) SAND CHAMP has only raced twice so far, and the jockey booking makes one take note here. (5) JEONGMUN Y and (7) SUNSHIN MARINE the others with scope for improvement.

Selections (2) Hanil Gangja (4) Goodchoice (6) Sand Champ (7) Sunshin Marine
Next Best 5, 3, 1
Fast Start 2, 4

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

The second maiden of the day is only marginally stronger than the first. (2) DAESEUNG AGAIN is the clear standout having run 4th and 3rd in his first two starts. He came close to making all last time, just being headed in the closing stages and this time can go all the way. (1) DALLYEORA RAON steps back to the minimum trip following a decent 3rd place 1300M last time. He’s also returning from seventeen weeks out and can go well first-up here. (4) GWANGPOK JUHAENG and (5) SO ARA DAEWANG have both demonstrated progress over their limited starts so far and while for both, this is slightly harder than their latest assignments, both can be competitive.

Selections (2) Daeseung Again (1) Dallyeora Raon (4) Gwangpok Juhaeng (5) So Ara Daewang
Next Best 3, 6
Fast Start 2, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Japanese jockey Masa Tanaka, who rode 100 winners at Busan in a previous Korean stint, makes his debut as full-time Seoul jockey here but the Japanese rider may have to wait a little longer for his first winner as his mount in this juvenile maiden, (1) CHEONJI GISANG, won’t be among the favourites. That’s not to say the colt did badly in his trial though, but it’s a competitive affair. Three have raced before and of them, (6) CHANGPA was a solid 4th on June 16th, running on nicely and if she has come of for the run, she’ll be the one to beat. Among the first-timers, (7) GUREUM WANGJA and (9) UP LIGHT looked most impressive in trials. The pair of them will likely join Changpa on the early speed and all three should still be involved at the business end. (4) JACOB and (8) RAYMOND are others to keep an eye on and as ever in races like this, watch the market for clues.

Selections (6) Changpa (7) Gureum Wangja (8) Raymond (9) Up Light
Next Best 4, 1, 11
Fast Start 6, 7, 9

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(1) BODEURAM and (3) WAIT AND SEE are both up in class after maiden wins at the distance last time. Both are from in-form stables and both look to have more to offer at this level with the filly Bodeuram slightly favoured to make the step up faster. Main danger to both is (4) ARGO GALLOPER. He remains a maiden but now has three 3rd place finishes and a 2nd place at this distance. The 2nd came last time out when he was well-beaten by a good winner having led early on but still finished comfortably ahead of the rest and should be a factor here. The experienced (8) PERFECT BIC C was 4th behind Argo Galloper that day but can run closer here. (7) JUNGJEON MAMA returned to racing (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 13)

It’s Oaks weekend at Busan and while the big race is on Sunday, things get underway with a 10-race Friday card from 14:30 to 21:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(4) OCEAN PHOENIX ran a decent race on debut at this distance at the start of June and should come on here with solid claims to win. He’ll settle behind the early leaders and can finish well. (7) ROYAL CLUB started poorly and then suffered in kickback when relatively well-supported last time. He has shown ability though and if he can get away to a good start today, he can go very close. (1) BAEKDU JANGSU offered precisely nothing across his first two outings but was a much-improved 2nd when tried at this distance for the first time four weeks ago and he can build on that here. (3) GIJEOGUIMYEONGSEONG ran very promisingly on debut all the way back last September but only ran once more before being out for nine months. He trialled up well at the end of June and can be backed first-up. There are two debut-makers and of them, (9) GOLD TREE has a top trainer/jockey combination and looked competent in trials.

Selections (4) Ocean Phoenix (7) Royal Club (3) Gijeoguimyeongseong (9) Gold Tree
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 7

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

Two-year-old maidens here hence the enhanced prize-money. Just two of them have run before and (7) POWER WINDY is likely to be strong favourite. He ran a very solid 3rd on debut in a similar race three weeks ago and the experience should see him in good stead. He led in that race from the gate and can do so again – without being caught this time. (6) TROPHY COLLECTOR debuted in the same race on June 22nd and while he only beat three home, didn’t run badly after a slow start and he can improve here. Of the first-timers, (5) FRIDAY is from the track’s top stable and is out of a Korean Derby winner and will get some backing. Others impressed a little more in trials though, with (2) SINBIHAN YEOIN and (4) YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT looking most likely.

Selections (7) Power Windy (2) Sinbihan Yeoin (5) Friday (6) Trophy Collector
Next Best 4, 1, 3
Fast Start 1, 7

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Since returning from five months off in early June, (3) INTERCEPTOR has run well twice, coming 3rd over this distance three weeks ago, beating a couple of these in the process. He’s one of a number with a chance in this competitive contest. (4) THE FACT and (6) HORTENSE too come in off the back of 3rd place finishes on what was their respective second and first starts. Both should be firmly in the frame here. Hortense is likely to be on the early pace along with (7) ROYAL BLUE. Thomas Gillespie’s colt has been close in four of his five starts so far and just missed out by a nose at 1200M on June 1st. He can go well here under a brand-new apprentice, who is claiming 4kg.  (8) MIRACLE ALICE hung outwards throughout her last start but still managed to finish 5th and with manners no doubt better today, she can get closer.

Selections (4) The Fact (3) Interceptor (6) Hortense (8) Miracle Alice
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 1, 6, 7, 8

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

After a nondescript trial, (6) VICAR BLADE ran on very nicely for 2nd on debut over 1200M, pushing the talented Christiano all the way to the line. It’s been seventeen long weeks since then, but he returns here surely ready to get his maiden win. He’s not necessarily going to be a fast starter but with the extra half-furlong today, should have too much. (9) PEACE RIDER finished four lengths behind Vicar Blade that day. He’s race three times since and has acquitted himself well each time and can get close once more. Aside from those two, we’re looking for improvers. (10) HWANGGEUM BEOLMA did indeed improve last start, registering a 4th place at this distance in what was arguably a deeper field than this and can aim to at least match today. (2) GEODAEHAN WONSEOK and (5) GOLDUI INYEON should contest the early lead and both are capable of staying involved at the business end of the race.

Selections (6) Vicar Blade (9) Peace Rider (10) Hwanggeum Beolma (2) Geodaehan Wonseok
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 2, 5

Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Bart Rice’s (11) CLEVER WILLIE was a five-length winner on what was his second career start – a full nine months after the first – on June 24th. It was at this distance and while he is up in class and will be coming out of the widest gate, he’s very much the one to beat here. (4) DANCING BLAZE was a touch unlucky in running last start four weeks ago but still finished a very creditable 5th, proving he can be competitive at this class and he can build on that here. (5) HAEDONG YEOGEOL remains a maiden after twenty-two attempts but comes in off the back of a 3rd and a 4th in her latest two, both at class and distance (more…)

New Citadel Beaten On Return / Great King Rules At Busan

New Citadel was sent off as odds-on favourite on his return after six months out with a leg injury, but even though expected main rival Shamrocker was a late scratching, the four-year-old could only manage 3rd as Special Runner ran out the winner of Sunday’s Class 1 feature race at Seoul. The winner was ridden by Johan Victoire, completing a treble on the day for the French jockey.

An American import by With Distinction, New Citadel had won six of eleven prior starts in an injury-disrupted career and got closest to superstar Cheongdam Dokki in the KRA Cup Classic last autumn. His latest setback had seen him out since January, but punters believed he would have little difficulty seeing off a small field over 1800M. He was scarcely a factor though as Special Runner saw off the challenge of Wonder Bolt by half a length with New Citadel a further four-lengths adrift.

It was Special Runner’s first try at class 1 and seventh victory in total. For jockey Johan Victoire, it was a third winner on Sunday having earlier partnered Jungle Beat to victory in race 3 for Australian trainer Simon Foster and also guided filly Ecton Sinhwa to an easy win in race 8.

Victoire wasn’t the only foreign jockey to enjoy a successful weekend with Brazilian pair Antonio Da Silva and Manoel Nunes both among the winners at Seoul while Fergus Sweeney continued his impressive strike-rate at Busan. It wasn’t just foreign riders in the winner’s circle either as Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie’s Great King won Busan’s class 1 Sunday feature. The four-year-old Majestic Warrior colt was sent off as 5/1 chance for the 2000M “Road to Group 1” race and struck the front a furlong out to go on to score by a length and a half from Stealth and favourite Captain Force. It was Great King’s sixth career win and 25th of the year for Gillespie who lies joint 3rd in the Busan Trainers’ Premiership.

While New Citadel was unable to return to form at Seoul, on Friday at Busan there was a successful comeback. Ice Marine won last year’s Oaks trial at Busan and was sent off as favourite for the fillies’ Classic. She only finished 7th of 16 that day, returned lame and didn’t race again for almost an entire year. Having made a nondescript comeback on June 8th, she was rated no better than a 16/1 chance for Friday’s competitive Class 2 feature but, under jockey Song Keong Yun she flashed home late on the outside to pip Taeyangui Sinhwa by a neck on the line. If she can maintain that form, Ice Marine may be an interesting addition to the older filly and mare ranks, a division that isn’t especially strong.

 

This coming weekend, attention turns to the current crop of three-year-old fillies with this year’s Korean Oaks being run at Busan on Sunday.