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

The weekend’s Korean racing gets underway at Busan on Friday with 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:


It’s Friday. It’s Busan

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(10) BONINARA was a much improved 2nd on her second career start last month at this trip and she should push on here to make the breakthrough. She’s the banker favourite of the day but if she does come up short then (4) ANY GOOD DAY is the most likely to take advantage. She ran 3rd on debut three weeks ago, running on well and coming off the back off a positive trial performance in February, suggests she has plenty of potential. (1) YEONGGWANGUI KISS ran well on debut in December and while she didn’t impress on her return last month, she should have benefitted from that run and can be better today. (3) DAENARYS IJI and (7) MAJOR HIT others in the placing frame.

Selections (10) Boninara (4) Any Good Day (1) Yeonggwangui Kiss (3) Daenarys Iji
Next Best 7, 11
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 10

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

(2) FUNKY has improved across three starts so far, all at this distance, culminating in 2nd place a month ago. She will need to continue to make progress in what is quite a decent maiden, but she has a good chance. There are two debut-makers and (4) RAPTOR CORE looked nice and competent when winning a trial last month. It was on a wet track so the time may be a touch artificially fast but there’s no reason why she can’t be in the hunt first up. (5) TWO TWO FIRE has finished no worse than 4th in three efforts so far and can continue that consistent run here while (3) CHODONG DAEJANG looks to be figuring things out after an improved ran last start. (1) JIGURYEOK PALPAL, another last start improver is best of the rest.

Selections (2) Funky (4) Raptor Core (3) Chodong Daejang (5) Two Two Fire
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 4

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(11) TOHAM IMPACT ran 2nd on debut on February 22nd and she can step up and go one better today. (12) NAEGA SAEGANGJA has finished no worse than 4th in three attempts so far and while he disappointed in wet conditions when odds-on favourite last time out, can be given another chance today. Those two look a cut above but (6) WONDERFUL IJI has shown steady improvement over three outings to date while both (9) USEUNG STORY and (10) FIGHT MAGIC have 3rd place finishes to their names already and shouldn’t be too far away here. (6) WONDERFUL IJI has also demonstrated some ability over three outings so far and can at least challenge for a place.

Selections (12) Naega Saegangja (11) Toham Impact (9) Useung Story (10) Fight Magic
Next Best 6, 8, 1
Fast Start 1, 10, 11, 12

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

(7) DOCTOR WEEK looked ready to win after a 2nd and a 3rd to round out last year. He’s gone a little cold in his latest two but shouldn’t be written off yet. He’ll be on pace again and hopefully this time can stick to his task a little better. (12) SUN MOUNTAIN wasn’t ready on debut last November but looked far more accomplished on his return four weeks ago. He finished 4th in arguably a better race than this and is a serious contender here. (3) ULTRA POWER beat a couple of these on his way to 6th place last start and looks set to go closer here. (10) CHANGE BACK debuted in that same race and didn’t do too much wrong. There are two debut-makers and (9) DONGBANG NARAE, who finally appears on the track at age 4, looked good in a trial two weeks ago.

Selections (7) Doctor Week (12) Sun Mountain (3) Ultra Power (9) Dongbang Narae
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 3, 7

Race 5: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Weak looking maiden here. (7) DYNAMIC BOLT and (2) DOCTOR MIMI finished 3rd and 4th with just a head separating them when they raced each other at this distance on March 1st. Both are likely to be on the early speed here and it would be a surprise if they weren’t competing the finish between them. It’s a toss-up between the two but we’ll go for Doctor Mimi to come out on top. (11) YEONGBONGSAN looks to have been figuring things out in his latest three and steps up in trip to a mile for the first time today with solid claims on a place. (1) SEONGSAN POWER and (4) WILD GERANIUM are other first-timers at the distance who could go close.

Selections (2) Doctor Mimi (7) Dynamic Bolt (4) Wild Geranium (11) Yeongbongsan
Next Best 1, 10
Fast Start 2, 7, 10

Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(6) BUGYEONG STORY got the best of a tight three-way finish at this distance on February 15th, defying her 36/1 odds. (1) USEUNG TICKET flashed home late and wide in that race, dead-heating for 2nd place, just a nose behind. The two of them should be competing for top honours once again here and we’ll go for Useung Ticket, drawn inside today, to overturn that form. (3) REALLY ONE and (4) RACHEL has just half a length separating them when they came home 5th and 6th at class and distance on February 24th and both (more…)


Sensational Silver Wolf – The Old Great Mare Is Just What She Used To Be!

The Great Australian Mare has done it again! No, not that one. Silver Wolf powered her way past all her rivals to win the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Chairman’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, her fourth Group race victory, and cemented her place as one of the most decorated race mares in Korean history.

Under a patient ride by Yoo Seung-wan, Silver Wolf still had eight in front of her as she entered the home straight, but once she found room and her stride, she motored past them all, going away to win by almost two lengths on the line. It was her fourteenth win in total and fourth Group triumph on what was her first start as a seven-year-old.

Pre-race most of the attention had been on the return of Cheongdam Dokki. Seoul’s highest rated horse was making his first start for Luigi Riccardi and first since down at 1200M in more than two years. With the feeling that s flat-out Cheongdam Dokki could have the race won before his rivals got anywhere near top-gear, the five-year-old was sent off as the odds-on favourite.

It was not to be for Cheongdam Dokki though. Not as sharp as others coming out of the gates, he looked slightly ungenerous and uncomfortable throughout although he did gather himself together in the straight, picking off several to finish in 5th place. He’ll be back and winning again.

As it was, Gaon Champ who set the pace. The Trainers’ Cup winner jumped slightly at the start and then hard to work hard to hold his rail position ahead of Panorama Show and Sinui Myeongryeong. He did that, holding the lead until the final furlong, ultimately ending up in 4th on what was his first taste of true elite company. Panorama Show, the last of the early leaders to succumb, was a revelation in 3rd place.

Perhaps the performance of the race came from runner-up Mask. As expected, last year’s Korean Derby 2nd place-getter didn’t quite have the early speed needed to sit just off the leaders and got shuffled back further than he would have liked and ended up hampered rounding the corner. Once he found his run in the home straight though, he was superb, getting the closest to Silver Wolf on the line and with only the winner and the closer Cheonjiga, who came from last to 6th in the final furlong and a half, matching him for speed late on. He can have a big say in the top races later in the year.

This time though the day belonged, as it has so many times before, to Silver Wolf.

Seoul Owners’ Cup Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 17)

The first Group race of the 2019 Korean season will be run at Seoul on Sunday and it could hardly be stronger as some of Seoul’s top performers step out over 1200M in the G3(KOR) SROA Chairman’s Cup (Owner’s Cup). They include Seoul’s top-rated horse, Cheongdam Dokki, champion mare Silver Wolf as well as up and coming stars Mask and Gaon Champ. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

Cheongdam Dokki Mayors

Cheongdam Dokki

A winner of twelve of nineteen career starts, Cheongdam Dokki is a force at any distance and the five-year-old kicks off his campaign having concluded 2018 by running 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes, a race in which he beat Dolkong, who is now at Meydan preparing to run in the Dubai World Cup. Since then he’s moved stables and makes his first start for Italian trainer Luigi Riccardi. Antonio Da Silva rides for the first time with the pair having looked sharp when smartly finishing off a trial in February. At his best, he will be very difficult to beat.

Silver Wolf is always difficult to beat. The mare, who won all three legs of the Queens’ Tour in 2017, beat Triple Crown and Grand Prix Stakes winner Power Blade on her way to victory in the Busan Ilbo Cup last year and although she came up slightly short in the very best company throughout the summer and autumn, she began this season with a strong win in the Donga Ilbo Cup over 1800M a month ago. Unlike many in this race, she doesn’t need to lead and if she gets a good trip, her class will see her very close.

As for the four-year-olds, last year’s Korean Derby runner-up Mask was an impressive winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup at the end of January, beating Sinui Myeongryeong, who also takes her chance here, by over two lengths. It was a strong performance and Mask is ideally drawn in gate 1 to sit behind the early leaders and come through powerfully in the latter part of the race.

Then there is Gaon Champ. Conservatively campaigned after suffering some setbacks – he’s only raced nine times in total, winning seven – he was last seen winning the Trainers’ Cup at this distance just before Christmas. While he hasn’t been spectacular, he has been consistently fast and may raise his game in his first test at the elite level.

Aside form the big-four there are plenty of others capable on their day, including last year’s victor Cheonji Storm and prolific class 1 handicap winner Cheonjiga. The grand old man of Korean sprinters is in attendance too although drawing gate 12 has done 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller no favours. Full previews of every race (with Busan Selections at bottom):

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

Quite a weak maiden to begin with and given that’s the case (9) AUSPICE, one of three debut-makers, must be given a chance. He led all the way in a competent looking trial two weeks ago and has nothing to fear first-up here. Of the ones who have raced before, (3) BLACK WINGWING and (10) YAHO M J CAT are the only ones to have registered top three finishes, both at this distance and they can be expected to be among the more fancied ones here, as can (2) RAON PATRICK who comes in after back to back 5th places and looks to have improvement in him. (11) INDEPENDENCE has weakened late on in his latest two over 1300M so may be better back at 1000M today.

Selections (9) Auspice (10) Yaho M J Cat (3) Black Wingwing (2) Raon Patrick
Next Best 11, 1
Fast Start 2, 4, 9, 10

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Maiden for three-year-olds only. (9) O PI M J is the likely favourite having run 2nd and 3rd in his latest two both at 1000M. He’s run on nicely both times and the step up in trip today could suit him. (5) WONDERFUL PANGPANG struggled at this distance last time but has had seventeen weeks off since. He previously managed 3rd place in a similar race to this and can at least match that today. (6) BAEKSAEK GWANGCHAE and (7) MENI SPEED came home 3rd and 5th respectively when they raced each other at this distance on February 16th and both look to have scope for improvement here. There are two first-time starters and of them, (2) DIXIE AGAIN, from an in-form stable, looks to have the best chance of making an immediate impact.

Selections (9) O Pi M J (2) Dixie Again (7) Meni Speed (5) Wonderful Pangpang
Next Best 6, 1
Fast Start 2, 4, 5

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

(1) PUNGMUNEURO disappointed when well-backed to break his maiden at this distance on February 21st. It was an eventful race, however, and he is probably worth giving another chance to here, based on his performance prior to that. (8) GWANGPOK JUHAENG did perform in that race, coming home a much-improved 2nd and he will be one of the main dangers here, as will (7) GEOTAP, an improved 4th last time out. Other than those we are scraping about a bit although (2) REAL GANGJA, who unseated his rider on his latest start, and (3) EDWIN have both hinted at ability and could go well here.

Selections (1) Pungmuneuro (8) Gwangpok Juhaeng (7) Geotap (2) Real Gangja
Next Best 10, 6
Fast Start 5, 8, 10

Race 4: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(3) NANGMAN STAR enters with recent form reading well at class and distance and following a 2nd and a 3rd from his latest two, can be backed to come out on top today. He’ll go back at the start but can finish strongly. Both (1) DELTA BROTHER and (2) HARD PRINCESS are up in class after maiden wins last time out. Delta Brother has far more potential form improvement and while it’s his first try at this trip, he should be a danger, likely leading from the start. (10) RAISE ME UP raised himself up into contention with a good 2nd place at class and distance last start, running on nicely to make up a lot of ground in the closing stages. (5) LUCKY BONGHWA and (6) BAEKDUI TAEYANG are others to consider.

Selections (3) Nangman Star (1) Delta Brother (10) Raise Me Up (5) Lucky Bonghwa
Next Best 6, 8
Fast Start 1, 7

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

(7) BANJIUI HAMSEONG is the one to beat here. He got his maiden win at the second time of asking in December and has since run in respectable 4th and 3rd place finishes at this level. He’ll be close to the pace from the start and should have too much. (2) MAGPIE is up in class having won over this distance a month ago. He will need to improve quite a bit but can’t be ruled out. (10) HANIL MAGIC was an improved 2nd at class and distance on February 17th and has placing chances again. (9) HEUNG KKAEBI and (11) INDY LADY have similarly proven themselves capable of finding the money at this level and should be in the hunt.

Selections (7) Banjiui Hamseong (2) Magpie (11) Indy Lady (9) Heung Kkaebi
Next Best 10, 4
Fast Start 2, 7, 9, 11

Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(6) MATCH QUEEN has won her latest two in fine fashion to get promoted to this class and she enters as strong favourite to complete a hat-trick of wins here. She’s made all in all three of her wins to date and should do so again. It’s going to be hard to beat her but (10) EMORY SOCKS looks best placed to take advantage of any slip-ups. She was found slightly lame after her latest outing three weeks ago but is fit now and drops back in trip today, which should suit. (1) SOULY MAJESTIC has only raced twice and hasn’t done too much wrong. She steps up in trip for the first time and can get closer to the money. (5) FINAL ESSENCE and (7) GOLD BLUE MAGIC are others in the placing hunt.

Selections (6) Match Queen (10) Emory Socks (1) Souly Majestic (5) Final Essence
Next Best 7, 2
Fast Start 2, 5, 6

Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(5) DEOBUREO SOOP will be strong favourite to score here. A class and distance winner in January, he then beat four of these on his way to 3rd place on February 16th, coming impressively from off the pace. He should have too much today. (8) SEUNGRI NARAE was 4th that day and is among the most likely to get close again while (9) STRONG RUNNER and (4) JEJUI HEUKSEON were further back but have both previously run very solid class and distance 3rd place finishes and are capable of going better here. Among those who didn’t go in that race, (3) MONSTER QUEEN looks to be the best.

Selections (5) Deobureo Soop (8) Seungri Narae (4) Jejui Heukseon (9) Strong Runner
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 10

Race 8: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(4) COVERGIRL JUSTICE is the new 1300M track record-holder having absolutely smashed the previous mark, albeit in very speedy conditions, at the beginning of February. She’s up in class and in distance here but is favoured to strike again, leading from the start. (9) DAEGUN JEPAE is also up in class following a maiden victory, in his case a battling win over this distance four weeks ago. He will join Covergirl Justice in competing for the early lead. (7) CHOEGANG GOSU has run creditably in two tries at this distance leading up to this and should go close while (6) LOVE IT and (12) BLUE MA STAR are others who should be challenging at least for places.

Selections (4) Covergirl Justice (9) Daegun Jepae (7) Choegang Gosu (12) Blue Ma Star
Next Best 6, 2
Fast Start 4, 5, 9

Race 9: Class Open “SROA Chairman’s Cup” (KOR G3) 1200M / Allowance / KRW 400 Million

  1. MASK – Won the Segye Ilbo Cup, a trial for this race at the end of January in commanding fashion coming from just off the pace. Well drawn to do the same and should sit just behind the early leaders. He’s in deeper water today but shouldn’t be far away.
  2. GAON CHAMP – Lightly raced but he’s won seven of the nine he’s taken on so far. Last seen winning the Trainer’s Cup just before Christmas. He’s not been asked to do very much so far but what he has, he’s done exceptionally well, and this could be a big year for him. The time off should have him just right and he can win.
  3. SILVER WOLF – One of the top race-mares to run in Korea, she returned to the winner’s circle with victory in the Donga Ilbo Cup over 1800M at the beginning of February. She’s won plenty of races at this distance too and is still among the best at Seoul at any trip. Others slightly favoured this time, but her class is not in doubt and it isn’t impossible.
  4. WINNER RED – Went through 2018 winless although in fairness tended to run in top-class company. Drops back to this trip for the first time since his debut all the way back in 2015. Won a trial last month but this is a hard ask. Needs a good start.
  5. PANORAMA SHOW – A touch disappointing in 6th when favourite over 1400M in January, he was getting plenty of weight when he won a class 1 handicap at that distance on February. He’s going to need to improve here.
  6. PARANG JUUIBO – Now a nine-year-old, recent form doesn’t inspire. He’s been winning trials but has been unable to repeat on the track. The booking of Alan Munro is a plus and with a fast start he can still beat a few.
  7. LEAD MONEY – She won the Jeju Governor’s Cup over 1400M last October but has struggled in two races since then, most recently well back behind Silver Wolf in the Donga Ilbo. Should appreciate the drop back in trip here if not necessarily the step up in company.
  8. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – Formidable at any distance, it’s a long time since he raced at this distance but that doesn’t mean much. Plenty of speed and overall the best horse in the race. This is though his first start since running 2nd to Triple Nine in the Grand Prix over 2300M and first for trainer Luigi Riccardi. Looked well in a trial last month and at his best, wins.
  9. CHEONJIGA – Has to be in the frame with three class 1 wins from his last four outings. On the flip side, he was getting weight all three times. He is a come from behind type and the race needs to set itself up for him. He will pass plenty, the question is just how many.
  10. CHEONJI STORM – The defending Champion. He put in one or two really strong performances last summer including 2nd to Cheongdam Dokki in the Busan Mayor’s Cup at a mile. However, he struggled in the latter part of the year and started this term no better when 6th behind Mask in the Segye Ilbo Cup. Trialled well two weeks ago but it will take more than that for him to be backable here. Bled last start.
  11. SUPER FLUID – Loads of potential but this may be a bit too much too soon. Finished 4th in a very quick Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy against fellow juveniles last autumn but is yet to be tested beyond class 3 company but he does get a nice light 53kg to carry.
  12. CHOEGANG SCHILLER – The eight-year-old is one start into a comeback and while he finished 8th behind Cheonjiga, he was carrying 60kg, a full 8kg more than the winner. He should have come on for that run and while the wide draw won’t help, don’t rule out him getting close.
  13. SINUI MYEONGRYEONG – Ran 2nd to Mask in the Segye Ilbo Cup in late January and has been beaten by Lead Money and Panorama Show in recent outings too. Rarely too far away but this is difficult.


Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 16)

There are 12 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00 including a big class 1 handicap featuring Stakes winners Road Winner and Sky Bay. Here are the previews:

road winner kra

Road Winner is in action on Saturday  

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(3) JEMA TEUKGEUP ran a very close 2nd on what was just her second career start on February 16th. She was close to the pace throughout and is the pick to improve and win this today. (6) SINBU was 2nd in that race on what was for her too a much-improved second start. She has four-lengths to make up and can get closer this time. (8) SIMON QUEEN was further back in that race, but it was her debut and she can build on it today. (5) GWACHEONUI BYEOL too got better on her latest start and can be in the frame. (7) QUEEN STREET was second on debut at the end of January and while this is a better race, a repeat isn’t impossible.

Selections (3) Jema Teukgeup (6) Sinbu (5) Gwacheonui Byeol (7) Queen Street
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 6

Race 2: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Competitive race here. (5) BROWN ROSE got her maiden win at class and distance on February 2nd coming from the middle of the pack to score by half a length. She carries a bit more weight today but could repeat. (3) RAON KEVIN was stepped up to 1300M for his first try at this level back in January but despite leading for much of the way, he weakened badly in the final furlong. Back down in trip today and following eight weeks off, he should be much better this time. He’ll be setting the early pace along with (4) OK DEURIM whose form maybe turning for the better after an encouraging 4th last time. The experienced (1) PARTY POWER is another who could go close in company likely this.

Selections (5) Brown Rose (3) Raon Kevin (4) Ok Deurim (1) Party Power
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 3, 4

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Another small but competitive heat of this class 5 handicap. (5) ACE TRIPLE was a good winner over the distance on a very wet track six weeks ago. He’s up in class today but should be on pace once more and he can repeat. (7) SEMYEONG GISANG is up in class too having scored in similar fashion last time and while he perhaps has a bit more to find, is firmly in the hunt as well. (6) WINT SEVEN never really recovered from a bit of bumping at the start on his latest outing and can go better today. (1) LAO JIN is one start into a comeback following five months off and can improve here. (3) QUEEN FORCE ONE is another who got a bad trip on her last start and could be better here.

Selections (5) Ace Triple (1) Lao Jin (7) Semyeong Gisang (6) Wint Seven
Next Best 3
Fast Start 1, 5, 6, 8

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens only here. (3) CHEONJI POKPUNG has been figuring things out in his latest two and while he was beaten seven-lengths into 2nd by a good winner a month ago, today could be his day. He’s well drawn to lead early and can go all the way. (8) GALAXY PEACE got a bad trip last time but still overcame it for an improved 5th on what was her first try at this distance and she may have more progress in her today. (4) DAE YEONGWANG has been knocking at the door for some time now and shouldn’t be too far away while (1) MASON, who stumbled at the start last time but still ran well, and (7) VICTORY KING are others who can at least compete for places.

Selections (3) Cheonji Pokpung (8) Galaxy Peace (4) Dae Yongwang (7) Victory King
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 2, 3

Race 5: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) DAEGUNUI CHANG has a 3rd and two runner-up finishes from three starts so far and he is the pick to make his breakthrough here. From the inside gate, he can get on pace early and can go all the way. (5) WORLD STARK looks to be the main danger. He was narrowly beaten in 2nd place in a tight three-way finish on January 26th at this distance and has every chance of pushing on today. (7) DAEGUNUI GEOM was sent up to 1700M for his latest start but got a dreadful start and was scarcely involved. He had previously shown some ability though and can be better here. (10) KEY FACTOR and (11) PREEM VISION are others who have shown enough to suggest they can be competitive.

Selections (1) Daegunui Chang (5) World Stark (10) Key Factor (11) Preem Vision
Next Best 7, 4
Fast Start 1, 7

Race 6: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A mixture of locally bred horses who have won their way up from class 6 against still untested imports. Of the locals, (6) BEST CHAPEL is up in class having run a solid 2nd over this distance at domestic class 5 in January. He’s had nine weeks off since then and can go one better here. (11) GREEN K has won three times already but after going cold at the turn of the year finds herself down in class today. She did though look good when winning a trial last month and today could suit. Among the imports, (9) THE SPIKER is (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview – Classic Winner Divide Wind Returns (March 15)

While Sunday will see the first Group race of the season in Korea when Cheongdam Dokki and Silver Wolf are among thirteen lining up for the G3 Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy, before that, one of last year’s Classic winners, Divide Wind, will make his return to action at Busan on Friday. There are 11 Friday races from 11:30 to 18:00.


Last year’s KRA Cup mile winner Divide Wind returns at Busan on Friday (Pic: KRA)

Having won the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup last March, Divide Wind went on to claim victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile in April. However, after finishing 4th to Ecton Blade in the Korean Derby in Seoul the following month, his season was over with a serious tendon injury. He came back into training around the turn of this year and has completed three official trials prior to taking his chance in race 10 on Friday, a class 2 handicap over 1400M. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Maiden fillies kick us off and (10) ACE BOOM has improved across four starts so far and ran in a good 2nd place at the distance on February 15th. She won’t need to improve much to win this. (5) QUEEN OF ADELE looks the only plausible danger. She ran an improved 3rd last time out and with a good start could cause some problems for the favourite. (4) QUEEN OF HEART too looks to be figuring things out and is another who can continue to make progress here. (2) TWO TWO SIMON and (11) TOUGH KHAN should be in the placing hunt.

Selections (10) Ace Boom (5) Queen Of Adele (4) Queen Of Heart (11) Tough Khan
Next Best 2, 9
Fast Start 4, 5, 10, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(4) TAMNA LIST wasn’t especially well fancied on debut on February 22nd but ran very promisingly indeed, finishing 3rd over this trip. That wasn’t a bad race at all and while she was well-beaten by the winner, with a bit of improvement, she can win here. (9) TRUE VALOR has also looked competent across two starts so far, both at this distance. He’s a half-brother of prolific winner Sart Valor and surely has a win in him before too long. (1) USEUNG JIKIMI and (6) GRAND JILJU have both hinted at ability and can challenge for places. There are two first-time starters and of them (2) PARTY LION looked the part in trials, running 3rd in a quick heat in early February. There’s a top jockey aboard and he should go very well first-up.

Selections (4) Tamna List (9) True Valor (2) Party Lion (1) Useung Jikimi
Next Best 6, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 6

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

(3) SILVER BEST comes in off a career-best 3rd place (dead-heating) at this distance on February 15th. He came from well off the pace that day and he may need some look here but with a good trip, he can step up and win. (9) FOX COLORING never threatened and only managed to finish 6th when favourite over a mile four weeks ago. He was 2nd on his last try at this distance, albeit in weaker company than this, and he should be a threat today. (10) NEW QUEEN showed a big uptick in form last time out, running 2nd at this distance and while this is slightly stiffer, she can build on it here while the Bart Rice pair of (1) CRYSTAL ROSE and (6) FUSION PARK looks to be the others in the hunt with the latter possibly set to make the early running.

Selections (3) Silver Best (9) Fox Coloring (6) Fusion Park (1) Crystal Rose
Next Best 10, 12
Fast Start 6, 11, 12

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

(6) HALLA HWANGHU is up in class having secured his maiden win at the fourth time of asking at this distance a month ago. He’ll be on pace here again and can follow straight up. (2) GHOST RIDER shapes to be the main danger. He’s never been worse than 4th in four starts far and actually beat Halla Hwanghu over 1000M back in December. He was 3rd behind two promising ones last time and has a chance. (9) MORNING BRAVO is yet to win but has finished no worse than 3rd in his latest five outings. He can maintain both of those records today. (3) B.K. UNO and (7) ACE CRUSH, the latter up in class following a battling win over 1000M, are others in the hunt.

Selections (6) Halla Hwanghu (2) Ghost Rider (9) Morning Bravo (7) Ace Crush
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 6, 9, 10

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

(4) FRIDAY did little on debut last summer and wasn’t seen again for six months. He returned in February, a gelding, and promptly won over this distance. He’s up in class today but can be expected to have progressed and is the one they’ll need to beat here. (3) SUMMIT TODAY is next best. He didn’t do too much wrong when running 6th in similar company at this distance at the end of January and should improve for it here. (8) DAMYANG CHOEGANG is up in class off the back of consecutive runner-up finishes and can be competitive at this level. (1) TOWER CAPTAIN and (6) JAESAENGMYEONGNI look best of the rest.

Selections (4) Friday (3) Summit Today (8) Damyang Choegang (1) Tower Captain
Next Best 6, 9
Fast Start 4, 8, 9

Race 6: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Competitive race. (9) STORM GOLD gets the verdict by virtue of two runner-up finishes in two starts so far this year, both at today’s trip. He’ll want to get close to the speed from the start and if he can do that, he is the one to beat. (7) JEONGSU SIDAE is up in class (more…)

Dae Wan Ma, Yeonggwangui Secret Land Classic Trials

The first leg of the 2019 Korean Triple Crown is less than a month away with the KRA Cup Mile going to post at Busan on Sunday April 7th and with trials having been run at both Busan and Seoul this past weekend, potential contenders for that race and further down the line, May’s Korean Derby, are starting to come into focus.

2019년3월10일 스포츠서울배 대완마(오른쪽), 원더풀플라이(왼쪽 6번마)

Dae Wan Ma (red cap) gets the best of a tight finish in the Sports Seoul (Pic: KRA)

Last year’s champion juvenile King Socks is yet to make an appearance as a three-year-old and remains spelled at Jangsu Stud Farm, where he has been since winning the Breeders’ Cup at the beginning of December. In his absence, several others have been building up their credentials, including Dae Wan Ma, the filly who ran 2nd in that Breeders’ Cup race and who toughed out a gutsy victory in the Listed Sports Seoul Cup in the Capital on Sunday.

Winner of the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup in October, Dae Wan Ma began her year struggling over 1700M but back down to seven-furlongs she proved too strong, getting the best of a tight three-way finish that also involved Wonderful Fly and Gaon Force. While the Oaks looks the most winnable target for Dae Wan Ma, she looks in good shape for a serious Cup Mile tilt. Wonderful Fly was just a head back in 2nd place, his first defeat on his third start, while Gaon Force is already a winner at 1700M and has plenty of promise.

Finding the distance a touch too short perhaps was Myeongpum Chukje in 4th place. He was 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup and is already a class 4 winner over 1700M, making him perhaps the furthest along of all Seoul’s contenders. Meanwhile the fastest finisher in the field was the 5th placed Wonderful Evil, a stablemate of Dae Wan Ma in Seo In Seok’s barn. He is yet to truly convince though.

2019년3월10일 스포츠서울배 시상식_왼쪽에서 5번째부터, 한국마사회 김낙순 회장, 스포츠서울 유지환 대표이사, 서인석 조교사, 민형근 마주, 안토니오 기수, 한국마사회 김종국 경마본부장

Dae Wan Ma – and friends – in the Sports Seoul winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

Last year, the winner of Busan’s Listed Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup, Divide Wind, went on to claim the Cup Mile too. This year it was always set to be an open affair with seven of the eleven runners starting at single digit odds on the local tote. Ultimately, on a soaking wet track, few clues were offered although the manner of Yeonggwangui Secret’s victory puts him right in the Classic frame. A 7/1 chance, he came home late and wide under big-race jockey Lim Sung-sil to win by a length-and-a-half from Mighty Power.

The Bart Rice-trained Good Dancer came home in 3rd place and while a previous attempt at a mile didn’t go well, that run has put him back into the conversation. Success Party, who began the race as slight favourite, came home in 4th while the well-backed Gabo Day could only manage 7th. There was no joy at all for top trainer Kim Young-kwan. With King Socks away on the farm, his pair of Power Touch and Deep Mind could only manage to finish 9th and 10th respectively. However, Kim also trains Glitter, a colt who has won over a mile already and last and who one race earlier on Sunday ran 3rd over 1800M at class 3.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 10)

It’s Classic trial Sunday at both Seoul & Busan with the Sports Seoul Trophy in the capital (where there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and the Gyeongam Shinmun Cup down South (6 races from 12:40 to 17:05). Here are the previews (Busan selections below):

Dae Wan Ma Dokki Blade Gwacheon Mayor's Cup - KRA

Dae Wan Ma (far side) will be well supported in the Sports Seoul Trophy

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

(8) GAL IP has finished no worse than 4th in four starts so far and dropping back down to 1000M today, she really should make her breakthrough. She’ll be on pace early and can lead all the way. (3) I’M HAPPY and (4) FULL MOON OCEAN raced each other last time out and both have offered some hints of ability. They can challenge for places here. (5) SANGGAM CHEONGJA went well on debut at this distance and can do better than he did over 1300M last start. (10) CHEONHA YEOJE improved to 3rd place at 1300M three weeks ago and could potentially repeat here.

Selections (8) Gal Ip (4) Full Moon Ocean (3) I’m Happy (5) Sanggam Cheongja
Next Best 10, 7
Fast Start 4, 5, 8

Race 2: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(7) LITTLE BOY FLASH comes in off the back of consecutive runner-up finishes at 1300M. The most recent of those was a dead-heat when running on well on a wet track a month ago. He’s the only one of these who tries the distance for the first time, but it may well suit and he can win. It certainly suited (9) EVER THE CHAMP, who stepped up to this trip six weeks ago to record his best finish so far, beating a couple of these on his way to 4th. He should have come on for that and can beat plenty again. (4) TOGETHER HUG and (5) EAGLES GRIFTER have also shown some aptitude around two turns and may be considered for the places while the same is true of (8) MR. TURNER, who disappointed last time but was gong well prior to that and gets another chance here.

Selections (7) Little Boy Flash (9) Ever The Champ (8) Mr. Turner (4) Together Hug
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 3, 5

Race 3: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) DOUBLE GOLD was a somewhat surprising winner (as in 47/1 surprising, surprising) at class and distance on February 2nd. That was a big uptick in form and while he certainly warrants more respect today, we’ll go for that day’s runner-up (5) BLACK GINGA to overturn the form. She didn’t have the best of luck that day but still ran well, her recent form has been consistent, and she can finally make her breakthrough here. (9) SANGBIGUN has beaten Black Ginga as recently as January and the experienced six-year-old should be a threat here too. (3) BARAM KING and (7) FEATHER LIGHT, the latter up in both class and distance today, are others to consider.

Selections (5) Black Ginga (9) Sangbigun (6) Double Gold (7) Feather Light
Next Best 3, 10
Fast Start 1, 7

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(5) SLING STONE is up in class following a four-length win over this distance on February 2nd. That was his maiden win on his fourth start, and it had been coming. He made all that day and is favoured to do similar here. (3) GEUP HAENG MA and (6) RAON DOLPUNG are both still maidens but both are competent at the distance and can go close here. (2) DOUBLE A ran a much-improved 3rd when dropped back to this trip a month ago and can build on that today. (7) GOLD SEUTAK got a bad start last time and could improve today.

Selections (5) Sling Stone (3) Geup Haeng Ma (6) Raon Dolpung (2) Double A
Next Best 7, 1
Fast Start 3, 4, 5

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

(8) RAYMOND still hasn’t crossed the line first in eight starts, his solitary win coming when he was promoted to 1st after the “winner” was disqualified in a big juvenile race last September. He drops back in trip today following a decent 4th over 1700M and this time can come home on top. (1) GEUMA ZENITH too drops back in trip. He was a winner last time he tried this distance in December and should go close again. (2) FULL MOON SKY had a hard time on his first try at this trip three weeks ago but hopefully learned a bit from it a can go better here. (5) HAEDEULMOE and (9) TAEPUNG EYES are others in the placing hunt.

Selections (8) Raymond (1) Geuma Zenith (2) Full Moon Sky (5) Haedeulmoe
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 2, 5, 6

Race 6: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(12) GAENARI SONG is two for two and is up in class and in distance today. This is a significantly sterner test than he’s faced before but he looks to have plenty abut him. (more…)