Touch Star Man Lands Triple Crown Opener At Busan

Touch Star Man struck the front in the final furlong and held off all-comers to win the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the 2020 Korean Triple Crown, at Busan this afternoon.

One major contender had already fallen by the wayside earlier in the week when it emerged that Breeders’ Cup winner Roller Blade didn’t have the correct paperwork in order to enter. Another had to drop out ten minutes before the race when Determination reared up when parading and dislodging Alan Munro who was taken to hospital for x-rays on a suspected broken wrist (unfortunately this was subsequently confirmed).

That left Save The World as the leading contender but just as he had done in the Breeders’ Cup last December, the Menifee colt was slow out of the gates and was playing catch-up from the start.

That left outsider Golden Winner showing the way early with Thunder King and K N Road for company while Touch Star Man settled at the front of midfield. The former two would quickly capitulate in the home straight, but K N Road stuck gamely to his task as Touch Star Man and Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup winner Doctor Carson emerged as the main challengers.

Ultimately jockey Jung Do-yun would find a little bit more from Touch Star Man who went on to win by a length from K N Road with Doctor Carson a further three-lengths in arrears. Despite his dreadful start, Save The World ran a big race coming home in 4th.

Touch Star Man is by Testa Matta and out of Useung Touch (by Menifee). Useung Touch herself runner-up in the Korean Derby in 2011.

For jockey Jung Do-yun, the victory was his first in a Group race. For trainer Kim Young-kwan it was his fourth in this race alone following successes with Sangseung Ilro in 2009, Power Blade in 2016 and Divide Wind in 2018. Power Blade would, of course, go on to sweep all three legs of the Triple Crown.

The next leg of the Triple Crown is the Korean Derby which is currently scheduled for Sunday August 2nd over 1800M at Seoul.

KRA Cup Mile Sunday: Busan & Seoul Race-By-Race Preview (July 5)

It’s been a rocky road to the first three-year-old Classic of the season but against the backdrop of an existential threat to Korean racing with seemingly little prospect of either online or offline betting arriving any time soon, the KRA Cup Classic will finally be run at Busan this afternoon. There is a 5 race card at Busan with the big race at 3.30pm while at Seoul there are 14 races from 10.25 to 18.00.


Save The World enters the KRA Cup Mile as a leading contender

Fourteen horses will enter the gate but champion juvenile and one time Triple Crown favourite Roller Blade won’t be among them, after a 10,000/1 type administrative oversight meant he hadn’t fulfilled the qualification criteria.

It hasn’t been the smoothest of build-ups for another leading candidate Save The World either, with his trainer having sadly passed away in March.

Save The World does run and is set to be among the favourites as is Choegang Team who has only been beaten by Roller Blade in his five starts to date and looks to be the pick of the raiders from Seoul along with so far unbeaten Roan Tough Man. Gyeongnam Do Min Cup winner Doctor Carson is another in a race made all the more fascinating for the lengthy absence of racing at a time when the three-year-olds would have been coming into their own. Here are all the previews – scroll down for the KRA Cup Mile (Busan race 5):

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A tough race to kick proceedings off on Sunday with a lack of exposed form for punters to assess. (8) SHINY FIRE is the top elect based on a reasonable trial performance in April combined with what she showed at her first couple of starts. The Midshipman filly has shown early speed in her racing and should work forward early on. Expect it to be a slog up the home straight but we think she will be one of them left in the finish. (2) KKAEUCHIM can run into the money based on some reasonable performances before the hiatus. The four-year-old is yet to place from nine starts but this race has a severe lack of form. (1) SHADOW QUEEN has been included on the basis of a nice trial in recent times. She has had the one start where she showed very little but the trial was good and if she collects a cheque it would not surprise. (3) WOL YEONG I is another that trialed well but needs to bring it to race day.

Selections (8) Shiny Fire (2) Kkaeuchim (1) Shadow Queen (3) Wol Yeong I
Next Best 4, 5
Fast Start 2, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Not the strongest of maidens here. (1) HAMYANG SANGRIM sports two 3rd place finishes among seven starts so far and is at least capable of consistently running a competitive time. She didn’t catch the eye in an April trial but if Ha Jung-hun can work her to the front from the inside gate then she has a good chance of scoring here. (4) GEUMA MAJESTY is the only one of the field who has recorded a runner-up finish, something she achieved at this distance. She returned in February after nine months out to run a decent 4th, again over this distance and can go well first up once more. Neither (3) GAJA PLAN nor (9) OKAY JJANG offered much in their limited experience so far but both showed a bit more promise, the former especially, in recent trials and can improve today. That’s true too for (10) MAY BLUE, who does at least have a 4th place to her name and will be expected to work forward to the front from the outside gate.

Selections (3) Gaja Plan (1) Hamyang Sanrim (10) May Blue (4) Geuma Majesty
Next Best 9
Fast Start 1, 10


Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The Korean-bred three-year-old fillies line up in the third over 1200m. (3) RAPIDO ARES looks the one to beat based on a very solid debut performance. The Lion Metal filly finished third behind Lucky Myeongho on that occasion when hitting the line strongly. The step out to the 1200m looks ideal for her and she comes off a reasonable trial. (2) SAENAE CHOICE must be considered as a winning chance. She is a speedy type who has stuck on in her races honestly to date and with fresh legs she is one to keep safe in your selections. (5) HANIL MOA has been settling further back at her past couple of starts. She will be hitting the line strong late and looks a place chance at best. (7) GLOBAL SUN is on the two week back up after feeling the pinch late in her recent run. She should strip fitter for the run and looks capable of collecting a cheque.

Selections (3) Rapido Ares (2) Saenae Choice (5) Hanil Moa (7) Global Sun
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 2


Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Maiden fillies only tackling the 1200M. (1) DREAM GIRLS showed progress over three starts prior to the shutdown culminating in a 2nd place on February 22nd. All of them were at 1000M and all were in decent times. She confirmed her ability when trialing well behind Blessing Road in May and stepping up to 1200M for the first time, she can win and in a race with no early speed, can probably lead gate to wire. The form for the rest is patchy, to put it mildly. (7) ANYANG HORANGI has never finished any better than 4th but has posted some good times, albeit in rain-assisted tracks. She trialed up well – also in the wet – three weeks ago and can be competitive here. (6) WONDER PLACE too has been consistent if unspectacular and she too performed competently in her trial. (9) HARUON got sent out only slightly better than even-money when she raced at this distance in February. Punters must have seen something in her prior run when she clocked a useful time over the 1000M. She ended up finishing 5th but that form is enough to bring her firmly into placing contention today.

Selections (1) Dream Girls (9) Haruon (7) Anyang Horangi (6) Wonder Place
Next Best 4
Fast Start 1


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

A compact field of eight will go over the 1400m in the fifth event. (4) YEOLRIN MUN was a good last start winner over the 1200m back in February. The Any Given Saturday colt has had just the five runs for the win and two minors. The trial in April was average but he lined up against some handy types. (2) STREET GANGJA was a last start winner on debut. The Hongji gelding won by a clear margin but clocked a very slow time for the 1200m. The recent trial was good and with some improvement has to be considered a winning chance. (6) MISSILE CANDY is consistently around the mark and finds an assignment where the entire can collect some prizemoney. He comes off a last start fifth behind Gold Blue Magic when shortening stride in the final stages over 1400m. The drop back to the six furlongs suits and his trial was good. (1) RESKA looks next best after lining up in a tougher assignment last start when finishing fifth. Expect the Big Brown filly to sit behind the speed and motor late.

Selections (4) Yeolrin Mun (2) Street Gangja (6) Missile Candy (1) Reska
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 3, 4 ,6


Busan Race 2: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(2) CHROME MAGIC had started to lose his way somewhat in his last three outings prior to the shutdown so it may be that the enforced time off has done him some good. It certainly looked that way when he trialed up at the beginning of June, running 2nd in a fast heat to the class 1 Baengmunbaekdap. Moon Se-young is an intriguing booking aboard and he can win. (1) WONDERFUL COUNTRY and (8) DAEHO JILJU both returned to action two weeks ago, both (more…)

Saturday Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (July 4)

It’s KRA Cup Eve! The delayed 1st leg of the 2020 Triple Crown takes place at Busan on Sunday but before that, there is a bumper 15-race card at Seoul on Saturday. As ever these days, however, it will be run behind closed doors. The highly thought-of Eoma Eoma will run in the concluding race 15. Due to the Cup Mile, a number of top jockeys including Moon Se Young and Alan Munro are in Busan for the weekend and will not be riding at Seoul. Here are the previews:


Saturday will be another behind closed doors day at Seoul

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million 

The two-year-old debutants line up over the short course in the first where there looks to be some nice types. (5) MOST SPEED is the on top selection after a very speedy trial. The Federalist filly cruised along early before railing like a greyhound and winning by a big margin. The time was good and there looked to be more in the tank. (2) JILJU DAERO handed in a nice trial performance when crossing from the outside to take up the running. Under minimal urging the Gyeongbudaero colt went on to score in a soft trial. He has a good draw and will work forward, whether he can hold out the others we will have to wait and see. (7) HEUNGBARAGI looks to cover the ground with a nice action. The Old Fashioned colt won his trial in good fashion clocking a solid time on a wet track. Lee Joon-chel will need to find a position early on as he has plenty of others with early speed drawn inside of him. (6) LUCKY CLUB worked through the line well in his heat. He settled behind the leader before running through the line in good style. There will be no surprise if any of aforementioned four gallopers take out the opener.

Selections (5) Most Speed (2) Jilju Daero (7) Heungbaragi (6) Lucky Club
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 2, 5, 7


Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(7) MIR SKY has been sent off at three-figure odds in all three of her outings to date, but such is the weakness of this race, she actually has claims. Those come off the back of managing to finish 4th in her final start before the shutdown and then winning a trial in May in a reasonable time. She drops back to 1000M for the first time. Such is the level, that those who have been hapless on the racecourse so far but have got it together somewhat in subsequent trials must come into consideration. They include (5) CAPTAIN BRAVO and to a lesser extent, (10) HURRICANE SOCKS There are also three debut-makers who, given the circumstance, should also be given a chance. Among them (1) FINE HEART trialed up alongside some experienced horses. It was a slow run heat but he didn’t look out of place. (3) MASEONG HONSIN one paced but got through her latest effort competently enough. Meanwhile, (2) BIROE KING offered few clues across two trials but the jockey booking will tempt some.

Selections (7) Mir Sky (1) Fine Heart (5) Captain Bravo (10) Hurricane Socks
Next Best 3, 2
Fast Start 1, 4


Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million 

The three-year-old gallopers line up over the short course in the third event. (7) CUPID BISANG is the on top selection based on her most recent trial. The Thunder Moccasin filly sat on speed and worked to the line strong albeit passed by a couple. The winner of the trial was Raon Tough Man who lines up in the KRA Cup Mile and is yet to be defeated. The filly matched strides before the winner booted away, but she must be considered a big chance given the strength of this event. (2) RIDE LUCKY lines up for his second start after finishing fourth on debut back in November. The gelding showed a nice turn of foot running on strong to finish fourth behind Lucky Myeongho. (3) RAON HIGH has placed at two of her three starts but disappointed at her most recent effort when well beaten. She threw in the short strides from the furlong onwards last start and whilst the 1000m will be suitable in this event, options going forward will be limited if she cannot get at least the six furlongs. (4) SANTTEUTHANSEUCHIM trialed fairly in March and lines up for her fourth career start. This looks one of the easier assignments she has been placed in.

Selections (7) Cupid Bisang (2) Ride Lucky (3) Raon High (4) Santteuthanseuchim
Next Best 10, 11
Fast Start 3, 7


Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens here. (5) GREAT WAY improved across three appearances before the shutdown, culminating in 3rd place over 1400M on February 9th. The race was run in an utterly glacial fashion, but the filly has since shown that she has a bit of speed about her, putting in a very good trial in April. Expect her to be on pace and she has good claims to lead all the way from a good draw. (10) SAND POWER was 3rd behind Great Way in that February slog. It was his second consecutive 3rd place finish and while he perhaps doesn’t have the turn of foot required to win, he can hit the board again. The one they’ll need to beat though is (3) SOSEONO LEGEND. She debuted in extremely inauspicious fashion last October and didn’t re-appear again until a May trial. She looked much better in that, finishing a front-running 2nd. Her dam was a Listed winner in Korea and she’s closely related to Subsidy, who also loved this track. (6) CHEONJI BARAM was quickly beaten when returning two weeks ago but has hinted at ability in the past and may improve today. (7) YONGMARU GU can have a line drawn through his debut and he has performed consistently well in trials since then.

Selections (3) Soseono Legend (5) Great Way (7) Yongmaru Gu (10) Sand Power
Next Best 6, 8
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 12


Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

There appears to be a lack of speed in the fifth where the Korean-bred gallopers line up over the 1300m all looking for their first victory. (10) GEUMA FLAWLESS looks to have this in the bag already based on the chestnut’s placing last time out back in December behind New Moon Warrior. The three-year-old trialed a fortnight ago and clocked a good time winning the heat. (6) A. P. PATEK looks next best coming off a third behind Dongjjok Glory in January. The three-year-old trialed fairly in April and may be able map closer to the speed. He hit the line well at his most recent race start. (4) JEONGMUN PRINCE looks (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 3)

There was a brief glimmer of light at the beginning of the week when the government gave to go ahead to the professional baseball and football leagues to begin admitting spectators to stadiums from as early as this Friday. The hope was that this could be quickly extended to the racecourses where strict bio-security and distancing measures are ready to be enforced. That hope was quickly extinguished with the rise of new “cluster infections” in the middle of the week with baseball and football having immediately had their approval put on hold.

Accordingly, this weekend’s racing will once more be run without spectators and without betting, the latter of which is unsustainable for very much longer. The races, while unavailable to loyal Korean punters, are, however, available to overseas bettors through the usual simulcast partners. There are 15 races at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00.


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

A small field of eight first-time starters get Friday’s card underway, tackling the minimum distance of five furlongs. The fastest in trials was (8) KKOTGWA BARAM, who despite weakening late on, still managed to hold her own in a heat that included Baengmunbaekdap. The widest gate may not be ideal, but she most likely doesn’t need to lead, and she has fair claims here. (2) YEONGGWANGUICHUKJE also looked competent when trialing at the end of May, running on strong late to post a respectable time and to warrant consideration first-up. (5) MY STAR trailed up along with some decent horses and didn’t look out of place when recording a by no means poor time while (6) GALLANT WARRIOR and (7) DOCTOR TAKE also hinted at some promise and can give a good account of themselves.

Selections (8) Kkotgwa Baram (2) Yeonggwanguichukje (6) Gallant Warrior (5) My Star
Next Best 7, 1
Fast Start 8


Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The three-year-old maidens go over the short course in the second event on the card. (9) FANTASTIC BOY lines up for his debut performance coming off an eye-catching trial. The Old Fashioned colt was piloted by Lee Sung-jae when working through the line strong. He was given minimal urging by rider Lee and looked to have plenty left in the tank. (11) HALA NURI looks the main danger, trialing well in May. The filly was allowed to free roll by Cho Si-dae who rides her in the event. She did have one start back in January where she finished midfield. (7) SMART BIJIN improved at her second trial and looks a place chance. She is by Daishoten winner Smart Falcon and it may take a couple of runs to see what she really has to offer. (6) MUJEOK YONGBYEONG has had a couple of starts back at the turn of the new year. He improved at his second start to settle behind the leaders and finish off fairly.

Selections (9) Fantastic Boy (11) Hala Nuri (7) Smart Bujin (6) Mujeok Yongbyeong
Next Best 5,10
Fast Start 6, 9, 11


Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens line up here with seven of the twelve racing for the very first time. Of the five who have prior racing experience, (9) STING is the only one to have troubled the judges, running 2nd on what was his third career start in February on a muddy track over 1000M. He ran on pleasingly enough and the additional trip today has the potential to suit. Jockey Park Jae-I became a father for the first time on Wednesday and he has a fine chance on debut-maker (10) GEUMGANG JEONGGI. A solid performer across three trials, the first all the way back in January and the most recent just a couple of weeks ago, he looks very much ready to run. The jockey is likely to send him to the front from the gate and he could be the one they need to beat. (4) CHOEGANG HUNTER and (6) QUEEN FLYING both offered next to nothing in two and one prior starts respectively. However, in May trials, both looked to have befitted from the time off and should be much better prospects this time around. Among the other debutants, (11) MR. FUSION looks the pick.

Selections (10) Geumgang Jeonggi (9) Sting (4) Choegang Hunter (6) Queen Flying
Next Best 11, 7, 1
Fast Start 10, 11


Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The fillies line up over the six furlongs in the fourth where there appears to be only a handful of chances. (9) FASHION KEY looks a speedy type who can perform well fresh. She has lined up in stronger events than this and accounted for herself well. The trial was good, and she will have one of Busan’s best in Seo Seung-un on her back. (10) NORTHERN DREAM trialed up well back in April. She did place two starts back over the five furlongs and then backed it up with a fair performance in February before the hiatus. The concern is where she ends up from barrier ten. (3) BARAMEUI WOOLLIM lines up for her first start as a four-year-old. She won a trial back in February when qualifying in good time then finished midfield in a trial against the older horses. (4) HONOR QUEEN will have her second start after finishing midfield on debut over the 1000m. She never looked a winning chance but held her own, with some improvement she can run into the minor money.

Selections (9) Fashion Key (10) Northern Dream (3) Barameui Woollim (4) Honor Queen
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 1, 9


Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Maidens again here but plenty of form to go around. (1) PINEUI KKUM has finished no worse than 6th in six appearances so far with a best of 2nd. That came at 1000M, but he has finished 3rd at this distance as well. He has disappointed as favourite on a number of occasions, but he looked well in a May trial and this really should be his day. (8) ALPHA STAR ran 2nd on June 19th, well beaten by the very promising debut-maker My Queen. He should have come on for that run and gets a quick turnaround here. He’ll be on pace early and can go close. Looking to overcome being drawn in the car park to get to the front early will be (12) MILLION MAKER. He led for much of the way over 1200M on his second career start back in February only to get overhauled late on. He too looked well in a trial just last Saturday and presuming he didn’t leave his race in that heat, he has a big chance here. (10) ACE JACKPOT hasn’t shown much in the way of speed but has hit the board a couple of times at this level and has placing claims.

Selections (1) Pineui Kkum (8) Alpha Star (12) Million Maker (10) Ace Jackpot
Next Best 4, 6
Fast Start 8, 12


Race 6: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A compact field of maiden gallopers line up in the sixth where there is a lack of early speed. (2) CHEONNYEONUI GIL lines up for her sixth start after an average trial in May. The Tiz Wonderful filly has finished in the top five on four of her five starts including a last start third behind Gold Candy. She was beaten a big margin that day but Gold Candy does look to have ability winning at her next start by ten lengths in a stronger grade. (3) TIZ LINE appreciated the step up to the mile for the first time last start, finishing second behind Borne Matta. He trialed in April and only beat a couple home, with a slow time. We will include him on the strength of his last run. (7) BAEDARI CAPER is a twenty-nine start maiden but is capable of running into the minor money. He is drawn to sit midfield and have every chance of collecting a cheque. (6) TOP OF THE GIRL has mixed her form since starting her career in August last year but based on her trial in May where she clocked a good time, she is worth including.

Selections (2) Cheonnyeonui Gil (3) Tiz Line (7) Baedari Caper (6) Top Of The Girl
Next Best 9, 10
Fast Start 3


Race 7: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(6) MASTER KING was a good winner over 1300M all the way back in November last year. Although he didn’t get a chance to make his class 5 debut before racing was halted in February, he certainly looked the part when leading for most of a trial at the start of June. Look for him to get on pace early and potentially lead all the way today. (9) MAN OF THE WORLD’s final run before the shutdown saw him come home 4th when sent off as favourite over 1000M on February 14th. He is yet to win but has a 2nd place to his name at 1300M and was similarly fast in a trial two weeks ago. He will be challenging for the early lead and has every chance of making the breakthrough here. Another maiden is (10) BANJIUI MAGIC. He returned to action two weeks ago running a solid class and distance 4th and should have come on for that run. Another (more…)

Do Kki Blade Downs Gaon Champ In Busan Sprint Duel

Gaon Champ gave everything but ultimately Do Kki Blade was just too strong as the sprinting pair turned the Busan Ilbo Cup (KOR G3) into a two-horse war on Sunday afternoon.

Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ finished 2nd and 3rd behind Simjangui Godong in a blanket finish to January’s Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul. While that day’s winner was also present on the south coast today, along with a vast amount of the nation’s sprinting talent, it quickly became clear that only two horses were going to dispute the finish.

Gaon Champ and Alan Munro briefly managed to get on  terms and almost touch the lead in the final furlong, but  Kim Yong-geun was able to extract another effort from Do Kki Blade and the four-year-old ultimately pulled clear to take the line half a length in front of his rival. King Of Glory came home 3rd a further three lengths in arrears, while Simjangui Godong could only manage 6th.

“I’m very proud of him” winning jockey Kim told KRBC after the race. “Coming in he was still a class 2 horse with the lowest rating in the race, but he was going up against all the established class 1 sprinters. Then to make it worse he got the really bad draw in gate 14.”

Kim, who was winning the race for the first time despite having ridden at Busan for most of his career before relocating to Seoul three years ago, knew the start would be important: “I felt there was a lot of speed in the race so I couldn’t afford to be chasing but then he jumped out so well and I saw we had a chance to get across so I decided to go for it. Once we hit the straight, I knew he had plenty left.”

Veteran trainer Park Dae-heung, who last year finally captured a Korean Derby with Wonderful Fly, was also winning the race for the first time and he was full of praise for his jockey: “I thought the race could be lost at the start so I was disappointed with the draw. I told Kim Yong-geun it was up to him to use his judgement and he did it perfectly.”

The Busan Ilbo Cup, like all racing in Korea at the moment, was held behind closed doors and with the absence of any legal remote betting in Korea, local fans were completely shut out and unable to even watch the race on TV. Both winning jockey and trainer addressed that situation.

“I value this win of course” said Kim Yong-geun. “It would have been far more exciting if we could have had our fans inside the racecourse though. I felt this was a very good race and I would have loved for them to have been able to watch it live. (Covid-19) has been hard on all of us but I keep the fans in my mind all the time.”

Trainer Park echoed those sentiments: “I have had a lot of time to think during the shutdown and I realise how important our racing fans are. Just to be racing is a start and we must do it, but it isn’t the same. I want all our fans to know we race for them and want to see them soon.”

Gaon Champ will get his chance for revenge on Do KKi Blade when the Sprint Series heads up to Seoul for the SBS Sports Sprint in July, a race which will be the final tune-up for September’s International Group 3 Korea Sprint.

* At Busan on Friday, the star of the show was Pro Consul. The Peter Wolsley trained colt has had an interrupted career but looked superb when dominating a class 1 field in the concluding Mile Handicap, winning by a full eight-lengths under Seo Seung-un. Pro Consul is a US import by Freedom Child, who was himself imported to Korea earlier this year. The four-year-old moves on to five wins from nine starts and into contention for big races later this year.



Busan Ilbo Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (June 28)

The fifteenth running of the Busan Ilbo Cup is the feature race for the weekend with a capacity field of sixteen to face the starter at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. With the postponement of the Chairman’s Cup due to Covid-19, this will be the first leg of the 2020 Korean Sprint Series. There are 5 races at Busan from 12:15 to 15:30 while at Seoul there are 14 from 10:35 to 18:00. Both meetings are closed to spectators.

Segye Ilbo Cup 2020 Finish Simjangui Godong Do kki Blade Gaon Chamo

Simjangui Godong denied Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ in the Segye Ilbo in January. The trio meet again in Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Eight of Seoul’s top sprinters will line up against eight of Busan’s best over the 1200m. The Group Three feature was taken out by Gaon Champ last year, who lines up in the event once again.

The winning trifecta of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January will reunite to face off once more. There was less than half a length covering the first three in the 1200m listed feature with Simjangui Godong (1st), Do Kki Blade (2nd) and Gaon Champ (3rd) completing the trifecta. Last year’s Champion Three-Year-Old Simjangui Godong showed a brilliant turn of foot over the sprint distance after dropping back from the 1800m the start prior. Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ both settled on speed and were gallant up the Seoul straight.

Last start Class One winner Seobu Cat will face his toughest test to date, coming of four successive victories. The four-year-old comes off a dominant two length victory when carrying the featherweight of 51kg, defeating Doraonpogyeongson (2nd/58kg) and Ace Korea (4th/60kg).

Last year’s Korea Sprint runner-up Dia Socks will make the trip to Busan for the feature. The five-year-old comes off a last start fourth behind Global Captain, who is absent from the race. The five-year-old is never the fastest out of the gates, but he did fail to muster early on last start which cost him a closer finish after rattling home late. To make things more difficult, he has been dealt the outside gate but will have the services of Korea’s leading jockey in Moon Se-Young.

M J Power and Morning Daero both come off Class One victories. M J Power saluted over the 1200m in February with just 52kg on his back, he beat home Munhak Winner (3rd/52kg) who will line up in the event as well. Morning Daero comes off a 1400m victory carrying 56.5kg when defeating former KRA Cup Classic Winner Divide Wind (4th/52kg).

King Of Glory was beaten four lengths last start late December over 1200m in Class One grade carrying 56kg, with Hi Sexy finishing well back in the same race. Clean Up Board comes off a last start midfield performance behind Heuk Jeonsa whilst Seongpa and Seongsan Simon saluted in Class 1 events over 1200m and 1400m respectively.

In a wide open version of the Busan Ilbo Cup, Gaon Champ is the on top selection. The five-year-old entire has been so consistent throughout his career to date, winning nine of fourteen and placing on three other occasions. He is drawn to likely find the fence early on, and if not sit at worst one of the fence outside of Seongpa who is a speedy type. His trial in April was encouraging, Lim Gi-won looked statuesque aboard him as he worked home under his own steam to clock a good time. Epsom Derby-winning jockey Alan Munro is the beneficiary of an injured Lim Gi-won and will be legged aboard on Sunday.

Here are previews for all races:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The maidens kick off proceedings on Sunday’s 14 event card. (7) GLOBAL WANGJA looks the one to get punters off to a good start coming off a last start second behind Ganghojeil back in February. The lightly race four-year-old has speedy types drawn either side of him suggesting he should get a trail forward and be able to camp on the leaders’ coattails. (6) PARAN WANGJA is one of those speedy types who will work forward. The Divine Park chestnut was prominent in his debut when placing behind Cheongdam Curling. He completed the 1200m in a slow time on debut but with some improvement he looks an each-way prospect. (3) COIN BLADE hasn’t raced since April last year when finishing third on debut. He trialed in April and the performance couldn’t give us an indication of how he is going. Keep him safe as is if he is sound he could give this a shake. (4) HOEBOK looks next best finishing just behind the placings at his past couple of starts.

Selections (7) Global Wangja (6) Paran Wangja (3) Coin Blade (4) Hoebok
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 5, 6, 8


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

Maiden fillies go around here. (8) RAON BLOOD improved to 3rd place on what was her fourth outing in February. She’s not the quickest but she plugs away well and against this limited set of opposition, she has fair claims having almost made all in a trial earlier this month. (6) IMPERIAL SILK finished 4th behind Raon Blood last time out and looked similarly well when trialing with seemingly scope for more development. (12) HWA SSI BYEOK has finished no worse than 5th in three outings so far. She has been quite one-paced but just with Raon Blood, that may be enough to see her into some money here. Her recent trial was good enough. (5) WONDERFUL CAT has a runner-up finish at class and distance to her name and must be taken seriously while (9) BAEKDUWA HALLA did nothing wrong when 4th on debut in February, running on strongly over 1000M and looks in the hunt over the additional distance too.

Selections (8) Raon Blood (6) Imperial Silk (9) Baekduwa Halla (12) Hwa Ssi Byeok
Next Best 5, 2, 3
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 8


Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The maiden three-year-olds will go over the 1400m in the third with the most experienced gallopers having just the five starts against their name. (6) BLUE CHARM is considered an each-way chance based on his past couple of starts. He finished third behind Punch Power last time out when beaten less than a length. The Tiz Wonderful colt is a strong and leggy type who looks as if he will appreciate the 1400m first up. (9) WILD KINGDOM is a big chance after finishing third behind Dynamic Punch last time out. The Competitive Edge colt has placed twice from the three starts and is one of only a few who can show early speed. (2) ROCK NEWS has been hitting the line better at his past couple of starts. He won his trial in April and further improvement first up is possible. (1) YEONGJU STONE looks next best coming off a last start third when hitting the line strong in the final stages. The chestnut will be aided by an inside draw.

Selections (6) Blue Charm (9) Wild Kingdom (2) Rock News (1) Yeongju Stone
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 6, 9


Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies only here. (6) SIBERIA made all when odds-on on debut in February for a strong win. She is up in class today and didn’t exactly pull up trees in her trial so while she can win again, there are some question marks. (1) CHOEGANGMA similarly steps up to this distance for the first time. She got her maiden win at 1000M last November and then raced twice at this class finishing 3rd and 2nd beating a few of these in the process. She likes to come from just off the pace and today could be his day again. (4) PRETTY JOY too tries the distance for the first time having run 2nd on her first try at this class in December. Her trial was not as strong as others, however. (10) RAIN K had a hard time on her first start at this level in February when she never got into gear and finished well back but looked much better in a recent trial. If she gets a good start, she can be a factor. The up in class (2) ALL BAEK is another to look out for.

Selections (6) Siberia (1) Choegangma (4) Pretty Joy (10) Rain K
Next Best 2, 3, 4, 11
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 9, 10


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

There looks to be a lack of speed engaged in the fifth suggesting the winner will need to be in touch with the leaders at the top of the straight. From an outside draw (12) SAMSEONG VIVA looks one that can work forward and camp on the leaders’ backs. The Tiz Wonderful colt saluted over this distance three starts back, then finished midfield before running second last start behind Jeongsang Dolpung. (3) EAST CHAMP broke through for his first win last start over this distance. He trialed in April and performed only fair but we will include him based on his consistency shown in his four career starts to date. (1) TANK SOCKS has drawn ideally to sit closer to the speed. She comes off a last start fourth when somewhat one-paced to the line. She did win on debut at big odds, suggesting the forced freshen-up may work in her favour. (7) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM is considered an each-way chance based on his last start when third behind Dia Key. The four-year-old has had the sixteen start yielding just the one win and three minor placings, whilst the record is not overly impressive, this isn’t the strongest race.

Selections (12) Samseong Viva (3) East Champ (1) Tank Socks (7) Cheonnyeonui Baram
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 6, 11


Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

After getting his maiden win at odds in excess of 60/1 back in January, (3) MR. HANSEN promptly followed up with another victory, this time at 1400M in February. He steps up in class again but is beautifully drawn to be on pace from the start and has every chance of completing his hat-trick here. (11) BEYOND steps up in class and distance following a nice looking win over 1300M back in January. He usually comes from off the pace so if (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 27)

There are 15 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10.45 to 18.00. Most of the top jockeys including Moon Se Young, Park Tae Jong, Kim Yong Geun and Alan Munro are absent as they are in Busan for Sunday’s Busan Ilbo Cup, but there is still plenty to get stuck into. Here are the previews:

This weekend’s meetings are sadly behind closed doors again

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A field of twelve three-year-olds will kick Saturday’s monster card off with eleven of them on debut. (8) LEROY BLANC is the on top selection after some handy trial performances. The Forest Camp filly has been ridden by Ha Jung-hun in her trials, and will partner her on debut. She was ridden with minimal urging in her heat and clocked a good time for the debutants. (4) HAEK SOCKS produced a fair trial and is considered an each-way chance on debut. The Hansen colt was given a soft trial qualifying with ease. He should position near the speed with a good draw. (9) ROSEDAY MARINE was well beaten in her trial but managed to produce a reasonable time. (3) DEKABRIST is next best after finishing fourth in her trial when clocking a fair time on a wet surface.

Selections (8) Leroy Blanc (4) Haek Socks (9) Roseday Marine (3) Dekabrist
Next Best 11, 7
Fast Start 4, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Twelve unraced two-year-olds go around here No eagerly awaited debuts here but we do at least have some trials to go on. (6) YEONGGWANGUI MISO looked the best of them with the Hansen filly finishing well ahead of a couple of her rivals here in a reasonably well run heat at the end of May. One of those was (9) SOARA BABA, who failed to qualify that day, but she made a quick return to have another go two weeks ago and this time did much better, running 3rd in her trial and looking altogether more ready to race. (5) BAEDARI CANDY ran prominently in her trial and while she weakened a little late on, should have come on for it and can go well first up. (3) DDAENGBEOL and (10) FIGHTING GIRL others who didn’t disgrace themselves.

Selections (6) Yeonggwangui Miso (9) Soara Baba (5) Baedari Candy (10) Fighting Girl
Next Best 3
Fast Start 6, 11

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The Korean-breds go over the 1200m in the third where nine of the twelve are on debut. We will watch with interest the performance of (5) PIEONADA. The three-year-old trialed in good fashion finishing close up behind the likes of Uri and Raon Tough Man. The Tiz Wonderful filly clocked one of the faster trial time when compared to her opposition. She sat on speed in her trial suggesting she will be gifted a good run from barrier five. (6) MASTER FUTURE has had two starts to date finishing fourth on both occasions. The three-year-old at his last start was somewhat one-paced in the run home when beaten seven lengths by Nunbit Eunyak who has since placed in stronger company. (8) SUPER LUCKY BOY improved at his second trial in May. The Gyongbudaero colt clocked 62.6 on a dry track for the 1000m, looking at his conformation he looks one that may appreciate a longer journey with time. (2) RAON FASHION is next best coming off a nice trial four weeks back. Expect the Old Fashioned gelding to position on speed after showing plenty of speed in his trial.

Selections (5) Pieonada (6) Master Future (8) Super Lucky Boy (2) Raon Fashion
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 2, 5

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

(8) GLOBAL GOLD ran a front-running 3rd place over this distance on his most recent outing back in January, marking steady improvement on what was his third career appearance. He showed he’s still in form with a good trial in April and if he can get to the front here, he has every chance of winning. (5) HAECHAN ran far better than his 80/1 odds suggested he would on debut last September, leading most of the way before tiring late on. He trialed up well enough behind Global Captain back in February but hasn’t been seen since. Nevertheless, he can run well first-up. (7) DREAM FASHION put in a promising effort on his second start back in January, running 4th on a wet track at this distance. He wasn’t pushed when finishing back in the pack in an April trial and there’s no reason why he can’t pick up from where he left off here. (12) ALCHAN NURI was well back behind Dream Fashion in that January race but previously ran 2nd over 1000M and put in an encouraging trial. There are two first-time starters and of the pair, (2) JANGSAN PARK looks the more likely first-up.

Selections (8) Global Gold (7) Dream Fashion (5) Haechan (12) Alchan Nuri
Next Best 2, 4
Fast Start 5, 8

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The Korean-bred gallopers line up in the fifth all looking for their first victory. (7) EAST ONE is the on top selection in a wide open race. The colt has finished in the top four on three occasions from four starts including a last start third over this distance. His trial in April was rather average but we take him based on his efforts earlier this year and towards the end of 2019. (10) NEVER WALK ALONE is the omen bet of the weekend after Liverpool claimed the Premier League Championship on Thursday evening. The three-year-old placed last start in February behind Arirayo when coming from well back. Based on his closing sectional the step-up to the 1300m looks suitable. (1) YAHO GOLDEN CAT trialed in a fast time earlier this month clocking 61.7 seconds for the 1000m on a dry track. His most recent start was disappointing when well back but it was a tougher affair. He finished second two start back over this distance, a similar performance to that day will see him run into the money. The lightly raced (9) NAUI SINHWA trialed respectably in April. The Old Fashioned colt has had the two starts finishing fifth on both occasions. This looks a weaker assignment hence a forward showing would not surprise.

Selections (7) East One (10) Never Walk Alone (1) Yaho Golden Cat (9) Naui Sinhwa
Next Best 4, 11
Fast Start 3, 7, 11

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

As weak a maiden race as you’ll find and we’ve had some weak ones already today. We’ll go with (10) RUFFIAN PARK, who has managed to finish no worse than 6th in any of his five appearances so far with his best being a 3rd. That came over 1300M and he stretches out to seven-furlongs today with as good a chance as any of breaking his duck. (6) BEST TAP has a 3rd and a 4th place to his name, and is another who may appreciate the additional half furlong. He ran well in an April trial and is a clear contender here. Also showing well in a trial was (8) THROUGH THE SKY. He’s never been in the first-five in an actual race but offered a little bit in his recent heat and should improve here. Likewise, (2) SEONGPAJANG and (11) HIT THE PACE also have the potential to improve off the back of the layoff.

Selections (10) Ruffian Park (6) Best Tap (8) Through The Sky (11) Hit The Pace
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 1, 7

Race 7: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The seventh on the card is likely to leave punters with a cracking headache after doing the form. (3) DAEHYEONG HOJAE was the eventual on top selection. The chestnut comes off a last start fifth behind Our Simon over the 1000m. The Park Dae-heung trained three-year-old trialed fairly in April, expect him to sit just off the speed and be given every chance at the top of the straight. (5) GOLD FIELD is a thirteen start maiden who has managed a placing just once. In saying that the filly is never too far away and this is an extremely weak race. She gets the services of Yoo Seung-wan who is arguably the best jockey riding Seoul Saturday with other topliners making tracks to Busan for the Busan Ilbo Sunday. (2) MAD DIVA has placed twice from the seven starts. The One Cool Cat filly has shown the ability to sit on speed previously, if she can jump clean from barrier two she is capable of finishing in the money. (9) SPEED DANCER reeled off a good last 600m last start running into fifth behind Ganghojeil. The filly gets well back in her races and ideally connections would be hoping she can muster a bit quicker.

Selections (3) Daehyeong Hojae (5) Gold Field  Mad Diva (9) Speed Dancer
Next Best 7, 10
Fast Start 5, 8

Race 8: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(5) SUNSHINE TEUKGEUP came from off the pace to run a decent 3rd over 1400M back in February. It’s been a long time since she ran at such a short distance as today’s but she looked sharp in a May trial and is a leading hope today. (6) BLESSING ROAD also drops back in trip although only slightly with all the mare’s recent appearances having been at 1300M. She made all to win a trial last month in a fast time and if she gets the lead here, she may well go all the way again. Also winning a recent trial was (9) GOLDEN JAY. He’s another front runner who has won on a wet track and can be considered today. (7) BLACK PUPIL has also won in the wet and performed very pleasingly in a trial at the beginning of this month. He’s drawn better than he did when performing abysmally at 1200M back in January. (12) CAMP TOUCH has the fastest time of any of these at the distance although it is fair to say that wasn’t an especially quick time itself. Nevertheless, she too looked in good touch in trials and has to be a chance here.

Selections (5) Sunshine Teukgeup (6) Blessing Road (9) Golden Jay (12) Camp Touch
Next Best 7, 4
Fast Start 4, 6, 9, 10

Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Tactics will play such an important role in the ninth with an abundance of speed engaged to go over the six furlongs. (11) BLACK ZAPPER is the on top selection after a promising start to her career. The daughter of Tiz Wonderful has placed twice in this grade including a third last start behind the talented Dia Road, who went on to win the Donga Ilbo Cup beating Silver Wolf. She was given an easy time of it in her trials but her previous form is strong enough to suggest she can win. (6) TANGO TIME is another Korean-bred that has started his racing career in good fashion. The Hansen gelding is likely to catapult out of the gates and end up in the first couple in running. He ran a good second behind Choegang Team bacak in January and a similar performance will see him go close. (5) LUCKY SANGUN lines up in Class 4 company for the first time coming off a two length victory when clocking a solid time. He’s built with a sprinter’s stature, muscly through the hindquarters. (7) YEONHUI ILCHUL has finished close up in this grade at his past three starts. He clocked 60.6 on a dry track earlier this month suggesting he is forward at the moment and can figure.

Selections (11) Black Zapper (6) Tango Time (5) Lucky Sangun (7) Yeonhui Ilchul
Next Best 2, 4
Fast Start 1, 4, 5, 6

Race 10: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A field of imported three-year-olds tackle the six-furlongs here. There’s only one previous race winner among them. That’s (5) SHARK JJANG, who scored in a tight finish at 1300M on a wet track back in December. His two starts since then haven’t been great but he was beaten by good horses both times and looked well in a trial last month. (4) ROCKUI JEWANG beat Shark Jjang on his way to 3rd place on debut in February. After a slow start he came from well back to run on well and can build on that today. (1) SOMETHING EXPECT was sent off at 120/1 on debut in December but he defied that by finishing 3rd behind Shark Jjang. He was accordingly sent off only slightly better than even-money on his reappearance in February when he finished 3rd again. He will be on pace from the start and should be there or thereabouts once more. Of the others with experience, (7) ACE CHAN is perhaps the most likely to figure. There are three debut-makers but bearing in mind their trial performances, we’ll take a watching brief with all three of them first-up.

Selections (5) Shark Jjang (1) Something Expect (4) Rockui Jewang (7) Ace Chan
Next Best 2
Fast Start 1, 11

Race 11: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

The Korean-bred gallopers line up in the eleventh over the 1400m. Going with the inexperienced (3) CHOEGANG TEUKGEUP who broke maiden status last time out over the 1400m. The time was reasonable for this grade, with the good draw the Tiz Wonderful colt is likely to lead and give them something to run down. Yoo Seung-wan is the beneficiary of Moon Se-young riding at Busan this weekend. (1) GLORY VERN has had plenty of racing but looks a chance of figuring in a weak race. The mare has placed on multiple occasions over similar distances and should be able to settle closer from the inside draw. Veteran galloper (2) HAETBINNA gets a good opportunity to collect another cheque at start seventy-three. He has been campaigned over the middle distances in his later years suggesting the 1400m should be suitable first-up. (5) GEUMBIT TANHWAN is next best coming off a fifth over the 1300m back in February. The chestnut is still looking for his first win after fourteen starts.

Selections (3) Choegang Teukgeup (1) Glory Vern (2) Haetbinna (5) Geumbit Tanhwan
Next Best 8, 9
Fast Start 3

Race 12: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) BIG TRIPLE beat three of these on his way to 3rd place at class and distance on February 9th, coming from behind the pace and running on strongly. He trialed competently enough in April and while he does carry and additional 2.5kg today, he looks firmly in the hunt for the win today. (6) SUN START was among those beaten that day but he has a 2nd and a 3rd to his name at this distance and looks to be a major contender. He won an April trial. (7) CUTIE BARBIE won back to back races last autumn, both of them at this distance. She was slow to get involved on her only 2020 start so far but if she gets away a bit better, has every chance of going close once again. (11) COLORS KING has also won at this distance and drops back in trip having come close over 1800M in February. He is another who carries a little bit more weight today but shouldn’t be discounted. The wildcard is (2) GLOBAL LUCKY. She’s only raced four times for a best finish of 4th, all at shorter distances but she has run well through the line and could well appreciate her first try at two-turns today.

Selections (1) Big Triple (11) Colors King (7) Cutie Barbie (6) Sun Start
Next Best 2, 10
Fast Start 7, 10, 12

Race 13: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A compact field of ten will go over the two turns in the thirteenth event. (3) ROYAL SMARTY has been a model of consistency over his thirteen start career to date. The Any Given Saturday colt was a last start winner over this distance when clocking a fast time. He is a unique type as he solely relies on his turn of foot, rarely settling near the speed. (4) RAON SERENA has had the five starts in Class 3 grade for three minor placings. She did go off the boil at her past couple of starts but with the freshen up she needs to be considered. She won her trial in April in good time. (10) SARYEONI HEALING is most experienced galloper in the race with forty starts under his belt. He rarely wins but in an even race he is capable of running into the money as he is never too far away. (9) FAST FASHION has won four from seventeen and needs to be kept safe. The lightly raced five-year-old resumed in February when running midfield before Covid-19 hit. There is a slight query with a poor trial in April but if sound he can figure.

Selections (3) Royal Smarty (4) Raon Serena (10) Saryeoni Healing (9) Fast Fashion
Next Best 7, 8
Fast Start 1, 4

Race 14: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(6) BRIGADIER GENERAL and (2) GLOBAL ACE came home in 3rd and 4th places respectively when they raced one another over a mile on February 2nd. Global Ace had been the more favoured that day on the back of some very encouraging performances at the start of his career. It may have been a little too much too soon and the break may have done him good so he is favoured to overturn that form today. Brigadier General will still be a danger though. He too tackles two turns for the first time but his running style suggests it should suit. (1) MR. TURNER registered back to back 3rd place finishes at class and distance around the turn of the year and while his most recent effort in February wasn’t good, he clearly has ability at this level. So too does non-winner (3) DONGBANGUI GIEOK, a horse who always finds a way to get beat but who has nevertheless racked up plenty of money finishes. (12) K.N ACE looks best of the rest.

Selections (2) Global Ace (6) Brigadier General (3) Dongbangui Gieok (1) Mr. Turner
Next Best 12, 10
Fast Start 2, 12

Race 15: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

A handy bunch of gallopers will line up in the last to cap off the big day of racing. Last year’s Derby winner (7) WONDERFUL FLY is the on top selection as he looks set for a good preparation. The four-year-old was outclassed when lining up in the Segye Ilbo in January but now lines up in restricted company. He has won five races from eleven starts and is a Class 2 winner in this grade two starts back. (11) YEOKJEONUI USEUNG trialed well in April. The six-year-old comes off a last start third behind Seongpa, who lines up in the Busan Ilbo tomorrow. With the lightweight on his back he can figure fresh over the 1400m. (5) KILIUI JEWANG has had the nine top-three finishes from thirteen career starts. He finished third behind Munhak Ariari in February which reads well for this race. He is one of the likely pacemakers and has drawn well. (9) SUPER FLUID looks next best, being a class and distance winner previously. He is unlikely to match his opposition’s early speed so look for him rattling off a quick last sectional.

Selections (7) Wonderful Fly (11) Yeokjeonui Useung (5) Kiliui Jewang (9) Super Fluid
Next Best 12, 6
Fast Start 4, 5, 10

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 26)

The monsoon has arrived in Korea this week and while most of the weekend is forecast to be dry, a significant amount of rain has already fallen across the peninsula so look out for wet track conditions. Racing gets underway at Busan on Friday with 15 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Racing continues to be behind closed doors. Here are the previews:


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

A pretty hot maiden to kick things off with plenty of these having shown promise in trials. (1) SMART VALUE went through two heats, most recently in March, when he led all the way to come home first in a fast time on a dry track. Drawn in the inside gate he can work forward under Jo In-kwen and can go very close. The only other trial “winner” is (11) GREAT GOOD. Thomas Gillespie’s filly came from just behind the early speed in a May heat to cross the line 1st, pulling away and needs to be taken seriously today. (9) MAEUM DAERO improved across two heats and he trainer and jockey combination will ensure she gets plenty of support. (6) ROYALIST and (7) ACHIM BIT are others who showed ability in their trials and have every chance of performing well first up.

Selections (11) Great Good (1) Smart Value (6) Royalist (7) Achim Bit
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 1, 5, 7


Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The second on the card will see the Korean-bred two-year-olds line up over the 1600m, all of which are on debut. There was a lot to like about the trial of (1) DOCTOR FASHION last month. The Old Fashioned colt bounced out in good style and led the field well into the straight. The older gallopers eventually gobbled up the chestnut but he was never fully asked for by his rider, he finished a couple of lengths behind handy three-year-old Save The World. Expect You Hyun-Myung to work forward from the inside draw and prove hard to catch. Archarcharch filly (9) NAMED showed a nice turn of foot in her trial. Francois Herholdt, who was aboard for the trial and will ride on Friday let her find her feet before improving just before the turn. She hit the line well and finished just behind the on top elect Doctor Fashion. (2) HEAT YEGAM clocked a fair time in his trial in wet conditions. The Take Charge Indy colt was given a couple of backhanders to keep him running through the line strong, which he did and a forward showing would not surprise. (5) HUIMANGUI SORY is next best after a fair trial performance where he lost touch early before running on well in the straight.

Selections (1) Doctor Fashion (9) Named (2) Heat Yegam (5) Huimangui Sory
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 1


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

Twelve maidens go around here with precisely half the field lining up in a race for the very first time. Of the experienced ones, only (12) TOP LUCKY has managed to hit the board so far, doing so on her second start back in January when she ran 3rd over 1000M. Her subsequent trial was competent enough and stepping up in trip today, she may be considered. (1) TAMNA HWANGHU showed very little in two starts at the start of the year but looked significantly more competent when trialing three weeks ago and the addition of Jo In-kwen aboard can only be a plus. (9) PILSEUNG IJI meanwhile has experience of racing at this distance and also looks set to improve. As for the first-timers, (8) WIND PARK won a trial at the end of May and accordingly brings herself straight into contention against modest opposition here, while (6) CRONOS offered few clues in his heat but the stable means he is sure to have supporters.

Selections (12) Top Lucky (1) Tamna Hwanghu (8) Wind Park (9) Pilseung Iji
Next Best 6, 10, 11
Fast Start 1, 5, 8


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

The Korean-bred maidens line up again over the 1400m in the fourth where they’ve all previously raced. (9) PAI BLADE is the on top selection here on the basis of his recent good trial. The lightly raced four-year-old had his first run mid last year and has not been seen on race day since. He trialed late April and did everything right, finishing third and clocking a good time under hands and heels from Franco Da Silva. (4) JEONSEOLUI FIGHT has had four previous starts where his best performance came at his most recent start finishing fourth over 1200m. He clocked a fast trial for this grade in May and looks one that is ready to fire early. (3) CHOEGANG CLEAR is the most experienced galloper engaged with fourteen starts under his belt. He only beat one home in his trial but he ran into some handy ones in his heat. This is not a strong race and he is capable of picking up a minor cheque. (8) A. ONCE looks a place chance based on her trial. She was under the stick for the last furlong and clocked a fair time.

Selections (9) Pai Blade (4) Jeonseolui Fight (3) Choegang Clear (8) A. Once
Next Best 12, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 12


Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(10) TRIPLE MAGIC ran through the line strongly for 2nd on what was his second appearance on the racecourse in February. He looked well when trialing in April and the step up in trip today should suit. He looks the one to beat. (11) BLUE SIGNAL ran competently enough in two January outings and while she didn’t show much in the way of speed, she ran on gamely enough to suggest that she can tough out 1400M as well. She’ll most likely be steadily away and pass a few late on. (7) BEAUTIFUL GALLOP managed a 3rd place behind Great Boss on her final start before the shutdown. She too hasn’t been quick but looked lively in a trial and is another who may appreciate the extra distance. (8) MARK STAR defied lengthy odds to run 2nd over 1200M back in January and is another who ran a touch quicker than expected in a trial. He can come from off the pace and cause problems late on. There is one solitary debut-maker. (4) PORRIMA was no better than average in her heats but average may well be good enough to hit the board in this limited company.

Selections (10) Triple Magic (11) Blue Signal (8) Mark Star (4) Porrima
Next Best 7, 12
Fast Start 1, 12


Race 6: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million 

The maiden gallopers go over the mile in the sixth where their 1000m trial efforts aren’t all that helpful in gauging their condition. (3) BLUE EMBER lines up for her sixth start after showing some improvement at the start of the year. The chestnut trialed well after settling near last before going through her gears in the home straight, working through the line well. Franco Da Silva has a good draw to work with, she should be able to settle (more…)

Sensational Cheongdam Dokki Silences Sceptics In Herald Business Hat-Trick

Cheongdam Dokki rolled back the years, crushed all-comers and silenced the sceptics by completing a sensational hat-trick in the Herald Business Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

The six-year-old’s most recent win prior to Sunday was the exact same race, run in April last year with the race being re-scheduled this term after the Covid-19 forced suspension of racing.

Cheongdam Dokki was transferred back to Park Jong-kon after his most recent run in December last year.

Trainer Park was Cheongdam Dokki’s original handler, preparing the chestnut for his first nineteen career starts, yielding thirteen wins.

Park Tae-jong was aboard the six-year-old Sunday, when the flashy type brought up his third win in the listed feature.

Cheongdam Dokki was asked to work forward early by jockey Park, eventually taking up the role of pacemaker.

The To Honor And Serve gelding maintained the lead in the back straight, travelling strongly before being asked to improve at the top of the Seoul home straight.

Heuk Jeonsa, World Today and Great King all sat on speed in the race whilst Tiz Plan’s rider Johan Victoire improved his position in the middle stages of the 2000m feature.

As the field balanced up for the run home the only danger to Cheongdam Dokki was Tiz Plan but Victoire and his mount were unable to bridge the gap, with Cheongdam Dokki winning by four lengths.

Triple Nine and World Today appear to be the disappointments to come out of the race, both finishing well beaten.

The ever reliable Shamrocker, partnered by Alan Munro, came home 3rd in the race for the third time in three years with Bart Rice’s Rock Hard Seven coming home in 4th under Francois Herholdt.

The next staying feature to take place will be the YTN Cup in July where last year’s Korea Cup winner Moonhak Chief is nominated to make a return.

Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Moonhak Chief, nemesis of Cheongdam Dokki last year, is back in work having recovered from a fetlock injury that ruled him out of Sunday’s feature.



– Potentially on his way to the YTN Cup is Buhwarui Banseok. Bart Rice’s seven-year-old warhorse scored a superb all the way win over 2000M in Busan’s feature Class 1 handicap on February. Despite giving significant weight to most of his rivals, Buhwarui Banseok dominated throughout, shrugging off lighter weighted pretenders with ease to win by a remarkable five-lengths under jockey Seo Seung-un.

– Buhwarui Banseok’s victory meant that all three foreign trainers were on the board at Busan on Friday, with Peter Wolsley and Thomas Gillespie both training two winners apiece.

– The 2019 Korean Oaks winner Deep Mind has had an interrupted career since winning the fillies’ Classic. She offered little in two starts earlier this year but put that all behind her when romping away with Busan’s Sunday class 2 feature over 1800M.

– On Saturday at Seoul the star of the show was Morfhis, who like Buhwarui Banseok at Busan a day earlier, defied a high impost to see off an excellent class 1 field. Johan Victoire brought the five-year-old Stephen Got Even gelding through just in time to roll Gangtoma on the line in the seven-furlong Class 1 feature with Lil’ Patron and Spring Back a further two-lengths in arrears. Morfhis moves on to 7 wins from 22 starts, however, four of those successes have come at Class 1.

– Also, on Saturday, Ji Yong-cheol reached a career milestone when he became the fourth trainer in local racing history to saddle 900 winners. The landmark win came when three-year-old filly Milky Sherry took out the 1700M race 13. Only Kim Young-kwan and Park Dae-heung, along with the now retired Shin Woo-chul, have trained more winners in Korea.

– In breeding news, the Korean Mainland Breeders’ Association will hold its second Two-Year-Old sale of 2020 at the KRA Jangsu Stud Farm this coming Tuesday (June 23rd). A total of 72 lots are being offered with juveniles by Hansen and Take Charge Indy among those likely to be in demand. The

the sale will be streamed live on the KRBC YouTube channel from 10am (KST).

The catalogue can be found online at

Herald Business Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 21)

Listed action returns to Seoul Racecourse on Sunday when the Herald Business Cup headlines the behind-closed-doors meeting. There are 15 races from 10:25-18:00 while Busan also hosts a 5-race spectator-less program. The Herald Business is the main lead up race to the YTN Cup (G3), which has been re-scheduled for mid-July and features two-time winner Cheongdam Dokki facing the venerable Triple Nine and a host of the biggest names in Korean racing over 2000M. Here are the previews:

Cheongdam Dokki Herald Business KRA

Cheongdam Dokki won his second Herald Business Cup last year (Pic: KRA)


Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Twelve two-year-olds line up in the first on Sunday where they are all on debut. (4) OXFORD KING was impressive when he trialed in April winning his heat in good time. He showed an abundance of gate speed and flattened out nicely hitting the line in professional style. (9) JEONGMUN JJANG clocked a good time in his trial when going up against the more experienced gallopers. He ran on down the centre of the track taking ground of some of his counterparts. (10) QUEEN OF BEST won her trial when showing early speed. The Purge filly crossed from gate eight to sit outside the leader before being nursed to the line suggesting she has more to offer. (2) FORT SEUONE looks next best with a handy draw. The filly was beaten a big margin in her trial but the time was respectable for the two-year-olds.

Selections (4) Oxford King (9) Jeongmun Jjang (10) Queen Of Best (2) Fort Seuone
Next Best 12, 3
Fast Start 4


Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

More unraced maidens but this time it’s for the three-year-olds with ten fillies and two colts going over the 1000M. (2) WONDERFUL STORM is a half-brother to Dubai Carnival winner Main Stay and trialed the most convincing of this lot. He went through three heats in total, improving each time and he can make his debut a winning one against modest opposition. The only other one of these to even break 63 seconds in a trial is the other colt, (10) AROMA. He demonstrated decent gate speed and should be challenging from the start. So too should (4) BEST FAMILY, whose only trial saw her run 2nd having led for much of the way. (3) ROCK BEAT put in a credible time in the second of her two trials having weakened after leading in the first of them and she should have a good handle on what’s expected of her here. (6) HIT HEART another with a chance of going well first-up. Plenty of these will be looking to lead from the gate.

Selections (2) Wonderful Storm (3) Rock Beat (4) Best Family (10) Aroma
Next Best 6, 11
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11


Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million 

A field of twelve are looking for their first win in the third event. (3) MAGIC PLAN lines up for her second start after finishing second on debut in February. The Plan filly ran through the line well and had the remainder of the field covered safely. She has trialed fairly of late and with some improvement can figure in a wide open race. (8) ULTRA ANNIE has placed on two occasions from four career starts to date. The filly has shown plenty of speed in her past couple of starts. She failed to impress in a recent trial but she has the runs on the board in this grade suggesting she can run into the money. (5) HYPER CAR is another that has collected some prizemoney to date. The colt has finished second at his past two starts. He has reeled off some reasonable sectionals previously suggesting the step up to the 1400m will be suitable. The last start performance of (11) HWARYEO cannot go unnoticed. The Hansen filly finished third behind Luisa who looks a nice type. Keep her safe in your wider selections.

Selections (3) Magic Plan (8) Ultra Annie (5) Hyper Car (11) Hwaryeo
Next Best 1, 12
Fast Start 3, 8, 11


Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(8) ILBO DEUNGCHEON improved across the course of three outings last year, culminating in 2nd place over 1300M in November. He’s just been the through the one trial since, in March, looking well and stepping up to 1400M today, he has a chance of going one better this time. (12) LUCKY SMILE ran twice last year finishing in 3rd place on both occasions. The Menifee filly has kept the consistency going by finishing 2nd in two trials this year, most recently in May. She ran on well in both her actual races, both of which were at 1000M and she may well appreciate the additional distance today. (2) KOREAN PEARL and (4) BOGO TTO BOGO are the only two in the field who have raced at this distance previously. Neither was especially fast but both ran through the line well and improvement is possible here. The latter trialed pleasingly enough in April. (5) AMAZING QUEEN and (7) ALPHA DOK have both performed promisingly at 1300M and both can come into contention at the extended trip today.

Selections (8) Ilbo Deungcheon (12) Lucky Smile (2) Korean Pearl (7) Alpha Dok
Next Best 4, 5
Fast Start 4, 7, 8


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

We can approach the three-year-old fillies race on the card with some confidence as there looks a nice developing type engaged. (8) LION YEOJE showed a brilliant turn of foot at her most recent start when winning over the 1000m at her second start. She looks one that will appreciate the 1300m as she has already shown an ounce of versatility. (12) WONDERFUL HEART looks the likely pacemaker who will need to be run down. The Eurosilver filly was gobbled up in the final stages last time out to finish third over the 1200m in similar company. (4) LUISA broke maiden status last time out when chasing doggedly to the line. She appreciated the step up to the 1300m giving her time to wind up and gun the pacemakers down. She does need to improve a couple of lengths however as her time last start was comparatively slow. (6) LAST MAGIC is another that takes a while to wind up but flattened out in good style last start to break maiden status. Keep her safe in your wider selections.

Selections (8) Lion Yeoje (12) Wonderful Heart (4) Luisa (6) Last Magic
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 1, 5, 12


Race 6: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(9) JANGSAN BADA was an 8/1 winner on debut at this distance in the final day before the shutdown in February, coming from just off the pace to win handily. He’s never actually finished behind another horse having a 100% record in trials too and while he is up in class today, he’s the only winner at this distance and he can repeat. It won’t be easy though. Having scored on debut in December, (1) WANG TAENG I was sent off an odds-on chance for his first try at this level in January. He ran 2nd, unable to get to a good winner, but is certainly worth another chance today. (3) CHEONGDAM CURLING and (5) CARVING CROSS are both up in class following last start maiden wins. The latter looked sensational when blitzing an April trial and both should be competitive at this level. They have contrasting styles with Carving Cross set to attempt to lead all the way while Cheongdam Curling will come from off the pace. Plenty of others with promise as well including (4) GAGANA, who perhaps trialed the best.

Selections (9) Jangsan Bada (1) Wang Taeng I (5) Carving Cross (3) Cheongdam Curling
Next Best 4, 11, 7
Fast Start 1, 5


Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million 

A progressive bunch of Korean-bred gallopers will line up in the seventh with six of the runners last start winners. (7) JILJUUI KKUM is one of those last start winners who saluted in impressive style over the 1200m last time out. The Archarcharch filly ran (more…)