Racing will switch to its summer schedule from this coming weekend, Friday July 1st, running until the the weekend that ends on Sunday August 28th. During July and August, racing on Fridays and Saturdays will have a mid-afternoon start with the final race at 9pm. The Sunday schedule will remain unaffected.
Typical schedules will be as follows:
Busan Racecourse: 7 races from 15:35 to 21:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 14:10 to 20:00
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 14:50 to 21:00
Jeju Racecourse: 6 races from 14:00 to 17:45
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:45 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 7 races from 11:35 to 17:05
There will be free entry to all racecourses on the weekend of Friday July 1st to Sunday July 3rd.
It’s long been known as the “Summer Grand Prix”, and this year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup (1800M KOR-G2) didn’t disappoint as Winner’s Man completed a clean-sweep of the Stayer Series at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, propelling him one step closer to a clash with the internationals in September’s Korea Cup while also confirming a generational change at the elite level of Korean racing.
Despite having won the first two legs of the Stayer Series, the Herald Business Trophy (2000M KOR-L) and the YTN Cup (2000M KOR-G2), Winner’s Man was only sent off as second-favourite for the nine-furlong Mayor’s Cup as punters backed Grand Prix Stakes winner Haengbok Wangja to avenge his YTN defeat.
As it turned out, the perils of anything but a low draw in a big field over the 1800M at Busan, what with its short run to the first turn, ensnared Haengbok Wangja as following a slightly below par jump from the gate, Haengbok Wangja found himself pushed wide on the first corner and trailing the field. While he would ultimately record the second fastest final furlong time of all of them, it was in vain, and he finished 9th.
That left double Classic winner and runner-up to Winner’s Man in the 2021 Derby, Hit Yegam, to claim the early lead with Winner’s Man matching him stride for stride. They would remain that way until the home straight when Winner’s Man finally shook off old rival Hit Yegam, who was the colt who beat him to Champion Three-Year-Old honours last year, and Winner’s Man strode away for a three-length win.
The always prominent Simjangui Godong ran on powerfully for 2nd with up and coming four-year-olds Success Macho and King Of The Match in in 3rd and 4th. Hit Yegam, after his early exertions, was 5th.
“I’m really happy” winning trainer Choi Ki-hong told national broadcaster KBS, which screened the race live on their N Sports channel. “The race played out exactly as we had planned but that was only possible due to the hard work of everyone at the stable who made sure everything was right for Winner’s Man today.”
“(Jockey) Seo Seung-un really played his part too, he gave Winner’s Man the perfect ride. It’s a huge achievement for the horse and for us to win all three races in this series and we’ll make sure to keep Winner’s Man happy and plan carefully for what is to come next”.
Ultimately that could be the Korea Cup (1800M-G3) in Seoul on September 4th with the international race set to return for the first time since 2019. On today’s evidence, Winner’s Man is at least worth a chance against overseas opposition and with Korean-bred runners occupying six of the first seven places in the Mayor’s Cup, there is little to fear, either in the international race or in the imminent resumption of imported racehorses.
The Mayor’s Cup also signaled a confirmation of the changing of the guard. Simjangui Godong was the only horse older then four in the top five and the only three runners aged seven or above, occupied the last three places. Longest shot on the board Super Socks was one of those but he was at least in touch with the field.
That wasn’t the case for Cheongdam Dokki and Blue Chipper. The latter bled for the second time in as many races and while he was a winner as recently as January and Dokki as recently as last autumn, it seems that retirement is the best option for both champions now.
Winner’s Man is now where Cheongdam Dokki and Blue Chipper were when they were four years old. The future is a bright one.
The Busan Mayor’s Cup has attracted a super field and is the feature race of a big Sunday program in Korea. See here for a full preview of the big race. There are 6 races at Busan from 11:35 to 16:20 as well as 11 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Ten three-year-old maiden fillies go around in the opener and there are two standouts. (2) GEUMA CHIC was a much-improved runner-up at start number two on June 5th when unlike on debut, she was prominent throughout. She draws nicely again to sit close to the speed and with a bit more natural improvement, she can win. (8) SONGAM ARCHGIRL has improved across three outings to date. Along with Geuma Chic, she is the only one in the field to have previously raced at this distance and she registered a faster time when running 2nd from a wide gate on April 23rd. She comes in fresh after nine weeks off and may start as favourite. (10) GREEN DRAGON has put in two creditable runs in 2nd and 4th so far, both times on pace. The draw isn’t ideal, but she looks a good place chance again. (1) MAGIC MOCCASIN should be on the early speed from the inside gate and can be in this a long way while (9) FLY JENNY has the potential to improve from her debut.
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens although this one is open to the boys as well. It’s hard to look past (5) WORLD CHARM. Having trialled up well, he was 2nd on debut at this distance on May 28th when handy to the lead throughout. The time wasn’t fast, but he wasn’t beaten too far and with some natural improvement here, he should win. (12) DREAM ROSE was sent off as favourite for her debut on back on March 20th, having shown good speed in a trial. He ran 5th having been close to the pace and having had a further three months off since and has every chance of improvement. (7) NB JEONSA comes in off a 3rd and a 4th at this distance in his latest two, having been on pace both times. He’ll be getting forward again and should be going close. (2) ROMA BLADE and (4) SHOOTING REVERSE others with placing chances.
(5) World Charm (12) Dream Rose (7) NB Jeonsa (2) Roma Blade
5, 7, 10, 12
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens open proceedings on the south coast. (2) WORLD FOUR A will be a hot favourite to break through at what will be start number three having run 2nd and 3rd in two prior outings. He’s been on the pace both times and from a great draw should lead again and prove hard to catch. (6) TOMYRIS won a trial before drawing the widest gate on debut and getting well back before running on for 6th. She should have come on for that run and from a much better draw today she can get much closer. (9) TWO OF US has been consistent across three starts so far and has registered the fastest time for the distance of any of these when 3rd back in April. She too likes to get forward and while she is drawn a little wide, she should be competitive again. First-time starter (11) TAP DANCER and (12) GEOMBOSEONG are others in the placing frame at least.
(2) World Four A (6) Tomyris (9) Two Of Us (11) Tap Dancer
2, 5, 9, 10
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
(7) EUNHYE RECORD looks the one to beat here. He comes in off back-to-back 4th place finishes over this distance and 1400M, last time out beating a couple of today’s rivals. He can sit behind the speed here and use his strong finish to make the breakthrough. (8) ECHO ZONE finished 6th behind Eunhye Record when they met at 1400M on May 28th. He also has a 3rd to his name over 1200M and may appreciate the slight drop in trip and the less unfavourable draw. (11) JAKDUKONG and (9) P N S YARNS came home 3rd and 4th with not much between them when they raced each other at 1200M on May 29th. Both came from off the pace, and both shouldn’t be concerned by the relatively wide gates. (10) ARCH RIVER has the fastest time of these at the distance and is another with potential to improve.
(7) Eunhye Record (8) Echo Zone (11) Jakdukong (9) P N S Yarns
4, 5, 10, 12
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
(4) MILK DAY enters in the best form here having finished 4th and 2nd in his latest two, most recently at 1400M on May 29th when from a wide gate, he sat behind the speed and ran on for a close runner-up finish, his best in ten starts so far. In doing so, he registered the fastest time amongst those who have tackled this distance before and from a nice gate, can drop in behind the leaders again and run on. (8) VIEW AMAZING comes in off a much-improved 2nd place at this distance on May 27th, when on pace throughout. He should be on the speed here and can be in this a long way. (6) STAR CATCH has shown good consistency across her most recent outings. Last time out on May 29th at 1300M, she settled back in the pack and ran through the line well for 3rd. She steps up to 1400M for the first time and it may suit. (10) CITY BLADE and (7) AGAIN HELEN are others in at least the placing calculations.
(4) Milk Day (8) View Amazing (6) Star Catch (10) City Blade
A sensational set of stayers will assemble for the Mayor’s Cup (1800M KOR-G2) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The final leg of the Stayer Series has turned into a full-on local trial for the International Korea Cup, which will be run in Seoul on the first Sunday of September, with a who’s who of recent Group race winners in what could be the race of the year so far.
Winner’s Man the 2021 Korean Derby winner is set to be favourite. He is a perfect three for three in 2022, with victories in the first two legs of the series, the Herald Business (2000M KOR-L) and the YTN Cup (2000M KOR-G3) at Seoul.
In the YTN, Winner’s Man beat Haengbok Wangja, the 2021 Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1) victor and the latter returns for another crack at him here. Also in the starting gate will be President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) winner Simjangui Godong as well as double Classic winner and runner-up to Winner’s Man in the Derby, Hit Yegam.
It’s not just the Group winners. Along with a set of class 1 stalwarts, two exciting up and comers will also present their credentials on the elite stage. Tuhonui Banseok has won his latest two at this distance in fine style which Success Macho is a winner of nine from ten so far. Both will have plenty of backers.
Then there are the two old Champions. Cheongdam Dokki has won this race before – but then there is little he hasn’t won – back in 2018, but on his only scheduled start so far this year, refused to load. Blue Chipper comes in off a disappointing effort in the Busan Ilbo Sprint despite having won at this distance in January. On their day though, both may still have a race in them.
1. TUHONUI BANSEOK (USA) [Verrazano – Sense Of Beauty (Street Sense)]
O: Lim Byung-ho T: Bart Rice J: Franco Da Silva
8(4/2/1) KRW 166,700,000
Flying through the classes and comes in off a nine-length win at class 2 level over this distance, eased down in a quick time. He is an on-pace galloper so the draw bodes well and while this is a quantum leap up in class, he can be considered.
Won the KRA Cup Mile and Minister’s Cup last year and runner-up in the Derby. Disregard his latest two outings over the sprint journey, although he stuck gamely on last start after leading, he comes back to his preferred distance today and is beautifully drawn.
3. WINNER’S MAN (KOR) [Musket Man – Winner’s Marine (Volponi)]
There are nine races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00. The first five races will be run in honour of trainers Kim Jeom-oh, Park Dae-heung, Seo Jung-ha, Lim Bong-chun and Ji Yong-cheol, all of whom are retiring this month. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
Juvenile maidens including the first two-year-old of the year to race for the second time. That experience could be key and (3) A ONE STAR is the pick. He ran 3rd of eight on debut on May 28th when at the back of the field for most of the way before running on strongly. He should have come on for that and can give trainer Ji Yong-cheol a winning start to the final weekend of his thirty-six-year career. A One Star shows we always have to be careful with the trial results as he was very slow in his and was sent off at 76/1 on debut. (7) MORNING PRINCE won his heat when prominent throughout and is perhaps the pick of the newcomers. (1) GLOBAL KANGTA ran on well for 3rd in his heat in a fair time. He gets a better draw for his real race debut and can go close. (4) NEMO PRINCE and (6) HANGANG YEOUL also ran in times that can see them competitive here.
(3) A One Star (7) Morning Prince (1) Global Kangta (4) Nemo Prince
1, 6, 7, 8
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
Another set of juveniles racing for a big prize with seven of the nine making their racecourse debuts. We’ll side with experience though and (6) WHITE NUMBER ONE. After trialing up fairly, he ran 3rd on debut having been handy throughout and with some natural improvement from that run, can go very close here. (5) SURE WIN won her trial in fine style, sitting behind the leader early before running on well. If she brings that form to the races, she will be in the finish. (1) LEGAL HIGH also won her trial, settling back and running on. The time wasn’t fast but didn’t need to be and with an apprentice taking 3kg off her back, she comes in under a feather weight. (2) NAVY CHROME is a rare California Chrome filly in Korea. She made all to win her trial in a fair time and from a nice draw should be on pace early here. (8) GEOMEUN JIJLU among others who hinted at ability in trials.
(6) White Number One (5) Sure Win (1) Legal High (2) Navy Chrome
2, 5, 6, 7
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old (and one juvenile) maidens here with five of the twelve racing for the first time. It’s hard to look far past (1) OKCHEON CHOEGANG. He has shown steady improvement over his four starts so far and at his latest was 2nd at this distance on May 29th when handy to the speed throughout and briefly leading with a furlong to run. He draws well here to lead and should go all the way. (5) KINGS EYE ran 4th behind Okcheon Choegang in that May 29th race. That was an improvement from his debut and if he continues on the same development trajectory, he has a chance here. So too (8) EUNPA MOUNTAIN, who came home 3rd at this distance at start number two on May 22nd. He will look to sit handy to the speed and can run on. Debut-maker (4) GOLD POWER as well as (11) ARA CHAMP are among others in at least the placing hunt.
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Fillies and mares only here. (5) K N OLD QUEEN is the one to beat. Her win came at this distance in a good time when making all at class 6 level in January and she has run fairly in two subsequent outings at this class including her latest on May 15th when 3rd. She likes to sit on pace or handy and should prove too strong here. (4) HWASUBOON had a poor day at the office over 1300M on March 26th. She’s had almost three months off since then and is a class and distance winner already so can be given another chance today. Likewise (2) REMARKABLE was only ordinary on her latest appearance on May 29th. She is yet to win in eleven attempts but has twice placed at this class and distance and from a good draw can settle back and run on into the money again here. (9) ELITE RULES and (1) CONCORD SPARK are others who can have lines drawn through their respective latest runs and can go better today.
Busan will play host to perhaps the best race of the year so far in the shape of the Mayor’s Cup on Sunday afternoon. Before that, the southern track gets the weekend’s action underway with an 8-race program on Friday running from 12:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
Eight previously unraced juveniles get their first outings here so it is to the trial videos we head and find a couple of standouts. (1) FANTASTIC KINGDOM is the pick. He looked assured when winning his trial at the end of May, sitting handy throughout and running through the line well. All four of his dam’s previous foals who have made it to the track have been winners and he can join them here. (4) GLOBAL HIT won his trial in a very similar fashion at the start of this month, crossing the line with seven lengths in hand. If he can bring that kind of form to the races, he’ll be sure to go close and is the logical second pick. (5) DOCTOR OSCAR looks the next best. She trialed up alongside some experienced horses and held her own in a fair time. (7) MAGIC CLASS and (3) RELEASE EDITION, others who could go well first-up.
(1) Fantastic Kingdom (4) Global Hit (5) Doctor Oscar (7) Magic Class
1, 3, 4, 7
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
(7) SHAKA is the one to beat here. He debuted inauspiciously last September and then didn’t reappear until May 27th. When he came back he was gelded and led for much of the way around, ultimately finishing in 3rd place at this distance. He should have come on for that run and can win here. (1) SUPER CRACK was 6th in that May 27th race but if we go on his effort two starts back on April 29th when he ran a close 3rd, coupled with the much better draw today, he can get closer this time around. (11) BUSAN SORY was a much-improved 2nd at this distance on May 20th when settling back and running on. The wide draw shouldn’t be an issue and he can build on that form here. (12) LET IT GO and solitary debut-maker (10) NONSTOP SONG are others in the frame.
(7) Shaka (1) Super Crack (11) Busan Sory (12) Let It Go
6, 7, 8, 12
Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Having run 2nd on debut, (9) MAN OF THE MAN ran out a dominant twelve-length winner at start number two on May 20th, making all over this distance. He comes up in class today but the manner of that win suggests there is more to come and he can make it two in a row here. (8) ANASTASIA has the fastest time among these for the distance and enters in consistent form. She could only manage 6th last time out, having led, but the margins weren’t big and she can be in the frame today. (7) O.K. THUNDER won on debut at this distance last Boxing Day and comes back in trip following a good runner-up finish over 1400M on May 20th and can aim to at least match that here. (3) WONDERFUL CUTIE remains a maiden but comes up in class following a 2nd place at this distance in an all-filly race in April. She comes down in the weights and draws nicely and could be a place hope at an each-way price. (5) BAEK GU another who can enter the calculations
(9) Man Of The Man (8) Anastasia (7) O.K. Thunder (3) Wonderful Cutie
1, 5, 8, 9
Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(3) DAEHO PYEONGJEONG beat three of these on his way to 3rd place at class and distance on May 29th when he worked hard to get to a handy position from a wide draw and ran on well. He carries the same weight today, but draws much better and he can win. (8) MY PAL comes up in class having got his maiden win at start number nine on June 3rd over 1400M. He comes up in trip too but it could suit and a bold showing shouldn’t be ruled out. (9) HERO MAN was one of those beaten by Daeho Pyeongjang in that May 29th race. He returned two weeks later with a much better effort when 2nd over 1800M and while today’s set weight scale doesn’t treat him well, he can be competitive again. (10) GEUMA GOOD POINT has the fastest time among these at the distance and along with (2) HIDDEN CHARLIE is another in the placing hunt.
Preliminary nominations for overseas horses are open for the the Korea Cup and Korea Sprint, which return to the calendar for the first time since 2019 and will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 4th.
Both the Cup (1800M) and the Sprint (1200M) have a prize fund of KRW 1 Billion (about US$800,000 at current exchange rates). As the race is invitational, all shipping fees are covered for invited horses as well as travel and accommodation for connections:
Morfhis cemented his place as one of Korea’s great sprinters, edging out Black Musk and Eoma Eoma at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon to win his second SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3), having previously taken the honours in the race in 2020.
Eoma Eoma, racing for the first time since winning the Busan Ilbo Sprint in April, was sent off as the odds-on favourite ahead of Black Musk, the SROA Chairman’s Sprint winner. It was East Jet though who set the early pace as the other big guns opted for patience.
In the home straight, both Eoma Eoma and Black Musk launched strong challenges, but it was Morfhis, who had improved rapidly coming off the final turn under Johan Victoire, who struck the front and would not be caught, coming home half a length ahead of Black Musk, with Eoma Eoma a short distance back in 3rd.
Remarkably, the winning time was identical to the one Morfhis recorded when winning this race two years ago, when he drew the widest gate and ran on from much further back as a 23/1 chance. This time, he was 14/1, but t hen, just as now, he was ridden by French jockey Victoire, who enthused over his mount: “It was a fantastic race and what a horse!”
While already an established class 1 performer, it was the 2020 SBS Sports Sprint win that elevated Morfhis into the elite of Korean racing. An almost ever-present in top class sprints since, he was 5th in this race last year and 3rd in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint in both 2021 and in last month’s renewal, but remarkably, before today, he hadn’t won any race since April of 2021; a 1400M class 1 handicap, run for Covid shutdown enforced reduced prize money.
On Sunday everything came right for Morfhis, as jockey Victoire explained: “He really loves to come to the inside but always has bad draws so today I was lucky with (gate) three, and I could follow the horses (Black Musk and Eoma Eoma) to beat.”
The victory was Johan Victoire’s fourth Group success in Korea and the jockey explained how much the seven-year-old means to him. “Morfhis is a very special horse to me. We know each other by heart as I started riding him since the beginning of my career in Korea. We won eleven races together which is amazing! I really love this champion horse.”
Bred by Canamer Farm in Kentucky, Morfhis [Stephen Got Even – Chinchilla (Rubiano)] fetched $35,000 as yearling at the Fasig Tipton October Sale in in 2016 before being purchased by Korean interests for $150,000 at Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Two-Year-Old sale. Now owned by Park Nam-sung, Morfhis has amassed approximately $1 Million in prize money in Korea.
Having won the race last year, Eoma Eoma repeated his 2020 finish in 3rd while Black Musk, the only four-year-old taking part, confirmed his status as potentially the next big thing in sprinting, with a game 2nd. That made Black Musk the winner of the Sprint Series with Morfhis and Eoma Eoma tied for 2nd and Raon The Fighter in 4th.
Morfhis, Black Musk, Eoma Eoma and Raon The Fighter, will all be expected to reconvene for the International Korea Sprint at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 4th. Ideally and probably against Japan and Hong Kong-trained opposition.
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
The opening maiden is wide open, so we’ll take on the favourite. Down in the weights with an apprentice aboard, (5) BLACK INDY may well have enough about him to break through here. He has the fastest time among these for the distance and today gets a better draw than in recent starts. That should allow him to be on pace and in this a long way at what should be an each-way price. With Moon Se-young climbing aboard, (6) DONGBANGUI HON is the probable favourite. He has been knocking at the door in his latest three with a 3rd and two 4th places and while the times haven’t been fast, he has potential. (2) G STAR has tended to get a bit far back in his races but is very well drawn today to just drop in behind the speed and run on. He will be finishing well and can be a danger. (9) DIVINE FUTURES has shown steady improvement and was a good 3rd at this distance last time out on May 21st. The draw is not ideal, but he can go close. (7) MONEY STONE another in the hunt.
(5) Black Indy (6) Dongbanui Hon (2) G Star (9) Divine Futures
5, 7, 9, 10
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
Three of these maidens raced each other at this distance on May 15th and the three of them should be at the top of the market here. The best finisher that day was (3) MIR POWER, who settled midfield but ran on well for 3rd place. The same apprentice jockey returns today – this time claiming 3kg rather than the 4kg she got that day – and she can come out on top here. The most fancied of the three in that May race and the probable favourite here is (6) M J TIME. She ran 7th in that May 15th race having been close to the pace early but was the best backed of the three, having run 2nd at this distance on April 23rd. She’s worth another chance here. (1) HAMPYEONG ACE was 4th in that race, big uptick on his first two starts and with some natural improvement can be in the mix here. Among those who didn’t go in that race, (4) WONPYEONG GWANGYA and (7) YEONHUI SARANG look the best
(3) Mir Power (6) M J Time (1) Hampyeong Ace (4) Wonpyeong Gwangya
3, 4, 6, 7
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens here. (7) HALLOWEEN PARTY returned from almost six months off to run 2nd at this distance on May 8th when handy throughout. That was a big improvement from when we last saw him and he won’t need to get much better to win this. The main danger is (8) MAHAMERU. She too did nothing in her first couple of starts last year but came back in April and has since run 3rd and 2nd at 1200M and 1300M. She has a strong finish on her and will be doing her best work late again here. (6) GAMDONG ENERGY has mixed her form across four outings so far but a repeat of her run two starts back which saw her 3rd over 1200M, will put her right in this. She will be on pace from the start. (3) SSAEKSSAEGI returns for the first time since January having trialed up encouragingly last weekend. (1) GEUMA NIMBLE another in the placing frame.
(7) Halloween Party (8) Mahameru (6) Gamdong Energy (3) Ssaekssaegi
2, 3, 6, 7
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
(9) MYEONGJIN CANDY has been working towards a win across her latest three starts, culminating with a 2nd place over 1300M on May 21st having led all the way around. Despite the wide draw, she has more early speed than anything else here so should get to the front again, she has a light weight on her back, and she may take some beating. Logical second pick is (3) LAROMANEE. She has the fastest time among these for the distance, recorded when 3rd two starts back. She’ll be up on the speed too and has a strong finish on her. Those two look to be head and shoulders above the rest but (4) GENTLE RULES returns to action almost five months after her debut. She showed enough in a recent trial to suggest she can be competitive. (2) ROSE GOLD and (1) CHEONSEONGI other minor contenders.
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
After taking a race to find her feet, (6) GOLD SWEET has finished in the top-four in each of her latest three starts, two at 1200M and one at 1300M being close to the pace each time. She should be leading here and looks hard to go past. (4) PHANTOM QUEEN was significantly improved at start number five when a close 4th over this distance in a good time on June 5th. Once more she carries a very light weight, and she can continue her development here. (3) UNJU STAR has also started to figure things out in her most recent two appearances with a 3rd and a 5th, the former at this distance. She draws nicely here to be on or close to the lead and should be aiming for at least another place. (7) HWARANG SKY and (1) ECTON POWER are others who can be targeting money finishes.
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Kim Tae-hui is on another favourite here and (10) SKY FUTURE really does look the one to beat. The apprentice jockey’s 3kg claim takes Sky Future down 3kg from when he beat several of these on his way to 3rd place over this distance on his first try at this class on May 22nd. He doesn’t need to lead so the draw shouldn’t be a concern and he has never finished any worse than 3rd in five starts. (2) EUNSEONG MARU came home 5th in that May 22nd race and while she comes up in the weights (apprentice Kim rode her that day), she still looks nicely enough in here to go close again. (5) YESULIYA comes up in class following a good win over this distance back in March. He is in fresh following a fifteen week break and can measure up in this company. (9) MUNHAK FOREST and (1) UNJUUI BOM others who can enter the calculations.
Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(10) HAENGBOKAN HAMAN ran out an eleven-length winner over this distance on May 22nd on what was her second career start. That was a filly-only maiden, and she is up in class here, but the manner of that win and the winning time suggest that there is more to come, and a similar run will see her comfortably on top again. (6) PILGRIM is yet to win in nine attempts but has six top-five finishes including a runner-up finish at this class and distance two starts back. He likes to settle in midfield and then run on and can go close again. (3) POKPUNG JILJU returned from a ten-month absence to run a solid 2nd over 1200M on May 15th. That was enough to shunt him up in class here but from a good draw and under a fair weight, he can measure up. (12) KKUM NEOMEO and (4) KING BOSS the other standouts in a race with plenty of depth for the level.
The SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3) turns thirty this year and on a rare day where racing gets mainstream TV coverage in Korea – by virtue of the sponsor – Raon The Fighter may not be running, but there is no shortage of star power, with Eoma Eoma, last year’s winner, returning having missed the SROA Chairman’s Sprint, the previous leg of the Sprint Series.
American import Eoma Eoma emerged onto the scene just before racing suffered its first shutdown in 2020, winning his first three races in lightning quick times, before tasting defeat for the first time in that year’s running of this race. He then went on to put together another seven-race winning streak, including the 2021 SBS Sports Sprint, which was delayed until October, before Raon The Fighter emphatically ended the run in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint the following month.
Another defeat at the hands of Raon The Fighter was followed by a class 1 reversal when odds-on favourite over seven furlongs on March. That led Eoma Eoma to be very much the second-choice when he met Raon The Fighter again for the Busan Ilbo Sprint, the first leg of the sprint series in April. Instead, after his rival stumbled at the start and then got pushed hard to rejoin the leaders, Eoma Eoma never allowed him into the race, winning by a full three-lengths.
Eoma Eoma will be the overwhelming favourite to successfully defend the SBS Sports Sprint, while second in the market will be Black Musk. He came from over the top to hand Raon The Fighter a second defeat in the SROA Trophy on May 22nd after the favourite had earlier engaged in an energy-sapping speed-duel with Hit Yegam. Up and comer Soul Merit is highly thought-of and takes his first steps into Graded company as the probable third in the betting. Morfhis and East Jet complete the top half of the market.
The SBS Sports Sprint will be run over 1200M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. Here’s a look at all ten runners:
1. EAST JET (KOR) [Strike Again – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)]
O: Kim Yeong-gi T: Park Youn-gu J: Alan Munro
20(9/4/0) KRW 739,500,000
Runner-up in this race last year, having won it in 2020 but he has had a challenging first half of 2022 with his best being 2nd to Raon First in the Segye Ilbo in January. 5th in the Busan Ilbo and then 7th in the SROA, he draws well here and Alan Munro returns to the ride. Won’t be favourite but a place chance.
O: Park Nam-sung T: Park Dae-heung J: Choi Bum-hyun
10(5/0/1) KRW 211,740,000
Since returning from eight months out last year, he has won four from four and steps into elite company for the first time here. At his latest start in April, he settled back before being ridden up handy to the lead and running on for a comfortable win over 1400M at class 2 level. He won his only previous start at this distance, and he looks set to be a big player.
3. MORFHIS (USA) [Stephen Got Even – Chinchilla (Rubiano)]
O: Park Nam-sung T: Lee Gwan-ho J: Johan Victoire
36(10/7/7) KRW 1,055,800,000
The winner of this race two years ago, he showed he still has plenty left with an excellent 3rd in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint where under a ground-saving ride, he closed strongly on the inside rail, only going down half a length on the line. He’ll settle back as usual and will be running on strong again and will be in the finish.