Weekend Preview

Busan Gets 2011 Racing Underway / New Year’s Stakes at Seoul

Time for a dull story in the third-person: Gyongmaman once worked in an office in England. Every day, he would take the same bus as a co-worker who while very pleasant, was hopelessly un-coordinated and during icy winters would cling on to Gyongmaman’s jacket while making the five-minute walk from bus-stop to office. On Gyongmaman’s last day, she asked him to think of her in winter while he was “sunning himself in Asia”. With the temperature in Seoul reaching a high of eight degrees below zero today, he did just that. In fairness to her, however, it was indeed, gloriously sunny.

Point of the story: None really, except to say that it’s cold here. But after a two-week break, the peninsula’s punting brains are about to be warmed as racing returns with a cracking set of races headed by the Herald Business New Year’s Stakes at Seoul on Saturday.

Will it be a Happy New Year ('s Stakes) for Best Holls and Lee Sang Hyeok?

Best Holls and Tamnaseontaek both took Stakes wins in 2010 and will be looking to add to them in the nine-furlong New Year’s race which also includes Classic also-rans Forest Wind and Kanui Byeol. Cheongha Eutteum was highly thought of as a two-year old but was injured after running in this race last year and makes only her third start since while Anseong Chukje finished 2010 in good form.

Two races later, Bally Brae starts off his career as a nine-year old in the feature handicap. Gradually the handicapper is giving his some respite from the crazy weights he’s had to carry of late but will still be giving at least two kilos to a field including Serendipper, K J Khan and Mr. Loving Life. It would be very sad to see the former Horse of the Year Bally Brae trail any of this lot home but given the weights, he’s still going to have an awful lot to do.

Sunday sees Ace Galloper and Jilpunggangho among the entries in a competitive handicap, while down at Busan, there are co-feature races. Look out for Aussie bred three-year old Peolpeol making his first attempt at class 1 racing in the first of them.

Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Friday January 7

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday January 8

Seoul Race Park:12 races from 11:20 to 17:50
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:10 to 17:10

Sunday January 9

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40 to 16:30

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