Month: March 2016

Busan Friday: Race-by-Race Preview

Busan shifts to its summer Friday timetable this week. First race is at 12:50 and the last is at 19:00.

Smarty Final

Busan punters will have a chance to bet on Moon Se Young on Friday (Pic: KRA)

Champion jockey Moon Se Young is in town ahead of the KRA Cup Mile on Sunday and he is in with plenty of chances.

English racecards can be found here. Here are notes on races 2-10

Race 2: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 13:25 (KST)

(8) INDIAN CHIEF has come home in 5th place in each of his three attempts so far, all of them at 1000M and he could be the one to make the breakthrough here. He’s shown the best finish of any of these and the extra furlong may be to his benefit. The one with the best result so far is (6) B.K. ONE, who was beaten three-lengths into 2nd at this distance on a sloppy track a month ago. That was much improved from his debut and he should go well again. The others do not excite. (10) BEST CHEONGCHUN was ok on debut and can be given another chance after a disappointing second start and we’ll expect improvement from (1) GEUMTE and (2) VICAR FAMILY. The one debut maker (7) STYLISH was hardly impressive in trials but must be given a chance against this average lot.

Favourites: (8) Indian Chief (6) B.K. One (10) Best Cheongchun (2) Vicar Family
Next Best: 5, 7, 9, 1
Outsiders: 3, 4,
Fast Starters: 1, 5, 8

Race 3: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 14:10 (KST)

This lot come in with 0 wins for 118 starts between them so something has to give. It’s tempting therefore to go with the ones who have done the least amount wrong so far. They would be (1) CAPE MAGIC and (7) OH MY CAPTAIN with the latter the more favoured of the two. He runs best when he can get forward early and should be able to here. Best at this distance is (4) CHEONGMA DAEJANGUN. He tends to go back at the start and close and against this calibre of opposition, should be going very well. The other one to consider is (3) EUNGDAPARA, who does at least have a 3rd place to her name.

Favourites: (7) Oh My Captain (4) Cheongma Daejangun (1) Cape Magic (3) Eungdapara
Next Best: 6, 5
Outsiders: 2, 8
Fast Starters: 7

Race 4: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:00 (KST)

Just fillies and mares and (1) GOLDEN KINGS is up in class following her maiden victory on her 2nd start on March 4th. She’ll need to find some more here but will go forward early and has good claims. Also up in class in (2) BLUE CAT. She has finished 2nd in both her two starts to date but shouldn’t be overwhelmed by anything here. She will also go forward. There are a couple of big dangers among the more experienced runners. (6) ULTRA MAGIC looks the best of them, 3rd last time out and perhaps ready to win again. Seoul’s champion jockey Moon Se Young is in town to ride in the KRA Cup Mile on Sunday and he takes the mount on (7) KWAEHAN MYEONGPUM who has come close in both her starts so far this year. (4) DAMYANG CHEONSA, (5) CHOEGANG TUHON and the up in class (11) MAIN VICAR are others capable of finding the money in this competitive event.

Favourites: (1) Golden Kings (2) Blue Cat (6) Ultra Magic (7) Kwaehan Myeongpum
Next Best: 5, 4, 11
Outsiders: 3, 8, 9, 10, 12
Fast Starters: 2, 11

Race 5: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:50 (KST)

(5) YEONGGWANGUISINHWA made all to get her maiden victory over 1200M on March 4th. She’s up in class today but must be given respect. She’s from the track’s top stable and has a chance of repeating. (1) SUNGANUI BEOPCHIK was considered sufficiently talented to be sent to Seoul for the nation’s top juvenile race last November. That didn’t go well and nor did his next two starts but he returned to form with a good 2nd place at 1200M last start and will be backed here. (10) CLEAN CHOEGANG has come close recently and comes close again while (3) LADY CHARTERED can match or better back to back 5ths in her last two starts. Among the others, (6) DONGGWANG JEIL and (7) SHARP WIN look best placed for improvement.

Favourites: (5) Yeonggwanguisinhwa (1) Sunganui Beopchik (10) Clean Choegang (7) Sharp Win
Next Best: 3, 6, 2,
Outsiders: 4, 8, 9, 11, 12
Fast Starters: 5, 7, 11

Race 6: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 16:40 (KST)

Small field but open race and (8) BRAVO MARINE is the pick. Peter Wolsley’s Aussie bred was 5th over a mile a couple of weeks ago and can go better back at 1400M today. Kim Yong Kwan’s (1) GUMALLI was 3rd on debut three weeks ago and will be well backed to follow up while (2) SINSEGYE SINHWA is sent in against imported opposition and should be competitive following a decent 3rd place behind two good ones last start. (7) GANGJA BONSAEK and (5) HWANHUIUI BYEOL, up in class following a four-length victory last time and likely to be the pace-setter here, are the others to consider.

Favourites: (8) Bravo Marine (7) Gangja Bonsaek (1) Gumalli (2) Sinsegye Sinhwa
Next Best: 5, 3
Outsiders: 4, 6
Fast Starters: 5

Race 7: Class 4 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 17:20 (KST)

(1) STEAL THE SHOW WHY could only manage 4th of 6 in a Korean Oaks trial at the start of last month but should have too much for this field on what will be her first try at a mile. She will look to lead all the way. (3) PURPLE OCEAN and (5) HOT COMMEND both ran in last year’s Oaks and the former is better placed to stop the favourite here. She will though need to be forgiven for a poor effort at this distance two weeks ago. (8) WORLD QUICK has three 3rd places in three tries at this class and should improve. She was one place behind (6) MUBI SONATA back in January – the latter returns for the first time since here.

Favourites: (1) Steal The Show Why (3) Purple Ocean (8) World Quick (5) Hot Commend
Next Best: 6, 7
Outsiders: 2, 4, 9
Fast Starters: 1, 7

Race 8: Class 2 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 18:00 (KST)

A couple of good ones go here. (3) TONGIL SIDAE has won three of five so far including last start at this class over a mile. (1) WONDERFUL TODAY is up in class but comes in following back to back wins including last time at this distance. At this stage Tongil Sidae is favoured but both have every chance. Those two will be a short priced forecast. Ones with the potential to cause them some bother include (4) LAST TICKET, who is a reliable money winner and (5) CHOEGANGIJI, who was 5th behind Tongil Sidae last start. (7) JUNGANG DAEHAE and (8) FIELD SCAMPER are also capable on their day.

Favourites: (3) Tongil Sidae (1) Wonderful Today (4) Last Ticket (5) Choegangiji
Next Best: 7, 8, 2
Outsiders: 6, 9
Fast Starters: 2, 6

Race 9: Class 3 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 18:30 (KST)

(8) EVANGELINE didn’t get a great trip when well backed in the mud at the start of March but can be supported to get back to winning ways today with the Seoul champion jockey on board. Best placed to stop her is (1) SEORABEOL GONGJU, who beat three of these when a class a distance winner on March 11th. (12) GLOBAL KING was 3rd over 1800M first-up after a spell last month and is an interesting entrant at 1200M today. (6) SUPER STORM is up in class following victory over a modest set of imports and will need to find more here while (2) CHEONHA ULLIM disappointed over a mile last time but has had a couple of months off since and should be happier at 1200M today.

Favourites: (8) Evangeline (1) Seorabeol Gongju (6) Super Storm (12) Global King
Next Best: 2, 5, 4
Outsiders: 3, 7, 9, 10, 11
Fast Starters: 3, 12

Race 10: Class 1 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 105 Million / 19:00 (KST)

Nice competitive event to finish with and (4) MIRACLE LINE steps up to class 1 for the first time following a dominant six-length win over 1900M last start. This is his first time racing at this distance for over a year and it will be tough but he should be competitive. Also up in class and set to be competitive is (5) INDIAN STAR. She’s won seven of ten so far but is yet to strike at further than 1200M. Top-rated and therefore carrying top weight is (1) HIGH FIVE. He beat three of these when racing 2nd over 1400M on his last start and can go well once more. (7) WINNER’S MARINE was a class 1 winner last start at 1800M and will be shorter than the 19/1 she was sent off that day. (3) MAC AND CHEESE can also be dangerous with a top jockey booking today. All of the rest have some form of claim too but those are the top ones.

Favourites: (4) Miracle Line (1) High Five (5) Indian Star (3) Mac And Cheese
Next Best: 7, 2, 8,  9
Outsiders: 6
Fast Starters: 4, 5

Silk Chasing! Owners Get Their Own Colours From April

Korean races are going to start to look rather different from April with the long-standing tradition in the country of jockeys wearing their own silks being phased out as Owners finally get to see their horses run in colours of their choosing.


Park Tae Jong is approaching 2000 career wins. Will he ride the milestone one in the same colours he’s ridden all the others? (Pic: Ross Holburt)


On the one hand, jockeys having their own colours makes Korean racing very accessible and easy to pick up. Punters have little difficulty picking out the mount of Moon Se Young, Park Tae Jong or Djordje Perovic because they are always wearing the same thing. Toshio Uchida built his reputation in the NAR (another jurisdiction that still uses jockey colours) in Japan as “Mr. Pink” and continued it in Korea.

On the other hand, as Korea seeks to slowly come in line with other racing jurisdictions, it seems a natural progression. While owners in the country are some of the most fortunate in the world – prize money and subsidies are generous to the extent that it is almost difficult to lose money as an owner – racehorse ownership still isn’t seen as something to mention in polite society. Win pictures are only produced after Stakes races. After all, what’s the point of posing with a jockey wearing his own silks and not yours? Maybe this will change.

Another plus to the change is that many of the current jockey silks are brazenly copied from well-known colours overseas. That was fine when nobody else was watching racing here but that is changing too.

For punters’ convenience, owners will only get to select a jacket design as the caps will still correspond to gate number. As further help for viewers, an on-screen tracking system, called “K-Track” has also been recently launched at Seoul and if successful, will be extended to Busan within the next year.

Except for new owners it isn’t compulsory and as of now, seventeen owners at Seoul and ten at Busan have selected colours. They include foreign owners Joe Dallao, Barry Irwin and the Yoshidas. It’s expected that as more see it in action, more will register their own. At Busan on Friday, two owners with their own colours have horses running.

KRA Cup Mile 2016 – Runners & Riders

The first leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown is at Busan Racecourse this coming Sunday, April 3rd. Twelve are set to line up for the KRA Cup Mile – The “Korean Guineas”.

Champion juvenile Power Blade will be there along with stablemate from the Kim Young Kwan barn Ottug Ottugi. Peter Wosley sends out the hughly-rated Banjiui Jewang while from Seoul, champion jockey Moon Se Young travels down to partner the capital’s best hope, Gongryong.

We’ll have a full runner by runner preview of the big race on Saturday. In the meantime, here’s the barrier draw (Name [Pedigree] (Runs/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey:

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Sunday April 3, 2016

1. Gongryong [Revere – Parisilton (Woodman)] (7/4/1/0) DS Bae – Moon Se Young
2. Ever In Ever [Sharp Humor – Habidongju (Silent Warrior)] (6/3/2/1) KY Baik – Seo Seung Un
3. Stealth [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower (Woodman)] (8/4/0/1) SY Lee – Ikuyasu Kurakane
4. Theme Deunggeuk [Menifee – Pilseung Giwon (Silent Warior)] (7/2/3/1) JK Park – Park Eul Woon
5. Smart Gentleman [Menifee – Hennesy N Lime (Limehouse)] (8/4/1/2) JS Kim – Makoto Okabe
6. Dyna’s Dream [Meiner Select – Dyna’s Gold Legend (Gold Legend)] (7/3/2/0) SB Han – Jo Chang Wook
7. Argo Flying [Colors Flying – Proper Prospector (Crafty Prospector)] (3/1/1/1) JY Heo – Kim Dong Soo
8. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park – Sweetoil (Broken Vow)] (5/4/1/0) PM Wolsley – Pasquale Borelli
9. Gasok Engine [Forest Camp – Cat Lea (Cat Thief)] (6/4/1/0) JS Kim – Lim Sung Sil
10.Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] (6/4/2/0) YK Kim- Kim Yong Geun
11. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] (7/5/1/0) YK Kim – Choi Si Dae
12. Zettabyte [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] (7/3/2/1) KM Lim – You Hyun Myung

The KRA Cup Mile is race 6 of 7 on the card at busan on Sunday and is scheduled to come under orders at 16:40.

Pinot Noir Easily Wins Gyeonggi Governor’s / Triple Nine Beats Bold Kings

In a near repeat of February’s Donga Ilbo Cup, Pinot Noir dominated the Group 3 Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

Last month’s Donga had been run in a snowstorm but while the weather was very different at a sun-bathed Seoul, the result was exactly the same. Sent off as the hot favourite ahead of the other seven who raced in the Donga – as well as three less than stellar others – Pinot Noir hit the front as they began to turn for home and raced on for an easy victory.

The always game X File came home in 2nd with Smart Time in 3rd. The mismatch, coming so soon after the Donga, wasn’t a great advert for Stakes racing – the inevitable result of extra big money races for fillies and mares in order to encourage owners to buy them but as yet there not being much depth of talent, especially at Seoul. Hopefully Pinot Noir will face tougher challenges in the Queens’ Tour races later this year.

Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – March 27, 2016

1. Pinot Noir (KOR) [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman] – Park Eul Woon – 1.3, 1.1
2. X File (KOR) [Exploit – Dorothy Dee]- Kim Dong Soo – 1.7
3. Smart Time (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Charon] – Djordje Perovic – 1.6
Distances: 2.5 lengths / Neck
Also Ran: 4. Lucky Music 5. Meni Money 6. Pureun Geotap 7. Argo Asset 8. Space Shuttle 9. Punggwae 10. Shine clover 11. Queen’s Win

At Busan, Grand Prix Stakes winner Bold Kings suffered the first defeat of his career on what was his eighth start. Under Kim Yong Geun, Bold Kings was beaten by President’s Cup winner Triple Nine by a length with Gumpo Sky just a nose back in 3rd.

Class 1 Handicap – Busan Racecourse – 2000M / March 27, 2016

1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke] – You Hyun Myung – 2.0, 1.1
2. Bold Kings (USA) [Afleet Express – Bold Arrival] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.2
3. Gumpo Sky (KOR) [Vicar – Perfect Storm] – Seo Seung Un – 1.8
Distances: 1.25 lengths / Nose
Also Ran: 4. Heba 5. Cheonji Bulpae 6. Viva Ace 7.Forest Bold 8. Nobody Catch Me

Next week, the three-year-olds take centre-stage with the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, at Busan.

Full Sunday Preview: Bold Kings v Triple Nine, Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup

It’s a big Sunday of racing in Korea. Pinot Noir heads the field for the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup at Seoul but the most interesting race of the day is in Busan where Grand Prix winner Bold Kings takes on President’s Cup winner Triple Nine and also Gumpo Sky in a real class 1 test.

DSC_3289-select (1)

Bold Kings beat Gumpo Sky by a neck in the Grand Prix. They face off again, with Triple Nine also in attendance, on Sunday

The first race at Seoul is at 10:50am and the first at Busan at 1pm. 12 races will be simulcast to Singapore and Malaysia while Seoul races 7, 8 and 9 will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2.

English language racecards are here. Notes on all simulcast races are below (we spent most of Friday dodging winners so treat with caution):

Busan Race 1: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:00 

(6) ILMANGMUJE got back to back wins in December and January and following a creditable 3rd place last time, can get back to winning ways today. She’ll likely come from just off the pace along with (5) QUICK FORCE, how has two 2nds and two 3rds from four starts to date and can go close again. Up front early will be (8) ACE POWER and (3) BLUE STORM, both of whom have claims although on Friday it wasn’t easy for horses to lead all the way. Next best is (7) MAJOR WINNER.

Favourites: (6) Ilmangmuje (5) Quick Force (8) Ace Power (3) Blue Storm
Next Best: 7, 2, 4, 9
Remainder: 1, 10
Fast Starters: 3, 4, 8, 9

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:20 

Big field and a competitive one too (2) JISANG BIHAENG just gets the nod over (11) SUSEONG CAPTAIN; both come in following 2nd place finishes at this class with the former having done it at this distance. Both will go forward early and both have claims. (5) BEST TAKER drops back in distance after a decent 4th at 1700M last month and can go well while both (9) GWASOK DOLPUNG and (13) FLY WING can be given further chances after slightly disappointing recent starts. (10) KKUMDONGNE, who beat Gasok Dolpung when winning at class and distance in December, may also be considered.

Favourites: (2) Jisang Bihaeng (11) Suseong Captain (5) Best Taker (9) Gwasok Dolpung
Next Best: 10, 3, 13, 1, 6, 8
Remainder: 4, 7, 12, 14
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 5 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40 

(14) DAMYANG JANGGUN is up in class and distance following a maiden win at the fifth time of asking last month and he is more than capable of following up here. (11) FOUR STAR actually beat Damyang Janggun when recording his own maiden win in January. He went on to run 3rd behind (3) GARAK GONGWON at this distance on his first try at class 5. Garak Gongwon followed up with another 2nd place and both must be considered here. (6) DAEHANUIMYEONGSEONG returned from a six-month spell with a very solid run over 1300M three weeks ago and can show more progress here. (4) WISH ME LUCK hasn’t excelled in two starts at this class since winning on his debut but gets another chance while (7) PEACE BERY and (10) POWER CUPS are among a number of others not to be overlooked in a really competitive race.

Favourites: (14) Damyang Janggun (3) Garak Gongwon (6) Daehanuimyeongseong (11) Four Star
Next Best: 4, 7, 12, 1, 10, 2, 5
Remainder: 8, 9, 13
Fast Starters: 6, 7, 12, 14

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:05

Banker favourite of the day here in the shape of (2) SUPER BROAD. A Korean bred taking on mild imported opposition – who only have one win between them – and a really good winner last time, he’ll come from just off the early pace and it is hard to see him getting beaten. Those with the best chance of pulling off a surprise are (4) PRO MATHEUS, who has shown some glimpses in three starts to date and (5) DALLYEORA GANGJEOK, who has won plenty of money but never finished any better than 3rd. (1) CHIEF DRESSEL and (10) MADURYEONG are others who will be expecting to finish in the money.

Favourites: (2) Super Broad (4) Pro Matheus (5) Dallyeora Gangjeok (1) Chief Dressel
Next Best: 10, 8, 9, 7
Remainder: 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14
Fast Starters: 3, 10, 12

Busan Race 3: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:30

From Kim Young Kwan’s stable, (13) MATCH POWER makes his racecourse debut here having won a trial in good fashion last month. The Cowboy Cal colt will be expected to go very well. The main obstacle to his securing a debut victory is (9) WORLD QUEEN, a very reliable filly who will be on pace early and won’t let many past here. (12) ILLYUCHEON looks to have a win in her at some point and beat (11) BUYEONG TOWER as the pair raced 3rd and 4th over 1200M last month. (3) SEUNGNI PARK and the up in class (4) GOOD TOUCH are the others with claims.

Favourites: (13) Match Power (9) World Queen (12) Illyucheon (4) Good Touch
Next Best: 11, 3, 5, 7,
Remainder: 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 14
Fast Starters: 6, 9, 11, 12

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:55

(3) GANGSEONG DAEGUK, a winner at domestic class 4 and 2nd in a similar race at the end of last month is the pick to claim this competitive affair. He’ll look to lead all the way. (2) BALIOS QUEEN and (7) BEONGAE BIHO both enter following decent 2nd places last time, the latter defeating (11) NEW VETERAN who can also be expected to go well here. (6) PYEONGCHONYEONGUNG has a pair of 2nd places among four previous outings and will surely get a win at some stage. He can come close here. (14) RAON TROY was disappointing last time out but can be given another chance here.

Favourites: (3) Gangseong Daeguk (7) Beongae Biho (6) Pyeongchonyeongung (2) Balios Queen
Next Best: 11, 14, 5, 1, 4
Remainder: 8, 9, 10, 12, 13
Fast Starters: 3, 5, 14

Seoul Race 8: Class 2 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 15:45

Much more competitive but the verdict goes the way of (10) SUN STRONG who has beaten (1) SUPER TANK over this distance before. The latter went on to pick up an 1800M victory of his own and is the main danger. Those two will look to come from off the pace, a pace that could be set by (2) GOLD MOUNTAIN and (6) ILJIN HWARANG, both of whom are capable of staying on. (8) CHASING DOLLARS is reunited with jockey Lee Chan Ho, who has gone well on him in the past and should be competitive here.

Favourites: (10) Sun Strong (1) Super Tank (8) Chasing Dollars (2) Gold Mountain
Next Best: 6, 4, 7, 5
Remainder: 3, 9
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 6

Busan Race 5: Class 2 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 16:10

Very open race and (1) HEUKGANGJA makes a quick return following a good 3rd place at a mile two weeks ago and likely to be among the favourites here. (9) MAGIC PARK actually beat Heukgangja over 1800M last month and will have backers to repeat while (3) MEDA GLORIA is up in class following one too many near misses at class 3. She may struggle to win here but should be close. (4) DREAM TOWER and (14) PROFESSOR SILVER raced 4th and 5th at 1900M last month and both can go well here. The wildcard is (11) SUMMIT MYEONGUN. One of the most highly thought-of three-year-olds at the beginning of last season, he hasn’t raced since the KRA Cup Mile almost exactly a year ago. He’s been gelded and came through a barrier trial very nicely earlier this month.

Favourites: (1) Heukgangja (9) Magic Park (11) Summit Myeongun (14) Professor Silver
Next Best: 3, 4, 5, 13
Remainder: 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12
Fast Starters: 1, 4, 9

Seoul Race 9: Class Open – The Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – 2000M / Allowance / KRW 300 Million / 16:40

This is practically a rerun of the Donga Ilbo Cup, which took place over 1800M on February 28th. All eight fillies & mares who too part that day line up again and with (6) PINOT NOIR having won that race by a full nine-lengths, there aren’t too many reasons to oppose her today. She will go back early and look to hit the front entering the home straight. The other market leaders are likely to be the ones who chased her home forlornly. (1) SMART TIME was 2nd, (3) X FILE was 3rd and (9) MENI MONEY was 4th. Also expected to go ok is (10) LUCKY MUSIC while among the three who didn’t go in the Donga Ilbo, (2) SHINE CLOVER perhaps has the best chance of an upset. But not much.

Favourites: (6) Pinot Noir (10) Lucky Music (9) Meni Money (1) Smart Time
Next Best: 3, 2, 8, 11
Remainder: 4, 5, 7
Fast Starters: 2, 7

Busan Race 6: Class 1 / 2000M / Handicap / KRW 105 Million / 17:05 

The big money may have been in the previous event at Seoul but this is undoubtedly the race of the day. Grand Prix Stakes winner (1) BOLD KINGS makes his eagerly awaited four-year-old debut. He’s seven for seven but faces President’s Cup winner (7) TRIPLE NINE over the latter’s preferred distance of 2000M. It could go either way but Bold Kings has raised himself on every occasion so far and there’s no reason why he can’t do it again. It’s set to be a terrific contest. (3) HEBA ran Triple Nine very close last month and can’t be ruled out and while (5) GUMPO SKY could only manage 5th in that race, he was only beaten a neck in the Grand Prix and will surely give a good account of himself. He and Bold Kings will lead, Triple Nine will come from just behind. The evergreen (4) VIVA ACE can never be ruled out of the money.

Favourites: (1) Bold Kings (7) Triple Nine (5) Gumpo Sky (3) Heba
Next Best: 4, 2
Remainder: 6, 8
Fast Starters: 1, 5

Seoul Race 10: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 17:30 

After the likely fireworks in the previous contest, this is rather more run of the mill. (1) GWANGBOK CHILSIP is favoured to get back to winning ways over this modest class 3 field. (7) BIG MOUNTAIN and (8) JANGSAN TAEYANG provide the sternest competition for the three-year-old while (2) READ AGAIN and (3) HWANGGEUM GASOK can’t be ruled out. However, the most likely outcome is Gwangbok Chilsip leading from gate to wire.

Favourites: (1) Gwangbok Chilsip (7) Big Mountain (8) Jangsan Taeyang (3) Hwanggeum Gasok
Next Best: 2, 6
Remainder: 4, 5, 9
Fast Starters: 1, 6, 9

Seoul Race 11: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 18:00

Really nice contest to finish with which sees four up and coming fillies taking each other on. (2) DONGHAE CHEONHA is unbeaten in two starts and was a dominating winner over this distance at the end of last month. (1) KATIE STAR has been beaten, at this distance at the end of January, but was impressive over 1000M three weeks ago and has very solid claims. The third filly is (6) JEWELRY PARK, an eye-catching six-length winner last month. (7) BEYOND LIMIT won three of her first four and while she has struggled a bit in her most recent two, can get back in form here especially if the others go too fast early. Aside from those it is a slightly older filly, (5) BIHOBARAM who looks next best while (8) SSONSALGACHI and (13) MUHANDOMA can also go well.

Favourites: (1) Katie Star (6) Jewelry Park (2) Donghae Cheonha (7) Beyond Limit
Next Best: 5, 8, 13, 4
Remainder: 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
Fast Starters: 1, 2, 5, 6

Busan Friday Review

Arguably the two strongest selling points of Korean racing, at least from an international punting perspective, are that the races start bang on time and favourites are extremely reliable. So naturally, with the card at Busan being broadcast across Australia for the first time on Sky Racing 1, the schedule went haywire and the vast majority of favourites went backwards.


At a TAB outlet somewhere in Sydney…Number 6 would be a rare favourite winner today

On Fridays the thoroughbreds at Busan alternate races with the ponies racing on Jeju Island. Races from Jeju are simulcast back to the racecourses and OTB’s on the mainland. Any simulcast race is going to hold a huge amount (as in millions of dollars) in its pools and that means that any delays – a late scratching of a favourite or a stewards inquiry, for instance – can mean the next race at the other track being delayed by about five minutes to allow punters to collect their thoughts and enjoy a full betting period. It doesn’t happen very often. Even rarer is a false start. And a 20 minute delay.

Yet that is exactly what happened in Jeju race 1. The gates opened before all horses were ready. The flags went up and they were called back. The ensuing Stewards Inquiry and re-run delayed the rest of the cards at both tracks by a full 20 minutes. Heads were shaken and then scratched as nobody could ever remember this happening before. Fortunately, with only Korea and Singapore to show, Sky were in a forgiving mood and Busan did its best to reschedule the races so as to deliberately avoid too many clashes with its regular simulcast partners at Kranji. If anything, the revised schedule was an improvement.

As for the favourites, while the bankers at the bookends of the card, V Diva (Menifee) in race 1 and Perdido Pomeroy (Pomeroy) in race 10, did oblige the other eight races were fiendishly hard from a betting point of view with big competitive fields. All eight of those favourites went down.

Aside from Perdido Pomeroy getting back to winning ways following his first defeat on his fourth career start last month, standout performer was perhaps Saengil Gippeum (Parading), who stepped up in class but led from gate to wire to win race 8. That race was marred by two horses pulling up injured  but it doesn’t detract from the performance of the three-year-old US import, who strode to a four-length win.

Shocks of the day came in race 3, where 100/1 Choegang Excellent (One Cool Cat) led home 290/1 Enter Way Queen (Exploit) for a barely credible 4000/1 exacta and in race 6 when Ikuyasu Kurakane threaded 80/1 shot Maruon (Honor And Glory), a 28-race maiden prior to today, through a crowded field to snatch victory. That’s racing. Aside from Kurakane, Pasquale Borelli would also be among the winners for the foreign contingent at Busan (although he would later suffer a fall) but trainers Peter Wolsley, Bart Rice and Thomas Gillespie drew blanks despite having some live prospects.

Overall it was a huge day for Korean racing. A few years ago, the idea of racing here being shown in a country such as Australia – even on one of the two days of the year there is no racing at home there – would have been utterly unthinkable. Today’s coverage, anchored expertly by Anthony Manton – a staunch friend of racing here for a number of years now – was another big step towards Korea joining the mainstream of racing.

Racing returns to Korea on Saturday when there will be a 12-race card at Seoul. There’s an Australian feel to that too as jockey Dean Holland makes his Korean debut in race 1. On Sunday there are big cards at both Seoul and Busan. Singapore and Malaysia will be simulcasting twelve races on Sunday while Sky Racing 2 in Australia will be showing three. Full previews of all twelve will be up here tomorrow.

We will be starting on time!

Busan Friday: Race By Race Preview

The weekend’s racing gets underway at Busan on Friday and in a first for Korea, the meeting will be shown live on Sky Racing in Australia. There are big fields all day and there should be plenty to keep bettors occupied.

Busan Racecourse winning line

It’s Friday…It’s Busan!

See here for English racecards. A word about going. As of Thursday morning, the official going at Busan was “Good” with a track moisture content of 8%. There is currently a 20% chance of rain between now and Friday’s racing.

Race 1: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 11:40 (KST)

The first of four maiden races but there are two fillies who come in here having finished 2nd on their respective debuts last month. (8) ALBERT VICAR led for much of the way and beat four of these on February 26th and will be supported but the strong favourite will be (6) V DIVA. She was beaten by a good winner on her own debut, should have come for it and has a top jockey riding. She is the banker favourite of the day. (3) DONGNAM CHOEGO was 3rd behind Albert Vicar last month and finishing the stronger while (11) GANGJA TTEUNDA and (12) MISS CANBERRA both have plenty to find from their debuts but can improve. The one first-timer here is (4) WELL MADE. Her only sibling to race in Korea has won three of ten starts so far and she has a top jockey on board. It took her two goes to qualify and she was average in her last trial but can be competitive in this company.

Favourites: (6) V Diva (8) Albert Vicar (3) Dongnam Choego (12) Miss Canberra
Next Best: 11, 1, 4
Remainder: 2, 5, 7, 9, 10
Fast Start: 3, 6, 8, 11

Race 2: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 12:20 (KST)

South African trainer Bart Rice saddles (3) ACE GLORY and after a 3rd and a 2nd in his first two starts, the colt can go one better here. There are a couple of big dangers though. (7) DONGBANG BULPAE was beaten by V Diva (who we saw in race 1) and may benefit from the extra furlong today while (6) GIFTED SUN, beaten last time by Albert Vicar and Dongnam Choego (both also from race 1) can also improve. (10) NORTHERN TRACE showed development back from a spell last time and gets a top jockey today while (9) BAEKDU YEONGUNG was a slightly disappointing 6th when well backed a month ago and can be given another chance. There are three debut-makers. (12) KKEUTPAN HERO won a barrier trial at the end of last month and may be considered. (4) BEOLMAUI SIN is owned by one of Busan’s most successful owners and while indifferent in trials, will also have supporters.

Favourites: (3) Ace Glory (7) Dongbang Bulpae (6) Gifted Sun (12) Kkeutpan Hero
Next Best: 4, 9, 10, 1
Remainder: 2, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14
Fast Start: 3, 7, 8

Race 3: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:00

Thomas Gillespie’s (8) MAJOR SLAM was indifferent on debut but much improved her second appearance last month when she ran 3rd over this distance. She can continue her development here. She’ll be the favourite but (4) TRIPLE QUEENS looks to be on the up as well, beating a couple of these when running 4th on March 4th. More experienced is (7) OH DAEBAK, yet to win in ten but capable of at least matching her best of 4th in this company. Also with experience is (12) VICAR SARANG – he’s beaten Oh Daebak recently and can challenge at the business end again. (1) KARIN JJANG, (2) KWAEHAN EUTTEUM and (10) RED YOUNG MYEONGUN look the other ones with claims among a weak field.

Favourites: (8) Major Slam (4) Triple Queens (7) Oh Daebak (12) Vicar Sarang
Next Best: 10, 2, 1, 11
Remainder: 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14
Fast Start: 3, 11, 14

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:40

The final maiden event sees (3) COT WING come in looking ready to win after coming closer and closer in recent starts. Last time he finished strongly only to be beaten less than a length when running 2nd at this distance. Behind him in 5th in that race was (4) ARCH and he will be looking to get closer. Another who looks ready to win is (13) EOROK, who scored a career best 3rd place last time. Bart Rice’s (12) SILENT LAGO was a much improved 3rd on what was her second start at the beginning of this month and further improvement is possible while (1) OLYMPIA QUEEN and (14) YEONGGWANGUI FORE are others for whom a maiden win would not be a total surprise; the latter may look to go forward in a race with not much early speed.

Favourites: (3) Cot Wing (12) Silent Lago (13) Eorok (4) Arch
Next Best: 1, 14, 10
Remainder: 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11
Fast Start: 3, 11, 14

Race 5: Class 5 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:25

(11) SANTA GLORIA comes in following a creditable 3rd of 6 in the Gold Circle Trophy – a Korean Oaks trial – at the beginning of this month and that is going to make her quite an attractive proposition here She is likely to get forward early. This is a tough race though with all but one trying the distance for the first time. (9) ALSO NUMBER ONE was a winner at this class over 1200M at the start of the month and must be respected. He beat Peter Wolsley’s (10) JIBONG JILJU in that race. That colt won his first two early last summer before being out for six months and the step up in distance may be what he needs. (4) BAEDARI HAENGUN has finished 3rd in five of her seven starts to date and there’s no reason why she can’t do that again. (14) V MAN got a slightly unfortunate trip when disappointing at odds-on on March 6th and can be given another chance today. (1) YOUARE THE CAPTAIN and (12) THE STARS are others with claims.

Favourites: (11) Santa Gloria (9) Also Number One (14) V Man (10) Jibong Jilju
Next Best: 4, 1, 12, 7
Remainder: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13
Fast Start: 9, 11

Race 6: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:15

The first event of the day open to foreign-bred horses and (14) GASI GONGJU was a winner on debut over 1000M in February and has every chance of following up here. Main danger looks to be (5) SEUNGNI UNCLE MO who made all to record his maiden win over 1200M last time and will surely try similar today. Much more experienced is the Korean-bred (12) MACH CHAMP, whose best recent work has been at 1000M but could also go well at 1200M in this company. Thomas Gillespie’s debut-maker (13) GREAT SONG won a trial in good order last month and can be considered while (8) AMAZING DAEJI doesn’t look a candidate to win but can find the money.

Favourites: (14) Gasi Gongju (5) Seungni Uncle Mo (13) Great Song (12) Mach Champ
Next Best: 8, 1, 7
Remainder 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11
Fast Start: 2, 5, 7, 12, 14

Race 7: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:05 (SIN)

Another race open to foreign-bred runners but the slight pick could well be a Korean bred. (3) FIRST KING is up in class after his second win on February 28th and looks very nicely in here to get a third. Yet to score is (5) FURIOUS RUNNER but the Aussie bred colt beat four of these when running 2nd over 1200M last time. He’ll go forward and while he carries plenty, he must be strongly considered. (13) SSI F STAR was 4th first-up after a spell last time and should have come on for it and can go better. (4) SWEET MYEONGUN and (10) GIMAKIN JILJU have claims on the places while improvement will be expected of (9) EURI EURI.

Favourites: (3) First King (5) Furious Runner (13) Ssi F Star (4) Sweet Myeongun
Next Best: 9, 10, 8
Remainder: 1, 2, 6, 7, 11 12
Fast Start: 5, 6

Race 8: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 16:00 (SIN)

(7) MIRACLE IJI has raced just four times and looks the one to beat here following a solid 2nd place over a mile last time out. He tries two turns for the first time and that should suit him just fine. Also a first-timer at this distance is Kim Young Kwan’s (13) BAEKDU. He races for the first time this year but finished 2015 with back to back victories, the most recent of them at a mile and he can go very well. Another winner at a mile last time is (3) GIANT HOLD and he is up in class along with (2) SAENGIL GIPPEUM. Both of them can go well with the latter likely to lead early on. (5) SAND KING was 3rd, a length behind Miracle Iji last start and must be respected while (6) LEGEND POWER is also capable of placing while (9) TOP SPRING did exactly that at lengthy odds a couple of weeks ago.

Favourites: (7) Miracle Iji (13) Baekdu (2) Saengil Gippeum (3) Giant Hold
Next Best: 5, 6, 9, 10
Remainder: 1, 4, 8, 11, 12
Fast Start: 2, 5

Race 9: Class 3 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 16:30 (SIN)

A very open race here with any number having claims. Five of them raced each other over this distance on February 26th though and most of the favourites are likely to be among them. That race was won by one of this year’s hottest three-year-old prospects, Banjiui Jewang. He of course is not here today but (9) SHARP GALE got closest to him that day, just beating (6) SAENA out of 2nd place by a neck. That was Saena’s fourth 3rd place from her last five starts. (2) JANGGUNBONG was a further half-length back in 4th and he should be looking to at least match that today. The real disappointment in that race was (11) WIRE TO. The colt was found to have been suffering a respiratory tract issue that day and while he did win his previous two, punters may be exercising caution today. As for those who didn’t run in that race, (5) MR. KELLY is the pick. He ran 2nd to Wire To in January but has beaten both Sharp Gale and Saena in recent starts and could very well beat them all here.

Favourites: (5) Mr. Kelly (9) Sharp Gale (6) Saena (2) Janggunbong
Next Best: 11, 1, 12, 7
Remainder: 3, 4, 8, 10, 13, 14
Fast Start: 2, 4

Race 10: Class 2 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 88 Million / 18:00 (KST)

Sent off at long odds-on, (7) PERDIDO POMEROY went down to his first defeat on his first try at this class last month. He drops down to 1200M today and runs slap-bang into (2) FRENCH BOY, who has won five of eight so far and steps up in class today. These two are the market leaders but it is Perdido Pomeroy who is favoured to get back to winning ways. They’ll both go forward as will plenty of others. As for those others, eight of them faced each other over 1200M on February 12th. (11) SINHEUNG GOSU came out on top of them that day in 3rd but was indifferent on his reappearance a couple of weeks ago. Instead, (4) CHEOGANG BULPAE, (5) ACE CHEONBOK and (8) WORLD LOVE are likely to be favoured to chase home the favourites.

Favourites: (7) Perdido Pomeroy (2) French Boy (5) Ace Cheonbok (4) Choegang Bulpae
Next Best: 8, 13, 11, 12
Remainder: 1, 3, 6, 9, 10, 14
Fast Start: 2, 4, 7, 8, 11

Busan On Sky Racing – A Basic Introduction

Korea will debut on Sky Racing in Australia on Friday with nine of the ten races on the card at Busan the card being shown on Sky Racing 1 (race 10 is available for betting only) as Australian racing takes its customary Good Friday holiday. We’ll have a full race-by-race rundown here on Thursday but in the meantime, here are some very basic things to be aware of about racing at Busan.

The grandstand at Seoul - three more races will be shown in Australia from the capital on Sunday

The grandstand at Seoul – three more races will be shown in Australia from the capital on Sunday

The Track: The track surface is sand. There is often a lot of kickback and as such horses tend to wear pacifiers and give one another plenty of room. Due to the nature of the surface, it usually runs quicker when it is wet.


Races: 90% of regular races are handicaps. There are six classes in total with class 6 being for new or unrated horses. Horses then progress up (or down) the classes according to rating.

Most horses are Korean bred although there are imports too. Imported horses all begin at class 4. Tab number and gate number are the same and jockeys wear a cap coloured according to their gate number (number 1 always wears a white cap, number 2 a yellow cap, etc.).

Starts tend to be quick and most horses need to be on the pace early. Jockeys are not permitted to shift ground within 100M of the start and there can be quite a battle to find a forward position.

Jockeys: It’s by no means unique to Korea but there is a big gap in jockey ability. As of today, the top of the Premiership at Busan looks like this (RSLW=Rides Since Last Win):


Trainers: Kim Young Kwan has been the dominant trainer at Busan for some time with Australian Peter Wolsley generally the runner-up. There are two other foreign trainers at Busan; South African Bart Rice and Ireland’s Thomas Gillespie, who previously trained in Malaysia. Here is the 2016 Premiership so far (RSLW=Runners Since Last Win).


Favourites: One plus of Korean racing is that favourites do oblige on a regular basis. In Korea, punters overwhelmingly favour exotic bets with the quinella and trio being the two most popular. The win and place pools are comparatively tiny and while they will generally be accurate in terms of who is faovurite, they may not tell the whole story the further down the board you go.

General: Prize money is high and integrity is good. Betting pools in Korea close 30 seconds ahead of the advertised start so races usually jump exactly on time.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we will run through all ten races on Friday’s card. On Saturday we will focus on Seoul in advance of Sunday’s races.

Sunday Round Up: Clean Up Joy Sprints Too

Clean Up Joy dropped down to 1200M but still ended up on top as he sprinted to a half-length win over Mirae Yeongung in Seoul’s Sunday feature.

Third in the Grand Prix Stakes last December, Clean Up Joy (Purge) is one of the top domestic-trained hopes for the Korea Cup later this year but on Sunday, he took the opportunity to race for a big prize at a sprint distance and he didn’t disappoint.

Sent off the odds-on favourite and ridden by Ham Wan Sik, Clean Up Joy pounced when early pace-setter Parang Juuibo faded in the straight. Mirae Yeongung and Djordje Perovic chased him home but never looked like getting up while Bichui Jeongsang was a further six lengths back in 3rd. The win was Clean Up Joy’s 8th in 16 starts and his 4th in his last 5.

While things went to form at Seoul, there was an upset of sorts in Busan’s Sunday feature as 19/1 Winner’s Marine took the inside line and ran on to defeat the Peter Wolsley-trained pair of Goliath Marine and favourite Leave It To Me by a length.

Winner’s Marine began her career with five straight victories and was well-backed for the KRA Cup Mile  – the first of the Three-Year-Old Classics – in 2014. She came 9th in that race and while she would go on to record a creditable 3rd place in that year’s Korean Oaks, she would not win again until yesterday. It was her 26th career starts.

Saturday at Seoul offered little in the way of outstanding action although jockey of the day was Kim Hye Sun, who rode a treble, including on Mighty Gem (Macho Uno) is what was ostensibly the day’s feature, an 1800M class 2 handicap. Honorable mention too for Yuri Takahashi who rode Super Commando (Archarcharch) to a three-length win in race 6. It is likely to be Takahashi’s final winner in the Korea with the popular Japanese rider heading home after the weekend’s cards.

Busan Friday Review

You Hyun Myung ride a true four-timer while Approach continued his march towards Class 1 on a wet Friday afternoon on the South Coast.

With champion jockey Jo Sung Gon having, at least for the time being, relocated to Seoul, You Hyun Myung was always likely to be one of the main beneficiaries. However, the scale of his dominance at Busan this term has nonetheless been a little surprising. On Saturday he rode four consecutive winners – all favourites – in races 4 to 7 to take his total for 2016 to 34 with nearest rival Kim Yong Geun a full 16 behind.

Those four included filly Mad Power (Sharp Humor), who moved onto 2 for 2 in race 5 and US import Super Cheolin (Pure Prize), who took race 7.

You would not have things all his own way though. The well backed Main Stay (Tale Of The Cat), looking for his 6th win in his last 7 starts, got taken down by a nose on the line by Rising Bravo (Discreet Cat) under Choi Si Dae in race 9. And it would be jockey Choi who would claim the day’s feature race too as he guided odds-on favourite Approach (Pico Central) to win the class 2 finale over 1800M. Approach, who missed almost all of his three-year-old campaign, moves on to 6 wins from 10 starts and looks class 1 bound.

In other races three-year-old colt Tohamsan (Kwaedo Nanma) looked good making all for a 5-length win in race 8 and moves on to 3 wins from 4 starts.

Saturday March 19
Seoul Racecourse: 12 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:00

Sunday March 20
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 13:00 to 17:00