This Sunday sees the first Korean Graded Race of 2016 in the shape of the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy. Sixteen runners will come under orders for the six-furlong sprint and we’ll have a full preview on Saturday. The weekend’s racing, however, gets underway on Friday with a ten-race card at Busan.
The first race is at 11:40 and the last is at 18:00. Races 4-10 will be simulcast and below are brief notes on each of those races (times local Korean time):
Race 4: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40
(9) YUSEONG STAR was 3rd over class and distance a month ago and is one of a number of contenders for this very competitive race. (7) BIGBANG BIG was beaten into 2nd by (6) MEGA HEART in January but overturned that form last time and should be involved once again. Another danger is (3) PENTA HEELS, up in class following a maiden win over 1000M on February 19th. That was a much improved performance and she has potential for more. (1) UNFLAGGING HEART and (12) MOMENT are the others to consider.
Favourites: (9) Yuseong Star (3) Penta Heels (7) Bigbang Bid (1) Unflagging Heart
Race 5: Class 4 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:25
(5) THE QUEEN has two wins from four outings. She made all to win over this distance in a very quick time last start and despite bbeing up in class here, will be hard to beat. (2) DAEHOYEOJANGGUN comes in following a strong of 2nd and 3rd place finishes, generally behind decent horses and can place again while (12) ARION METAL showed some promise in two 4th place finishes in his first two starts last autumn and returns from a spell here. (3) GREEN MIREU, 2nd at the distance last time, can also go well.
Favourites: (5) The Queen (2) Daehoyeojanggun (12) Arion Metal (3) Green Mireu
Race 6: Class 4 / 1200M Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:15
Each week at this time of the year, we mention that we must pay close attention to Korean bred horses running in races open to foreign bred horses as they will usually be stronger. With that in mind, (2) SUPER STORM and (9) JIBONG STAR are the ones to watch. The former gets the verdict although the latter did beat four of these over 1000M last month. Another pair of Korean breds, (4) KKEUTPAN DAEJANG and (8) JAYU DAERO are next best. Among the debut-makers, (12) GUMALLI, from the track’s top stable was quick in trials and looks the best although (10) PHILIP AND GIRAFFE, encouraging on debut, can be given another chance despite a disappointing second start.
Favourites: (2) Super Storm (9) Jibong Star (12) Gumalli (8) Jayu Daero
Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 16:05
Three come in here off a win last start. (3) RAON SANTOS and (4) MINE are both up in class after maiden wins but both were emphatic enough to suggest they will be competitive at this level. The former is favoured at this stage. The third is (1) WONIL ROSE. She was a class and distance winner on February 19th by a nose and while she does carry an extra 3kg today, she can be competitive once more. Back in 4th behind Wonil Rose that day was (6) DANCING CAT; she has a weight advantage today which will see her with plenty of support to overturn that form. (9) SEONGHO JEONGSANG is yet to win in ten but has been 2nd on three occasions including last time out over this distance.
Favourites: (3) Raon Santos (1) Wonil Rose (6) Dancing Cat (4) Mine
Race 8: Class 3 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 17:00
(11) SMART GENTLEMAN is up in class following three consecutive wins but there is little to fear here and he could very well make if four in a row today. (2) SEORABEOL GONGJU narrowly dodged the winner’s circle in four short-priced outings but nevertheless finds herself up at class 3 today and will probably conspire to be narrowly defeated once again. (12) YESURI MYEONGUN was disappointing last time at 1400M but has beaten plenty of these at this distance already this year and will beat plenty today too. (8) TANK POWER can go better dropped back to 1200M today while (6) SMILE QUEEN could only manage 6th on her first try at this class at the end of January and can go better here. She finished ahead of (13) GRACE who was a winner at class and distance in January.
Favourites: (11) Smart Gentleman (2) Seorabeol Gongju (12) Yesuri Myeongun (6) Smile Queen
Race 9: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 17:30
A class and distance winner, beating four who go here, on his last start, (6) DONGBANG DAERO does carry an extra 4kg today but is still capable of making it two in a row. (10) BADA DOSI was 2nd that day and given the shift in weights, may well be favourite. Another danger is (2) SINHANG. He’s won two from five before today and tries two turns for the first time. He will go forward from the gate and if he stays, he has solid claims. (4) NAGASINDA was 4th behind Sinhang last time and should be looking to at least match that here. The very experienced (11) STAR WARP is unlikely to be winning this but could sneak into a place.
Selections: (6) Dongbang Daero (10) Bada Dosi (2) Sinhang (4) Nagasinda
Race 10: Class 2 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 18:00
An up-and-comer, (13) TONGIL SIDAE is up in class following his second win in four starts on February 14th and can take full advantage of joint-bottom weight on his first try at this distance today. He should be too good for these. The rest are all going to need to find improvement in recent starts (4) HEUKGANGJA, likely to join Tongil Sidae in an early lead, looks the best of them with (2) POKPUNG CHOEGANG, (8) SINHEUNG GOSU and (11) PUREUN ACE others who can go well.
Favourites: (13) Tongil Sidae (4) Heukgangja (8) Sinheung Gosu (11) Pureun Ace