Day: April 2, 2016

Triple Crown R1 – KRA Cup Mile: Runner-By-Runner Preview

A field of twelve – eleven colts and one filly – will line up at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon for the the first leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown. 

Power Blade Banjiui

Power Blade beat Banjiui Jewang at Seoul in the Breeders’ Cup in November (Pic: Ilgan Sports/KRA)

Three are from Seoul and nine from the host track. Power Blade, champion juvenile of 2015 is likely to be sent off as the favourite. The race is race 6 on a 7-race card at Busan which gets underway at 12:20pm. There are also 10 races at Seoul from 10:50. The race will be shown live in Australia on Sky Racing 2 along with another couple of races (preview of those here).

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Sunday April 3, 2016 (16:40)

1. Gongryong [Revere – Parisilton (Woodman)] (7/4/1/0) DS Bae – Moon Se Young
Likely to be Seoul’s best hope, Moon Se Young coming to ride is a plus. Gongryong (which means “Dinosaur”) come sin having won hislast three including last time at 1700M by a full four lengths. Unique among the field, he will want to be right at the back from the start and he could find the money

2. Ever In Ever [Sharp Humor – Habidongju (Silent Warrior)] (6/3/2/1) KY Baik – Seo Seung Un
This one has slipped a little under the radar having begun his career a little too late to run in the big juvenile races last autumn. He’s won three of six and last time was just beaten a head in a quick race at a mile having led for most of the way. He goes forward and a place is possible.

3. Stealth [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower (Woodman)] (8/4/0/1) SY Lee – Ikuyasu Kurakane
A winner at a mile on Boxing Day by a full five lengths inindifferent company, he won a solid race over 1400M last time. Should be content to let others lead here as any involvement in an early pace battle would be to his detriment, he has a very good jockey on board but is an outsider.

4. Theme Deunggeuk [Menifee – Pilseung Giwon (Silent Warior)] (7/2/3/1) JK Park – Park Eul Woon
He’s won two of his last three at Seoul, making all last time to win by six lengths at 1400M. Big step up today though. Likely to one of the very many looking to get forward early.

5. Smart Gentleman [Menifee – Hennesy N Lime (Limehouse)] (8/4/1/2) JS Kim – Makoto Okabe
Distance is a question mark with this one. He is competent at sprints but has only tried further than 1200M on one occasion and came 4th. Temptation would be to go out as fast as possible and try to cling on for as long as possible, but he does have a smart jockey on board.

6. Dyna’s Dream [Meiner Select – Dyna’s Gold Legend (Gold Legend)] (7/3/2/0) SB Han – Jo Chang Wook
He comes in following three consecutive victories but he really hasn’t beaten very much along the way and with the exception of last time, has been allowed to dictate. That won’t happen today. Never tried at further than 1300M, distance will also be a doubt. He may well leave the early speedsters to get on with it and try to come from just behind.

7. Argo Flying [Colors Flying – Proper Prospector (Crafty Prospector)] (3/1/1/1) JY Heo – Kim Dong Soo
He hasn’t done anything wrong but this is surely too much too soon. Got his maiden win last start at class 6 over 1000M. At least connections are having a go which is more than can be said for plenty at Seoul but success is unlikely.

8. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park – Sweetoil (Broken Vow)] (5/4/1/0) PM Wolsley – Pasquale Borelli
Big chance. He was 2nd to Power Blade in the Juvenile Championship race at Soeul last Noveber and has won his two starts since with an eight-length stroll last time out over a few decent older horses. Tried at the distance for the first time but hell get that and further. Good speed too. Goes forward and he is a big threat to the favourite.

9. Gasok Engine [Forest Camp – Cat Lea (Cat Thief)] (6/4/1/0) JS Kim – Lim Sung Sil
A winner of four of six but he didn’t go well at 1400M last time. Another who needs to go forward and it may just be too competitive here. He has a lot to find

10.Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] (6/4/2/0) YK Kim- Kim Yong Geun
The champion juvenile will be the favourite and likely a strong one. Has beaten the next two in the betting, Banjiui Jewang and Ottug Ottugi and and won really well at 1800M against older horses last time out. He doesn’t need to get involved in any early speed battle and will look to ease to the front on the long turn for home. He is beatable but hard to bet against.

11. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] (7/5/1/0) YK Kim – Choi Si Dae
Power Blade’s stablemate, she just held on to beat him in Busan’s top juvenile race at 1200M before failing to stay on at 1400M in Seoul a month later. She’s won a couple since though including an Oaks trial last start. Beating a few fillies at 1400M is different to beating Power Blade at a mile but she is developing and there is a feeling she can get this distance. She’s fast and even from gate 11, can get forward.

12. Zettabyte [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] (7/3/2/1) KM Lim – You Hyun Myung
Beaten by Power Blade and Ottug Ottugi in December shes won two since very handily indeedincluding at a mile last time out. She does have plenty to find here and she goes best when she leads early which will be hard here but she has a chance.

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Dean Holland Off The Mark At Seoul

Aussie jockey Dean Holland rode his first Korean winner at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon. It arrived on his tenth mount in the country and his first well fancied one. 

The first week can often be somewhat of an ordeal for foreign jockeys in Korea and while Holland got a decent number of rides last weekend, none of the six he was legged up onto had anything remotely resembling a chance. Observers noted, however, that he put each of them into the spot they needed to be before their limitations prevented them from going any further.

Today, Holland rode six more horses. Four of them had no chance, one of them an outside chance of some minor prize money and one of them a good chance. The good chance was Seungjahwanhui (Exploit), sent off as second-favourite in race 9. Having drawn the inside gate, the 27-year-old rider took Seungjahwanhui straight to the front and never looked like being headed as they made all to win by over two lengths on the line.

Hopefully that will be the first of many. Holland has six more rides on the Sunday card at Seoul.

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Busan Sunday Sky Racing Notes

Sunday sees the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile – or “Korean 2000 Guineas”, as it’s sometimes known, at Busan. It’s one of three races which will be available to Australian punters and will be shown on Sky Racing 2.

English racecards for both Seoul and Busan are available here. Comments on the three simulcast races below (an additional runner by runner guide to the Cup Mile will be posted later):

Race 4: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:55 (KST)

(3) MIRACLE BOLT will be the strong favourite here. She comes in here looking for her fourth straight victory having practically made all in each of her last three. The one concern is that all three of those have been at 1000M; her first three winless starts were all at today’s distance, however, she should have come on enough to overcome that. If she is to be beaten, the best candidate is (5) DAEHOYEOJANGGUN. She’s finished no worse than 3rd in any of her last eight races and will join Miracle Bolt in going forward. She may well have to settle for her seventh 2nd place though. Racing in 4th behind Daehoyeojanggun last start was (7) PICO AEGIS and she can go close again while (9) MASTER KEY beat a couple of these when running 3rd at this distance a month ago. (8) KWAEHAN JILJU is up in class and makes his first appearance since a narrow victory over 1400M on Christmas Day. The very experienced (1) COUPLE is the wildcard; down in class today after a lengthy campaign at class 3.

Selections: (3) Miracle Bolt (5) Daehoyeojanggun (9) Master Key (8) Kwaehan Jilju
Next Best: 7, 1, 4
Outsiders: 2, 6
Fast Starters: 3, 5, 6

Race 5: Class 4 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:45 (KST)

(8) SISEON POCHAK debuted with a win all the way back on his debut last July and while he has come close time and again since – he’s only once finished worse than 3rd – he hasn’t quite been able to follow up. That can change here. Busan’s champion trainer Kim Young Kwan partners with Seoul’s champion jockey Moon Se Young, Siseon Pochak can get forward here and can make all. Australian trainer Peter Wolsley’s (7) COTTINPICKINGOOD has shown glimpses of talent in two starts to date and the greater distance may be exactly what he needs. (3) DEVIL KING dead-heated for 2nd place at class and distance a month ago and will be shorter than the 26/1 he was that day while (2) ROYAL VICTOR and (5) WONDERFUL CAPTAIN look the best of the rest.

Selections: (8) Siseon Pochak (7) Cottinpickingood (3) Devil King (2) Royal Victor
Next Best: 5, 1, 4
Outsiders: 6, 9
Fast Starters: 8, 9

Race 6: Class Open / 1600M / The KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Allowance / KRW 500 Million / 16:40 (KST)

The first leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown series for three-year-olds will likely see last year’s champion juvenile (10) POWER BLADE sent off as strong favourite. Already a winner at 1800M, the mile will be no problem – he’s going to get much further – and he has beaten his two main rivals here. There are a lot of fast starters in this race but Power Blade should be able to sit handy early on and will be very difficult to beat. Power Blade’s stablemate (11) OTTUG OTTUGI is the only filly involved and comes in having dominated an Oaks trial last month at 1400M. She has shown the best speed of any in the race but at this stage the distance is an issue; while she was fine at 1400M against those fillies, taking on Power Blade at a mile is different prospect.

One that can combine has shown both speed and a strong likelihood to get the distance is (8) BANJIUI JEWANG. Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley has saddled one Classic winner before and this could be his second. He was 2nd to Power Blade in the Juvenile Championship race in Seoul last November and was a facile winner over 1400M in respectable company last start. A big chance.

Seoul sends three representatives and by far the most likely looking is (1) GONGRYONG. That champion jockey Moon Se Young has given up a weekend of winners in the capital to partner him could be seen as a tip in itself but Gongryong will need to find more than he has shown before when defeating average Seoul-based horses. That said, he was an impressive four-length winner over 1700M last start and can be respected. He will go right back at the start which could be to his benefit if others over-race early.

(2) EVER IN EVER has come up somewhat under the radar, starting too late to race in the big juvenile races last autumn but was only beaten a head at a mile last time. (12) ZETTABYTE is a winner at the distance and looks to have more improvement in him.

Selections: (8) Banjiui Jewang (10) Power Blade (11) Ottug Ottugi (1) Gongryong
Next Best: 12, 2, 5, 6, 9
Outsiders: 3, 4, 7
Fast Starters: 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12