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