Success Story, Beolmaui Kkum, Gamdonguibada, Gumpo Sky, New York Blue. And more. The first leg of the K-Sprint Series which, will culminate in the Korea Sprint on International Day in September, takes place at Busan on Sunday in the shape of the Busan Ilbo Cup and there is a star-studded line-up.
There is also a full card of racing at Seoul where the first race is at 10:50 and the last at 18:00. Busan runs from 13:00 to 17:05. The Cup is one of three races from Busan which will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2. English language race cards are here. Notes on the three Sky races:
Busan Race 3: Class 3 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 14:30 (KST)
A small but competitive field and (3) IN THE BACK enters the slight favourite following a 2nd place at class and distance on April 17th. He is from Busan’s top stable and has finished no worse than 2nd in any of his last eight starts. He will try to lead from gate-to-wire. The main danger is (8) SAENA. She hasn’t won since last June when she was successful at class and distance but enters with solid form behind her and she beat two of these when finishing 2nd over 1400M last month. Being back at a mile today should suit. (5) SANBANG TRAIL was 4th in that same race as Saena last month and should at least match that today with (1) JOKWANG and (7) MORNING GANGJA perhaps the best of the rest.
Selections (3) In The Back (8) Saena (5) Sanbang Trail (1) Jokwang
Next Best 7, 4, 6
Fast Starters 3, 5
Busan Race 4: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 15:20 (KST)
While suffering a severe case of second-itis – he’s never won but has been runner-up in each of his last four outings – (11) DAEJONGCHEON is the pick to finally get it right today. This is by virtue of his having beaten three of these when just going down by a neck over 1400M on April 3rd. He tries this distance for the first time. If Daejongcheon is to find one too quick again – and let’s face it, he might – the Bart Rice-trained (4) GIANT HOLD looks the most likely candidate. A class 4 winner at a mile in March, he was 3rd at this distance, beating Aussie-bred (7) STAR WARP, last time out. There is more Australian interest in this as Peter Wolsley saddles the lightly-raced (9) TURNPIKE. This is just his fifth start and he was beaten by Daejoncheon last time but he may appreciate the extra distance today. (10) SEMPER FI should also enjoy being back at 1800M and should be close with (5) GEOCHIMEOPSI and (6) NAGASINDA the more wildcard choices.
Selections (11) Daejongcheon (4) Giant Hold (9) Turnpike (10) Semper Fi
Next Best 6, 7, 5
Outsiders 1, 2, 3, 8
Fast Starters 6, 10, 11
Busan Race 5: Class Open – The Busan Ilbo Cup (Korea Sprint Series 1L / 1200M / Weight for Age / KRW 300 Million / 16:15 (KST)
(1) SUCCESS STORY is the marquee name here. Last seen running 3rd to California Chrome over 2000M at Meydan in February (in a prep race at the Carnival, not the actual World Cup race) he makes his return home in a hugely competitive 1st leg of the Korean Sprint Series. Success Story is capable at any distance between 1000 and 2000M and he has claims under Italian jockey Paolo Aragoni, but he may well not even be the favourite. That’s because his owner also enters (3) BEOLMAUI KKUM, the highest rated horse in Korea right now. Winner of fifteen of his twenty-five races, he is unbeaten in two races since returning from a six-month spell. A powerful starter, he will take on Success Story for the early lead and has every chance of beating him. (7) GAMDONGUIBADA has been beaten by Beolmaui Kkum in both her last two starts but remains dangerous as does (11) GUMPO SKY, who only ever races in tough company and is intriguingly dropped back to 1200M for the first time since he was a three-year-old. He usually goes forward but may let the others get on with it here. (10) PERDIDO POMEROY takes a big leap up in class but has plenty of potential while (9) NEW YORK BLUE, a very good sprinter in the past is the wildcard returning from seven months out. She looked sharp in trials.
Selections (3) Beolmaui Kkum (1) Success Story (7) Gamdonguibada (10) Perdido Pomeroy
Next Best 11, 9, 5, 4
Outsiders 2, 6, 8
Fast Starters 3, 1, 4