It’s Korean Derby weekend. KRA Cup Mile winner Power Blade heads a strong Busan contingent who are in the capital for Sunday’s showpiece, accompanied by all five of the track’s foreign jockeys.
We’ll have a full preview of the big race tomorrow, but in the meantime, here’s what’s happening at Busan today. English language race cards are here.
Race 2: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 13:25 (KST)
After debuting last November, (4) MUJEOK VICAR returned last month and ran 3rd of twelve over this distance, beating two of the others who go here and must surely win this very modest affair. (2) B.K. SUN will be quick out of the gate and has claims on 2nd with (1) YEOKDONGUI JILJU and (3) DESTINY others who are set to get their biggest payday to date here.
Selections (4) Mujeok Vicar (3) Destiny (2) B.K. Sun (1) Yeokdongui Jilju
Next Best 5, 8
Outsiders 6, 7
Fast Starters 2
Race 3: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 14:10 (KST)
(9) IKSAN DAEWANG was 2nd on debut on April 15th and can come from off the pace to go one better here. That pace is likely to be set by (4) HAPPY JILJU, who hasn’t been far away in recent starts without really threatening a win and she can place again. Last time out, she beat (3) DAEJIUI HUIMANG by a couple of lengths and that one too can improve today. (2) PERFECT KING and the more experienced (7) CHASEDAE can also compete for the placings.
Selections (9) Iksan Daewang (4) Happy Jilju (3) Daejiui Huimang (2) Perfect King
Next Best 7, 6
Outsiders 1, 5, 8
Fast Starters 2, 4
Race 4: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:00 (KST)
Big field but a clear favourite in the shape of (3) CHOEGANG DREAM. He’s up in class having been a four-length winner on what was his second career start on April 8th and should have too much for this lot. (9) SKY RUNNER and (11) GODAE are both also up in class following maiden victories last time and should be competitive while (2) SONATA ZONE and Shunsuke Yoshida’s (4) TAIL WIND are already experienced at this level and should go well.
Selections (3) Choegang Dream (4) Tail Wind (9) Sky Runner (2) Sonata Zone
Next Best 11, 5, 6
Outsiders 1, 7, 8, 10, 12
Fast Starters 3, 4
Race 5: Class 5 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:50 (KST)
Perhaps the most competitive race of the day sees a couple of maidens both up in class having come close in each of their two most recent starts. (4) SMART KING was beaten a head by Godae (who we saw in race 4) last time out at 1300M having made all up to that point and has solid claims. (8) MACH BOLT is slightly less experienced but may very well appreciate tackling seven furlongs for the first time. (9) CHOEGANG EXCELLENT has already won and was 4th on his first try at this level just two weeks ago and will be a danger as will (2) GANGHO DREAM, who was half a length behind Choegang Excellent in that very same race two weeks ago. (10) IMPASSIONED MARINE is the other one with a big chance. She was 3rd last time out and looks to have a win in her at this level.
Selections (4) Smart King (8) Mach Bolt (9) Choegang Excellent (10) Impassioned Marine
Next Best 2, 3, 6
Outsiders 1, 5, 7, 11
Fast Starters 1, 4, 10
Race 6: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 16:40 (KST)
(6) YEONGGWANGUI AGAIN was a 30/1 winner at class and distance on a wet track a month ago and while he must be respected here, others will be favoured. One of those he beat in that narrow finish and (1) CHOA is one of a number who will be on the early speed here and can go very well. (2) ALBERT VICAR is still looking for her maiden victory but dropped back to 1200M today should improve on the 4th she scored last start. (3) ONLY BLUE and Thomas Gillespie’s (7) MAJOR SLAM, who is up in class following a good win at this distance last month, are others to consider as is the other Yeonggwangui, (5) YEONGGWANGUISINHWA.
Selections (1) Choa (2) Albert Vicar (7) Major Slam (3) Only Blue
Next Best 5, 6
Outsiders 4, 8, 9, 10
Fast Starters 1, 2, 3, 6, 7
Race 7: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 17:20 (KST)
Coming in looking for a hat-trick of victories, the verdict must go to (5) KWAEHAN JILJU. An almost three-length winner at this class over 1200M last month, he is hard to oppose here. (2) CHEONMA CHUPUNGO is yet to win or come 2nd but can score a career best finish here while (3) BETTER THAN YOU is one of three entrants here who races for the first time this year. He looks better than the other two. Down in class, the very experienced (4) GIMAKHIN SEONTAEK may be competitive for the first time in a while.
Selections (5) Kwaehan Jilju (2) Cheonma Chupungo (3) Better Than You (4) Gimakhin Seontaek
Next Best 6, 7
Outsiders 1, 8
Fast Starters 1
Race 8: Class 4 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 18:00 (KST)
Peter Wolsley’s (6) JIBONG BLUE has won two of three starts so far and while up in class today, should be winning this. She will likely look to lead from the gate and can make all. (1) CHEONJUNGWANG struggled at 1800M a month ago but should be better today while (2) GOLD LINE was a good winner over 1200M three weeks ago and can build on that here. (3) WORLD QUICK was 2nd at class and distance on April 1st and must be respected here and although (4) HWARYEOHANHAMSEONG may only have a solitary victory to his name, he is a tough competitor and is rarely far from the money.
Selections (6) Jibong Blue (1) Cheonjungwang (2) Gold Line (3) World Quick
Next Best 4, 7
Outsiders 5, 8
Fast Starters 3, 6
Race 9: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 18:30 (KST)
(5) HOSEUNGJIBYEOK suffered her only setback to date in an Oaks trial in March and got back to winning ways last month with a five-length victory over 1400M. She is up in class and also in distance today but there’s no reason why she can’t win again. The one who looks to have the potential to beat her is (7) DONGNAM CHEONHA. He is already a winner at this distance and has beaten some of these in recent starts. He should be looking to go better than the 3rd place he scored last time out. One race into a comeback, (8) BARAMUI JEONSEOL also looks backable for a place while (3) SEMPER FI and (6) YEONGGWANGUITAEPUNG can’t be ruled out.
Selections (5) Hoseungjibyeok (7) Dongnam Cheonha (3) Semper Fi (8) Baramui Jeonseol
Next Best 6, 2
Outsiders 1, 4
Fast Starters 3, 4
Race 10: Class 2 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 19:00 (KST)
He’s five for five and (1) BIT BLADE finally returns today after just over a year out. He’s with Busan’s top stable and breezed through a barrier at the end of April in good style. He’ll look to make all here and has every chance of doing so. Also returning from a lengthy spell is (2) JIBONG SEUNGNI. He too looked sharp in trials and can go well first up. The main danger though could be (4) READY WHEN YOU ARE. He returned from a spell of his own a month ago to win a quick race at this distance and comes up in class today. (3) JILJU HWASIN and (5) CHOEGANG PLUS, the latter of whom beat three of those who go here in March, are others to look out for.
Selections (1) Bit Blade (4) Ready When You Are (2) Jibong Seungni (5) Choegang Plus
Next Best 3, 11, 9
Outsiders 6, 7, 8, 10
Fast Starters 1, 4, 8, 11