A big weekend of racing on the peninsula kicks off on Friday afternoon with ten races at Busan with the first at 12:40pm and the last at 7pm (there is also pony racing from Jeju Island in the gaps between races).
Fields look to be competitive with some warm, but by no means nailed-on, favourites throughout the day. Trainer Bart Rice was in top form in May and he can keep it going with Wonil Bulpae in race 7 (Edit: Wonil Bulpae has been withdrawn). Many of Busan’s top jockeys are away in Seoul this weekend for Sunday’s SBS and Ttukseom Cups so Ikuyasu Kurakane, Seo Seung Un and Lee Yong Ho look to be the ones to follow today.
English racecards can be found here. Race-by-race comments:
Race 2: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:25 (KST)
(3) NANDANALA returned from almost a year out with a career-best 4th on May 6th and looks best placed to improve here and get her maiden win. (5) STRONG MYEONGUN will look to lead from the gate and is a danger while (1) GEOWIUI KKUM, making just his second start – a full nine months after his first, looked sharp in a trial a couple of weeks ago and may be considered. Debut-maker (6) HWANGGEUMBIT JILJU will have backers due to the stable while (8) PALMYRA and (10) JEONSEOLUI LEGEND are others with the potential to improve.
Selections (3) Nandala (5) Strong Myeongun (1) Geowiui Kkum (10) Jeonseolui Legend
Next Best 6, 8, 12, 11
Outsiders 2, 4, 7, 9
Fast Starters 5, 8
Race 3: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 14:10 (KST)
(5) BEST CHEONGCHUN has managed a best of three 4th place finishes among eight starts to date but should have the beating of these and it’s about time she made the breakthrough here. (3) KWAESOK BOLT was a much-improved 3rd last time out, beating (7) HWASEONG ACE in the process and can be respected with likely pacesetter (1) TAKE AGAIN and (2) PERFECT KING others who are capable of being involved. Best Cheongchun should be winning, though.
Selections (5) Best Cheongchun (3) Kwaesok Bolt (2) Perfect King (1) Take Again
Next Best 6, 7
Outsiders 4, 8
Fast Starters 1
Race 4: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:00 (KST)
One of two up in class here, (8) WHITE BLUE is the narrow choice to follow up on her maiden win which she scored at this distance on April 15th. She made all that day and comes in following seven weeks off and while it may be harder to get to the lead today with plenty of early speed in this race, she is the one to beat. Also up in class is (4) TRIPLE PARTY; he is yet to win but has a 2nd and two 3rds in three starts and can maintain that record today while of the more experienced ones, (5) YEONGGWANGUISINHWA and (6) YUSEONG STAR look to be the main dangers. (9) GOLD SUN actually beat White Blue back in January but has struggled in three starts since.
Selections (8) White Blue (4) Triple Party (6) Yuseong Star (5) Yeonggwanguisinhwa
Next Best 9, 2
Outsiders 1, 3, 7, 10
Fast Starters 1, 3, 4, 8, 9
Race 5: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:50 (KST)
Competitive all-filly affair here but there are a couple of standouts. (6) ALBERT VICAR beat (4) MAJOR SLAM when scoring her maiden victory over 1200M three weeks ago and looks nicely in to repeat. Major Slam was 4th that day and can be a threat as can her stablemate (2) JUNGANG YEOJE. She is the only one of these up in class following a two-length victory over the minimum distance last month. (5) LOVE QUEEN beat (1) VALKYRIE at the minimum last month and both can challenge today.
Selections (6) Albert Vicar (2) Jungang Yeoje (4) Major Slam (1) Valkyrie
Next Best 5, 3
Outsiders 7, 8, 9
Fast Starters 2, 4, 9
Race 6: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 16:40 (KST)
(4) DOCHI has shown gradual improvement and could perhaps have won had he not missed the jump at this distance just two weeks ago. Ultimately he was beaten four lengths by a decent winner but with a better start today, can win. (6) IMPASSIONED MARINE enters following back-to-back 3rd place finishes and 3rd is a minimum requirement today while the experienced (8) SAMDA GONGJU should have the beating of plenty. (1) OH MY CAPTAIN and (7) FOREVER VICTORY also look capable in this company.
Selections (4) Dochi (6) Impassioned Marine (1) Oh My Captain (8) Samda Gongju
Next Best 7, 9, 5
Outsiders 2, 3, 10
Fast Starters 1, 7
Race 7: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 17:20 (KST)
(Edited due to withdrawal of (7) Wonil Bulpae) (3) GLORY DAYS was 3rd, beaten 2 lengths by Wonil Bulpae over 1400M on May 6th and he inherits favourite status here. Formerly with the Rice stable (11) KING THE GRAY was a decent 2nd on his first start for his new handler last month and can go well again. (5) SSI F STAR looks best of the rest but we’ll need to keep an eye on (10) CUPID BUWHAL. Kim Young Kwan’s debut-maker was 2nd in his barrier trial and will have backers first-up.
(7) Wonil Bulpae (3) Glory Days (11) King The Gray (10) Cupid Buwhal
Next Best 5, 12, 8, 9
Outsiders 1, 2, 4, 6
Fast Starters 3, 12
Race 8: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 18:00 (KST)
(8) MAD POWER is three-for-three and nicely in here to the extent that it’s hard to back against her keeping her unbeaten run going. (3) PRIVATE DANCER had an unbeaten record to defend when he raced over 1400M on March 20th. He was favourite that day but raced so poorly he was disqualified and banned for two months. He came through a trial last month in fine order though and will be one of the main dangers to Mad Power here. Also a danger is (2) ILMANGMUJE, up in class following a string of good results at class 5; she will join Private Dancer on the early speed. (6) USEUNG BEONJJEOK and (9) BETTER THAN YOU are others to consider.
Selections (8) Mad Power (3) Private Dancer (2) Ilmangmuje (9) Better Than You
Next Best 6, 7, 4
Outsiders 1, 5, 10, 11
Fast Starters 2, 3, 8
Race 9: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 18:30 (KST)
A seven-length winner at 1400M, (2) GASOK ENGINE steps up in both class and distance today and while a previous try at a mile did not go well, he should be the favourite among this small but competitive field. (1) MR. KELLY has won at this class at a mile in the past and can improve on a lacklustre run at 1400M in March while (5) BEOLMA SONYEON showed signs of a return to form with a 3rd place at a mile last month, beating (6) JOKWANG and (4) MORNING GANGJA in the process. (3) HANBANDO JEONGBOK and (7) CAP IN ALL both come following 5th places which they can improve on here.
Selections (2) Gasok Engine (1) Mr. Kelly (7) Cap In All (5) Beolma Sonyeon
Next Best 3, 4, 6
Fast Starters 2, 3
Race 10: Class 2 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 19:00 (KST)
Another competitive race to finish with and (5) READY WHEN YOU ARE is the slight pick to prevail having done well in two starts so far this year and looking ready for another crack at 1400M. He will look to lead all the way. (2) JUNGANG CHAMP beat (6) NOT ANYMORE by a length at a mile last time and both should be in contention here, as should (1) HEUKGANGJA, who has had eight weeks off since being beaten by Not Anymore over a mile in April. (3) POWER BULLET and (4) SEUNGNI WAVE are both up in class with the latter looking by far the more likely to have potential for further improvement. (7) JIBONG SEUNGNI struggled a little first-up following a lengthy layoff last month but can have come on for the run.
Selections (5) Ready When You Are (2) Jungang Champ (6) Not Anymore (1) Heukgangja
Next Best 7, 4, 3
Outsiders 8, 9
Fast Starters 1, 5, 8