Day: July 16, 2016

Triple Crown Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (July 17)

Sunday is potentially Triple Crown day. Power Blade aims to add the Minister’s Cup to his KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby triumphs at Seoul Racecourse at 2.20pm.

There is plenty more happening though. English Racecards are here. Notes on selected races as follows:

Busan Race 1: Class 5: 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:00 (KST)

Open contest to begin with but we’ll make (10) YUSEONG VICTORY, 3rd in a similar contest last month and with the in-form Seo Seung Un on board the slight favourite to prevail. (6) WHITTE QUEENS was 2nd in Busan’s top juvenile race last year but only ran one more time before getting injured and requiring surgery. She’s back after eight months out, looked recovered in trials and is a contender. Also back after a spell, albeit not as long is (8) GIGA SPEED. A winner at this class in March he was very sharp in a trial last weekend and is a contender here. The up-in-class (2) NORTHERN TRACE can go close as can (4) TRIPLE PARTY.

Selections (10) Yuseong Victory (6) Whitte Queens (8) Giga Speed (2) Northern Trace
Next Best 4, 3, 5, 11
Outsiders 1, 7, 9, 12
Fast Starters 4, 5, 6

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:25 (KST)

(2) SILVERGRAY CAT beat (5) CHEONJI TAP and (4) NAREUSYA QUEEN as the three of them raced 2nd, 3rd & 4th at class and distance on June 19th. Cheonji Tap led for much of the way that day and we’ll go for her to lead all the way this time. Aside from those three, Brian Dean’s (9) HAPPY EAGLE, who was stepped up to 1200M for his first attempt on class 5 last month, should be happier back at 1000M today while (1) PERFECT BIC C has struggled of late but is another for whom the distance should suit.

Selections (5) Cheonji Tap (2) Silvergray Cat (4) Nareusya Queen (9) Happy Eagle
Next Best 1, 7
Outsiders 3, 6, 8
Fast Starters 1, 2, 5

Busan Race 2: Class 3 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 13:50 (KST)

Three of these are up in class today and should be competitive. (3) HAENGUN MANNAM was a solid winner at 1000M last start, has a strong finish and can go well. (7) DYNA’S DREAM has won four of her last five with the only defeat coming in the KRA Cup Mile in April. She’s had a couple of months off but will be on speed early and can go well. (5) GASI GONGJU hasn’t been seen since March when she came 2nd on what was just her second outing, coming from well off the pace. She’ll likely go forward here. None of them may be favourite though with (4) B.K. PHIL, 3rd at class and distance a month ago looking to be the one to beat. The down in class (1) GOLDEN LASS may also be considered.

Selections (7) Dyna’s Dream (3) Haengun Mannam (4) B.K. Phil (5) Gasi Gongju
Next Best 2, 1, 6, 8
Fast Starters 5, 7

Seoul Race 6: Class Open “The Minister’s Cup” / 2000M / Allowance, 3yo Colts & Fillies / KRW 500 Million / 14:20 (KST)

The final leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown sees (7) POWER BLADE looking to complete the set having been a dominant winner of both the KRA Cup Mile and the Korean Derby. He came from off the pace in the Mile and made all in the Derby and whatever tactics jockey Kim Yong Geun employs today, he will be favourite. The main danger is his stablemate, Korean Oaks winning filly (4) OTTUG OTTUGI who is one of only two horses to have beaten him. She will lead from the gate and Power Blade will have to come past. 2nd in the Derby, (8) ZETTABYTE can go well again and should like the extra furlong with (3) STEALTH and (5) SISEON POCHAK next best in a race that isn’t necessarily going to be simply a procession for Power Blade.

Selections (7) Power Blade (4) Ottug Ottugi (8) Zettabyte (3) Stealth
Next Best 5, 1, 2, 6
Fast Starters 4

Busan Race 3: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:50 (KST)

Bart Rice’s stable is in top form right now and that should continue here with (11) SUPERNOVA IJI, who can overcome the outside gate to get the lead here and get her second win in this filly-only race. Thomas Gillespie’s (5) MAJOR SLAM, 2nd at class and distance on June 24th, looks to be the main danger although (6) MISS BLUE, who has finished no worse than 3rd in each of her last four outings may also be considered. (2) BAEDARI GOSU was 4th, beaten by (9) GO JJANG on her first try at this class last month. (8) MACH BOLT ran poorly in that race but can improve today.

Selections (11) Supernova Iji (5) Major Slam (2) Baedari Gosu (6) Miss Blue
Next Best 8, 7, 10, 9
Outsiders 1, 3, 4
Fast Starters 5, 6, 11

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 15:15 (KST)

Competitive race this but we’ll make (3) SSAENGSSAENG DORI the narrow top pick. He was beaten by (7) SHINING TRY when favourite over class and distance last month but can overcome that form today and win from the front. Shining Try will be a danger once more, however, perhaps more backed will be (5) CHEONHABI and (1) MR. TANK, who ran 3rd and 4th at class and distance on June 18th and who both look to have wins in them at this level.

Selections (3) Ssaengssaeng Dori (5) Cheonhabi (1) Mr. Tank (7) Shining Try
Next Best 6, 4, 2
Fast Starters 3, 5

Busan Race 4: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:40 (KST)

5th in the Korean Oaks on her last start (10) SANTA GLORIA is favoured to get back to winning ways taking on for what is the most part modest imported opposition here. Indeed it is fellow Korean breds that provide the main danger, chief among them (4) VALKYRIE, who comes up in class following a good four-length win at this distance last month and the consistent (3) SSI F STAR, who can improve on recent minor money fishes. (6) ROCKET BLADE is also up in class but races for the first time since early April and has plenty to find. Among the imports, (8) PARTYINTHEDESERT looks the best.

Selections (10) Santa Gloria (4) Valkyrie, (3) Ssi F Star (8) Partyinthedesert
Next Best 12, 6, 9, 11
Outsiders 1, 2, 5, 7
Fast Starters 4, 6, 12

Seoul Race 8: Class 3 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 16:05 (KST)

A really open race here but we’re going to go for (12) HANBIT NARA to finally get her maiden win. She’s yet to win to win in eight starts but has been runner-up on no less than five occasions including last time at this distance. If she is to be defeated again, (1) WHIZ RUN looks to be the most likely to do it, looking ready to return to two turns after winning two of his last three. (7) RAON BOLAVEN is up in class following a win at this distance on June 19th while (4) SEOCHANG BIHO and (6) SUPER COMMANDO, the latter being the only one of the twelve who is yet to race at this distance, others to look out for.

Selections (12) Hanbit Nara (1) Whiz Run (7) Raon Bolaven (6) Super Commando
Next Best 4, 5, 2, 9
Outsiders 3, 8, 10, 11
Fast Starters 1, 12


Seoul Race 9: Class 3 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 17:00 (KST)

(4) SUN ROK is up in class today having won five of his first seven starts. He has both a win and a loss at this distance but should be on speed early here and have too much for this field. Clear second-favourite will be (2) SUSEONG CAPTAIN. He is up in class following back to back wins at 1400M and 1300M and while he tries this distance for the first time, he should be competitive. He will likely join Sun Rok in looking to lead from the gate. (5) LUCKY HEART generally comes close and can place while (1) GEUMGAGI and (3) VALLEY STAR are best of the rest.

Selections (4) Sun Rok (2) Suseong Captain (5) Lucky Heart (3) Valley Star
Next Best 1, 7, 6
Fast Starters 2, 4

Seoul Race 10: Class 2 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 18:00 (KST)

(8) GOREOUS DREAM is up in class having won five of his six previous outings. He generally leads from gate-to-wore and that’s what he’ll try to do here too. He does get a jockey change for the first time due to his regular rider being injured but Lee Chan Ho is a capable replacement. Also up in class is (2) THUNDER STEP following a really quick win over 1300M in May. He has had a couple of months off and can go close here. (1) SHARK and (3) HOLIDAY DREAM have experience at this level and both can put in solid races. Joining Goreous Dream setting the early pace will be (7) JANGSAN HORANGI, who showed signs of coming back into form when racing 4th over 1400M three weeks ago.

Selections (8) Goreous Dream (2) Thunder Step (3) Holiday Dream (1) Shark
Next Best 7, 4, 6
Outsiders 5, 9
Fast Starters 5, 7, 8

Triple Crown Final Leg: Minister’s Cup Runner-By-Runner Preview

The final leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown is at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and Power Blade is set to be favourite to win the Minister’s Cup and complete a sweep of the Crown.


Power Blade won the Derby in the rain in May. He returns to Seoul as favourite to complete the Triple Crown on Sunday (Pic: Ross Holburt)

He has seven rivals in the 2000M race which is being run at the early time of 2.20pm due to the attendance of a government delegation. Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi who, like Power Blade is trained by Kim Young Kwan is expected to be the main danger.

Here’s a full run down of the field:

The Minister’s Cup (KOR GII) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – July 17, 2016 (14:20)

1. Saeroun Stealth (KOR) [Colors Flying – Captive (Mutakddim)] (7/3/1/1) Sang Young Lee –Makoto Okabe
Distance is a concern. His one run at 1800M in the Derby and he finished 8th, beaten by four of these. Returned to win over 1300M last month but he has a lot to find in this company. He settles in the middle of the pack.

2. Kkeutpan Hero (KOR) [Colors Flying – Ya Ya Sunshine (Elusive Quality)] (3/3/0/0) Sung J-Kwon – Chae Sang Hyun
Unbeaten in three starts to date, he joins the Classic trail late. He won by half a length over a mile on his last start on June 10th at class 4. He’s done nothing wrong so far although it is hard to gauge him in terms of the opposition he’s faced. It’s a big step up here.

3. Stealth (KOR) [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower (Woodman)] (10/4/0/3) Sang Young Lee –Ikuyasu Kurakane
Same owner and trainer as Saeroun Stealth, he’s come 3rd in both legs of the Triple Crown so far. He came from well off the pace in the Derbyand while he was a full six-lengths behind Zettabyte in 2nd, he may appreciate the extra furlong. He will settle towards the rear of the field once more. A chance.

4. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] Filly (10/7/2/0) Young Kwan Kim – Choi Si Dae
Power Blade’s stablemate, she beat him at Busan last autumn but Power Blade has since bested her no fewer than three times including in the KRA Cup Mile. She passed on the Derby and instead went to the Oaks, which she won easily. In every race there have been concerns about her stamina and that’s true here too but she is very quick, she will lead and anything that wants to win this race will have to come past her.

5. Siseon Pochak (KOR) [Colors Flying – Myeongseo Gongju (Carry The Flag)] (14/3/4/3) Jang Ki Min – You Hyun Myung
Back to back wins in April enabled him to take his chance in the Derby in which he finished a creditable enough 7th. Disappointed on his return to Busan and to a mile last month. That will make him an outsider here. Likely to be ridden patiently.

6. Baedari Bobae (KOR) [Colors Flying – Geumgang Gongwon (Pacificbounty)] (11/3/5/1) Chung Yul You – Lee Sung Jae
A latecomer to the Classic trail, he gets to take his chance following as good 2nd place on his first try around twoturns at the end of May. Comes in fresh but he does have plenty to find here.

7. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] (8/6/2/0) Young Kwan Kim –Kim Yong Geun
He is the favourite and even visually, looks superior. Unbeaten since losing to Ottug Ottugi in Busan’s champion juvenile race last autumn, he was a facile winner of both the Cup Mile and Derby. At the Derby, jockey Kim Young Geun defied instructions in the rain and took him to the front right from the gate. It paid off. It’s most likely he will let Ottug Ottugi lead here but if Power Blade is at anything like his best, he completes the Triple Crown. There is little downside to this horse.

8. Zettabyte (KOR) [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] (9/3/3/1) Keum Man Lim – Lim Sung Sil
He was 4th in the Cup Mile and then 2nd in the Derby, three lengths adrift of Power Blade but six clear of Stealth in 3rd. The distance will suit him, he will look to come from off the pace and he has a chance.