Day: September 22, 2016

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (September 23)

Horse racing in Korea gets back to business this weekend. Busan gets things going on Friday with an 11-race card from 14:20 to 21:00, Seoul goes on Saturday with a card running from 14:00 to 21:00 while both tracks operate daytime racing on Sunday.


Paolo Aragoni was 3rd in the korea Cup on Triple Nine – he returns to busan on friday (Pic: Ross Holburt)


English racecards are here. Nores on Friday’s races 1-9 are below:

Race 1: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 55 Million / 13:20 (SIN)

Only one of these has raced before, (6) BEONGGEULBEONGGEUL. She was 3rd on debut last month and can go on here. She probably won’t be favourite though as two of the debut-makers, (3) I’M ADELE and (7) TWO TWO RAPTOR, won their trials, with the latter looking especially impressive in the process. Peter Wolsley’s (10) SECRET MARINE showed promise in their own trials as did (1) KEUN MABEOP and (11) HWARANGUI HUYE. (5) CAPTAIN BLADE is from Korea’s top stable and is sure to well-backed also.

Selections (6) Beonggeulbeonggeul (7) Two Two Raptor (10) Secret Marine (3) I’m Adele
Next Best 1, 11, 5, 8
Outsiders 2, 4, 9, 12
Fast Starters 1, 3, 11

Race 2: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 13:45 (SIN)

Maiden fillies (and one mare) here and top trainer Kim Young Kwan’s (11) PINK BLADE is favourite to score after an encouraging enough 3rd place on debut on August 26th. She beat (7) RECHAE into 4th that day and Rechae too can go close again. (5) SWEET WHY was an improved 3rd at this distance just two weeks ago and can be considered while (8) NIPSYS should have come on from their debuts. The more experienced (9) PALMYRA is the wildcard while even (10) IGIPPEUM GEUDAERO, winless in 35 outings, can find the minor money.

Selections (11) Pink Blade (7) Rechae (5) Sweet Why (8) Nipsys
Next Best 9, 10, 6, 3, 4
Outsiders 1, 2, 12
Fast Starters 1, 5, 6, 9

Race 3: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 14:10 (SIN)

Another maiden race and (8) CHOEGANG OFFICER and (10) PARK MAN both try further than the minimum distance for the first time. It should suit both but while the former will be on speed early, the latter can finish quickly and is strongly favoured to prevail here. (9) MAGIC WINNER beat two of these when recording his best finish to date three weeks ago and will be at much shorter odds today. (1) SUPER WINGS was much improved when dropped back in trip to 1000M last time but can be given another chance here while (3) HAPPY LIGHT and (4) SAMHYEONGJE are others to consider.

Selections (10) Park Man (8) Choegang Officer (9) Magic Winner (1) Super Wings
Next Best 3, 4, 5, 2, 13
Outsiders 6, 7, 11, 12, 14
Fast Starters 4, 8, 14

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 14:55 (SIN)

The last of the maiden races. (10) INDIAN KING disappointed when well fancied on debut but showed plenty of improvement at the end of August when running 2nd. The step up in trip today may be exactly what he needs. He’ll want to be on speed early as will (14) MAJOR DANCER, also a much improved 3rd last start and with potential to go on. (3) TAEGWON MISO, (4) ROAD TO SUCCESS and (7) PUREUN GANGJA are all capable of placing at this level. While the only debut-maker, Peter Wolsley’s (9) ROYAL RUBY can also be considered first up following a good trial.

Selections (10) Indian King (14) Major Dancer (9) Royal Ruby (3) Taegwon Miso
Next Best 4, 7, 11, 1, 12
Outsiders 2, 5, 6, 8, 13
Fast Starters 10, 14

Race 5: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:40 (SIN)

(11) I’M YOUR FATHER beat some decent horses when winning on debut last month and can follow up here. Should thrive with an extra furlong. Thomas Gillespie’s (4) ACE SINHWA has come close in recent starts and looks nicely in here under an apprentice jockey. (1) JUNGANG DAERO is up in class following two wins from his last three and can be competitive while (5) PAMAPAS FARM and (7) ARION METAL are both yet to score but are capable of moneying in this company.

Selections (11) I’m Your Father (4) Ace Sinhwa (1) Jungang Daero (7) Arion Metal
Next Best 5, 3, 8
Outsiders 2, 6, 9, 10
Fast Starters 10, 11

Race 6: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 16:25 (SIN)

(6) RACHEL made all to win on debut at this distance last month. She’s up in class today but Bart Rice’s filly is favoured to repeat. (11) YUSEONGCHEOREOM was also a debut winner but could only manage 4th on his first try at this level in August. Dropped back to 1000M today, he should be closer. Yuseongcheoreom did manage to beat (3) MACHEON CHIRON last time and she too should see improvement back at the minimum today. (4) MISS CANBERRA and the up in class (8) HUIMANG CHANGA are others with claims.

Selections (6) Rachel (11) Yuseongcheoreom (3) Macheon Chiron (4) Miss Canberra
Next Best 8, 2, 1, 7, 5
Outsiders 9, 10, 12
Fast Starters 1, 3, 6, 11

Race 7: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 17:05 (SIN)

A four-length winner on debut, (1) SINUIPUMGYEOK is up in class and distance but should surely have too much for this field. (11) SHINE STAR was an even more ye-catching winner on his debut in July and followed up with a 3rd place at this level on August 26th and looks the main danger. (14) WHITTE QUEENS closed strongly for 2nd last start at class and distance and will want to be closer to the speed today while (2) YAKSOKUI SIGAN and (7) REALLY ONE look best of the rest.

Selections (1) Sinuipumgyeok (11) Shine Star (14) Whitte Queens (7) Really One
Next Best 2, 4, 5, 12, 9
Outsiders 3, 6, 8, 10, 13
Fast Starters 1, 7, 8, 14

Race 8: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 17:45 (SIN)

Competitive race and while (10) TEXAS RUSH is yet to score in eight, she’s come close and we’ll go with her to come from just off the pace to finally get it right today. (2) DAEJIUI HUIMANG beat Texas Rush last time and should be competitive again. She’ll look to lead early along with (3) DANCING STAR and (14) FOCUS LINE, both of whom can stay on. A danger from the back is (5) BIGBANG BID. He’s closed strongly to get a win and a 2nd place from his last two outings and can go well again here.

Selections (10) Texas Rush (2) Daejiui Huimang (5) Bigbang Bid (3) Dancing Star
Next Best 14, 8, 4, 6, 12
Outsiders 1, 7, 9, 11, 13
Fast Starters 2, 3, 9, 14

Race 9: Class 3 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 18:35 (SIN)

(13) GABOGAPJJANG and (3) LET’S WIN are both up in class having finished 1st and 2nd racing over 1200M at the end of last month; the time before they were 2nd and 3rd. They both look nicely in here with GABOGAPJJANG favoured once more. (2) SUPER CHEOLIN is two starts in a comeback following a lengthy spell and looks to be coming back into form while (11) SOUL BLADE and the up in class pair of (4) GANGJA BONSAEK and (9) JILJUUI SIN should be capable of going close.

Selections (13) Let’s Win (2) Super Cheolin (3) Let’s Win (11) Soul Blade
Next Best 4, 9, 10, 5, 1, 12
Outsiders 6, 7, 8, 14
Fast Starters 5, 7, 11, 12

Attendance, Turnover & Coverage Among Positives To Emerge From Korea Cup

The Korean racing community has returned from the long”Chuseok” holiday and racing is set to resume on the peninsula on Friday  for the first time since the inaugural Keeneland Korea Cup and Sprint the weekend before last.


Chrysolite romps home in the Keeneland Korea Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

And it means the review of the weekend will now begin in earnest. Turnover held up remarkably well. It is very difficult for punters to handicap races such as the Sprint and the Cup with any degree of confidence given the wide range of backgrounds, surfaces and environments the horses’ past performances have taken place in. Yet they still put 4.3 Billion (US$3.9Million) and 4.8 Billion (US$4.3Million) Korean won through the windows in the Sprint and Cup respectively.

That was up on the corresponding races 8 and 10 from the prior week and indeed turnover on the whole day of 71.1 Billion Korean Won was also up on recent Sundays (67.8 Billion Won the previous week). In terms of attendance, 44,691 people came to Seoul Racecourse on Cup day compared with 38,130 the prior Sunday and just 33,941 the Sunday before that. A total of 124,986 people were either on course or in OTBs last Sunday.

Now the Cup was by no means the only reason for this. With the Chuseok holiday approaching many punters would have been in attendance knowing that a dark week was approaching.

The experience in Hong Kong over the past decade has been that domestic turnover on its international races is lower than that of normal races. The gap is narrowing which the Hong Kong Jockey Club attributes to local punters becoming more familiar with international racing through their inbound simulcasts and the HKJC looks on all three of turnover, attendance and brand exposure as being important.

Brand exposure was something there was plenty of last week, including in Hong Kong, where local punters were able to cash tickets on Super Jockey winning the Sprint. Six countries took the races live with others showing it on delay. KBS Sports, one of Korea’s major Sports channels devoted two hours to the races the following day. That’s in addition to the write-ups the races received around the world.

One reason why “internationalization” is so difficult is that results can’t be seen either quickly or – and this is a key one – expressed numerically in a way that makes it easy to measure progress or success. While some in KRA will probably feel that the investment made in the weekend (and it was not insubstantial) should have been reflected by a proportional increase at the betting windows, that doesn’t really tell the the whole story.

Having followed racing in this country for almost ten years now, last weekend was something I didn’t think I would be seeing in Korea for a very long time – if ever. Now is the time to build on it.