Day: December 8, 2016

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 9)

Racing gets underway for the weekend at Busan on Friday where there are ten races from 11:30 to 18:00. Six jockeys are in town from Seoul for a Jockey Challenge which will be held across races 7 to 9.

Busan Racecourse

It’s Friday. It’s Busan

English race cards are here. See below for notes on overseas simulcast races 4-10:

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:35

(5) KING ICE was just beaten a nose last start on November 11th on his first try at this distance and will surely get it right today. He’ll be strong favourite to close from off the pace to win here. Two horses behind him that day are next best. A further length and a half back in 3rd was (1) MAPLE CLASSIC and he’ll be close once more. Setting the pace in that race was (3) HIGH SPEC – he’ll do the same here and can continue to improve. (6) KING CODE and (7) SUPER SONIC look the best of a limited rest.

Selections: (5) King Ice (1) Maple Classic (3) High Spec (7) Super Sonic
Next Best: 6, 4
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 3, 8, 9
Start-200M: 8, 3, 10, 4, 7
200M-Finish: 5, 6, 1, 7, 2

Race 5: Class 4 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:20 

Peter Wolsley celebrated his 400th winner in Korea last weekend and if he didn’t get it earlier today, the Aussie trainer could well get number 401 here. He saddles (7) PERLIN, a handy winner on debut just two weeks who at class and distance who has every chance of making all here. (6) DAMYANG HWANHO led for much of her own debut last month only to be passed late on. She finished 3rd and can continue her development here. There are two debut-makers and of the pair, Thomas Gillespie’s (11) GREAT KING, a $30K purchase from Ocala this June, looks the best having won his trial last month. Jockey booking inspires confidence too. Those three stand-out with (1) VALID EFFORT and (12) WORLD TOWER perhaps most likely among the others.

Selections: (7) Perlin (6) Damyang Hwanho (11) Great King (12) World Tower
Next Best: 1, 8, 3
Rating: 7, 6
Fast Starters: 1, 6, 7, 9
Start-200M: 1, 7, 6, 9, 8
200M-Finish: 7, 6, 12, 10, 2

Race 6: Class 5 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:05

Nice and tricky race this. (6) GALILEE HO was a surprise winner on debut, beating King Ice, who we saw in race 4, by a nose over 1300M. He is up in both class and distance here and could well follow up. He will be steadily away and look to finish strongly. (1) BEAUTIFUL and (5) ROYAL RUBY were both 5th on their respective first tries at this class last time out and may appreciate the extra distance here while (12) SONATILLED is up in class following a nice-looking maiden win at 1300M three weeks ago and can be respected here. Another up in class is (9) BULBIT JEONSA and he’ll likely be setting the early pace along with (3) CAPE MAGIC. The latter is one of only four to have raced at this distance before and he can look to match the 2nd he achieved over it in October.

Selections: (6) Galielee Ho (5) Royal Ruby (1) Beautiful (9) Bulbit Jeonsa
Next Best: 3, 12, 11, 7
Rating: 3=5, 6, 9=12
Fast Starters: 3, 9, 11
Start-200M: 7, 2, 3, 11, 6
200M-Finish: 6, 12, 1, 2, 6

Race 7: Class 4 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 55 Million / 15:50

The first of three “Jockey Challenge” races so six Seoul based jockeys are taking part. It’s not exactly a field of the highest quality so (4) SAEBYEOK BADA has as good a chance as any of getting his maiden victory. (9) PHILIP AND GIRAFFE is yet to win in four but won a trial in double quick time a couple of weeks ago and will be backed here. (11) CHEOGANG YONGSA hasn’t raced since a 2nd place over this distance in August having picked up an injury but looks nicely in here while (5) GIMAKHIN SEONTAEK and (7) SEUNGJEONPILSA are others to consider.

Selections: (4) Saebyeok Bada (11) Choegang Yongsa (9) Philip And Giraffe (7) Seungjeonpilsa
Next Best: 5, 8
Rating: 5, 9=11, 2, 4
Fast Starters: 3, 7, 9, 12
Start-200M: 9, 12, 7, 4, 3
200M-Finish: 5, 10, 4, 11, 2

Race 8: Class 4 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 55 Million / 16:35 

The second race of the jockey challenge brings together a slightly better field and the up in class (10) KKOKDAEGI, a two-length winner over 1300M last month has every chance of overcoming the outside gate to score again. (6) PHANTOM BLADE comes in following a slightly disappointing 4th over the distance just two weeks ago and can make amends here from the early speed while (2) ARIKKARI can improve on 6th in a tough race from a couple of weeks ago. (1) FLAMENCO returns for the first time since June and looked sharp in a trial last month while (5) GANGJA DAERO, also disappointing in that race behind Phantom Blade two weeks ago, gets another chance here.

Selections: (10) Kkokdaegi (6) Phantom Blade (1) Flamenco (2) Arikkari
Next Best: 5, 9
Rating: 8, 1, 5, 3, 6
Fast Starters: 3, 6, 9
Start-200M: 3, 9, 6, 2, 8
200M-Finish: 5, 4, 8, 2, 10

Race 9: Class 3 / 1400M / Allowance / KRW 72 Million / 17:30

The final race of the jockey challenge and (2) GOLD LINE beat (1) TURBO ENERGY and the pair raced 2nd and 3rd over class and distance on October 30th and both have claims here with Gold Line being the pick. (3) GIGA SPEED has been no worse than 3rd in each of his last seven outings and there’s no reason why that run can’t continue here. (6) CHOEGANG ADVENTURE is up in class following back to back wins and while this is a stiffer test, he should be competitive as should (12) JANGGUNEUIHUYE, also up in class following a good win over 1400M last month.

Selections: (2) Gold Line (1) Turbo Energy (3) Giga Speed (12) Jangguneuihuye
Next Best: 6, 8, 4
Rating: 5=8, 11, 1, 4
Fast Starters: 6, 7, 8, 9
Start-200M: 7, 6, 3, 12, 11
200M-Finish: 8, 2, 1, 3, 11
Race 10: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 18:00

Back to the handicaps to finish with and (7) VANJEFE was 2nd on debut three weeks ago but finished well and with an extra half furlong to play with today, looks to be the one to beat. (8) ITSAGAINT WARRIOR was an encouraging 4th on his own debut last month and can build on that here. Those two are imports while locally-bred (2) DAESTAR is up in class having won two of his first four outings at the locally restricted classes 5 & 6. He’s a winner at this distance and will be dangerous here. Among the others, the experienced pair of (9) WONDERFULCHEONGHAE and (11) FIRST MOVER look capable of finding the money in this company.

Selections: (7) Vanjefe (2) Daestar (8) Itsagaint Warrior (9) Wonderfulcheonghae
Next Best: 11, 6
Rating: 6, 11, 1=4, 7
Fast Starters: 7, 9
Start-200M: 7, 3, 9, 5, 2
200M-Finish: 8, 2, 6, 5, 7

Chairman Hyun Myung-Kwan Leaves The Korea Racing Authority

So farewell then, Hyun Myung Kwan. On Wednesday afternoon at Seoul Racecourse, a ceremony was held for the outgoing Chairman of the Korea Racing Authority who has retired following the completion of his three-year term.


Hyun Myung Kwan (R) at his retirement ceremony at Seoul Racecourse on Wednesday

All heads of what are known as “public” companies in Korea are appointed by the government and it is almost unheard of for a public company Chairman to serve for longer than three years but until recently the 75-year-old Chairman Hyun looked likely to be an exception and receive an extension. However, that was before the “influence peddling” affair which is currently convulsing Korean politics, business and society.

The significance of the extraordinary ongoing scandal across Korea cannot be overstated (read this and this for the best overview in English). 2.3 Million people demonstrated on the streets of Seoul last Saturday evening demanding the resignation of President Park Geun Hye and her government has effectively ground to a halt with an impeachment vote due on Friday.

This past Tuesday, the Chairmen of Korea’s biggest companies; Samsung, Hyundai, SK, LG, Lotte, Hanjin, CJ and Hanwha, were questioned by lawmakers live on national television over donations to “foundations” set up by the President’s alleged confidante Choi Soon Sil, who is currently under arrest, suspected of essentially running government policy and decision making.

Chung Yoo Ra, the horse loving daughter of Choi Soon Sil was a member of the Korean dressage team that won Gold at the 2014 Asia Games and it is now alleged that much of the machinery of state – both public and private – was mobilized towards getting her into that position and then going forward, to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Along with Samsung Electronics and others, the KRA is one of the organisations alleged to have granted Chung special favors to this end. Accordingly, the Presidential office instructed the KRA to recruit a new Chairman at the end of Hyun’s term.

Hyun’s tenure has been eventful and in terms of international affairs, arguably more progress has been made under him than under any previous Chairman. He green-lighted first the Asia Challenge Cup and then the ambitious staging of the Korea Cup and Sprint earlier this year. Domestically, as a former Samsung executive, he focused on improving customer service. This involved the re-branding of the Off-Track betting centers into “Cultural Centers” with 100% assigned seating, the introduction of the mobile betting app and the upgrading of the on-course facilities including the construction of the massive 128-metre long “multi-vision” screen. Foreign ownership of racehorses has been allowed and the maximum ceiling price on imported horses abolished.

The recruitment process for a new Chairman is underway. The final say over the appointment lies with with the President of South Korea.