Sunday sees the first Listed race of the season in the shape of the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul. It’s attracted a full field and headlines an 11-race card in the capital from 10:40 to 18:00. There’s action too at Busan with 6 races from 12:35 to 17:05.
English race cards can be found here. Notes on all races to be simulcast overseas below:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 10:40
(4) PERFECT SOCKS was totally unfancied on debut in November but came a good 2nd. She’s had two months off since and has to be favourite for this. As he’s run already and didn’t disgrace himself, (5) YES YOU CAN will be 2nd favourite. Of the eight the debut-makers. (6) SILVER LION and (12) HERO KING look the most promising.
|Selections||(4) Perfect Socks (5) Yes You Can (6) Silver Lion (12) Hero King|
|Next Best||2, 7, 11|
|Start-200M||4, 7, 5, 2|
|200M-Finish||4, 5, 2, 7|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 11:05
(6) TOUR ROSE was much improved second-time out Christmas Day over this distance and she’s the pick to score here. The other contenders are all stepping up to this distance for the first time. (7) LEAD QUEEN was 2nd in a weaker than average class 6 but did little wrong so can be considered although (3) AMAZONAS looks a little easier to recommend. (11) NEW HIGH TIME also looked promising while (2) DANSEONG RUBY has run on well in her past two and may appreciate the step up.
|Selections||(6) Tour Rose (3) Amazonas (7) Lead Queen (11) New High Time|
|Next Best||2, 8, 4|
|Fast Starters||3, 5, 6|
|Start-200M||7, 3, 11, 12, 9|
|200M-Finish||3, 11, 9, 10, 6|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 11:30
Hard to look past (7) TOKTOK DAEJANGGUN here. He’s finished both his races well at 1000M and seems the most obviously suited for further today. (8) TAESAN APJEONG has also finished well and looks to be the main danger. Beyond those two (6) MIRACLE VALLEY debuted with an encouraging 2nd place last May but hasn’t run since so (3) LOVELY DAY and (12) CLEAN UP DREAM may be next best.
|Selections||(7) Totktok Daejanggun (8) Taesan Apjeong (6) Miracle Valley (12) Clean Up Dream|
|Next Best||3, 2|
|Fast Starters||5, 6, 8|
|Start-200M||6, 8, 4, 2, 3|
|200M-Finish||8, 7, 3, 9, 11|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 11:55
(6) CONSERVATIVE steps up in class following an eye-catching four-length win over 1200M a month ago and is the one to beat once more here. (1) SIMCHEONG SADAL was a decent 3rd on his first try at class 5 on Christmas Day, will be on speed early and should stay on well and is a danger as is (5) KKACHILHAN GONGJU who has thrived in three outings at this distance. Up in class pair (12) GOLDEN GATE and (3) ARGO AWESOME others to watch for.
|Selections||(6) Conservative (5) Kkachilhan Gongju (1) Simcheong Sadal (12) Golden Gate|
|Next Best||3, 8, 2|
|Rating||5, 9, 8, 1=6|
|Fast Starters||1, 5|
|Start-200M||1, 5, 2, 12, 9|
|200M-Finish||6, 8, 12, 7, 10|
Seoul Race 5: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 11:55
A shock 2nd in a valuable race on Christmas Day, (9) FLYING CHAMP will be favourite to score here on what will be just his third career start. Other up and comers looking to strike include (3) HWAGANG and (6) TIZ RUN, both of whom have shown some glimpses. However, more experienced ones such as (1) ECO BOOSTER and (12) PRO MATHEUS also look nicely in here and connections of both will see it as an excellent opportunity for them to finally claim their maiden win.
|Selections||(9) Flying Champ (6) Tiz Run (1) Eco Booster (12) Pro Matheus|
|Next Best||3, 10|
|Rating||9, 1=10, 12|
|Fast Starters||7, 9, 10, 12|
|Start-200M||10, 9, 7, 5, 2|
|200M-Finish||6, 9, 1, 8, 3|
Busan Race 2: Class 5 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40
(3) YEONGGWANGUI PARK is two starts into a comeback following a lengthy period out. He’s come 2nd on both occasions and can be backed stepping up to a mile for the first time. (5) CAPE MAGIC already has a pair of 2nd place finishes to his name at the distance and is the likely favourite. He beat (12) GOLDEN KINGS last October but that latter one improved to 3rd last start and looks nicely in here. (4) BLACK TETRA and (11) PARTY TONIGHT others with claims.
|Selections||(5) Cape Magic (3) Yeonggwangui Park (12) Golden Kings (11) Party Tonight|
|Next Best||4, 8|
|Rating||5, 1,=7, 8, 4|
|Fast Starters||3, 5, 11|
|Start-200M||11, 12, 9, 5, 3|
|200M-Finish||1, 10, 11, 5, 4|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:05
(4) LEAD MONEY found himself overmatched in the Breeders’ Cup race at Seoul in early December but came back with a good 3rd in a decent race on Christmas Eve and that’s enough to suggest he can return to the winner’s circle in more modest company today. (1) WORLD MARK and (12) TWO KAY are both winners at this level and can go close while (6) SILLA HWARANG, who finished ahead of Lead Money in that Breeders’ Cup race, is up in class today following a win over 1000M and while that distance has yielded his best results so far, he gets another chance at further today. Also up in class is (8) TOHO KING and while he may need to find a little bit, he can be considered.
|Selections||(4) Lead Money (6) Silla Hwarang (1) World Mark (12) Two Kay|
|Next Best||8, 2|
|Rating||12, 1, 3, 2, 4|
|Fast Starters||1, 3, 6, 12|
|Start-200M||12, 3, 1, 11, 10|
|200M-Finish||6, 2, 8, 7, 9|
Busan Race 3: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:30
(2) MORNING KOREA comes in following consecutive 2nd place finishes, both times beaten by decent types and he’s the very slight pick to get things done here. He certainly looks the best among the imports. Of the Korean breds, (9) V DIVA and (3) NURI BULPAE ran 3rd and 4th in a solid enough domestic class 4 at 1200M last month which brings both into contention here, especially the former while (4) SUPER BLADE is already a domestic class 4 winner and should have a chance. (12) ACE POWER is consistent and while he needs to find a bit to win, should be in the money in this company.
|Selections||(2) Morning Korea (4) Super Blade (9) V Diva (12) Ace Power|
|Next Best||3, 8|
|Rating||2, 4=12, 3, 9|
|Fast Starters||4, 5, 7, 11|
|Start-200M||7, 5, 4, 11, 3|
|200M-Finish||8, 2, 9, 6, 4|
Seoul Race 7: Class 5 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:55
Most of these race at the distance for the first time but we’ll go with one who has prior experience around two turns, (6) SPECIAL SHINE, as the pick. She’s yet to win but was 2nd on her first try at 1700M last start and can go one better today. Another yet to win is (4) CURRICLE but he seems to be in the best for of his career and looks ready for another crack at this distance. Of those trying it for the first time, (5) JAJINMORI can be forgiven his last start in tough company and still has plenty of promise as does (10) NEW WHY FI and both are likely to look to lead early.
|Selections||(6) Special Shine (10) New Why Fi (5) Jajinmori (4) Curricle|
|Next Best||11, 3|
|Fast Starters||5, 7, 10, 12|
|Start-200M||12, 5, 10, 11, 7|
|200M-Finish||3, 5, 2, 4, 8|
Busan Race 4: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:20
A winner at this class over 1200M on December 30th, the promising (1) KKOKDAEGI will be favourite to follow up here and he has solid claims to do so on what will be his first start at 1400M. He’s not the only one with promise though. (3) BANJIUI YEOJEONSA and (4) BAEKDUBONG are both up in class after good victories over 1300M last start, the former’s being especially eye-catching. (6) ILLYU STAR’s last three outings have all been in races for the very best of his year group and he more than held his own so can be considered. Among those with more experience (10) KWAEHAN MYEONGPUM looks consistent if unspectacular.
|Selections||(1) Kkokdaegi (3) Banjiui Yeojeonsa (6) Illyu Star (4) Baekdubong|
|Next Best||10, 2|
|Rating||2, 1, 3=10, 6|
|Fast Starters||1, 3, 6|
|Start-200M||6, 10, 1, 3, 4|
|200M-Finish||3, 4, 1, 9, 6|
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 15:45
Another competitive race and (2) RAIN SKY goes up 3kg for having won at class and distance on Christmas Day but was good enough in victory that day to suggest a repeat is possible here. He’s the pick but (4) KAWON has shown himself adept at the distance and competitive at this class and will be a danger as has (9) MONSTER QUEEN. (12) GEOMBIT GANGJA is up in class having won at 1700M last time. He’ll need to improve but can be considered as can another pair of up and comers (1) ULTRA ROCKET and (10) NHA TRANG, both of who go around two turns for the first time.
|Selections||(2) Rain Sky (9) Monster Queen (4) Kawon (12) Geombit Gangja|
|Next Best||1, 11|
|Rating||2=6, 4=11, 3|
|Fast Starters||5, 8, 11, 12|
|Start-200M||5, 1, 3, 11, 10|
|200M-Finish||2, 1, 9, 4, 6|
Busan Race 5: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 16:10
(3) JILJUUI SIN proved himself competitive at this class by coming 2nd over 1200M on New Year’s Eve. He’s up significantly in distance today but looks an intriguing prospect. Plenty of other talent here too. (4) TRIPLE YEONGGWANG has ground out two wins by narrow margins and is up in class here as is (2) TOUGH COUNTRY who beat the same horse into 2nd that Triple Yeonggwang did. Bart Rice’s (8) GIANT HOLD beat (5) ACE SINHWA and a couple of others on his return from almost six months off last month and should give the up and comers a run for their money.
|Selections||(8) Giant Hold (3) Jiljui Sin (4) Triple Yeonggwang (2) Tough Country|
|Next Best||5, 9|
|Rating||3=10, 9, 1, 5|
|Start-200M||5, 8, 6, 9, 11|
|200M-Finish||3, 2, 7, 12, 9|
Seoul Race 9: Class Open / 1200M / Allowance – “The Segye Ilbo Cup” / KRW 250 Million / 16:40
(11) GORGEOUS DREAM has had excuses for his two recent defeats, and while concerning, he gets another chance to show the mild hype around him last year was justified. The draw isn’t ideal but a few months ago he would have been good enough to overcome it. (12) YAHO SKY CAT has beaten Gorgeous Dream twice now and must be respected as must (6) SINGYU GANGJA who comes in following back to back victories at 1400M. (1) GLOBAL FUSION and (2) HAEMARU are other strong contenders in a fascinating race.
|Selections||(11) Gorgeous Dream (12) Yaho Sky Cat (1) Global Fusion (6) Singyu Gangja|
|Next Best||2, 7, 5, 3|
|Rating||2, 6, 5, 1, 11|
|Fast Starters||3, 5, 8, 11|
|Start-200M||11, 3, 8, 10, 6|
|200M-Finish||12, 5, 10, 6, 11|
Busan Race 6: Class 1 / 2000M / Handicap / KRW 105 Million / 17:00
4th in the Grand Prix and beautifully in the weights here, (1) GOLIATH MARINE may excel at slightly further but has to be given a very good chance to score in this Championship Series race. Speaking of weights, (2) SAENGIL GIPPEUM also comes in on a low mark and can go well. Plenty of talent they need to beat though. (5) SUCCESS STORY and (8) DONGBANG DAERO didn’t feature much in the Grand Prix but both have their merits and should be better back at 1800M. (9) MS. MARGAUX is probably the best horse in the race on recent form but top weight could be a tough ask.
|Selections||(1) Goliath Marine (8) Dongbang Daero (9) Ms. Margaux (5) Success Story|
|Next Best||2, 3|
|Rating||9, 5, 3, 8, 1|
|Fast Starters||2, 5|
|Start-200M||5, 3, 2, 6, 10|
|200M-Finish||8, 1, 9, 6, 4|
Seoul Race 10: Class 3 / 1900M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 17:30
(2) GIANT KILLER keeps coming close and missing out but after a 2nd place when favourite at the distance seven weeks ago, he gets another chance here and should take it. If he’s to be denied again, (1) O.K. YEONDAB is intriguingly bumped up to 1900M early and may be worth a look while (6) DAEIL SINHWA and (7) BROOKS are proven performers – if only rarely winners. (5) HIPPOCRENE and (9) GREAT JOY may provide some outside value although the champion jockey’s presence on the former may shorten him a little.
|Selections||(2) Giant Killer (1) O.K. Yeondab (5) Hippocrene (6) Daeil Sinhwa|
|Next Best||7, 9|
|Rating||4, 12, 1, 8, 6|
|Fast Starters||3, 8, 10, 11|
|Start-200M||10, 11, 1, 4, 3|
|200M-Finish||1, 6, 5, 7, 9|
Seoul Race 11: Class 2 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 18:00
After falling short over 1700M last time, (6) SINJO DAEHYEOP will be favoured to score on his return to 1400M. He’s not the fastest of starters but should have too much in the closing stages here. (1) DONGCHONUI ACHIM has won his last two and can continue his progress towards class 1 here as can (3) CLEAN UP KING. (12) HOWIMUSA was a surprise winner last start and lightening may not strike again so we’ll go with (5) TAEYANGWANG and (7) DIXIE PLOIT as best of the rest.
|Selections||(6) Sinjo Daehyeop (1) Dongchonui Achim (3) Clean Up King (7) Dixie Ploit|
|Next Best||5, 12, 8|
|Rating||6=8, 12, 5, 11|
|Fast Starters||2, 5, 8|
|Start-200M||10, 5, 9, 2, 8|
|200M-Finish||6, 7, 1, 10, 3|