It’s turned cold once more across the Korean peninsula but there are plenty of punting opportunities to warm up to this weekend. Busan gets things underway on Friday with an 11 race card from 11:30 to 18:00.
A pair of new overseas jockeys will be in action on the south coast this weekend. Italian Adrea Mezzatesta and Cypriot rider Marios Mina both make their Korean debuts. Meanwhile Darryll Holland is back from suspension and has some live mounts too. English race cards are here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:
Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 22 Million / 13:40
1. HWARYEOHAN YONGSA – Improved last time for 6th at long odds. Needs improvement again.
2. URIDEULUI YEONGUNG – Better on 1st try at this distance two weeks ago. Good jockey booking.
3. FOUR NINES – Drops back in distance after 4th over a mile last month. Two 3rds at 1300M already and should win here.
4. YOSUL KING – Only decent performance in four tries was in a similarly small field at this distance. Far behind Four Nines at a mile last up.
5. HOMYEONG DAERO – Slow on debut and sent back to trial. Slow in the trial.
6. JIBONG YEONGUNG – Only 2nd so far at this distance in November. Disappointed last month but worth another chance for the places.
7. NEW HAPPY DAY – Career best 3rd at the distance two weeks ago was a big improvement.
8. ONNURI GANGJA – Well beaten in all six starts, including twice at this distance
Verdict: (3) FOUR NINES really should be winning this against underwhelming opposition. (7) NEW HAPPY DAY looks the only credible danger off the back of that good showing two weeks ago with the top jockey who rode that day keeping the mount. (6) JIBONG YEONGUNG and (2) URIDEULUI YEONGUNG to contest the places
Selections: (3) Four Nines (7) New Happy Day (6) Jibong Yeongung (2) Urideuli Yeongung
Next Best: 1, 8
Fast Starters: 2, 3
Race 5: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 14:30
1. ALL GA – Woeful on debut. The only way is up.
2. YES QUEEN – Never better than 4th in 12 tries, mostly at this distance. Can match that here.
3. TEXAS RUBY – Show glimpses in her last two, including at the distance last start. Could be a factor.
4. RICH BOLT – Best was 4th on second start last September. Shown little recently.
5. VICAR FAMILY – Looked to have turned a corner when 2nd at the distance in November but has disappointed backers twice since. Gets another chance in this company.
6. HAPPY BAND – Best a 5th of 11 over 1000M. Twice well beaten at this distance but another chance against this opposition.
7. CHOEGANG BOLT – Debut-maker, trialled well. In-form stable and jockey and could be the one to beat.
8. JOYFUL MEMORY – Promising effort in 4th on debut all the way back last June. Not seen since. Trialled-up indifferently but this is a nice race to return in.
9. GOLD QUEEN – Well beaten in all four prior starts. Nothing to recommend.
Verdict: This race is restricted to maiden fillies and it’s very open with any number having claims. Despite returning from seven months out, we’ll go with (8) JOYFUL MEMORY to return a winner but there should be challenges from (3) TEXAS RUBY and (2) YES QUEEN. Debut-maker (7) CHOEGANG BOLT, from the in-form Bart Rice stable trialled promisingly and can also be given a chance with (5) VICAR FAMILY another who can go well in this company.
Selections: (8) Joyful Memory (7) Choegang Bolt (3) Texas Ruby (5) Vicar Family
Next Best: –
Fast Starters: 5, 8
Race 6: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:20
1. KKEUTPAN AERO – Impressive winner on debut in October beating a horse who’s won twice since. Over 3 months off and up in class but a real chance.
2. SAEROUN NA – Solid effort in 5th last time. Solitary win came at this distance and while not one of the favourites looks a place chance.
3. KEUNJAYU – Four consecutive 3rd places, two of them at this class, last time behind Look At Me. May find one or two too quick again but 3rd should be a minimum requirement.
4. HANNAM ROOKIE – Not sighted last couple of starts but goes well on occasion. One or two will be too quick but has placing chances.
5. ISIDAE YEONGGWANG – Well beaten in his last two but has a 4th place to his name at class and distance and a repeat can’t be ruled out.
6. LOOK AT ME – 2nd at class and distance last month, beating Keunjayu. Solid claims to at least repeat today.
7. BADA BULPAE – Up in class after a second 2nd place at class 6. Plenty to find here.
8. NAVARRA – Decent 2nd on his penultimate start showed he can compete at this level. Drop back in distance may suit.
9. SMART LADY – Winner on debut last summer but went lame in her 2nd start. Trialled well at the end of December and has to be in the frame here.
10. OH DAEBAK – Came close last summer but has lost his way since.
11. OH MY CAPTAIN – Three 3rd places at this level and always beats plenty. First time at the minimum distance since October 2015.
12. HUIMANG CHANGA – Found it tough in two starts at this level following her maiden win. Resumes after three months off.
Verdict: (1) KKEUTPAN AERO has done nothing wrong and while the spell between races is a mild concern, that debut-performance now looks even better than it did at the time. She’ll be strong favourite. (6) LOOK AT ME and (3) KEUNJAYU should be there or thereabouts once more. (9) SMART LADY showed enough in her trial to suggest she’ll be competitive on her comeback while (2) SAEROUN NA and (11) OH MY CAPTAIN may also enter the equation in what is competitive field.
Selections: (1) Kkeutpan Aero (6) Look At Me (3) Keunjayu (9) Smart Lady
Next Best: 2, 11, 8, 4, 7
Fast Starters: 1, 3, 7, 9
Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 16:10
1. USEUNG CHEONJI – Three lengths behind Queen’s Queen last start. Has ability but needs to find a lot.
2. HAESEONG STAR – Up in class after coming close too many times at class 6. Can be competitive but will need improvement.
3. EUMSOK JILJU – Surprise 3rd at the distance on Jan 6th has had the unwelcome effect of bumping her up in class. Unconvincing.
4. WORLD PEACE – Faded on her first time up in class and distance on Jan 13th. Place chances at best.
5. SHARP QUEENS – Three months off and first start for new trainer. Won’t be among favourites but not totally without a chance.
6. ONLY BLUE – Solid effort in 3rd on New Year’s Eve ahead of two rivals here and has claims.
7. BIG GOLD – Struggled in three efforts at this class so far and little suggest any different here.
8. DINAH – Beaten by a couple of these in last two starts. Tries distance for the first time. Not without talent.
9. MAJESTIC POWER – Very experienced and runs ok on her day. Good 5th last time could be matched.
10. QUEEN’S QUEEN – 4th on first try at this distance in decent race last start. Likely front-runner and solid claims.
11. FREE CARE – Only 5th when odds-on favourite on Dec. 31, beaten by Only Blue. Prior win good enough to suggest another chance is warranted.
12. KWAEDO SINHWA – One start into a comeback after almost a year out. Went ok but too early to recommend.
Verdict: (11) FREE CARE is worthy of another chance despite disappointing at odds-on when tried at further than the minimum for the first time on New Year’s Eve and can certainly overturn the form on (6) ONLY BLUE. That one should also be competitive but the main danger is likely to be (10) QUEEN’S QUEEN, who was very close to 2nd in that tough race last month. (4) WORLD PEACE and (5) SHARP QUEENS look best of the rest.
Selections: (11) Free Care (10) Queen’s Queen (6) Only Blue (5) Sharp Queens
Next Best: 4, 8, 2
Fast Starters: 4, 10, 11, 12
Race 8: Class 5 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 16:35
1. ADELEUI CHUKJE – Up in class and distance after maiden win at 1200M. Likely front-runner with solid potential.
2. DORAON GASOKDO – Yet to win in 12. Inconsistent but should beat a few. First time at the distance.
3. SONATILLED – Managed 5th at class and distance in December. Disappointed last time but capable of better.
4. BLUE DANCER – Looked about to make a breakthrough last autumn but well beaten in two most recent starts, both at this distance.
5. MAPLE CLASSIC – Sound enough in first try at this class a month ago and may benefit from first try at a mile.
6. DANCING BLAZE – Hasn’t found this level easy. First try at the distance is the only angle.
7. YEONGUNG CHULGYEOK – Shown very little in two outings since returning from six months off.
8. HIGH SPEC – Maiden win last time in weak race over 1300M. Plenty to find here but top jockey stays on.
9. GANGHO DREAM – Solid but coming no closer to first win. 4th or 5th would be par.
10. FRENCH GIRL – Good 4th at class and distance in December. Competition here is similar so claims for a repeat.
11. DREAM JILJU – Up in class and distance having been 2nd in both outings to date. Still an unknown quantity so may surprise.
12. INDIAN CHIEF – Enters in good form and looks to have another win in him. Step up in distance may suit.
Verdict: Tricky race but we’ll go with potential and (1) ADELEUI CHUKJE looks to have plenty of it. He was a good winner over 1200M last time and with not much evident early speed here, Jo Sung Gon may opt to take the initiative and may well be successful. Coming out of the other end of the gate will be (12) INDIAN CHIEF, who has looked in good touch of late and must be considered. (11) DREAM JILJU is the wildcard while (3) SONATILLED, (5) MAPLE CLASSIC and (10) FRENCH GIRL will have their backers too.
Selections: (1) Adeleui Chukje (12) Indian Chief (5) Maple Classic (11) Dream Jilju
Next Best: 3, 10
Fast Starters: 1, 6
Race 9: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 17:00
1. SPEED MARK – A close 3rd behind a couple of good ones on New Year’s Eve suggest a win is only a matter of time and he’ll be favoured to achieve it here.
2. BUGWI YANGYANG – A year beaten his two runs. Little had changed in the interim.
3. SHOW MUST GO ON – Last on reappearance three weeks ago but looked ok in trial prior to that. Drop back to 1200M and top jockey may see an improvement.
4. HYEUKSIN SIDAE – One run last August without distinction. First start for new trainer but can’t be recommended first-up here.
5. BAEDARI SAMCHEONGSA – Reasonable effort last time but did only beat three. Should beat a few here.
6. ACE JILJU – Returns following six months off. Trialled up ok but won’t be among favourites.
7. YEONGUNG ILBI – Steps back in distance following a couple of spins at a mile. Needs improvement.
8. TTEUGEOUN HAMSEONG – Showed improvement last start with 5th. Can build on that here.
9. TAIL WIND – Yoshida-owned gelding who as just beaten a nose at class and distance on Jan 8th. Excuse last outing three weeks ago and he has solid claims.
10. CHEONMA CHUPUNGO – Formerly talented, he hasn’t shown much in two starts following a spell but an apprentice takes weight off today.
11. DAEWANGBONG – Little offered in two starts so far but comes in fresh from an in-from stable and makes for an interesting outsider.
12. HURRICANE RUNNER – Imported as a yearling it’s taken a while for him to get ready. Looked promising enough in his trial to suggest he should be taken seriously.
Verdict: He’s raced in very solid company in his four starts to date and today facing his softest opposition so far, this race is very much (1) SPEED MARK’s to lose. (9) TAIL WIND should bounce back from last time and be competitive while the debut-maker (12) HURRICANE RUNNER can make things interesting from the outside gate. (3) SHOW MUST GO ON and (8) TTEUGEOUN HAMSEONG are place chances.
Selections: (1) Speed Mark (9) Tail Wind (12) Hurricane Runner (3) Show Must Go On
Next Best: 8, 10
Fast Starters: 4, 9, 11, 12
Race 10: Class 4 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 17:30
1. CHEONNYEON BIMA – Well beaten in all four career starts. First try at distance.
2. BIG GREAT – Returns from 46 week absence. Trials do not inspire confidence.
3. EUNGNIBYEOSU – Not without talent, he was 6th at class and distance behind The Stars on Jan 8th.
4. ADELEUI BOM – 2nd at this class over a mile in good company four weeks ago, he tries the distance for the first time and has solid claims.
5. THE STARS – 3rd at class and distance on Jan 8th and must be respected.
6. OCEAN LINE – Gone off the boil a little but a new distance may be what he needs.
7. MUJEOK SINHWA – Enters in good form having been 3rd over a mile last start. First try at the distance, good trainer/jockey and a lot to like.
8. MINNEUNDAERO – Resumes after a three-month spell. Not recommended first up.
9. ROYAL RUBY – Up in class and distance following victory over a mile on Jan 13th. Plenty of potential for further improvement and a major contender today.
10. HAPPY SOUND – Beaten by Adeleui Bom last start. Usually beats a few but others likely to be better here.
11. BRACHAH – Very consistent and has beaten a number of these. Tries distance for the first time and must be taken seriously.
12. BUYEONG TOWER – Hasn’t demonstrated he has the necessary to be competitive here.
Verdict: Only three of these have raced at 1800M before of which (5) THE STARS is the best. He’ll not be favourite though. (4) ADELEUI BOM’s 2nd place over a mile at this class last month makes for some very solid claims but well go for the up in class (9) ROYAL RUBY to take the honours. The ever-consistent (11) BRACHAH and (7) MUJEOK SINHWA are others who should be considered.
Selections: (9) Royal Ruby (4) Adeleui Bom (11) Brachah (7) Mujeok Sinhwa
Next Best: 5, 6
Fast Starters: 4, 7, 11
Race 11: Class 2 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 18:00
1. SEUNGNI WAVE – Returns following almost six months off. Trialled ok but tough ask first up.
2. SAEROUN STEALTH –Didn’t go well last time but worthy of another chance. Should be on speed early.
3. CHOEGANG PLUS – Four of these raced each other at a mile on Jan 6th, she was worst of them so has lots to overturn.
4. YOU’RE HILARIOUS – 2nd in the Jan 6th mile race, just beaten half a length by a good one (Haeya). Looks the one to beat here.
5. HWANGJEUI TANSAENG – Up in class following comfortable win at a mile on Jan 15th. He’s 5 for 10 and looks class 1 bound sooner or later. A big chance.
6. BANJIUI JEWANG – One-time Classic contender returned from seven months out in January but didn’t go well. May improve here but hard to recommend.
7. PANGPANG HERO – 4th in the Jan 6th mile race he has placing chances here.
8. BAEDARI BOBAE – Closed late to win at this class over 1200M on Jan 20th. Worthy of strong consideration here.
9. GOLD BLUE – Winner of two of her last three including a three length score over 1800M last time. Drops back in distance here but will be among the favourites.
10. SANTA GLORIA – Closed out her three-year-old campaign with a win over a mile on Dec 30th and steps up in class today. A chance.
11. IN THE BACK – Resumes following five months off. Big ask first up.
12. JEONGSANG JEAP – 3rd in the Jan 3rd race at long odds. Repeat will be tough.
Verdict: (8) BAEDARI BOBAE put in some superb performances in some really big races last year and while he does carry a couple more kilos than he did when winning last month, a repeat is not impossible. (4) YOU’RE HILARIOUS looks to have a win in him at this level while (9) GOLD BLUE is the form horse and she should be fine stepping back in distance. (5) HWANGJEUI TANSAENG too looks to be going places and is to be considered.
Selections: (8) Baedari Bobae (5) Hwangjeui Tansaeng (9) Gold Blue (4) You’re Hilarious
Next Best: 10, 2
Fast Starters: 2, 4, 6, 7