It’s been a freezing cold weekend so far but there’s plenty of racing to warm us up at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday. In the apital there are 11 races from 10:40 to 18:00 while on the south coast there are 6 from 12:35 to 17:00.
At Busan last year’s Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi faces off with Mayor’s Cup winner Beolmaui Kkum. However, both of them could well be beaten by the respective stars from the stables of Bart Rice and Thomas Gillespie. Buhwarui Banseok and Champ Line are both still on the rise and both have strong claims in the 2000M Championship Series race (see video of Buhwarui Banseok’s New Year’s Eve victory above).
English race cards for both meetings are here. Notes on Seoul races (which will be shown on Sky Racing in Australia) are below:
Race 1: Class 6 Allowance (1000M)
1. FANTASTIC QUEEN – Much to find based on her debut run when she was 10th of 11.
2. MUJEOGUI JEONSA – Debut-maker, nothing special in trials.
3. BAENONGI – 2nd in his trial in an adequate time. Dam won two of 13 in Korea.
4. SUPER CHANCE – Out of a Korean Oaks winner. Trial was average but top jockey booking.
5. EUMAK DAEJANG – 6th of 12 in a slow race at 1200M on Jan 14th. Look for improvement here.
6. HIGH ALYDAR – Led in his trial but weakened late on. Could be considered.
7. JAELONGI – 3rd of 12 at long odds on his second start on Jan 14th and will be much shorter today.
8. RICH YEOJANGGUN – Looked the best of the debut makers in trials.
9. SEUNGRIUI YEOSIN – 2nd on debut on Jan 8th beaten a length having led until a furlong out and is the favourite here.
10. JAEGUN GOCHU – Creditable trial. Dam won on at distance on debut.
11. SERA KHAN – 3rd in his trial, a long way behind the winner.
12. GOLD WINNER – Well beaten in both starts last year. Showed little when re-qualifying last month.
Verdict: It’s probably best to go with experience here and (9) SEUNGRIUI YEOSIN showed enough on debut to suggest he knows what’s he’s doing and should take some beating. (8) RICH YEOJANGGUN looked competent in running 2nd in his trial and if he brings that to the races, can challenge. (7) JAELONGI has to be respected following his vast improvement last time, six months after his debut. Hard to know what to make of the rest with (3) BAENONGI perhaps most likely.
Selections (9) Seungriui Yeosin (8) Rich Yeojanggun (7) Jaelongi (3) Baenongi
Next Best 10, 5, 4, 3
Fast Starters 9, 8
Race 2: Class 6 Allowance (1300M)
1. ENDLESS LOVE – Not shown much speed but has improved. 4th behind Sky Victor last starts. Champion jockey on board means backers.
2. WINNER BLACK – 3rd at 1700M last start and hold a 2nd at this distance. Not impossible.
3. MONI STROM – Well beaten in four outings since a career best 2nd last October.
4. FOREST ROSE – Debut-maker who took three attempts to qualify. Watching brief first-up.
5. SKY BIG – Comes in off a career-best 2nd beating two of these on Jan 14. A chance.
6. MI AMIGO – Debut-maker just sneaked inside the qualifying time.
7. STAR PERFECT – Shown glimpses in three starts so far. Should be on pace and extra half furlong can benefit.
8. REAL GULCH – Beaten by Sky Victor and Endless Love last time. Plenty to make up.
9. HUIMANG CLUB – Best is a 2nd at this distance last September. Solid in two starts since and resumes following almost three months off. Can be considered.
Verdict: This all-filly maiden race provides an opportunity for a number of ones who have come close in the past to finally get off the mark so don’t expect a strong favourite. (2) WINNER BLACK gets credit for her 3rd place at 1700M last start but hasn’t exactly been persuasive at this distance before. With that in mind, (5) SKY BIG and (1) ENDLESS LOVE are very slightly favoured to back up their form from last time. (7) STAR PERFECT has potential for improvement while (9) HUIMANG CLUB should also be taken into account.
Selections (5) Sky Big (1) Endless Love (2) Winner Black (7) Star Perfect
Next Best 9
Fast Starters 5, 7, 9
Race 3: Class 5 Handicap (1000M)
1. BLACK SUGAR – Solid 5th at class and distance on Christmas Day having previously won at 1200M. Has claims.
2. THINK OF ME – Up in class following a ground saving run to claim his maiden at the distance on Jan 8th. Will need to improve.
3. GIMOA LAUNCH – Returned from a lengthy spell to get his maiden win in November. Gone cold in two outings since but back at 1000M today.
4. JEOMIPGASOK – Reliable type at this distance. Beaten by Royal Essence last time.
5. SPEED ELLA – Beaten by a few of these in her last two, not impossible for her to overturn that form today.
6. PHILLANIKE – Beat four of these when 2nd at class and distance in December and 5th behind Seoul Queen last up. Strong claims.
7. PARTY TIME – Yet to score in 32 but a shock 2nd three weeks ago. Odds against a repeat.
8. EL PATRON – Up in class having come close too many times at class 6. Plenty to find.
9. YONGWANG SIDAE – Beaten by too many of these in two previous tries at this class.
10. YEOLPUNG – Bad racing manners last start forced him back to trial. Not without talent but a risk.
11. SEOUL QUEEN – Unlikely winner at class and distance on Jan 7th beating four of these. Repeat unlikely but must be respected.
12. ROYAL ESSENCE – In form and good potential. A win and a 3rd both at the distance in her last two and plenty more to offer.
Verdict: Plenty of interest here and again no obvious favourite. (6) PHILLANIKE gets the nod from a good draw and can overturn her defeat by (11) SEOUL QUEEN last month. (1) BLACK SUGAR and (12) ROYAL ESSENCE both look to have potential for further development and can come into play here while (5) SPEED ELLA, just a neck behind Phillanike last month can also go close.
Selections (6) Phillanike (12) Royal Essence (1) Black Sugar (5) Speed Ella
Next Best 11, 2
Fast Starters 4, 6, 7, 9
Race 4: Class 5 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 11:55
1. GEOMJIN – Yet to win but getting closer. 2nd last start in a similar race and could break through today.
2. MINT – Struggled in three starts at this class since winning her maiden last October.
3. TANSEONG YEONBAL – Winner at this class over 1000M on Christmas Eve. Others have stronger claims but can surprise.
4. SIVERGRAY CAT – Occasionally puts in a good effort but recent outings not encouraging.
5. SEONG EUTTEUM – Won a weak class 6 over 1300M in October and has held her own in two starts since. Place chances here.
6. DOLCE VITA – Yet to win in 38 and despite the champion jockey getting on board, it’s risky to bet on that changing here.
7. MANWOLMUN – Beaten very few over the past year. Rank outsider.
8. YEOL QUEEN – Winner at 1000M in November and should have come on for her first effort at further than the minimum last time. A chance.
9. SCARLET WITCH – Fast winner on a fast track on Christmas Day putting her up in class today. Looks to be more to come.
10. SPEED CORE – Shown little in four outings at this level.
11. WHITE CUPID – A solid 5th place on her penultimate start means she can’t be completely discounted but others are favoured.
12. NEFERTITI – 4th behind Tanseong Yeonbal on Christmas Eve the only recent notable finish. Doesn’t excite.
Verdict: An all-filly affair and we’ll go with the up and coming (9) SCARLET WITCH to back up on her Christmas Day victory. That was the first time she hadn’t given herself too much to do and the extra furlong should suit. Main danger is (1) GEOMJIN whose 2nd place over 1300M a month ago suggests that elusive maiden victory may not be too far away. (8) YEOL QUEEN can make progress on her second attempt at this distance while (3) TANSEONG YEONBAL and (5) SEONG EUTTEUM are not completely clueless either.
Selections (9) Scarlet Witch (1) Geomjin (8) Yeol Queen (5) Seong Eutteum
Next Best 3
Fast Starters 2, 4, 5, 9
Race 5: Class 5 Handicap (1300M)
1. JANGSAN POWER – A 4-length winner over 1200M on Jan 7th on what was his second start. He’s up in class today but will take some beating.
2. COMPLETE WINNER – 2nd behind Sun Flash at this distance on Jan 8th was a vast improvement on recent form and a place is possible again.
3. BAEKSAN ISLAND – Drops back in distance following a couple of tries at 1700M. Can improve but won’t be among favourites.
4. CUPID PARK – Placed twice at class and distance and top jockey booking but others are favoured.
5. WON AGAIN – Managed a 4th in similar company at the distance in December but didn’t catch the eye last start. Unlikely to win again here.
6. MAMKKEOT DALYEO – Slightly unexpected winner at 1000M in December and held his own when again unfancied on Jan 14th. Could be interesting.
7. SUN FLASH – Maiden win at the 15th attempt on Jan 8th beating Complete Winner by half a length. Should be in the frame again.
8. SUPER MOON – Took 23 tries to get his maiden win but only beat one home on his reappearance.
9. GWACHEON DAEWANG – Improved 4th at the distance last time. Very experienced but comes in fresh, great jockey booking and can be considered.
10. VICKY LIE – Class and distance winner in an all-filly race on Jan 15th. Inconsistent but if she runs to her best, she’ll be a factor.
11. YEONGUNG GEONMA – Class 6 winner at this distance on Christmas Day but found wanting on his first try at class 5 on Jan 14th.
12. SHADOW MONEY – Disappointed last start and a bit to find here.
Verdict: (1) JANGSAN POWER looks a talent and was an eye-catching winner over 1200M at class 6 on January 7th and he should be winning this. (7) SUN FLASH and (2) COMPLETE WINNER have to be considered following their 1st and 2nd last month while (10) VICKY LIE could also back up from her own win on January 15th although she does tend to be inconsistent. (9) GWACHEON DAEWANG was much improved last start and Djordje Perovic getting on the experienced mare can only be to her benefit.
Selections (1) Jangsan Power (7) Sun Flash (9) Gwacheon Daewang (10) Vicky Lie
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Starters 1, 2, 4, 7
Race 6: Class 4 Handicap (1300M)
1. GUKJE MYEONGPUM – 18 without a win but consistently close and should be again dropping back in distance.
2. SAMJUNG TAPIT – Shown improvement in three starts so far. Tougher assignment but not impossible.
3. CHEONGDAM DAERO – 2nd at this distance on Christmas Eve. Good draw and can go one better here.
4. JEONGAN QUEEN – Beaten by Gukje Myeonmpum over 1700M on Jan 15th. Should appreciate the step back to 1300M.
5. SANTA MARI – Comes in following back to back 3rd places at 1200M and 1700M. No reason why another place can’t be achieved.
6. ARGO SARANGHAE – Zero career prize money to date probably won’t change.
7. DALLYEORA BEONGAE – Inconsistent and well beaten by Santa Mari last start.
8. GAEULI JEONSEOL – Drops back after a couple of unsuccessful goes at 1700M. May improve but still an awful lot to find.
9. GOLD SOCKS – Few signs of talent in eight outings to date.
10. KAIZEN FORCE – Improved second-up after a lay-off a month ago but an outsider here.
11. SUNKISSED – Outclassed in Juvenile Championship in December but not too far away over 1200M last month. In the frame.
12. TOGETHER HUG – Shown nothing in two prior starts.
Verdict: Decent contest this and if (11) SUNKISSED can get a good start from a wide gate, then he looks to be the one to beat. If so then (1) GUKJE MYEONGPUM, while consistent and sure to be involved at the business-end of the race, may fall short once more. A win is surely not too far away for (3) CHEONGDAM DAERO and it could be here while (4) JEONGAN QUEEN and (5) SANTA MARI are others to consider.
Selections (11) Sunkissed (3) Cheongdam Daero (1) Gukje Myeongpum (5) Santa Mari
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Starters 3, 6, 10, 11
Race 7: Class 4 Handicap (1300M)
1. AREUMDAUN SUNGAN – Returned to some form with a good 5th over this distance last month but still plenty to find.
2. HWANHUIUISUNGAN – Below par of late and others will be favoured.
3. CHEONGGWAE – Found it tough in three starts at this level since maiden win.
4. ONGNYEOBONG – Done well at this distance at lower levels but needs to improve today.
5. GWACHEONUI HAMSEONG – 6th in a tight finish to a good contest on Christmas Eve. Occasional bad manners but has talent.
6. WILD THUNDER – Class 5 winner at this distance and solid effort first try at this level last month. A chance.
7. SMART CHIEF –Tended to struggle at further than the minimum distance.
8. CUPID FLOWER – Up rapidly in class with consecutive wins late last year. Weakened at 1400M last start. Better chance today.
9. SSONSALGACHI – Indifferent of late but should have the beating of a few of these.
Verdict: (5) GWACHEONUI HAMSEONG has won at the distance before and having been sent back to trial for his racing manners in November, flew through that and was subsequently 6th in a really well run race over 1200M on Christmas Eve, running on strongly. If he brings that form into today, then he should win. (6) WILD THUNDER and (8) CUPID FLOWER have both risen through the lower classes rapidly and can be competitive while (4) ONGNYEOBONG also looks a decent shout for a place.
Selections (5) Gwacheonui Hamseong (6) Wild Thunder (8) Cupid Flower (4) Ongnyeobong
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Starters 3, 4, 6
Race 8: Class 4 Handicap (1700M)
1. MIGHTY INDY – Recent form doesn’t inspire.
2. YUJIGYEONGSEONG – Well beaten behind Happy Sensation at class and distance on Jan 8th. Lots to find.
3. BEST TAKER – Best not. Struggles at this class.
4. KYMA – Gone cold in recent outings, all at this distance.
5. HAPPY SENSATION – Eye-catching 7-length class and distance winner on January 8th. Carries an extra 3.5kg but strong claims again.
6. JISUJEA – Shown little in four starts but intrigues with the champion jockey being booked and being upped to 1700M.
7. MAJANGMUL – Only missed the top 4 once, two 2nd places among her last three. Up to 1700M for the first time but a strong contender.
8. SOBAKANINSAENG – Up in class following back to back 2nd places. Up in distance as well with an outside chance of a place.
9. CHOWON BOLT – Close in recent starts, will probably find one or two too quick again but can place.
10. ÉCLAIR HUMOR – Inconsistent but talented. Two 3rd places at this level already and every chance on his first try at 1700M
Verdict: Having won so well at class and distance on January 8th, (5) HAPPY SENSATION is the obvious standout. However, plenty of her rivals are trying the distance for the first time and some must be taken seriously. Chief among those is (7) MAJANGMUL but (10) ÉCLAIR HUMOR also promises to go close. (8) SOBAKANINSAENG and (9) CHOWON BOLT also look competitive.
Selections (5) Happy Sensation (7) Majangmul (10) Éclair Humor (9) Chowon Bolt
Next Best 8, 6
Fast Starters 6,7, 10
Race 9: Class 3 Handicap (1800M)
1. MY WILLIAM – Beaten very few over the past year.
2. GYODUBO – While disappointing in his last two, he can be given another chance today.
3. STEPHANO – Two starts into a comeback following seven months off but little progress so far.
4. FACTUM’S IMAGE – Only four starts. A winner at 1000M and never raced further than 1200M. Unknown quantity but don’t ignore
5. SAND WHIZZ – Went cold last autumn but does come in fresh and with Swedish jockey Shane Karlsson on board.
6. NIGHTOUTONTHETOWN – Ran like he’d had too many nights out on the town in latest starts. Comes back after 13 weeks off so a fresh beginning here.
7. STORM HIT – Down in class following a few too many heavy defeats at class 2. Should beat a few.
8. JEOLMYOHANSEONTAEK – Down in class and really looks nicely in here. Not as out of touch as Storm Hit and may go much better.
9. JJARIT – Class 4 winner over 1000M in December only beat a couple home on his reappearance. Bit of a wildcard at 1800M
10. DIA SOCKS – Two wins from his last three and strong potential. Tries 1800M for the first time but should be favourite to score.
11. HONGNAM BULPAE – Two starts into a comeback and should have come on for his run in decent company over 1700M on Christmas Eve. In the placing frame.
12. SINGIPARANG – Well beaten in two starts since a class 4 win at 1300M in November.
Verdict: (10) DIA SOCKS has won two from five, leading all the way both times, and does look the clear pick here. His rivals have diverse backgrounds. The way (4) FACTUM’S IMAGE has run has suggested he has wanted further and he certainly gets it here. It’s a mild surprise to see him put up to 1800M so quickly but he could well be ready for it. Meanwhile (8) JEOLMYOHANSEONTAEOK is on the way down from class 2 but lands up in a good spot. (2) GYODUBO and (11) HONGNAM BULPAE others with claims.
Selections (10) Dia Socks (4) Factum’s Image (8) Jeolmyohanseontaek (11) Hongnam Bulpae
Next Best 2, 9
Fast Starters 3, 6, 9, 10
Race 10: Class 1 Handicap (1800M)
1. DANGSAN DAEHYEOP – 2nd to Gumanseok in tight race involving six of these on Jan 8th. Will be shorter odds today.
2. GUMANSEOK – Top class campaigner returned to the winner’s circle on Jan 8th. Hard to follow up off a higher mark but always gives a good account.
3. AREUMDAUNDONGHAENG – Recent races all in tough company but this isn’t easy either. Outside place chances.
4. MIGHTY GEM – 3rd in big Stakes race at Busan last November and then a Christmas Day winner over 1400M. Gives weight away today.
5. YAHO SUNSHINE – Front-running winner over 1400M on Jan 15th and is capable at this distance too. In the frame.
6. CHEONJEOK – 5th of the 6 who raced each other at class and distance on Jan 8th so has plenty to find.
7. CHEONMANG – Some form at the distance but well beaten behind Mighty Gem last time.
8. THEME DEUNGGEUK – Last of the 6 on Jan 8th but was going well prior to that and is a winner at the distance. Better expected here.
9. CHEONJI STORM – Ran 6th in the President’s Cup last November, the best finisher from Seoul. Won Listed events last summer and must be respected.
10. BICHUIBADA – 4th of the Jan 8th 6 on his first try at class 1. Has plenty to find.
11. SAMBONG – Favourite for that Jan 8th race having won at class and distance a month earlier. It was so tight that day he can overturn the form here.
12. SUN ROK – Tries 1800M for the first time but good form at 1700M albeit at a lower level.
Verdict: Six of these raced each other in a really tight race at the distance on January 8th. (11) SAMBONG was favourite but it was outsiders (2) GUMANSEOK and (1) DANGSAN DAEHYEOP who beat him out into 3rd place. All will look to be competitive again but Sambong may well prevail this time. (8) THEME DEUNGGEUK was out of sorts that day but should be given another chance here. (9) CHEONJI STORM returns to action for the first time since a very solid run behind the likes of Triple Nine and Power Blade in the President’s Cup last November and warrants respect.
Selections (11) Sambong (9) Cheonji Storm (8) Theme Deunggeuk (2) Gumanseok
Next Best 4, 1, 6, 5
Fast Starters 7, 8, 9, 11
Race 11: Class 3 Handicap (1400M)
1. HORURAGI – May appreciate return to 1400M but poor in last two outings.
2. GEOMRYEONG – A win and two 2nds from his last three mean he’s up in class here. Nothing to fear and strong claims.
3. MIRACLE CAT – Beaten by Jangsan City but ahead of three other rivals here last start on Jan 14th and should be in the frame again.
4. JANGSAN CITY – 3rd on Jan 14th, beating four of these. That was his first try and this class and he looks the one to beat today.
5. NORTHERN HOJAE – Gone a little cold of late but improvement not impossible.
6. PODARGOS – Three wins from his last four and up in class today. Stiffer assignment but should be on speed early and has a chance.
7. GEUMA BALIOS – Worst of the five here who went in that Jan 14th race but was in good form prior and worthy of another chance.
8. CARDIFF HWANHUI – Generally goes ok but should find a few too quick.
9. FLY WING – Made little impact in two starts since being promoted to this level.
10. CHOEGO BISEUL – 6th in the Jan 14th race was a par performance that day and would be a par performance today too.
11. ALADDIN – One start into a comeback following four months out. Didn’t overly impress.
12. BULKKOCHWANGJA – Up in class following victory at 1300M last month. Not among the favourites but could spring a surprise.
Verdict: Having beaten four of these when running 3rd on his first try at this level, (4) JANGSAN CITY is the one to beat today. The up and comer (6) PODARGOS looks a potential talent and if he gets in front early, could be very interesting. Also up in class, (2) GEOMRYEONG looks dangerous. (3) MIRACLE CAT and (7) GEUMA BALIOS have placing chances.
Selections (4) Jangsan City (6) Podargos (2) Geomryeong (3) Miracle Cat
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Starters 1, 2, 5, 6