Seoul Sunday: Donga-Ilbo Cup – Full Preview

Last year in the snow, Pint Noir won the Donga Ilbo Cup just before another blizzard forced racing to be abandoned for the day. There should be no weather issues this time around as she returns to defend her title against nine rivals over 1800M.


Pinot Noir in a snowy Donga Ilbo Cup winner’s circle last year

She probably won’t be favourite, with the likes of Meni Money and Touch Flying among a competitive field in the Donga. There’s plenty going on elsewhere as well with a total of 11 races at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:35 to 17:05.

English race cards are here. Notes on the three overseas simulcast races, including the Donga Ilbo Cup are below:

Race 8: Class 5 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million

1. LION ROCK – Full brother to Triple Nine who is currently racing at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Two for two so far and favourite to maintain his 100% record today.

2. GANGCHEOL SIDAE – 4th at class and distance last time between Jogyesan and Strong Shine. Yet to win in 14 but can get close.

3. JOGYESAN – Still yet to win in 28 but in the best form of his career. 3rd last time ahead of Gangcheol Sidae and Strong Shine and can repeat.

4. SPASTAR – Has gone ok at the distance before but hasn’t looked too hot in recent outings.

5. DREAM SUN – Tailed off last start to such an extent he was sent back to trial. Took two goes to re-qualify. Can’t fault the jockey booking though.

6. STRONG SHINE – Coming back into some semblance of form in his last two starts. 5th behind Jogyesan and Gangcheol SIdae then 4th two weeks ago. Placing chances.

7. ARGO QUEEN – 6th on only start at this distance. Little form of late.

8. ELECTRIC CHROME – Beat a couple of these when 3rd over 1300M on November. 6th and another when 6th at the same distance on Christmas Eve. Not impossible.

9. DANGDAE GEOLJAK – Struggled to get a run of races going but has shown talent in the past. If he’s fit, he has potential.

10. LION WINNER – Struggled in three outings at this level since a maiden win last August.

11. YEONGAM ARIRANG – Inconsistent but can finish off ok on his day. Outside chance of improvement.

Verdict: (1) LION ROCK is two for two and will surely maintain his 100% record here. It is his first try at 1700M but there’s no reason why hell not get that. (2) GANGCHEOL SIDAE, (3) JOGYESAN and (6) STRONG SHINE may have just one win from a combined 77 starts between them but those three look most likely to give the favourite a race. (8) ELECTRIC CHROME best of an indifferent rest with (9) DANGDAE GEOLJAK the potential surprise.

Selections (1) Lion Rock (3) Jogyesan (2) Gangcheol Sidae (6) Strong Shine
Next Best 8, 9, 11
Fast Start 1, 9

Race 9: Class Open “The Donga Ilbo Cup” / 1800M / Allowance F&M Only / KRW 250 Million

1. RAIN SKY – Enters in good form and should run well. This is a step up from what she’s been accustomed to.

2. TOUCH FLYING – Multiple winner at this distance. Hasn’t raced since a disappointing showing in final leg of Queens’ Tour at Busan last November. Front runner and a chance.

3. MENI MONEY – 5th in a decent class 1 race at this distance on December. Likely to sit handy and has a strong finish. Time for her win a big race.

4. LAKSHMI – Looks overmatched here.

5. SHINE CLOVER – No form at this distance and has gone cold of late. An outsider.

6. THE QUEEN SILVER – Late developer , she beat a couple of these last November before finishing the year with a solid 2nd at the distance on Christmas Day. Not impossible.

7. SIMSIN JIRYEO – Been a while since her last win. Others favoured here.

8. PINOT NOIR – Last year’s winner she hasn’t run since the President’s Cup last November. Will start steadily and improve in the back straight. Can’t be ruled out.

9. ARGO CHAMP – Only just graduated from class 3 but a smart winner over 1700M last month. Outside chance.

10. QUEEN CREEK CAT – Narrow winner at class 2 over 1700M last start in December to return to some form. Likely front-runner and can be competitive.

Verdict: A tough one to call but it may be (3) MENI MONEY’s time to shine. She’s threatened a big win but has always just come up short but looks in good shape and the one to beat. (2) TOUCH FLYING looked a potential star in the first half of last year but had a couple of setbacks since. If she can get on the early speed, she may go all the way. Last year’s winner (8) PINOT NOIR must be respected while (6) THE QUEEN SILVER could spring a surprise.

Selections (3) Meni Money (2) Touch Flying (8) Pinot Noir (6) The Queen Silver
Next Best 10, 1
Fast Start 2, 10

Race 10: Class 3 / 1900M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million

1. HIPPOCRENE – Beat five of these at class and distance on Jan 22nd. Carries an additional 4kg today but has to be strong favourite to repeat.

2. BEONGAEMA – Resumes following a few months off. Trialled up in average fashion and others are favoured.

3. CHUKACHUKA – 5th at long odds behind Hippocrene on Jan 22nd. That was an improvement but he still has plenty to find.

4. BROOKS – 6th in the Jan 22nd race was about par. He had been going ok prior to that and may improve today.

5. DAEIL SHINHWA – 4th on Jan 22nd, running on ok and can be a factor here.

6. JEONGSANG CHEONMA –The worst of the ones who went in that Jan 22nd race. Improvement not impossible though.

7. BABYLON WANGJA – Returns for the first time since last September. Trialled up ok (ahead of Beongaema) but may need this. Yet to win in 29.

8. HWANGGEUM DEULPAN – 3rd behind Hippocrene on Jan 22md, the best of the others who go here. Beaten by Daeil Sinhwa the time before but likely to be 2nd favourite here.

9. GUMPO YEOJANGGUN – Down in class having shown little last year. Races for the first time since October and can’t be recommended.

Verdict: Six of these raced each other over class and distance on January 22nd. (1) HIPPOCRENE was the comfortable winner and despite carrying an extra 4kg today, he has to be favourite to repeat. The main dangers come from those who were behind him that day, (8) HWANGGEUM DEULPAN, (5) DAEIL SHINHWA and (4) BROOKS, in that order look most likely to trouble him.

Selections (1) Hippocrene (8) Hwanggeum Deulpan (5) Daeil Shinhwa (4) Brooks
Next Best 6, 3
Fast Start 1

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