Triple Crown season is upon us! The first Classic of the season, the KRA Cup Mile, takes place at Busan on Sunday. We’ll have a full preview of the big race over the next couple of days but in the meantime, there is a Friday card to get stuck into. 10 races at Busan from 11:30 to 18:00.
English race cards can be found here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas below:
Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. ISIDAE YEONGGWANG – Close 3rd to Keunjayu in February but only beat one home latest. Outsider.
2. KEUNJAYU – Yet to win but never worse than 4th in eight starts. Could finally get it right here.
3. WINNING ALL – Well back in three starts at this class to date.
4. MAJESTIC POWER – Has grabbed minor money at this level but can’t be recommended.
5. WOLHADOKJAK – First start for new trainer. Not without talent but unproven at this level.
6. GIPPEUM HAE – Very experienced but should find a few too quick.
7. SINUIPUMGYEOK – 2nd first-up after five months out just two weeks ago and looks a serious player here.
8. PARTY CONCEP – Three starts, three 2nd place finishes including at this class last time. A chance.
9. SEUNGNI GRAND – 64th start today, drops back to 100M for the first time in a long time but is an outsider.
10. YUSEONG VICTORY – Only beat one home first up following a lengthy absence on March 3rd. Seoul jockey rides and better can be expected today.
11. HWANSANGUI JILJU – Won on debut and then favourite next up. Got an unlucky trip eventually finishing last. Worth another chance today.
Verdict: Can (2) KEUNJAYU finally get it right today? He’s been getting closer but has always run in to at least one too good. Today, however, nothing jumps out as being better and he looks to be the favourite. The main danger is (7) SINUIPUMGYEOK who returned from a five-month absence with a solid 2nd two weeks ago and likely won’t be away from the winner’s circle for too long. (8) PARTY CONCEP has been 2nd in all three of her starts to date and may just have to settle for similar again while (5) WOLHADOKJAK and (11) HWANSANGUI JILJU are others to take note of.
|Selections||(2) Keunjayu (7) Sinuipumgyeok (8) Party Concep (11) Hwansangui Jilju|
|Next Best||5, 10|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 7, 8|
Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. SEGYE RANKING – Up in class following a 2nd and two 3rd place finishes at class 6 and should be competitive here too.
2. HIGH SPEC – Only beat a couple home last start. Won’t be fancied but can improve here.
3. INDIAN CHIEF – Steps back in trip following two creditable outings at a mile. In more amenable company today and can be considered.
4. VICAR HOPE – Disappointed when well backed over 1200M last start. First try at 1300M today and worth another chance.
5. MAJOR DANCER – Struggled at this class so far but top jockey remains on board.
6. DREAM START – Solitary victory was at this distance in December. Held her own in three starts at this level and improvement is not impossible.
7. DONGGWANG JEIL – A surprise class and distance winner last November, he hasn’t looked like following up.
8. TAKE FOUR MEALS – Winner on debut but 5th on first attempt at class and distance on February 3rd. To be considered again.
9. GANGHO DREAM – 60/1 winner getting his maiden victory at the 27th time of asking on Feb. 26th. The odds are against a repeat.
10. UJU JEONGBEOL – Not beaten many in two starts at the level so far. Well back behind Gangho Dream last time.
11. SONATILLED – Step back in trip may help following some tough assignments over a mile.
Verdict: (3) INDIAN CHIEF swung and missed when chanced at class 4 over a mile last start but, back in grade and trip, looks to be solidly in contention here and he’s the slight pick in what looks another tight race. (1) SEGYE RANKING has had the misfortune to be promoted despite being winless but has shown enough in three near-misses to suggest he’ll be competitive at this level. (8) TAKE FOUR MEALS was a little disappointing when favourite on her first try at this class in February but while she only managed 5th, the margins weren’t huge and she gets another chance here. (4) VICAR HOPE and (6) DREAM START are in the frame too.
|Selections||(3) Indian Chief (8) Take Four Meals (1) Segye Ranking (6) Dream Start|
|Next Best||4, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 8|
Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 55 Million
1. PAEGWON TONGIL – 4th on debut over five furlongs but well beaten in two starts since
2. DANGDAE HWASIN – Much improved 3rd on latest start at his distance and in the frame for a place again.
3. LADY CHAMP – Returned to the winners’ circle at long-odds last start at domestic class 4. Tough ask but must be respected.
4. DAREUMBAKJIL – 6th of 11 in what was essentially an Oaks trial at the start of the month, she looks nicely in here.
5. YEOWANGUI TANSAENG – Only beat one home on debut a month ago. Any improvement the goal today.
6. ILLYU SINHWA – Has a best of 4th from six starts so far. Can look to match that here.
7. HAPPY GONGJU – 3rd in the Oaks trial earlier in the month ahead of Dareumbakjil. Already a domestic class 4 winner at this distance and she looks the one to beat here.
8. ECTON BULPAE – Up in class following a slid win at 1300M two weeks ago. Looks to have plenty more to come.
9. LUCKY BLESSING – Two 5th places, both at five furlongs are his best out of six prior tries. Last of 12 last time.
10. HWIDEUNGGEURE – Shown little in two outings so far. Trainer and jockey combination can’t be ignored though.
11. MIRACLE YEONGUNG – Best so far a 6th place out of six outings. Outsider again today.
12. RETURN OF THE KING – 9th of 12 on debut having been well-backed following a decent trial. Can improve today.
Verdict: 3rd in what was essentially an Oaks Trial earlier this month and already a class and distance winner, (7) HAPPY GONGJU looks very much the one to beat here. 6th in that trial, (4) DAREUMBAKJIL also has potential for more while (8) ECTON BULPAE is up in class following a good win three weeks ago and can go close. (2) DANGDAE HWASIN and (3) LADY CHAMP are others with claims.
|Selections||(7) Happy Gongju (4) Dareumbakjil (8) Ecton Bulpae (3) Lady Champ|
|Next Best||2, 12|
|Fast Start||2, 7, 11, 12|
Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 55 Million
1. ADELEUI BOM – Well backed but has come unstuck in strong company lately. Not easy today either but in the frame.
2. SEGI GANGJA – Up in class following a good win just two weeks ago at this distance, he’ll be a contender again.
3. SANGSEUNG MULGYEOL – Back to back 5th place finishes in January and February are realistic targets to try and match today.
4. GANGJA DAERO – Steps back in trip following so very good efforts at a mile including a win at this class. Can’t be ruled out.
5. SUPER SWEET – Clas and distance winner on February 17th and a serious contender again. Will be on speed early and can lead all the way.
6. MR. SPENDING – Two wins from his last three including at class and distance on March 5th. Repeat is possible.
7. PRIZE KING – Up in class following his second win on his sixth start four weeks ago. Strong finisher and looks to have plenty more to offer.
8. SILENT LAGO – Struggled when up in class two weeks ago. Improvement possible but not among the favourites.
9. VICAR SARANG – Only beat one home on first try at this class last month. Looks up against it here.
10. MORNING GANGJA – Enters in no form and will be a big outsider.
11. B.K. KING – 4th behind Mr. Spending last start and can get close today.
12. SEUNGJEONPILSA – Well back last start at 1400M but doesn’t usually miss by much at this distance.
Verdict: Four of these come in having won last start and among them Thomas Gillespie’s (2) SEGI GANGJA is the pick to strike again. He had to work hard for his victory over this distance three weeks ago but it was a competitive race for the level and he dealt with it well. (5) SUPER SWEET was a convincing winner at this class and distance last month and must be taken seriously; he’s a likely front-runner along with (1) ADELEUI BOM, who has just seemed to lose his ay a little in his last two outings but can return to form here. (6) MR. SPENDING has won two of his last three and is to be considered while (7) PRIZE KING and the evergreen (4) GANGJA DAERO are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(2) Segi Gangja (5) Super Sweet (6) Mr. Spending (1) Adeleui Bom|
|Next Best||7, 4, 12, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 9, 12|
Race 8: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
1. ILMANGMUJE – Some good performances last year but gone cold of late.
2. TOUGH COUNTRY – 5th of 12 on first try at this level following maiden win. Can look to match that today.
3. QUEEN ELEGANCE – Steps back in trip following three indifferent attempts around two turns. Still an outsider.
4. HANEOLUI JILJU – Races for the first time since November. Fast in a trial earlier this month. Likely to be on the early speed.
5. MIRACLE BOLT – Straight back up in class following a 2nd place at class 4 over 1200M earlier this month. Finds this level challenging.
6. WINNING HUMOR – A winner at this class over 1400M in January then 4th at a mile behind three decent one latest. Must be respected.
7. MAERYEOK DEONGEORI – May appreciate the step back in trip but doesn’t enter in form.
8. YEONGTO DAEWANG – Good 3rd at class and distance in December but disappointed on his only start of the year so far. Comes in fresh after over two months out.
9. SPEED MARK – 5th of 11 behind Winning Humor at a mile last start. Placing chances here.
10. JEONSEOLUI SIJAK – 2nd behind Mr. Spending last start and a serious contender today.
11. TRIPLE YEONGGWANG – Three wins from five. Slightly surprisingly drops back in trip but is the one to beat.
12. GOLD SKY – Not in the greatest of form although jockey booking will interest some.
Verdict: All three of (11) TRIPLE YEONGGWANG’s wins have come by the narrowest of margins. He’s a slow starter but a fast finisher and so long as he doesn’t give himself too much to do, he should have the beating of these. Joining him with a wide draw is (10) JEONSEOLUI SIJAK, a running-on 2nd last start behind Mr. Spending (who we saw in race 7) and a chance of going close here. (2) TOUGH COUNTRY has finished ahead of Triple Yeonggwang over 1800M and will be backed while (6) WINNING HUMOR and (9) SPEED MARK, 4th and 5th respectively over a mile earlier this month, are others who can go well.
|Selections||(11) Triple Yeonggwang (10) Jeonseolui Sijak (6) Winning Humor (2) Tough Country|
|Next Best||9, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 5, 8|
Race 9: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
1. GIMAKIN JILJU – Struggled at this class. Three-figure odds are likely.
2. V MAN – Won his last two, both at this distance (albeit was promoted in his latest). Up in class today but strongly in the frame again under a light weight.
3. GRACE – Only beat one home on return from lengthy spell at the end of December. Another three months off since. Improvement the aim.
4. GANGHO DRIVE – Difficult to make a case for at this level and in this company. Recent form depressing.
5. AJU PUJIMHAN – 7th of 11 at class and distance last start and that looks a par finish today.
6. YEONGUNG BOLT – Races for the first time since November. Trialled up well and could make for an interesting outsider.
7. BADA GANGJA – Recent form perhaps doesn’t tell the whole story as the competition has been tough. May be better today.
8. WISH ME LUCK – First start since November and first for Thomas Gillespie. Trialled well and strong claims.
9. YEONGWON CHUKJE – Recent form doesn’t inspire but jockey booking does and improvement is possible.
10. COT WING – Won twice at this distance last year. Trialled up well last week and not impossible here.
11. FINE DREAM – Gone cold of late. Stablemate of Yeongwon Chukje and like that one, improvement is possible.
12. PUT IT BACK TIM – Not much inspiration in recent form. Would be a surprise.
Verdict: Another competitive affair but (2) V MAN looks to be the pick to extend his winning streak to three. Granted, last time he was second over the line and was awarded the race in the stewards’ room but under a light weight again, he’ll be hard to beat. (8) WISH ME LUCK returns from four months off and makes his first start for Thomas Gillespie. He looked good in a trial and is the clear second choice while (6) YEONGUNG BOLT returns from a similar spell and also looks nicely in. (7) BADA GANGJA can improve on recent form while (10) COT WING too is not to be ruled out.
|Selections||(2) V Man (8) Wish Me Luck (6) Yeongung Bolt (7) Bada Gangja|
|Next Best||10, 9|
|Fast Start||3, 8, 10|
Race 10: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
1. FURIOUS PARK – 4th behind Miracle Iji two weeks ago and can go close again.
2. CHOEGANGIJI – Returned from lengthy spell two weeks ago to be beaten by three of these. Won’t be favoured but can improve.
3. SOUL BLADE – Has beaten plenty of these recently. Just downed a nose by Stealth last start six weeks ago.
4. SANGSEUNG JUNIOR – Solid competitor who is always in the frame. Does have a little bit of form to overturn on Soul Blade though.
5. IRON TRAIN –Beaten by plenty of these recently and a hard ask here.
6. MIRACLE IJI – Beaten a lot of these in three starts since return from spell and a very good winner at the distance in February. Possibly the one to beat here.
7. RISING BRAVO – First start of the year. Very talented in the past but ended 2016 behind a lot of these.
8. SISEON POCHAK – Up in class following 2nd place at a mile at the beginning of the month. Tough ask here.
9. B K TOP – First start of 2017 and up against it.
10. NAGASINDA – Beat four of these when winning in December but has found that form overturned in three outings this year.
11. SINSEGYE GANGJA – Returns from a lengthy spell for a new trainer. Live outsider.
12. JUNGANG DAEHAE – Inconsistent but talented. Didn’t go well last time but 2nd to Miracle Iji in February. Seoul’s champion jockey is on board.
Verdict: The leading contenders here have raced each other plenty of times recently so there’s plenty of form to go on and (6) MIRACLE IJI is the narrow pick to repeat the victory he scored at class and distance in February. (12) JUNGANG DAEHAE was 2nd that day and should go close again but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the likes of (1) FURIOUS PARK, (3) SOUL BLADE and (4) SANGSEUNG JUNIOR all played a serious part here.
|Selections||(6) Miracle Iji (3) Soul Blade (4) Sangseung Junior (12) Jungang Daehae|
|Next Best||1, 10|
|Fast Start||4, 7, 11, 12|