Always Winner headlines a big Sunday of racing in Seoul (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) while down at Busan (6 races from 12:40 to 17:05), the hitherto unbeaten Haeya returns to action for the first time since January.
Always Winner was a a solid if unspectacular sprint handicapper as he entered his 5th year in January. However, 2017 has found him find top form with gate to wire victories in both the Segye Ilbo Cup in January and the Group 3 Owners’ Association Trophy in March. Both times he’s been allowed off at big prices but he’s bound to get more respect from punters this time.
That’s not to say it will be easy as Choegang Schiller, El Padrino’s conqueror in the 2015 Asia Challenge Cup looks ready to hit form once more while the likes of Parang Juuibo, Dynamic Jilju and Brian Dean’s Jangsanjewang can’t be ruled out.
At Busan, the feature sees unbeaten US import Haeya (Flatter) race at class 1 for the first time having won all four of her races to date. She was last seen in January but breezed through a barrier trial last week looking in very good shape. She may not be favourite though for the 1400M feature with Doraon Pogyeongseon, a winner at class and distance, beating no fewer than seven of those who return again for this race, last month.
English race cards are here. Notes on the three Seoul races to be simulcast overseas are below:
Race 9: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
1. VALLEY STAR – Unimpressed in latest two but is carrying significantly less weight today.
2. MR. MOUNTAIN – Three 2nd place finishes at this level and while he disappointed when well backed last start, he’s worth another go today.
3. GRAND BLEU – Recent form uninspiring. 6th behind Mr. Mountain and Power Is Khan in February.
4. POWER IS KHAN – Started the year well but last behind five of these at 1800M on March 26th. Outsider today.
5. JEONGSANGOREUM – Three starts into a comeback and he’s doing well. 4th behind Jinmyeonggitbal three weeks ago and can go close here too.
6. MORNING SKY – Two wins from his last three including class and distance last start. Significantly up in the weights today but still in the hunt.
7. RAIN SKY – A winner at this distance at class 4, she’s been beaten by Kawon twice recently so has some form to overturn. Should beat plenty of the others.
8. KAWON – The best of the six of these who raced each other at 1800M on March 26th. Serious contender again here.
9. JINMYEONGGITBAL – Brian Dean’s gelding was a winner at the distance last time. This looks a harder assignment and he carries more weight but don’t rule him out.
10. SSAENGSSAENG DORI – 5th behind – but very close to – Kawon last start and nicely weighted here. Interesting outsider.
11. PROPOSE – Class and distance winner last start coming with a tremendous late run. That will be a hard act to repeat here but must be respected nevertheless.
Verdict: This is a really competitive race. Six of them faced each other over 1800M on March 26th with (8) KAWON finishing the best of them in 3rd as two outsiders filled the quinella. Kawon will be expected to go well again while (2) MR. MOUNTAIN, 6th that day, can be given another chance to show what he can do. (6) MORNING SKY and (9) JINMYEONGGITBAL both come in following victories at this distance last start but both face trickier tests under more weight today. (5) JEONGSANGOREUM, (7) RAIN SKY and (10) SSAENGSSAENG DORI among others in the frame in a race with no easy tosses.
Selections (8) Kawon (2) Mr. Mountain (6) Morning Sky (9) Jinmyeonggitbal
Next Best 5, 7, 10, 11
Fast Start 3, 5, 6
Race 10: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
1. THUNDER CAT – Two starts this year were both underwhelming. Outsider.
2. BLUSHING VOW – Class 3 winner over 1700M in February and ran 5th on first try at this level last month behind New Citadel and Super Tank.
3. JEOLMYOHANSEONTAEK – Class 3 winner over 1800M in February but didn’t beat many on first attempt at this level in March.
4. READ AGAIN – Managed a 5th place over 1700M in February but this level looks like it is going to be challenging. 5th a good result again.
5. BARAMI BUNDA – Close in all three outings at this level. 4th behind Bongsae Biho over 2000M last time and Super Tan at 1900M the time before. Can be competitive again.
6. LAKSHMI – Scored a very good 4th in the Donga Ilbo Cup at 1800M in February but reverted to type last time. Outsider.
7. NEW CITADEL – three wins from six inclusing his latest two. Beat Super Tank and Blushing Vow at this distance latest, but faces significant weight rise today. Still among favourites.
8. BEONGAE BIHO – 2nd last time was his best so far at this class, beating Barami Bunda in the process. In the frame again.
9. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – Up and comer, he’s won three of five so far and is up in class and distance here. Beat New Citadel in a big Juvenile race last year, he’s the favourite today.
10. REAL TEN – A well-adrift last behind Beongae Biho and Barami Bunda last start.
11. CONCORDE II – Strong 3rd at 1800M last time out, he’s carrying a light weight here and makes for an interesting outsider.
12. SUPER TANK – Proven money winner at this level for a long time now. He was 3rd behind New Citadel last start and is very much in at least the placing hunt once more.
Verdict: (9) CHEONGDAM DOKKI is one of the more exciting three-year-old imports at Seoul right now and takes on class 2 for the first time here. It’s his first time around two turns but there’s no reason why he can’t be successful. (7) NEW CITADEL was 3rd behind Cheongdam Dokki in a big race for imported juveniles last November and has begun his own three-year-old campaign in fine form with two wins. He was an eye-catching six-length winner over 1800M on March 12th and while he is accordingly hit with an extra 5.5kg today, he still must be considered. (5) BARAMI BUNDA and (12) SUPER TANK look the best of a competitive rest.
Selections (9) Cheongdam Dokki (7) New Citadel (12) Super Tank (5) Barami Bunda
Next Best 11, 8, 2
Fast Start 1, 8, 10
Race 11: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
1. GLOBAL FUSION – 3rd in the Segye Ilbo and then 7th in the Owners’ Trophy, both won by Always Winner, he has outside placing chances here.
2. JANGSANJEWANG – Scratched lame from his scheduled latest on April 2nd, he flew through a trial last week and could be the dark horse here.
3. CHOEGANG SCHILLER – Returned to form running a close 2nd to Parang Juuibo over 1400M. On his day, he is the best of these.
4. DYNAMIC JILJU – Second to Choegangja – arguably the best sprinter in Seoul right now – three weeks ago, he’s a solid contender today.
5. HOLIDAY DREAM – Looks to have a bit to find in this company.
6. PARANG JUUIBO – Beat Choegang Schiller to win over 1400M in February. He followed up with a 3rd and then a 6th in two starts since. Can be competitive again.
7. DIPLOMATIC MISSION – Stablemate of Jangsanjewang, he’ll be fit but others may be quicker.
8. FOOLISH SCIP – Returns to racing for the first time in almost a year. Won a trial earlier thismonth but a tough ask first up.
9. LUCKY LIGHT – Recent form doesn’t inspire confidence in this company.
10. KWAESOK JILPUNG – Big outsider having beaten few in recent outings.
11. ALWAYS WINNER – Won the Listed Segye Ilbo in January and then the Group 3 Owners Trophy in March. Has to be the favourite.
Verdict: (11) ALWAYS WINNER has to get the nod due to his back to back wins in first a listed and then a Group race, both at this distance. He overcame gate 9 last time to get the lead and can overcome gate 11 this time around too. It’s by no means a foregone conclusion though. (3) CHOEGANG SCHILLER returned to action and to form with a very good 2nd behind (6) PARANG JUUIBO in February and may be considered here while (4) DYNAMIC JILJU was 2nd at the distance just three weeks ago.
Selections (11) Always Winner (3) Choegang Schiller (4) Dynamic Jilju (6) Parang Juuibo
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 2, 6, 9, 11