Sunday is Korean Derby Day 2017! (preview here). There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. There is also a 6-race card at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. English racecards can be found here. Notes on Seoul races below:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
1. SUN SMART – Improved 3rd last time and big chance to go better here.
2. ILDEUNG YEOGEOL – Never better than 5th in seven outings. Looks fifth choice today too.
3. MINDEULRE CHUKJE – Slight improvement in three goes to date. Needs more here.
4. CHODONG RACE – 5th on debut a month and can have come on for it.
5. MIRACLE HEART – Best so far is a 6th place and looks an outsider here.
6. GALSAEK CHONGAL – 3rd in debut in March and then 6th of 9 in reasonable race a month ago. Could place.
7. RUBY BEOLKIN – Much improved 3rd at the distance a month ago. Can look for a fast start here and can win.
Verdict: This looks to be between (1) SUN SMART and (7) RUBY BEOLKIN. Both were much improved last start, albeit in weak company, and it may come down to who gets the best start. (4) CHODONG RACE can build on an encouraging 5th place on debut last month while (6) GALSAEK CHONGAL has shown glimpses in both outings to date and could feature.
Selections (1) Sun Smart (6) Galsaek Chongal (7) Ruby Beolkin (4) Chodong Race
Next Best 2
Fast Start 1, 5, 7
Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
1. RUBY PRETTY – Didn’t excel in trials. Watching brief first-up.
2. HANEULUI STAR – 2nd in latest trial two weeks ago and looks in the frame.
3. YEOKJEONUI SUNGAN – 2nd in trial in a decent time. Looked the best of the debut-makers.
4. ILGAKSU – 3rd in trial, a little slower than some of the others.
5. DUSON EYE – Got better across three trials.
6. HWANGGEUM YEONMOT – Best from six starts was a 3rd place on debut. Could match that today.
7. DREAM ROCKET – Trial time was quick but conditions were faster than the others had.
8. ONE LEADER – Offered few clues in his trial.
9. SUPER TROOPER – Sixteen starts to date with little discernible talent. Generally beats a few though and should be looking for some prize money here.
10. MIDAS CHIEF – 8th of 11 on debut behind Hwanggeum Yeonmot.
11. CRYSTALGACHI – Last on reappreance in March. 10 weeks off since but little reason to expect improvement.
Verdict: Seven of the eleven are first time starters and given what we know about the ones who have raced before, it looks likely that we will see a debut-winner. Going by their trials (3) YEOKJEONUI SUNGAN was marginally the best with (2) HANEULUI STAR next and those are the two we’ll put on top. Among the others, (5) DUSON EYE looked reasonably competent when trialling last week and could also be interesting. Of the ones with experience, (9) SUPER TROOPER and (6) HWANGGEUM YEONMOT are perhaps the most likely to be involved in the finish.
Selections (3) Yeokjeonui Sungan (2) Haneului Star (5) Duson Eye (9) Super Trooper
Next Best 6, 10
Fast Start 3, 4, 5
Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. JILPUNG DOKJU – Up in class following maiden win and no reason why he can’t repeat today.
2. ROYAL ESSENCE – Not been too far away in three efforts at this class and should be in the frame again.
3. SAEROUN UJU – Unexpected maiden win last start. Up in class here and while it is a tougher test, he can compete.
4. PARTY TIME – 36 runs without a win and that probably won’t change here. Not been too far away in recent efforts though.
5. PERFECT BIC C – Solid 5th in decent all-filly race a month ago and should be looking for a place here.
6. GOLDIE EARTH – Gone cold in three starts at this level since maiden win.
7. HAEKHANGGONGMOHAM – Races for the first time in almost exactly a year. Won his trial very handily and must be considered.
8. SEOUL QUEEN – Class and distance winner as recently as January but form has fallen off a little since.
9. QUEEN OF FORI – Decent 5th of 11 last start but perhaps has a bit to find here.
10. PEARL QUEEN – Best result at this level is 4th and that would be a sensible target today.
11. ALPHAWA OMEGA – Up in class following win in a weak race over 1300M last month. A bit to find here.
Verdict: (1) JILPUNG DOKJU looked swift in a gate to wire victory in March and comes back here, up in class following eight weeks off and can repeat the trick. (7) HAEKHANGGONGMOHAM raced three times and showed talent before being off for a year. He was very impressive in trials when requalifying and a victorious return is not impossible. (2) ROYAL ESSENCE and (5) PERFECT BIC C both enter in solid form and can go well.
Selections (1) Jilpung Dokju (7) Haekhanggongmoham (2) Royal Essence (5) Perfect Bic C
Next Best 3, 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 2, 4, 7
Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. SANGBIGUN – Improved 3rd last time and can match that today.
2. CHOHAN – Came from off the pace to win on second outing at the end of March. Up in class and distance but in the frame.
3. SAEBYEOGI – Three-length winner on debut in February. First start since and up in class but don’t rule out.
4. AGAIN SINHWA – 3rd on first attempt at this level last start. Should look to lead here and can go all the way.
5. BONNET BLUE – 6th of 10 last time. That would be a par finish here.
6. REAL PRO – Last in latest two.
7. GHOST TOWN – 7th on first try at this class three weeks ago. Should be better here.
8. GEUPSIWOO – Yet to win in 16 and that surely won’t change here.
9. JEONGSANG DAEGIL – Winner over 1000M in February. Didn’t impress last start but could be in the hunt.
10. GOODMORNING FUSION – Offered little in recent efforts.
11. CHIU YEOJE – Only beat one home – Real Pro – on return from five month layoff in April.
Verdict: Competitive contest but we’ll go with the ones who enter with solid recent results at this class and look for (4) AGAIN SINHWA to prevail ahead of (1) SANGBIGUN. Both come in following decent 3rd places last time and should be looking to improve. (3) SAEBYEOGI won a weak race on debut back in February and finally returns here up in class and distance and should be competitive while (7) GHOST TOWN’s 7th last start was in slightly stronger company than this and so improvement is on the cards.
Selections (4) Again Sinhwa (1) Sangbigun (3) Saebyeogi (7) Ghost Town
Next Best 2, 9
Fast Start 1, 4, 7, 9
Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. PUREUN SEDAE – Last of 11 on latest start just two weeks ago.
2. STAR PERFECT – Hasn’t found it easy in two starts at this level.
3. GEUMGOKSEONG – Just missed out by half a length last time should be on speed early and firmly in the frame today.
4. STAR POWER – Winner at this class over 1000M on April 16th. 4kg more today but not impossible.
5. HIBIKI – A two-length winner on debut over 1000M. Up in class and distance but is the one to beat.
6. DAEJANGGEUM – 4th last time at class and distance and that’s a sensible aim today.
7. YONGDUSAN – A 5th and two 6ths from latest two. Could improve.
8. ECTON GAYA – Much improved 5th at class and distance a month ago and could match that here.
9. DREAM SLEW – 4th in similar contest over 1200M on April 2nd and can look to place here.
10. GEUMBTI ULLIM – Yet to win in 23 but was just edged out of 2nd place latest start two weeks ago. Repeat unlikely but not impossible.
11. JEONGSANG MANSE – 3rd, just under two-lengths behind Geumgokseong, on April 23rd and in the placing frame at least again.
Verdict: (5) HIBIKI looked good winning on debut, running on very nicely to the extent that the step up in class and distance shouldn’t be a worry and he’ll likely be strong favourite. (3) GEUMGOKSEONG and (11) JEONGSANG MANSE, 2nd and 3rd over class and distance on April 23rd look best placed to stop him while (4) STAR POWER and (9) DREAM SLEW should both be in the hunt for places.
Selections (5) Hibiki (3) Geumgokseong (11) Jeongsang Manse (4) Star Power
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 3
Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
1. CARRIER – 4th on return from five months off on April 16th. Could match or better here.
2. GAMDONGUI CHAMPION – Recent form has been up and down and looks to be an outsider.
3. SPECIAL SHINE – 7th of 10 over 1700M on first try at this class last time. Steps back in trip and could go better.
4. KRYPTO KID – 2nd in modest contest on April 2nd but only 7th when well backed on reappearance three weeks ago, Jockey booking will tempt.
5. HAENGUN MONEY – Up in class following victory over 1200M a month ago. That wasn’t a strong race but neither is this. In the frame.
6. JERAHAN – Inconsistent but should have the beating of enough of these to challenge.
7. COPALERO – Recent form is cold. Outsider.
8. HWANHUIUISUNGAN – Not beaten many lately.
Verdict: Not a strong race so it’s a good opportunity for a few of these to pick up a class 4 win that they might not otherwise get. With that in mind, we’ll go with proven winner (5) HAENGUN MONEY to score on her first try at the level racing from the front. (6) JERAHAN is proven in this company and looks a danger while (4) KRYPTO KID is still unproven but has shown glimpses of talent. (1) CARRIER and (3) SPECIAL SHINE are the others who look most likely to challenge.
Selections (5) Haengun Money (6) Jerahan (4) Krypto Kid (3) Special Shine
Next Best 1
Fast Start 3, 4, 5
Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
1. GOLD FASHION – 3rd behind My Vision on latest start in a much improved showing. Repeat not impossible but unlikely.
2. WAIKIKI – 3rd in a very tight finish over 1200M on April 16th having led close to home. Should go close again.
3. HURRICANE BLUE – Only beat one home when well back behind Phillanike last time.
4. GALSAEKBARAM – Not beaten many lately.
5. JEJUI HANEUL – Two wins from four and narrowly beaten over 1700M last month. Strong claims here.
6. GEUM BONGHWANG – Class 5 winner over this distance in March, he was then 3rd on first try at this level on April 9th. Good chance here.
7. MY VISION – 2nd, ahead of Gold Fashion and Silvergrey Cat on latest start and in the placing hunt again.
8. PHILLANIKE – 2nd on first try at this class over 1200M just over a month ago. May opt to go forward here, he can be in the frame.
9. BLACK POWER – Class and distance winner in January, his only subsequent start saw him 6th of 12.
10. SILVERGRAY CAT – Made little impact in two outings at this level so far.
Verdict: (5) JEJUI HANEUL looks a decent prospect and steps back in trip for her second attempt at this level. She’ll likely take the early lead and if she gets it, will be hard to dislodge. (2) WAIKIKI and (6) GEUM BONGHWANG both come in following 3rd places at this class which both are capable of matching or bettering while (7) MY VISION and (8) PHILLANIKE will provide stern competition for places.
Selections (5) Jejui Haneul (2) Waikiki (8) Phillanike (6) Geum Bonghwang
Next Best 7, 1
Fast Start 2, 5, 8, 9
Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
1. CHEONWANG BYEOL – Up in class having come too close too many times at class 5. Big step up.
2. NEW WHY FI – 5th of 8 on first try at this level a month ago, beaten by three of these. Every chance of going better today.
3. EOJJUGURI – Last of 12 when well backed at the end of March. That wasn’t a fair reflection of her abilities so better is possible today.
4. KYMA – Class and distance winner in February, he’s not looked like following up in two outings since but can’t be ruled out.
5. DANGCHAN MOSEUP – Not far away in each of her last three. Steps up in distance today.
6. MONSTER QUEEN – 4th behind Seungnisarang on latest start. Usually goes close.
7. FORESTRY – Improved 4th over 1200M last time.
8. CHUL AE – Up in class having got his maiden win over the distance on April 9th. Visually impressive that day, he’ll need more here.
9. WILD THUNDER – 3rd behind Jisang Bihaeng and Seungnisarang on April 9th. That was his third straight 3rd and it could be a 4th today.
10. JISANG BIHAENG – Beat Seungnisarang and Wild Thunder when winning at class and distance last start. Extra 2kg today but still a strong chance.
11. NHA TRANG – Winner at 1300M in March and 3rd last time. Not impossible.
12. SEUNGNISARANG – A winner at this distance at class 5 and two 2nd places at this class. Can get it right today.
Verdict: (10) JISANG BIHAENG beat (12) SEUNGNISARANG and (9) WILD THUNDER as the trio filled out the 1,2,3 over class and distance on April 9th and they should be battling it out once more with Seungnisarang, just like last time, slightly favoured to prevail. That race is certainly the race of reference as it also included (2) NEW WHY FI, an impressive winner over this distance in January, who is worth another chance today. Among those who didn’t go in that race. (11) NHA TRANG and (8) CHUL AE look the picks.
Selections (12) Seungnisarang (9) Wild Thunder (11) Nha Trang (9) Jisang Bihaeng
Next Best 8, 2, 4
Fast Start 2, 3, 5, 9
Race 9: Class Open (1800M) The Korean Derby (KOR G1) / Allowance / KRW 800 Million
1. LION ROCK – Unbeaten prior to Cup Mile but faltered in the gate. May still be too much, too soon.
2. DAEHO SIDAE – Favourite in the Cup Mile but didn’t kick on late in the race. Proven winner at 1800M and every chance here.
3. TAEYANGUI SINHWA – Stablemate of American Power and while nothing from that stable can be ruled out, he looks very much the second-string.
4. ADELE ACE – Eye-catching winner over a mile last month. This is much more challenging but could make for an interesting outsider. Stablemate of Daeho Sidae.
5. AMERICAN POWER – Beaten a head into 3rd in the Cup Mile, just his second defeat. He’ll come from off the pace here and has a big chance. Could be favourite.
6. FINAL BOSS – Didn’t travel well to Busan but should be a different prospect at Seoul. If he gets a good start, he could do it.
7. MUHAN YEOLJEONG – Couldn’t find a decent run in the Cup Mile but was a very impressive winner the time before. Won’t be among favourites but not impossible.
8. JANGSAN POWER – A winner over 1700M and 3rd in a decent class 3 contest at this distance last start, he could be an interesting outsider.
9. ROYAL RUBY – Fast finishing 2nd in the Cup Mile, he probably could have won if his run had come sooner. Big chance.
10. INDIAN KING – Cup Mile winner under an enterprising ride by Darryll Holland. He galloped on well and should suit the two-turns at Seoul. A chance.
Verdict: It’s a really open Derby with more than half the field having very solid claims. Expect a lot of support for (5) AMERICAN POWER and he can indeed do it but (9) ROYAL RUBY came very close to overhauling (10) INDIAN KING at the end of the Cup Mile and has won twice at the distance already and he’s the slight pick to take the second jewel in the Crown. Indian King must be respected too while (6) FINAL BOSS and (2) DAEHO SIDAE can both go much better than they did in the Mile.
Selections (9) Royal Ruby (6) Final Boss (10) Indian King (5) American Power
Next Best 2, 7, 8, 1
Fast Start 6, 7, 8
Race 10: Class 3 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
1. GUMPO YEOJANGGUN – Recent form has been uninspiring.
2. APPALACHIA BOM – 5th behind Sky Jewang and Beongae Fighter on April 9th. Nicely in here and can go better.
3. ANOTHER SMART ONE – First time at the distance, should be on pace early and looks in the placing frame.
4. THUNDER LIGHT – First start of the year having won one of four last term. Trialled up well and is to be considered.
5. SEONGBULOREUM – Up in class having won by three lengths over 1000M on April 15th. Looks to have a bit to find here.
6. JJARIT – Struggled in three outings at this level.
7. BEONGAE FIGHTER – 3rd behind Sky Jewang last time. He has already won at this level and has a chance here.
8. GALACAT – Well back behind Sky Jewang last time.
9. TIZ RUN – Maiden win on his fourth start on March 19th, beating a decent field by a head. He could well do this.
10. SKY JEWANG – Unexpected beat Beongae Fighter and Appalachia Bom when 2nd over 1200M on April 9th. Won’t be favoured but could repeat.
11. BRIGHT CAT – Proven competitive, if a bit inconsistent, at this class. Could go well.
12. SINGIPARANG – Offered little recently.
Verdict: Competitive race this. (7) BEONGAE FIGHTER and (2) APPALACHIA BOM were both upset by (10) SKY JEWANG over 1200M on April 9th and can overturn that form today. However, we’ll take a chance on the up in class (9) TIZ RUN to build on his maiden win in March and step up to take the honours again.
Selections (9) Tiz Run (7) Beongae Fighter (2) Appalachia Bom (10) Sky Jewang
Next Best 4, 5
Fast Start 2, 3, 6
Race 11: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
1. THUNDER CAT – Enters in poor form, having been last in latest two
2. JANGSAN HORANGI – Surprise class and distance winner in December, he’s reverted to type in three outings since.
3. EYE SAY WHO DEY – Talented although recent form doesn’t inspire. Improvement not impossible.
4. GREY KAISER – Shown little lately.
5. TIZ TAP – Has had plenty of setbacks and needs to get a string of runs together, Could improve today.
6. BEST ROAD –He’s won his last two very comfortably and is up in class here. He has a chance.
7. MENI MUSIC – 7th behind SIDAEUIYEOWANG in a disappointing effort last start. Can do better today.
8. SIDAEUIYEOWANG – Beat three of these on his way to 2nd at class and distance on April 8th and looks the one to beat again.
9. DOUBLE LUCKY – Last couple have been disappointing but he is capable at this level and could be in the placing frame.
Verdict: (8) SIDAEUIYEOWANG beat three of these last time when running 2nd and accordingly looks to be the one they will need to overcome here. (7) MENI MUSIC disappointed in that race but can give it another go here. (6) BEST ROAD is up in class as he seeks to extend his winning streak to three and while this is tougher, he should go close while (9) DOUBLE LUCKY could be the wildcard.
Selections (8) Sidaeuiyeowang (6) Best Road (7) Meni Music (9) Double Lucky
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 2, 5, 7