The best horse in Korea will make his third start of 2017 on Sunday afternoon and Clean Up Joy looks odds-on to add the YTN Cup to his ever growing collection of big race wins. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. English race cards can be found here.
The 6-year-old son of Purge won the KRA Cup Classic last October and then went on to defeat Triple Nine and Power Blade in the season ending Grand Prix Stakes in December. While the vanquished pair went on to race with distinction at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Clean Up Joy stayed home.
Clean Up Joy has raced twice so far in 2017 although “raced” is a rather strong word so superior has he been, sauntering to a handicap victory in February before claiming the Herald Business Cup in April and it would be a brave punter who takes him on in the YTN.
After long-time regular jockey Ham Wan Sik relocated to Busan at the start of the year, Djordje Perovic has been the lucky one to replace him on Clean Up Joy. To do that he’s had to get off Shamrocker, who ran 3rd to Clean Up Joy las month – albeit ten lengths behind – and it’s Shamrocker who looks to be the closest thing to a rival to the favourite on Sunday.
It is racing of course and anything can happen but having beaten seven of this field across his last four starts, Clean Up Joy will surely be recording his 14th career win.
Here are notes on races to be simulcast overseas, including the YTN Cup:
Race 9: Class Open “The YTN Cup” (2000M) / Allowance / KRW 200 Million
1. UNBEATABLE – Not unbeatable but he rarely misses by much. 3rd behind Clean Up Joy and Soting Sidae at the distance last time, he carries lots more weight today but can place again.
2. BICHUI JEONGSANG – One of the best mares in Korea. 6th behind Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker last time, she is a strong closer who could get nearer today.
3. HWANGGEUMBIYUL – Last on solitary start of 2017 so far and a big ask here.
4. SHAMROCKER – 3rd behind Clean Up Joy last start and a strong winner of two class 1 races prior. May opt to set the pace here and is the biggest danger to the favourite.
5. WINNER RED – Hasn’t quite pushed on as expected but comes in following two creditable outings since being well back behind Cheonjeok in March. Minor money possible.
6. ARGO BRAIN – Usually beats a few but will find it hard in this company.
7. CHEONJEOK – Well back in two starts since winning unexpectedly in March. Lots to find here.
8. CLEAN UP CHEONHA – The lesser of the Clean Ups, he’s a decent horse in his own right. Well beaten twice by Shamrocker recently and has plenty to find to overturn that.
9. SOTONG SIDAE – Strong closer, he’s been 2nd to both Clean Up Joy and Cheonjeok this year. Disappointed last start but always in with a shout of the places.
10. SAMJEONG JEUGUK – Made little impact on return from lengthy layoff last month and has a tough ask here.
11. CLEAN UP JOY – The Grand Prix winner is currently the best horse in Korea. If he gets around cleanly, he wins by as many as Djordje Perovic pleases.
Verdict: (11) CLEAN UP JOY is simply better than any of these and in a non-handicap race where he isn’t giving much weight away, it’s hard to find any valid reason to oppose him. He can be awkward at the start which is why he’s in the outside gate but he’s had few problems recently. If he gets around, he wins. (4) SHAMROCKER was 10 lengths behind Clean Up Joy last time and will probably get closest to him again while the rest are solid, dependable class 1 types who are just not as good as the favourite. (1) UNBEATABLE, (2) BICHUI JEONGSANG and (9) SOTONG SIDAE are perhaps the most likely among them to place.
Selections (11) Clean Up Joy (4) Shamrocker (2) Bichui Jeongsang (9) Sotong Sidae
Next Best 1, 8, 5
Fast Start 4, 5
Race 10: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
1. SOCASTEE – 4th on his first go at this level last time, he looks very nicely in here and could lead all the way from gate 1.
2. NANCHOUI GOHYANG – His last couple don’t look that good on paper but they were in slightly stronger company than this and the step back in trip also tempts. A chance.
3. ILJIN HWARANG – Down in class today. There’s a big gap between classes 2 and 3 so improvement is very possible.
4. GANGHO SIDAE – Slight improvement last time but hasn’t looked especially likely in three outings so far this year.
5. HAERANGANGJA – 40th start today. Was dropped in class last time but was well back behind Jeoldae Byeonggi.
6. KENTUCKY YEONIN – Strong 4th on return from lengthy layoff in April. Needed that and could well go better here. Likely to try to get the lead early.
7. JEOLDAE BYEONGGI – Much improved 2nd place behind Jungl Drummer last start. He was 40/1 that day but should probably be a bit shorter here.
8. VIVA TRINITY – Beaten by three of these last start and has plenty of form to overturn.
9. PODARGOS – Struggled in two attempts at this class so far. Steps back in trip today though which may benefit.
10. MUJEOKUI CHAMP – 7th behind Socastee on latest start. Hasn’t found it easy at this level.
11. GOOD TYPE – 6th behind Socastee last time was an improvement on recent starts and more improvement is possible here.
Verdict: (6) KENTUCKY YEONIN returned to action last month for the first time since October and managed a solid 4th place over this distance. He just weakened slightly late on but he needed that run and could well be the one to beat here. (1) SOCASTEE has impressed in decent company recently and looks a danger while (2) NANCHOUI GOHYANG should benefit from the drop down in trip. (4) ILJIN HWARANG and (7) JEOLDAE BYEONGGI look best of the rest.
Selections (6) Kentucky Yeonin (1) Socastee (2) Nanchoui Gohyang (7) Jeoldae Byeonggi
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 1, 6, 9, 11
Race 11: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
1. YONGCHONG – Struggled in two starts so far at this class.
2. CHEONHABI – Not too far away in latest efforts and could go close again although others will be favoured.
3. SINBONGBULPAE – 6th behind Daebago last start and a bit to find here.
4. GEUMA BALIOS – Comes in following a 2nd and a 4th in his last two, coming from well back each time. Similar tactics today and he’s in the frame.
5. JANGSAN CITY – Beaten by Bulkkochwangja and Geuma Balios in February, he followed up with a 5th in March. First start for ten weeks, matching or bettering that 5th is possible.
6. GEUMA ZEUS – Up in class following victory over 1300M in April. He’s won four on nine so far and looks the one to beat again today.
7. RAON ROUIS – Not quite lived up to early potential and has lost his way a little bit since reaching this level. Improvement not impossible.
8. BULKKOCHWANGJA – Already a winner at class and distance and comes in following consecutive 3rd places. Has to be strongly in the hunt here.
9. GWACHEONUI HAMSEONG – Up in class after a smart win over 1300M in April and looks to have more in the tank.
10. DAEBAGI – Front-runner who has tended to weaken a little late on in recent outings.
11. DARK LADY –Generally not too far away. Others will be favoured but could challenge for the minor money.
12. RAON AMOS – Won five in a row last year but hasn’t been the same since a setback.
Verdict: Competitive contest and we’ll go with the up in class (6) GEUMA ZEUS to follow up an eye-catching 5-length win last start with victory on his first try at class 3. He’ll set up camp just behind the early leaders and can go past in the straight. (8) BULKKOCHWANGJA is a proven winner at class and distance and must be respected while the other “Geuma” (4) GEUMA BALIOS is also capable in this company. (5) JANGSAN CITY and (9) GWANCHEONUI HAMSEONG look best of the rest.
Selections (6) Geuma Zeus (8) Bulkkochwangja (4) Geuma Balios (9) Gwacheonui Hamseong
Next Best 5, 2
Fast Start 3, 7, 10, 12