It’s 60 years since South Korea and Turkey established diplomatic relations and to mark that, the Turkey Cup is one of three big races Day 1 on Saturday of the first of two International weekends at Seoul Racecourse this year (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00).
In additional to the Turkey Cup, there are also the annual exchange races with the Selangor Turf Club and China Horse Industry Association. English racecards are here. Here are notes on the four key races:
Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) “Cargill Agri Purina” / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 15:35
1. CHARISMA QUEEN – Started to get the hang of this level in her latest two. Led last time but did fade to 5th.
2. TOUR ROSE – Since a 7th place on debut, she’s never been any worse than 2nd. Comprehensive class and distance winner last start, she’s very much the one to beat here.
3. SAEJAE SARANG – Surprise class and distance winner in February, he’s not shown many signs of following up in three efforts since.
4. DRAGON VILLAGE – Generally beats a few but generally finishes behind a few more. Outsider.
5. MAMBO CHEONHA – Comes in off three consecutive 6th place finishes and hasn’t achieved any better than that in six attempts at this class.
6. NEONEUN ACE – The main danger to the favourite, he enters off back to back 2nd place finishes. Runs best when on the early speed and another 2nd is more than possible.
7. JAMNYONG – Slightly disappointing 4th when well backed on May 7th. Generally runs on though and is in the placing frame here.
8. RACE SIN – Showed little in recent starts but comes in off a 12-week break and looked very impressive when winning a trial last week. Will have some backers for a place.
9. HAENGUN NURI – Recent form is uninspiring and there’s little to suggest it will improve here. Well back behind Tour Rose last start.
Verdict: This should really be a procession for (2) TOUR ROSE. She was a five-length winner at class and distance on April 22nd and should be able to comfortably see off this field. Coming in after consecutive 2nd place finishes, (6) NONEUN ACE looks most likely to get closest although (8) RACE SIN put in an eye-catching trial last week and could be interesting. (1) CHARISMA QUEEN and (7) JAMNYONG look best of the rest.
Selections (2) Tour Rose (6) Noneun Ace (8) Race Sin (7) Jamnyong
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 1, 2, 6
Race 8: Class Open (1400M) “China Horse Industry Association Trophy” / Allowance (3yo) / KRW 150 Million / 16:30
1. SEONGPA – Beat Clean Up Hero as the pair finished 1st and 2nd over 1200M on April 30th. More distance and 6kg more weight today.
2. CLEAN UP HERO – Odds-on favourite when 2nd to Seongpa at the end of April. First try at 1400M and it may suit. A chance.
3. SPIRIT OF HANSEN – Just faded into 3rd in the closing stages when favourite over 1700M last start. Should be on speed early here and is in the hunt.
4. PENACOVA – Beaten by both Flying Champ and Grace City when 5th on April 16th. He was favourite that day but the finish was tight and he is worthy of another chance.
5. KILUI YEOWANG – She’s two for two. More weight and better competition today but it’s not impossible.
6. GRACE CITY –Followed up 4th to Flying Champ with a win of his own over this distance two weeks ago. This is tougher and he has 5kg more to contend with but must be respected.
7. CHOEGO MONEY – Up in class following a five-length win over 1300M on April 9th. 8 weeks off since then and up in distance too, this will be harder.
8. HWANGGEUM SORI – All three outings this year have been at further and he’s done well. Others may be a little quicker here though.
9. ALL THAT SPEED – First start since struggling over 1700M in March. He’d won two of three before that so while hard to recommend here, he could improve.
10. FLYING CHAMP – Maiden win came ahead of Grace City and Penacova on April 16th at this distance. Repeat possible.
Verdict: Many in with claims in what is a very competitive race. (10) FLYING CHAMP beat (4) PENACOVA and (6) GRACE CITY on April 16th, making all and holding on in a tight finish and all three should be in the frame again today. Penacova was favourite that day and will be well backed again but Flying Champ could once more be the one to beat. (5) KILUI YEOWANG enters unbeaten and while it’s a much tougher ask today, she has to be respected while (2) CLEAN UP HERO can avenge his defeat five weeks ago at the hands of (1) SEONGPA. (3) SPIRIT OF HANSEN and (9) ALL THAT SPEED are the interesting outsiders in a really tricky contest.
Selections (10) Flying Champ (4) Penacova (5) Kilui Yeowang (3) Spirit Of Hansen
Next Best 9, 2, 1, 6
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 6
Race 9: Class Open (1800M) “Selangor Turf Club Trophy” / Allowance F&M 4yo and up / KRW 150 Million / 17:00
1. MORNING SKY – Two time winner over 1700M this is his first time going half a furlong further. Likely to be an early front-runner, he has an outside chance here.
2. MAJUNGMUL – Enters following four consecutive 2nd place finishes. Will be on or close to the early speed and should go close but may have to settle for another 2nd.
3. GOLD WAVE – Beat two of these when running 2nd in the Spring Stakes over 2000M in March. First start since then and looks in with a very solid chance.
4. THE QUEEN SILVER – 4th behind Gold Wave in the Spring Stakes,sh was 6th in the Donga Ilbo Cup the time before. Those her only two starts of 2017 so far, she can improve here.
5. SIMSIN JIRYEO – Last in the Spring Stakes and has shown little progress in two outings since.
6. RAIN SKY – Having finished 2017 with a win at 1700M, she’s underachieved a little in four starts so far this term. Don’t rule out improvement.
7. LUCKY MUSIC – Show little in two starts following an eight month layoff. She’s an outsider here but will probably be on or close to the early speed.
8. COMPASS – Close in all four starts so far this year, a win would be a surprise as this company is tougher but she’ll get back and could be involved at the finish again.
Verdict: Small but nicely competitive field in which all of them have some degree of claim. Perhaps the strongest though belongs to (3) GOLD WAVE, who came within a length of taking out a big prize at the end of March, beaten only by Pinot Noir, who is superior to any of the ones who go here. (4) THE QUEEN SILVER was 4th in that race and can continue to improve today. (2) MAJUNGMUL and (8) COMPASS persistently get close and can again while (1) MORNING SKY and (6) RAIN SKY look best of the rest.
Selections (3) Gold Wave (4) The Queen Silver (1) Morning Sky (2) Majungmul
Next Best 6, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 7
Race 10: Class Open (1800M) “The Turkey Cup” / Allowance 3yo and up / KRW 150 Million / 17:30
1. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – Three from six so far. 2nd at class and distance last time and the one to beat here.
2. READY KHAN – Class 2 winner over this distance last start but this looks a much tougher ask. Must be respected but a repeat would be a surprise.
3. PLACES TO GO – Class 3 winner over 1800M last start. 3rd to Cheongsam Dokki the time before, he looks like he’s still improving and could place.
4. DOLKONG – Eye-catching winner over 1700M last start, he has plenty of potential and a great chance here.
5. CYCLING HIT – Decent 6th last time but recent form not convincing enough to recommend him here.
6. CHEONNYEON YUSAN – 3rd behind Ready Khan last start was a big improvement but this looks too competitive.
7. O.K. YEONDAB – A class 3 winner over 1700M on May 6th, she’s got plenty of potential. Big test here but can hold her own
8. WHIZ SPEED – 18th start today but his first around two turns. Looks ready for it the way he ran on when beating Hippocrene on his way to 2nd at 1400M last time. A chance.
9. BARAMI BUNDA – 3rd but a full six-lengths behind Cheongdam Dokki on April 23rd. Competitive but a lot to overturn here.
10. GIANT KILLER – Surprise winner ahead of an out of sorts Dolkong on in February. 4th at this distance at class 3 last time, he has plenty to find here.
11. OSAENG MYEONGJANG – Recent form not hugely inspiring and others will be favoured.
12. KWAESEOK JILPUNG – Well back in recent outing and hard to recommend here.
13. ROYAL JIBBLY – Class 2 winner over 1800M in March, we can discount his last place behind Clean Up Joy in the Herald Business in April. Could compete for a place.
14. HIPPOCRENE – Won three in a row between January and March up to class 2 before stepping back in trip and finishing 6th behind Whiz Speed on April 22nd. Big chance today.
Verdict: Another nicely competitive contest but we’ll have to narrow it down to two standouts. (1) CHEONGDAM DOKKI and (4) DOLKONG have beaten each other in the past and both come in here in good shape, the former with a 2nd at class 2 and the latter with a win at class 3. They should be battling it out here. (14) HIPPOCRENE will be in the frame and should be able to overcome the outside gate to take up a handy position – every time he’s races around two turns so far, he’s won. As for the rest, (3) PLACES TO GO looks a decent prospect and is still on the up while (8) WHIZ SPEED belatedly tries two turns for the first time and could be interesting.
Selections (1) Cheongdam Dokki (4) Dolkong (14) Hippocrene (3) Places To Go
Next Best 8, 13
Fast Start 2, 10, 14