Last December Clean Up Joy bested Triple Nine to win Korea’s most prestigious race, the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul. Since then Clean Up Joy has harvested listed races against inferior opposition in the Capital while Triple Nine was taken to the Dubai World Cup where despite the Godolphin Mile being a race too far, he managed to acquit himself admirably. There are 6 races at Busan from 13:25 to 17:40 and 11 at Seoul from 11:45 to 19:00
Clean Up Joys wins this year have been dismissively easy. It’s going to be much harder on Sunday (Pic: KRA)
Their paths now collide in what is often called the “Summer Grand Prix” over 1800M at Busan. All eyes will be on the start. A notoriously troubled starter, at Seoul Clean Up Joy (Purge) has special dispensation to begin in the widest gate and not having a horse on his outside has settled him down enormously in his most recent appearances. At Busan he is afforded no such special treatment and indeed in last year’s race, he blundered coming out of gate 5 and could only rally late for an eventual 4th. This time he is in gate 2 but most seem to think that under Djordje Perovic, Clean Up Joy can overcome.
As for Triple Nine (Ecton Park), the two time President’s Cup winner has had a rest since arriving back in Korea in April and cantered through a trial last week looking in shape and ready to go. It’s not necessarily a two horse race though. The Thomas Gillespie trained Champ Line (Curlin) enters on a five-race winning streak and only looks to be getting better. He has a great draw and could well be a factor.
Then there are the up and comers. Kiwi trainer David Miller saddles the highly thought-of I’m Your Father (Tiznow) in his first Group race and the colt is not without a chance. Not is Triple Nine’s stablemate Mupae (Paddy O’Prado), who has won five of six starts to date.
It’s set to be the hottest race of the year so far and should offer plenty of clues ahead of the 1 Billion Won international Korea Cup, which will be run over the same distance in Seoul in September. Race cards are here and form comments for the whole card at Busan are below:
Selections: Race 1: 8 2 4 3 Race 2: 11 7 6 1 Race 3: 1 6 4 5 Race 4: 5 2 6 7 Race 5: 2 10 7 1 Race 6: 9 11 2 7
Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. NORTHERN VICAR – Maiden win at the 7th time of asking in April but only beat one home on first try at this class three weeks ago.
2. SWAG – Landed maiden win on Good Friday and was 2nd last start over 1000M. Hasn’t gone well at further than the minimum in the past but in the frame here.
3. MUNHWA DAERO – Up in class following maiden win over 1300M last time. That win had been coming and there’s not too much to fear here. Repeat not impossible.
4. WIDAEHANGWANGGYONG – Yet to win but has come close on several occasion including latest two. Steps back in trip from a mile today and should come close again.
5. CHEONJIGAEBYEOK – Struggled in three efforts since maiden win saw him promoted to this level.
6. RED SIREN – 4th at class and distance last start and should be looking to at least match that today.
7. SEONGGONG PLAN – Not beaten many in four attempts at this level.
8. YEOKJEONUI GIHOE – A winner on his second start on June 9th, beating two who have since gone on to perform well. Up in class and distance today but a real chance.
9. GOLDEN KINGS – It’s been a while since her solitary win and she’s been getting further away from another one in recent starts.
10. HWANGGEUMBIT JILJU –Won his last start of 2016 before being out for six months. Well backed in both starts since returning but disappointed. Don’t rule out improvement.
Verdict: Good little contest to begin. (2) SWAG looks set to be favourite but the big question is will he manage to lead the whole 1200M. It’s not a distance he’s excelled at before but if he gets away to good start, can go all the way. (8) YEOKJEONUI GIHOE’s win on June 9th took a boost on Friday when the two horses he beat into 2nd and 3rd came through with very solid performances and while he is up in class and distance here, could well score again. (4) WIDAEHANGWANGGYONG and the up in class (3) MUNHWA DAERO look best of the rest although improvement from (10) HWAGGEUMBIT JILJU can’t be ruled out, bearing in mind the stable.
Selections (8) Yeokjeonui Gihoe (2) Swag (4) Widaehangwanggyong (3) Munhwa Daero
Next Best 10, 6
Fast Start 2, 8
Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. YEONGGWANGUI JAEIN – Shock 80/1 winner at this class over 1000M on June 4th, she was 6th of 10 on reappearance two weeks later. Top jockey booking and can’t be ruled out of a place.
2. BLUE DANCER – Slightly frustrating one as just when she looks like she’s getting the hang of things, she puts in a performance like the last of 10 she served up last time. Hard to bet.
3. DREAM START – Been getting colder and colder of late after a fair – of not exactly “dream” – start to her career.
4. KING STORM – First start since March. Wasn’t going especially well before the layoff and despite winning a trial a couple of weeks ago, she’ll not be especially fancied.
5. SHARP QUEENS – Beaten a few of these in recent outings. Slightly disappointing 6th last time when well backed but worth another chance here.
6. SUPER STEAL – Up in class following maiden win at this distance last time. Made all that day, well drawn in gate 6 and looks the one to beat today.
7. COMING AGAIN –Not too far away in her last couple. Not a particularly fast starter, she can run on well and should pass plenty late.
8. EOROK –Returned from five months off to only beat one home behind Coming Again on June 18th. Can improve today but others will be favoured.
9. DAMYANG CHEONSA – 66th start today, usually beats a few but these days there seem to always be a few more too quick.
10. QUEEN’S BULLET – 5th on first try at this class having scored her maiden win in April. Struggled at a mile last start despite that being the distance she won at. Minor money chance.
11. BIJANGUI MUGI – A 60/1 winner on debut a month ago, she’s up in class and distance but surely firmly in the frame.
Verdict: Competitive filly contest this and (11) BIJANGI MUGI was a three-length winner on debut last month, coming out of the same gate as today and running on very nicely. She’s up in class and distance but has every chance of striking again. Also up in class following a maiden win is (6) SUPER STEAL. Her win was over this distance and she must be taken seriously. Of those with experience at this class (1) YEONGGWANGUI JAEIN was a winner over 1000M on June 4th and should be in the frame while (7) COMING AGAIN enters after 4th and 5th place finishes in tougher races than this and looks dangerous here.
Selections (11) Bijangi Mugi (7) Coming Again (6) Super Steal (1) Yeonggwangui Jaein
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 6, 11
Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 55 Million
1. SAMJEONG AGAIN – He’s won his last two and three out of four total. His solitary defeat did come at the hands of King Simon back in May but he has to be favoured to prevail today.
2. SEUNGJEONPILSA – Up and down in recent starts but certainly capable of grabbing some minor money in this company.
3. VALKYRIE – Decent 4th place in challenging race over 1200M a month ago. Wasn’t fancied that day and won’t be today either but could surprise.
4. KING SIMON – Beat Samjeong Again on his way to very good win over this distance at class 5 in May. He followed up with a 2nd place to get to this level. Front-runner and he does have 5kg on Samjeong Again.
5. BAEDARI GOSU – Ran on nicely for a useful 2nd over 1400M a month ago. Can place again today.
6. TAKE FOUR MEALS – Came home 10th of 16 after fading in the Korean Oaks last month but prior to that won at both 1300M and a mile, the latter at this level. Can go close today.
7. GANGJA DAERO – He has won at this level over a mile and he usually beats a few. Have to fancy a couple of the others to be too quick today.
Verdict: (1) SAMJEONG AGAIN looks to be going places and stepping back to 1300M today, that place should be the winner’s circle. He’ll likely set up just behind the early pace and be too strong in the finish. That early pace will probably be set by the two main dangers. (4) KING SIMON actually beat Samjeong Again when winning at this distance in May so has to be respected while (6) TAKE FOUR MEALS had a hard time in last month’s Oaks but should be much happier in this company and at this distance today. (5) BAEDARI GOSU looks best of the rest.
Selections (1) Samjeong Again (6) Take Four Meals (4) King Simon (5) Baedari Gosu
Next Best 2
Fast Start 4, 6
Race 4: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 55 Million
1. AJU PUJIMHAN – Surprise return to form with a 3rd over 1300M last month. Won’t be expected to repeat but needs a little more respect today.
2. JIJANG – Comes in off back to back 3rd place finishes in decent races and can be a danger again here.
3. BOUND QUEENS – Landed a very good 2nd place at this class last time. Maintains a very light weight today and has placing chances again.
4. TAMNA JEONGBEOL – 6th of 10 on first start two weeks ago on what was his first start since October. That would be a par finish again.
5. MORNING BARAMSE – She had a hard time in the Korean Oaks last month but should be much better suited today by the distance and the company. Can lead early and can win.
6. ANY NINE – Won her first two races in 2015 before missing more than a year. Won one of five since returning. 8th of 11 on first try at this class last time and can look to place here.
7. HAETBAL – Steps back in trip today and can be forgiven his last place over a mile a month ago. Had consistently found the money prior to that and can get back to doing so today.
8. WIRYEOKGIMA – Just two starts so far this year and was well back behind Aju Pujimhan last time.
9. SEULVELY – Yet to finish any better than 4th in seven attempts.
10. HIDDEN CHOICE – Improved 4th over a mile last time. Steps back in trip for the first time in a long time and while she’s never won, could be an interesting outsider for a place.
11. DANGDAE HWASIN – Managed a 3rd at class and distance in March but recent outings haven’t been impressive. May try to get onto early speed but won’t be easy.
Verdict: (5) MORNING BARAMSE had acquitted herself well in decent company prior to taking on the Korean Oaks last month. She never really got involved in that race but dropped back in trip today, she should be able to get onto the early speed here and can win. (2) JIJANG enters in solid form and can at least keep his placing run going while (6) ANY NINE and (7) HAETBAL look capable of improving on their latest efforts.
Selections (5) Morning Baramse (2) Jijang (6) Any Nine (7) Haetbal
Next Best 3, 10
Fast Start 5, 10, 11
Race 5: Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) 1800M / Allowance / KRW 500 Million
1 I’M YOUR FATHER (USA) – Class 1 winner at the distance on June 11th and never worse than 3rd. Jockey goes elsewhere but this one could be dangerous. Likely to settle just behind the early speed and with a patient ride, may well sneak a place.
2 CLEAN UP JOY (USA) – The best in Korea right now having beaten Triple Nine in last year’s Grand Prix and easily won all three outings this year. Only 4th in this race last year, he is an awkward starter – he started badly last year from gate 5 – and while he can select the outside gate at Seoul, he isn’t afforded that luxury here. Gate is the only issue; if he overcomes the start he should win. Usually steadily away.
3 BUHWARUI BANSEOK (USA) – Class 1 winner over 2000M beating three of these last time out. Prior to that he was beaten by Champ Line twice as well as Saengil Gippeum so this won’t be easy but he looks to be in the frame for a money finish of some description. Recently has been settling close to the early speed.
4 SAENGIL GIPPEUM (USA) – Has come back into form winning his latest two. Has generally come up short when facing the very best and at level weights, it’s hard to see him beating the favourites here.
5 DORAONPOGYEONGSEON (USA) – Got the best of a three-way photo finish to win the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul last month. The keyword there was perhaps “sprint” as he’s only ever raced at this distance once before and it was one of only two times he’s failed to find the money. However, he’s come on since then and he could go close.
6 JILJUUI SIN (USA) – Well back behind Buhwarui Banseok on first try at class 1 at the end of May getting a bad start and never improving. Won well the time before that at this distance but is a totally different prospect. Could be on pace early but a real outsider.
7 CHAMP LINE (USA) – He’s won his last five, all of them at class 1 and has beaten plenty of these along the way. He got a great draw and there’s a lot to like about him. Usually close to the early speed, he can win this.
8 MS. MARGAUX (USA) – It’s a mystery how she’s only ever won four races but she remains a very solid campaigner. A strong closer, she has been beaten by quite a few of these recently, but she’s still likely to pick off plenty in the closing stages.
9 DONGBANG DAERO (USA) – Good class 1 horse although his credentials at the very elite level are a little lacking. Beaten twice in recent outings by both Champ Line and Buhwarui Banseok. Not a fast starter, a minor money finish would be a good result.
10 TRIPLE NINE (KOR) – First start in Korea since his 2nd to Clean Up Joy in December’s Grand Prix Stakes. He performed with distinction at the Dubai World Cup Carnival and he comes in following a three month break. Tactically versatile, he’s likely to be not too far away from the early speed. Very strong finisher and big chance.
11 DIFERENT DIMENSION (USA) – First start since returning from Dubai where he recorded a hugely creditable 3rd place on turf in a Carnival race. Hasn’t run in Korea since last November but he has beaten plenty of these in the past. Should be close to the pace and can run on well.
12 SUCCESS STORY (KOR) – He’s most recently been occupied in sprints but he was a class 1 winner over this distance in February though went on to lose to a lot of these over 2200M a month later. He likes to be on or close to the early speed and gate 12 is not a kind draw for him.
13 KING OF ACE (USA) – Only defeat so far came to Success Story in the Busan Ilbo Cup in May. That was a sprint and he won at this distance at class 2 a month ago. This is a really big ask though and while he has lots of potential, this may be just a little too much too soon.
14 MUPAE (USA) – He’s won five of six so far all at sprint distances including at class 1 last time. Up in distance here and this is his first time facing truly top class opposition. First time around two turns, he’s a stablemate of Triple Nine and he could be the dark horse here.
15 BEOLMAUI KKUM (USA) – He finally got the big victory his talent had deserved when winning this race a year ago but things haven’t been easy since. He’s only races twice since and while he was a decent enough 6th behind Success Story in the Busan Ilbo Cup, this is a different matter. Add in a dreadful draw and he’s up against it.
Selections (2) Clean Up Joy (10) Triple Nine (7) Champ Line (1) I’m Your Father
Next Best 5, 12, 14
Fast Start 5, 12, 13, 15
Race 6: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
1. EOREUM GONGJU – Class 4 winner in March but struggled in two goes at this level since.
2. KWAEHAN JILJU – Come close a number of times at this level including back to back 3rds in his latest two beating plenty of these along the way. A chance.
3. V DIVA – Class 4 winner at 1000M in May but was 9th of 12 on first try at this level last start. Can improve today.
4. CHOEGANG ADVENTURE – Had a hard time in four outings at this class but comes in following a couple of months off (suspended for uncompetitiveness) and trialled up nicely in June.
5. WIN GO MAN – Improved 5th last start but still plenty to find here.
6. TURBO ENERGY – Only beat one home on return from four months off in June and will be an outsider today.
7. SUPER BLADE – Has proven competitive at this level and may benefit from slight drop in trip today. A chance.
8. BYEOLMURI – Surprise winner in March but had a hard time in two outings since.
9. KKEUTPAN AERO – Went down to her first defeat last time, weakening badly over 1400M. She’s had a couple of months off since and can return to winning ways today.
10. BULKKOT NORI – A winner over 1200M in April but beaten by a few of these in two starts since. Could find the minor money.
11. MIRACLE BOLT – Beat four of these on her way to 2nd place over class and distance on June 11th. In the frame again.
12. JUNGANG YEOJE – Only beat one home (Eoreum Gongju) on first start of 2017 at the end of May. Should improve today but has a lot to find.
Verdict: (9) KKEUTPAN AERO was an easy winner of her first three races but weakened badly when stepped up to 1400M in April. She returns for the first time today and has to be given another chance. (7) SUPER BLADE was 2nd that day and has gone on to perform creditably in unspectacularly in decent company since and can be considered for another place today. (2) KWAEHAN JILJU has beaten plenty of these lately and should at least match the 3rd place he’s recorded on each of his latest starts while (11) MIRACLE BOLT, just a head behind Kwaehan Jilju in May, also beat four of these on his way to a 2nd place on June 11th and should be a danger again.
Selections (9) Kkeutpan Aero (11) Miracle Bolt (2) Kwaehan Jilju (7) Super Blade
Next Best 10, 3
Fast Start 1, 9, 11