It’s Sunday and there’s just a week to go until Seoul Racecourse hosts the international Keeneland Korea Cup & Korea Sprint. Today, however, also sees G3 action at Seoul Racecourse with the Jeju Governor’s Cup. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.
A big field of 15 has been attracted by the big prize; 7 are trained in Seoul while 8 have travelled up from Busan. Those southern raiders include last year’s winner Indian Star (left) who is set to be favourite to retain the crown she won on a soaking wet track just under a year ago.
Among her rivals are the shock Oaks winner Jejui Haneul, who is joined by Bright Star and Uju Star, 2nd and 4th respectively in the fillies’ Classic. Thomas Gillespie saddles Black Sapphire, a full sister of Triple Nine, while there is other foreign interest with Franco Da Silva partnering Bright Star, Djordje Perovic on Happy Sensation, Johan Victoire on Chang Se, Antonio Da Silva on Rain Sky and JP Guillambert riding at Seoul for the first time as he takes the mount on Pink Blade.
Notes on all races at Seoul are below:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
We’ll have a hot favourite to kick things off and that will be (4) DALLYEORA PACHYAI. He comes in following a 2nd and a 3rd from his latest two and should have far too much for this lot, leading from gate to wire. The same owner/trainer combination also sends out (1) DORAON PACHYAI and that on can certainly challenge for a place, along with the main danger (5) ARABIA GONGJU. Of the remainder, (7) DEOGI has perhaps done the least wrong.
|Selections||(4) Dallyeora Pachyai (5) Arabia Gongju (1) Doraon Pachyai (7) Deogi|
|Next Best||3, 8|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 2|
Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
(5) CLEO returned from three months off to run a decent enough 5th of 12 over 1300M at the end of July. Dropped back to the minimum and given a good start here, she should be the one they need to beat. (6) CHEON NOK did nothing wrong on debut, coming a much better than expected 3rd and looks in the frame for prize money again but there are other dangers. (9) KAISER QUEEN has shown signs of finally figuring things out over her latest two and has the benefit of Djordje Perovic on board today while (8) BLACK CASHMERE has also come close across her four outings to date an should be in the hunt once more.
|Selections||(5) Cleo (6) Cheon Nok (9) Kaiser Queen (8) Black Cashmere|
|Next Best||1, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 6|
Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Only two of these have raced before and while neither exactly pulled up trees on their respective debuts, that fact probably won’t stop them being favoured here as none of the first-timers leap out. That means (8) AMENDA, a reasonable enough 5th of 12 at this distance on August 13th, is likely to start as favourite. (2) AREUMDAUN SOPUNG, a Hansen filly was well-backed on her first racecourse appearance at the end of July but only managed to beat one home over 1000M. She had previously trialled well and should be given another chance. Of the first-timers. (5) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG, (6) EMERALD KING and another Hansen, (7) O.J.HWAK DAB look the pick.
|Selections||(8) Amenda (2) Areumdaun Sopung (7) O.J.Hwak Dap (5) Jeongsang Dolpung|
|Next Best||6, 9|
|Fast Start||2, 5|
Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
She wasn’t ready on debut in January but having had six months off after that, (3) ECTON SINHWA has shown significant improvement in two starts back. She was 3rd of 12 at this distance last time, coming from well off the pace and she will be favourite today. The only concern is perhaps her not having demonstrated a very fast start and while she has a good draw today, if she does get caught out, the returning (4) RUBY BEOLKIN could be one to take advantage. She races for the first time since a 2nd place in April and put in an eye-catching trial last week. (1) UN SEO was well back behind Ecton Sinhwa last time but can improve while (8) SIMON RICH also has scope for progress.
|Selections||(3) Ecton Sinhwa (4) Ruby Beolkin (8) Simon Rich (1) Un Seo|
|Next Best||7, 5|
|Fast Start||4, 1|
Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Good little filly race this. (8) EXCELLENT QUEEN does have a bit of a case of “second-it is” having been runner-up in four of six outings to date, but if anyone can cure her of it, it’s Djordje Perovic, who gets the leg-up on her for the first time. Her one previous outing at this distance resulted in her worst finish so far but it can be a different story today. She’ll be favourite but she’s no sure thing and (6) BRAVE UP, 4th at class and distance on July 23rd has claims as does (7) STAR PERFECT who, like Excellent Queen has never finished better than 2nd but unlike Excellent Queen, she has done it at the distance, beating a couple of these in the process. (1) SHINE QUEEN and (10) BONNET BLUE others in with a shout.
|Selections||(8) Excellent Queen (7) Star Perfect (6) Brave Up (10) Bonnet Blue|
|Next Best||1, 9, 2|
|Fast Start||9, 4, 5|
Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Interesting contest again. (3) JEOKBYEOK SHINHWA was 3rd on debut on July 30th in a very quick time over 1000M having led for much of the way. He’s up in distance and the conditions are likely to be very different this time but he could well do it. So too could (4) TRICKER. He got his maiden win at the 7th time of asking on July 16th at 1300M but does carry an extra 3kg today. Nevertheless, he can repeat. There are others to consider too. (2) EOMJI GANGHO had a bad day at the office last time out but is worthy of another chance for at least a place while (12) CROWN ME BOSS gets the services of Moon Se Young and can improve on her three consecutive 5th placed finishes. There are also a couple of first-time starters involved and (5) BROWN CHAMPION can expect to attract some support first-up.
|Selections||(3) Jeokbyeok Sinhwa (4) Tricker (12) Crown Me Boss (2) Eomji Gangho|
|Next Best||5, 1|
|Fast Start||3, 2, 4|
Race 7: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
It would be slightly unfair to accuse (9) BULHUUI MYEONGGOG of a severe case of second and even “third-it is” as the truth has been that he’s always come up against one or two a bit too good and has run to of above expectation each time. Today though, following three 3rd places and two 2nds, the expectation will be of victory. Taking on 1700M for the 2nd time and having beaten three of these on the first occasion, he should do it. If he’s to be stopped, it’s (7) CUPID BOY, who he beat last time who is perhaps the most likely to do it although (3) BIG SKY was also 2nd at the distance on his latest start and should be involved. Trying the distance for the first time is (8) COLORS QUEEN and although yet to win, she looks capable of challenging for the places.
|Selections||(9) Bulhuui Myeonggog, (7) Cupid Boy (3) Big Sky (8) Colors Queen|
|Next Best||1, 2|
|Fast Start||8, 11|
Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(4) FIRE DREAM was a class and distance winner on July 23rd but up in the weights and in different conditions, he’s going to have to work very hard to repeat. Instead we have two standouts in the shape of (1) SPERO and (6) GANGDAEGANG. Spero is a class and distance winner in the past and comes in following two very solid outings at shorter distance while Gangdaegang comes in after a strong 2nd place at the distance last time. It’s tough to split them but well side with Gangdaegang and his slight weight advantage. Among the rest, (2) JIGONG BULPAE and (7) SUPER BROAD look to have the best claims.
|Selections||(6) Gangdaegang (1) Spero (4) Fire Dream (7) Super Broad|
|Next Best||2, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 5|
Race 9: Class Open (1400M) The Jeju Governor’s Cup / Allowance / KRW 350 Million
One of the most valuable races of the season for Korean bred fillies and mares sees eight from Busan travel up to capital to take on 7 from Seoul. Last year’s winner (12) INDIAN STAR returns to defend her title and she has every chance of doing so following an encouraging warm up race against stiff opposition in July. Thomas Gillespie’s (9) BLACK SAPPHIRE may be more suited to further but looks set to mount a strong challenge while Korean Oaks winner (14) JEJUI HANEUL also must be respected. 2nd in the Oaks was (2) BRIGHT STAR and she too has claims along with 4th placed that day (5) UJU STAR. Jockey JP Guillambert gets his first taste of Seoul and (4) PINK BLADE is one of a number of interesting outsiders in a fascinating race.
|Selections||(12) Indian Star (9) Black Sapphire (2) Bright Star (5) Uju Star|
|Next Best||14, 7, 15|
|Fast Start||10, 12|
Race 10: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
A few decent ones here but (6) IBAEGJEOM should have the beating of them. He was 3rd in a quick race over 1300M last start, his first try at this class and can go two better today. (4) SAMJEONG MAGNUM comes in following back to back 3rd places over 1000M and could well be ready to try further once more while (8) BLACK SUGAR was a decent 4th at class and distance on his last start a couple of months ago and looks in the placing frame too. The main danger, however, looks set to be (7) OUR CAT who makes his 40th starts today and enters in very solid form. He was a quick 2nd over 1000M last time out and should be looking to at least match it here.
|Selections||(6) Ibaegjeom (7) Our Cat (4) Samjeong Magnum (8) Black Sugar|
|Next Best||2, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 4|
Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(6) OP SEVEN was a very quick winner on debut and on July 30th and while he is up in both and class and distance today, he will be expected to score once more against this moderate opposition. He should really lead gate to wire. He’ll be a strong favourite and those with the best potential to get close to him will emerge from either end of the gate with both (1) CHEONJAEILU and (8) SMOKEY VALE having proven competitive in this kind of race. Meanwhile (2) ÉCLAIR HUMOR had a tough time on his first outing at this level back in July but could improve today.
|Selections||(6) OP Seven (8) Smokey Vale (1) Cheonjaeilu (2) Éclair Humor|
|Next Best||7, 5|
|Fast Start||5, 6|