Month: November 2017

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 11)

12 races in the South Korean capital on Saturday with the first at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Competitive opener and while (5) DAECHEON ACE was a long way back behind a good winner when running 3rd at this distance on October 15th, he did manage to beat a couple of these and showed enough to suggest he’s on an upward trajectory and could well score here. He’s likely to be away to a steady start along with (1) WONDERFUL LUCKY how has also been progressively closer in four outings to date and can continue that here. Off to a quick one should be (2) M.J. CAPTAIN and while he was one of those back behind Daecheon Ace last time, he can be given another chance here. (6) MORAN DONGBEAK and (10) ÉCLAIR BEAUTY are others in the hunt.

Selections (5) Daecheon Ace (1) Wonderful Lucky (2) M.J. Captain (10) Éclair Beauty
Next Best 6, 11
Fast Start 2, 8, 10, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Just eight runners here, half of whom have run once before and half who haven’t run at all. The experienced ones look the most likely and three of them; (4) HEUNG BARAM, (7) SEONGBUL CHAMP and (8) CHEONJI BOBAE put in reasonably encouraging debuts with Seongbul Champ getting the narrow nod at this moment in time but really it would be no surprise if any of them managed to push on here. The other one who raced before, (1) SINBIRYONG weakened badly over 1200M on October 15th, behind Cheonji Bobae and could also go better at the minimum today. Among the debut-makers, (6) SEOUL STORY was the eye-catcher in trials.

Selections (7) Seongbul Champ (4) Heung Baram (6) Seoul Story (8) Cheonji Bobae
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 5, 6, 7, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(4) NAM SON was a swift 2nd on debut on October 14th running on pleasingly and stepping up to 1300M today with the champion jockey on board, will be a warm favourite to make the breakthrough. (5) MACH SEUNGNI and (7) BAEKSAN GUNJU – the latter having beaten a couple of these last time – look best placed to challenge the favourite having both shown glimpses in their two starts so far. The other one that’s potentially interesting is (8) GUREUM SONJITHAE. He was reasonably well-backed on debut following a promising trial but didn’t do an awful lot. He could be better at the slightly extended distance today.

Selections (4) Nam Son (5) Mach Seungni (7) Baeksan Gunju (8) Gureum Sonjithae
Next Best 3
Fast Start 4, 8

Race 4: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Up in class following his maiden win on his first try at this distance at the end of September (1) SMART CAMP should be firmly in the frame once more. He won by four-lengths last time having been prominent throughout and while this is stiffer, he has every chance. However, the likely favourite is another one up in class having also landed his breakthrough win at 1700M. That’s (5) SIMON RICH who defeated (6) SHAR NAO by two lengths on October 14th. That win had been coming and he looks equally as well-in (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 10)

Fillies and mares take centre-stage this weekend with the final leg of the 2017 Queens’ Tour, the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, run at Busan on Sunday. Having comfortably won the first two legs, Silver Wolf will be looking to make it a clean-sweep in the 2000M local Group 3 event. Before that though there is plenty of racing to get through beginning on Friday at Busan with 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Time to get stuck in:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(6) ISLE CAT has shown promise in three outings to date and looks to have the edge here following a 4th place at the distance in tougher company a month ago. (1) HANEOLUI GISANG and (4) GOLDEN AGE both have second place finishes at the distance to their names and should get close while (7) ROYAL RIVER was an improved 3rd on latest effort and can come under consideration.

Selections (6) Isle Cat (1) Haneolui Gisang (4) Golden Age (7) Royal River
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 4, 5

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(7) DONE IT MY and (3) GIPPEUM SARANG came home 3rd and 4th at the distance on September 8th. The former went on to run 5th in a similar race last month while for the latter today is her first time back and both look to be strong contenders in this very modest contest. Gippeum Sarang is likely to lead early and that’s enough to make her favourite. It’s hard to make much of a case for the others. (2) GOLDEN KNIGHT hasn’t beaten many in three outings to date but jockey booking catches the eye while it’s a similar story with (4) THUNDER GLORY. (1) EVER GOOD TIME does have a little bit more form behind him but was beaten by Done It My and Gippeum Sarang in that September race.

Selections (3) Gippeum Sarang (7) Done It My (1) Ever Good Time (2) Golden Knight
Next Best 4, 9
Fast Start 2, 3, 4

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 55 Million

Juveniles here with four debut-makers against five with experience and it should be a relatively straightforward task for (6) TRINITY to get the lead from the gate and go all the well. She was a good 2nd behind a decent winner last start and should have too much for this lot. Should things not go to plan then (7) BIRYONGUI HUYE, who has beaten Trinity in both a trial and on what was both their debut a month ago would be the one to take advantage and will likely also challenge for the early speed. (4) PEACE TOUR debuted inauspiciously over 1200M but may be better at the minimum here while of the first-timers, (8) PERFECT BOSS trialled up the best.

Selections (6) Trinity (7) Biryongui Huye (8) Perfect Boss (4) Peace Tour
Next Best 3, 9
Fast Start 3, 6, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only hence the enhanced prize-money and a couple of them look capable of making their maiden breakthroughs. (3) BOLD RULES was favourite to do exactly that last time out and did lead before weakening in slightly tougher company than this two weeks ago. She should be on the early speed again and is worth another chance. The other standout is (5) DYNAMIC RUN, close in her latest three and another front-runner. The pair of them should fill out the quinella here. Only a neck separated (11) JOYFUL (more…)

Triple Nine’s Stamina Defies Doubters To Land 3rd President’s Cup

In the end the punters were much closer to getting it right than the pundits. The vast majority of the Korean racing world had managed to convince itself that when it came to the rivalry between Triple Nine and Power Blade, the younger horse was now in charge, even at 2000M. Bettors, however, sent the pair off as pretty much co-favourites and ultimately it was Triple Nine who prevailed at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday to match the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae in winning three consecutive President’s Cups.

Triple Nine President's Cup 3

Triple Nine beat Power Blade to win his 3rd President’s Cup at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

l was guiltier than most, having gone from believing at the start of the week that Triple Nine still had every chance over his preferred distance to by the time of the race, being sure Power Blade would win. In the end, it wasn’t even close with Triple Nine collaring his rival a furlong from home and running on to win by an ever-increasing two lengths.

Triple Nine was given a very good ride by Lim Sung Sil who this year has established himself as the top big race rider in Korea. This was his third Group race victory of the year (more impressive than it sounds given the limited number), achieved on three different horses and he is likely to ride favourite World Sun in the Breeders’ Cup race back at Seoul in early December. Then of course, there is the prospect of Triple Nine in the Grand Prix Stakes.

Lim is an infrequent rider, his minimum weight of 54kg not being conducive to regular mounts in Korea, but some of the rides he has produced – initiative in the Minister’s Cup and timing in last week’s Gimhae Mayor’s Cup and of course on Triple Nine on Sunday – mark him out as a cut above most here.

Ultimately, the President’s Cup finishing order was exactly the same as last year, with Triple Nine winning, Power Blade 2nd and Success Story 3rd. Korean Derby winner Final Boss could only manage 4th. He raced prominently throughout but never looked likely in the home straight and is perhaps not quite at the very elite level yet. That elite level is set by the winner and runner-up, ten lengths clear of the rest.

Korean racing has been very lucky to have both Triple Nine and Power Blade over the past two years. Their performances over the summer must surely put an end to the general belief on the backstretches in Seoul and Busan that travelling overseas to race is detrimental to horses’ chances of racing successfully in Korea. Granted it took both a while to readjust on their return from Dubai and they probably did miss out on winning some easy prize money in routine handicaps – and granted too, remarkably this was Triple Nine’s first race win since the corresponding one a year ago. But both could have probably used the spell anyway after long campaigns.

Moreover, Power Blade especially came back a better horse and it has now been demonstrated that Triple Nine lost nothing either with both having beaten the other at their preferred trips. There is, of course a reason why in September, Power Blade ran in the Korea Sprint and Triple Nine in the Korea Cup. While Triple Nine will head for the Grand Prix, Power Blade almost certainly won’t and at least for him, another trip to Dubai would make perfect sense, even if he has to forego an easy win or two here. For now, connections remain unconvinced.

Dangdae Bulpae, whose three-timer Triple Nine has now equaled, did attempt a fourth in 2013. It was a race too far for him. A year is a very long time in flat racing but hopefully Triple Nine will still be here.

Seoul & Busan Sunday – Triple Nine vs Power Blade in the President’s Cup: Race-By-Race Preview (November 5)

Triple Nine heads into Sunday’s President’s Cup (KOR G1) at Seoul Racecourse looking to match Dangdae Bulpae’s feat of three consecutive wins in what is the nation’s most valuable race restricted to Domestic-bred horses. More likely though is that we witness a changing of the guard of sorts as stablemate Power Blade will be favourite to assert his own claim to be top of the Korean racing tree.


Power Blade won the Korean Derby this year. He gets the chance to depose Triple Nine in the President’s Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

That transition is almost complete. Both went to the Dubai World Cup Carnival and represented Korea with extremely creditable performances but since they’ve come back, it’s Power Blade who has gone on to excel. That’s not to say that Triple Nine is demonstrably any worse; just that that Power Blade has got better and better and the younger horse has already downed Triple Nine at distances of 1400M and a Mile.

Neither are straightforward horses. Power Blade needs urging all the way around while Triple Nine takes a very long time to reach his top gear. It’s those factors which combine with the 2000M distance of the President’s Cup that gives Triple Nine backers a glimmer of hope. Power Blade now though, is good enough to extinguish it.

Traditionally in Korea this would be the race where the top three-year-olds of the year faced their older counterparts in a Group race for the first time. Indeed, Korean Derby winner Final Boss takes his chance. Similar to the two favourites, he is anything but straightforward but on his day, looks an exceptional talent. Daeho Sidae, who beat Final Boss in the final leg of the Triple Crown also goes.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) DUSON EYE just missed out by a neck over 1000M on October 1st and he’s the pick to go one better here, likely leading all the way. (2) SKY CAMP has been 3rd in both his starts so far, albeit in less than exalted company and there’s no reason why that record can’t continue here. He’ll likely join Duson Eye up front early. (5) GEUMEUN JUOK was well back behind Duson Eye on latest effort but had shown glimpses of talent before while debut-maker (3) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG has to be given a chance in this company having trialled up in decent fashion last month.

Selections (1) Duson Eye (2) Sky Camp (3) Baekduui Jeongsang (5) Geumeun Juok
Next Best 9, 11
Fast Start 1, 2, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(8) HIGH STAR comes in having run 3rd and 4th in her latest two, both of them similarly modest contests to this one. She’s not necessarily the fastest of starters but will run on and could get her maiden win here. (3) O.J. HWAK DAB gets a fresh start today. She’s not been convincing in two outings to date but looked much improved when trialling up in October and can be backed here. (2) SOJUNGHAN SEONGBUL’s latest two have been too difficult and she should be much happier today – the champion jockey riding her will (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 4)

It’s turned cold in Korea! Saturday sees 12 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only to kick us off and (9) AMENDA has come close in her latest and arrives here looking ready to win. She needs a good start but so long as she gets it, she’ll be hard to beat. (1) C.K. QUEEN a bit unexpectedly showed some form racing 3rd last start in similar strength company and could follow up here while (3) SEOURI BYEOL has taken some time getting into top gear in her two outings so far and should appreciate the longer trip today. Two of (7) YEOWOORI’s starts so far have been in big juvenile races so clearly she is rated at home and we’ll expect improvement today while (6) DORAON PACHYAI did show some of the aforementioned improvement on latest effort and can go close again.

Selections (9) Amenda (3) Seouri Byeol (1) C.K. Queen (7) Yeowoori
Next Best 6, 10
Fast Start 4, 7, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(6) CLEAN UP TEUKGEUP was first past the post on debut on October 1st but was subsequently demoted to 2nd for interfering with the 2nd placed horse. The one that got promoted that day went on to win again well last week so we’ll expect Clean Up Teukgeup to do things cleanly today. (2) STRONG CAPTAIN was 2nd behind a good winner last time and can get even closer here while likewise (8) JUMEOK DOKKI showed good improvement over 1200M three weeks ago and looks set for another good run. The sole debut-maker is (3) FLYING HERA and she looked competent enough in trials.

Selections (6) Clean Up Teukgeup (8) Jumeok Dokki (2) Strong Captain (3) Flying Hera
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 4, 6, 7

Race 3:  Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(11) MENI JILJU was just beaten a nose on a much improved second outing at the beginning of September. She comes back in off nine weeks off and while this looks stiffer, she has solid claims here. (8) SKY MARINE similarly was 2nd on her second start at the end of last month and should join Meni Jilju on the early pace. (5) TAMNA YEOSIN faded badly on debut but is bound to be well backed with the champion jockey on board today having previously looked to have promise in trials. There are three debut-makers and among them, (6) DAECHEONUI SARANG took a couple of attempts to qualify but looked good when doing so three weeks ago and can be backed first-up in this company.

Selections (11) Meni Jilju (8) Sky Marine (6) Daecheonui Sarang (5) Tamna Yeosin
Next Best 4, 12
Fast Start 5, 6, 8, 11

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Small but competitive field here and while the up in class (5) PHEONIX HEART remains a maiden, he’s shown enough over three starts so far to suggest that shouldn’t be the case for too much longer. He came close over 1200M last time, beaten by a good winner and despite the rise in level, there’s nothing here that should worry him too much. Also up in class but in her case following a victory, (7) BEST MAID should be competitive as well (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 3)

It’s President’s Cup Weekend! Triple Nine faces Power Blade and Final Boss in the big one at Seoul on Sunday but before that of course, we have plenty of racing to get through. We begin at Busan on Friday with 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00.

Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Tough one to begin with and a few of these look close to getting their maiden wins. We’ll side with (6) OKDAN YEOGEOL, who steps up to this distance for the first time following a 2nd place over 1000M on September 1st. She’s run on well in most of her starts and the distance may suit. (5) CHOEGANG BOLT also comes in off a career best 2nd place achieved at 1600M two weeks ago and can be considered while it’s a fresh start today for (10) ABILITY, who races for the first time since April and did indeed, show some ability when trialling up impressively last week. (2) TONGHAP BULPAE and (9) ACE VICTORY are others in the hunt.

Selection (6) Okdan Yeogeol (10) Ability (5) Choegang Bolt (9) Ace Victory
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 2, 9, 10

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 55 Million

Juvenile fillies here with three newcomers and five having raced before. (1) BYEOL GEURIDA is likely to be the strong favourite having run a good 3rd on debut two weeks ago and looks to have plenty of potential. Slightly less impressive but still competent on debut was (5) MISS TANK and she’s next best while among the others who have raced before, (6) B.K. MARINE looks most likely to improve. Of the debut-makers, the Bart Rice-trained (2) QUEEN THE QUEEN looks most promising at this stage.

Selection (1) Byeol Geurida (5) Miss Tank (2) Queen The Queen (6) B.K. Marine
Next Best 8
Fast Start 1, 5, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 55 Million

More Juvenile fillies going round here with three prior raced and five newcomers. (8) CHEONNYEONDONGANDO has been 3rd on both outings so far and that’s probably just about enough to make her favourite for this. The other two with experience, (3) OS TOP (more…)