The 2018 Korean Racing season kicks off at Busan on Friday with a big 13-race card (there’s no ponies from Jeju this weekend). The first race is at 11:30 am and the last is at 6pm. Slightly smaller fields than usual due to there having been so many races at the track last week too. Here are the previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Small field to kick off 2018 with and (1) JANGHAN JILJU can get favourite backers off to a good start. It’s her tenth start today but she’s been close lately in tougher contests than this and she should be getting it right. (6) HAEDONG YEOGEOL’s latest two give hope and she should go well under jockey Kim Hye Sun who has her first full-time ride at Busan having relocated from Seoul for this year – she’s no stranger to the winner’s circle here though, having ridden the Oaks winner last year. (2) GOLDEN AGE and (4) SAENURI CHOEGANG are likely to be on the early speed and that could count for something while (7) SHARP BELL had shown promise prior to a lengthy layoff and returns here.
|Selections||(1) Janghan Jilju (6) Haedong Yeogeol (7) Sharp Bell (2) Golden Age|
|Fast Start||2, 4|
Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(5) SILVER LINE has been getting closer and closer across four starts so far, narrowly missing out last time. She isn’t a fast starter and has left herself just a little too much to do but should have too much for this lot. The rest really don’t look to offer much so (6) SAEROUN BOMUL, who at least does at least have a 3rd place to her name is the main danger. Other than that we’re looking for ones to show something that they haven’t done so far. (1) EUTTEUM CHAMP and (7) IHYEN look the best candidates.
|Selections||(5) Silver Line (6) Saeroun Bomul (1) Eutteum Champ (7) Ihyen|
|Next Best||2, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 7|
Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Small field here with only three-year-olds. (1) B.K. GOLD overcame a bit of bumping at the start to run a decent 5th of 12 over the distance two weeks ago and id she can get away just a little better here, she’ll be hard to beat. Only two of the others have raced before and of them, (5) HWANGGEUM BEOLMA looks most likely to improve. That leaves us with the debut-makers and Thomas Gillespie’s (7) HANEOLUI BIT looks the pick of those with (6) BAEDARI SINHWA another who showed a bit of promise in her latest trial and can be involved.
|Selections||(1) B.K. Gold (7) Haneolui Bit (5) Hwanggeum Beolma (6) Baedari Sinhwa|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 7|
Race 4: Class 6 (1300) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Eight maiden fillies here and (4) ARAM NARAE ran on pleasingly enough on debut for 2nd place a month ago over 1000M. The additional distance may well suit today and she has every chance here. (1) JOYFUL MEMORY was even-money favourite over 1600M last time out but stood in the gates and lost a lot of ground, blowing her chances. Her best results to date have come when being on the early speed and if she gets away better here then she’ll be a factor. She’ll probably be favourite. (3) GRAY STORM’s 3rd place on latest start suggests she is getting better while (7) SECHAGE and (8) EDGE OF WINNER have also shown some glimpses of ability.
|Selections||(4) Aram Narae (1) Joyful Memory (3) Gray Storm (7) Sechage|
|Fast Start||1, 3|
Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-olds only. (6) CHOEGANG THUNDER was an improved 3rd on his second career start two weeks ago. He raced greenly once more in the opening part of the race but finished off pleasingly enough. He steps up in trip for the first time and with a bit more progress and experience here, could well be winning. (9) TORNADO KING put in a useful effort on debut, finishing 4th over 1000M and can be expected to develop too. (8) JOEUN HAE was 6th that day, a full six months after his debut but he too may come on here. (4) TIME SPEC led early on debut a month ago at this distance but weakened in the closing stages. He’ll probably lead again and can get another chance. It’s not a strong race so solitary debut-maker (7) MR. SCAT, may also be considered.
|Selections||(6) Choegang Thunder (9) Tornado King (7) Mr. Scat (4) Time Spec|
|Next Best||3, 8|
|Fast Start||4, 8|
Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(6) MAKGANG BOLT has been 3rd in both his last two starts, both times in races a touch stronger than today’s and looks to have every chance of winning here. He’s not a front runner but can settle just behind the early lead and finish strongly. (1) NORTHERN VICAR has finished behind Makgang Bolt in three of his last four races. He overcame a bad start last time to run on well and can get closer today. (2) MAY STAR and (8) TONGHAP BULPAE should be on the early pace and both can improve on their most recent outings while joining them on speed early should be (7) HURRICANE DREAM. There was a full eleven months between her first and second outings, but she was second in both and is accordingly up in class today and it will be interesting to see what she can do.
|Selections||(6) Makgang Bolt (1) Northern Vicar (7) Hurricane Dream (8) Tonghap Bulpae|
|Next Best||2, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 7, 8|
Race 7: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(1) GYEONGYEONHANJILJU enters having won his latest three all at this distance by commanding margins, most recently at this class. A decent apprentice rides today and there’s no reason why he can’t lead from gate to wire once more. He’ll more than likely begin as odds-on favourite and is hard to oppose. (2) HUIMANG QUEEN finished in 3rd place behind Gyeongyeonhanjilju last time and while she has raced disappointingly since at 1200M, could get close today but a more plausible challenger looks to be (5) TEUKGEUP GAMDONG, a comfortable class 5 winner on last start at this distance. He beat (4) DAEHOYEOJANGGUN as the pair came home 3rd and 4th over 1200M on December 3rd and both can be in at least the placing frame here.
|Selections||(1) Gyeongyeonhanjilju (5) Teukgeup Gamdong (4) Daehoyeojanggun (2) Huimang Queen|
|Next Best||6, 7, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7|
Race 8: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
The well-bred (3) RAINHA looked the proverbial million dollars when sauntering to an eleven-length win on debut in November and she makes her eagerly awaited reappearance here. She’s up in class and distance but surely wins. The experienced (7) SORICHYEO went well in a similar contest to this a month ago and can look to place while (1) BLACK FINE’s previous try at this distance also went well and gives cause for optimism. (8) NEW HAPPY DAY and (11) YEOWANGUI JEONGWON also come in with some positives to take from recent form. The unknown is (10) TRIPLE SILVER. He did nothing in his first two races before running out a shock 60/1 winner on his third try last month. He’s up in class here and most likely won’t repeat.
|Selections||(3) Rainha (1) Black Fine (7) Sorichyeo (11) Yeowangui Jeongwon|
|Next Best||8, 10, 4|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 9, 10|
Race 9: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Could (7) K O BARAM get his second career win here? On the evidence of his last two races when he has only been beaten (admittedly heavily) by some decent prospects and in turn has beaten a couple of the others who go here, the signs are good and he’s the slight top pick. (8) DYNAMIC GO gave his jockey a difficult ride last time but still finished 2nd over 1300M. That made it two 2nds and a 4th from three outings to date and he’s up in both class and distance today but looks firmly in the hunt, especially if his manners improve. Speaking of manners, (1) NANGMAN JEONSA unseated his rider on the way to the gate on a planned start two weeks ago and had to be scratched. He was going to be well backed in that race having won handily over 1300M in November and so long as he makes it to the start this time, is to be considered. (2) VICAR OF THE SUN registered his maiden win at this trip on December 8th. He’s up in class today but should be competitive. (4) NAMDO GEOSANG and (5) YOUARE THE CAPTAIN came home 4th and 5th when racing each other at class and distance on December 3rd and both look capable of at least matching that today.
|Selections||(7) K O Baram (8) Dynamic Go (1) Nangman Jeonsa (2) Vicar Of The Sun|
|Next Best||4, 5, 11|
|Fast Start||4, 11|
Race 10: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Both of (2) CAPTAIN GUY’s wins have come at this distance with the latest being a nine-length score over K O Baram, who we saw in race 9. Captain Guy is up in class here but should get a soft lead and has to be the favourite. It took (4) BUSAN BOLT thirteen races to get her maiden win but she evidently enjoyed it as she promptly followed up with another. That’s put her up two classes in the space of two races though and this looks harder. (1) POWERFUL FORCE, also a winner last time, will have to overcome a similar step up in level. With that in mind, (3) SEOGANGDAERO, 3rd at class and distance last time, comes into play but also of note is (5) GYEONGJUUI DUREBAK. Thomas Gilllespie’s filly ran creditably enough in the Breeders’ Cup race at Seoul last month (Korea’s top juvenile contest), finishing off really well and looks to have plenty of potential.
|Selections||(2) Captain Guy (5) Gyeongjuui Durebak (3) Seogangdaero (4) Busan Bolt|
|Next Best||6, 1, 7|
Race 11: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(2) I’M YOUR HOPE has shown good progress over three outings so far culminating in a strong 2nd place at this distance on November 25th with a couple of these well back behind him and the time has come for his maiden victory. He’s not the fastest of starters but can finish strongly and looks to be on the way up. (1) HIGH SPEC overcame a poor start to runs 2nd, four lengths behind the very good Rock Hard Seven, over the distance a month ago and looks to be the main danger by some margin. It would be a surprise if those two don’t fill out the quinella with improvement from (4) GLOBAL CHAMPION and (8) DELMARUI GIJEOK potentially seeing them to contest the places.
|Selections||(2) I’m Your Hope (1) High Spec (4) Global Champion (8) Delmarui Gijeok|
|Next Best||7, 5|
|Fast Start||4, 5|
Race 12: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Finally, we have a nice big field to get stuck into. (4) HAEUNDAE YEOGEOL was well backed on her latest start on December 10th, her first try at further than the minimum distance following back to back wins. She got an absolutely abominable trip from start to finish and ended up last. Obviously, she’s better than that but the start is going to be important – if she gets a good one, she can win, if she doesn’t then the kickback is going to be an issue again. That leaves the door open for (7) YEONGGWANGUI PARK and (5) LOAD CELL, 3rd and 4th over class and distance when they raced each other on November 26th. The latter is likely to challenge Haeundae Yeogeol for the early lead, as will (10) FIVEFOLD. Bart Rice’s gelding was a narrow winner over the distance on Christmas Eve and steps up in class on this quick return. Speaking of returns, (1) SINUIPUMGYEOK races for the first time since June. He trialled up well and is in Kim Young Kwan’s stable so is sure to be backed first-up today.
|Selections||(4) Haeundae Yeogeol (10) Fivefold (5) Load Cell (7) Yeonggwangui Park|
|Next Best||1, 12|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 10|
Race 13: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
(2) HELLO VENUS ran a really good 5th against some of the best fillies and mares in Korea in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup in November. That was over 2000M, a distance that didn’t seem likely to suit and dropping back to 1400M today, she warrants plenty of respect and will likely try to lead all the way. (6) JIGUKCHEONWANG won three of four this summer and returns today following nineteen weeks out. He won a trial last week and should have every chance. He’ll be on the early speed too. (10) DYNAMIC TANK returned from a lengthy absence of his own in November to run a good 2nd at class and distance and should be in the frame. (4) CHOEGANG DREAM, whose latest two (one of them the President’s Cup!) can be forgiven and the up in class (8) DAMYANG HWANHO are others to consider. (1) SEGI GANGJA, with five wins from eleven and up in class on his return from almost six months off, is the wildcard.
|Selections||(2) Hello Venus (6) Jigukcheonwang (10) Dynamic Tank (8) Damyang Hwanho|
|Next Best||4, 9, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 8|