Bitter cold gave way to snow on Saturday but Sunday should be fine and there’s plenty of racing to keep us occupied at both Seoul and Busan. New Citadel and Sinjo Daehyeop face off in Seoul’s feature race while Today is favourite to land his eighth win in ten outings in the main event at Busan. Seoul runs 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00 and Busan 6 from 12:40 to 17:05. The previews follow but first here’s a picture of jockey Park Tae Jong participating in the Olympic Torch relay in Incheon this past week:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Moon Se Young may not be champion jockey now for the first time that anyone can remember but he looks nailed on to win on what will be his first ride of 2018. (1) THE JIJON has a 2nd, 3rd and a 4th in three outings to date and surely leads all the way to get it right this time. (3) YONGUI JUDO and (4) M.J. CAPTAIN have shown glimpses of ability so far and look the most likely to chase the favourite home – and give him problems if he slips up. As for the others, (2) SPEED HWANGNYONG didn’t really do anything wrong on debut last month so he gets another chance here while (11) GAJA GAJA returns to action for the first time since last July, trialled up in a reasonable manner and has the new champion jockey, Djordje Perovic on board.
|Selections||(1) The Jijon (3) Yongui Judo (4) M.J. Captain (11) Gaja Gaja|
|Next Best||2, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 5, 10|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
This looks a much more open affair. Not a huge amount of experience on show but one or two have shown promising signs. Chief among those is (4) BAEKDUI TAEYANG, an improved 4th when stepped up to this trip in his second start on December 2nd. (5) ACE CANT goes at 1300M for the first time today and looks as though he may benefit from it. (6) EMERALD KING struggled in what was a slightly harder race than this time when resuming from an eight-week spell having previously run close at 1200M and can go better here. (3) LAST CONCERT and (8) MENI SMART are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(4) Baekdui Taeyang (5) Ace Cant (8) Meni Smart (6) Emerald King|
|Next Best||3, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 8|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(4) JEJUI HEUKSEON was a good 2nd on debut (albeit ten-lengths behind an impressive winner) at this distance in November. She was unable to follow up two weeks later in a stiffer contest at 1200M but looks in good shape to go close in this all-filly affair. More experienced is (8) FIRST QUEEN and she’s not been too far away in recent efforts. She tends to leave herself just a little too much to do but could get it right here. (7) CHEON YUN and (1) KYU JEU came home 4th and 5th at the distance last time and can figure while (6) TAMNA YEOSIN comes in off an encouraging run over 1000M last time and can improve.
|Selections||(4) Jejui Heukseon (8) First Queen (6) Tamna Yeosin (7) Cheon Yun|
|Next Best||1, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 6|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Wide open this one and although there are a couple up in class coming off good wins in the shape of (7) CHAPEL ACE and (9) PRIMO, it’s going to be the ones who have experience of this level who are favoured. (10) SWEETLY HUMOR was a good 2nd, having briefly led close to home, over the distance on December 17th and can at least match that today, likely leading from the start. (2) HANSEONG KING also comes in having placed at the distance last time while (11) LIVE POWER drops back in trip after a good 2nd at 1700M back in November. (8) GWACHEON TUHON was well back behind Sweetly Humor last time but has done enough in the past to warrant a further look.
|Selections||(10) Sweetly Humor (2) Hanseong King (11) Live Power (9) Primo|
|Next Best||8, 6, 12|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(5) SAUVIGNON looks a likely warm favourite in this fill. A maiden winner at the distance in November, she then ran a good 4th on her first try ay this class a month ago. This field looks eminently beatable. (2) VICTORY STAR finds herself up in class here despite remaining a maiden. Two 3rds and a 2nd see her promoted but there’s little to suggest she can’t be competitive at this level. (7) DURGA and (9) CHOEGOYA CHOEGO are both proven to be able to mix it at this class and should be in the frame while (10) JASEONG GUNJU is another to consider following a decent 5th of 12 at class and distance last time.
|Selections||(5) Sauvignon (2) Victory Star (7) Durga (9) Choegoya Choego|
|Next Best||10, 3, 1|
|Fast Start||3, 6|
Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(8) YEONGGWANGUI BOSS has never been any worse than 4th in four efforts so far and while he could only manage 2nd to Bugyeong Daebak – who herself came up short when favourite on her reappearance on Friday – when odds-on last start, should have enough to see off this field. (9) FIRST SHINHWA is up in class following his maiden win last time and can be competitive again while (5) I’M ADELE remains a maiden but has come close of late at a mile and steps back in trip today with placing chances. (1) DAL GEURIDA found a mile too much too soon last start and should be much more comfortable today.
|Selections||(8) Yeonggwangui Boss (9) First Shinhwa (5) I’m Adele (1) Dal Geurida|
|Next Best||7, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 7, 8|
Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) CHEONJI BOBAE may be without a win in three starts so far but still has to come up in class today by virtue of a pair of runner-up finishes. In those she showed she has a useful turn of foot and coming out of gate 2 today, she can get on to the early lead and could quite conceivably go all the way. (1) WINNING WIN overcame a poor start to run on very nicely for 4th at class and distance a month ago and with a better break today should be right up there. (5) SSONSALGACHI was found to have bled after running 4th at the distance on December 3rd. Accordingly, she was forced back to trial which she won last week and on her day, she can certainly be competitive here. (8) DALLYEORA PACHYAI is much better than his latest two efforts suggest and could be an interesting outsider, while (12) HURACAN steps up in class having made all to win at the distance on December 2nd from a similarly wide gate and can be respected.
|Selections||(2) Cheonji Bobae (1) Winning Win (5) Ssonsalgachi (12) Huracan|
|Next Best||8, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 12|
Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(4) BLUE FLAG is two for two and while Kim Young Kwan’s filly is up in both class and distance today, she’s very hard to oppose here. A full-sister to 2015 Grand Prix Stakes winner Gyeongbudaero, she’s highly thought-of. (3) ARION METAL finally made the breakthrough at the 22nd time of asking a month ago over 1800M and should be in the placing frame here while (1) CHOEGANG POWERFUL and (7) U S MAN are also capable of giving the favourite something to think about but all roads do seem to lead to Blue Flag.
|Selections||(4) Blue Flag (7) U S Man (3) Arion Metal (1) Choegang Powerful|
|Next Best||10, 2|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 11, 12|
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(8) GLOBAL LINE was a facile winner of his first two outings but was then found out a little when racing in the track’s two best Juvenile races in October and December. We’re hopeful that this year’s 3-year-old crop may turn out to be a good one though and we may get some indication of it if Global Line can bounce back here. He’s the pick to lead from gate to wire. In an almost identical position is (11) OKAY QUEEN as she too met her match in those two big races having previously shown she’s got ability and she must be considered. (12) WAWA YEOJANGBU is still lightly raced entering his 4-year-old season but was 2nd at class and distance last time out and can go well. Similarly (9) SMART BOBAE has won three of her seven outings to date and is likely to challenge Global Line for the early lead. Her stable is in form. (1) BEST DRAGON is another proven money winner at this level.
|Selections||(8) Global Line (11) Okay Queen (9) Smart Bobae (12) Wawa Yeojangbu|
|Next Best||1, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 8, 9, 12|
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(11) RAON TROY and (4) ROAD KING came home in 3rd and 5th respectively in what was probably a slightly tougher class and distance contest on December 9th. The pair can dispute top honours this time with Road King – getting 5kg from his rival favoured to prevail. (3) CHEONHA DAEJANG closed well to get his maiden win at class and distance last month and while she carries more weight today, can certainly compete once more. (7) GEUM BONGHWANG and (10) JISANGMYEONGRYEONG also ones to consider. The latter has only raced four times with one win sandwiched between three frustrating efforts. He’s up in distance significantly here and could be the wildcard.
|Selections||(4) Road King (11) Raon Troy (3) Cheonha Daejang (10) Jisangmyeongryeong|
|Next Best||7, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 11|
Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
It’s about time (7) SUPER MATCH won again. A victor on his third start just over a year ago, he’s come close a number of times since, just missing out each time. He comes in though having beaten (2) WHITE CASTLE and (1) HEUMUT – arguably his two principle rivals here – very handily as the trio raced 2nd, 3rd and 5th over the distance on December 8th. Jo In Kwen may well opt to take this race on early and look to lead from the gate. Aside from the two he beat last time, (9) TTEUGEOUN HAMSEONG is the danger. He actually fiished ahead of Super Match (as well as Heumut) at the distance in November and isn’t to be taken lightly. (6) GOLD MOON’s latest offers some hope he’s getting back to his old self after five months off last year and is another to consider.
|Selections||(7) Super Match (1) Heumut (2) White Castle (9) Tteugeoun Hamseong|
|Next Best||6, 3|
|Fast Start||6, 7|
Seoul Race 9: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
While not wanting to fall into the trap of just picking “whatever Moon Se Young is riding”, he’s going to be on another favourite here on his first day’s riding in 2018. That’s (4) YESANGBAEK SEUNG, who was a very solid 2nd at this class over 1700M on December 9th. It’s been a while since the most recent of her three victories but she can sit handy early here and finish strongly. (9) SONOGONG and (8) LEAD MONEY finished 4th and 5th over 1700M on December 10th and both should get close here – Lead Money actually beat Yesangbaek Seung in November. (1) HAPPY SENSATION and (2) JOEUN INYEON, the latter of whom is likely to try to set the pace, are others to consider.
|Selections||(4) Yesangbaek Seung (8) Lead Money (9) Sonogong (1) Happy Sensation|
|Next Best||2, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 7, 8|
Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
(5) TODAY has won nine of seven most recently a very useful win over good horses on Christmas Eve at 1400M. He drops back in trip today but if anything that’s in his favour too and he should be adding another here. (1) EVER IN EVER ran a very good – if slightly unexpected – 3rd, in that Christmas Eve race and warrants respect today. Bart Rice’s (2) TRIPLE FIVE is two races into a comeback following a lengthy spell out and if he can get off to a good start here, has every chance of staying on for a high placed finish. That applies too to (6) GASOK ENGINE, beaten by Triple Five last time.
|Selections||(5) Today (1) Ever In Ever (2) Triple Five (6) Gasok Engine|
|Next Best||7, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 6|
Seoul Race 10: Class 1 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million
The first heavyweight clash of the year at Seoul despite the fact it’s limited to horses rated 110 or below. (1) NEW CITADEL ran 2nd to Cheongdam Dokki in the KRA Cup Classic in October but was a disappointing absentee from December’s Grand Prix. HE surely returns to winning ways here at the start of what could be a big year for him. New Citadel was four-lengths behind Cheongdam Dokki but (12) SINJO DAEHYEOP was a full fourteen-lengths back when running 2nd to the same horse a month earlier. He returned to grind out a good win over this distance in November though and remains one of the most capable horses at the track. (2) CHANMA enters having been a class and distance winner a month ago and has placing claims while (7) SOTONG SIDAE and (9) AREUMDAUNDONGHAENG shouldn’t be ruled out.
|Selections||(1) New Citadel (12) Sinjo Daehyeop (2) Chanma (7) Sotong Sidae|
|Next Best||9, 3|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 11|
Race 11: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Nice competitive handicap to finish with and we’re going to with (9) NASCAUI TAEYANG to do the business here. The Uncle Mo colt was a slightly disappointing 4th when favourite for a similar contest on December 9th but is worth another go here. He’ll likely be on the early speed as will (5) ACE KING, who has shown glimpses of talent across four starts so far. The one time he got a good start, he went very well so we’ll look for him to do similar here. (6) LEGEND KING and (8) CLEO are both better than their latest outings suggest – the former was beaten by (7) ROYAL FAVOR on December 10th but should reverse that today. (1) GEUMGANG CHEONHA may benefit from the slight drop back in trip today and improve.
|Selections||(9) Nascaui Taeyang (5) Ace King (8) Cleo (6) Legend King|
|Next Best||1, 7, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 5, 9|