Day: February 1, 2018

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 2)

We’re into February already and the penultimate weekend of racing before the Lunar New Break. Things kick off at Busan on Friday with 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Even by his own standards, trainer Kim Young Kwan is on a remarkable run at the moment with each of his last eleven starters finishing in the first two; eight of them winners. He simply has far greater firepower than anyone else and another one looks to have rolled off the production line in the shape of (8) BLACK SHIELD. The Einstein filly trialled up nicely behind two experienced race-horses in January and she’ll be well backed to keep her trainer’s run going first-up here. She may have to settle for 2nd though with (6) YEONGCHEON STAR looking ready to win. He’s been getting closer across five outings to date and led for much of the way last time before ending in 2nd behind a good winner. (2) SHARP BELL has looked promising with a 2nd and 3rd in two starts back following a lengthy spell with (9) OS TOP and (7) TANGO AND TANGO others who may improve.

Selections (8) Black Shield (6) Yeongcheon Star (2) Sharp Bell (9) OS Stop
Next Best 7, 10
Fast Start 6, 7, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(8) PYEONGCHANG HORANGI was a much improved 2nd when dropped back to this distance on December 22nd and will be favourite to take out this modest contest. He led from gate 2 that day but jockey Lee Sung Jae may be content to allow others to lead and take up a handy position in preparation for a strong finish. It’s perhaps a measure of just how modest this race is that (3) GOLDEN AGE, who was well back that day looks in with a chance of going close here, especially given a better draw which should enable her to get on the pace. (4) EVER GOOD TIME and (9) GIPPEUM SARANG have shown some traces of ability and have good chances to secure career-best finishes. Given the strength (or lack thereof) of the race we have to consider the debut-makers and of the two of them, (1) STORM CAPER looks most ready.

Selections (8) Pyeongchang Horangi (1) Storm Caper (3) Golden Age (9) Gippeum Sarang
Next Best 4, 2, 5
Fast Start 1, 3, 9, 10

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Restricted to three-year-olds hence the enhanced prize fund. (10) SINGAEBYEOK was 3rd of 7 on debut three weeks ago beating a couple of these in the process. It was in line with expectations and he can progress today with every chance of winning, likely from the front. The main threats looks to be a couple of first-time starters. (4) WHIPLASH MARINE looked nice and handy when trialling up at the beginning of December. She crossed the line within a length of Lucky Korea who has gone on to record a win and a 2nd place finish in two actual outings since then. She’ll likely challenge for the lead early. (3) SEUNGNI DAEJANG was supposed to debut two weeks ago but refused to parade and had to be scratched. Bart Rice sent the gelding back to trial last week and he came through it very nicely and may be considered here. Returning to those who have raced before, (6) SUCHEOJAKJU and (11) SWEEP MAN both look to have scope for improvement.

Selections (10) Singaebyeok (4) Whiplash Marine (3) Seungni Daejang (11) Sweep Man
Next Best 6, 7, 1
Fast Start 1, 4, 10

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

(8) CHEOGANG THUNDER just missed out by a nose when tried at this distance for the first time four weeks ago. He benefited from being on speed as he had previously resented the kickback. He has shown a tendency to jump out of the gate a bit awkwardly but if he can get away well today, he could win. (7) GREAT ROCK (who until he starts winning himself will always be referred to as one of Triple Nine’s full brothers) has a 4th and a 2nd in two outings to date. He’s been favourite for both and while he hasn’t quite (more…)

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(Belated) Weekend Round-Up: Final Boss Wins Segye Ilbo, Cheongdam Dokki Easy

Last year’s Korean Derby winner Final Boss kicked off his four-year-old campaign in style this past weekend, winning the first Listed race of the season, the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul Racecourse.

A good renewal it was too, with Final Boss sent off as second favourite behind Cheonji Storm. However, it was last year’s winner, Always Winner, who jumped out of the gate the quickest and into an early lead. It looked for a time he might just repeat his trick from twelve months ago and go all the way.

The big guns closed though. Cheonji Storm down the outside and City Star on the inside. And between the two of them came Final Boss, ears back and looking like he meant business. He struck the front just metres from the line and won by a neck from City Star with Cheonji Storm only another neck back in 3rd.

As they crossed the line, jockey Moon Se Young called across to Jang Chuyoul on City Star to inquire as to which of them won. After the race he said he wasn’t convinced that Final Boss could win such a race at a sprint distance (1200M) but the horse just took off in the closing stages and seemed desperate to get to the front.

Final Boss (Menifee-Sinseok Dolpa) moves on to nine wins from sixteen starts.

Cheongdam Dokki brutalized the Grand Prix field in December before ultimately running out of steam. He too began his four-year-old season at the weekend, appearing in Seoul’s feature handicap on Saturday.

He ws up against Shamrocker and and Clean Up Joy, both trained by Song Moon Gil and both of whom Cheongdam Dokki had seen off before.

He monstered them. Shamrocker came to challenge early but had little to offer in the closing straight leaving Clean Up Joy, who had complicated things for himself early on with his habitual leap as the gates opened, closing strongly. Cheongdam Dokki was almost pulled up by this stage though as he eased to his eighth win from thirteen outings. He should perhaps really be in Dubai right now as this is too easy and it looks like we may have to wait until the summer to see him actually be required to finish off a race properly.