Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (February 4)

Another cold spell has gripped the peninsula this weekend but racing will be going ahead as usual at both Seoul & Busan on Sunday. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews:

Ecton Blade

2017 Breeders’ Cup winner Ecton Blade kicks off his 3yo campaign at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6: Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(3) THUNDER MARINE has come close in each of three outings so far and while he could only manage 4th when favourite last time, he can get the early lead here and make all. (4) ILGAKSU and (1) MACHO HIME finished 2nd and 4th when they raced each other at the distance on January 7th and both can challenge again. Ilgaksu will most likely challenge Thunder Marine on the early pace and looks to have the best chance of beating him. 5th in that race was (2) JOEUN NADEURI, who is a little more experienced and already has a 3rd place to her name. She can go well here. Also experienced and in the frame is (5) CHOWON YEOJEONSA, who comes in off a best so far 2nd. Wildcard could be (8) INDIAN ECO who has been unspectacular but competent in both efforts so far.

Selections (3) Thunder Marine (4) Ilgaksu (1) Macho Hime (5) Chowon Yeojeonsa
Next Best 8, 2
Fast Start

 Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) SEUNGRI PLUS was a well beaten 4th behind a good winner on December 23rd, but it was an encouraging first try at this distance and he looks to have scope to improve today. She can get on the early speed and go all the way. Also looking for a fast start will be (9) CHEON BYEOL, who after an inauspicious debut, has followed up with back to back 4th place finishes and can also improve. (11) SKY DOLPUNG put in a useful 3rd place a month ago and should be in at least the placing frame again while (3) ROYAL PRINCE and (7) BRILLIANT are others to consider.

Selections (6) Seungri Plus (9) Cheon Byeol (11) Sky Dolpung (7) Brilliant
Next Best 3, 4
Fast Start 4, 6, 9

 Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(5) STAR CAT finds herself up in class despite remaining a maiden but the manner of her back to back runner-up finishes suggests that she has a win in her and also that she should have little to fear at class 5, especially in an all-filly contest such as this. She’ll likely be on or close to the early speed. (12) BIG EAR was a very easy winner on debut but didn’t go quite so well when sent off as favourite on his first try at this class over 1200M on December 17th. He’ll have to overcome the wide draw but he should be in contention here. (1) RUBY BEOLKIN remains winless after ten attempts but shouldn’t be too far away while (4) CHO ORONG MA and (9) ROYAL PARK are others in the hunt.

Selections (5) Star Cat (12) Big Ear (1) Ruby Beolkin (4) Cho Orong Ma
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 5, 6, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(1) AMENDA has closed from well off the pace to for a win and 2nd place in her latest two starts, both at this distance and the most recent of which was at this class. She’s been drawn inside today though and we’re going to expect her to go straight to the front and look to lead all the way. Perhaps a little ironically, while we expect the closer to try to lead here, the threats are likely to come from behind. (10) SPECIAL LIGHT and (12) MAMKKEOT DALYEO are both proven money winners (if not actual winners) at this distance and can finish strongly while (3) SKY BIG steps back in trip after a reasonable showing at 1700M last time and can go close. (7) GWACHEON TUHON and the up in class and back from a spell (8) KING EXPLOIT are others to look out for.

Selections (1) Amenda (10) Special Light (3) Sky Big (12) Mamkkeot Dalyeo
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 1, 4, 9, 12

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

Having breezed through a trial, (5) LUCKY ROOKIE was a comfortable winner on debut on December 17th, sitting handy early before going clear in the closing stages. He returns here up in class but at the same distance and in with a chance. A week later, (10) SEUNGNI NARAE did the same thing, comfortably winning on debut and is in the same position of being up in class with a chance. (9) BLACK WIND and (4) LEAD UP came home 2nd and 3rd at class and distance in December. The latter went on to run 6th of 12 at the start of January and both can be in the frame again here. (2) EAGLE SKY was considered good enough to run in a top juvenile race las October. He came 11th of 14 before then running last over 1300M in December. He went back to trial after that and returned, looking better when 4th at this distance three weeks ago and can continue to improve today.

Selections (10) Seungni Narae (5) Lucky Rookie (2) Eagle Sky (9) Black Wind
Next Best 4, 3
Fast Start 4, 5

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(1) ORYONG could only manage 5th when well backed on what was his first try at this distance two weeks ago but he got a bad trip that day, checking at the start and having further problems in running later. He’s sent back out again quickly and this time he should win. (9) ARAM NARAE finds herself up in class having finished runner-up in both her outings to date. She was beaten by Oryong on debut and by another decent looking type on her re-appearance so could well be competitive here under a nice light weight. (5) BARONESS has always looked as though she has at least one win in her but does tend to find herself regularly in stiff competition. Her latest two outings give encouragement and she can get close. (11) SEORABEOL DOLPUNG and (6) NANGMAN JEONSA finished 2nd and 5th when they raced each other at class and distance on January 5th and should be contenders to place at least. The main danger, however, could end up being (7) SEONGSIL SEUNGNI. He was a solid 2nd, albeit a long way back behind very good winner Hidden Champ over the distance three weeks ago.

Selections (1) Oryong (5) Baroness (9) Aram Narae (6) Nangman Jeonsa
Next Best 7, 11, 4
Fast Start 4, 5, 7, 12

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 55 Million

(3) GEUMEUN JUOK is up in class having won her latest two very handily indeed. It’s been a rapid rise but she took well to this distance last time, can get a fast start from gate 3, and can go on to make it three in a row here. Similarly up in class is (10) CHOROK JILJU who came from off the pace to win an all-filly race at this distance a month ago and equally should have little to fear at this level. (8) DREAM MISS was narrowly beaten into 2nd at class and distance last time at lengthy odds and will be better supported today while (6) EONJE EODISEONA and (9) JANGSAN JEPAE are both better than their latest efforts suggest and are both worthy of another chance here.

Selections (3) Geumeun Juok (10) Chorok Jilju (8) Dream Miss (9) Jangsan Jepae
Next Best 2
Fast Start 3, 6, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Small field but we see the three-year-old debut of the winner of 2017’s top juvenile race, the Breeders’ Cup, (6) ECTON BLADE. He was very impressive at Seoul that day and steps back up to the distance of the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile. He’s already won at it, making all at class 5 last October and if he has designs on the Classic races, he should be winning this. Can anything stop him? There are a couple of useful types here. (7) KING JJANG has won three from six and was 4th behind Ecton Blade in that Breeders’ Cup race and won on his return to Busan on New Year’s Eve. A year older, (4) DAMNYANG TAEYANG was a class and distance winner last month and should also put up a fight. (2) OCEAN LINE and (5) MUJEOK VICAR can also be in the placing frame.

Selections (6) Ecton Blade (7) King Jjang (4) Damnyang Taeyang (2) Ocean Line
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 4, 6, 7

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

David Breux has done very good work with what limited firepower he’s been given to ride so far but he’s on a real live chance here. (10) ELAN may have been beaten by (6) CHUL AE as the pair raced 1st and 2nd at class and distance on January 6th but Elan has a weight advantage today and the order could well be reversed. Those two are the picks but Simon Foster’s (5) PRIVATE PARK also looked lively at the distance two weeks ago and can improve on the 5th place he achieved then and may well try to lead from gate to wire. (9) MONE FLYING has shown talent and steps up in trip following a slightly disappointing showing when well backed over 1300M a month ago. He finished 8th just behind 7th placed (8) AREUMDAUN SUNGAN and the latter also looks ready for another crack around two turns.

Selections (10) Elan (6) Chul Ae (5) Private Park (9) Mone Flying
Next Best 8, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 5

Busan Race 4: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(10) KASBAH PRINCE got his maiden win just before Christmas, making all in commanding style at this distance. He’s up in class accordingly and despite today’s wide draw, he can get close to the pace again and win once more. Beginning from the gate immediately outside of him is (11) LOAD CELL. It’s been a while since she last won but her recent outings have seen her go close when up against some good horses and she can be involved again. (5) CHOEGANG BEONGAE was a winner on debut last October and was immediately sent out in a big race, the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Cup, the following month. He finished 6th of 8 and has been off since and is a bit of a wildcard here. 2nd in that big race was (12) POTENTIAL and while she was slightly disappointing on her re-appearance on New Year’s Eve, she gets a chance here too. (1) TURBO ENERGY and Kim Young Kwan’s (7) SUPER MATCH, the latter dropping back significantly in trip, are others who should come under consideration.

Selections (10) Kasbah Prince (11) Load Cell (7) Super Match (5) Choegang Beongae
Next Best 12, 1, 2
Fast Start 2, 5, 10

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(11) ICHEON SSAL was an early standout in the juvenile ranks last year, winning his first two races before coming unstuck in the really big contests at the end of the year. His running style has looked like it will suit a bit of distance and he gets to go around two turns for the first time here under a nice light weight and he should win. (5) GEOM HAENG got this maiden win over 1300M at this class a month ago. He too steps up to two turns for the first time and has claims while (6) SKY CITY is up in class having won at this distance on the same day but while a repeat is possible, she will need to find some improvement. On January 6th, six of these raced each other at class and distance. (1) SEONGEUN GANGJA and (3) BID TOWN finished 1st and 2nd and both will be in the hunt again.

Selections (11) Icheon Ssal (6) Sky City (5) Geom Haeng (3) Bid Town
Next Best 1, 9
Fast Start 10, 12

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(11) RAINHA has been utterly untroubled in two easy wins to date and comes up in class and distance as strong favourite to maintain her 100% record. She’s a very nicely bred filly who is half-sister to a recent Japanese Stakes winner (Historia in the TVK Sho at Tokyo last November) and looks a cut above these. It is her toughest test to date though. (1) AWESOME KING IJI has shown ability, if not the best of luck, in three starts so far and may well benefit from the step up in trip to a mile today. He’s the main danger. (8) I’M YOUR HOPE and (9) WONDERFUL CAPTAIN both come in with recent form encouraging. The former was 5th behind (12) SUPERSTAR JOHN, who was a class and distance winner on January 5th. Superstar John carries an additional 4kg today but can be respected.

Selections (11) Rainha (1) Awesome King Iji (8) I’m Your Hope (9) Wonderful Captain
Next Best 12, 7
Fast Start 10, 11

Seoul Race 9: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

After finishing 6th in last year’s final leg of the Triple Crown, (1) WILD THUNDER has struck a rich vein of form recently, winning his latest three in good style including his first try at this level last time. He’s up a couple of kilos in the weights today but could make it four in a row. It’s set to be a good contest as he goes up against (9) MOONHAK CHIEF. The Pioneerof The Nile colt has won four from six so far and was 3rd in the Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy in November before rounding off 2017 with victory in a valuable race just before Christmas, turning over the Nonghyup winner in the process. He’s untried at further than 1400M which perhaps gives the slight nod to Wild Thunder, but he’s got loads of potential. To add further intrigue, the Korean Oaks winner joins as well. (3) JEJUI HANEUL returned to winning ways at the end of November with a two-length score over 1900M and is firmly in the frame here too. (4) WIDAEHAN JEONSA is already a class and distance winner and commands respect while (7) ARGO FLYING looks nicely in and could pull off a surprise.

Selections (1) Wild Thunder (9) Moonhak Chief (3) Jejui Haneul (4) Widaehan Jeonsa
Next Best 7, 6
Fast Start 1, 2, 5, 7

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(3) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON, 3rd in the Korea Sprint last year, has a rating twelve points higher than the next best here and accordingly puts them all out of the handicap. An apprentice jockey on board means he only carries 56kg though and it would be a major surprise were he not to win this. Next best rated is (8) INDIAN STAR, a solid sprinter and two-time winner of the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul. However, she was 3rd, a good three lengths behind Doraonpogyeongseon in a very similar race on December 30th and unless she gets a bit of luck, it’s hard to see how she overturns that form. They should finish 1st and 2nd with (1) EVER IN EVER, (2) TONGIL SIDAE and (7) YUSEONG DREAM perhaps most likely to compete for the final placing.

Selections (3) Doraonpogyeongseon (8) Indian Star (1) Ever In Ever (2) Tongil Sidae
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 2, 8

Seoul Race 10: Class 1 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

This is class 1 but it’s only open to horses with a rating of 95 or lower so it means it’s not especially strong, but it is a really open contest with at least half the field having viable claims. We’ll go with (6) SUN ROK, 2nd over 1200M on January 7th ahead of (10) BRIG and (9) ZENTENARY. It’s been a while since his latest win and recent efforts at this distance have not gone that well, but he ran on nicely enough last time to suggest that the form is with him. (7) ACE RUNNER is up in class for the first time and can be competitive under a light weight. (8) CUPID POWER steps back in trip and into the frame while (2) DIPLOMATIC MISSION today has a much better chance of getting on the early speed and accordingly can improve on his recent efforts.

Selections (6) Sun Rok (2) Diplomatic Mission (10) Brig (7) Ace Runner
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 2, 7, 9

Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(4) SUN LIGHTING looks to have good potential and while his one previous try at this distance in the Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy didn’t go well, that was perhaps a bit too much too soon and two and half months down the line and with another win in him at 1000M, he is ready for another go. Big danger and likely favourite is (7) GIO STAR. He was a win and a 2nd place from two starts since returning from eleven months off and is top-rated of these. (2) FIX TIME should be much happier dropped back to the trip at which he achieved his solitary victory to date while (8) GOLD HORAH, 5th behind Gio Star last time, can get closer today. (11) MONEY BLADE had a hard time in a valuable juvenile race just before Christmas but can improve today.

Selections (4) Sun Lighting (7) Gio Star (2) Fix Time (8) Gold Horah
Next Best 11, 10
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 4, 9
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