We’re back after the extended Lunar New Year break and accordingly it’s big fields at Busan as the weekend’s racing gets underway on Friday. 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old fillies to kick things off with today and a competitive contest too. (3) CHEOLBI and (4) STAR WOMAN are the ones who come in with convincing form behind them. Cheolbi’s 2nd last time was at this distance while Star Woman’s 3rd was at 1000M but in perhaps marginally stronger company. Both should be involved today with Star Woman likely to try to lead from the gate. The one they will need to overcome will also be on speed early and that’s (10) SWEET PARK. Having won a trial in December, she was well-backed on debut last month and while she only managed to finish 3rd, she should have come on for that and can be strongly in the frame here. (7) JANGSEONGUI JILJU and first-timer starter (11) MYEONG GONGJU are others to consider.
|Selections||(10) Sweet Park (3) Cheolbi (4) Star Woman (7) Jangseongui Jilju|
|Next Best||11, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 10, 12|
Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(2) GREAT ROCK is Triple Nine’s full-brother (one of many and they’ve all been pretty good). He’s come up a little short in two starts so far with a 4th and a 2nd before having to be scratched with a minor abrasion prior to what would have been his latest on February 2nd. From a favourable draw today, we’ll be looking for him to get out and on pace early and to make it third time lucky. There are threats. (5) SAKISAKI has shown promise in back to back 3rd place finishes. She raced most ungenerously last time hanging outwards for much of the way around but still got into the money and with better manners this time can get even closer. (8) CHEONHA GAMDONG and (10) BAENGNYEON DAERO both ran 3rd on their respective debuts last month and can continue their positive starts here while (7) BIG RED IJI has shown signs of figuring things out with consecutive 4th place finishes in decent enough races for this level.
|Selections||(2) Great Rock (5) Sakisaki (10) Baengnyeon Daero (7) Big Red Iji|
|Next Best||8, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 3|
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Competitive looking contest here and there are a couple who look ready to win. Both (1) SEORABEOL YEOJE and (3) DANCING VICAR come in having gone close in recent starts and with champion jockey Jo In Kwen taking the mount for the first time, we’ll side with the more experienced Seorabeol Yeoje to make the breakthrough ahead of Dancing Vicar, who is racing at this distance for the first time. (5) PEACE TOUR was 4th, a length behind Seorabeol Yeoje, last start and can get close while (7) DAEHO MYEONGGA has hinted at having some talent and returns from a nine-week layoff. He went through two trials earlier this month and looked decent enough to compete here. An intriguing first-time starter is (10) JAZZ BAND. He’s a full-brother to 2013 Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band and 2015 Minister’s Cup winner Rock Band. It’s taken him to four-years-old to make his debut and he wasn’t exactly impressive in trials but there’s no doubting his pedigree.
|Selections||(1) Seorabeol Yeoje (3) Dancing Vicar (5) Peace Tour (10) Jazz Band|
|Next Best||7, 2, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 7|
Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
After a couple of indifferent performances in his first two outings, (12) MABEOPUI JILJU thrived when sent up to this distance for the first time on January 26th, running a close 2nd to the very promising Air Blade and it would be a surprise were Bart Rice’s gelding not to go one better here. Running 3rd that day was the one-paced but honest (5) BULMYEORUIMARIPGAN and he can pass plenty late on to possibly finish on the board once more, however, the main danger is likely to be (8) CHOEGANG STEALTH. Like the favourite, he too was beaten by Air Blade on his latest start, back on New Year’s Eve, when he was 3rd over 1300M. He’s shown ability at this distance in the past and can get close here. (2) EOMJI CHEOK is up in trip for the first time and it may suit while (3) TEXAS SIDAE has been creditable enough in two defeats so far and may improve here.
|Selections||(12) Mabeopui Jilju (8) Choegang Stealth (5) Bulmyeoruimaripgan (2) Eomji Cheok|
|Next Best||3, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 2|
Race 5: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) HAENGUN STORY remains a maiden after ten attmpts but has come close on plenty of occasions including on his latest start back in December when he just missed out by a nose at class and distance. He’s not the quickest of starters but runs on very well and could get it right this time. Already a winner at the distance is (8) ACE VICTORY. That was back in November when he beat (12) CHOEGANG BOLT by a full six lengths and while his first try at this class didn’t go well in strong company, he rebounded with a good 2nd a month ago, very nearly making all. He’ll be on the early pace here and can win. (4) UNSEOK and (5) FINAL ENERGY are both up in class and distance for the first time. Unseok is yet to win but enters off two decent 2nd places behind good winners and has nothing to fear. Final Energy was beaten by Unseok in December but scored a good win at 1300M last month and can also be competitive. (7) HWARANGUI HUYE races at a mile for the first time but enters in solid form and shouldn’t miss by much.
|Selections||(8) Ace Victory (2) Haengun Story (4) Unseok (5) Final Energy|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 8|
Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
This looks nicely set up for (2) CHANG GONG. Having made all to win over five furlongs in December, he looked like repeating the trick over 1200M last month only to weaken a little late on and end up in 3rd place. He steps back ever so slightly in trip today and can get home on top, likely leading all the way. It’s not quite a one-horse race. (1) SINHYEOMYEONG scored a win and a 2nd place in his two starts early last year before suffering suspensory ligament damage and being out for almost a year. He returned to win a trial at the start of this month, ahead of the 3rd place-getter in last year’s Korean Derby, and while he’ll obviously need the run, he could go very close. (4) WHINNY WING is up in both class and distance following a useful win last month and can be competitive while the more experienced (8) BLACK FINE has recent form that reads well, beating a number of these in the process. He’ll likely finish off strongly as will (11) MR. KOREA, who did exactly that to run 4th in a decent race over 1300M at the end of January and can do similar today.
|Selections||(2) Chang Gong (1) Sinhyeokmyeong (8) Black Fine (4) Whinny Wing|
|Next Best||11, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 10|
Race 7: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
On January 19th at class and distance, (6) CHODONG TEUKGEUP narrowly defeated (10) ORANGE MARINE and (5) YEONGGWANGUISINHWA as the three of them disputed an extremely tight finish. There’s no reason why they can’t repeat that again and we’ll stick with Chodong Teukgeup – who was the most fancied of the three of them that day – to repeat the win here. It’s worth noting that he got by far the cleanest trip of the three, so the others had some excuses, but he comes out of the same gate today and if he gets a good start, can lead all the way. Jo Sung Gon rode Chodong Teukgeup in that race and while an apprentice rides today, taking a couple of kilos off, Jo gets on (1) HAWK KING. He races for the first time since an all-the-way win over 1200M back in October and while he still qualifies for domestic class 5, connections have opted to put him in here at class 4 and he looks nicely in. (3) DUBAI FORWARD has offered glimpses of ability across six starts so far and could also pay a role dropped back in trip today.
|Selections||(6) Chodong Teukgeup (10) Orange Marine (1) Hawk King (5) Yeonggwanguisinhwa|
|Next Best||3, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 8|
Race 8: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
American Stallion To Honor And Serve was this week purchased by Korean interests. That’s because of his freakishly good Cheongdam Dokki, who has every chance of dominating the big races here this year. He also has a potential good one in (8) NEW YORK MANGCHI. After a narrow reversal on debut, the three-year-old gelding ran out a five-length winner over 1200M on January 28th. He is up in class here and significantly in distance but neither look too concerning and he can win again here. There are dangers. (11) TTEUGEOUN HAMSEONG has already won at this distance and has lost nothing in defeat in two efforts at this class since. They were both at 1800M and the small step back to a mile can be in his favour. Haynesfield colt (6) PASHA tries a mile for the first time. He’s looked to have plenty of ability but has put in a couple of frustrating performances lately, starting awkwardly and then getting a very difficult trip last time when he only beat one home. We’ll persevere with him here. (7) BRAVO MARINE and (1) ROAD TO WARRIOR both finished ahead of Pasha that day and they too can play a role here.
|Selections||(8) New York Mangchi (11) Tteugeoun Hamseong (7) Bravo Marine (6) Pasha|
|Next Best||1, 9|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 8, 10|
Race 9: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(6) CHEONJI CHAMP and (5) YEONGGWANGUIWINNER came home 2nd and 3rd behind the hugely promising Yeongcheon Derby when five of these raced each other over class and distance on January 28th. That was a fifth 2nd place for Cheonji Champ but Yeonggwanguiwinner looks to have more improvement in him and with less than length between them that day, he should be reversing the form today. (1) SUPER STEAL parted company with his rider in that race but has won at this distance. He’s actually never finished any worse than 4th and can’t be ruled out of going close again. (12) RED YOUNG MYEONGUN steps up to the distance for the first time following a come-from-behind 2nd place over 1300M on January 26th and should be in at least the placing frame while the hugely experienced (11) JAYU DAERO has shown a bit of form of late with a 4th and 2nd from his most recent two, both at this distance.
|Selections||(5) Yeonggwanguiwinner (12) Red Young Myeongun (1) Super Steal (6) Cheonji Champ|
|Next Best||11, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 5, 10|
Race 10: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
Six of these raced each other at class and distance on January 21st with (4) IRON TRAIN running out a somewhat surprising winner. The margins were narrow though and this race is equally wide open. (5) SOUL BLADE, 4th that day, gives away weight again but is the highest rated in the race for a reason and could well overturn the form while (8) JEONGSANG KOREA, who was 3rd having led close to home, looks very nicely in once more and will surely look to try and make all here. He didn’t get on pace as early as he would have liked last time as an awkward start caused the jockey to momentarily lose his stirrup. A clean break this time could make the difference. Among the ones who didn’t go that day, (7) HELLO VENUS is the pick. Her latest two have been an excellent 5th place in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup in November followed by 3rd over 1400M at the beginning of last month. She’s very nicely in here weight-wise and can’t be overlooked. The wildcard is (11) ROYAL RUBY. He was 2nd in both of the first two-legs of the Triple Crown last year and races for the first time since running 4th in the final leg, the Minister’ Cup, last July. He’s been through three trials since then, winning one earlier this month.
|Selections||(7) Hello Venus (11) Royal Ruby (5) Soul Blade (8) Jeongsang Korea|
|Next Best||4, 9|
|Fast Start||6, 7, 8, 12|
Race 11: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(1) SINUIPUMGYEOK has won four from eleven so far and after missing the latter half of 2017, was back in the winner’s circle over 1200M last month. He had a wide gate that day getting a slow start followed by a difficult trip, but he overcame it extremely well and from the inside today, jockey Oh Kyung Hwan will most likely not hang about. He can lead all the way. If Sinuipumgyeok does indeed win – and he should – it will mean a first defeat for (8) DYNAMIC STAR. He too missed a sizeable chunk of last season but bookended his seven-month absence with a pair of wins each side. Most recently a five-length winner over 1300M on January 12th, he is up in class and slightly in distance and today well see what he’s made of. Also up in class and with lots of potential, is (7) MAKING SEUNGNI. He was beaten half a length by Dynamic Star in December but rebounded to win over 1300M last month to make it three from seven in total and he should be competitive at this level. (3) SUN LAZER too makes the step up. It took him a while to figure things out, but he’s won three of his last four and can maintain his momentum here. Rounding out the top line of favourites in what is a very strong race for class 3, (4) CHOA was a class and distance winner four weeks ago and must be respected.
|Selections||(1) Sinuipumgyeok (8) Dynamic Star (7) Making Seungni (3) Sun Lazer|
|Next Best||4, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 9|