This weekend’s big race is at Seoul on Sunday and the Owners’ Association Trophy but things kick off at Busan on Friday with 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Wide open maiden to kick things off with half of them racing for the very first time. We’re going to side with experience though and (12) HOTHAE, 4th in his latest two, both and this distance and showing a bit of improvement on each occasion is the slight pick. He was actually beaten on debut back last December by (4) TANGO AND TANGO and the latter went on to run a good 2nd five weeks ago again at this distance and she looks to be the main danger. (9) MAJOR ANGEL showed signs of potential talent when an improved 5th on what was her second start at the end of January while (8) KKEUTPAN TURBO races for the first time since last September and acquitted himself well in a trial three weeks ago. Talk of trials brings us to the first-time starters and among them, (6) PARTY WINNER looks most promising.
|Selections||(12) Hothae (4) Tango And Tango (8) Kkeutpan Turbo (9) Major Angel|
|Next Best||6, 3, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 9, 10, 12|
Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(3) HEUGSEOL GONGJU is the one to beat here with her 4th place at 1300M on February 9th a bit more impressive than the performances of the others who come in off promising results. She can settle just behind the early speed and finish strongly. (2) MY TIME was 3rd last start, also at 1300M and has every chance of at least matching that. He’ll likely run with similar tactics as Heugseol Gongju. (1) B. K. MARINE finally showed some ability last start and steps back up in trip today – she will probably be looking to lead from the gate. (4) BAEKDU QUEEN and (11) BELLAMY GONGJU others who could go well.
|Selections||(3) Heugseol Gongju (2) My Time (11) Bellamy Gongju (1) B.K. Marine|
|Next Best||4, 7, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 9, 10|
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Kim Young Kwan’s (7) SPOT wasn’t especially well-backed on debut after an underwhelming trial but he ran pleasingly enough on debut despite getting into a bumping match coming into the home straight. He ran on for 2nd and could well go better here stepped up in trip following nine weeks off. (4) VIP KING is the other one who’ll be at the top of the market. He’s raced five times so far with his best being 2nd place at 1000M in January. Last time, he ran a solid enough 4th at this distance, beating a couple of the others who go here. He’s drawn better today and could well lead all the way. (2) GRACIELA didn’t go well at this distance on debut but looks ready for another crack at it following back to back 4ths back at 1000M. (6) PYEONGCHANG HORANGI and (8) BAEKDU MYEONGWOL are two others who have hinted at ability.
|Selections||(7) Spot (4) VIP King (2) Graciela (6) Pyeongchang Horangi|
|Next Best||8, 3, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 6, 8|
Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(8) BULMYEORUIMARIPGAN established himself as a worthy plodder who while slow, sticks to his task admirably, and over the course of a mile stays on so well that he inevitably passes plenty in the closing stages. Since returning from five months off in January, however, he’s run 3rd and 2nd and comes in today, against a set of horses who, for the most part, he has already beaten, and he has to go on top. (4) DAEHO MYEONGGA isn’t too dissimilar and while he has performed below expectations in his latest couple can be given another chance here to go close. (7) ADELE HERO and (9) CHEONHAUI KKUM were both disappointing in their respective latest outings but can go better while (6) NEUTRON races for the first time since beating Adele Hero at the distance at the end of last year and can also be in the placing frame.
|Selections||(8) Bulmyeoruimaripgan (7) Adele Hero (4) Daeho Myeongga (6) Neutron|
|Next Best||9, 10|
|Fast Start||3, 4|
Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(12) RED CLOUD looked to be making all but got narrowly beaten late on last time to run 2nd for the fourth consecutive time, all at this distance. That was the only time he had been favourite and so we will give him another chance today to overcome the outside gate, get on speed and this time, hold on. (8) RAON JEONSEOL is getting in on the runner-up act too and finds himself up in class having just come up short in his latest two. There’s nothing for him to fear at this level and he’ll be in the hunt. (1) MAJOR DANCER ran a good 3rd at class and distance on February 2nd, his best since returning from nine months out and he can follow-up here. A touch disappointing that day was (6) MANY DESCENDANT, but he has performed well at the distance and while he remains a maiden after twenty tries, can certainly compete for the places. The very experienced six-year-old (9) KOREA HUNTER enters with recent form looking positive following a couple of 3rd places, running on well both times.
|Selections||(12) Red Cloud (8) Raon Jeonseol (6) Many Descendant (1) Major Dancer|
|Next Best||9, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 8, 12|
Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Fillies only here and nice and competitive it is too. (7) BUSAN BOLT scored back-to-back victories at this distance to get promoted from class 5 at the end of last year. She’s raced twice at this level since, finishing 4th both times, both times over a mile. She’s back down to a more favoured trip today and looks to be the one to beat. (12) BLUE TIME was a close 4th at class and distance just over a month ago. She looked very sharp when trialling last week and goes straight into contention here. (4) HANEOL GONGJU found herself slightly overmatched last time but should find the company more suitable today and can improve while (8) BEONGGEULBEONGGEUL has outperformed her odds to record a 3rd and a 2nd from her latest two starts. The result of that is she’s up in class here but she can still have designs on at least a place. (11) MORNING BARAMSE looks best of the rest.
|Selections||(7) Busan Bolt (12) Blue Time (4) Haneol Gongju (8) Beonggeulbeonggeul|
|Next Best||11, 2, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 9, 10|
Race 7: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Good race this and a very tricky puzzle to solve. Pioneerof the Nile colt (2) KOREA BLADE attracts attention due to his connections and name. He’s actually shown some promise in hi two starts so far and steps up to a mile for the first time. He probably won’t win this but can go close. That applies too to (1) HAWK KING. A winner of three from five to date, he’s been a convincing winner of his latest two but at 1200M and 1000M respectively. Up in class and distance today, he’s not out of it. It’s taken (12) CHOEGANG POWERFUL a long time to figure things out but he’s finally doing it with a 3rd and three 2nd places from his latest four. His latest two have bother been near-misses at this distance with others who go here behind him and today could be his day. Also coming in following good recent form is (3) SEOGANGDAERO who just missed out in a tight finish behind Captain Guy last time and surely has more wins in him at some stage. (7) WHIIK, (10) DELMARUI GIJEOK and (11) TUFELLO are others for whom improvement would be no surprise.
|Selections||(12) Choegang Powerful (3) Seogangdaero (2) Korea Blade (1) Hawk King|
|Next Best||10, 7, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 7|
Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(8) UJU DAEWANG has made all to win her latest two and while she is up in class and, for the first time, up in distance, there’s every reason to back her to make it three in a row today. She should be on the speed early and should lead all the way. (10) SUNGANUI BEOPCHIK’s recent form reads well and he looks a likely rival while (7) DORAON GUNHAM too has been consistent at class and distance and should be there or thereabouts again. (6) ABILITY has just come up a little short when betting favourite in both his most recent two but that was still enough to put him up in class. He can be competitive but will need to show even more ability. The wildcard is perhaps (2) PRIME RACE. He won three of seven before a six-month layoff. He didn’t offer much in his February re-appearance but should have come on for it and can do better today.
|Selections||(8) Uju Daewang (10) Sunganui Beopchik (2) Prime Race (7) Doraon Gunham|
|Next Best||6, 3, 12|
|Fast Start||6, 8, 12|
Race 9: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(9) SIN STEALTH closed out his juvenile season in disappointing fashion in both the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup here at Busan and in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul. His three-year-old campaign has begun on a much more positive note though with a 2nd place in January at 1300M followed by a win at 1200M a month ago. He’s up in class here and back up to the 1400M that he struggled with in Seoul, but he can overcome that and can win. (10) SINUIPUMGYEOK didn’t really recover from a stumble on leaving the gates when favourite for a stiff contest at class and distance although still managed 6th place. He’s already a winner at this class and must be taken seriously. (3) DANGCHAN JILJU and (7) MORNING PARK were 2nd and 4th respectively behind Breeders’ Cup winner Ecton Blade over a mile on February 4th and both are capable of pushing for at least a place here. Most of the others are capable types too with (6) FIVEFOLD not without a chance.
|Selections||(9) Sin Stealth (10) Sinuipumgyeok (3) Dangchan Jilju (6) Fivefold|
|Next Best||7, 1, 4|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 9, 10|
Race 10: Class 2 (2000M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
Really nice handicap to finish off with and it has “Road to G1” points up for grabs too. (12) HEUMUT beat (1) FOUR NINES to the win by a head when five of these raced each other at class and distance on February 2nd. Both carry a bit more weight today, but it would be no surprise to see them battling it out for the win again. Heumut’s stablemate (8) ROYAL RUBY, 2nd in both KRA Cup Mile and Derby last year, returned after seven months off to run a creditable 6th over 1800M two weeks ago. It took him a while to get fully into stride that day but once he did, he looked good. He’s up to 2000M today, the distance at which he finished 4th in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup, in his final race efore his layoff, and it would be no surprise were he to improve today. In that 1800M race two weeks ago, both (9) ACE POWER and (2) IRON TRAIN finished ahead of Royal Ruby and both should be in the hunt for at least a place today too.
|Selections||(8) Royal Ruby (12) Heumeut (1) Four Nines (9) Ace Power|
|Next Best||2, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 11, 12|