Month: March 2018

Cheonji Storm Blows Away Final Boss-Less Field In SROA Chairman’s Trophy

Cheonji Storm romped home to win the first Group race of the year in Korea, comfortably scoring in the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Chairman’s Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

The race was billed as a re-run of January’s Segye Ilbo Trophy with all five top place-getters in that race due to take their chance. However, Segye Ilbo winner and early favourite for this race Final Boss came down lame with quarter cracks in a front hoof and had to be scratched. There is no guarantee he would have won.

Cheonji Storm was sent off favourite ahead of City Star, who just headed him for 2nd in the Segye Ilbo and it was those two left standing in the home straight after early leaders Raon Magic and Always Winner faded. Cheonji Storm was able to stretch away from his rival to win by a full two-and-a-half lengths on the line. Dongchonui Achim was a full three lengths further back in 3rd.

Cheonji Storm is a five-year-old horse and was winning for the eighth time in his career. Previous highlights include victory in the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy in 2016 and 2nd place in this race last year. For the horse – as well as for both trainer Kim Dong Kyun and jockey Jo Jae Ro – it was a first Group win.

SROA Chairman’s Trophy (KOR G3) – Seoul Racecourse – 1200M – March 11, 2018

1. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Jo Jae Ro – 2.5, 1.3
2. City Star (KOR) [Menifee – City Styling (Carson City)] – Jang Chu Youl – 1.4
3. Dongchonui Achim (KOR) [Officer – Abbey (Redoubte’s Choice)] – Kim Dong Soo – 1.5
Distances: 2.5 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Yaho Sky Cat 5. Gold Music 6. Raon Magic 7. Lead Money 8. Global Fusion 9. Always Winner 10. Wild Thunder 11. Huri Baram
Non-Runner: Final Boss

Simon Foster Trains First Korean Winner

Simon Foster is off the mark in Korean racing. The Australian trainer saddled his first winner at Seoul on Sunday afternoon as Yaho Aurora won the 1700M race 6.

Yaho Aurora (Rock Hard Ten) was a twelve race maiden going into the race and started at odds in excess of 20/1. However, under jockey Cho Han Byeol, he sat nice and handy throughout and outstayed the rest in the home straight to win comfortably.  For jockey Cho, it was a first win since returning from national service at the start of the year.

Trainer Foster opened his barn towards the end of last year and has been steadily putting together his string. He now has ten horses under his care and Yaho Aurora was just his thirteenth runner. He got his first placed finish last week when Pegasus Farm’s Jungle Beat ran 2nd on his debut.

It would be a surprise if Yaho Aurora went on to do very much but now the breakthrough has been made, hopefully Simon Foster can will be sending out many more winners.

Seoul Owners’ Trophy Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 11)

#UPDATE – Final Boss is a non-runner in the Owners’ Cup – Lame in left-foreleg.

Final Boss produced a late surge in a dramatic finale to January’s Segye Ilbo Cup and the 2017 Korean Derby winner can see off the same rivals once more in Korea’s first Group race of 2018, The Owners’ Association Trophy at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon (Seoul: 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00 and Busan: 6 races from 12:40 to 17:05).

FInal Boss Segye

There was a dramatic finish to the Segye Ilbo Cup in January. The same horses return for Sunday’s Owners’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

Segye Ilbo Cup – January 28, 2018: https://youtu.be/Xr5dN9un_TE

In total, seven of the thirteen who lined up for the Segye Ilbo Cup on January 28th, take their chances again in the Group 3 Owners’ Cup including the top five place-getters that day and they will be favoured to battle it out for top honours once more. 2017 winner Always Winner, who pulled off a Segye/Owners’ double a year ago, set out in front that day and for a time looked like he was going to repeat his feat of leading gate-to-wire.

That was until a frenetic final furlong which saw City Star, Cheonji Storm and ultimately Final Boss close at speed to sweep past, with Final Boss winning by a neck under Moon Se Young. Final Boss was Champion Juvenile in 2016 but had an up and down three-year-old campaign in which his Derby win was sandwiched between disappointing showings in both the first and final legs of the Triple Crown. His talent was not in doubt, but his maturity was but solid performances in the back-end of last season started to allay those doubts.

If the grown-up Final Boss shows up on Sunday, another big race win – and potentially another big year – awaits.

The Owners’ Association Trophy is race 9 on an 11-race Sunday card at Seoul. Here are full previews of each race (Busan selections follow at the bottom):

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Exactly half the field are first time starters here but it’s to the ones with at least some experience we turn to find out top picks. With a 2nd and a 3rd from her latest two, (3) CAMP TOUCH will be strongly favoured to score here on what is her fourth career outing. On her way to that 3rd last time on February 10th, she beat three of the others who go here and should take some beating. (7) WAIT AND SEE was 4th in that race, quite a way back but not without promise on what was his debut and he can build on that today. Among the others who have raced before, (12) RAON ZEUS was also a promising 4th in January and is likely to start as second favourite here. Of the first-timers, (5) TWO M OKAY and (9) SURFING POINT looked the best in trials and may be worth a look first-up.

Selections (3) Camp Touch (12) Raon Zeus (7) Wait And See (9) Surfing Point
Next Best 5, 10
Fast Start 3, 6, 7, 12

Race 2: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A winner on debut in early January, (2) JEJUI BARAM followed up with a slightly disappointing but in no way poor 5th place over the same distance on his first try at this level two weeks ago. He was on pace that day and will likely be again and this time shouldn’t get caught. Despite still being a maiden, (3) ILGAKSU finds himself up in class following back to back 2nd places both at this distance. He’s a front-runner too and has every chance of being competitive at this level. (7) BOLD NINER hasn’t been too far away in his latest two and could play a role here while (1) RUBY BEOLKIN and (6) CHAPEL ACE are others who should be in at least the placing hunt.

Selections (2) Jejui Baram (7) Bold Niner (3) Ilgaksu (1) Ruby Beolkin
Next Best 6, 12
Fast Start 2, 3, 5, 10

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

We’ve had relatively obvious picks in the first two races, but this looks a little trickier. (1) JUMBO CAPTAIN was a much improved 2nd when tried at this distance for the first time a month ago and can build on that today while (8) ROYAL PRINCE too took the trip well on what was just his second start a day later. Both can build on those performances here. (12) DORAON ACHIM HAE and (7) JUMEOK DOKKI came home in 4th and 5th in a decent contest at the distance on February 10th and they too should be involved today. Jumeok (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 10)

Eleven Saturday races at Seoul with the first at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. Moon Se Young is back from suspension! Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Just fillies to begin with and it isn’t a very strong race, even for class 6. (2) CITY ANGEL is favoured to make the breakthrough on what will be her sixth start. Her best performance to date came at this distance and was superior to anything any of the rest have achieved. Her latest two have been encouraging and she should lead all the way. Encouraging too last time was (11) ENJOY MY SHOW, who improved to a decent 2nd. It was a slow race on an admittedly slow track, but she had shown signs of getting better leading up to it and Moon Se Young rides for the first time today. She’s clear second-favourite. (12) JOEUN NADEURI has a 3rd place to her name back in December – actually beating Enjoy My Show in the process – so she can’t be completely ruled out wither. As for the rest, we’re scraping around a little with possibly (3) MJ JILJU and (10) NEW FAMILY having the most potential to improve.

Selections (2) City Angel (11) Enjoy My Show (12) Joeun Nadeuri (3) MJ Jilju
Next Best 10, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 7, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The second heat of the all-fillies contest isn’t really any stronger than the first but is perhaps a touch trickier. We’ll go with (6) BODEURAM, who didn’t go well at all when stepped up to 1300M a month ago but had previously shown a good but of promise at this distance and dropped back down today, she should go much better. (12) SEOUL STORY has hinted at ability with 3rd place at this trip back in January being her best to date. She has to overcome being drawn in the car-park but can get close. (10) FIORE is the only one among them to have previously recorded a 2nd place finish. That was all the way back in August at 1300M and she hasn’t raced at all since October. She trialled up two weeks ago in reasonably competent fashion and given the company, goes straight back into contention. (8) SINUITAB and (9) FLYING HERA are others who could come into play.

Selections (6) Bodeuram (12) Seoul Story (10) Fiore (8) Sinuitab
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) ARES THUNDER and (9) NAEGA KKEUTPANWANG came home 3rd and 4th respectively when racing each other over 1300M on February 10th. Naega Kkeutpanwang led that day and will likely look to do so again while Ares Thunder has a strong finish and they can be competing with each other for the top prize this time. (4) CHEONGDAM JEPAE was 4th of 12 on debut five weeks ago in a slow race at the minimum distance. It’s hard to judge how good or otherwise that performance was but it was encouraging enough to suggest she can push on here. (2) VALLEY MOON landed an improved 3rd – her best finish to date – at this distance last time and could repeat, while the less experienced (6) HWANGGEUM JUMEONI likewise was much better on what was just his second career start last time. That was all the way back in November though, so he comes in here off a sixteen-week layoff.

Selections (1) Ares Thunder (9) Naega Kkeutpanwang (4) Cheongdam Jepae (6) Hwanggeum Jumeoni
Next Best 2, 3
Fast Start 4, 5, 9

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

Four of the twelve are up in class for the very first time and they include (4) TRIPLE HAPPY, an eye-catching six-length winner on debut back in January. He is also up in distance and does return after nine-weeks off but he’s in with a chance. Returning from even longer out is (7) SUPER FLY. He’s shown plenty of potential in Spring and Summer of last year culminating in a victory at this distance and after returning to training, he made all to win a trial just before the Lunar New Year break. Up in class too, he goes straight into contention. They run into a couple with good experience of this level though. Quality Road filly (12) SUN PLAZA may still be a maiden after eight attempts but her latest run in January, when 3rd in a very solid contest at this distance, gives cause for optimism. (9) SPECIAL LIGHT got his second runner-up finish at this class a month ago, running on strongly late on and should also be a factor here. (5) WELLBEING JOY and (1) JEJUI HEUKSEON best of the rest in a very competitive looking race.

Selections (12) Sun Plaza (4) Triple Happy (9) Special Light (7) Super Fly
Next Best 1, 5, 8, 6
Fast Start 1, 5, 6, 7

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) MENI TURBO will likely start a prohibitive favourite and should really be winning this handicap for fillies and mares only. She was favourite in a very similar race last start and while she only managed 2nd, she did finish well clear of a couple of today’s rivals and should have too much this time. (7) BLACK WIND is up in class following a couple of very good showings at class 5 including a front-running win at this distance last time. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 9)

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:

Divide Wind

We’re probably going to be seeing this picture a lot over the next month – Busan’s Divide Wind heads the 3yo ranks after his victory last Sunday (Pic: KRA)

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 (more…)

Classic Trials: Mask Beats Gaon Champ To Win Sports Seoul / Divide Wind Cruises At Busan

With the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown just a month away, there were Classic trials at both Seoul and Busan. At Seoul, Mask handed Gaon Champ his first defeat while at Busan, it was a Kim Young Kwan-trained one-two as Divide Win led home Captain Force.

Having already stepped up to – and won at – 1700M, Mask was likely headed to the Triple Crown trail anyway but he was only sent off as third-best in the betting for the Sports Seoul Cup behind the hitherto undefeated Gaon Champ and Seoul’s top juvenile of 2017, Choinma. It was Gaon Champ who showed the way early and at the top of the stretch looked poised to go on keep his 100% record intact.

Mask was too strong. Under the urging of Shin Hyung Chul, he came alongside Gaon Champ, who was all-out under Park Tae Jong, and went past in the final half furlong to win by just under a length. Choinma was a long way back in 3rd.

Mask (Testa Matta) has now won three from seven in total but crucially, both of this year’s outings. He’ll not find it easy in Busan though.

Sports Seoul Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 1400M – March 4, 2018

1. Mask (KOR) [Testa Matta – Fire And Vice (Latent Heat)] – Shin Hyung Chul – 6.0, 1.4
2. Gaon Champ (KOR) [Ecton Park – Ruby Queen (Badge Of Silver)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
3. Choinma (KOR) [Menifee – Kkummaeul(Curia Regis)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 1.1
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 8 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sharp Kaylan 5. Sinui Myeongryeong 6. Seourui Byeol 7. Eclair Beauty 8. Meni Bada

Down South, the Kim Young Kwan machine grinds on relentlessly and even without Champion juvenile Ecton Blade lining up, it seemed inevitable he was going to saddle the winner of the Gyeongnam Shinmun.

Divide Wind (Menifee) was favourite and he made short-work of the field, running away in the closing stages to win by three-lengths on the line. Stablemate Captain Force (Peace Rules), a half-brother to 2016 Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi came home 2nd.

Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1400M – March 4, 2018

1. Divide Wind (KOR) [Menifee – Grand Slam (Grand Pass)] – You Hyun Myung – 2.6, 1.2
2. Captain Force (KOR) [Peace Rules – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] – Lee Hyo Sik – 1.2
3. World Sun (KOR) [Officer – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.2
Distance: 3 lengths / 1 length
Also Ran: 5. Captain Guy 6. Baedu Jeonggi 7. May Star 8. Bugyeong Bolt

In other news at Busan, Drop The Beat bested Haeya in the feature class 1 handicap, a sprint over 1400M.

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

Choinma vs Gaon Champ at Seoul / Divide Wind vs Captain Force & Haeya vs Captain Blade at Busan

Sunday’s Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Racecourse may have only attracted a field of eight-runners but it features two of the hottest three-year-olds at the track right now as Choinma and Gaon Champ meet over 1400M. Meanwhile at Busan, Divide Win faces stablemate Captain Force as well as Gimhae Mayor’s Cup winner Major Sun in another big three-year-old contest, the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup

Choinma

Choinma was Seoul’s best juvenile in 2017 but he didn’t have to race Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Choinma was Seoul’s top juvenile of 2017 winning both the Gyeonggi Governor’s and Gwacheon Mayor’s Cups before running 2nd to Busan prospect Ecton Blade in the Breeders’ Cup in December.

Gaon Champ wasn’t involved in any of those races, however, the Ecton Park colt only debuted at the start of December and picked up two modest races before blowing away a strong field in a valuable juvenile race in December, two weeks after the Breeders’ Cup. He’s won his three starts to date by a combined margin of thirty-lengths. There have been concerns throughout about his soundness and he does race at 1400M for the first time, but he is reportedly fit and ready to go and will surely be hard to beat.

Choinma has raced once as a three-year-old already, surprisingly beaten into 2nd in his first try around two turns at 1700M in January but he is still very much in the hunt. Neither he nor Gaon Champ are front-runners so the early pace will most likely be set by Mask and Sinui Myeongryeong, both good prospects themselves, while Sharp Kaylan too looks a better horse than he was when beaten by Gaon Champ in December – since then he’s won two in a row by six and four-lengths respectively.

The Sports Seoul Cup is the highlight of an eleven-race Sunday program at Seoul while at Busan, The Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup headlines five races. Only Seoul is available on overseas simulcast so only full comments for Seoul but Busan Selections are at the bottom:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

This one looks to be (11) ROAN DOLPUNG’s to lose. The Victoire Pisa gelding didn’t show much in his first two starts but has since followed up with consecutive 3rd place finishes both at this distance and at 1000M and should take some beating today. Despite being drawn wide, he should get on the early speed and lead all the way. The others have plenty to find. (3) BLACK SPIRIT and (7) SPEED YEONGUNG have both hinted at some potential talent, the latter beating a couple of these on his latest outing. (8) EOMJI YEOWANG showed signs of improvement when 5th last start and could maintain that momentum here. (2) FIRST THUNDER the best of a limited rest.

Selections (11) Raon Dolpung (8) Eomji Yeowang (7) Speed Yeongung (3) Black Spirit
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 5, 6, 10, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) DAE CAIN was considered promising enough by connections to be given a run in Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, one of Seoul’s top juvenile races, las October. He was overmatched, only beating two home. He has since bounced back and his latest two starts, both at this distance and ending in 4th and 2nd placed finishes suggest a maiden win isn’t too far away and he’s the pick to score. (10) ONLY BARAM enters off back to back 3rd places and should be competitive again, while one of those he beat a couple of starts ago, (6) MIGHTY COOL, hasn’t been too far away in his recent tries and can be close again. (7) RUN AWAY was an improved 4th last time and enters the placing frame as does (12) SKY DOLPUNG, who can be given another chance after a lacklustre effort behind Dae Cain a month ago.

Selections (2) Dae Cain (10) Only Baram (6) Mighty Cool (7) Run Away
Next Best 12, 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 7, 8, 9

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) GULCHARMNAMUSUP finished strongly to record a maiden win on debut on January 20th and while she is up in class today, she showed enough to suggest she is going to be very dangerous once more. (4) GANGCHONUI BYEOL used different tactics on her own debut two weeks later, leading from the gate, but the result was the same as she made all for a very comfortable win and she too steps up in class. At least one 100% record is going to be broken and it could go either way. We’ll come down marginally on the side of Gulcharmnamusup. Should both be beaten then it’s another up in class one, (7) SEONGBUL CHAMP, who could be best placed to take advantage. She has never been worse than 5th and was a really good winner last start at this distance. (1) HI EUREKA was a decent class and distance 4th last time while (8) SIMPLE RULES is better than the 8th place he registered on his first try at this class back in December and should be better dropped back in trip today.

Selections (2) Gulcharmnamusup (4) Gangchonui Byeol (7) Seongbul Champ (8) Simple Rules
Next Best 6, 9
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 7

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

(2) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG steps up in class today following a commanding four-length win over 1000M at the end of January. On his only previous try at this distance he led early only to fade to 5th late on but he should be better now and can stay on this time. The big danger is (7) HYEONMU. He couldn’t get on the early pace from a wide draw when well-backed last time but looks better positioned to do so today and is a proven performer at this class. (9) DICE KING must be respected entering as he does a class and distance winner a month ago. It wasn’t an especially strong race, but Dice King won (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 3)

Eleven Saturday races at Seoul with the first at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. Top jockey Moon Se Young is suspended this weekend so plenty of chances for the rest. Here are the previews:

moon-se-young

The Moon won’t be rising at Seoul this weekend

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

It has to be (2) BEST CHAPEL here. Her 2nd and 3rd across her two starts to date were not especially quick but were in excess of anything achieved by most of the others here and he should win this time. (3) BLESSING ROAD is the only one who has put in a similar performance with her much-improved 3rd place last time and she’s the clear next best. Beyond those we’re scratching around a little bit. (1) MIDAS CHIEF ran twice unimpressively last summer before being put away for nine months. He trialled up nicely enough alongside some experienced horses at the end of January and should be better this time around. (4) MERLIN debuted all the way back last July in reasonably creditable fashion but hasn’t been seen since. He trialled well enough too. (9) INDIAN ECO and (7) OPI RIVER perhaps the other two with the best chance of improving.

Selections (2) Best Chapel (3) Blessing Road (1) Midas Chief (4) Merlin
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Just three-year-olds here and ten of the twelve are racing for the very first time. Of the two who have raced before, (1) GANGHWA CHONGGAK did ok, finishing 4th of 8 at this distance at the end of January. It’s to the debut-makers we turn to find our picks though. (4) HAMBAK MISO won his trial in good fashion and will probably be favourite given that he was the only one of these to finish on top in a heat but there are a few others who showed promise too. (12) CHOIN DAEBO trialled all the way back in November. He’s half-brother to a Korean Oaks winner as well (the 50/1 chance Euro Fighter back in 2010) and should go well first-up. (7) ROMAN BLADE is another well-bred one sporting the “Blade” name and colours of Kim Hyeong Ran and will be sure to be backed – she showed promise in a couple of trials at the end of last year but has taken a while to be ready to race. (11) HADALRAE is another who went well in the mornings.

Selections (4) Hambak Miso (12) Choin Daebo (7) Roman Blade (11) Hadalrae
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens again although this time there are only two first-time starters. One of those, (3) GONG SAN will be well supported having shown some ability in a trail just last week, finishing 2nd in a competitive time. We’ll certainly have her among the contenders here although not necessarily on top as one or two have hinted at talent in actual races too. (11) HANYANG GONGJU wasn’t fancied at all on debut at the end of January but ran very nicely, coming home in 3rd place at 1000M. She ran through the line well and the additional trip today may benefit. It certainly benefitted (1) CUPID STORM when he stepped up to 1300M last start and registered a much-improved 2nd. He can build on that today. (2) SPECIAL DREAM was sent up to 1700M early in his career but also looked far more comfortable back at this trip last time. (4) MONEY ZIF’s latest two haven’t been special but she has previously shown she knows what to do.

Selections (11) Hanyang Gongju (1) Cupid Storm (3) Gong San (4) Money Zif
Next Best 2, 5
Fast Start 4, 9, 10

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

Fillies only here. (12) DAECHEONUI SARANG was a narrowly beaten 3rd in a similar race at the distance on February 3rd beating four of these in the process. She doesn’t have the ideal draw today as she’ll want to be close to the early speed, but she can overcome it and pick up her maiden win. Among those who were behind her that day, (4) ARGO UNIQUE and (8) CHAMP STORM perhaps have the best chance of overturning that form – in fact, Daecheonui Sarang caused Champ Storm to have to be checked five furlongs out but she still recovered to finish well. (5) FOREVER WINNER steps up to run further than (more…)

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

Racing for March gets underway at Busan on Friday. Just 10 races with the first at 11:30 and the last at 18:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens to kick things off today. Bart Rice’s (3) SEUNGNI DAEJANG ran a creditable 4th on his racecourse debut a month ago beating (1) BAEDARI SINHWA in the process. He should be prominent early on here and could win. None of the other experienced ones have caught the eye at all with even (4) GIPPEUM DAY’s debut 3rd place being about as unimpressive as a 3rd place debut is possible to be, however, (6) TIZ POWER’s poor debut came at 1300M eight weeks ago and he’s looked much better in two subsequent trials at this distance. We’ll turn to a first-timer starter to find the danger. (5) SINBIHAN BARAM turned in an impressive trial performance last week, winning his heat and so long as he didn’t leave his race there, can go well.

Selections (3) Seungni Daejang (5) Sinbihan Baram (6) Tiz Power (4) Gippeum Day
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 3, 5

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Having trialled very impressively, (4) S S YOUNG was sent off a short-priced favourite on debut three weeks ago. He could only manage 2nd place but showed enough to suggest a first victory won’t be too long in coming and she should get it here. Both (2) JISAN OREUM and (3) SWEET MEMORY showed improvement in their latest outings, both coming home 4th in similar races to this and both can get in the placing frame this time. (9) PERFECT BOSS has been well backed for all three of his starts so far and while he hasn’t really delivered as yet, with a 6th and a pair of 5ths, he hasn’t run badly and could improve this time. There are three debut-makers, but it may be best to take a watching brief with them for now.

Selections (4) S S Young (3) Sweet Memory (2) Jisan Oreum (9) Perfect Boss
Next Best 5, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 7

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Another maiden for three-year-olds and it involves a few promising ones. (7) CATCH NINE was a very good 2nd on debut on February 2nd having raced prominently throughout. She’ll be winning sooner or later and it could well be here. (2) GEUMSURYEONG was similarly good on his own debut in January, running on well and he should benefit from today’s extended trip. (6) CHIEF LEADER showed some aptitude for the distance when stepped up to it and registering 3rd on what was her second start and she can be in the frame too. (4) USEUNG TEN already has two 3rd place finishes at the distance and while he did ok when stepped up to a mile last time, the drop back in distance is in his favour today.

Selections (7) Catch Nine (2) Geumsuryeong (6) Chief Leader (4) Useung Ten
Next Best 3
Fast Start 6, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

More maidens although it is age open this time. (7) JOEUN HAE has been getting closer across four outings so far with all of them being in slightly stiffer company than this. He hasn’t managed to get on the lead in any of those races but he could well do so today and is the one to beat. (6) ACE WOMAN too has hinted at some ability across ten unspectacular efforts and while she’s never finished any better than 4th, she should be (more…)