Month: March 2018

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Clean Up Joy/Triple Nine – Race-By-Race Preview (March 18)

The big names are out on Sunday with Clean Up Joy and Triple Nine headlining feature handicaps at Seoul and Busan respectively. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the Seoul previews with Busan selections below:

Clean Up Joy GP

Clean Up Joy won the 2016 Grand Prix Stakes and should return to the winner’s circle at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

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

Three-year-old maidens to kick things off. (9) J.S. STORM was favourite for his latest start on February 10th but ended up in 4th place. However, he’s never finished worse than 5th in his five starts to date and has a good chance of getting it right today. He should be on the early speed. (2) STAR SOCKS has shown promise in her two efforts so far, registering a 3rd and a 4th, both at this distance and she should be in the frame again. (3) ARGO GALLOPER improved   into 3rd on what was his fifth outing on February 3rd and looks as though he is finally figuring things out. (8) CHEONGANG SEONG debuted all the way back in July of last year running a very encouraging 3rd. Injuries affected him afterwards though and he’s not been seen since. He returned to training at the beginning of this year and trialled up well back at the end of January and could be interesting first-up today. (1) TAMNA YEOSIN, stepped back to the minimum today, looks best of the rest.

Selections (9) J.S. Storm (8) Cheongang Seong (2) Star Socks (3) Argo Galloper
Next Best 1, 10
Fast Start 1, 8, 9, 10

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

Another set of three-year-olds. (10) JANGSAN WILD was favourite on debut on February 3rd following a couple of very promising trial showings. He ran well although never looked like catching the winner and of he has come on a bit for that run, he should be hard to beat today. (2) HALLA DAERO and (9) QUEEN FORCE ONE also put in creditable, if slightly less impressive debuts, both running 5th of 12 in their respective races and both have something to build on here. (4) SAE DIXIE and (6) SPECIAL WINNER are the only two in the race to have raced more than once. Both have a good result in their form too – a 2nd for Sae Dixie last October and 3rd for Special Winner in January – and both should be in the hunt to match that here. There are two debut-makers but neither (5) EUNICE nor (8) WHO ARE YOU caught the eye in trials.

Selections (10) Jangsan Wild (9) Queen Force One (2) Halla Daero (4) Sae Dixie
Next Best 11, 6
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 11

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

Maiden fillies only here and it’s not strong but it is competitive. (2) DANCING BLADE took a long time to get going on debut on February 3rd but once she did, she began to pass a few and given the extra furlong and a half today, that may be enough to have her as top pick here. (3) HUIMANG STAR and (6) GEUMBIT HWANHYANG have both hinted at some ability across their races so far, both having a 4th place at this distance as their best. Neither are quick starters and in their respective latest outings, they both left themselves too much to do but should be looking to go much better here. (1) CHAMP STORM also has a 4th to his name at the distance while (4) ORANGE SOCKS steps back up to this trip and may improve today. The wildcard is (5) BOEUNUI KKUM, another who has started slowly in races so far but today, for the first time, gets the chance to run at further than the minimum distance.

Selections (2) Dancing Blade (3) Huimang Star (5) Boeunni Kkum (6) Geumbit Hwanhyang
Next Best 1, 9
Fast Start 4, 8, 9

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

(3) JI SEONI was a bit of a disappointment when favourite at class and distance last time, getting herself into a good position in the straight but not kicking on and ending up in 4th. She’s had a couple of months off since then and has every chance of putting things right today. She should lead from the gate. (11) JAELONGI remains a maiden but has three 2nd places and two 3rds to his name now with two of those 2nd places being at this class and distance including last time and he looks the most likely candidate to beat the favourite. (1) SHANGHAI PANGPANG remains a maiden after twenty-six starts but drops back in trip from 1700M and this is the kind of race in which she can challenge for the places while (9) PERFECT LOVER has similarly been around the block a few times and while it’s been a long time since he finished better than 5th, he could get a bit closer today. (7) I B S MAN looks to be getting to grips with this class and steps up to this distance for the first time.

Selections (3) Ji Seoni (11) Jaelongi (7) I B S Man (9) Perfect Lover
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 1, 3, 11

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

A good winner at 1300M in December, (10) LEONNING STROM was 3rd behind (12) BOLD SHINING on reappearance in January. He returns after two months off today dropped back to the minimum distance at which he was 2nd on debut and with strong claims to return to the winner’s circle. Bold Shining can be a threat too although he has raced once that day without distinction and perhaps has more to find. (9) LUCKY ROOKIE has a win and 2nd from two efforts to date, both at this distance and looks to be the main danger although the front-running performances to date of (8) SUN BOLT put him in the frame too. Besides Bold Shining, (1) JEONGSANG MUJEOK is another who can get close. She is without a win in three attempts to date but has performed well in all three and led for much of her last start until succumbing for 2nd in the closing stages.

Selections (10) Leonning Strom (9) Lucky Rookie (8) Sun Bolt (1) Jeongsang Mujeok
Next Best 4, 12
Fast Start 1, 6, 8

Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Aussie trainer Simon Foster saddled his first Korean winner last Sunday with a longshot, but he’ll have a far more fancied one here. Aussie import (4) LOVELY HELMET is a first-timer starter but put in an eye-catching trial two weeks ago. If she brings that kind of form to the track in the afternoon, she has every chance of making a winning debut. The other twelve half all raced at least once before and among them, (6) JANGSAN BEARS, 4th in all three of his starts so far, looks the most appealing in terms of making a breakthrough. The competition doesn’t look as stiff today as it was in any of those and he’ll be a danger, likely from the front. More experienced is (10) DALLYEORA LEO and her recent form reads well, again in marginally tougher company than today and she can get close too. (7) BADA CHIEF raced three times last Summer before enduring a lengthy layoff. He returned to action with an encouraging 4th of 10 at 1000M five weeks ago and can build on that here. (2) ONE GATE ran on nicely on debut at the end of January over 1000M and may appreciate a bit more distance today.

Selections (4) Lovely Helmet (6) Jangsan Bears (10) Dallyeora Leo (7) Bada Chief
Next Best 2, 8, 9
Fast Start 3, 6, 9, 12

Race 7: Class 3 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

A winner of four from five so far, including his latest two, (8) GEUMAK YEOJE steps up in class and in distance. He wasn’t especially well-fancied last start but did win over 1200M at class 5 last Summer (he was off for five months later in the year) and while this is his toughest test to date, he could well come through it. The main danger is (1) FACT HEAVENS and she will probably start as favourite. While she was beaten by both (4) GOLD HORAH and (6) CHEONGSANGUI BYEOL last October, she has bounced back very well, finishing 3rd in both her subsequent starts in tougher company than this. Given the draw and today’s small field, she can be expected to be on the early pace and can win. While Cheongsangui Byeol has gone cold since that October race, Gold Horah has pushed on nicely and should be in the frame while (2) SHARK RUN, who has had a bit of a stop-start career so far, also looks nicely in with scope for improvement.

Selections (1) Fact Heavens (8) Geumak Yeoje (4) Gold Horah (2) Shark Run
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 1, 6, 8

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

(11) GEOM HAENG stepped up to this trip after getting his maiden win at 1300M in January. He did well at it too, just missing out on 3rd by a neck in a similar strength race to this. He can have come on for the experience and could be the one to beat here. Aussie import (4) JINGYEOGUI TYRANNO has also taken very well to this distance, registering 2nd place in both attempts at it so far. The Uncle Mo Colt has led in both those until the closing stages and returning from a twelve-week layoff, could stay on all the way this time. (2) FANTASTIC COMBI stayed on well on his first try at the distance a month ago; he just left it far too late. Likely ridden further forward earlier today, he’ll get closer. (3) SEOUL TANK pulled off an all-the-way win at the distance in January. He couldn’t get to the front from a wide draw on his return last month but from gate 3, will be sure to try and pull off the same trick here. (5) JISANGMYEONGRYEONG, behind Seoul Tank the day he gave them all the slip, looks best of the rest.

Selections (11) Geom Haeng (4) Jingyeogui Tyranno (2) Fantastic Combi (3) Seoul Tank
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 3, 4, 10

Race 9: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Hard to look past (7) CLEAN UP TEUKGEUP here. A winner of two from five, he’s comfortably beaten three of these in his latest two races, both at this distance, and he should win easily today, most probably making all. (1) MONSTER QUEEN was 3rd behind Clean Up Teukgeup last time and has four lengths to make up today but looks to have a good chance of the places again while (6) ROCKET ROAD steps all the way up to this trip for the first time after a couple of good showings at 1000M in his latest two and could be interesting. (2) NEW WHY FI returns to action for the first time in over six months. He departed the scene a winner at the distance last August so has to be taken seriously and performed competently in his requalifying trial. (4) CHEONJI GONGSA, behind Clean Up Teukgeup and Monster Queen last time, could challenge for minor money.

Selections (7) Clean Up Teukgeup (1) Monster Queen (6) Rocket Road (2) New Why Fi
Next Best 4, 9
Fast Start 2, 7, 9

Race 10: Class 1 (2000M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million

(7) CLEAN UP JOY should return to winning ways here. The 2016 Grand Prix winner hasn’t actually won a race since last May although he has, as ever, only been lightly campaigned since. On his one start of 2018 so far, he ran 2nd to Cheongdam Dokki at this distance after things were set up for him to mount a late challenge by stable-mate Shamrocker, but he shouldn’t need any assistance here. He puts all the others out of the handicap so he’s giving 8kgs to them all, but it shouldn’t matter. (6) HEUNGRYONG looks next best, having been consistently good at both sprint and distance races recently and he tries 2000M for the first time. (5) CHEONMA and (4) CHEONJEOK best of the rest although they really ought to be battling over 2nd place.

Selections (7) Clean Up Joy (6) Heungryong (5) Cheonma (4) Cheonjeok
Next Best 3
Fast Start 1, 6

Race 11: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

(3) HWANGGEUM SORI beat four of these on his way to 2nd place at class and distance behind Winner Gold on February 10th. That was his second consecutive 2nd place having finished runner-up somewhat unexpectedly to (10) BLUSHING VOW in January. A fast finisher, Hwanggeum Sori can settle behind the early lead and could be too strong late on. (6) KOREA JEONGSANG was 3rd behind Hwanggeum Sori in that race a month ago and can get close today too. (11) JEONSEUNG DAESE steps back in trip following a really good 3rd place at 1800M last time suggesting he may be coming back into form while (12) PENACOVA similarly steps back to a sprint distance which he finished 3rd at last time he attempted it. (8) HOWIMUSA absolutely blitzed a trial two weeks ago, completing the five furlongs in an almost unheard of (and generally unnecessary) for the morning one-minute flat. This is his first race for exactly fifty-one weeks although he did trial sporadically in the latter half of last year. It should be an interesting first race back and we’ll make him the wildcard.

Selections (3) Hwanggeum Sori (6) Korea Jeongsang (8) Howimusa (11) Jeonseung Daese
Next Best 12, 7, 5
Fast Start 1, 5, 9, 11

Busan Selections

Race 1: 7, 2, 3, 5
Race 2: 2, 1, 8, 4
Race 3: 9, 10, 5, 3
Race 4: 3, 4, 8, 9
Race 5: 11, 8, 2, 10
Race 6: 2, 1, 4, 9

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 17)

There are 11 races at Seoul on Saturday with the first at 10:45 and the last at 18:00:

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

(7) POWER KOREA races for the first time since January when he registered a 2nd place over 1000M in his best finish from eleven starts to date and today could be his day, most likely ridden from the front. The two main dangers are both returning from lengthy absences. (1) BLUE ANNA ran twice last summer with a best finish of 2nd before her setback. She trialled well at the start of this month and can be taken seriously here. (10) MISS MOUNTAIN got to race just the once all the way back at the beginning of March of last year before suffering a chip fracture. She did well in that one appearance, showing on pace and finishing 2nd. She requalified last November but had further setbacks and finally returns today. Both the returnees are in with a shout in this modest contest. (9) NEUNGRYEOK SIDAE can build on a competent enough debut a month ago while (11) RAON PRO SENSE has hinted at ability across five starts to date and can improve here.

Selections (7) Power Korea (10) Miss Mountain (1) Blue Anna (9) Neungryeok Sidae
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 7, 8, 11

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

(8) EAST KINGDOM began his career well with a 3rd and a 2nd at the tail-end of last year and while he was underwhelming on his 2018 debut, only beating a couple home at this distance back in January, he comes in here fresh after eight weeks out and can return to form. (6) SEUNGRI PLUS hasn’t been too far away in four outings so far and can continue that record here, most likely leading from the gate. (5) BAEKDUI TAEYANG should be on speed too. He was beaten by East Kingdom on what was both their debuts back in October but has since registered a 4th place at the distance and can come under consideration. (4) MAIN EVENT has shown little so far but his stable is in good form and an upturn is possible while (9) ADELEUI KKUM’s 3rd place last start may have been slow and a long way behind a good winner but was certainly an improvement and can be built on here.

Selections (8) East Kingdom (6) Seungri Plus (5) Baekdui Taeyang (9) Adeleui Kkum
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 5, 6, 9

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

Fillies only here and while even for the level it’s not a strong race, it is competitive. We’re going to give another chance to (3) AMENDA. Following her maiden win in December she began the year with a solid 2nd place at class and distance before disappointing when odds-on favourite last month. She sweated up that day and began poorly which ruined her race. She’s not a very bold sort but if Park Tae Jong can get her in the right position early, she can beat these. (10) AMARONE did ok on her first attempt at this level a month ago, finishing 5th but not too far off 3rd. Her maiden win also came at this distance and she should be in the frame here too. (9) GEUMA THUNDER had such a torrid time last start she was sent back to trial for being so slow. She was anything but slow when romping the resulting trial and comes into contention here on what will be her first try at this distance. Continuing the theme of poor latest showings, (2) BULHUUI SEUNGJA finished well back but in her defence, it was a much tougher race than this and she should improve today. The time before she ran 2nd at class and distance beating (8) STAR PERFECT who was 3rd. The latter has run three times since then with mixed results, the (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 16)

Promising filly Rainha will step out for the fourth time at Busan Racecourse on Friday seeking to maintain her 100% record as she moves up in class in the 1600M race 9. There are a total of 10 Friday races at Busan from 11:30 to 18:00.

You In Kwen

Jo In Kwen & You Hyun Myung

Trained by Kim Young Kwan, Rainha is owned by Shunsuke Yoshida and her dam is Allwise (Mr. Greeley) who had three foals in Japan before being relocated to Nokwon Farm on Jeju Island in late 2014 while in foal to Gold Allure. That resulting foal was Rainha. In the meantime, her filly by Heart’s Cry, born a year earlier and called Historia, last November won the TVK Sho at Tokyo Racecourse and now boasts a record of three wins from nine starts in the JRA. Rainha is already a winner over a mile having sauntered home by four-lengths on her first try at the distance last month and she’ll be strong favourite again.

Rainha is one of several winning chances on the card for jockey You Hyun Myung. He’ll be expected to go close too with Nangnam Jeonsa in race 5 and Triple Party in race 10. Jo In Kwen looks to be the man to follow though and he can get favourite backers off to a good start with Christiano in race 1 while later on, Wonderful Memory should be hard to beat in race 3 as should Choegang Bullet in race 7. Here’s the race-by-race.

Trained by Kim Young Kwan, Rainha is owned by Shunsuke Yoshida and her dam is Allwise (Mr. Greeley) who had three foals in Japan before being relocated to Nokwon Farm on Jeju Island in late 2014 while in foal to Gold Allure. That resulting foal was Rainha. In the meantime, her filly by Heart’s Cry, born a year earlier and called Historia, last November won the TVK Sho at Tokyo Racecourse and now boasts a record of three wins from nine starts in the JRA. Rainha is already a winner over a mile having sauntered home by four-lengths on her first try at the distance last month and she’ll be strong favourite again.

Rainha is one of several winning chances on the card for jockey You Hyun Myung. He’ll be expected to go close too with Nangnam Jeonsa in race 5 and Triple Party in race 10. Jo In Kwen looks to be the man to follow though and he can get favourite backers off to a good start with Christiano in race 1 while later on, Wonderful Memory should be hard to beat in race 3 as should Choegang Bullet in race 7. Here’s the race-by-race.

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(2) CHRISTIANO was 2nd on debut all the way back in September which enabled him to take his chance in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup, one of Busan’s top juvenile races. He finished 6th of 8 and was later found to be lame. He returns here having transferred barns and looking very sharp in a trial two weeks ago and should take some beating. (8) PEACE RIDER has been a longshot in both starts so far but showed definite improvement when a close 4th on what was his second start three weeks ago and looks to have the best chance of getting closest. (7) WHIPLASH MARINE was very green on debut six weeks ago, starting poorly and hanging inwards in the straight. He has previously shown some ability in a trial though and can improve today. First time starter (5) VICAR BLADE will get some backing due to his connections with his trial to be taken with a pinch of salt while fellow debut-maker (6) WINNER CINDY also didn’t look completely clueless when qualifying.

Selections (2) Christiano (8) Peace Rider (7) Whiplash Marine (5) Vicar Blade
Next Best 6
Fast Start 2

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

(5) YONGGU has shown solid progress over five starts so far culminating in a close 2nd place at this distance on February 23rd, with (1) TIME SPEC and (2) MACHADO in 3rd and 5th behind him and he has solid claims on going one better today. Machado was actually favourite that day, on what was his debut, off the back of a strong trial showing and he can have come on for the run and get close this time while Time Spec should be in the hunt as well. However, the main danger is likely to be posed by (3) CATCH NINE. A strong 2nd on debut at this distance on February 2nd he was set to be favourite on his scheduled reappearance two weeks ago only to be found lame in his right front leg and was scratched. Now recovered from that minor setback, he can challenge for the win here.

Selections (3) Catch Nine (5) Yonggu (2) Machado (1) Time Spec
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 1, 6

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

A much-improved 2nd on what was his third career start on February 9th over this distance, just beaten three-quarters of a lengths, (2) WONDERFUL MEMORY should be able to get onto the early speed from a favourable draw here and more than likely will lead all the way. At the other end of the experience spectrum is (4) HWARYEOHAN TAEYANG, who may have raced twenty-three times without a win, but whose recent form reads well, and she’s been getting closer. Her 4th place last time out at this distance was especially promising she has every chance of at least getting a little closer today. Every one of (3) GOLDEN AGE’s fourteen prior outings have been over 1000M with one 2nd place to show for it. He’s up in distance for the first time and will be on pace early. While he’ll likely weaken late on, he may well have enough in hand to at least place. (1) OS TOP and (6) GAMDONGUI SUNGAN are others who have hinted at some ability and may improve here.

Selections (2) Wonderful Memory (4) Hwaryeohan Taeyang (6) Gamdongui Sungan (3) Golden Age
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 2, 3, 5

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

Another small field but it looks competitive. (5) GASOK SPEED did enough on debut back in January, racing 5th at this distance, to suggest he has potential and he is the slight pick here. He began well that day and briefly led in the home straight and coming in here after eight weeks off, can win. (1) STORM GOLD has also shown some promise but has been inconsistent across five starts to date with his best of 3rd coming over 1200M. This is his first time up at this trip and it may suit. It’s a similar story with (2) EDGE OF WINNER although she has raced at this distance before, coming home 4th of 8 back in January – she actually finished ahead of Storm Gold when the pair raced each other at 1000M a month ago. (8) BUGYEONG DERBY has a 3rd place to his name at 1000M while (7) NOPIGOM NAREUSYA was considered to have enough potential to be given a run in a big juvenile race last autumn. That didn’t go well but she’s shown a couple of glimpses since and both those two could go close here.

Selections (5) Gasok Speed (2) Edge Of Winner (1) Storm Gold (7) Nopigom Nareusya
Next Best 8
Fast Start 5, 7

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

(1) NANGMAN JEONSA was a class and distance winner on February on February 4th and while he carries an additional 3kg today, we’re going to keep it nice and simple and opt for a repeat. That day he overturned the form on (4) SEORABEOL DOLPUNG who along with (8) SOJUNGHAN INYEON had actually beaten him at the distance in January and he can confirm his superiority here. Bart Rice’s (2) MABEOPUI JILJU has taken to this distance very nicely indeed, following up on being narrowly beaten into 2nd place on January 26th with his maiden win three weeks ago by a commanding four lengths. He’s up in class today but is a big threat from a stable that looks to be coming into form. Peter Wolsley’s (5) FIRE POINT never really got involved on what was her first run at this class on February 9th. She’s bumped up in distance today and could go well. The other one to take note of is (12) JOYFUL STORY. He remains a maiden after sixteen attempts but hasn’t been too far away in recent starts and is a proven money-getter at class and distance.

Selections (1) Nangman Jeonsa (2) Mabeopui Jilju (5) Fire Point (12) Joyful Story
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 1, 4, 10, 12

Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(5) GREAT ROCK got his maiden win at the third time of asking on February 23rd and while he’s up in class today, Triple Nine’s “full” brother has a great chance of making it two in a row. He can set up camp just behind the early lead and finish strongly. There is danger though and it’s another one who is up in class who provides it. (4) GEUMSURYEONG has a 2nd place and a win from his two outings so far, the victory coming by an impressive three-lengths at this distance just two weeks ago, making all, and he’s well drawn to get off to a good start again and may be hard to catch. It would be a big surprise if those two don’t fill out the quinella but there are one or two other useful types here too. (1) BLACK FINE and (2) MEISTER GO both come in off decent efforts at this class last time and should be in placing contention while (3) NAMDO GEOSANG defied long odds to run a decent class and distance 3rd place, ahead of a couple of these, just over a month ago and could repeat here.

Selections (5) Great Rock (4) Geumsuryeong (2) Meister Go (1) Black Fine
Next Best 3, 6
Fast Start 3, 4, 6

Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(10) CHOEGANG BULLET was a strong 3rd on his first try at both class and distance five weeks ago having been rapidly promoted to this level with back to back wins at five furlongs. That race was arguably a little stronger than this one and so long as he can overcome the wide draw, he’ll be the one to beat here. (12) AWESOME KING IJI has been close in all four of his starts so far including 4th place over a mile on his latest. The Oxbow colt does look to have a win in him at some point and he should be the biggest danger here. The widest gate shouldn’t be too much of a factor for him as he doesn’t necessarily need to lead early on. (5) DONGBANG BULPAE drops back in trip after a good 3rd over a mile a month ago while (8) GOOD ONE MAN has a lot of experience at this level and should be in at least the placing frame. (2) ADELEUI BOM, two starts into a comeback following a lengthy spell out, could be another to watch.

Selections (10) Choegang Bullet (12) Awesome King Iji (5) Dongbang Bulpae (8) Good One Man
Next Best 2, 4
Fast Start 4, 9, 10

Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A class and distance 3rd on February 25th, (1) MASTER WIN can win this. Since a 6th place on debut, he’s never been worse than 3rd (one of them a dead-heat for that position) and has beaten a couple of these in recent outings and can come out on top here. (2) ACEUI SEONMUL drops back in trip today and should be on the early pace with every chance of going close while (5) ROYAL KELLY’s latest three have been underwhelming but she steps back up in distance today and can be given another chance. (11) YEONGUNG JEWANG and (8) CITY WINNER came home in 5th and 6th places respectively, behind Master Win in January. Both race for the first time since and both can get close once more. (9) WINDY PARK disappointed around 1300M last time but is another who can be given another chance having proven ability at this level in the past. (6) SEOGANG JILJU races for the first time since running 2nd to Yeongung Jewang all the way back in December. He returns up in class but still with plenty of promise and he should be a contender here.

Selections (1) Master Win (6) Seogang Jilju (8) City Winner (2) Aceui Seonmul
Next Best 11, 4, 9
Fast Start 2, 5, 7, 8

Race 9: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(1) RAINHA, the well-bred half-sister to a JRA Stakes winner, has looked untouchable in three starts to date, winning them by a combined nineteen lengths without being extended. She is up in class today and faces her stiffest test against a group of battle-hardened class 3 horses, but she surely has far too much for them. If a surprise happens, (3) USAIN NUT, a winner last time he ran at this distance last November, could be one to take advantage – he ran a strong 2nd over 1800M last time beating a couple of these. Thomas Gillespie’s (7) MUJEOK SINHWA enters after a good 3rd place last time, and similar to Usain Nut, beat a couple who go here, and he looks to be the other one that has a conceivable chance of challenging the favourite. (6) OCEAN LINE and (8) WIN GO MAN are others who can have placing claims.

Selections (1) Rainha (7) Mujeok Sinhwa (3) Usain Nut (8) Win Go Man
Next Best 6, 5
Fast Start 1, 5, 8, 11

Race 10: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

Six of these raced each other over class and distance on February 9th and it was (9) DAMYANG HWANHO who emerged on top that day with a front-running performance. He carries slightly more weight today but nothing too extreme and he’s the pick to score again. Of the ones behind him that day, (6) TRIPLE PARTY in 3rd and (5) CHOEGANG FORCE ONE in 6th were the ones who got closest and have the best chance of overturning that form here. (8) BOUND KOREA was a winner over a mile in January to get promoted to this class and while he only managed 5th on his first try at this level at 1800M three weeks ago, he can be dangerous here. The wildcard pick is (7) STEAL THE SHOW WHY. She races for the first time since running a very good 5th in the Jeju Governor’s Cup, one of the top Sprint races for fillies & mares in Korea, in Seoul last September and looked in good shape in a recent trial.

Selections (9) Damyang Hwanho (7) Steal The Show Why (8) Bound Korea (6) Triple Party
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 3, 9, 10, 12

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:

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…)