The road to the Korea Sprint begins at Busan on Sunday and the Sprint Series gets underway with a heavyweight clash as Grand Prix Stakes winner Power Blade faces Queens’ Tour champion Silver Wolf over 1200M in the Busan Ilbo Cup. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 and 11 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.
After spending the first part of 2017 in Dubai where he placed in Group 2 company, Power Blade ran 2nd to Japan’s Graceful Leap in the Korea Sprint. He went on to finish the year in style, winning a memorable Grand Prix Stakes over the longest race distance in Korea, 2300M, in December.
Although he skipped Dubai this year, the Busan Ilbo is his first start of 2018 but he went through trials in March and earlier this month, looking in good shape and he will be very hard to beat on Sunday.
Entering in good form though is Silver Wolf. The Aussie-bred 6-year-old mare by Orotorio, was 5th in the Korean Sprint and finished back down the track in the Grand Prix but has been spectacular in everything else though. She made a clean sweep of the Queens’ Tour series last year, including two wins at Busan and has begun her year with facile wins in the Donga Ilbo Cup in February and then in a handicap tune-up at this distance a month ago. Both Lee Hyo SIk on Power Blade and Kim Dong Soo on Silver Wolf are likely to employ similar tactics and ride patiently and it could be quite the finish.
There is plenty of other talent in the field too. Success Story and Perdido Pomeroy will likely set a hot early pace and the favourites will have to come past them while the dangerous Doraonpogyeongseon and Morning Daero are there as well.
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
After getting it all wrong on debut in January, (12) BAEKSAN FORCE was a much improved 2nd over the distance on March 25th. The wide draw shouldn’t matter, and she should have far too much for her rivals here. It’s just three-year-old fillies here and (4) GONG SAN has made a promising start, especially her 3rd place at 1300M on April 1st. She drops to the minimum distance for the first time today and looks the clear second-favourite. (2) HIN BYEOL and (9) I’M HAPPY have shown some glimpses of ability too while among the five first-timer starters, (10) L CHOICE looks the most progressive for now having won her trial last month.
|Selections||(12) Baeksan Force (4) Gong San (10) L Choice (2) Hin Byeol|
|Next Best||9, 1|
|Fast Start||4, 8, 9, 12|
Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Six debut-makers and six with at least one start behind them make up this race which is comprised of three-year-old colts and geldings. For the most part, we’re going to favour experience. (7) GANGHWA CHONGGAK and (12) HANSEN VOLT have the most of it with three starts apiece and both have a 3rd place finish to their names as well. Ganghwa Chonggak’s was at this distance while Hansen Volt steps up in trip for the first time and both can go well. (3) HANIL DALBIT was a good 5th on debut all the way back in January, It has been fifteen weeks since we saw him but if he runs the same way he did that day, he should be competitive. (10) MYEONGJIN MAN was a bit disappointing on debut, having won a trial leading up to it. Hopefully he will have come on for the experience and can improve here. We’d best pick one of the newcomers as well and (5) SOMETHING DELIGHT is the standout.
|Selections||(12) Hansen Volt (7) Ganghwa Chonggak (3) Hanil Dalbit (5) Something Delight|
|Next Best||10, 2|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 7|
Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(3) JUNGDONG JIJON has come close on a number of occasions, beaten only by some good horses in the tail end of last year and then running (admittedly a distant) 3rd behind Dokdo Jigi and Chambit on his only start of 2018 so far on April 1st. He surely has a win in him at some point and it could be here. Should he manage to get beaten again then (12) HAMBAK MISO was just a neck behind him in that April 1st race and could overturn the form while both (2) KING POSE and (11) GARA GARA GA are up in class following very useful wins at 1300M and 1200M respectively and should go close here. (4) MONEY ZIF was an also-ran in that April 1st race behind Jungdong Jijon but is worth another chance for a place today.
|Selections||(3) Jungdong Jijon (11) Gara Gara Ga (2) King Pose (12) Hambak Miso|
|Next Best||4, 10|
|Fast Start||6, 7, 8, 10|
Race 4: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(1) BLACK WIND come in seeking a hat-trick of wins following consecutive victories at 1000M, the latter of which was at this level. Her only previous try at further than the minimum distance didn’t go well but she looks ready for another go in this all-filly event. (10) BRAVE UP seemed to lose her way a bit at the end of last year but her latest two starts have been very encouraging with a 3rd and a 2nd, the latter at this distance and she could very well be the one to beat. (8) CHOROK JILJU beat three of these on the way to (more…)