Month: May 2018

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (May 20)

Sunday sees a big day of racing at both Seoul and Busan. In the capital there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00, while at Busan there are 6 from 12:40 to 17:05.


Moon Se Young bagged 2 winners on his Saturday return. Can he add to them on Sunday? (Pic: Ross Holburt)

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

(9) STRONG LIGHT comes in off a 3rd and a 2nd in her latest two and was beaten just a neck last time. True, both those races were weaker than this, but she looks to be improving and is a strong contender. That’s the same for (4) BROWN ROSE whose improved 2nd last time was in weaker company, but he can maintain his upward momentum. (1) BLUE ANNA can be forgiven her last start when she only managed 7th when well-backed and should have enough about her to go better here. (3) TWO M OKAY was a decent enough 5th on debut in March and could build on that here. (10) JIGONG JILJU is more experienced and while never going to be a star, has demonstrated the ability to get in the placing mix in company like this.

Selections (9) Strong Light (1) Blue Anna (4) Brown Rose (3) Two M Okay
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 1, 3, 11

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

Not a strong race this. (2) ROYAL PRINCE enters off the back of a 3rd and a pair of 4th place finishes and with David Breux in the saddle for the first time, could step up and be the one to beat here. He’ll be on pace early and could go all the way. (8) HWANGGEUM JUMEONI and (9) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG have both been a touch inconsistent but have shown ability and should be dangers. (3) BRAVO ILSIN has offered a couple of glimpses across three starts so far and can improve while (5) MAIN EVENT looks the best of a limited rest.

Selections (2) Royal Prince (8) Hwanggeum Jumeoni (9) Baekduui Jeongsang (3) Bravo Ilsin
Next Best 5, 7
Fast Start 2, 6, 9

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

(7) DANCING BLADE was just beaten a neck at the distance on her first try at this class last time and she’ll likely arrive late on the scene in this all-filly race once more and this time go one better. (9) DAECHEONUI SARANG was well back that day, fading having led early on. She is better than that though and should be given another chance. (1) BAEKDU MIR is yet to win in nine starts but has a habit of coming 2nd and could well repeat that here. (2) SEOUL BOLT too has more ability than her latest efforts suggest and could challenge for the places while (10) CAMP TOUCH, with Moon Se Young aboard, is another who can be considered for improvement.

Selections (7) Dancing Blade (1) Baekdu Mir (9) Daecheonui Sarang (2) Seoul Bolt
Next Best 10, 6
Fast Start 2, 3, 6, 9

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

(8) HAEKHANGGONGMOHAM beat three of these on his was to his second consecutive runner-up finish on April 22nd and the Sidney’s Candy gelding has every chance of going one better here. If he is to find one too quick again, then it could be (6) HURACAN. He’s up in class having won two of five to date and looks to have plenty more in him. He’ll be on pace early as will (7) MAGIC AI, who beat Huracan when they raced each other at class 5 in March and should have a big say too. (2) AEMA BISANG and (4) CLEO look best of the rest.

Selections (6) Huracan (8) Haekhanggongmoham (7) Magic Ai (2) Aema Bisang
Next Best 4, 9
Fast Start 2, 6, 7, 10

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

(3) BAEKSAN GUNJU has been a touch inconsistent across eight outings to date but was a strong 2nd at class and distance on April 14th and if he runs to his potential, he should have enough to win this. (11) THE JIJON and Moon Se Young renew their partnership – the jockey guided the Jimmy Creed colt to his sole victory so far and he can overcome the wide draw to get on pace early and be involved at the business end. (10) CAPTAIN (more…)


Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 19)

Playtime is over. The Seoul jockey room has had its fun over the past couple of months but the big boys are back in town on Saturday with both Moon Se Young (jaw and ribs) and Kim Yong Geun (ankle) back in the saddle after breaking bones earlier in the year. There are 11 Saturday races in the capital from 10:45 to 18:00.


Back – Moon Se Young

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

Top jockeys Moon Se Young and Kim Yong Geun return after lengthy injury absences and its Kim who should get back in the winner’s circle first as he rides (10) SIMON FRUIT, set to be favourite here. He was 2nd on debut at this distance before coming up short when favourite on his reappearance two weeks ago but dropped back to 1000M today, should have too much. (1) DAECHEON HERO was an improved 2nd on what was his third outing a month ago and he looks clear second best here. As for the rest, they are going to need to improve. (7) INDIAN ECO and (8) GANGSANUI ACHIM have offered glimpse of talent across their starts so far and could go close while (11) SOKBO ONGJU hasn’t been too far away in her latest two and could play a role.

Selections (10) Simon Fruit (1) Daecheon Hero (7) Indian Eco (8) Gangsanui Achim
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 7

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

Three-year-old maidens only here. (3) RAON ZEUS was 2nd in a close and quick race at the distance on what was his second start on March 11th. He returns after ten weeks and should be on pace from the start and should win this. (4) HANIL DREAM just missed out by a neck on what for him too was a second career outing four weeks ago and he’ll likely be the main danger. Those are the only two who have raced more than once. (8) GWACHEON JANGSA and (9) MACH CHEONHA didn’t disgrace themselves on their respective debuts and can improve today while among the four first-time starters, (11) GREEN PARK looks most promising based on trials.

Selections (3) Raon Zeus (4) Hanil Dream (8) Gwacheon Jangsa (9) Mach Cheonha
Next Best 11, 1
Fast Start 3, 8

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

(5) HANSEN BAROWS drops back in trip following a couple of useful efforts around 1700M. He’s drawn in the middle today so is likely to look to get on speed right from the start and today could be his day. (6) CUPID GANGJA and (11) BAEKDUI TAEYANG both come in with recent form reading positively, the latter looking very much like he’s figuring things out and while he was twelve-lengths behind a good winner in 3rd last time, he looks the biggest threat. (2) HUIMANG STAR was 2nd at the distance last time and while that race was slightly weaker, could repeat here. (1) POX RANGER is best of the rest.

Selections (5) Hansen Barows (11) Baekdui Taeyang (6) Cupid Gangja (2) Huimang Star
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 3, 5, 8

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) OK DEURIM beat Raon Zeus, who we saw in race 2, on her way to her maiden win in March. She was favourite on her first try at this level on April 8th but could only manage 2nd place over this distance having led for much of the race She’s well worth another chance today. It’s a competitive race though.  (3) VICAR SCOOP finally makes her class 5 debut after having to be scratched a couple of weeks ago – she was a very good winner at the distance in February. (6) GLOBAL NEWS beat (5) J.S. STORM as the pair ran 3rd and 5th respectively at class and distance and both should be a factor here. (4) MALAKAS and (7) FLYING JOY ran together last time and both those also have the ability to go well. (1) BEST VICTORY is up in class following a maiden score last time but perhaps has a bit more to find.

Selections (2) Ok Deurim (6) Global News (3) Vicar Scoop (5) J.S. Storm
Next Best 4, 7, 1
Fast Start 2, 5, 6, 9

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Wide open race for fillies and mares only which combines some experienced winners with a couple of imports making just their first and second starts. (3) GEOSEON MAPUNG certainly caught the eye with a five-length win at the end of March. She made all and has claims to repeat. (11) JEONGSANG MUJEOK was a three-length winner at class and distance last time and will be in the frame also likely from the front. (1) DALLYEORA LEO (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 18)

It’s been a week of torrential rain on the peninsula but the worst of it should be over now and we’re ready for a big weekend of racing. Things get underway at Busan on Friday with 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00:

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

Three-year-old maidens to begin with and among them there are four first-timer starts along with seven who have raced at least once before. Of that latter group, Bart Rice’s (4) FELICE was 2nd, just beaten half a length, on what was his second start a month ago. It was a decent race and big improvement from his debut and he could have too much here. Among those previously raced ones, (8) DRAGON NINE and (6) MUJEOK BEAT perhaps have the best chance of improving, but a couple of the debut-makers will be backed. From Peter Wolsley’s stable, (2) CHEONNYEONUI ACHIM trialled up nicely while the track’s top trainer Kim Young Kwan sends out (3) CHEONGDAM BLADE. Kim puts Fergus Sweeney on one of his horses for the first time and the colt also showed some competence in trials and is likely to be well supported here.

Selections (4) Felice (2) Cheonnyeonui Achim (3) Cheongdam Blade (8) Dragon Nine
Next Best 6, 11
Fast Start 2, 7, 8

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

More maidens here and plenty in the hunt. It’s been a stormy week on the Korean peninsula and the aptly named pair (2) STORM GOLD and (5) KKEUTPAN STORM both have claims. The former has been close on a few occasions already and was a narrowly beaten 3rd last time out at this distance. He can get on pace from gate 2 and could lead all the way. Kkeutpan Storm has run just the once but did well off low expectations, being beaten just a nose into 2nd over 1200M. It wasn’t an especially strong race, but neither is this ad the extra half-furlong shouldn’t hurt. (3) GOLDEN WAVES and (11) MR. COLORS came home 2nd and 4th respectively when they raced each other over this distance on April 20th and both can go close again with Golden Waves especially looking like he has a win in him sooner rather than later. (1) SILENT PARK can build on a promising debut last month and (9) SILLAUI SIDAE is another who can’t be ruled out of a place.

Selections (3) Golden Waves (2) Storm Gold (5) Kkeutpan Storm (1) Silent Park
Next Best 11, 9
Fast Start 2, 5, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(5) PARK MINISTER comes in off the back of consecutive 3rd place finishes at 1300M, the latter of which was on a very wet track in early April. She ran on nicely and should appreciate the extended trip of a mile today and is the one to beat. (10) MACH MAJESTIC, who had previously been beaten by Park Minister, certainly appreciated the extra distance when she stepped up to a mile last time, recording a much-improved 3rd in April 27th and she can build on it here. (8) EXPRESSIVE returns from exactly six months out and trialled competently in April. He had shown some ability before his layoff and can be considered here. (9) SPERO SPERA was totally unfancied on debut last month but managed a decent 3rd and can build on that. Solitary debut-maker (1) GIJEOGUI JEOKTOMA is from a good stable and trialled adequately enough.

Selections (5) Park Minister (10) Mach Majestic (9) Spero Spera (8) Expressive
Next Best 1, 4
Fast Start 7

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) DAEDONG GISANG was 3rd over 1300M on his first try at this level on April 22nd. He showed at the front for much of the race and should do the same today with a good chance of going one better. (6) MR. SCAT was a winner on debut back in January at 1300M and finally returns up in class here. He’s trialled twice in the last couple of weeks, looking sharp enough on both occasions to enter the equation here. He’ll be challenging Daedong Gisang for the lead early as will (11) LUCKY KOREA, who also returns for the first time since January. He too is up in class, and also in distance after a three-length (more…)

Ecton Blade & Franco Da Silva Win The 2018 Korean Derby

Ecton Blade (Ecton Park) won the 2018 Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse Park on Sunday afternoon.



Pics by Ross Holburt

How they went:

1.  Ecton Blade – Settled prominently behind Hiddden Champ and had things his own way. Once he struck the front he never looked like being beaten

2. Mask – Really good performance, finishing well down the outside for a fine 2nd. He’ll be a danger in the Minister’s Cup too.

3. Choinma – Made for two Seoul horses in the top three. Raced in midfield and kept to the rail in the straight holding off Divide Wind by a neck.

4. Divide Wind – Began poorly and never looked settled. Clearly considered the second string from his stable despite his KRA Cup Mile win. Jockey – a very good jockey – slightly fortunate to only get a three-day suspension for the incident which saw World Sun cut-off in the home straight.

5. World Sun – Settled at the back as expected but just as in the KRA Cup Mile got a bad trip. Had the door slammed shut by Divide Wind as he was trying to find a run in the home straight. Would never have got to the winner though.

6. Hiddden Champ – Looked very coltish in the parade ring and sweated up badly on the way to the gate. Went to the lead as expected but never looked truly settled and faded when put under pressure.

7. Fire Wind – Close to the pace in the early part of the race but found the competition too stiff at the business end of the race. All being well she should be back for the Oaks.

8. Clean Up Teukgeup – Made little impression throughout.

9. Icheon Ssal – Last all the way around until passing a tiring Let’s Yeongcheon in the closing stages.

10. Let’s Yeongcheon – Tried to keep up early but was under pressure early on and weakened to last before the final furlong.

Korean Derby Day 2018: Race-By-Race Preview (May 13)

It’s the 2nd leg of the 2018 Korean Triple Crown as 10 horses line up for the 21st running of the Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. And Divide Wind will join his stablemate Ecton Blade, who he beat by a length to capture the first jewel in the crown, the KRA Cup Mile, as favourite. The big race is the highlight of an 11-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 which also includes the ARF Commemorative Race, to mark the opening of the 37th Asian Racing Conference. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.


Divide Wind won the KRA Cup Mile. Can he add the 2nd leg of the 2018 Triple Crown? (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Divide Wind and Ecton Blade have been joined on the trip to Seoul by World Sun and Hiddden Champ. World Sun was a fast finishing 3rd in the Cup Mile and could challenge the two favourites here. As for Seoul, the challenge is led by Mask, who also ran well in the Mile for 4th and an upset is not impossible. Here is the race-by-race preview of all 17 Derby Day races at both Seoul & Busan with horse-by-horse comments for the ARF and Derby races?

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) SEUNGRI PLUS will be strong favourite to score here, having been getting progressively closer across his latest outings. He was 2nd to a good winner at this distance last time on April 7th and should have too much today. (4) MAIN RACER has shown some ability across three starts so far and can build on the 5th he managed last time while (5) RAON OPTIMUS enters after back to back 4th place finishes and should be looking to at least match here. (6) BARAM KING and (8) MAJJABEUN SON are others who can be considered.

Selections (1) Seungri Plus (6) Baram King (4) Main Racer (8) Majjabeun Son
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 1, 4, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) BLACK SPIRIT was an improved 3rd at 1300M on her last start at the beginning of March and returns here after a couple of months off with solid claims. She can come from just off the pace and finish strongly. (8) SANTOS showed prominently before weakening over 1300M two weeks ago. He drops back slightly in trip here and may benefit. (2) CLEAN FLOWER showed some signs of life with 5th place at 1300M last time and gets Manoel Nunes on board today. (6) ARGO UNIQUE and (11) DONGBANG JIJU are others with potential to improve on recent outings.

Selections (7) Black Spirit (8) Santos (2) Clean Flower (11) Dongbang Jiju
Next Best 6, 1
Fast Start 8, 9, 10, 11

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

(8) MACHA BUCHA ran a close 2nd at class and distance on April 7th having been prominent throughout and leading briefly close to home. He can go one better this time. (2) BOLD NINER comes in following back to back 4th place finishes at this distance and at 1200M and surely comes close again while (12) LEAD UP can overcome the widest draw to get close to the pace early and can match the 3rd she managed last tie. (4) EVER A ONE beat Macha Bucha at the distance two starts ago and while he didn’t go well at 1300M on reappearance last month, can be given another chance today. (9) STIRLING returns to action after a three-month absence and can be considered too.

Selections (8) Macha Bucha (2) Bold Niner (4) Ever A One (12) Lead Up
Next Best 9, 7, 1
Fast Start 8, 9, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) L CAR romped home to easily win his second start on April 14th. It was at 1000M, so he is up in both class and distance today, but he could well have enough to prevail again. (3) EAGLE SKY could be the one to beat though. He improved significantly last start on April 15th when ridden by Johan Victoire for the first time, just beaten half a length at this distance and looks set to go well here. (7) EUMAK DAEJANG beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd at 1300M on April 14th and should have the beating of plenty once more. One of those behind him that day was (1) REBECCA and the slight drop in trip may benefit her today. (9) SPECIAL LIGHT ran 4th in a solid race at 1300M last month and is another to consider. He usually comes from well off the pace so will need things to set up just right for him. (4) CHEON MONG is up in class after a somewhat unexpected win at 1300M and while he perhaps has a bit more to find, shouldn’t be ruled out completely.

Selections (3) Eagle Sky (8) L Car (9) Special Light (1) Rebecca
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 1, 4, 7

Busan Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) HOTHAE is up in class following a convincing win over this distance on April 13th. He made all that day and could well do so again here. It won’t be easy. (3) HANGIL too steps up following her maiden win which came at the fourth time of asking. Her triumph was over 1000M, so she faces an increase in distance as well but should be able to cope with it. (5) GEUJIKOJI had a hard time at a mile last time but should be more comfortable dropped back today. (1) BLUE DANCER defied her odds to run a good 2nd at class and distance three weeks ago and will not more respect here. (9) SWEET MEMORY steps up in trip after a 3rd and a 4th behind some useful ones in her latest two and can come under consideration.

Selections (7) Hothae (3) Hangil (9) Sweet Memory (1) Blue Dancer
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 1, 3, 7, 9

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) JANGSAN WILD has won two from three so far and is up in both class and distance today. He had to work for his win last time but looks to have scope for more improvement and he’s the one they’ll need to beat today. He had to battle last time though and if the additional furlong is a concern then (6) DAESEUNG BIBEOB is the one to turn to. He drops back in trip after some good efforts around two turns and will surely run on strongly. (7) TEUKBYEOL STAR still somehow remains a maiden. She’s a good filly and rarely misses the money but can’t quite make the breakthrough. That will probably be the case again, but she’ll be firmly in the placing hunt. (5) FINE CHAMP and (10) SPEED CHEONGNYONG, the latter up in class, both enter in good form and should also be involved.

Selections (1) Jangsan Wild (6) Daeseung Bibeob (7) Teukbyeol Star (10) Speed Cheongnyong
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 1, 2, 9

Busan Race 2:  Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(9) MAKGANG BOLT has won his latest two in decent fashion, his latest at this class. He’s a front-runner and with an apprentice keeping his carried weight nice and low, he has every chance of making it three in a row. (2) YUKRYONGI ran poorly when favourite last time out four weeks ago but had been showing enough prior to that to suggest he’s worth another chance today and he should be a threat. (11) QUEEN THE QUEEN is up in class following back to back runner-up finishes, both at this distance. She’s never been worse than 3rd and despite the step up in level, she can maintain that record today. (10) CHARTERED DREAM came home 2nd and 5th respectively when they raced each other at (more…)

1st Day Winner for Fergus Sweeney At Busan

It was a good start to life in Korea for jockey Fergus Sweeney at Busan on Friday. He rode Rock Hard Seven (Rock Hard Ten) to victory for trainer Bart Rice in Busan race 10:

Sweeney had earlier ridden Thomas Gillespie’s Great Rock (Ecton Park) to 2nd place in race 9 and made all to win by nine-lengths on Rock Hard Seven, who was notching his 4th win in 6 career starts.

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 12)

It’s Korean Derby Eve! And also the eve of the 37th Asian Racing Conference which kicks off with the Derby on Sunday afternoon. Before that, however, there is a full Saturday card at Seoul with 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00:

ARC Logo

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

Three-year-old fillies only to kick things off and it is ultra-competitive with at least seven of the eleven having claims to win. (2) YONGUI JUDO is perhaps favourite, coming in off a 2nd place at the distance a month ago, having led for much of the race and is well drawn to lead again. (8) RISING SOCKS ran 2nd on debut on April 15th despite hanging in badly throughout the race. She went back to trial last week, and she has to have claims here. (6) CHAPEL QUEEN was an improved 3rd last time and can look to match or better while (4) LEADER’S CAMP and (5) KAILLUM YEOJE have also shown glimpses of ability. Simon Foster’s (10) SURFING POINT has also been showing signs of figuring things out, if not much in terms of speed.

Selections (8) Rising Socks (6) Chapel Queen (2) Yongui Judo (10) Surfing Point
Next Best 4, 5, 3
Fast Start 2, 4, 11

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

Three-year-old maidens here. (1) GANGHO GAECHEOK was an improved 2nd on what was just his second career start on April 14th. It wasn’t a strong race, even for the level, but neither is this and he can win today. (11) AQUA STROM beat (5) ACE CANT as the pair ran 3rd and 6th over 1200M on April 14th. Ace Cant had previously run 3rd in tougher competition in February and both can be involved here.  (2) HALLA DAERO was a disappointing also-ran behind Gangho Gaecheok last start but had hinted at some ability in two prior starts so can be given another chance. (3) ADELE JEONGSANG looks the best of the rest.

Selections (1) Gangho Gaecheok (11) Aqua Strom (5) Ace Cant (2) Halla Daero
 Next Best 3, 9
Fast Start 2, 10

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

After finishing 2nd at odds in excess of 100/1 on debut in early March, (1) JUNGLE BEAT could only manage 3rd when odds-on favourite on his return later that month. A finish in the top three today will see him up in class and it really should be a case of getting out of the inside gate and into the early lead from where he shouldn’t be beaten. (3) ULTRA MISSILE was an improved 3rd in a weak contest a month ago and is a potential danger while (5) GLOBAL KINGDOM raced a couple of times last autumn without distinction but trialled nicely at the end of April and could go close first-up. (10) SONGAM GONGJU was poor last time but did show some ability on debut so can be given another chance while among the three first-time starters, (9) DAMON ANGEL, looks most promising.

Selections (1) Jungle Beat (3) Ultra Missile (5) Global Kingdom (9) Damon Angel
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 1, 3, 9, 10

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) GEUMA THUNDER was disappointing when well backed over 1200M last month but has come close on several occasions now and dropped back to the minimum today, gets another chance to get her maiden win. (12) ARGO ROCKET was a comfortable winner at the distance on debut five weeks ago and while up in class here, should be a threat. (4) CHEONJI BOBAE ended a string of four consecutive 2nd place finishes with a lacklustre effort at this distance at the beginning of April. She got a bad start that day and with a better one this time should be closer. (10) DALDARI and (11) YEONGWONHAN SUNGAN are others in the hunt.

Selections (3) Geuma Thunder (12) Argo Rocket (4) Cheonji Bobae (10) Daldari
Next Best 11, 9
Fast Start 3, 4, 7, 11

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

Wide open race with any number in the hunt. (6) SEOURI BYEOL ran in the Sports Seoul Cup Classic trial in March and while he was over-matched – though he did beat (1) ÉCLAIR BEAUTY – he returned to run 4th in a quick race over 1300M on April 14th and has as much chance as any here. (2) ROYAL BOKSUNI was 3rd three weeks ago at the distance, leading until the closing stages and should be on pace again with every chance (more…)