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|
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 score at 1000M and should be competitive here. (1) NURI ACHIM and (4) JANGHAN JILJU are others who have the ability to at least make the placing frame.
|Selections||(8) Daedong Gisang (6) Mr. Scat (11) Lucky Korea (4) Janghan Jilju|
|Next Best||1, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 8, 11|
Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(9) CATCH NINE has raced three times and finished runner-up three times. They’ve all been at this distance and last time, his first try at this level. He’s led at some point all three times and should do once more and he could well make the breakthrough here. Equally, he could well finish 2nd again. That’s because (6) CHEOLBI, a convincing five-length winner at the distance on April 20th, steps up in class here and should be dangerous. (1) YEONGGWANGUI CHIC was a similarly good winner three weeks ago and has claims too. (2) DANCING VICAR has a 3rd and 4th in two tries at this level so far and can aim to at least repeat. (7) AREUMDAUN OECHIM beat a couple of these on his way to 2nd at class and distance on April 20th and is another who can compete for places. (8) YEOWANGUI JEONGWON was a surprise class and distance winner on March 11th. The odds are against a repeat, but it can’t be completely ruled out.
|Selections||(9) Catch Nine (6) Cheolbi (2) Dancing Vicar (1) Yeonggwangui Chic|
|Next Best||7, 8|
|Fast Start||8, 9, 12|
Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
One of these class 4 races that pits locally bred horses who have won their way up from class 6 against imports who have had to begin at this level. (2) UNSEOK comes in seeking a hat-trick of victories having won his latest two in fine fashion, including a four-length triumph at this level over 1300M on April 15th. He can set up camp behind the early lead here and could well be too strong once more at the business end of the race. (3) ICE LEG also comes in looking for three in a row. He’s up in class and enters following fifteen weeks off but has a chance. (8) WHISPER WISH was a good 2nd over 1300M last start and can be a threat. (1) SEOGANGDAERO drops back in trip after recent efforts over a mile and should be involved. Thomas Gillespie sends out one of the two debut-makers. Warrior’s Reward colt (7) TECHNOCRAT is four-years-old but trialled very promisingly at the end of March and could go well first-up.
|Selections||(2) Unseok (3) Ice Leg (8) Whisper Wish (1) Seogangdaero|
|Next Best||7, 11|
|Fast Start||4, 5|
Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(10) PEACE TOUR has won three in a row, beating two of these at 1300M at this class on his way to the latest of them three weeks ago. The company looks slightly stiffer today but making it four isn’t impossible. The principle threat – and likely favourite – is (3) CHEOGANG BULLET. True, he’s just come up slightly short when market leader in his latest two outings but he’s back in trip today can win. (2) GO JJANG was 3rd, less than length behind Peace Tour, last time and can get close once more. (8) ADELEUI BOM and (9) DORAON GUNHAM have both proven themselves capable competitors at this level and should be looking to find the place.
|Selections||(3) Choegang Bullet (10) Peace Tour (2) Go Jjang (9) Doraon Gunham|
|Next Best||8, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 4|
Race 8: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(3) CHEONNYEONUI BADA is a winner of two from four so far and ground out a hard-fought win by a nose at this distance last start on April 6th. She’s up in class today but Peter Wolsley’s filly has every chance of finishing on top again. She could get an uncontested lead and go all the way. (1) HEAD TO HEAD beat two of these on his way to a much-improved 2nd on just his 2nd start on April 15th. He’s up in trip today and could be competitive again. (5) IRON COR made his debut in that race and came a promising 5th. At the other end of the experience spectrum is (7) WONDERFUL CAPTAIN. He makes his 49th appearance today and comes in having registered decent 3rd places in his latest two with claims of matching or bettering them here. He’ll settle at the back and pick off plenty in the straight. (9) RISING PRINCE also has plenty of experience and enters with recent form reading well and should be considered.
|Selections||(3) Cheonnyeonui Bada (1) Head To Head (7) Wonderful Captain (9) Rising Prince|
|Next Best||5, 4|
Race 9: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Nice little race this with a quartet of promising up and comers – not all of them young – filling out our top picks. (2) CHAMPAGNE PARTY has won three of five so far and been runner-up in the other two. She got the best of a really tight finish last time at the distance and while she is up in class today, the proverbial corks can be popping at the end of this. She’ll try to do it gate to wire. So will (4) BUGYEONG DAEBAK. She was a good class and distance winner last time, scoring for the fourth time in six attempts and will be a danger here. (8) ZENITH COUNTY has had an interrupted career so far. He’s won four of his nine starts across a period of almost two years and is two runs into his latest comeback. He was a touch disappointing in a challenging race last time but can be given another chance here. (1) CHODONG SKY completes the top four. He’s won three of six but races for the first time since last August. He’s “won” two trials in preparing for this and can be considered. As for the rest of them, (7) OCEAN LINE perhaps has the best chance of improving.
|Selections||(2) Champagne Party (4) Bugyeong Daebak (1) Chodong Sky (8) Zenith County|
|Next Best||7, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 8|
Race 10: Class 2 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
(4) CAPTAIN FORCE was 2nd in Busan’s Classic Trial race in March but didn’t get to try his luck in the Triple Crown races to date as a result of his trainer running two others (in Korea, an individual trainer is allowed to run no more than two horses in any one race). Instead, on KRA Cup Mile weekend, has was a facile winner over 1400M at class 3 and while up in class and in distance today, he’ll likely take some beating. (1) MUHAN YEOLJEONG has run well in tough company lately and probably has the best chance of stopping the favourite. He’ll likely try and dictate the pace here. (3) COWBOY CAPTAIN can be forgiven his latest run, his first back following a lengthy absence, and gets another chance. (6) TRIPLE PARTY comes in following three consecutive 3rd place finishes in good company each time and can match today. (11) CHOEGANG DREAM looks best of the rest.
|Selections||(4) Captain Force (1) Muhan Yeoljeong (6) Triple Party (3) Cowboy Captain|
|Next Best||11, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 10|