It’s the Korean Oaks! The 2018 edition of the filly Classic takes place at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and has attracted an ultra-competitive sixteen-strong field to do battle over 1800M. The horse-by-horse preview is below as is race-by-race for both Busan and Seoul. Busan has 6 Sunday races from 12:40 to 17:10 while Seoul runs 11 from 10:45 to 18:00.
Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(5) HOTHAE and (7) A PURE GOOD MAN came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on June 10th. There was very little between them that day and that could be the case once more, this time with them battling it out for top honours with A Pure Good Man slightly favoured to get what would be his maiden win. (9) MACHO MYEONGUN was 4th that day but others may be more dangerous today. Peter Wolsley’s (1) THUNDER STRUCK was 2nd, albeit a long way back behind a good winner, at the distance on June 15th and should benefit from Fergus Sweeney riding today. (10) EURO SHINHWA is up in class following a goof win at this distance last month and can be competitive. (4) DAEDONG GISANG was slightly disappointing last start but come in following a couple of months off and can be given another chance.
|Selections||(7) A Pure Good Man (5) Hothae (1) Thunder Struck (10) Euro Shinhwa|
|Next Best||4, 6, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 5, 7|
Race 2: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
A winner on debut back in January, (1) MR. SCAT has subsequently been beaten twice when favourite, running 4th and 3rd in his latest two at 1200M and 1400M respectively. We’re going to persevere with him today, however, and it really should be third time lucky here. He’ll be close to the early pace and should be too strong late on. (8) COOL MINT finds himself up in class after back to back 2nd places. He hung outwards last time and if he can correct that today, can get close. (7) EXPRESSIVE demonstrated even worse manners when finishing 6th when favourite four weeks ago. He’s definitely talented though and will be backed to put things right here. (4) WHITE POINT has been slightly inconsistent recently but is rarely far away and the jockey change today could tempt. (3) BIG RED IJI resumes after a couple of months off and can get close.
|Selections||(1) Mr. Scat (7) Expressive (8) Cool Mint (4) White Point|
|Next Best||3, 9, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 8, 11|
Race 3: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(7) ORYONG comes in looking for a hat-trick of wins having prevailed over 1600M and 1300M in May and June. The latter was at this class and while he hung in throughout, was a comfortable enough winner and he’ll be hard to beat again. (9) STAR LINE enters having run a good 2nd at class and distance on June 10th and should be close again while (3) FINE POWER and (4) WINDY PARK both come in after running 4th in their latest efforts, the latter beaten by (11) EOROK at this distance. All three have placing chances here with Fine Power most favoured. (6) PRIME RACE is another who has been beaten by Eorok in recent outings but is form has picked up in his latest two with 2nd and 3rd and he is another who shouldn’t be too far away.
|Selections||(7) Oryong (6) Prime Race (11) Eorok (9) Star Line|
|Next Best||3, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 8|
Race 4: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(3) BANJIUI YEOJEONSA was a strong 2nd over 1400M last start on June 17th, continuing her recent upturn in form and a similar performance today can get her home in front. (7) V MAN has the scalps of several of these, including Banjiui Yeojeonsa, in his recent record. His latest race can written-off after he made a bad start and later lost more ground when clipping heels with another and he can be in the mix today. (2) CAPTAIN GUY is another of those who has finished behind V Man. That was on his latest start all the way back in April. He comes in here fresh and with chances to improve – earlier this year, he finished 5th of 8 in Busan’s Classic Trial and does have some ability. (4) JAYU DAERO and (5) WIN GO MAN look best of the rest.
|Selections||(3) Banjiui Yeojeonsa (7) V Man (2) Captain Guy (5) Win Go Man|
|Next Best||4, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 6|
Race 5: Class Open (1800M) The Korean Oaks (KOR G2) / Allowance / KRW 600 Million
- YEONGHUI SIDAE – The Hansen filly has won six of eleven starts up to a mile. She comes in having finished 4th at class 2 over 1400M on June 22nd but had a poor trip that day having been slow away. She will want to get on pace early here and if she does, she has a chance.
- SPECIAL STONE – Has won twice already over 1700M if only up to class 4 at Seoul. Beat Mone Flying comfortably last start. Trialled well at the end of June, distance suits and it’s not impossible. Wants to be close to the speed.
- MONE FLYING – Second trip to Busan having finished 7th in the KRA Cup Mile in April. Only one start since, running 2nd to Special Stone over 1700M in May. Settles towards the rear and a bit to find here.
- QUEEN OF CAPTAIN – Solitary victory was at 1000M last September. Has never raced at further than 1300M and enters off 2nd place at that distance at class 5 last time. A lot to find.
- YUHWI – One win from eight came at 1000M and she’s still rated at class 5. Latest was 3rd place at a mile a month ago and this is considerably stiffer.
- CATCH NINE – Stepped up to a mile for her latest start on June 3rd and got her maiden win at the fifth time of asking. It was an impressive performance and there’s nothing to suggest the extra distance won’t suit. Hasn’t raced above class 5 but has plenty of potential. Likely to be on the early pace.
- STAR CAT – Class 3 winner over 1400M at Seoul a month ago, her third win on her eighth start. That was the furthest she’s run so the distance will be new for her, but a top jockey comes down from the capital to ride.
- UJU DAEWANG – Won three consecutive races between December and March and ran well when 3rd of 7 on her first try at this distance on June 10th with Blue Flag behind her in 4th. She led for much of that race before being passed at the top of stretch and fought on gamely.
- PEACE TOUR – Three wins from eleven came in consecutive races between February and April and she enters after back to back 3rd place finishes over 1200M and 1300M at class 4. She’s been versatile in her tactics so far and could have more improvement in her.
- BLUE FLAG – “Full” sister to Gyeongbudaero, the 2014 Grand Prix Stakes winner, she began her career with four consecutive wins up to a mile and class 4. Her two class 3 outings have seen her come up short though, both times as favourite and he was beaten by Uju Daewang at this distance last time. The form being overturned can’t be ruled out.
- GYOHAKSANGJANG – Stablemate of Blue Flag, she was a good winner over a mile at class 4 in April. Stepped up to this distance on May 11th and ran 2nd to the exciting four-year-old Rock Hard Seven. She was well beaten but that was no disgrace and she will be expected to go very close here for a trainer who has won the race five times.
- MAGIC TEN – Won four of her first five starts up to 1700M but has met her match at class 3 in Seoul. Weakened to 6th having led last time out at 1700M, she will need to improve here.
- SEOURUI BYEOL – Well beaten in Seoul’s Classic Trial, back in March but has come back into form in three outings since then, culminating in a win over 1400M on June 10th. Has raced at 1700M in the past although didn’t impress and likely plenty to find here.
- NIKE STREET – Burst onto the scene with an emphatic win last autumn but was beaten in her only two subsequent runs as a juvenile before being out for six months. She’s run well since returning though, winning both of two starts, including last time at 1700M. A chance under former top Busan jockey Kim Yong Geun.
- YEONGCHEON DERBY – Half-sister to 2015 Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace. Four wins from five starts with her only defeat coming in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown against the colts. Dropped back to 1400M for her re-appearance which she won, she has won at a mile before and the distance should be fine. She is a front-runner though so will need to overcome the wide draw.
- FIRE WIND – The only filly to have taken her chance in the Derby – she finished 7th – she is a class 3 winner at this distance in Seoul. The draw is not ideal, but it can be overcome, and she has a real chance here.
VERDICT: Wildly competitive race which could go any number of ways. All things considered, from what we’ve seen so far, (15) YEONGCHEON DERBY is probably the best horse in the race – not many of the others could have got as close as she did in the KRA Cup Mile – but that doesn’t mean she’ll win. Her first time at the distance and needing to overcome a wide draw to get to where she wants to be counting against her, but class may well win out. The Kim Young Kwan factor could see (11) GYOHAKSANGJANG beginning as favourite and she should be spot on for this while his (10) BLUE FLAG has strong claims too as does (8) UJU DAEWANG, who beat her last time out. Up from Seoul, (14) NIKE STREET looks a big danger. We’ll go with (1) YEONGHUI SIDAE though. Not yet proven at the distance but she has beaten some good horses and ran on really well despite the poor trip last time. It could be a first Classic winner for her sire Hansen.
|Selections||(1) Yeonghui Sidae (15) Yeongcheon Derby (11) Gyohaksangjang (14) Nike Street|
|Next Best||10, 8, 16|
|Fast Start||2, 7, 8, 12, 15|
Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
(9) KING OF ACE set off in front of Cheongdam Dokki in the Busan Mayor’s Cup over 1800M two weeks ago but ended up reeled in well before the line and finishing 7th of 13. His is a career that has been beset by injury, but he gets dropped back to a sprint distance today and should be a very different prospect to when he was beaten by several of these on his return from his latest layoff in May. With a good start – which he didn’t get that day – he can win. (4) ADELEUI CHUKJE finished 3rd to King Of Ace at a mile in early June and can go close today. (1) BANJIUI JEWANG was further back in that race but was a class and distance winner as recently as May and can be considered. Similarly, (2) SUCCESS (more…)