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 STORY has seemingly lost his way of late but shouldn’t be written-off just yet. (10) MORNING DAERO and (11) USEUNG LINE are others firmly in the hunt in a competitive finale.
|Selections||(9) King Of Ace (4) Adeleui Chukje (2) Success Story (1) Banjiui Jewang|
|Next Best||10, 11, 8|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 5, 6, 8|
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Weak maiden for fillies only to begin with and (1) DAMON ANGEL has probably shown the most promise among them. She’s raced just twice finishing midfield on both occasions but in slightly better company than this and with just a little bit of improvement, she can win. She hasn’t led in either of those but there’s no reason to hang around here and she could lead all the way. (2) JOEUN NADEURI is yet to finish any higher than 3rd in twelve attempts but she’s been close in her latest two. Manoel Nunes partners her for the first time and she should aim for a career-best finish. (3) STEEL RUN has offered a couple of glimpses of ability while (5) GEUMBIT HWANHYANG has been wildly inconsistent but can beat a few of these.
|Selections||(1) Damon Angel (2) Joeun Nadeuri (3) Steel Run (5) Geumbit Hwanhyang|
|Fast Start||1, 4|
Race 2: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) ROMAN BLADE progressed across four starts to achieve her maiden win on June 9th, scoring by two lengths over this distance. She’s up in class here but if she maintains her trajectory of improving slightly each time, then she can win again. (7) MALAKAS was a winner on debut all the way back last August and while it has taken him some time to come to grips with this level, he enters with his recent form reading well. He generally finds a couple too quick – and that may well be the case again – but he looks good for another place. (1) SERA KHAN is two races into a comeback following a lengthy spell and looks to be getting closer while (8) THUNDER GREAT and (9) HUIMANG STAR both find themselves up at this level despite remaining maidens but neither should be out of their depth.
|Selections||(2) Roman Blade (7) Malakas (1) Sera Khan (8) Thunder Great|
|Next Best||9, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 6|
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(2) SUJEBI ran a much improved 3rd four weeks ago, just missing out on 2nd place by a neck and with Johan Victoire riding for the first time, he can get to the front from the gate and look to lead all the way. Aside from on his debut, (3) ADELEUI KKUM has been consistently close. He has a 3rd place to his name at this distance and he should run on well late in the race. (1) SEUNGRI PLUS actually finished ahead of Adeleui Kkum when they raced each other back in March. He’s been a little hit and miss across three efforts since but is the only horse in the race to have recorded an 2nd place and can be respected. He will challenge Sujebi for the early lead. (6) GLORY VERN and (7) I AM WINNER, the latter of whom may need a name change soon, should be in the placing hunt.
|Selections||(3) Adeleui Kkum (2) Sujebi (1) Seungri Plus (7) I Am Winner|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 6, 7|
Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Small field but plenty of them have hopes. (1) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG was promoted to this class with victory over 1300M in May and he followed it up with an impressive 2nd place over the same distance four weeks ago, exceeding expectations. He drops back slightly in distance today and should be on the early speed with solid chances of winning. There’s little to choose between him and (5) THE FINAL. The filly is yet to win but has never finished worse than 3rd in five career starts. She should certainly maintain that latter record today and she has claims on the victory. She led for much of her last start before weakening a little in the closing stages for 3rd and she could get it right this time. (7) CHEONHA HYEONGGUK is another who comes in following some near-misses at this class and should be close while (6) JUMBO CAPTAIN is up in class today after a good win at this distance on June 10th and should be competitive.
|Selections||(5) The Final (1) Baekduui Jeongsang (7) Cheonha Hyeongguk (6) Jumbo Captain|
|Next Best||4, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 5|
Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Luigi Riccardi’s stable has had an exceptional strike-rate over the past couple of months and they only send out one horse this entire weekend. That’s (10) MONEY CAMP, who returned from three months off to strike by seven-lengths at this distance on June 16th. Up in class today, he can win again, regardless of the widest gate. (5) MAGIC AI was 4th but close in a tight finish at class and distance last start. She comes back following eight weeks off and is a live hope as is (2) OUR CAT, who steps back in trip today after some decent showings at 1200M. (4) HALO BIRD has plenty of experience at this level and can beat plenty while the wildcard is (8) CUPID DOCTOR. She races for the first time since January having won back to back races at the turn of the year to get promoted to this level. She put in an average performance in a trial at the end of June but if she shows anything like her winter form, must have a chance.
|Selections||(10) Money Camp (5) Magic Ai (8) Cupid Doctor (2) Our Cat|
|Next Best||4, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 6, 8|
Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(3) STRONG CAPTAIN and (4) WILD DRAGON came home 3rd and 4th with a length between them when they raced each other at class and distance on June 16th. They have differing styles with Wild Dragon a front-runner and Strong Captain more patient, but they should come together at some point again today and either one could win it. We’ll stick with Strong Captain. (5) BAEKDU POWER had a bad day at the office last time out but steps back up to a distance at which he holds a 2nd place finish, albeit at class 6, and he can aim to at least match that today. Similarly, (1) ASTER only beat one home on his first try at this class three weeks ago but is better than that and worthy of another chance. (7) FINE HEART is still seeking a maiden win and is sent up to try two turns for the first time. It may well suit.
|Selections||(3) Strong Captain (4) Wild Dragon (5) Baekdu Power (7) Fine Heart|
|Next Best||1, 8|
|Fast Start||4, 7|
Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(5) GEUMBIRANG won three races in a row between February and April, including two at 1700M. He saw his streak come to an end with a three-length reversal to the talented Wonderful Jackpot at the end of May but returns here, dropped back in trip, following seven weeks off as the one they need to beat. He’ll settle in midfield and should be too strong in the closing stages. (6) SUN START is yet to win but has put in some solid performances in similar company and can get close while (1) FINE CHAMP is inconsistent but was a strong 2nd in a fast race at 1000M last time and could be a factor. Those two are likely to set the early pace. (4) PRINCE JOY and (7) GANGCHEOL SIDAE are others who can be taken into consideration.
|Selections||(5) Geumbirang (6) Sun Start (1) Fine Champ (4) Prince Joy|
|Fast Start||1, 6|
Race 8: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
It’s hard to break the habit of tipping up (3) ICHEON SSAL. He won his first two races looking like a potential world-beater but has flattered to deceive since. Despite a middling start to the year, he got his chance in the Korean Derby but only beat one home before being favourite on his return to class 4 last month. He came 6th. Nevertheless, there is that nagging talent there and he’ll almost certainly be favourite again here with good reason – he is the best in the race and he should win. Should he come up short yet again, (6) ECHO GOLD and (7) THE JIJON, the latter up in class today, look best placed to beat him but don’t rule out solid runs from either (4) BIG GARLAND or (8) SIMON RICH.
|Selections||(3) Icheon Ssal (6) Echo Gold (7) The Jijon (8) Simon Rich|
|Next Best||4, 1|
|Fast Start||4, 7|
Race 9: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
It’s been over a year since the latest of (8) WONDER LIGHT’s three career victories but she’s been getting closer in recent starts and today could be the day. Last time out she was beaten a length into 2nd place over 1200M, running on very nicely and the return back up to 1400M today may suit nicely. It may also suit (6) YEONDARA, who won the last time he tackled this distance all the back in December. While he was a bit ordinary over 1700 last month, he had been going well and can be a threat. (2) CALLIOPE is a winner of four from eight so far and is up in both class and distance today. He’ll be on the early speed and can’t be ruled out. Also up in class is (1) PANGPANG GARI. He’s won three from five although all have been at 1000M, so the distance is a question mark. (5) CHOWONUI CHANGA and (10) SERA KING are others with at least placing claims.
|Selections||(8) Wonder Light (2) Calliope (6) Yeondara (1) Pangpang Gari|
|Next Best||5, 10, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4|
Race 10: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(4) MORFHIS has been 2nd on both efforts at class and distance so far, beaten by the favourite both times and he has as much chance as any in this very competitive contest. He’ll settle behind an early pace that’s likely to be set by (8) NASCAUI TAEYANG, an Uncle Mo colt who is up in class having finally secured an overdue maiden victory at 1700M last month and who could well follow up. (5) CHEONGDAM JEWANG should be on the early pace too. His latest two results in very tough company don’t really reflect his ability and he has claims here. (3) BULMYEORUI JEWANG and (9) PRO MATHEUS are others who enter with recent form reading well and both can compete.
|Selections||(4) Morfhis (8) Nascaui Taeyang (5) Cheongdam Jewang (9) Pro Matheus|
|Next Best||3, 7|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 8|
Race 11: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million
(6) FINAL BOSS was very good 4th in the SBS Sports Sprint on June 3rd at this distance having already won the Segye Ilbo Cup earlier in the year. The 2017 Korean Derby winner is reinventing himself as a sprinter and he should have far too much for this solid but limited class 1 field. The reliable (2) DAISYAN looks a good shout for 2nd place although (3) JANGSANJEWANG and (4) BEST GUY could both improve on recent efforts. (5) ZENTENARY will go to the front from the gate and every now and then stays on and springs a surprise.
|Selections||(6) Final Boss (2) Daisyan (3) Jangsanjewang (4) Best Guy|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 5|