There is a heavyweight rematch in the Owners’ Cup (Korea Group 3) at Busan this Sunday as Silver Wolf and Power Blade face off once more having run 1st and 2nd in the Busan Ilbo Cup earlier this year. This time it’s at a mile and they’re joined by other big-hitters Doraonpogyeongseon and I’m Your Father as well as up and comer Mighty Ssing in what is set to be one of the races of the summer. There are 5 races at Busan from 12:40 to 16:20 and 12 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.
(Update 9/29 – It emerged on Sunday morning that on Saturday Power Blade fractured his proximal sesamoid bone in his right foreleg and has been scratched from the Owners’ Cup and retired from racing)
Cheongdam Dokki was entered in the race but ultimately did not travel, to Busan. Full previews of every race in Korea on Sunday (and horse-by-horse of the Owners’ Cup) is below:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(2) DONGHAE SILVER was an improved 2nd over 1200 M last time, leading for much of the race before getting overturned in the closing stages. She drops back to 1000M today and can continue here progress. (3) SUN QUEEN ran a promising 2nd on debut over this distance behind Sagwarang, who went on to run 3rd at a higher level last weekend. She was a 70/1 shot that day but will get a bit more respect based on that and looks the main danger. (5) SKY JUMP also looked encouraging on debut, running 4th of 8 on a very wet track at the star of this month and can make progress here. (4) I’M HAPPY and (6) BLESSING ROAD look best of the rest.
|Selections||(2) Donghae Silver (3) Sun Queen (5) Sky Jump (4) I’m Happy|
|Fast Start||2, 6|
Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(5) TAURUS run a good 2nd on debut at this distance on July 1st and the stars looked aligned for his maiden win here. (4) MAPAEBONG ran an improved 5th place in that race, his best in three outings so far and he could well prove to be the main danger today. (3) HYEONGMA PUBU keeps on being well backed and keeps coming up short although she should be looking to at least match her career-best finish of 3rd here. (6) MEGA CITY showed some glimpses of talent when finishing 3rd at odds of 90/1 last time. He’s been off since April and is a bit of an unknown quantity here. So too is first-timer starter (7) JJANGDAE but he trialled up competently enough earlier this month and must be given a chance of a place in this limited company.
|Selections||(5) Taurus (7) Jjangdae (4) Mapaebong (3) Hyeongma Pubu|
|Next Best||6, 8|
|Fast Start||3, 6|
Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(5) HADALRAE is up in class after getting his maiden win at the third time of asking on June 30th. It was at this distance and he made all on a wet track. He’s well drawn to get on speed again and can win again. (7) SHAR NAO and (1) HANSEN BAROWS came home 4th and 6th respectively when they raced each other on July 1stover 1700M and both drop back in trip today. Both are likely to challenge the favourite for the early lead and can go close here. (6) DONGTEUL TTAE has raced just the once this year and is a bit of a wildcard but has won at the distance and could go well. (8) SKY BIG remains a maiden after twenty-eight attempts but ran well for 3rd at class and distance on a wet track last time and could repeat.
|Selections||(5) Hadalrae (7) Shar Nao (1) Hansen Barows (8) Sky Big|
|Next Best||6, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7|
Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) MASYA remains a maiden but acquitted herself well on her first try at this level having been promoted following a narrow defeat over 1000M at class 6 in May. She ran 4th of 12 at 1200M, running on nicely at the end and has as good a chance as any of winning here. (8) AMARONE was 2nd last start at 1200M, albeit beaten five-lengths by Geuma Thunder. Her solitary win came at this distance back in January and she’s another who can finish strongly. (1) JIGONG JEIL began well but quickly weakened when sent out at this distance on June 24th. It was her first outing in three months and first at this level and she can go much better today. She’ll likely be on the early speed and be joined by (4) HAETSAL WANGJA, who has plenty of experience at this level and can benefit from Manoel Nunes aboard today. (6) COMPLETE HIGH looks best of the rest.
|Selections||(2) Masya (8) Amarone (1) Jigong Jeil (4) Haetsal Wangja|
|Next Best||6, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 4|
Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Another wide open race with plenty in the hunt. After several near-misses, (1) JUNGLE BEAT finally got his maiden with plenty to spare over 1000M three weeks ago. He’s up in class today and up to 1200M for the first time but he can win again. (11) SOMETHING MYSTERY and (8) WOOSEORA ICHEON are both up in class having finished 1st and 2nd at this distance on June 23rd and both should be competitive at this level. As for those who already have class 4 experience, (5) JEONGSANG MUJEOK is already a winner at this level and steps up in trip for the first time following a 2nd place over 1000M a month ago while (6) INCITATUS came home a creditable 5th in a decent race on a wet track at the beginning of this month and can get closer today.
|Selections||(1) Jungle Beat (5) Jeongsang Mujeok (6) Incitatus (8) Wooseora Icheon|
|Next Best||11, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 5, 11|
Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(1) VICAR BLADE got his maiden win over 1300M at the second time of asking two weeks ago and backs up quickly here. He’s up in class and once more marginally in distance but can win here again, likely from the front. (2) PERFECT BOSS has a 3rd and a 2nd in two efforts at this class, most recently over this distance on June 24th. (7) ARAM NARAE came home 3rd that day and is another who can compete while (4) DANCING VICAR, who was 4th actually came back out two weeks ago to run 3rd, again at this distance, and can be in the placing hunt. (10) SINGAEBYEOK remains a maiden after six attempts but has finished runner-up on no fewer than four occasions. Another 2nd place finish wouldn’t be a surprise here.
|Selections||(1) Vicar Blade (2) Perfect Boss (10) Singaebyeok (4) Dancing Vicar|
|Next Best||7, 11|
|Fast Start||8, 9, 11|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(5) CITY ANGEL beat a couple of these on her way to a very good 3rd place in a stiffer class and distance race on June 24th and she looks very nicely in here to win today, most likely going to the front from the gate. (12) SIMCHEONG SADAL also beat two of his rivals here on his way to 2nd place at class and distance in a similarly tough race at the end of last month. He’s a front-runner and is more than capable of overcoming the wide gate that he always exits from and he will be a danger. A winner of two from four so far, (2) MENI BLADE is up in class today following a solid win over 1300M last time. She came from well off the pace that day, but will probably sit handy here and should be a factor. (1) BRAVE UP and (3) MENI PARK, the latter beaten by City Angel last time, are others in the frame.
|Selections||(5) City Angel (2) Meni Blade (12) Simcheong Sadal (1) Brave Up|
|Next Best||3, 7|
|Fast Start||5, 8, 12|
Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(8) YEONGGWANGUI BOSS was one of the better juveniles of last year and started off his three-year-old season with a very smart win over 1300M back in January. He got a chip fracture after that though and hasn’t raced since. He returned to win a trial in very competent fashion earlier this month and should have too much here. (7) VEGA ONE ran a good 2nd last time out on July 6th, beating a couple of these in the process and can be a danger while (6) KWAESOK BOLT enters off the back of three consecutive runner-up finishes and can aim to at least match today. (5) ABILITY has gone well on both his latest two and shouldn’t be too far away either.
|Selections||(8) Yeonggwangui Boss (7) Vega One (6) Kwaesok Bolt (5) Ability|
|Next Best||1, 4|
|Fast Start||5, 8|
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(4) WHIZ REINA remains a maiden after five attempts but looks to be getting closer and ran a good 3rd over 1300M last time out and she can win this competitive race. Another maiden (11) NASCAUI BYEOL is also showing signs of figuring things out having gone close in each of his latest two and the Aussie bred gelding shouldn’t be too far away here either. (7) MAY PRINCE is a Korean bred who is up in class following her maiden win last start at this distance. She made all that day and will try to do the same here. (2) KAIZEN FORCE and (9) KEY FACTOR are also both capable of making the places.
|Selections||(4) Whiz Reina (11) Nascaui Byeol (7) May Prince (9) Key Factor|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 7, 12|
Busan Race 4: Class Open (1600M) The Busan Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) / Weight for Age / KRW 500 Million
- GREAT KING – Thomas Gillespie’s American import came from just off the pace to record a very good win over 2000M on July 8th. It was his third class 1 victory and he drops back in trip to a mile for the first in over a year. A good horse but perhaps not quite on the level of the favourites. Could be one of the early leaders.
- SEOUL BULLET – Has suffered an injury hit career, the first year of which was spent in the United States. On his return to Korea, he won six straight races but in the two years since, has added just one more from only seven starts, one of which was in Dubai. Well back behind I’m Your Father and King Of Ace on his latest return in June but he could be much better today.
- CHEONJEOK – This experienced Seoul campaigner only beat one home when in Busan four weeks ago for the Mayor’s Cup and it would be surprising if he beat any more than that today. Last made the first three over a year ago and this is too hard.
- MIGHTY SSING – A real up and coming talent, the question is whether this is too much too soon for the only three-year-old in the race. He’s won six of nine in total including his latest four and effortlessly ran away from a class 1 handicap field at Seoul last month. By far his stiffest test to date but he looks to only be getting better. Not impossible he could put in a huge run.
- DORAONPOGYEONGSEON – Back to back winner of the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul and a huge 3rd in the Korea Sprint last year. If this was at 1200M, he’d be difficult to beat. A mile may be a different matter though. He’s never raced over it (although he once came last at 1800M) though he has won on several occasions at 1400M. Not impossible but others favoured this time.
- TWO TWO RAPTOR – A stablemate of Great King, he has three 2nd places to his name at class 1 but is yet to record his first victory at the highest level. Finished last in this race last year (when it was run in August) and while he may do a little better this time, will still be one of the outsiders. Likely to try to lead
- I’M YOUR FATHER – Last year’s Mayor’s Cup winner returned from seven months out to win at this distance on June 3rd, beating King Of Ace. 4th in the Mayor’s Cup this time, back at a mile today, he can be dangerous.
- SAENGIL GIPPEUM – Beaten by plenty of these in recent outings, he is still a solid performer at the top level as evidenced by his 6th of 13 in the Mayor’s Cup earlier this month but 6th would be above expectations here.
- KING OF ACE – Another whose career has been blighted by injury, he is finally getting a string of runs together. Since his latest return, he’s been beaten by I’m Your Father and Saengil Gippeum though and while the mile should suit, he’s going to have to improve to hot the board here.
- SILVER WOLF – Last year’s champion filly/mare, she’s won her latest three visits to Busan including the Busan Ilbo Cup in April when she downed Power blade. She was really slow to get going in the SBS Sports Sprint in Seoul last month though and ultimately finished 6th. She’s won at distances up to 2000M but her forte is sprinting and that’s where she’s most likely to beat the likes of Power Blade. Nevertheless she should beat most of these and if she gets into top gear late on, she could win.
- INDIAN KING – Won the KRA Cup Mile in 2017 but has suffered numerous setbacks since. Returned after almost a year to only beat a couple home over 1400M last month. Will hopefully have come on for that run and the mile may suit better. If he can overcome the wide draw to get to the front, he can give a good account of himself.
- POWER BLADE – The 2016 Triple Crown winner has only raced once this year, beaten by Silver Wolf in the Busan Ilbo Cup in April. He didn’t get the best of trips that day and once he started to motor, ran out of track. He has an extra two furlongs today and the Grand Prix Champion will be favourite to prevail.
Verdict: Franco Da Silva is likely to keep (12) POWER BLADE out of trouble early and then look to give him a clear run as soon as possible in the home straight and if this happens, he should assert his superiority. (10) SILVER WOLF should go close again but the real interest will be to see how (4) MIGHTY SSING copes when faced with some elite competition for the first time. He looks a huge prospect but is this too much too soon? Expect competent performances from the likes of (5) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON and (7) I’M YOUR FATHER and a win for either of them would not be a huge shock. As for a wildcard, (2) SEOUL BULLET has had rotten luck his entire career but is probably one of the most gifted horses racing in Korea – something helped by spending his first season racing in the US. Fergus Sweeney could be able to make something happen.
|Selections||(12) Power Blade (4) Mighty Ssing (10) Silver Wolf (7) I’m Your Father|
|Next Best||5, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 11|
Seoul Race 8: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Another very tricky contest but (2) ONNURI ALBA has won at the distance before and was 4th, less than two-lengths behind the winner, in a similar race to this on June 24th. He’s generally ridden patiently and he can win today. (5) ONLY BARAM and (8) SOMETHING DELIGHT came home 4th and 5th when they raced each other over 1300M on June 23rd. Both should be competitive here although Something Delight, who is racing at the distance for the first time with just three starts in total behind him, is the one who is favoured to improve. (3) ALL FOR BE TO BE comes down in class today and should be much more comfortable while (10) SOCCER GLORY is another capable of placing.
|Selections||(2) Onnuri Alba (8) Something Delight (3) All For Be To Be (5) Only Baram|
|Next Best||10, 9|
|Fast Start||6, 9|
Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
One of the trickiest races of the day. (1) PERFECT SINHWA returned from eight months out to win over 1000M in June. That made it three wins from five and while he’s up in class here, he looks like he has more to offer. (3) CUBAUI YEOLJEONG has been favourite on both his two most recent starts. He has come up slightly short both times but drops back to 1200M today, the distance at which both his victories have come at and he has a good chance of winning again. (11) POTENTIAL also drops back in trip. She remains a maiden but has finished 2nd on four occasions and should be close today. Five of the others raced each other at class and distance on July 8th with (12) PHILIP AND GIRAFFE finishing the best in 3rd. (5) MALIBU MILLION and (7) VICTORY BROWN were behind him that day but may go better here.
|Selections||(1) Perfect Sinhwa (3) Cubaui Yeoljeong (11) Potential (12) Philip And Giraffe|
|Next Best||5, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 9|
Seoul Race 9: Class 3 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
(1) MONEY BLADE has already proven himself a winner at this level and steps up in distance to two-turns for the first time with every chance of winning again. He only managed 4th over 1400M last time but it was a blanket finish that could have gone either way and he will be expected to be on the speed from the start here. (6) BLUE EMPIRE is has raced three times with a 3rd, 2nd and 1st to his name already. All of them have been at the minimum distance of 1000M so he not only comes up in class but also gets a big bump up in trip and she looks an interesting proposition. (6) SUN LIGHTING hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise in three disappointing outings this year. He’s had excuses each time though and has finished off his races very well so the move up to 1700M could be exactly what he needs. (7) PRO MATHEUS and (10) CLEAN UP HERO look best of the rest.
|Selections||(9) Sun Lighting (1) Money Blade (6) Blue Empire (7) Pro Matheus|
|Next Best||10, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 7|
Seoul Race 10: Class 1 (2000M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
Since being promoted to this class, (1) SAMSEONG BULPAE has run in three consecutive 2nd place finishes, including trailing home hot prospect Mighty Ssing by eleven-lengths last time. He’s beaten plenty of these along the way and is favoured to get it right today. Should he fall short once more, then (6) SINGGEUREOUN GEOM looks best placed to take advantage. After back to back class 2 victories, he was 2nd on his first go at class 1 over 1800M in May. He’s had a couple of months off since and just like Samseong Bulpae, he’s up to this distance for the first time with every chance of going close. (5) GEUMA ZEUS and (7) ULTRA ROCKET have both made promising starts to class 1 although both were beaten by Samseong Bulpae on their respective latest starts, and can look to place here while (11) CHOEGO MONEY is up in class today following a really good class 2 win at this distance at the end of June a can go well under Nunes. (9) SPERO is the wildcard. He too is up in class following a dominant win in the Listed Sports Chosun Cup at this distance last month and while this is tougher, it’s not impossible.
|Selections||(1) Samseong Bulpae (6) Singgeureoun Geom (11) Choego Money (9) Spero|
|Next Best||5, 7, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 7, 9, 12|
Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(7) GANGTOMA comes in having won three in a row and four in total. His latest was a four-length triumph at this class and distance with two of his rivals here some distance behind him. He carries an additional 4.5kg today but should be able to overcome it to win again. Both (3) COMPLETE SWEEP and (9) ROYAL PARK come in looking to complete hat-tricks of wins for themselves. Both are up in class today but both are dangers. Complete Sweep will likely look to set the pace while Royal Park will join Gangtoma in being more patient and it could end up being a three-way battle. As for the rest, (1) KING PLUCKY drops back in trip today and should be much better while (5) DAESEUNG BIBEOB is up in class but looks capable of challenging for the minor places.
|Selections||(7) Gangtoma (3) Complete Sweep (9) Royal Park (1) King Plucky|
|Next Best||5, 4, 12|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 6, 11|
Seoul Race 12: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
Ultra-competitive class 2 handicap to finish with. (7) CUPID LADY, a winner of five from eleven, races for the first time since the end of April. That day she was a good class and distance winner and given a good start, can make all once more. In that April race, Cupid Lady beat (1) SINUI MYEONGRYEONG. One of the most highly though-of juveniles last year, the Hansen colt has had an underwhelming three-year-old campaign, making just three starts and being defeated in each of them and especially weakened over 1800M last time out. Back at 1200M today though, things could be very different. (3) HOENG UN GOL was another who showed good promise as a juvenile last year and while not considered suitable for the Classic races, he has developed into a good sprinter. He made a foray up to class 1 on July 1st and managed to finish in 3rd place and really has every chance here. In May, he and (4) MR. CHAMPION contested a tight finish at this class and distance, which Hoeng Un Gol got the better of by a neck and both should play a big role here. (10) FLYING CHAMP looks best of a capable rest.
|Selections||(3) Hoeng Un Gol (1) Sinui Myeongryeong (7) Cupid Lady (4) Mr. Champion|
|Next Best||10, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 7, 11|