Sunday Seoul & Busan: KNN Cup Day Race-By-Race Preview (August 19)

It’s a big Sunday of racing in Korea with the KNN Cup, the 2nd leg of the Queens’ Tour at Busan being the highlight. In total there are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 and 11 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Previews for every single race are below (including horse by horse for the KNN Cup). Busan first with the Seoul ones below:

Cheongsu Yeogeol Ttukseom 2

Cheongsu Yeogeol won the 1st leg of the Queens’ Tour last month and is among 16 fillies & mares lining up for the KNN Cup at Busan today (Pic: KRA)

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

(3) MUJEOK YEONGUNG was a very nice-looking winner on debut on July 20th over 1000M and while he is up in both class and distance today, the manner of it suggests Thomas Gillespie’s colt will be hard to beat today. He’ll go to the front from the gate and should stay there. (2) OFFICE TAP comes up in class after his maiden win too. His victory, on what was his second career start, was slightly less eye-catching but nevertheless, he should be very competitive at this level. (1) COOL MINT got promoted after finishing runner-up in both his first two outings. He stepped up to this class on July 15th, running a decent 5th over 1400M. He drops back to this trip for the first time today and can look to at least place. (6) NURI ACHIM, a class and distance winner in May, and (10) RACHEL, who did the same a month later, are others who can go close.

Selections (3) Mujeok Yeongung (2) Office Tap (1) Cool Mint (6) Nuri Achim
Next Best 10, 12
Fast Start 3, 6

Race 2: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A smart winner at this class over 1300M on July 20th to make it three wins from seven career starts, (1) ICE LEG is slightly favoured to prevail again. It’s his first time at 1400M but an apprentice jockey on board means he carries scarcely any extra weight and he could have too much. (6) ISLE CAT ran 2nd that day and while she has a bit to find on the favourite here, can run well again and certainly should beat plenty. Stiffer tests may come from (8) CITY WINNER and (2) FINE POWER, who came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when racing each other at class and distance on July 15th, getting within half a length of winner Oryong, who was landing his third straight win. (4) RISING PRINCE came home 5th in that race and is another who could have a say about the places.

Selections (1) Ice Leg (8) City Winner (2) Fine Power (6) Isle Cat
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 4, 8

Race 3: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(3) BAENGNYEON SONNIM rather unexpectedly finished ahead of (5) SMART DANCER when they raced each other at this distance three weeks ago coming home 2nd and 3rd and bringing the latter’s winning streak to an end at three. They face each other again here but this time we’ll expect Smart Dancer to put things right and return to the winner’s circle. Baengnyeon Sonnim is probably the biggest danger here along with (7) WINNING AGAIN, who was rapidly promoted to this class with a pair of wins in May and June. He ran 3rd on his first try at this level on July 13th and should be close here. There is one debut-maker and he looks an interesting one. US import (4) JJUUK trialled up competently last month and the Min Jang Gi trained colt can go well first up.

Selections (5) Smart Dancer (3) Baengnyeon Sonnim (7) Winning Again (4)Jjuuk
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 4, 5, 7

Race 4: Class 1 (2000M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

After a setback early in his career which saw him lose almost his entire three-year-old campaign, the recent rise of (3) SILLAUI JEONSEOL has been rapid. He’s won three in a row to get up to class 1 here and he looks very nicely in to potentially take his winning streak to four. He’s up to 2000M for the first time an there’s no doubt this is a tough ask but he could do it. (9) STEALTH beat tree of these on his way to a good class and distance victory on July 8th and must be respected. Once again, he carries a low weight, has strong claims and should be favourite. (10) SAENGIL GIPPEUM doesn’t carry a low weight but showed signs of coming back into form when finishing 4th in the Owners’ Cup at the end of July and could maintain that momentum here. (5) FOUR NINES and (2) DORAON HYEONPYO were both beaten by Stealth last time – both were nominated for September’s Korea Cup last week and likely need big performances here in order to be confident of getting on.

Selections (3) Sillaui Jeonseol (9) Stealth (2) Doraon Hyeonpyo (5) Four Nines
Next Best 10, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 3


Race 5: Class Open “The KNN Cup” (KOR G3) / 1600M Allowance / KRW 400 Million

  1. HAEYA – She was favourite for the Ttukseom Cup but put in a flat performance ending up in 6th. Hard to recommend her to win at a mile although she did manage to come 3rd in this race last year and as one of the few true class 1 horses in the race, it would be no surprise if she was sent off as favourite. She’ll try to do it gate to wire.
  2. YEONGHUI SIDAE – Sent off as second-favourite in the Oaks last month but never travelled fluently and ended up well back in the field. She has though won at this distance at class 3 and could be a factor here. Runs best when leading, something she hasn’t been able to do in her last two starts.
  3. I’M YOUR MOTHER – Struggled over 1800M on her latest but she is a winner at a mile at class 4. Her solitary win did come at this distance in May, but it was at class 4 and she has a lot to find here.
  4. SOJUNGHAN SOMANG – Beaten by Shark Run in April but returned to overcome some good ones on her way to a valuable prize over 1400M at the beginning of June. First try at a mile, she’ll likely settle in midfield and look to finish strongly. Place is not impossible.
  5. ACEUI SEONMUL – Good winner over this distance on July 6th, enabling her to take her chance here. That was at class 3 and while she shouldn’t be too far away she will need to improve if she is to challenge for a place.
  6. CHEONGSU YEOGEOL – Comfortable winner of the Ttukseom Cup at the beginning fo June coming from just off the pace to win well. This will be her first attempt at a mile but there is no reason why it shouldn’t suit and she’ll be firmly in the hunt to maintain her bid for a sweep of all three races in the series.
  7. RICH YEOJANGGUN – Winner of five of her first six starts, she’s come unstuck since reaching class 2. Not many of these have managed to get to that level though so she may well find the company today amenable. First try at the distance, she settles in the middle of the pack and looks to launch a bid late on.
  8. ACE SPINNING – First start since winning the Singapore Turf Club Trophy last September, this is a big ask first-up but she’s certainly capable. Looked good in two trials, the latest of which was last week. First try at a mile too but like Haeya, she is a class 1 horse, and this is not impossible. Settles in midfield.
  9. ROCKET QUEEN – Beat Cheongsu Yeogeol over 1400M in April before running 4th in the Ttukseom Cup. A solid class 2 competitor who is not far away from class 1, she tuned up in a barrier trial in Seoul last Saturday which she won very comfortable. She has a chance. Likely settles closer to the back than the front and finishes strongly.
  10. GOLD BLUE – Absolutely flew home for 3rd place in the Ttukseom Cup having been last entering the home straight. She is inconsistent though as was shown when she only beat one home on her reappearance on July 8th. That was at class 1 thugh and both company and distance should be more suitable today. An outside chance.
  11. DAMYANG HWANHO – Finished strongly for a surprise 2nd place in the Ttukseom Cup. It perhaps shouldn’t have been a surprise though as she had previously registered a class 2 win at 1200M. It’s been a long time since she ran further than 1400M and she previously didn’t show any aptitude for it but she’s a better horse now and another surprise isn’t impossible.
  12. BRIGHT STAR – 2nd in last year’s Oaks and Jeju Governor’s Cup she’s no doubt got plenty of talent. She recorded a solid 3rd place at class 2 before running 7th in the Ttukseom Cup, she can be frustratingly inconsistent. She probably won’t be among the fancied ones here but should be on the early pace.
  13. ICE MARINE – Two starts into a comeback following almost exactly a year off. She was a really impressive winner over 1400M at class 2 on July 6th. That form got a boost when the second place-getter that day, Taeyangui Sinhwa, won well on Friday. She had to go wide all the way that day and it’s likely she’ll have to do so again but she looks very capable of challenging for at least a place and possibly even the win.
  14. UJU STAR – Top trainer Kim Young Kwan’s only representative in the race. She’s only raced three times this year, winning a class 2 race over 1400M in May. She’s been well back in the other two though including behind Ice Marine last time. It’s dangerous to rule out anything from this stable but she’ll need to find significant improvement.
  15. SHARK RUN – Headed into the Ttukseom Cup on the back of consecutive victories at class 3 and came with a huge late run to make it to 5th in that race. Scratched from a scheduled start in early July with some soreness, she’s back fit now and could be a real danger here.
  16. HELLO VENUS – Couldn’t get on speed in the Ttukseom Cup although she did improve for a 6th place finish. Returned to Busan to run 2nd over 1800M on July 13th leading all the way only to beaten by a nose on the line. She was drawn in gate 1 that day and today has the hardest ask of all to get to where she likes to be.

Verdict: As in the Ttukseom Cup, this race is fascinating as so many could win it. All things being equal, (1) HAEYA is the best in the race and will most likely begin as favourite but the distance and her inconsistency make her beatable. (6) CHEONGSU YEOGEOL’s Ttukseom Cup win was impressive and she has claims too but there were other big runs in that race as well from (11) DAMYANG HWANHO and especially (9) ROCKET QUEEN and (15) SHARK RUN. We’re going to go for new challengers who didn’t run in the Ttukseom, however. (8) ACE SPINNING is tempting but this is a big ask first up so we’ll go with (13) ICE MARINE to continue her own comeback in style.

Selections (13) Ice Marine (6) Cheongsu Yeogeol (9) Rocket Queen (8) Ace Spinning
Next Best 1, 10, 15, 11
Fast Start 1, 2, 12, 14, 16

Race 6: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

It took (5) UNSEOK a while to figure things out but since he made his breakthrough in March, he’s gone on to record four consecutive victories. Getting five in a row is a tough ask and he is up to 1600M for the first time, but he has every chance of achieving it. He’ll likely take a sit just behind the early speed and can finish strongly. There are two main dangers. One of them – as well as the probable early speed – is (6) SUN DAY. She’s won three of four so far, including at this distance and is up in class here. She’s a half-sister to top sprinter and stablemate Today and looks like she has plenty more to offer. Like Unseok, (4) ORYONG comes in on a winning streak, in his case it’s up to three. He’s won at this distance already, albeit at class 5, and moves up in class today with potential to go even better. Those three are the standouts with (2) BRACHAH next best and (7) WONDER WALL, racing for the first time since last September, the wildcard.

Selections (5) Unseok (6) Sun Day (4) Oryong (2) Brachah
Next Best 7, 3, 1
Fast Start 6, 7


Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(8) HEUNG OREUM ran an improved 3rd on her second outing over 1000M on July 22nd. The step up in trip today should suit and she has an excellent chance of securing her maiden victory. (9) STAR LIST ran 5th in that same race and while she has tried 1200M before, she too is up to this distance for the first time and can be a danger. (1) SUNSHIN MARINE ran a distant 2nd to a good winner at 1200M on July 14th and while this race is a touch stiffer, she can finish strongly and is another for whom the slight step up in trip may benefit. (7) FLYING HERA and (10) I AM WINNER both enter with recent form reading well and have placing claims.

Selections (8) Heung Oreum (1) Sunshin Marine (9) Star List (10) I Am Winner
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 5, 7, 8, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

This isn’t a strong race, even by class 6 standards and while (2) RAON GANGHO was a touch disappointing over 1200M last start, he’s shown enough over the course of his ten outings to date to suggest that he should be beating a field like this. He’s not the quickest of starters but once he finds his top gear, should have too much. (7) GEUMBIT HWANHYANG is the only other one in the field to have at least a 3rd place to her name and she is probably the main danger. The others need plenty of improvement with (5) HEY DREAMER, who did hint at a bit of ability when running 5th of 11 in June, the most likely. In such a weak contest, we have to give a chance to the solitary debut-maker if only on the grounds that they’ve done nothing wrong yet. (3) TAMNANEUN YEOIN didn’t exactly catch the eye in trials but was competent enough to suggest she can go reasonably well in this company. She should at least be on the early speed.

Selections (2) Raon Gangho (7) Geumbit Hwanhyang (5) Hey Dreamer (3) Tamnaneun Yeoin
Next Best 1, 4, 6
Fast Start 3, 5

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens only here with half the field having raced before and the other making their racecourse debuts. (7) MIREU STORM is set to be a strong favourite having shown plenty of potential ability on his first start on July 21st. He finished 4th of 11 that day at this distance, having previously won a trial and should have too much here. The other three with experience raced against each other on July 14th with (3) RAON JAMES finishing the best of them in 7th place and he should be challenging for the places here. Of the first-timers, it’s fair to stay none of them exactly pulled up trees in trials but (2) BLUE FIRE and (4) JEONGSANG GOLD did nothing wrong, the latter posting the faster time.

Selections (7) Mireu Storm (3) Raon James (2) Blue Fire (4) Jeongsang Gold
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 4, 6, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another set of juvenile maidens and as in the previous race, precisely half have raced before while the other half are making their first appearances. We’re not likely to have such a strong favourite in this one though as none of those who raced especially impressed, with (2) DEO JOEUN NAEIL and (4) STRONG VULTURE both posting slower times than they did in their trials. That does suggest that they didn’t show their true ability and both may improve. (3) KING N I ran well enough on his first outing on July 7th and the presence of Nunes on his back will tempt many. Likewise the debut-makers don’t especially stand out either with (1) CHEON GI and (7) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM looking the most likely at this stage.

Selections (4) Strong Vulture (2) Deo Joeun Naeil (3) King N I (1) Cheon Gi
Next Best 7, 6
Fast Start 2, 4

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

(2) DUAL CHOEGANG remains a maiden after seventeen tries but today looks a great opportunity for him to get in the winner’s circle. He was 2nd last start in a similar race to this over 1300M and can come from just behind the early speed here to win. Should he come up short once more then (3) SIMON FRUIT and (5) JANGSAN JEGUK look best placed to take advantage. Both their respective last starts were a touch disappointing but both should be competitive here with Jangsan Jeguk likely to lead from the gate. (6) WON AGAIN and (8) MONEY ZIF too both underperformed on their latest outings but are both proven at this level and can go close too.

Selections (2) Dual Choegang (5) Jangsan Jeguk (3) Simon Fruit (8) Money Zif
Next Best 6, 12
Fast Start 4, 5, 6

Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

There are two standouts here. (3) THE FINAL has never won but has never finished any worse than 3rd in six outings so far. She’ll be on the early speed here with Lee Chan Ho aboard for the first time and today could finally be her day. The big danger is (1) WINNER SPIRIT. After winning on debut in June, he has found things a little tougher in two tries at this level so far but ran promisingly when 4th over this distance a month ago. He’ll challenge The Final for the lead from the start and has a chance of coming out on top. (4) THUNDER GREAT was a winner at this class last month over 1000M and while he struggled on his only previous attempt at this distance, he looks ready for another crack at it, especially with Nunes retaining the ride. (2) GOLDEN WEDDING and (8) ROYAL TANK are others to take into account.

Selections (3) The Final (1) Winner Spirit (4) Thunder Great (2) Golden Wedding
Next Best 8, 5
Fast Start 1, 3, 6, 7

Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Anything could win this. (3) SPEED CHEONGNYONG enters having won at class and distance three weeks ago in a similar strength race to this. He has to deal with an additional 4kg today but could well win again. (5) GIDONG DAEJANG steps back in trip following a good 2nd place at 1700M in early July. He’s never actually raced at this distance before but should be capable of making a good account of himself. (7) THE JIJON too tries this distance for the first time although in his case, he is going further than he has before. He enters in great form with an 2nd place and a win in his last two, both at 1300M and should be very much in the frame. (10) FOREVER WINNER was the horse who beat The Jijon when the latter was runner-up in June and while he didn’t show much on his re-appearance in July, can be considered too. (2) ELITE QUEEN is very experienced and ran a very solid class and distance 4th last start. (9) CUPID DOCTOR is one start into a comeback following six-months off and is also capable of going well on what will be her first try at 1400M.

Selections (7) The Jijon (3) Speed Cheongnyong (5) Gidong Daejang (9) Cupid Doctor
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 1, 9, 10

Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(7) SAUVIGNON beat three of these on her way to 3rd place at class and distance in mid-June. She returns for the first time since and should be on speed from the gate with every chance of leading all the way. (5) HAPPY TODAY was one of those beaten by Sauvignon in that June race but ran a good 5th in a tougher race than this a month later and should be in the reckoning today. (6) GANGSEO EUTTEUM was 7th in that same race, his first try at this level since back to back wins – both at this distance – got him promoted and he too could be worth another chance here. (4) HAETSAL WANGJA is up in both class and distance following victory in over 1300M three weeks ago but should be able to cope with both.

Selections (7) Sauvignon (5) Happy Today (4) Haetsal Wangja (6) Gangseo Eutteum
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 2, 7

Race 9: Class 3 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Another really competitive race and it sees (1) ALPHAKAN enter in very good form with two wins and two runner-up finishes from his last four runs with one of the wins being at this distance. Accordingly he is top weight here but that may not preclude him from winning. He’ll be on pace early and has a serious chance. (9) NEW WHY FI beat two of his rivals here when running 3rd over 1800M last month. He was well back behind Alphakan when they met in May but his form has clearly picked up since then and he’ll be a big danger. (2) ROAD KING too enters with recent form reading well and should probably have finished a bit better than 6th in a similar race last start. (4) YEOKDAE CHOESANG and (5) MR. FORTUNE are others in the hunt.

Selections (1) Alphakan (9) New Why Fi (2) Road King (4) Yeokdae Cheosang
Next Best 5, 10
Fast Start 1, 3, 9

Race 10: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(2) SEOUL EOMJI remains a maiden after ten attempts but looks nicely in to end that record here. He is a bit inconsistent but steps back in trip today to a distance he finished 2nd at the last time he tried it in June. He’ll be on pace early and can win. (12) FINE CHAMP comes in after back-to-back runner-up finishes and he too will be looking to get on pace early although he has the widest draw of all to overcome. (4) SUN START finished 4th behind Fine Champ last time and could overturn the form here. (7) FIRE has won at this distance already and should be a threat while (11) CAPTAIN PARK also comes in with good, if slightly inconsistent, recent form.

Selections (2) Seoul Eomji (4) Sun Start (12) Fine Champ (7) Fire
Next Best 11, 5, 6
Fast Start 2, 10, 12

Race 11: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

A class and distance winner on July 1st to move on to three wins from six starts in total, (1) SKY BAY could well be the one they need to beat again. (4) LEAD MONEY enters having won the Listed Ilgan Sports Cup over 1800M last month. While it is true the favourite fell in that race, her recent outings have all seen her hold her own in tough company and she is in with a serious chance again today. (3) IGWANGSASEOK was a somewhat surprising class and distance winner last time out on July 7th and despite an additional 3.5kg to carry today, will warrant respect. (8) OKAY GOOD was favourite for that very same race but had a bad day at the office and can be given another chance here. (9) LEONNING STROM attempts class 2 for the first time and is also up in trip. Neither will be easy to overcome but not impossible.

Selections (1) Sky Bay (4) Lead Money (9) Leonning Strom (8) Okay Good
Next Best 3, 10
Fast Start 1, 4, 5, 7


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