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:
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (more…)