It’s KRA Cup Classic Day in Seoul and Cheongdam Dokki can begin to put his Korea Cup disappointment behind him as he is set to start as favourite to successfully defend the crown he won last year. There are 11 Sunday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Here are the Seoul previews with horse by horse comments for the KRA Cup Classic:
Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(1) JEOKTO BIMA has shown progression across three starts so far and enters with back to back 4th place finishes. Drawn in gate 1, she steps up in trip for the first time, should be prominent early and can win this. (9) GEOTAP too races for the fourth time today and ran creditably at this distance last time. She should also be on pace early and can go close. (10) GOODCHOICE is more experienced and does have a 3rd place to his name and while a touch one-paced, can improve on the 5th he recorded at this distance last start. (3) BINNANEUN RUBY and (8) FOR J.K. are others who can improve among modest company here.
|Selections||(1) Jeokto Bima (10) Goodchoice (9) Geotap (8) For J.K.|
|Next Best||3, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 8, 9|
Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(1) HANEULEUL DALRIDA started badly and received a heavy bump which he never really recovered from when well-fancied over 1300M on September 1st. He drops back in trip today to a distance at which he was 2nd in July and with a clean start today, will be the one they need to beat in what is another weak contest. (7) SCARLET PERFECT also has a 2nd place at this distance and wasn’t too far away last time. (9) SOKBO WANGWI has been knocking on the door for some time now and is another who shouldn’t be far away. (10) STAR SOCKS is inconsistent but has offered some glimpses of ability. She races for the first time since June and should challenge for the early lead. There are two debut-makers and in a race with a distinct lack of talent in it, they must be given due consideration. Of the pair, (6) GOOD MOUNT seems the more likely to make an impact first-up.
|Selections||(1) Haneuleul Dalrida (7) Scarlet Perfect (9) Sokbo Wangwi (6) Good Mount|
|Next Best||10, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 8, 10|
Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Juvenile maidens here and seven of the twelve have raced before, each of them just the once. The favourites are among them. (1) SENTOSA debuted in a valuable race for Breeze-up Sales graduates and ran reasonably well over 1200M. She was prominent early and dropping back to 1000M today may suit. (9) ACE SOLONGO and (10) WONDERFUL DIXIE both finished 3rd on their respective debuts, both at this distance and both can build on it here. (4) M.J. TOWN was a close in attendance 5th on her first attempt in what was a decent race on September 2nd and she too looks likely to improve. Among the first-timers, (8) IRON HEART and (12) BIG PRO looked best in trials.
|Selections||(1) Sentosa (4) M.J. Town (9) Ace Solongo (10) Wonderful Dixie|
|Next Best||5, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 10, 12|
Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(7) CHANGPA is yet to win, with a 4th and two runner-up finishes from three efforts to date but despite being up in class here, this could be her day. She has run on well in each of her outings so far and the additional furlong may suit in a race that is not much stronger than the average class 6. Indeed, her main rival is set to be another one up in class in the shape of (12) SABA KINGDOM, who ran out a five-length winner over 1000M on September 9th. He made all that day and will be trying to overcome the widest draw and the step up in trip to repeat here. Among those with experience of this level, (2) DAECHEON HERO and (4) SOKDO SHINHWA should be improving on the 6th and 7th places they recorded when they raced each other at 1000M on September 1st while (11) SPECIAL WINNER drops back in trip following a hard time at 1700M a month ago and can come into consideration.
|Selections||(7) Changpa (12) Saba Kingdom (2) Daecheon Hero (11) Special Winner|
|Next Best||4, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 12|
Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(1) TAURUS ran a good 2nd at this distance on what was his first try at this level on August 26th. He’s yet to finish outside the top two in three starts so far and he should maintain that record here. (3) BAEKSAN MENIQUEEN stepped up to this class and distance four weeks ago and while favourite, finished 6th. She ran greenly on what was just her second career start and the jockey stated afterwards that 1300M was perhaps a bit much too soon. Nevertheless, she’s back in at the same distance today – with the same jockey – and if she has learned from the experience, can go better this time. She’s certainly the main danger. (2) RAON SIRIUS is two starts into a comeback following four months off and can improve today. (4) MYEONGJIN MAN and (5) HAEDEULMOE, the latter up in class following an eye-catching six-length win at this distance at the beginning of last month, are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(1) Taurus (3) Baeksan Meniqueen (2) Raon Sirius (5) Haedeulmoe|
|Next Best||4, 8, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 3, 5|
Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(4) JUNGJEON MAMA comes in off a 3rd and a 2nd place from her latest two, the most recent being in a competitive all-filly race at the distance on August 25th. She’s well drawn to sit close to the early speed here and can go one better today. (7) SOL PARANG wo on debut all the way back in April but didn’t reappear until July when she ran last at 1200M. She was sent back to two trials following that and looked very good when winning one of them last month. Quite which side of her will turn up is the question but she has obvious ability and could be very dangerous. (2) GEUMA CLIFF ran well for 4th at class and distance last time in what was arguably a tougher race than this and can build on it today. (1) SPEED CAPTAIN and (8) SSONSALGACHI are others in the placing frame.
|Selections||(4) Jungjeon Mama (7) Sol Parang (2) Geuma Cliff (1) Speed Captain|
|Next Best||8, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 12|
Race 7: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(6) HANSEN GLORY was beaten half a length into 2nd at class and distance on September 2nd. He was favourite that day but did have to overcome a bump at the start. He’s one of a number – probably half the field – who will be looking to get on the early speed here and if he gets away well, he can win. (2) CHODONG RACE and (7) CHAPEL ACE came home 1st and 2nd at class and distance on September 1st. The former especially has really found some form recently and should go very close while Chapel Ace too will be in the hunt. The very experienced (1) OUR CAT enters with recent form reading well also and can have designs upon a place while (4) MYEONGPUM BOBAE hung outwards in the straight on his way to a disappointing finish last start but if he manages to run in a straight line today, can improve.
|Selections||(6) Hansen Glory (2) Chodong Race (7) Chapel Ace (1) Our Cat|
|Next Best||4, 11|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12|
Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Tricky contest this with any number of potential winners. The narrow verdict goes to the very experienced (6) PERFECT CLONE, who enters off back to back 3rd place finishes at class and distance. He’ll be ridden patiently and may be too strong late on. (3) SMARTY ZIF was a somewhat surprising class and distance winner on September 2nd with a front-running performance. That was big uptick in form but he she only carries an addition 1kg today and will be given more respect. In the same race, (1) DAECHEON ACE had a poor day at the office but he was a class and distance winner the time before and can bounce back today. (2) STORMY and (11) MACH SEUNGNI, the latter up in both class and distance today, are others who may be involved.
|Selections||(6) Perfect Clone (3) Smarty Zif (1) Daecheon Ace (11) Mach Seungni|
|Next Best||2, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 7|
Race 9: Class Open “KRA Cup Classic (KOR G2)” 2000M Weight for Age / KRW 500 Million
- MIGHTY SSING – Saw his four-race winning streak come to an end when 2nd to Doraonpogyeongseon in the Busan Owners’ Cup at the end of July. He’s only three and has won at 1900M. This might be a little bit too much too soon, but he has plenty of potential for development.
- MOONHAK CHIEF – Another up and comer with six wins from eleven starts so far, most recently at class 1 over 1800M on September 1st. His previous experience of this distance was when ten-lengths behind Cheongdam Dokki in the YTN Cup in May and while he’s not ready not overturn that form, could get closer this time.
- CHEONGDAM DOKKI – The defending champion came into the Korea Cup as indisputably Korea’s best horse but was found wanting when London Town brutalized the field for the second year running. We’ll draw a line though it though as he at least went down trying to win by making the early running and paid for that late on and this race will likely have a very different pattern. He’s got a great draw which should allow him a soft lead and he’s very much in the frame to retain his crown.
- SILVER WOLF – The nation’s top mare beat Power Blade and Doraonpogyeongseon to win the Busan Ilbo Cup back in April but has come up short in two Group races since, the SBS Sports Sprint and Busan Owners’ Cup, both time behind Doraonpogyeongseon. Hugely versatile, she won the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup at this distance last autumn but that was against fillies and mares only. She’s a strong finisher and it would be a surprise were she to be outside the money, but also a surprise were she to win.
- DOLKONG – A facile winner on his return from a lengthy injury absence in August before running 2nd under a patient ride in the Korea Cup. True, he finished in a different area code to winner London Town, but he beat some very good horses. A rival of Cheongdam Dokki when they were juveniles, the pair renewing hostilities here makes for a fascinating contest. This is the true test of his credentials.
- TRIPLE NINE – The three-time President’s Cup winner races for the first-time since running 3rd to Cheongdam Dokki in the Busan Mayor’s Cup on July 1st. This is his distance though – he hasn’t been beaten at it in Korea since July 2015. He can take a long time to hit top gear but if he’s in the hunt a furlong out, then he’s still the one they’ll need to beat.
- SINJO DAEHYEOP – This is his first start since running 4th behind Cheongdam Dokki in the Herald Business Cup all the way back in April. Prior to that, he made all to win a class 1 handicap over 2300M. Likely to be on pace again today, this is going to be difficult first-up but some minor prize -money isn’t impossible.
- DORAONPOGYEONGSEON – Two-time winner of the SBS Sports Sprint and twice runner-up in the Korea Sprint most recently last month. Keyword here is “sprint”. He’s never raced at this distance and two tries at 1800M didn’t go well. However, he surprised plenty by winning the Busan Owners’ Cup over a mile this summer and he does go well on this track. Would be a surprise were he to beat the favourites, but he can’t be totally ruled out of putting in a performance.
- CHEONJEOK – Enterprising connections who always have a go if given the opportunity, however, he last won eighteen months ago and hasn’t been in the money at all since June last year. Has no chance here.
Verdict: While (5) DOLKONG finished ahead of him in the Korea Cup, the unique circumstances of the race mean we have to continue to side with (3) CHEONGDAM DOKKI at this stage. He’s perfectly drawn to get a soft lead and with no JRA horses setting insane fractions for him to try and match, he’s still the one to beat. Don’t rule Dolkong out though. If his career hadn’t been hampered with injury, it’s possible Cheongdam Dokki wouldn’t be in his current position and there could well be more to come. (6) TRIPLE NINE is back and must be respected as ever while the same goes for (4) SILVER WOLF and (8) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON although neither of the latter pair look ideally suited to this. Of the up and comers, (1) MIGHTY SSING looks a real talent and while this may be too much too soon in terms of a win, a money finish is a distinct possibility.
|Selections||(3) Cheongdam Dokki (6) Triple Nine (5) Dolkong (4) Silver Wolf|
|Next Best||8, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 3|
Race 10: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(10) NASCAUI TAEYANG is the one to beat here. The Aussie-bred Uncle Mo colt ran 3rd in a stronger race than this at class and distance at the end of August and is likely to be too strong here. (11) EAST GULCH steps up in distance to two-turns for the first time after three consecutive 3rd place finishes at shorter, all at this class and he can be a threat. (2) SAMSAM VICTORY was an improved class and distance 2nd on September 2nd and can be a factor again. (1) EMPIRE KINGDOM is another who steps up in trip and it may be what he needs after going a little cold in his latest two outings at 1200M. The same applies to (4) HAEORABI, who remains a maiden after nine attempts but is not without ability.
|Selections||(10) Nascaui Taeyang (11) East Gulch (2) Samsam Victory (1) Empire Kingdom|
|Next Best||4, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 10, 11|
Race 11: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(1) SKY DOLPUNG and (2) SAMRYUK EUTTEUM both come in having run 2nd on their respective latest outings. Both impressed but with Sky Dolpung having shown ability at this distance, he’s the one who is slightly favoured here. (7) SUPER FLUID ran 3rd behind Samryuk Eutteum at 1200M in that race last month in what was just a second career start for the Blame colt and he could well improve here. (8) CHICAGO ART remains a maiden after fifteen attempts but is rarely too far away and can challenge for at least the minor money here (9) EUMAK DAEJANG is better than his last two outings would suggest, and he too can improve today.
|Selections||(1) Sky Dolpung (2) Samryuk Eutteum (7) Super Fluid (8) Chicago Art|
|Next Best||9, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 8, 10, 12|