Seoul & Busan Sunday: NACF Chairman’s Trophy / Gyeong DoMin Ilbo – Race-By-Race Preview (November 25)

It may not be until next week then the top hopes for the 2019 Triple Crown trail come together to decide the title of Champion Korean Juvenile in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul but this Sunday in the capital will also give a glimpse of some potential future stars as the top imported juveniles compete for the NACF Chairman’s Trophy over 1200M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05:

Spring Back KRA

Spring Back is one of the leading contenders for the NACF (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Last year the race was won by PK. Party, who has gone on to win seven of eleven starts to date but also featured this year’s KRA Cup Classic 3rd place-getter Moonhak Chief as well as two of the stars of the Queens’ Tour, Ttukseom Cup winner Cheongsu Yeogeol and Sky Bay, victorious in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup.

So, who are the top contenders this time around? Spring Back looked sensational in his first two starts this summer, recording one of the fastest times of the year when winning on his second start over 1400M. He didn’t impress when 2nd on his reappearance in October though and that may open the door for others.

Since running 3rd to Spring Back on debut in July, Thank You Charlie has won three in a row, culminating in a facile six-length score at the big-race distance last month. He’s one of two Adios Charlie colts in the race – the other being Havana Charlie – and both will have plenty of backers. Kitten’s Joy colt Munhak Joy has won three out of five so far and looks a solid prospect while Wang Beotkkot was a solid winner at the distance earlier this month and looks dangerous too.

Both Medici Glory and Ultra Punch tackle six-furlongs for the first time and are others who could play a big part in the race.

At Busan, the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo highlights. It too has illustrious alumni with I’m Your Father taking victory in 2016 before going on to win the Busan Mayor’s Cup the following summer. Last year Ace Korea, who won last weekend’s Kookje News Sprint and looks to be Dubai World Cup Carnival-bound, ran 4th. Ace Korea’s trainer Peter Wolsley saddles one of the main hopes, Pro Consul while another foreign trainer Thomas Gillespie comes in with the hitherto unbeaten Mujeok Yeongung.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) SATO ROYAL improved to 3rd place on what was her first try at this distance on October 27th and her third career start in total. It’s true she’s not shown much in the way of speed, but she has shown progress and with a bit more today, she can win. (8) RAON STELLA is similar in that she’s shown potential if not much swiftness across four starts to date. She’s also gone well at this trip and beat a couple of these over 1000M last time out. (6) GEUP HAENG MA steps up in trip for the first time after a decent showing in 3rd at 1000M last time and should be challenging for the early lead here. (3) GWANGPOK JUHAENG and (11) CHEONGDAM QUEENS are others who may go close.

Selections: (7) Sato Royal (6) Geup Haeng Ma (8) Raon Stella (11) Cheongdam Queens
Next Best: 3, 1
Fast Start: 6, 7, 10, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here with just three of them making their debuts. They’ll be up against it as plenty of those who have raced have demonstrated some ability. (9) SIMPLIFY ran 3rd on debut on October 27th, beaten less than a length at this distance. He ran on strongly and should have come on for it. (5) WONDERFUL BRUSH was 5th when debuting in that very same race. He was very keen at the halfway point and ran out of room slightly and he can improve today. (8) RED BLADE debuted in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at the end of September and while that was too much too soon, he ran well for 3rd on his re-appearance last month and is likely to be well-backed here. (12) WONDERFUL MARIA also did nothing wrong when 5th on debut at this distance and is another who can get close. Of those three first-timers, (7) GEUMSUNI STAR trialled nicely and looks the most forward at this stage.

Selections: (9) Simplify (8) Red Blade (5) Wonderful Brush (12) Wonderful Maria
Next Best: 7, 11
Fast Start: 5, 6, 8, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(4) SPEED WINNER ran a good 2nd on debut over 1000M a month ago, beaten only by a very nice-looking winner, Havana Charlie, who goes in the big race later this afternoon. He ran through the line strongly and can be confident stepped up to 1300M today. He’ll be on pace from the start, as will (8) DAEGUNUI GEOM, 3rd over 1200M on his first start seven weeks ago and who looks to be the main threat. (3) GEUMSEOK DOLPA was a little slow to begin on debut on October 6th but ran on well over 1000M to finish 6th. More trip may suit here. (6) MALIBU GINGER has plenty of experience compared to the rest and while he will need to improve if he is to compete for top honours, he’s capable of beating plenty of these. There are two debut-makers and (5) INCHEON CHIEF looks a potential prospect. The Pioneerof The Nile colt has looked more than competent in two trials and could go well first-up.

Selections: (4) Speed Winner (8) Daegunui Geom (5) Incheon Chief (3) Geumseok Dolpa
Next Best: 6, 12
Fast Start: 4, 6, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) FIGHTING HERO got the best of a tight finish to win by a nose on debut at this distance four weeks ago. He’s up in class here but looks the one to beat. He’ll settle just behind the early leaders and look to be too strong late on. (2) MISS PYEONGCHON may have only won one of her seventeen outings to date, but she enters with strong recent form and was last seen running 3rd at class and distance with three of her rivals here behind her. She’ll be on the early speed and could win. One of those behind her that day was (7) HANIL MAGIC and he too can get a little closer this time. (5) GEUMA KINGDOM remains a maiden after three attempts but is up in class today following two runner-up finishes and a 3rd place. She’ll be competitive at this level. (11) ARABIA GONGJU looks best of the rest.

Selections: (3) Fighting Hero (2) Miss Pyeongcheon (5) Geuma Kingdom (7) Hanil Magic
Next Best: 11, 4
Fast Start: 2, 4, 10

Busan Race 1 Selections: 10 (This is New Legend, a Korean bred who ran seven times in the USA, including winning at Arlington Park in July of this year. This is his Korean debut) 6, 11, 7

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

Wildly competitive contest here. Five of these raced each other at class and distance on October 27th and it was two rank outsiders that day (3) SHADOW MONEY and (2) YEONGWONHAN SUNGAN who finished the best in 2nd and 3rd respectively. They will require more respect today although the margins weren’t huge and it’s more than possible that the best backed of them there, (11) HEUNG KKAEBI, who finished 6th, can overturn the form today. That was his first try at this distance and only his second start overall following a maiden win on debut, and he can have come on for that run. (12) SABA KINGDOM is another who can be given another chance following his latest effort. That was in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, so this is far more amenable company and he can get close. (7) GOODCHOICE ran 3rd on his first try at this class three weeks ago and should be very much in the placing frame again.

Selections: (11) Heung Kkaebi (3) Shadow Money (7) Goodchoice (12) Saba Kingdom
Next Best: 2, 8
Fast Start: 4, 8, 10, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) SANGSEUNG DAEHAN remains a maiden after six starts but enters off the back of three consecutive 2nd place finishes, two of them at tis distance and the latest at this class. An apprentice jockey takes significant weight off his back today and he could well make the breakthrough. (10) ECTON SPEED is up in class following her maiden win which came via a six-length score over 1300M on October 26th. She made all that day, running on well and should be able to handle to rise in both class and distance. (7) GLITTER found the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup a little too stiff four weeks ago but still has plenty of potential and will find the company more amenable today. (2) GOLDEN TROPHY and (11) MACHADO are others in the hunt.

Selections: (3) Sangseung Daehan (10) Ecton Speed (7) Glitter (11) Machado
Next Best: 2, 5
Fast Start: 2, 3, 7, 10

 Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Really good handicap for this level with any number of potential winners. (2) WILD DRAGON comes in looking for a hat-trick of victories. His latest was at this class on October 27th with a couple of these behind him. While he carries an extra 2.5kg today, he’s well drawn to be prominent again and can make it three in a row here. While Wild Dragon will be one of a number looking to lead, (3) HIN BYEOL will come from the back. She’s done that to finish 2nd in each of her latest two starts and should be finishing strongly again. On the first of those occasions, the horse who beat her was (4) TIAGO TOUCH. The latter then went on to finish well down the field, this time behind Hun Byeol, last month. He’s won three of eight so far though and is worth another chance here. (11) HEUNG OREUM won two of her first three before coming unstuck in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup four weeks ago. She’ll find today’s opposition much more to her liking even if the draw perhaps won’t be. (10) BAEKSAN MENIQUEEN also had a hard time in that same big race last month and she too should improve here.

Selections: (2) Wild Dragon (11) Heung Oreum (3) Hin Byeol (10) Baeksan Meniqueen
Next Best: 4, 1
Fast Start: 2, 5, 7, 8, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(2) PRIME RACE ran 3rd in a stiffer race than this over 1300M last month, continuing a run of good form and while his come from behind style means he’ll need a bit of luck to get a clean trip, he looks the one to beat here. (10) SILLAUI DALBAM actually beat Prime Race when 3rd on a wet track at the end of August before running a useful 2nd on his return to action in early October and he will be a threat again. (11) RAON JEONSEOL is one race not a comeback following five months off and should improve on the 5th he scored on his return. (6) SPOT had a hard time on his first try at this class last time, weakening late over 1300M but can go better dropped slightly back in trip today. (7) YEONGUNG JEWANG can aim to at least match the 4th place he’s achieved in both his latest two outings.

Selections: (2) Prime Race (11) Raon Jeonseol (10) Sillaui Dalbam (6) Spot
Next Best: 7, 12, 9
Fast Start: 1, 3, 6, 12

 Seoul Race 7: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) GRAND DOLPUNG beat four of these on his way to 2nd place on what was his first try at this distance on October 28th. He’ll race prominently here and could well go all the way. (10) CLEAN UP DREAM was longest but one shot on the board that day but came from well back to run 3rd. He was a full four lengths behind Grand Dolpung and is likely to be better supported today. (9) BARAM KING ran 5th keeping up a run of consistent if unspectacular displays at this level and he can challenge for a place. In truth though, the greatest threats probably didn’t run in that race. (5) ROYAL TANK ran well for 4th over this distance last start and carries a very light weight here which should bring him into contention while (1) RISE AEN SHINE looks ready to tackle two turns again after finishing 4th in a touch race at 1300M last time out.

Selections: (4) Grand Dolpung (1) Rise Aen Shine (10) Clean Up Dream (9) Baram King
Next Best: 5, 2
Fast Start: 1, 2, 4

Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(3) CHALLANHAN MISO is up in class having won his latest two in fine fashion. Thomas Gillespie’s colt has taken to this distance very well and is nicely drawn to get on the early speed here and lead all the way. (2) I’M YOUR HOPE could turn out to be the biggest danger having run 2nd at class and distance last time and can come from just behind the early pace here. (1) WONDERFUL STORY should join Challanhan Miso on that early speed and can be a danger throughout. (6) TIME SPEC is up in class and also in distance having run out a good front-running winner over 1300M last month and can be competitive. (8) I AM YOUR KING looks best of the rest.

Selections: (3) Challanhan Miso (2) I’m Your Hope (6) Time Spec (1) Wonderful Story
Next Best: 8, 9
Fast Start: 1, 3

 Seoul Race 8: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) K.N BLUE has won three in a row including his latest which was at this class over 1700M. He stretches out an extra half-furlong for the first time today, but the result could well be the same. He’s not the only one on a winning streak though. (3) SHARK DAEJANGGEUN has won his latest two and is up to this class for the first time under a nice light weight and could go close. Another up and comer is (6) GEUMBIRANG, who has won four of nine so far and while he only managed 5th on his first try at this class at the end of September, he began awkwardly and didn’t get the best of trips. He could well appreciate the step up to 1800M slightly more than the others and is in with a chance. (8) ROAD KING has gone close in each of his latest three and should be a danger too.

Selections: (7) K.N Blue (6) Geumbirang (8) Road King (3) Shark Daejanggeun
Next Best: 4, 5
Fast Start: 1, 7

Busan Race 5: Class Open “Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Cup” (Listed) 1200M / KRW 300 Million

  1. SEONNYANG CHEOLLI – Two starts so far, well back on debut then 4th behind Babel Dream and Curlin Time at 1000M on November 2nd. Much to find here.
  2. FIRST CHANGER – One for one, making all and beating three of these in a smart time on October 12th. A repeat sees him right in the mix.
  3. CURLIN TIME – 2nd on both starts so far, both at 1000M and beaten by First Changer and Babel Dream. Shown decent speed but need to be better to overturn the form.
  4. ARCADIA – Took hi a couple of goes to figure things out but has now won two from four, improving every run. In the frame.
  5. SMILE FACTOR – Yet to win with a best of 2nd recorded latest start at 1000M. Others favoured today.
  6. TAEYANGI TTEUNDA – Offered few clues on debut when 5th behind Babel Dream. Top trainer/jockey combination though. Stablemate of Babel Dream.
  7. MALLI STAR – 5th and 9th in two starts at 1300M. May appreciate the drop in trip but this looks tough.
  8. OCALA TEUKGEUP – 4th of 9 on debut in October. Trialled well two weeks ago. Top stable so keep an eye on him.
  9. BABEL DREAM – Ran at a mile on first start and finished 6th. Dropped to 1000M for second outing and blitzed home in a very fast time with three of these behind. Big chance.
  10. MUJEOK YEONGUNG – Three for three and the one to beat. Hacked up in fast times on all three occasions. Draw not the best but should overcome it.
  11. ALPHA RUNNER – Winner of two from five. Didn’t run on over a mile two weeks ago and not among the front line of favourites here.
  12. CEEYOUDOWNTHETRACK – 3rd on debut behind Pro Consul at 1300M on November 2nd, coming from way back and finishing well. Has promise but hard to recommend here.
  13. PRO CONSUL – 3rd to First Changer and Curlin Time on debut in October before an easy win at 1300M on November 2nd. Draw not great but strong chance.

Verdict: (10) MUJEOK YEONGUNG heads in three-for-three having won his races by a combined nineteen lengths. He’s led every step of the way each time and could well do so again. Naturally, today’s competition is stiffer and Peter Wosley, who had Ace Korea in this race last year, saddles (13) PRO CONSUL, He looks a talent having destroyed a useful field by six-lengths over 1300M on his second career start. The draw is perhaps not ideal for him but if he can get across to the front, he may be difficult to beat. (9) BABEL DREAM debuted inauspiciously at a mile but was sensational when dropped back to 1000M for his second attempt three weeks ago. (2) FIRST CHANGER and (4) ARCADIA are others who have shown enough potential to suggest that they could win this.

Selections: (10) Mujeok Yeongung (13) Pro Consul (9) Babel Dream (4) Arcadia
Next Best: 2, 12
Fast Start: 2, 4, 10, 13

Race 9: Class Open “NACF Chairman’s Trophy” (Listed) 1200M / KRW 300 Million

  1. THANK YOU CHARLIE – Three wins in a row and consistently running good times. Good draw and has the speed to control the race. Big chance.
  2. MEDICI GLORY – Won only start very well from barrier 12. Got to the lead early and kicked away for comfortable victory. Better draw this time and solid claims.
  3. CRAZY FACTOR – Win was in a fast time over 1300M. Well back behind Spring Back and Samseong Donghang on latest so a bit to find.
  4. ULTRA PUNCH – Two wins from three so far, both at 1000M Finished strongly to win last start and should be ready for 1200M.
  5. GEUMA ZENITH – One of only two maidens in the race, his best finish was a close 2nd at 1000M. Big ask to get off the mark here.
  6. WANG BEOTKKOT – Successive wins at 1300M and 1200M, comfortable both times. Will need to go faster here but looks to have plenty of improvement in him.
  7. SUPER FLUID – Maiden win on fourth start last time when came from well back to score at 1300M. May suit further than this.
  8. SPRING BACK – Sensational in first two outings at 1000M and 1400M. Ran into a decent one when hot favourite last time so gets another chance. Likely favourite and if at best, can win.
  9. SEOUL SIDAE – A maiden but only two starts so far. Well back behind Ultra Punch on debut. Improved to 4th last time but still lots to find.
  10. MUNHAK JOY – Three wins from five so far, all at further. The only one of these to have made it up to class 2 so far so must be respected.
  11. HAVANA CHARLIE – Runner-up in debut before getting maiden win on second start. Both were 1000M but both in double-quick time. Top jockey on and not impossible.
  12. SAMSEONG DONGHANG – Winner at this distance before running 3rd to Spring Back’s 2nd last start. More to find today but minor money a possibility.
  13. MUNHAK TSUNAMI – Ran 2nd to Medici Glory on debut before making all to win comfortably over 1000M at the end of October. First time at further and should be able to cope.

Verdict: (8) SPRING BACK was exceptionally quick when winning his first two starts over 1000M and 1400M in July and September. His run last time, when beaten eight-lengths into 2nd by the admittedly quite good Cheongdam Jewang but racing with somewhat poor manners, too is concerning though. He can still win but there is enough doubt to make (1) THANK YOU CHARLIE, who hasn’t put a foot wrong since being beaten ten-lengths by Spring Back on both their debuts, the slight top pick. (2) MEDICI GLORY ran very well on debut over 1000M and should be right in the mix if he runs similarly. (10) MUNHAK JOY has already made it up to class 2 and must be respected. (6) WANG BEOTKKOT and (11) HAVANA CHARLIE are the others who stand out at this stage.

Selections: (1) Thank You Charlie (8) Spring Back (2) Medici Glory (10) Munhak Joy
Next Best: 6, 11
Fast Start:  

Seoul Race 10: Class 1 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million

(2) CHOEGO MONEY won at 2000M in August and 2300M on September and while in his case, further is probably better, he should be too good for this field. Four of the others raced each other over class and distance on October 14th with (9) WINNER GOLD emerging as the best of them in 2nd place. He is nicely in again under a very light weight and could get close. (12) HEUNGRYONG and (1) SHAMROCKER were further back and both of those should play a role too. Shamrocker is top-rated and while he has a hard time this year, he still has plenty of quality about him.

Selections: (2) Choego Money (1) Shamrocker (9) Winner Gold (12) Heungryong
Next Best: 10, 6
Fast Start: 2, 4, 9, 10

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(1) SIN STEALTH ran a really good 5th of 16 in the President’s Cup at Seoul last month. He’d previously never raced at class 1 but is a proven winner at this distance and finds himself very nicely in here. He can win. (4) CAPTAIN FORCE was odds-on for his latest start at class and distance on October 14th but finished 7th. While he didn’t have the best of trips, he didn’t actually have many excuses, but he does have a lot of talent and once more under a very light weight, has to be given another chance. (12) GOOD CASTING returned from almost seven months off to run a strong class and distance 3rd two weeks ago and he will be a danger. (2) BEOLMAUI SIN and (6) IRON TRAIN are others who should be in the placing hunt.

Selections: (1) Sin Stealth (4) Captain Force (12) Good Casting (2) Beolmaui Sin
Next Best: 6, 8
Fast Start: 4, 5, 8, 10


Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million


(9) MALIBU BULPAE drops back in trip after several goes around two turns at which he acquitted himself well. His last try at this distance was a 4th place in the very competitive CHIA Trophy in June and he should have too much here. (8) PARK SOCKS put in a strong run over 1200M last time out and should go close while (5) BAEKSAN GUNJU is up in class after a win at 1300M on October 28th and can be competitive at this level. (1) GOLDEN BLACK ran poorly last time but was later found to be lame. He’s had six weeks off and should be much better today. (12) HWANNGEUM DEULPAN had a hard time over 1800M today but can be expected to improve dropped back in trip here.


Selections: (9) Malibu Bulpae (8) Park Socks (5) Baeksan Gunju (1) Golden Black
Next Best: 11, 6
Fast Start: 1, 7, 12

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