Month: December 2018

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 8)

It’s Grand Prix Eve!! The big race is at Seoul on Sunday afternoon with the likes of Triple Nine, Cheongdam Dokki and Dolkong set to contest the traditional season-finale. We;ll have a full runner-by-runner guide 24 hours from now. In the meantime, it’s turned very cold on the Korean peninsula the past couple days but racing will be taking place on Saturday as usual in the capital with 13 races from 10:45 to 18:00:

Start

A reminder of warmer months – it’s freezing in Seoul now!

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

A weak maiden to begin with and (1) BLUE FIRE has shown enough across four starts to date to suggest he can live with better company than this and should really be making the breakthrough. He should be able to get an easy lead here and go all the way. (6) CHEONJI GISANG was a much-improved 3rd last time out at this distance and if he continues to progress here, he can better that (8) PUNGMUNEURO too has been getting lately and comes in off the back of consecutive 4th place finishes. (5) HARD PRINCESS and (7) SPECIAL BIRD look best of the rest.

Selections (1) Blue Fire (6) Cheonji Gisang (8) Pungmuneuro (7) Special Bird
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 1

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

(3) CHEONGDAM QUEENS ran a good 3rd place at this distance in October and then led part of the ay round over 1300M last start before weakening. Dropped back to the minimum today, she can win. (2) JILPUNG GANGJA raced three times without distinction in spring and early summer. She’s been off since June but has trialled up twice over the past month looking in much better order and is set to be much improved first-up here. (9) SEMYEONG GISANG improved on his second start a month ago and while he’s yet to show much in the way of speed, can continue his development here. (7) WHITE VELVET has offered little in three outings so far but raced very keenly over 1300M last time. He may be better dropped back in trip today. (8) ULTRA MISSILE has got two 3rd placed to his name and offered a hint of coming back into form with a 5th place on his most recent start.

Selections (3) Cheongdam Queens (2) Jilpung Gangja (7) White Velvet (8) Ultra Missile
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 2, 3, 9, 10

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

Maiden juvenile fillies with six of the twelve racing for the first time. It’s the experienced ones who will be favoured. (1) SAMAE JILJU ran 2nd on debut, well-beaten by a good winner, but showing enough to suggest she has plenty of potential. From the inside gate she’ll be on pace early and can win. (3) CHARON BLADE also ran well for a 2nd place of her own four weeks ago and is the main danger for a bang in-form stable. (5) GREEN SARANG improved to 2nd on what was her second outing on November 10th, finishing just over four-lengths in front of (10) HAE SAEM CHAN in 4th The latter may well overturn the form here. The wonderfully-named (2) HORSE QUEEN looks best of the rest.

Selections (1) Samae Jilju (3) Charon Blade (10) Hae Saem Chan (5) Green Sarang
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 1, 3, 12

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

More juvenile maidens with six of the ten racing for the first time. The ones with experience haven’t really impressed with only (3) DAE YONGWANG and (4) DASHING CANOE hinting at any ability. That means we’ll turn to the newcomers for top picks with (10) ECO BROTHER looking the best. He looked competent when just being beaten a head in a fast trial last month and if he runs like that in an actual race, he’ll win. (2) DRAGON BOAT similarly caught the eye in his heat as did, to a slightly lesser extent, (7) IL MARE. As ever in these races, the market may end up being the best guide.

Selections (10) Eco Brother (2) Dragon Boat (4) Dashing Canoe (3) Dae Yongwang
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 7, 10

Race 5: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens and this time seven of the ten have raced before. (3) RAON PATRICK is one of those and he raced abysmally, standing flat-footed in the gates and losing a lot of ground. Accordingly, he was banned for two months and ordered to do two trials. He did them and moreover, he made all in both of those trials. We should see a very different horse today than the one we saw in September and he’s the one to beat. Luigi Riccardi’s (2) MAMMA ROMA has hinted at ability across two starts so far and drops back in trip after a useful 4th last time out. She’ll be a threat as will (7) BLADE STORM, who raced greenyl on debut in October but still managed to finish 3rd. Among the first-timers, (6) GREEN CINDY caught the eye in trials.

Selections (3) Raon Patrick (2) Mamma Roma (7) Blade Storm (6) Green Cindy
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 3

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

(6) HANIL DALBIT has run well in two starts at this level since getting his maiden win in August. He’s had eight weeks off since his most recent start, when he was beaten less than a length over 1000M and back up in trip today, he’ll be the one to beat. (8) BEST EVER was a five-length winner on debut in October but ran poorly when favourite on his return last month. There were excuses involving a poor start and the horse resenting the kickback and it’s too soon to write him off. If he runs like he did on debut, he’ll go close. (2) REVELSIMMARD and (3) GLORY VERN both come in off useful latest starts and should be in at least the placing frame while (7) GOD OF SOCKS is up in class after a solid (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 7)

This Sunday at Seoul sees the 37th running of the Grand Prix Stakes, the final Group 1 of the year in Korea, and plenty of Busan’s top horses and jockeys are away in the capital. They miss a competitive Friday afternoon’s sport on the South Coast which features 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00:

Power Blade Grand Prix Fnish1

Power Blade won last year’s Grand Prix Stakes under Oh Kyung Hwan – Oh is one of nine Busan jockeys missing Friday’s card to be in the capital (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to begin with and five of the twelve have raced once before. Among those, (5) ROSA and (10) ROCK CHOICE recorded the best finishes, both ending up in 4th place on their respective debuts. Rosa’s first effort was at the end of September and she’s since gone back to trial, winning a heat very competently last week and improvement is to be expected. Rock Choice’s debut was three weeks ago when he has (12) YONGYEON a length and a half behind him in 5th. However, the top pick has to be one of the first-timers. That’s (3) SEOBU CAT who was as eye-catching as it is possible to be in trials, sauntering home on top in a heat a month ago. If Thomas Gillespie’s colt performs anything like that today, he should win. (6) BONINARA and (9) MAJOR POWER also looked competent in their respective heats and can go well first-up.

Selections (3) Seobu Cat (5) Rosa (10) Rock Choice (6) Boninara
Next Best 9, 12
Fast Start 3, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

At what will be the eleventh time of asking, it could finally be (8) INTERCEPTOR’s day. He’s been getting closer in recent efforts culminating in a decent 3rd place last time at this distance. A similar showing today will put him right in the mix. (4) BAEDARI CAPER was 6th that day and is capable of getting closer this time but a sterner test may be posed by (2) FOX COLORING. She’s shown promise across three outings to date, including a 4th at this distance and she can come from off the pace to go close here. Neither (5) MUJEOK SPEED and (7) BIG BLAZE gave an especially good account of themselves on their respective last starts but both showed some ability on debut and can be given another chance here.

Selections (8) Interceptor (2) Fox Coloring (4) Baedari Caper (5) Mujeok Speed
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 2, 10

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) SPARKLE did exactly that on debut three weeks ago, scoring by half a length over 1000M. He’s up in class today but should come on some more and is firmly in the hunt to maintain his 100% record. (1) LUCKY ADELE and (8) MUCHO both come in having won their respective latest starts at this class. Of the pair Lucky Adele, who ground out a tough win ahead of three of these four weeks ago, looks most likely to repeat. (5) TRIPLE SILVER has run 4th in both his latest two and should at least be matching that today. (6) HUNTER PARK ran a solid 3rd over 1200M three weeks ago – albeit a full sixteen lengths behind a very good winner – having led early. He drops back in trip here and should be on speed again with a chance of going all the way.

Selections (7) Sparkle (1) Lucky Adele (5) Triple Silver (6) Hunter Park
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 1, 6, 10

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Not an especially strong maiden and following a 3rd and two 4th place finishes, (8) RACING GALLOPER will be expected to make the breakthrough here. From the outside gate, he can settle just behind the early speed and take over at the business end of the race. (3) YEONGGWANGUI STAR and (2) CHOEGANG STEALTH came home came home 3rd and 4th with half a length between them when they raced each other over class and distance on November 4th. The latter has raced once since, underwhelmingly, but both can have placing chances here. (6) GOLDUI INYEON and (7) HOT GIRL are others who have shown some ability and can get close.

Selections (8) Racing Galloper (3) Yeonggwangui Star (2) Choegang Stealth (7) Hot Girl
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 5

Race 5: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(8) BUGYEONG DANDY has run well in his latest two, just going down by a neck in a tight three-way finish over 1300M in October. He attempted this distance once back in July on what was just his second start and while it didn’t go well, he looks ready for another try. (1) CHEONSANG OREUM has finished off well in both outings so far and she should appreciate the opportunity to get stuck into a bit of distance today. (2) CHEONDUNGBARAMSORI has a 4th place to his name at this trip and can match or better here while (6) CHEONGDAM BLADE is one start into a comeback following five months (more…)

King Socks Wears Juvenile Crown

There were a few nervous moments in the home straight but ultimately King Socks lived up to his odds-on favourite status in the Breeders’ Cup as the Kim Young Kwan trained colt prevailed to land the Korean season’s top Juvenile race at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

For much of the seven-furlong contest it looked as though it would be a formality for King Socks, leading early and threatening a repeat of his Gimhae Mayor’s Cup win at the end of October which he won by eight-lengths. With Seoul’s best in attendance too though, this was always going to be a tougher assignment and so it would prove in the home straight.

Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup winner Dae Wan Ma began as second-favourite and it was he who gave the favourite something to think about in the home straight, taking advantage of some wayward running by King Socks. Under jockey Lee Hyo Sik, however, the Officer colt found his compass once more and ran on strongly to hold off Dae Wan Ma by half a length on the line. 40/1 chance Myeongpum Chukje came home in 3rd place a full four-lengths back.

For the past three years the winner of the Breeders’ Cup has gone on to win the following season’s Korean Derby. With this year’s race being held at Busan for the first time, the KRA Cup Classic, the 1st leg of the Triple Crown, which takes place on the South Coast on the first Sunday in April, will be the more immediate test. Kim Young Kwan saddled two of those double-getters, Power Blade and Ecton Blade. King Socks is the latest to roll off the production line for Korea’s top trainer.

Next week at Seoul, it’s the big one. The Grand Prix Stakes of 2018!

Seoul & Busan Sunday – Breeders’ Cup Day: Race-By-Race Preview (December 2)

Korea’s champion juvenile will be crowned on Sunday as the Juvenile Series comes reaches its conclusion in the Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) which this year, for the first time, is being run at Busan. 13 line up including the winners of both Seoul and Busan’s primary races, Dae Wan Ma and King Socks. There is a 6 race-card at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 and an 11-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.

Dae Wan Ma Dokki Blade Gwacheon Mayor's Cup - KRA

Dae Wan Ma (1) and Do Kki Blade are at Busan to take on King Socks in the Breeders’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

  1. YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT – Never got going in the Gimhae Mayor’s. Two good wins prior to that. Not a fast starter and additional trip today may suit.
  2. TOP OF WORLD – 4th in Gimhae Mayor’s having led and tired off a stiff early pace. Three for three prior including at 1300M. Likely to lead and has a chance.
  3. WONDERFUL EVIL – Well beaten by Do Kki Blade in August but has won his latest two. Will need more here. Settles midfield.
  4. DAE WAN MA – Beat Do Kki Blade by a neck in the Gwacheon Mayor’s. Only defeat so far a DQ. Will be on pace and is one of the favourites.
  5. MIGHTY POWER – Beaten nine-lengths by King Socks on debut but has since won two of three including at a mile. Distance no issue and could be a wildcard.
  6. KING SOCKS – Dominant eight-length winner on the Gimhae Mayor’s having sat behind the fast early pace. Only defeat was on debut. Favourite here and can win.
  7. RULES ICHEON – Takes his chance having got his maiden win on his third start a month ago. Stablemate of Dae Wan Ma. Big outsider.
  8. DAEJI CHAMP – Eye-catching scores at 1300M and 1200M in his latest two, making all both times. This is much tougher.
  9. PRECEDE –Stablemate of King Socks with just two starts. Won on debut over 1000M then was beaten a head at 1300M at the end of October. Never rule out the trainer.
  10. GWONTOJUNGLAE – One win from three over 1000M. 4th place at 1300M last time makes him hard to recommend.
  11. DO KKI BLADE – Just beaten a neck by Dae Wan Ma in the Gwacheon Mayor’s. Looks to be getting better and distance should suit under likely patient ride.
  12. YEONGGWANGUI SECRET – 2nd to King Socks in the Gimhae Mayor’s, albeit beaten eight-lengths, was his first defeat. Placing chance.
  13. MYEONGPUM CHUKJE – Won his first two before running 3rd to Dae Wan Ma and Dokki Blade in Gwacheon Mayor’s. More to find.

Verdict: The winner’s of the two second legs at Seoul and Busan, (4) DAE WAN MA and (6) KING SOCKS will be favourites to battle it out here with King Socks on his home track slightly favoured. (2) TOP OF WORLD and (11) DOKKI BLADE may both appreciate the extra distance today and can be competitive while (7) RULES ICHEON and (9) PRECEDE may be the surprise packages.

Selections: (6) King Socks (4) Dae Wan Ma (2) Top Of World (11) Dokki Blade

Busan Selections

Race 1: 2, 3, 1, 9
Race 2: 8, 12, 9, 7
Race 3: 5, 8, 3, 4
Race 4: 1, 2, 7, 8
Race 6: 3, 2, 7, 8

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to begin with and six of the eight have prior experience. (6) WIND RIVER was by some margin the best on debut, running a good 3rd over this distance on November 10th. It was a decent time and a similar performance should see her home on top today. One of the others have really impressed although (9) FULL MOON OCEAN did nothing wrong for his 6th and can improve today. Similarly (3) RAON KEVIN can be given another chance having finished 7th of 12 on his own racecourse bow. That leaves the two debut-makers as contenders. (5) MISS SUNSHINE looks the best of them, running well in a trial just last week. (2) DAEJI YEOGEOL also looked competent enough in her heat and can go well first-up.

Selections (6) Wind River (5) Miss Sunshine (9) Full Moon Ocean (3) Raon Kevin
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 8, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juveniles seeking their first win with seven of them having raced once before. The one of those with the best finishing position on debut was (10) CHEONNYEON VIKING, who ran 2nd in a filly-only maiden at this distance all the way back in August. She should be in the mix again, but it wasn’t a fast race that day and she will need to improve. (9) SLING STONE ran faster in 5th on his debut last month and the recency of that perhaps makes him a better bet while (3) VICTORY KING beat a couple of the others who go here on his debut four weeks ago and should beat plenty of them again. However, for our pick we are turning to a newcomer. (8) RAON STORM looked like he meant business when running strongly in a trial at the end of October and if he brings that form to the races, he should win. Another first-time starter (4) YEOKDAE CHOEGO will also be well-backed first-up having won a trial. Watch the market with both for additional clues.

Selections (8) Raon Storm (9) Sling Stone (10) Cheonnyeon Viking (4) Yeokdae Choego
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 8, 9, 10, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here and having beaten a couple of these on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on November 4th, (8) RAON SERENA is favoured to prevail here. She’s yet to win in four outings but has never been worse than 3rd and she can come out on top today, most likely leading all the way. (3) EOMJI YEOWANG and (2) DANGDAE SONYEO chased Raon Serena home that day in 4th and 5th and they may well be the ones who pose the greatest threat here although they do have almost three lengths to make up.  (1) KKEULEOJUNEUN SON remains a maiden but is capable if finding the places in this kind of race while the same is true of (7) NAMJJOK NARA, another maiden but up in class today after a useful 3rd last time out.

Selections (8) Raon Serena (2) Dangdae Sonyeo (1) Kkeuleojuneun Son (3) Eomji Yeowang
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 2, 8, 9

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

(3) MIREU STORM has won two of her three starts so far and is up in class today looking for a hat-trick. Both her wins have come at this distance and both by leading from gate to wire and she is well-drawn for a good start and a repeat. This is a stiff test though and the primary danger – and possible favourite – is (6) CHAPEL ACE. He’s a class and distance winner and while he hasn’t been exceptional in recent outings, he comes in off a good 4th last time and looks set to got well here. (1) RAON ZEUS drops back significantly in trip following a couple of chastening experiences at 1700M and should be much better today. (5) SERA KHAN won at this distance at class 5 in September and while he only managed 6th on his first try at this level in October, he can improve today. (12) BOMBI’S KING ran a good, if slightly unexpected, 2nd last time out (the jockey got fined for returning half a kilo heavier than he weighed out) and could aim for a place again.

Selections (3) Mireu Storm (6) Chapel Ace (1) Raon Zeus (5) Sera Khan
Next Best 12, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 7, 9

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

(9) YEOGEOL VISION came up in class following a 2nd place and a win from her first two starts before running 3rd on her first try at this level on November 4th. She’s up in trip today but she’s run on well each time and it may suit her very well. (8) LUCKY BONGHWA remains a maiden after eight attempts but since returning from five months out has registered a 4th and a 3rd in two outings and may be considered to go even better here. (1) DAE BYEONHWA’s recent form reads well and he should have placing claims. (5) CAMP TOUCH and (6) HANEULEUL DALRIDA, the latter up in class after a solid maiden win over this distance a month ago, are others in the hunt.

Selections (9) Yeogeol Vision (8) Lucky Bonghwa (6) Haneuleul Dalrida (1) Dae Byeonhwa
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 3, 6

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

(12) DARK PLAYER has run twice so far recording a 3rd and a 2nd. He’s run well on both occasions and with a bit more progress today, he can find his way to the winner’s circle. He’ll have to overcome the widest draw, but he looks capable. (9) PRIMO has been very solid of late, going down by a nose in July, a neck in August and a half-length in (more…)