Month: December 2018

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 14)

Racing’s back. 11 Friday races at Busan from 11:30 to 18:00:

Busan Racecourse

It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

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

Juvenile maidens to begin with and only three of the twelve have raced before. (7) NAKITA was sent off as odds-on favourite on debut on November 16th on the strength of a solid trial win. She was beaten into 2nd but the time was good, the run competent and the winner impressive so she’s well worth another chance here and is likely to be strong favourite. The other two didn’t show much although (12) ACE BOOM, 8th behind Nakita, may improve so the newcomers are likely to be the biggest threats. Trial eye-catcher was (2) GREAT WIN, who looks ready to go after coming through a heat in good order two weeks ago. (3) YEONGSEONGFIGHTING and (1) QUEEN OF ADELE others who could go well first-up.

Selections (7) Nakita (2) Great Win (3) Yeongseongfighting (12) Ace Boom
Next Best 11, 1, 8
Fast Start 2, 7

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

More juvenile maidens with only two of this set of twelve having run before. Of the pair, (10) BUSAN MISO ran 3rd (behind Nakita from race 1) on debut last month and if nothing else will be much shorter than the almost 400/1 odds he was sent off that day. Among the first-timers, (8) YEONGGWANGUI KISS is half-sister to Cheongu, winner of five from fifteen and who ran in races Japan, Dubai and Singapore and also Segi Gangja, six from twenty-three and a stablemate with Thomas Gillespie. She trialled well and looks set for a positive debut. Form Kim Young Kwan’s barn, (2) YAKSOKDAERO is bound to be backed while (9) MUNHWA SIGNATURE is another who may attract attention.

Selections (10) Busan Miso (8) Yeonggwangui Kiss (2) Yaksokdaero (9) Munhwa Signature
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 2, 3

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

More maidens and not much experience to go around. The ones drawn out wide look the best with (11) HALLA HWANGHU having run a decent 5th of 12 on debut last month looking set to go on to potentially score here. (12) GHOST RIDER exceeded expectations first-up in the very same race, finishing 4th and can go well too. (10) THUNDER RAIN has raced twice, improving last time out and with a bit more progress today, can get close. The others are all going to need to show something they haven’t as yet manages. (1) AMORIS and (9) B.K. VICTOR look the most likely.

Selections (11) Halla Hwanghu (12) Ghost Rider (10) Thunder Rain (1) Amoris
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 1, 2, 11

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

(6) GABO DAY has run 3rd on both attempts so far, the latest of which was at this distance. He only needs a top three finish to move up in class and he should be exiting the bottom level with a comfortable win here, most likely leading all the way. (8) B.K. THUNDER registered his best finish to date with 2nd place last start at this distance three weeks ago and can follow up here. (3) B.K. GAMBOL has a pair of 3rd places among four efforts so far and is another who can challenge the favourite. (9) SECRET LEGACY and (10) HANEOLUI BIT look best of the rest.

Selections (6) Gabo Day (8) B.K. Thunder (9) Secret Legacy (10) Haneolui Bit
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 2, 6, 9

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

(8) REVERSE SWEEP steps up in class having run 2nd in both efforts so far, both of which were at this distance. There is little to fear here though, and he could well be going one better. (6) FLYING DANCER was a winner on debut and while he only managed 5th on his fist try at this class, he can build on it here and looks to be the main danger along with (more…)


Triple Nine’s Grand Prix

He’s finally done it. At his fourth attempt, Triple Nine has won the Grand Prix Stakes. The four-time President’s Cup winner saw off Cheongdam Dokki, Today and Dolkong. Here it is:

It was another super performance from the oh-so-reliable six-year-old and in winning, Triple Nine broke the US$4 Million barrier in prize money and shows no signs of losing any of his ability. Jockey Lim Sung Sil put in a solid ride (the 1 Million Won he was fined for overuse of the whip in the home straight notwithstanding) while it was another remarkable training performance from Kim Young Kwan’s team, who also managed to get Today home in a surprise 3rd place.

Some thoughts on the race a day later. Aside from Triple Nine, Cheongdam Dokki showed character to fight back after being headed in the straight.  He went significantly slower up front than last year (conditions playing a role in that) controlling the race well. The distance is not his best but he almost did it.

Triple Nine KRA 1

Triple Nine wins the Grand Prix (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Today only qualified for the race by virtue of the points Korean-trained horses are awarded for participating in overseas and his 3rd place at Kranji in the KRA Trophy over 1200M was enough to get him in. Prior to the race, most debate was about whose race he was likely to ruin – would it be Cheongdam Dokki’s by engaging him in a speed duel in which they would both cook themselves? Or would it be by getting on the way of a horse trying to muster a strong finish when he inevitably weakened?

Soon after the start though, when jockey Lee Hyo Sik took a sit behind Cheongdam Dokki, there was a creeping realisation among observers that Today was in the race in order to win. At odds of 60/1, he came very close.

Had Dolkong drawn a barrier, things may have been different. From gate 16, Antonio Da Silva was never able to get into a comfortable position and had to spend the entire race at least three wide. He was still only beaten by just over two lengths in 4th. His career having been blighted by injury, Dolkong is a massive talent. He heads now to Meydan for the Dubai Carnival where there is every chance he will run very well.

Triple Nine KRA 3

Two other horses in the race are also scheduled to go to Dubai. Dolkong’s stablemate Choego Money was reasonably prominent throughout but didn’t quicken late on while Bart Rice’s Buhwarui Banseok had an off-day. Both may show their true ability in different conditions at Meydan.

Thomas Gillespie’s Great King ran well for 5th place while looking to the future, Moonhak Chief ran well in 6th, a full seven-lengths clear of the next one home, and was the best of the three-year-olds in the race. Who’s to say though that the future won’t involve Triple Nine once more? He’s now done it all. Don’t rule him out of doing it again.

GRAND PRIX STAKES 2018: FULL PREVIEW (Seoul Race-By-Race – December 9)

Triple Nine will bid to make it fourth-time lucky when he lines up for the 37th Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. Among a strong field of sixteen runners, he faces Cheongdam Dokki, who has bested him twice already this year, as well as Korea Cup runner-up Dolkong in the season-finale at the rarely used distance of 2300M. The Grand Prix Stakes is race 9 (16:45 local time) of an 11 race Sunday card at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. 


Could it finally be Triple Nine’s time in the Grand Prix? (Pic: Alex Cairns)


Three-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine has finished 4th, 2nd and 3rd in the last three editions yet Korea’s biggest domestic prize has eluded him up until now. The feeling is that this is his best – and possibly final chance. Cheongdam Dokki came out on top when the pair met in Busan in July’s Mayor’s Cup and then at Seoul in the KRA Cup Classic on October. However, a year ago the younger horse was odds-on favourite for this race which he led at a furious pace before weakening slightly late on as Triple Nine and two others ultimately came past.

Triple Nine was the big winner from the barrier draw. Emerging from gate 2, he will be able to run his own race. The front-running Cheongdam Dokki will have to get across from gate 14 to get to his desired position on the lead and will have to get past Triple Nine’s sprinting stablemate Today to do so. He certainly has the early speed to successfully accomplish it, but at what potential cost late on?

It would be wrong to describe this as a two-horse race though. It isn’t. Since 1997, only two betting favourites have prevailed and while real long-shot winners are rare it is a race which punters find tricky.

Dolkong is no longshot. Possibly the most talented of the lot, an injury-plagued career has seen him restricted to ten starts of which he has won six. He’s met Cheongdam Dokki three times and has beaten him twice including when running 2nd in September’s Korea Cup. Both distance and draw are a slight concern for him, but few come in to the Grand Prix with everything in their favour. If he can run to his best – and trainer Simon Foster has shown nothing but confidence in him – he is more than capable of downing both Triple Nine and Cheongdam Dokki.

Buhwarui Banseok ran a huge race in 5th last year and he returns once more with a likely strong late run. Up and comers Road Winner and Moonhak Chief will also have plenty of eyes on them. Most eyes though will be on Triple Nine as he seeks to cement his legacy by finally winning the biggest one of all.

Race 9: Class Open “Grand Prix Stakes” (KOR G1) 2300M Weight for Age / KRW 800 Million

  1. ULTRA ROCKET – A very solid 4th behind Triple Nine in the President’s Cup having won a Trophy race at 1800M on interntional weekend in September. Beaten by Choego Money at 2000M in the summer. He’s perhaps not quite of the elite and sneaking some minor prize money would be an excellent result.
  2. TRIPLE NINE – Maybe not as naturally gifted as a Cheongdam Dokki or a Dolkong but just so reliable. He comes in having completed his fourth consecutive win in the President’s Cup and tries to get fourth time lucky here. He can run his own race, settled close to but not on the early speed and he will make up ground late on. The gold standard of Korean thoroughbreds, this could be his year and he is slight favourite.
  3. CHAMP LINE – First start since July when he was 9th of 13 behind Cheongdam Dokki in the Busan Mayor’s Cup. A very solid horse who perhaps hasn’t quite managed to live up to his early promise. He’ll run well but perhaps isn’t quite at the level of the favourites.
  4. TOSCONOVA CAT – Well back in the Korea Cup in September before running 3rd to Choego Money at this distance at the end of September, albeit ten-lengths in arrears. He dropped back to 1400M for a class 1 win in October. Still only 3-years-old, he has promise but he will be an outsider.
  5. CHOEGO MONEY – He won at class 1 over this distance by nine-lengths at the end of September but disappointed when favourite in a tune-up for this two weeks ago at 1800M. While solid at class 1, he is unproven at the elite level and he carried a light weight in that September win. That recent performance will likely deter plenty, but he can still be a wildcard here.
  6. ROAD WINNER – A winner of five from seven so far, he’s very much on the way up. Won the JRA Trophy on international weekend in September before taking out a class 1 handicap in October, both at 1800M. This is unchartered territory both in terms of distance and calibre of opposition, but he can acquit himself well. Could challenge to get on pace early and can place.
  7. MOONHAK CHIEF – Seoul’s new great hope, he ran 3rd to Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine in the KRA Cup Classic in October. He ran on very nicely and should get today’s trip. Well drawn to sit in the middle of the pack and finish strongly, this may be a year too soon, but he will get plenty of backing for at least a place.
  8. BUHWARUI BANSEOK – Ran very well in this race last year for 5th place, finishing the strongest of all. He’s been up and down since then and was 5th behind Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine in the Busan Mayor’s Cup before winning his lead up race to this in October. His jockey is riding the track in a race for the first time but is very capable. A real chance of bettering last year.
  9. STEALTH – Never really got going in the President’s Cup last month when he ran 8th but he is a nice horse and he will run on for the whole 2300M. Has beaten a few of these recently and he could run into some prize money as others tire later. He will go right to the back and close.
  10. GREAT KING – Struggled in the Korea Cup here in September but came back into form with a four-length win over Royal Ruby at Busan a month ago. He was front-runner that day and is likely to be on pace early again here. He ran well enough at 2200M in September so should stay on with an outside chance of placing.
  11. TODAY – A stablemate of Triple Nine. More renowned as a sprinter, he qualified for this by virtue of the points he accrued by running 3rd in the KRA Trophy at Kranji, Singapore this summer at 1200M. Never raced at further than a mile although he did win on his only try at it. A likely fast starter who surely won’t win at this distance but may cause some issues for Cheongdam Dokki early.
  12. ADELEUI CHUKJE – Has established himself as a solid class 1 competitor and is in-form and likely to appreciate the distance. He won a lead-up race for this over 2200M at Busan in late September but was getting weight that day and this will be significantly stiffer.
  13. ROYAL RUBY – He was 2nd in the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2017 and ran 2nd to Great King at odds in excess of 40/1 on his latest start. Has good experience of Seoul and he should thrive at this distance. He will go back at the start and look to close strongly. Top half finish can be expected. Trainer Peter Wolsley won the race with Bold Kings in 2015.
  14. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – While he may have lost a little of his shine with his run in the Korea Cup, he still finished 4th and then returned to the winner’s circle in the KRA Cup Classic in October, beating Triple Nine for the second time this year. He set some brutal fractions in this race last year before ultimately being bested late on. The draw is not ideal as he will want to get to the front. If he can do that without using too much energy, they may not catch him this time.
  15. SAENGIL GIPPEUM – Seems to have been around forever even though he is only five. Generally takes his chances in the big races but it’s been a long time since the most recent of his eight wins and he’ll be a big outsider here. Jockey Choi Eun Gyeong gets her first ride in the race.
  16. DOLKONG – First start since running 2nd in the Korea Cup in September. Through his injury-interrupted career he’s met Cheongdam Dokki three times and beaten him twice. The distance may not be optimum for him, but it isn’t for many of these, including Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine. If he is absolutely right and runs to his best, he can win.

Verdict: This is billed locally as (2) TRIPLE NINE vs (14) CHEONGDAM DOKKI and it may well turn out to be although if (16) DOLKONG brings his best, he is capable of beating both of them. Cheongdam Dokki will do his best to get across from his wide draw and take the lead and then it will be up to everyone else to try and get past him. As ever the rarely used distance makes it a fascinating contest and while the favourites will most likely contest the finish, the likes of (8) BUHWARUI BANSEOK may have a say late on. Up and comers (6) ROAD WINNER and (7) MOONHAK CHIEF may find this is a year too soon but will also be expected to beat plenty.

Selections (2) Triple Nine (14) Cheongdam Dokki (16) Dolkong (8) Buhwarui Banseok
Next Best 6, 7, 13, 10
Fast Start 6, 10, 11, 14

Here is the race-by-race for the other 10 races at Seoul:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Juvenile maiden fillies to begin with and all but one have raced before. There aren’t any real standouts but (3) SENTOSA looks most likely having run competently across three starts to date with the best being 3rd place in a quick race at this distance in October. From gate 3 she can gain control early. (7) SONGAM BARBIE was just beaten a neck into (more…)

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:


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…)