The weekend’s racing in Korea gets underway at Busan on Friday with 11 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(1) SPICE ROCK is half-sister to four-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine and was sent off as long odds-on favourite on debut over 1000M on November 23rd. She only managed 4th but after a few weeks off and stepping up to 1300M today, she’ll be strongly favoured to get it right this time. (6) ROCK HARD QUEEN and (7) GOLDUI INYEON both come in having run 4th in their respective latest starts. The former looks more of a threat here. (3) SEONGSAN POWER ran well for 3rd place on debut in October and while he failed to follow up on re-appearance, can be given another chance here. The solitary debut-maker is (5) JUNGKKOT and having posted a fast time in trials, she has to be given at least a placing chance first-up in this company.
|Selections||(1) Spice Rock (6) Rock Hard Queen (3) Seongsan Power (5) Jungkkot|
|Next Best||10, 7|
|Fast Start||3, 9, 10|
Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens only. (3) BARAMEUI KKUM has finished 4th in both her two starts so far, the latter at this distance. She’s not shown much in the way of speed but possibly won’t need to against this distinctly modest set of opponents. From gate 3, she can get an early lead and go all the way. (1) THUNDER BAY defied extremely low expectations to run 4th himself on debut a month ago and while it was in no way shape or form quick, he ran through the line well and the step up in trip may suit. The rest are going to need to improve. (5) YAKSOKDAERO is from Korea’s top stable and will be backed although she’s done nothing in two goes so far. (4) SUNRISE QUEEN has only raced the once and can be given another chance in this weak affair.
|Selections||(3) Barameui Kkum (1) Thunder Bay (4) Sunrise Queen (5) Yaksokdaero|
|Next Best||6, 7|
|Fast Start||5, 6|
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
More three-year-old maidens and while it’s not much stronger than the previous one, there are at least a few with some form. (1) YONGYEON is the slight pick. He’s run 5th and 4th in two starts so far, both at this trip. Most recently, he overcame the widest draw to get close to the early pace and ran on well and from the inside this time, he can go close. (6) IRON WARRIOR was 6th behind Yongyeon on his debut five weeks ago, and he can improve too but the biggest danger will be (8) DONGBANG WARRIOR. He already has a 2nd place to his name, behind the promising Deep Mind in November, and ran 4th to the even better-looking Success Party two weeks ago. The stable is bang in form right now and he can win. (3) BAEKDU DAEHO looks to be figuring things out and can look to place while (5) DAMYANG CHOEGANG has been inconsistent across three starts so far but does have some ability and ran well in a December trial.
|Selections||(1) Yongyeon (8) Dongbang Warrior (5) Damyang Choegang (3) Baekdu Daeho|
|Fast Start||1, 8|
Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Another relatively weak maiden, this time age open. (4) HWANGGEUMBITMASENG is the likely favourite having registered three 4th place finishes from his latest four starts, the latter two in tougher company than this. Jockey Kim Tae Kyung hasn’t been beaten on a favourite for over two years (granted, he has only ridden three) and he could maintain that record. The primary danger is (5) ROYAL BLUE. Thomas Gillespie’s colt hasn’t raced since last July, but he managed a 2nd and a 3rd among six outings before his layoff – a better record than any of the others here. He trialled competently if unspectacularly in December and could go well first-up here. (1) ULSAN JANGGUN and (7) HAPPY MAGIC both come in off encouraging showings last time and looks set to be competing for places.
|Selections||(4) Hwanggeumbitmaseng (5) Royal Blue (1) Ulsan Janggun (7) Happy Magic|
|Next Best||2, 8|
|Fast Start||2, 6|
Race 5: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
The nine of these have a grand total of one 3rd place finish between them. That was by (6) WANBONG and it was some time ago. The pick probably has to be (5) BEOLMA CHEONHA. He hasn’t raced since May but he’s going to be backed based on a rather eye-catching showing in a trial on December 28th which he “won” by twelve-lengths. Well drawn to get on pace here, if he shows a fraction of that ability today, he wins. (3) VERYVERYTHANKYOU also looked a much better horse in a December trial than he has done in his actual races so far while it’s a similar story with (7) FUNKY, a trial winner in October but who could only manage 9th on his sole start so far. We’ll look for them all to improve. Actual race form is hard to come by here with (1) CAPTAIN COOK and (2) TWO TWO WAY perhaps the most likely to improve on previous outings.
|Selections||(5) Beolma Cheonha (7) Funky (3) Veryverythankyou (1) Captain Cook|
|Next Best||2, 7|
|Fast Start||5, 7, 8|
Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(5) TAGONAN JILJU was a narrow winner at this class over 1300M on December 9th. It was no flash in the pan either as he ran 2nd the time before that two. He does carry an additional 2.5kg today but drops back slightly in trip and is the one they’ll need to beat. (4) STRONG AS WOOD and (7) CHANGJO DAERO both come in off slightly disappointing last starts but both have previously proved that they have ability and can be competitive in this company. Strong As Wood is likely to set the early pace and stay on for the business end of the race. (6) SUPER EAGLE and (8) I AM YOUR KING are others who haven’t exactly impressed of late but do have ability.
|Selections||(5) Tagonan Jilju (4) Strong As Wood (7) Changjo Daero (8) I Am Your King|
|Next Best||6, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 4|
Race 7: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Wildly competitive contest with any number of winners. Four of these raced each other over class and distance on December 14th and three of them look likely to be among the top choices. (11) OS HILL came out the best of them that day, finishing 4th carrying the same weight as today having previously won under 4kg less the time before. She was three-quarters of a length ahead of (8) DANCING BLAZE in 5th. Dancing Blaze is still a maiden after twenty-eight attempts but came in to that race having been runner-up in each of her previous three starts and should go close again. Further back in the field that day was (2) RACHEL. However, is was her first start back since August and she could well have come on for it. The three of them look set to dispute things here but (7) SHARP KING and (10) REALLY ONE are among a number of others capable of causing problems.
|Selections||(11) Os Hill (2) Rachel (8) Dancing Blaze (10) Really One|
|Next Best||7, 5|
|Fast Start||2, 10, 12|
Race 8: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(8) DEEP MIND was an eight-length winner at this distance on debut at the end of November but weakened over a mile on her first try at this level two weeks ago. Back down in trip today, she should be a different prospect in this filly and mare contest. The main danger is (1) SEUNGNI STAR. Bart Rice’s five-year-old returned from her latest layoff to run a strong 3rd over 1300M on December 7th and can build on it here. (6) EAST WIND and (7) DODOHAN also come in off the back of useful 2nd place finishes on their respective last starts – for East Wind it was expected while for Dodohan it was more of a surprise, but both can maintain their momentum here. (5) POWER AMAZING is another who can be in the hunt.
|Selections||(8) Deep Mind (1) Seungni Star (6) East Wind (5) Power Amazing|
|Next Best||7, 4|
|Fast Start||6, 8, 9|
Race 9: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(6) SPEED FURY was a 14/1 chance on debut but made a mockery of that with a nice win at this distance. He’s up in class today but should be nice and competitive again. (9) K PLUS WON made all to get his maiden victory in November at class and distance. He stepped up to a mile for his reappearance a month later but despite leading early, he weakened in the final furlong. Back down in trip today, he should be much better. That’s true too for (8) GANGHAN JILJU and (4) HAPPY TOUR who finished 6th and 8th when they raced each other at a mile on December 16th. Both had previously been in good form at this distance and can get close today. The one they all need to beat though is (2) TRUE KING. A winner at this distance in November, he ran a strong 2nd on his first try at this class last month, sweeping home late from off the race. He can win today.
|Selections||(2) True King (6) Speed Fury (9) K Plus Won (8) Ganghan Jilju|
|Next Best||4, 10|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 9|
Race 10: Class 2 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million
(7) CHOEGANG THUNDER has only ever finished outside the top three once and enters here in very solid form. He was 2nd last time out over 1800M and has beaten plenty of useful types. This is his first try at 2000M, but it shouldn’t be an issue and he can win here. (3) RUNNING SOCKS has performed well at this distance in the past and comes in off a couple of month’s rest looking a big danger. (11) NAGASINDA ran 3rd to the excellent World Day over this trip in November before rounding out the year with a solid 4th at 1800M. He carries more weight today but should be in the hunt. (6) SMART VALOR returns nine months after his latest outing, down in class. He previously showed ability at class and distance and looked good when winning a November trial. (1) MUHAN YEOLJEONG and (9) USAIN NUT others in the hunt in a very competitive race.
|Selections||(7) Choegang Thunder (3) Running Socks (11) Nagasinda (9) Usain Nut|
|Next Best||6, 1, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 7|
Race 11: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
It took (5) SPARKLE an age to actually make it to the track but since he has, he’s impressed. The five-year-old is two for t wo and up in class and distance and while he could maintain his 100% record, he looks up against it. That’s because he runs into (2) DIAMOND KING. A winner of three from seven so far, including his latest two (the first via dead-heat), he will come from just behind the early leaders and should have too much. (7) I’M YOUR STAR ran 3rd to Diamond King last time, beaten less than a length and can get close once more. (4) MAJOR THUNDER and (6) YES RED came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other over 1000M on December 14th. They both come up in class and in distance here but can be competitive.
|Selections||(2) Diamond King (5) Sparkle (7) I’m Your Star (4) Major Thunder|
|Next Best||6, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 5|