Overnight on Thursday, Simon Foster saddled Dolkong to by no means disgraced 6th in the 1st Round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan in Dubai. With a bit more distance to get stuck in – and bearing in mind the race was though nominally a Group 2, of Group 1 standard – the five-year-old looks to have every chance of pushing on in his Carnival campaign. Meanwhile, Aussie trainer Foster now dashes back to Seoul where he will saddle a couple of live contenders on Saturday’s 13-race card in the Korean capital (10:45 to 18:00):
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens her with four of the eleven racing for the first time. The debut-makers look promising. (3) TIMING GOOD did indeed post a very good time when winning a December trial and he’ll be well backed first-up. (7) DELTA BROTHER and (8) EX BLADE too have every chance of going well having put in positive trial performances. As ever with the first-timers, keep an eye on the market for additional clues. Of the experienced ones, (4) WHITE VELVET didn’t run especially fluently last time but did get a best finish to date o f 3rd. Moon Se Young stays aboard. (5) BARAMEUL GEURIDA and (10) SEMYEONG GISANG are two others who also improved last time and should be in the hunt.
|Selections||(3) Timing Good (4) White Velvet (10) Semyeong Gisang (5) Barameul Geurida|
|Next Best||8, 6, 7|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 7, 9|
Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(9) STRIDE UP has finished no worse than 4th across four outings so far. His times have been nothing special, but he’s done little wrong and won’t need to improve much to win this, likely coming from off the pace. (1) PUNGMUNEURO’s manners were poor last time but she still managed to finish 5th. She’s finished between 4th and 6th in each of her latest six outings and if she races a bit more generously today, should be improving. (6) JEOKTO BIMA can get off to a fast start and hold on to play a role in the finish. (8) MEGA CITY and (12) DAEJI GONGJU are others in the placing hunt.
|Selections||(9) Stride Up (1) Pungmuneuro (6) Jeokto Bima (8) Mega City|
|Next Best||12, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 6|
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(9) PRIVATE MAN has been getting progressively closer, culminating in 2nd place last time out in a decent event at this distance and today he really should go one better. He’ll be strong favourite. The main danger to the favourite is (1) QUEEN OF CAMP, who will attempt to join him on the early speed. She comes in off a close 2nd and then a slightly further away 3rd and a win is surely in her near-future at this level. (2) CHEONJI GISANG comes in off the back of a good 4th last time and seems to suit the distance well. (5) GEUMBIT TANHWAN was an improved 3rd on his first try at this distance in early December and is another who can compete for at least the places along with (10) CLEAN UP TRIO.
|Selections||(9) Private Man (1) Queen Of Camp (2) Cheonji Gisang (5) Geumbit Tanhwan|
|Next Best||10, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 9, 10|
Race 4: Class 4 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
A winner on debut over 1000M, (10) MEDICI GLORY’s only subsequent start came in the Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy, Seoul’s top race for imported juveniles, at the end of November. He led early but faded a little late on ending in a by no means disgraced, 6th place. The company is much more amenable today and he surely returns to winning ways. (3) GOLDEN DIAL has shown promise across two starts so far and can continue his improvement here while (7) JIANIGA ran a good 4th last time and should be looking for more today. He’s the most likely to challenge the favourite for the early lead. (4) KING MESSENGER and (5) DAESEONG MALLI are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(10) Medici Glory (3) Golden Dial (7) Jianiga (5) Daeseong Malli|
|Next Best||4, 8|
|Fast Start||7, 10|
Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(11) GEUMA ANNUITY beat a couple of these on his way to a career-best finish of 2nd at this distance on December 2nd. He managed to get to the front early that day and while that won’t necessarily be easy from gate 11, he is the one to beat today. (1) PRIMO was 5th in that race, a slight dip from what had been very consistent form leading up to it. He doesn’t lead but finishes strongly and surely gets closer today. (2) ROYAL FAVOR also had a slightly disappointing day at the office in that race and is another who can improve here. (3) GISELLE GOEMUL only beat one home on debut, but it was a good and fast race and she’s well worth another chance here. (5) ARFONS best of the rest.
|Selections||(11) Geuma Annuity (1) Primo (3) Giselle Goemul (2) Royal Favor|
|Next Best||5, 12|
|Fast Start||5, 10, 11, 12|
Race 6: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Weak maiden here with two standouts. (4) JEONGMUN K and (9) REAL GANGJA both have a pair of 3rd place finishes to their name. They, like seven of the nine others, step up to two turns for the first time today with Real Gangja the slight pick to take to it the best. (5) CLEAR GEOM ran on reasonably well for 6th on debut at 1000M a month ago. She gets quickly stepped up in trip here and looks a potential improver. That’s true too for (8) EDWIN, who has scarcely got going in two starts to date at the minimum trip. (10) DAL SUNI has run twice at this distance already and while the latest of those was nothing special with a 5th of 8 finish, she may be given another chance here.
|Selections||(9) Real Gangja (4) Jeongmun K (8) Edwin (5) Clear Geom|
|Next Best||10, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 4|
Race 7: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) DAE CAIN has somehow managed to remain a maiden after fourteen attempts but has amassed three runner-up finishes along the way. Those include last time out when he was an unfancied 2nd at this distance behind Rules Icheon. Antonio Da Silva takes the mount and he may not get a better chance than today. The principal threat is (11) NEUL SACHAN. He ran a good 3rd over 1300M running on strongly and this increased distance could suit him very well. (5) BULHUUI MYEONGGOG came desperately close to shedding his maiden tag at the twenty-first time of asking, just going down by a nose at this distance when finishing strongly. That was a big uptick in form, but a repeat can’t be ruled out. (8) DALLYEORA RAON and (12) GOODCHOICE, 2nd and 3rd at class and distance last time, are others to take into consideration.
|Selections||(2) Dae Cain (11) Neul Sachan (12) Goodchoice (5) Bulhuui Myeonggog|
|Next Best||8, 9|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 12|
Race 8: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(7) CHEONNYEON VIKING and (10) CHARON BLADE both step up in class following smart maiden wins on the respective 2nd starts having both finished runner-up on debut. Both are up in trip as well and should be in firm contention here in this all filly and mare contest. Likely favourite though is (1) HEUNG BUJA. She got her maiden win at this distance in November, before running 3rd on ger first try at this class five weeks ago. From gate 1, she should be on the early speed and can go all the way. (4) SUN QUEEN ran 6th on her first try at this level on November. She comes in after seven weeks out and with Moon Se Young aboard, is sure to have backers. (5) AMARONE’s recent form is solid and she already has two runner-up finishes at this class. She can finish strongly and is very much in the hunt for the places.
|Selections||(7) Cheonnyeon Viking (1) Heung Buja (10) Charon Blade (4) Sun Queen|
|Next Best||5, 11, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 7, 11|
Race 9: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(11) LOOKING GOOD did indeed look rather good when scoring on debut at 1000M back on November 24th. This is his first start since, the increased trip may suit, and he should be competitive here. It won’t be easy though in what is a really competitive race. (5) HAEDEULMOE hasn’t raced since finishing 2nd at class and distance in October (he was scratched from an intended start in November with swelling on his right front leg). He hasn’t finished any worse than 3rd in four starts and should maintain that record today. Draw a line through the latest run by (7) SUN BOLT – he slipped coming out of the barriers – and he should be in contention, as should (12) JI SEONI, who ran a good class and distance 4th in December. (1) SAEROUN CAPTAIN is another who has been consistent over six outings to date and should be involved.
|Selections||(11) Looking Good (5) Haedeulmoe (7) Sun Bolt (12) Ji Seoni|
|Next Best||1, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 7, 8|
Race 10: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(6) LOVELY NUTE steps up to two turns for the first time having run 1st and 2nd in two starts at this class so far, both over 1300M. Her dam won plenty at this trip and further and she has a good chance of returning to the winner’s circle today. It won’t be easy though. (4) STRONG CAPTAIN is proven at the distance, having run 2nd in each of his latest two, both times within a length of the winner, beating a few of these along the way. He’s a big danger. (1) ELAN is a touch inconsistent but while he weakened badly late on last time, he’s worth another chance here. (10) RAON JAMES and (11) MONSTER QUEEN are others who should get close. (9) SISPUMA WINNER is up in class and will need to improve.
|Selections||(6) Lovely Nute (4) Strong Captain (11) Monster Queen (10) Raon James|
|Next Best||10, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 6, 10|
Race 11: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(4) SHARK DAEJANGGEUN won two in a row at this distance, both at class 4, in September and October. He stepped up to 1800M for his first try at this level at the end of November, finishing 6th in a stiffer race than this. Back down slightly in trip today, he can win. (3) CHOEGANG GOSU is up in class and distance following a six-length score over 1300M on December 9th. His come from behind style can suit the distance and he has a chance. (11) JUNGDONG JIJON certainly likes the distance. He’s won at it twice in his past four starts and while up in class should be in the hunt again. (5) REWARD HIGH and (10) JEOKBYEOK SHINHWA are others who can go close.
|Selections||(4) Shark Daejanggeun (3) Choegang Gosu (11) Jungdong Jijon (10) Jeokbyeok Shinhwa|
|Next Best||5, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 7, 10|
Race 12: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
A winner of three from four so far and in fine style too, (3) JJANG KONG is rapidly up to class 2 and also steps up to two-turns for the first time. He looks potentially a big talent though and while this is his toughest ask to date, there’s no reason why he can’t keep his winning streak going. He faces (1) CHOINMA, the track’s top juvenile in 2017 but who, despite running 3rd in the Korean Derby last May, managed to go through his entire three-year-old season winless. He’s come close on a number of occasions, including a class and distance 3rd in November and he is a threat. (4) CLEAN UP BOARD was a class and distance winner last time out and warrants respect while (8) BULMYEORUI JEWANG and (10) PENETRO came home 2nd and 3rd on December 15th and will surely be in the hunt again.
|Selections||(3) Jjang Kong (1) Choinma (4) Clean Up Board (10) Penetro|
|Next Best||8, 12|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 10|
Race 13: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
On her latest start on November 24th, (12) GREEN DARC hung outwards to the extent that she got a warning placed against her, but she still had more than enough to score over 1000M at class 5 in a fast time. The only time she’s raced in really good company, she struggled but she has gone well at this distance before and is a contender. (8) DANCING BLADE hasn’t been far away in recent starts and looks nicely in here as does (1) SARYEONI WIN, who ran a good 3rd over 1200M on his latest outing. (2) YEOGEOL VISION is up in class having won two of her first four starts, the most recent of which was at this distance and she too can get close.
|Selections||(12) Green Darc (8) Dancing Blade (2) Yeogeol Vision (1) Saryeoni Win|
|Next Best||7, 5|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 12|