Month: January 2019

Ecton Park Dethrones Menifee As Leading Sire In Korea

After six years of dominance, Menifee’s reign at the top of the Leading Sire in Korea list is over as Ecton Park wrested away his crown in 2018. Buoyed by the late season form of Triple Nine, the Isidore Farm stallion ended the year almost a Billion won in front of his KRA Stud Farm rival. 

leading general sire 2018

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Menifee finished in 2nd place and had the most individual winners at 56. Officer was in 3rd place ahead of Peace Rules and the late Sharp Humor. Hansen roared into the top 10 for the first time in 7th place and took the honours for most wins (72). Pegasus Stables’  Thunder Moccasin, with just two crops on the track, was the break-out star, finishing the year in tenth place on the list.

Another notable performance came from Nokwon Farm’s Testa Matta in 15th who like Thunder Moccasin, only debuted in 2017 and whose Chief-Earner was Korean Derby runner-up, Mask.

Five imported stallions had their first Korean crops make the track and Any Given Saturday took the Leading First Crop Sire title although with only a small number of runners, the performance of Japanese import Federalist was noteworthy.


As a racehorse, Ecton Park [Forty Niner – Daring Danzig (Danzig)] ran 12th in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, which was won by Charismatic. A certain Menifee was 2nd. That same year he went on to win the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga abd the G1 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs among a total of eleven top three finishes in Graded Stakes company.

Ecton Park  was imported to Korea in 2009. Even before his first Korean crop hit the ground, he had made an impact on Korean racing with his 2007 foal Mister Park, who was imported in-utero, scoring a record-breaking seventeen consecutive race victories between 2009 and 2011.  Even prior to that Summit Party (now a successful broodmare herself) had won five of eleven starts including the JRA Trophy and Segye Ilbo Cup, while another filly Miss Ecton, won the Busan Ilbo Cup in 2008.

He has been standing privately at Isidore Farm since arriving and has gradually become established – no easy thing to do when competing for mares with the KRA stallions. He finished 2nd in the Leading Sire race in 2015 and 2017 and 3rd in 2016. While Triple Nine has been his biggest earner, he also sired the precociously talented Indie Band, who won both President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes aged 3 in 2013 but had his career cut short six months later through injury.

In terms of the future, Ecton Park, who like Menifee is now 23, had relatively small books of 23 and 37 in 2017 and 2018, compared with Hansen at 92 and 96 across the same period and Thunder Moccasin 53 and 83. In 2020, the first Korean progeny of Colonel John, who covered 133 mares in 2017 and 108 last year, will hit the track. There will be new names at the top soon (although after a few years of slowing down, Menifee went back up to 132 in 2018).

As ever, there were losses in 2018. In the long term, Bob And John was intended to take over the mantle as Isidore Farm’s flagship sire but sadly he succombed to laminitis in December. Captain Coltish, Delago Brom and Cielo Gold were among other stallions who passed away in Korea in 2018.

Buhwarui Banseok To Make Carnival Debut Thursday

The Dubai World Cup Carnival 2019 continues and this Thursday it’s the turn of Buhwarui Banseok to take his chance. The Bart Rice trained 6-year-old runs in race 5, a handicap over 2000M on the Meydan turf.


There are a total of eleven runners with Godolphin providing no fewer than six of them but Buhwarui Banseok looks to have landed in a good spot compared with Ace Korea and Dolkong who faced group opposition on their respective debuts earlier this month. He is the only one in the field to be racing on turf for the first time but that may suit in the same way that it did another Korea-trained runner, Diferent Dimension, two years ago.

How he takes to the surface and the likely unfamiliar race pace will be crucial but Buhwarui Banseok has proven himself competitive amongst the best company in Korea. He will have South African jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe aboard and has drawn the outside gate 11.


Trainer Bart Rice sporting a fine jacket at Meydan (Pic: KRA)

In addition to the Godolphin half-dozen, US trainer Kenny McPeek’s Harlan Strong makes his Carnival debut as does Ed Dunlop’s Dark Red. Aside from the UAE-based runners Earnshaw, Jaaref and Big Challenge, there’s not a lot of recent form to go on. Buhwarui Banseok’s latest outing was in the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December when he finished 13th of 16 over 2300M but he was a very good winner of a stiff 1800M handicap at Busan in October. The wide draw shouldn’t affect him too much as he doesn’t need to lead and he generally runs on well. In total, the American bred horse, who is by Tizway, has won eight of his twenty-eight starts.

It’s a first Carnival runner for trainer Bart Rice who has been based at Busan since the end of 2013. Rice has saddled 150 Korean winners with a win strike rate of 13.4% and 36% of his runners finishing in the top three.

The race will come under orders at 8:50pm local UAE time on Thursday which is 1:50am on Friday morning in Korea.

New Legend, Road Winner Make Sunday Scores

Two exciting colts continued their progress on Sunday, both winning but in differing styles as New Legend breezed to a third straight victory at Busan while Road Winner had to work to take out the day’s feature at Seoul.

In fairness to Road Winner, his was a considerably stiffer assignment. The Grand Prix Stakes had proved too much too soon for him in December, yet he began his four-year-old campaign as the prohibitive favourite in the class 1 handicap over 1800M and under a very light weight, was expected to dominate his thirteen rivals from the start.

Road Winner had other ideas, however, and jockey Kim Yong Geun was quickly in for a tough afternoon at the office as Gaeuli Jeonseol and Argo Brain took the early lead. At times it was an exhausting watch as jockey Kim grappled with his mount throughout the back-straight and around the home turn, simply to keep him in contention and even with just over a furlong to go, the favourite was still in 11th place.

Then suddenly, something changed. In sight of the line, Road Winner focused and with gaps opening up, unleashed a burst of speed that took him past everything else, striking the front with just a few strides to go and hitting the line with half a length in hand. They all count, and the Discreet Cat colt moves on to six wins from nine career starts and career earnings so far of well in excess of US$300,000. Not bad for a $20,000 purchase with his best days surely ahead.

Down at Busan, the talk was all about New Legend. He began his career in the United States landing a win at Arlington Park last summer before returning home in the autumn. The Menifee colt has thrived since landing on the sand at Busan and on Sunday made his third local start having breezed through his first two with ease.

At class 3 over 1800M it was never likely to be too testing for New Legend but regardless, the manner of his run, racing in company until the home straight when with the merest shake of the hands by jockey Lee Hyo-sik, he worked his way up through the lower gears – but only the lower gears – suggests there is plenty more to come. He won by six-lengths. It could have been a furlong.

In truth, New Legend is yet to face more than a glorified workout in Korea, and he isn’t the first horse to return home from overseas and blitz everything at the lower levels. Plenty of those have run out of steam once they reach class 1. New Legend looks different though. As the year progresses, we’ll find out just how different.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 13)

Road Winner may have endured a torrid time in the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes a month ago but the up-and-coming US bred colt, who won the JRA Trophy on International Weekend last September, looks primed to return to winning ways in the Class 1 Sunday feature at Seoul Racecourse. (11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 & 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05)

road winner kra

Road Winner goes at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

A son of Discreet Cat, Road Winner was a bargain $20,000 purchase at the OBS 2017 Spring-Sale of Two-Year-Olds. He paid that back in double-quick time winning five of his first seven including that three-length score in the JRA Trophy. Another win a month later saw him take his chance in the Grand Prix and while that may have been too much too soon – he ended up 10th of 16 behind Triple Nine – as he begins his four-year-old campaign, he remains one of the hottest prospects at Seoul.

He faces thirteen rivals over 1800M, but Road Winner is carrying a light weight – which sees Kim Yong Geun, who partnered him in the Grand Prix, retain the mount – and beat three of this field when winning his first class 1 race in October. He’ll be expected to go to the front and dominate. Seven of those thirteen raced each other in a similar contest to this on Grand Prix weekend when Haemaru ran out a 38/1 winner. His reward is 58kg to carry today though and 2nd and 3rd place-getters Daeil Shinhwa and Singgeureoun Geom may end up being more dangerous contenders along while the consistent Gaeuli Jeonseol, who has finished in the top four in each of his latest seven starts, all at class 1, another with claims.

At Busan, New Legend goes around for the third time since returning to KOrea from the United States. He’s two for two so far and should make it three in race 5.

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

(3) SONGAM BARBIE is likely favourite here having registered a 2nd and a 3rd among four outings to date. That 3rd place was last time and she was within a length of the winner having come from off the pace. (4) FULL MOON OCEAN should improve for her two starts so far which have ended in 6th and 4th and she should be close while the more experienced (10) STEEL RUN was a close at hand 4th last time and the jockey booking is a plus. (5) DANGDAE JILJU overcame some hefty bumps at the start to run an improved 3rd last time out and should be in the hunt again. (6) ROYAL SHALOM was well back behind Songam Barbie a month ago but can improve here.

Selections (3) Songam Barbie (4) Full Moon Ocean (10) Steel Run (5) Dangdae Jilju
Next Best 6, 12
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The wonderfully-named (3) HORSE QUEEN came close to getting her maiden win at lengthy odds last start on December 8th but having led for most of the way, ultimately ended in 2nd place to Charon Blade. She’s strongly favoured to prevail in this race which is restricted to three-year-old maiden fillies. (2) SAMAE JILJU came home 3rd in that race, having started as favourite and should be the main threat here although she has a full seven-lengths to make up here. (4) TO THE VICTORY showed improvement on her second career start in November and can continue her progress here following seven weeks off. There are four debut-makers and among them, (1) BIG CLASSIC won a trial back in November and looks nicely in first-up.

Selections (3) Horse Queen (2) Samae Jilju (4) To The Victory (1) Big Classic
Next Best 12, 10
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Competitive maiden that’s restricted to three-year-olds. (8) OKAY TAP ran a very solid 3rd on debut back in November, running on well over 1000M. He steps up in trip for his second appearance following seven weeks off and can come from behind to score here. (9) CHEONNYEON HAPPY has a 2nd place to her name at this distance and move back up in trip after a close 4th over 1000M last month. She can be ridden patiently here and finish strongly. (1) HAERANG was well beaten by Cheonnyeon Happy in October but showed signs of improvement when re-appearing with a 5th place in December and could challenge for a place today. (6) NALARA HILL started awkwardly but ran on nicely for 4th on debut on December 8th and is another who can improve for the increased trip. There are two debut-makers and of the pair, (3) MASON impressed in trials and may go well first-up.

Selections (8) Okay Tap (9) Cheonnyeon Happy (6) Nalara Hill (1) Haerang
Next Best 3, 10
Fast Start 4, 10

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens here with five of the twelve racing for the first time. We’ll go with one of the experienced ones though and that’s (10) DRAGON BOAT, who was 2nd on debut on December 8th. He’ll be on pace early and can lead all the way. (3) WIND RIVER was a touch disappointing when Even-Money favourite on what was her third career start last month, ultimately finishing in 5th place. Mon Se Young takes over from an apprentice today though and she should be closer. (8) CHEONJI POKPUNG and (12) BULUI QUEEN also have scope to improve on their respective latest efforts. Among the debut-makers, (5) RICH RULES is a half-sister to a number of proven winners (Icheon Ssal the most recent). She won a trial three weeks ago and can go well first-up here.

Selections (10) Dragon Boat (3) Wind River (5) Rich Rules (8) Cheonji Pokpung
Next Best 12, 7
Fast Start 2, 5, 10, 12

Race 5: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Back in October, (9) GEUMA FALCON returned from seven months off to run 2nd at this class over 1000M. He then stepped up to 1700M four weeks ago and raced prominently until weakening late on. He drops back in trip today and is the one they need to beat. (6) FLYING FORD raced very greenly on debut back in November but still managed to finish 5th. He’s had a couple of months to sort things out and could well improve here. (2) KILIUI PYOBEOM has stalled a little since a promising start but is nicely drawn to get on pace here and could be worth another chance while (3) EONEU MEOTJIN NAL unseated his jockey in an incident in the home straight last time out in a good race. He ran well at class and distance the time before and should be a factor here. There is one debut-maker and it’s potential a good one. Jimmy Creed colt (8) HWANGPYOMA won a December trial and should suit this distance.

Selections (9) Geuma Falcon (6) Flying Ford (8) Hwangpyoma (3) Eoneu Meotjin Nal
Next Best 2, 10
Fast Start 2, 9

Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Good race here involving four last start winners, all up in class today and those four could well be the ones battling it out for another win here. (10) YAHO THUNDER CAT was the most impressive of them, winning by three lengths in a fast time on what was his second career start in November. He doesn’t need to lead so the draw is no problem and he can win again. So too can (8) GLOBAL CHEONA. He had to wait until his third race before getting his maiden score, but it was emphatic enough. He’ll looks to lead. As will (9) ECO BROTHER, who enters with a 100% record having won on debut on December 8th and who should also go close here. (11) JILPUNG GANGJA completes the set of up in class last-start winners. He returned from several months off looking a much better horse and can continue his improvement today. Of the ones with experience at this class already, (6) THUNDER MONEY, 2nd at this distance last time out, looks the best.

Selections (10) Yaho Thunder Cat (8) Global Cheonha (9) Eco Brother (11) Jilpung Gangja
Next Best 6, 3
Fast Start 5, 8, 9, 12

Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Tricky contest this. (9) BODEURAM has come into a nice run of form lately and while she is up in class here, she could go one better than the 2nd place she managed at 1300M last time out. She won’t be quickly away but can come past plenty late on. (11) SOL PARANG (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 12)

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 (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 11)

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:


It’s Friday. It’s Busan

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
Next Best 6
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 (more…)

Dolkong To Begin Dubai Campaign On Thursday

Dolkong is scheduled to make his Dubai World Cup Carnival debut at Meydan this Thursday with the Korean contingent hoping for a good performance following the disappointing start made by Ace Korea last week.

dolkong kra

Dolkong will make his Dubai bow on Thirsday (Pic: KRA)

Ace Korea was well below his best in the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes and Dolkong has a tough task ahead of him the the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge over 1600M. The Simon Foster trained five-year-old, who was 2nd in the Korea Cup in September, last raced in the Grand Prix Stakes over 2300M in December when he ran a big race in 4th. overcoming both the widest draw and a luckless trip. He’s drawn well this time in gate 5 but the competition is stiff.


North America and Heavy Metal ran 1st and 2nd in this race two years ago with Korea’s Triple Crown winner Power Blade behind them in 3rd place. Last year, it was Heavy Metal who came out on top with North America in 3rd place. Heavy Metal would go on to win twice more at the 2018 Carnival, including the Godolphin Mile on World Cup night. For both of them it’s a first start since last March.

Muntazah was 2nd to Heavy Metal in that Godolphin Mile with Kimbear back in 6th. The Charlie Appleby trained Gold Town is another returning to action for the first time since last World Cup night, when he ran 4th to Mendelssohn in the UAE Derby. The rest of the field is comprised of very solid performers so Dolkong will need to be at the top of his game to be competitive. Pat Cosgrave, who partnered Main Stay to Korea’s first Carnival victory, and also rode Power Blade and Triple Nine in 2017, takes the mount.

The race will take place at 1:50am Friday morning Korea time.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 6)

There are 12 Sunday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 5 at Busan from 13:45 to 17:05. Here is the race-by-race for Seoul (Busan selections below):


Race 1: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(11) RAON SERENA is yet to win in five attempts but has never been worse than 3rd. She overcame a heavy bump at the start last time and still ran a good 2nd, beating a couple of these in the process and today can be her day in this filly/mare maiden. (10) HOMECOMING has had a similarly good start to her career with a pair of runner-up finishes and a 3rd place and she looks to be the main danger. (8) EOMJI YEOWANG has finished 4th behind Raon Serena in both her latest two outings and while she will need to improve to overturn that, she looks good for a potential place here. (7) ROMAN BLADE seemingly lost her way a little last autumn but should be better here for an eight-week break. (4) QUEEN FORCE ONE and (6) DASANUI CHODAE others to look out for.

Selections (11) Raon Serena (10) Homecoming (8) Eomji Yeowang (4) Queen Force One
Next Best 7, 6, 3
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 10

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Time for (3) MAMMA ROMA to win. Luigi Riccardi’s filly has improved across three starts so far culminating in 3rd place last time and today can sit just behind the early speed and finish strongly in this maiden which is restricted to three-year-old fillies. The other top contenders are the ones likely to be on that early speed. (1) BLACK WINGWING ran reasonably well for 3rd on debut at the beginning of November and can improve while (2) NEW PARADIGM has had six weeks off since a solid effort at 1300M. Biggest danger though may be (4) WONDERFUL MARIA. Both her starts so far have been at 1300M with a 5th and a 2nd. She’s drawn well today to get that early lead and could go all the way. (11) SSOARAUTS, an improved 2nd at the distance a month ago, looks best of the rest.

Selections (3) Mamma Roma (4) Wonderful Maria (2) New Paradigm (1) Black Wingwing
Next Best 11, 6
Fast Start 1, 2, 4

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(1) DAE UNHA remains a maiden after eight attempts but has been consistently close and it would be no surprise if he to make the breakthrough here. He likes the distance, has drawn well, and can win. The big danger is (4) BEST EVER. A winner on debut in October, he ran a good 2nd (behind a shock winner) four weeks ago, overcoming a poor start, and looks to have more in him. (3) SKY MARINE can get a pass on her latest effort in tricky company and should go much better today. (6) DIA PUNCH and (10) MISS PYEONGCHON are others who may be considered for places, the latter likely to try to lead early.

Selections (1) Dae Unha (4) Best Ever (3) Sky Marine (6) Dia Punch
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 5, 10

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

Only eight runners here and (3) MYEONGJIN MAN is the one the rest will need to beat. His solitary win came at this distance last July and after a couple of shaky attempts at this level, he ran well for 3rd last time despite getting a huge bump at the start. He’ll sit behind an early pace set by main rivals (4) INDY LADY and (7) STAR LIST. Indy Lady is up in class having won by three-lengths over 1300M on December 1st, while Star List remains a maiden but recent form reads well, and this company should suit. (5) NAEGA KKEUTPANWANG and (6) SPECIAL LIGHT are others with claims on at least a place.

Selections (3) Myeongjin Man (4) Indy Lady (7) Star List (6) Special Light
Next Best 5, 8
Fast Start 4, 7, 8

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) THE QUEEN GRACE has run a good 2nd in both her latest starts, both at this distance. She’ll be looking for a fast start here under David Breux and if she gets it, she’ll be hard to beat. (2) GIVEN WEEKEND is up in class after winning two of his last three. The most recent was a seven-length score at the distance on December 1st in a fast time and he’ll surely be competitive at this level too. (11) TOHAMSAN POWER comes up in class too and drops back in trip after a very good 2nd over 1300M last time. (1) GEOSEN MAPUNG and (4) JEJUI BARAM are others in the hunt.

Selections (7) The Queen Grace (2) Given Weekend (11) Tohamsan Power (1) Geosen Mapung
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 1, 4, 7, 8

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

(4) WONDERFUL TRUTH is two for two and is up in class as she seeks her hattrick. She should complete it too with her four-length win over this distance on November 11th suggesting there is much more to come. She hasn’t raced since then but should be on (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 5)

There’s a bumper 15-race card at Seoul on Saturday. Moon Se Young may be the man to follow with plenty of fancied mounts. The action starts at 10:45 and continues until 18:00:


Moon Se Young looks the man to follow on Saturday at Seoul

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(3) USEUNG MACHA ran 4th at the distance last time and Moon Se Young’s booking is sure to tempt plenty. (11) IL MARE ran 4th on debut on December 8th. The time wasn’t quick, but the track was slow that day and he can compete here. (10) BIG PRO has run well both times so far for 4th and 6th in similar company and should have come on following seven weeks out. (1) BETTINA is one start into a comeback following four months off and can improve here. (2) DURI did nothing too wrong on debut and can is another who should get better.

Selections (3) Useung Macha (10) Big Pro (11) Il Mare (1) Bettina
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 3, 5, 8, 10

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

(5) TOUR BROTHER wasn’t really ready on debut back in August but after a couple of months off and another trial he returned much better and has been no worse than 4th in three recent efforts. He led until the closing stages last time just two weeks ago and returns quickly here with solid claims to make the breakthrough. (1) LADY DIA was a much improved 2nd on her second outing at the beginning of December and she can continue her development today. (8) FINAL CAPTAIN drops back in trip after a solid 3rd place over 1300M last time and can be considered. (3) ULTRA MISSILE and (12) DALLYEORA GWANGSAN look best of the rest.

Selections (5) Tour Brother (1) Lady Dia (8) Final Captain (3) Ultra Missile
Next Best 12, 11
Fast Start 3, 4, 5, 12

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

(6) TAP MAGIC MASTER has been getting closer across four starts so far and was a front-running 3rd last time. Moon Se Young rides for the first time today, he should get on pace early again, and he can win. It’s a competitive race though. (5) LITTLE BOY FLASH ran a good 4th in stiffer company than this last time out four weeks ago and should be a threat, as should (2) HWANG GEUM SAJA, who was a very close 5th at the distance at the end of November. (11) SEOUL SIDAE can have a line drawn through both his latest two, which were in much tougher races and be given another chance. There is one debut-maker and Verazano colt (8) DAEGUN CHEONHA looked sharp in a trial just before Christmas and can go well first-up.

Selections (6) Tap Magic Master (11) Seoul Sidae (5) Little Boy Flash (2) Hwang Geum Saja
Next Best 8, 1
Fast Start 2, 4, 6

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Maidens who have just turned three-years-old here and (3) WONDERFUL HENNESSY looks the one to beat. She’s raced three times so far and as an improved 2nd last time. It was at 1000M, but she looks ready to go back up in trip and it could be her day. (12) SPEED HEUKRYONG was 5th behind Wonderful Hennessy in that race (having finished ahead of her the time before) and looks to be on the improve as well. (9) SOUTHERN MAN ran creditably enough for 4th on debut but it wasn’t an especially strong race and he will need to be better here. There are five first-timer starters and a number have a chance. (6) ACE TRIPLE looks the most promising following a very positive trial performance two weeks ago. (10) SINGSING JANGSU and (11) WINNER CROWN the others who have shown positively in the mornings. As ever, watch the market for clues with these.

Selections (3) Wonderful Hennessy (12) Speed Heukryong (6) Ace Triple (10) Singsing Jangsu
Next Best 11, 8
Fast Start 3, 6, 8

Race 5: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

More three-year-old maidens and (3) FULL MOON SKY is the one to beat. He has a 4th and a 2nd from two starts so far and while he hasn’t raced since being beaten seven-lengths by a potentially useful type in mid-November, he should have too much here. (7) DONGYANG TEUKGEUP and (4) YEOKDAE CHOEGO finished 3rd and 5th when they raced each other on December 2nd. That was the latter’s debut, and both should be in the hunt here. (8) LA VIE EST BELLE and (9) WONDERFUL BRAVO are others to consider.

Selections (3) Full Moon Sky (4) Yeokdae Chogo (7) Dongyang Teukgeup (9) Wonderful Bravo
Next Best 8, 10
Fast Start 2, 7, 9, 12

Race 6: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Fillies only and it’s open to imports as well as locally-bred contenders. (8) HAE NARAE could be the one. She’s shown improvement over three starts so far and ran a good 3rd last time. She may not lead from the gate but can finish strongly. (11) HWA GI and (1) COVERGIRL JUSTICE were both also-rans last time out in what was a stronger race than this. While a long way behind the winner, they weren’t too distant from the places and both are likely to improve, especially Covergirl Justice, who was making her debut. (3) (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 4)

The 2019 Korean Racing Season gets underway at Busan on Friday with a 13-race card running from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Busan Racecourse

Busan hosts the first Korean card of 2019

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

Maiden fillies to kick off the New Year at Busan and a couple of them have shown promise. (4) HALLA HWANGHU is the slight pick, registering a 5th and a 4th from two outings to date, both at this distance. She’s well drawn to get on pace early here and can win. Both (5) MISS FACT’s efforts so far have been at 1300M and she ran well enough for (an admittedly distant) 3rd last time five weeks ago. She drops back in trip here and it can suit. (3) AMAZING WINNER was a similar well-beaten 3rd last time at 1300M but also showed improvement and can continue that today. (6) TWO TWO FIRE put in an encouraging debut in November and is another who can go well. (9) RAON ARES, 5th behind Halla Hwangu, should also be in contention to get better.

Selections (4) Halla Hwanghu (5) Miss Fact (3) Amazing Winner (6) Two Two Fire
Next Best 9, 8
Fast Start 4, 7, 9, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

This one is restricted to maidens who have just turned three-years-old. (1) HAPPY GATE has been a touch inconsistent across four outings so far but looked to be getting things together with a 3rd place over 1300M last start. He drops back in trip today and can win. (3) TWO TWO SPINO ran poorly last time to the extent that he got sent back to trial. He looked a completely different prospect in that trial, however, winning it in a fast time and can go much better today. (8) FOREVER NINE was similarly green on debut in November but he too looked much better when subsequently trialling and can be given another chance here. (6) RINGING FLYING and (7) ACE CRUSH others in contention.

Selections (1) Happy Gate (3) Two Two Spino (8) Forever Nine (7) Ace Crush
Next Best 6, 5
Fast Start 1, 6, 7, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

More three-year-old maidens. Seven of the twelve have raced before and among them, (9) SEOBU CAT is the pick. He was expected to win on debut but having led for much of the race, just ran out of steam in the closing stages. He surely puts it right today. (3) BEAUTIFUL MARINE did nothing wrong when 3rd on her own debut last month and can go well again while (8) YEONGGWANGUIFORCE can also improve. Among the five first-time starters, (2) TWO TWO SIMON and (4) BIGROADIJI look the most likely to make an immediate impression.

Selections (9) Seobu Cat (3) Beautiful Marine (2) Two Two Simon (8) Yeonggwanguiforce
Next Best 4, 5
Fast Start 7, 9, 11, 12

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

Competitive race here that’s open to foreign as well as Korean-bred horses. (7) QUICK MOVE is a winner of two from three and is up in class having prevailed over this distance last time in a tight finish. He’ll look to lead early here and has every chance of winning again. (9) WINNING AGAIN comes in having run 2nd to the very useful Spot over 1200M four weeks ago and looks to be the main danger. (3) GENERAL was just over a length back in 4th that day and should be close again. (5) MUPAE CHARLIE has offered glimpses of ability over just two outings so far while (10) THUNDER DOME has gone through two trials since a disappointing effort in November and is another to consider here.

Selections (7) Quick Move (9) Winning Again (10) Thunder Dome (5) Mupae Charlie
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 5, 7, 9, 10

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Back to the maidens here and (3) B.K. THUNDER has as good a chance as any of shedding that tag. He ran 2nd at the distance in November and his 6th place on his latest start was in tougher company than this. He should get forward early and it could be his day. There is only one debut-maker here and it’s a potentially nice looking one. It’s taken (9) IGGYDA a while to get to the track but the gelding looked sharp when trialling in early December and could well be the principle danger. (7) WILD CASH hasn’t been too far away of late and should be looking to at least match her best finish of 3rd. (2) GOLDEN REX and (11) CHEONJI KINGS others in at least the placing hunt.

Selections (9) Iggyda (3) B.K. Thunder (7) Wild Cash (11) Cheonji Kings
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 2, 3, 9, 11

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

Three-year-old maidens only and it’s the weakest of the day so far. That means that (9) CHEONSANG OREUM, who struggled against tougher company over a mile on December 7th, has every chance of going much better here. She led that day and should lead again. Three of these raced each other at this distance that same day. (4) I AM CHAMPION came