Month: January 2019

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 19

There are 13 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00:

(단신2) 출발 참관 프로그램 (2)

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

Three-year-old maidens to kick things off with precisely half the field having raced before. Of those experienced ones, two have shown ability. (11) DIA PARK has finished 3rd in both of two starts, having raced prominently each time while (9) RAON PATRICK was much improved when 5th on his second attempt in December. Both will be contenders here. Among the debut-makers, (1) BEST STAR looked very good in trials two weeks ago, making all to win his heat. An unfashionable jockey booing may put some off but if he brings that trial form to the races, he’ll probably win. (8) ROYAL GHOST and (10) SUHO also showed promise in trials and can go well first-up.

Selections (1) Best Star (9) Raon Patrick (11) Dia Park (8) Royal Ghost
Next Best 10, 3
Fast Start 4, 9, 11

Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(2) CRAZY WIKI has been getting closer across five outings to date, running a very solid 4th on his latest outing on December 15th, He isn’t the quickest of starters, but if he can work his way into a good position from a nice draw, this could be his day. (1) TRIPLE KHAN is the main danger. He has a best of 3rd from three starts so far, all at this distance. He’s shown decent speed and if he gets to the front early, will be hard to get past. (5) HEUNGBOK DREAM already has a win to his name, scoring over 1200M last October. He hard a hard time in tricky company on re-appearance but this should suit nicely, and he can challenge Triple Khan for the early lead. There are a couple of debut-makers. (4) SOULY MAJESTIC showed a good turn of foot in trials and can be backed first-up.

Selections (2) Crazy Wiki (5) Heungbok Dream (1) Triple Khan (4) Souly Majestic
Next Best 9, 8
Fast Start 1, 5, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

A full field of twelve maidens with just one debut-maker. But that’s the one we need to deal with first because (7) ACHIEVE put in one of the most eye-catching trials of last month, cruising home eleven-lengths ahead of the rest of his heat. Moon Se Young partners him for his debut today and with punters having let the former champion jockey win on a first-time starter at longs odds last week, he’s likely to be very well backed here. (5) WHITE FLOWER is probably the best of those with experience. She ran a good 2nd at this distance on November and was a useful 4th last time out. She comes in after seven weeks out and should go close. (6) MONEY SHARP has also not been too far away in recent starts and looks good for at least a place while (10) HAE WANG improved considerably on his latest outing and steps up in trip for the first time. (3) GWANGPOK JUHAENG is best of the rest.

Selections (7) Achieve (5) White Flower (10) Hae Wang (6) Money Sharp
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 3, 7, 9, 10

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maiden fillies only here. (7) BLACK PARTY raced very keenly on debut in December which did her no favours at all, but she still finished in 5th place. She’s clearly got ability and with improved manners today, she can win. (3) SAENAE VICTORY improved last time out, registering a good 3rd place. She’s not the fastest of starters but can finish strongly. (5) REIGN races for the first time since a 2nd place back in November. That wasn’t the strongest of races, but it was at this distance and she can challenge for at least the places again. (1) IRON HEART has made progress across his three efforts to date and can continue here. (8) COMPLETE MOTION did nothing wrong when 4th on debut and is another in the money hunt.

Selections (7) Black Party (3) Saenae Victory (5) Reign (1) Iron Heart
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 2, 4, 8, 11

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

Four of these raced each other at this distance on December 16th. (9) A ONE HAMMER was favourite that day and led for much of the way around, just weakening in the final furlong and allowing two to come by. One of those was (7) CHA MARU, who finished 2nd, a length ahead. Both will be in contention here and we’ll go for A One Hammer to overturn that form. (4) KING N I ran 5th in that race and can aim to match or better that here but a stronger challenge may come from one who didn’t go that day. That’s (6) BINNANEUN RUBY, who enters off the back of a good 4th place finish in a stiff filly only contest at this distance a month ago. She’s still a maiden after fourteen starts but seems to be figuring things out. (2) FOR J.K looks best of the rest.

Selections (9) A One Hammer (6) Binnaneun Ruby (7) Cha Maru (4) King N I
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 5, 7, 8

Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Fillies and mares only. (3) DONGBANG JIJU took a couple of races to get to grips with this level but has a 4th and a 3rd from her latest two and steps up to two-turns for the first time with every chance it may suit. She’s likely to be on pace from the start and can go all the way. It’s a really competitive race though. (4) DAESEONG RUBY’s recent work has all been over 1000M so it’s a big step up for her today. Jockey booking is positive though and she will be backed. (7) CHEONGCHUN YEOLCHA and (8) SONGAM GONGJU both have experience at this distance, and both have performed well at it. That’s true too for (2) GEOBOOGI MANSE, who races for the first time since running 3rd over this distance in November and who is another one who should be considered here.

Selections (3) Dongbang Jiju (4) Daeseong Ruby (8) Songam Gongju (7) Cheongchun Yeolcha
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start 1, 3, 4

Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Strong race. (7) DAEGUN ILGAL stepped up to this distance on December 15th to record his second runner-up finish in four career starts. He ran on nicely behind a good winner and could well go one better today. (5) EMORY SOCKS was 3rd in that race, just half a length back and also finishing strongly. She’s carrying a very light weight here and can go close again. (6) GEUMSEOK DOLPA is likely to be a big danger. A winner over 1300M in November, he’s up to this trip for the first time and his running style suggests it will suit. (3) HANYANG GONGJU comes in following a 2nd and a 4th in her latest two, both at class and distance and she’ll be close again. (8) FINE HEART and (9) LONG HITTER others to take into consideration.

Selections (6) Geumseok Dolpa (7) Daegun Ilgal (3) Hanyang Gongju (5) Emory Socks
Next Best 8, 9, 1
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 8

Race 8: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(10) GYORYONG UNU hasn’t had the best of luck over his five starts to date but when he has been good, he has been very very good, and he made all to win by fourteen lengths at this distance on December 9th. He’s up in class today but if he gets a clean run, he should win again. There are a couple of good rivals here though. (3) ACE SOLONGO has won his latest two, both over 1300M and both by five-lengths and he will be a big danger as will the similarly in-form (12) MIREU STORM, who has won three in a row dating back to last August. It would be a surprise if the three of them don’t complete the trifecta but (1) GULCHARMNAMUSUP and (7) GEUMA THUNDER could slip into the placings as well.

Selections (10) Gyoryong Unu (3) Ace Solongo (12) Mireu Storm (1) Gulcharmnamusup
Next Best 7, 6
Fast Start 1, 3, 10, 12

Race 9: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

After showing poor manners when 4th in November and then having a hard day at the office when drawn wide in tough company in December, this should be a much better day for (4) FIGHTING HERO. From gate 4 he should be on pace early and can go all the way. (10) THE FINAL closed out 2018 with a solid 4th place in a similar test to this on December 16th and should be looking to better that here. (8) RAON KEVIN is up in class having won comfortably over 1000M on December 2nd. That wasn’t a strong race, and this is his first time over 1300M, but he should cope. (3) MASYA, starting for the first time since running 3rd at class and distance in October, and (5) HANIL MAGIC, look best of the rest.

Selections (4) Fighting Hero (10) The Final (8) Raon Kevin (3) Masya
Next Best 5, 11
Fast Start 4, 8, 11

Race 10: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(2) BENEDICT enters off the back of a win and a 2nd place from his last two starts, with the runner-up finish coming at class and distance on December 23rd. He’s giving plenty of weight away here but is very much the one to beat. Main danger is (1) FIGHTING LANGFUHR, who remains a maiden but has shown plenty of ability and was 2nd in a very fast race over 1000M in November. He ran well for 5th on his first try at this distance last time and should be a big factor here. Speaking of factors, (9) KEY FACTOR is still seeking a maiden victory but managed his best finish to date when 3rd over this distance last month and can build on that today.  (8) SUPER TRICK and (11) DONGBANG JIJON are others who could go close.

Selections (2) Benedict (1) Fighting Langfuhr (9) Key Factor (8) Super Trick
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 2, 7, 9

Race 11: Class 3 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

Fillies and mares only. (8) BEST YEJI beat (1) BLUE MA STAR by a length hen the pair finished 2nd and 4th over 1700M on December 23rd. Back down at 1300M today, that form is likely to be overturned and Blue Ma Star could well win. She’ll come from the back as will the two other main hopes here, (5) TO GO WIN and (7) LOVE IT. Both enter in solid recent form and despite both being maidens, it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of them was to shed that tag here. (11) WOMAN VOLT beat three of these on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on December 8th and should be in the placing hunt here. (6) GAON QUEEN ran poorly that day but can be given another chance.

Selections (1) Blue Ma Star (5) To Go Win (7) Love It (11) Woman Volt
Next Best 6, 12
Fast Start 4, 6, 9, 10

Race 12: Class 2 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

(11) LION ROCK ran well across three starts between September and December last year (despite being well back in the President’s Cup behind brother older Triple Nine. He ran 3rd in a good race over 1800M on December 1st and up at 2000M today, can return to the winner’s circle for the first time since last April. (2) JISANGMYEONGRYEONG and (8) WONDERFUL JACKPOT are both up in class having both registered back to back victories in their latest two outings. Both stretch out to 2000M for the first time as well with Wonderful Jackpot the one most likely to push the favourite close. (6) HWANGGEUM BISANG and (9) TIZ PLAN are two others who could cause an upset.

Selections (11) Lion Rock (8) Wonderful Jackpot (9) Tiz Plan (8) Jisangmyeongryeong
Next Best 6, 10
Fast Start 1, 10

Race 13: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) GUREUM WANGJA had a tough time when trying this class for the first time last month bringing to an end a four-race win streak. He got caught in kickback and lost plenty f ground late on. He’s better than that though and is worth another chance today. (2) PHILLANIKE and (12) GLOBAL NEWS came home 2nd and 3rd when they raced each other at class and distance at the beginning of December. The former came back out and ran creditably enough in a stiff race just before Christmas and both can go close today. (1) MONEY CAMP has proven competitive at this level and has solid placing chances while (4) RAON ROCKY is up in class after a good win last time and shouldn’t be out of his depth.

Selections (7) Gureum Wangja (2) Phillanike (1) Money Camp (12) Global News
Next Best 4, 6
Fast Start 1, 10


Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 18)

It’s Friday! It’s Busan! There are 11 races on the South-Coast from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:


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

A filly maiden to begin with and having run well for 3rd on debut in October at this distance, (9) SILLAUI MISO was long odds-on favourite when stepped up to 1300M a month later. She led early but weakened to 4th in the final furlong. Back down in trip today, she should go close. (4) B.K. SOUND improved to 2nd place on what was her second outing on December 14th. She too will be looking for a fast start and is the main danger and likely favourite. The solitary four-year-old in the race, (12) SWEET PARK returned from ten months out to run a good 2nd place at this distance three weeks ago and she can aim to at least match here. (5) BROWN PIE and first-time starter (11) ECTON SMILE, a stablemate of B.K. Sound, are others who can compete for at least places.

Selections (9) Sillaui Miso (4) B.K. Sound (12) Sweet Park (5) Brown Pie
Next Best 11, 8
Fast Start 1, 4, 9, 12

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

More maidens, three-year-olds only this time. (5) THUNDER RAIN has improved across three starts so far and while he came up slightly short when favourite on December 14th, he ran well enough to suggest that a win isn’t far away and really, it should be here. (3) GOLDEN SHARP has three 5th places finishes, and a 6th from four outings so far. He’ll be expected to join the favourite in contesting the early lead and at a minimum should be getting his best placing to date here. (8) DAEHO JILJU and (9) SILVER BEST have both hinted at some ability across a pair of starts each and are in the placing frame.

Selections (5) Thunder Rain (3) Golden Sharp (8) Daeho Jilju (9) Silver Best
Next Best  6, 4
Fast Start 3, 5

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

Maidens here with just four of the nine having raced before. (1) MERCI CHERIE debuted over 1300M finishing 3rd having raced prominently throughout. Down to the minimum trip today, he only needs a bit of improvement to be right in the mix here. He’ll need to beat (5) LUCKY NUMBER ONE. Kim Young Kwan’s filly led for much of the way around 1300M last time only to finish 3rd. That was her best to date and it would be a surprise if she doesn’t better that here. Among the first-time starters, (6) PAGEUKCHEON won a trial in late December and should go well first-up. (2) HOLIDAY PARIS and (3) FINAL RULES also went well in their respective heats. As ever with races like this, keep an eye on the market.

Selections (6) Pageukcheon (1) Merci Cherie (5) Lucky Number One (3) Final Rules
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 3, 5, 6

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

(6) MR. COLORS returned from five months off to run a solid 3rd place over this distance on December 30th. That was an uptick in form, and he could well keep it going here. He’ll be on pace along with main rival (10) GREAT WIN. He ran 3rd on debut a month ago over 1000M and should have come on for the run. (7) CHOEGANG CLEAR ran well for 4th at this distance last time and should be aiming to at least repeat while the experienced (3) SERENDIPITER may still be a maiden after twenty-four attempts but his recent form reads well and he’s likely to be there or thereabouts. (4) HURRICANE BAY returns for the first time since last September and a trial victory a month ago gives cause for optimism about possible improvement.

Selections (6) Mr. Colors (10) Great Win (7) Choegang Clear (4) Hurricane Bay
Next Best 3, 9
Fast Start 4, 5, 6, 10

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

(9) DOCTOR WEEK has come close in his latest two outings, both of which were arguably in tougher company than this. He has a 2nd place at the distance and is likely to be ridden forward here. He should win. (11) YEONGSEONGFIGHTING ran well on debut and while he was beaten a full ten-lengths into 2nd place by promising filly Nakita, he beat a couple of the others who go here and ran through the line in a manner that suggests he will appreciate the additional distance today. (1) ACE BOOM was 4th in that race on what was (more…)

Richard Oliver Set For Busan Debut Friday

There’s a new face in the overseas jockey ranks in Korea as Great Britain’s Richard Oliver prepares to embark on an initial four-month license at Busan Racecourse this weekend.


Not that there’s been much time for acclimatization for Oliver, who showed up at the racecourse fresh off the plane on Wednesday – coincidentally declarations day – and left having been booked for two rides, one each on Friday and Sunday. “They were a last-minute pick-up, I was there for my orientation. I wasn’t initially planning to ride this week!”.

Last minute or not, the twenty-seven-year-old Oliver has landed on his feet, as he gets the leg-up on talented filly Core Blade for trainer Kang Eun-Seok in Friday’s class 2 finale. Core Blade has won four of ten starts so far and while up in class and back in trip, will be among the favourites in the seven-furlong test. It’s a whirlwind start but for the 27-year-old, the journey to Korea has been some years in the making.

“I found out about Korea when I was an apprentice riding in California in 2016, (and read a news article) naming it as an up and coming ‘racing superpower’ and it kind of stuck in my head.” A native of Great Britain, Oliver chose to go to the USA to complete his apprenticeship and make his breakthrough as a jockey and has subsequently ridden winners in France, Germany, Bahrain and Mauritius, as well as back at home.

The chance to come to Korea and get a foothold in Asia was always at the back of his mind though. “I heard more and more about it but wasn’t at a stage in my career where I’d proven qualified to come here until now, so I applied and waited.”

During the wait, Oliver has built a successful career and comes in having experienced a standout 2018 during which he won feature races in both France and the UAE. However, the jockey rates his recent stint in Mauritius as his favourite memory to date: “I think my best day came on my first day riding in Mauritius where I had a treble. This was particularly satisfying as I was competing in a highly competitive environment with leading riders from South Africa, Australia and the USA”.

It will be competitive too at Busan and Oliver, who can ride at 52kg, joins Franco Da Silva and Francois Herholdt, who make up the small overseas contingent at the track. He’s set himself ambitious but achievable targets. “I want to maintain a respectable strike-rate throughout my time here, ride as many winners as possible and would like to hold a spot among the top five riders”.

Richard Oliver’s Korean debut will come in the very last race of Friday’s 11-race card at Busan which runs from 11:30 to 18:00 local Korea time. He’ll get a further taste of the Busan track on Sunday afternoon when he partners New Jack Swing in race 2.

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

See the full list:

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…)