Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 17)

It’s Stayers’ Sunday! Horses who like a bit of distance to get stuck into don’t get many opportunities in Korea but they do – kind of – this Sunday in that the feature Class 1 handicaps at both Seoul & Busan are at the maximum distance in use at the respective tracks; 2300M at Seoul (the Grand Prix distance) and 2200 at Busan. There are in total 11 races at Seoul (10:45 to 18:00) and 6 at Busan (12:40 to 17:05). Previews for Seoul followed by Selections for Busan are below:

Road Winner winning the JRA Trophy - KRA

Road Winner will be action at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Race 1: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Two standout contenders here will be expected to dispute the honours between them. (2) YAHO THUNDER CAT and (4) WONDERFUL DIXIE were both impressive maiden winners at the end of last year and both ran well on their respective first attempts at this level in January. Yaho Thunder Cat perhaps has the slight edge at the moment and he’s the narrow top pick. (5) SKY STORM was 3rd behind Wonderful Dixie last time out and while he has three-lengths to make up, looks to have the best chance of challenging the favoured pair. (1) FINAL STORM and the up in class (10) DRAGON BOAT are others who may step up.

Selections (2) Yaho Thunder Cat (4) Wonderful Dixie (5) Sky Storm (10) Dragon Boat
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 4, 10

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(12) PUNGMUNEURO has been knocking at the door for a while now, culminating in a good run for 2nd place at this distance last month. In all her previous outings there’s always been at least one obvious one to beat her but that’s not the case here and for the first time she is set to start as favourite. She’ll need to overcome the wide draw and if she comes up short again, (5) WIND RIVER looks best placed to capitalise. She had a bit of bad luck when a close 6th last time and should benefit from the increase in trip today and will be expected to overturn the form on (11) CHEONHA YEOJE, who finished ahead of her. (2) GWANGPOK JUHAENG and (8) FOR J.K both look to be getting closer and can be considered while (3) WONDERFUL HEELS may have been poor on her latest two outings but carries a very light weight here and has shown ability in the past.

Selections (12) Pungmuneuro (5) Wind River (8) For J.K (2) Gwangpok Juhaeng
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 2, 6, 11, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) HANEULEUL DALRIDA stepped up to this trip last time and ran 3rd having led almost the entire way around. He will hopefully have come on for that and while today’s opposition is marginally stiffer, he can win. So too can (7) HANEUL NARAE. He overcame a poor start to go close over 1300M last time and should suit today’s extended distance. (3) RAON MIRACLE remains a maiden but looked competent when tackling this distance for the first time three weeks ago and can improve. (8) CLEAR GEOM is definitely competent at the trip. He was stepped up to it for just his second career start a month ago and it resulted in his maiden win. He’s up in class but has potential. (5) VICTORY STAR and (6) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG are others with at least placing claims.

Selections (2) Haneuleul Dalrida (7) Haneul Narae (8) Clear Geom (3) Raon Miracle
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 1, 2, 7

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

Three-year-old maidens here. (2) FEATHER LIGHT has placed 3rd in both tries at this distance to date. He was a long shot last time out but ran well and shouldn’t need t improve much if he is to win this. The main danger is (4) BARAMEUL GEURIDA. All of his starts so far have been at 1000M (finishing well in front of Feather Light on one occasion) but the extra distance isn’t too much of a concern and he will try to lead all the way. (11) GEUMSUNI STAR and (12) CHEONJI POKPUNG both look to be improving and both come in having finished 3rd on their latest outings. Both are in contention. Best of the rest is (5) INDEPENDENCE.

Selections (2) Feather Light (4) Barameul Geurida (12) Cheonji Pokpung (11) Geumsuni Star
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 2, 4, 12

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

Very competitive handicap. (9) NIMUI HYANGGI and (10) FULL MOON SKY are both last start winners who are up in class today. Both should be competitive with Nimui Hyanggi, having won well at this distance, the slightly more favoured of the pair. Neither are top pick though. That’s (8) FIGHTING HERO, a winner on debut last October, who just came up short when favourite at class and distance last time out, beaten a length into 3rd. He looks to have talent and can get it right this time. (3) GLOBAL CHEONHA steps up in trip for the first time and has solid claims too while (11) NEUL SACHAN does the opposite and drops down in distance after enduring a tough time around 1700M last month. She should be better today.

Selections (8) Fighting Hero (9) Nimui Hyanggi (10) Full Moon Sky (3) Global Cheonha
Next Best 11, 2
Fast Start 3, 7, 9

Race 6: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Twelve imported horses going over the minimum distance here and the only previous winner among them is (11) PRO HAMSEONG, who saluted over this distance in fine fashion in December. He only managed 4th on reappearance last month but Johan Victoire is back in the saddle today and he can return to winning ways. It won’t be easy though. (3) CHEUNGDAM GENIE has a 2nd and a 4th from two outings so far and resumes after eight weeks off. He’ll challenge Pro Hamseong for the lead and has a significantly better draw. (4) WELLNESS K was a much-improved 4th last time and can continue to improve. (2) SOULY MAJESTIC and (9) GEUMA WHOLESOME did nothing much wrong on debut and the latter looked strong in a January trial.

Selections (11) Pro Hamseong (3) Cheungdam Genie (9) Geuma Wholesome (4) Wellness K
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start 3, 5, 6, 11

Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) ISCRA ran disappointingly when favourite at class and distance just before Christmas. There didn’t appear to be anything wrong with him, so we’ll put it down to a poor day at the office. He’s had eight weeks off since then and was going extremely well before, so we’ll give him another chance here. (8) RULE OF SUM was beaten a length by Iscra when the pair finished 2nd and 3rd at the distance. He’s run well in two subsequent starts as well and can be considered a threat today. Another credible threat is (5) BEST EVER. He’s up in class following a four-length win at this distance on January 6th, his second victory in four attempts and looks to have scope for more improvement. (6) HALO BIRD and (9) EIFFEL, the latter of whom bled last time, are others in the hunt.

Selections (1) Iscra (5) Best Ever (8) Rule Of Sum (6) Halo Bird
Next Best 9, 11
Fast Start 1, 4, 12

Race 8: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Really good handicap for the level involving five last-start winners and a total of eight who finished in the top three on their most recent outing. We’re going to go with (2) THUNDER MARK. She was an eye-catching ten-length winner over 1300M on January 6th, on what was just her second start and while up in class and slightly in distance, the manner of that win warrants plenty of respect. (7) MEDICI GLORY’s only defeat so far came in the Nonghyup Trophy and he comes up in class having rebounded to score by five lengths last month. He’s another with plenty of potential. (12) BENEDICT is another up in class having won two of his last three and he will surely be a threat as well. As for those with experience at the level, (9) BLUE MA STAR beat a couple of these on her way to 2nd at this class over 1300M last time and will be a danger again while (10) MONEY BLADE and (11) DARK PLAYER also have solid claims.

Selections (2) Thunder Mark (7) Medici Glory (9) Blue Ma Star (10) Money Blade
Next Best 11, 12
Fast Start 1, 3, 6, 7

Race 9: Class 1 (2300M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million

A rare race over the Grand Prix distance of 2300M. (8) ROAD WINNER is the pick. He only managed to run 10th in the afore-mentioned Grand Prix but of course, this race is nowhere near as strong. He beat four of these over 1800M on January 13th and should win again. (9) GUTONGSA was 2nd in that January race, beaten just half a length and while this is a big step up in trip for him, he will be a contender today as will the 4th-placegetter (6) SINGGEUREOUN GEOM. He also tackles this distance for the first time but is a class 1 winner over 2000M and should be a threat, likely trying to lead from the start. The main danger though is (2) WINNER GOLD. He’s won his latest two in fine fashion and while he has been assisted by carrying very light weights in both, an apprentice helps keep the weight down again today and he must be taken seriously.

Selections (8) Road Winner (6) Singgerureoun Geom (2) Winner Gold (9) Gutongsa
Next Best 4, 3
Fast Start 2, 6, 8

Race 10: Class 3 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

(3) MAMBO KHAN is probably the one to beat here. He ran a solid 4th at class and distance three weeks ago and looks nicely in to go even better here. (4) LOVELY NUTE stepped up to this distance for the first time on January 12th and won by three-lengths. Accordingly, she’s up in class today but is very nicely in the weights and she could win again. (1) BAEKSAN GUNJU’s previous try at this distance didn’t go well but he enters here in promising form and could be ready for another crack. (2) SPEED IS KHAN has been consistent at this distance in recent efforts and should be close again. (7) CREMOA POWER is up in class despite missing out by a neck last month. He’s won at 1700M already and should be competitive here.

Selections (3) Mambo Khan (4) Lovely Nute (1) Baeksan Gunju (2) Speed Is Khan
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 2, 5, 11, 12

Race 11: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

It’s about time (1) SPRING BACK came back to the winner’s circle. He burst onto the scene with two prodigiously good performances last summer but has come up short in three starts since, albeit in good company. He is actually up in class today and accordingly carries a light weight and today should be his day. It’s not nailed on though, mainly due to the presence of (3) MIRACLE HANSEN. He dropped back to this trip on January 6th and ran a close 2nd to Speed Joy with (10) JANGSAN WILD in 3rd. He will be a danger today. Jangsan Wild should be competitive for a place as well while (4) SAEBYEOGI and (5) MUSIGNY are others who could go close.

Selections (1) Spring Back (3) Miracle Hansen (10) Jangsan Wild (4) Saebyeogi
Next Best 5, 7
Fast Start 1, 3, 4, 10

Busan Selections

Race 1: 1, 3, 9, 12
Race 2: 3, 5, 4, 6
Race 3: 4, 10, 3, 8
Race 4: 5, 6, 9, 8
Race 5: 10, 6, 3, 1
Race 6: 4, 3, 8, 1

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