Month: March 2019

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 31)

So it wasn’t to be for Dolkong overnight in Dubai. Nevertheless, he did himself and Korea proud over the past three months. Racing continues and Sunday sees 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews:

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Dolkong gave it a go in Dubai (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) CHEON GOE SEONG has a best of 2nd from three starts so far. On his latest outing on March 3rd, he raced a touch ungenerously when performing below expectations in 6th and if he sorts his manners out, he has a good chance of winning today. (4) KING OF EAGLE proved to be even more of a pain in his latest effort, hanging outwards in the home straight to the extent he got ordered back to trial. He still finished 2nd though and flew through the subsequent trial and if he behaves himself, he too has a strong chance. (2) EX BLADE should be better back at the minimum trip today while (1) SEMYEONG STORM was a little big sluggish at the start on debut four weeks ago and can improve here. Of the four debut-makers, Luigi Riccardi’s (7) HOLIDAY MORNING looks the pick having won a trial in fine fashion two weeks ago, although (8) CLASSIC DANCER also showed some promise in her heat.

Selections (6) Cheon Goe Seong (4) King Of Eagle (2) Ex Blade (7) Holiday Morning
Next Best 8, 1
Fast Start 3, 4, 8, 10

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

A maiden for fillies only. (7) CAMP BADA beat a couple of these on her way to an improved 3rd place on March 2nd. She looks set to get on the early pace here and has strong claims to win. She’s not the only one though. (1) BEST SINHWA has run 4th and 3rd in two starts so far. She tackles 1300M for the first time today and the way she has run on both times suggests it may suit. (9) KAHINAH was only beaten a nose at this distance on her latest start six weeks ago. This looks tougher but she can be respected. (6) REIGN ran 6th behind Camp Bada last time and can get closer today while (10) DURI, another who improved to 2nd last time, is also in the hunt.

Selections (7) Camp Bada (1) Best Sinhwa (9) Kahinah (10) Duri
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 7, 9, 10, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) LOOKING GOOD was a comfortable winner on debut last November and then ran 3rd on his first try at this level over 1300M in January. He’s not raced since then but is nicely drawn to get on pace early here and he could win. (2) BLUE FIRE is yet to win after eight attempts but has been close a number of times. He ran 2nd on his most recent try at this distance and can be a danger here. (4) MAPAEBONG was a close at hand 4th at class and distance last start and should be in the hunt for at least a place here. (5) POP STREET and (9) HANSEN BAROWS others who could go close.

Selections (7) Looking Good (2) Blue Fire (4) Mapaebong (9) Hansen Barows
Next Best 5, 10
Fast Start 2, 5, 7, 9

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

(1) HEUK JEONSA is up in class having secured his maiden win on his third career start – and first at this distance – on February 23rd. He was drawn in the same gate that day and can repeat the tactic of sitting just behind the pace and finishing strongly. It took (4) CUPID GANGJA seventeen goes to make his own breakthrough but it came at this class last month when he ground out a gutsy victory by a nose. He can go well again. (3) CHOM NIA showed signs of coming back into form with a solid 4th at the distance in a tougher race than this last start and can at least match that today while (2) MAENGSAN HERO and (7) RAON PRO SENSE are better than their respective latest efforts suggest and should be close.

Selections (1) Heuk Jeonsa (3) Chom Nia (4) Cupid Gangja (7) Raon Pro Sense
Next Best 2
Fast Start 3, 5

Busan Race 1 Selections: 11, 1, 9, 10

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

(6) TOP BRAIN was a much-improved 2nd back in January when tried at five furlongs for the first time. He looked like he still had plenty to learn prior to that but now having had a couple of months off since, he’ll be the one to aim at here. (2) HEUNGBOK DREAM enters after two useful performances in similar races to this and is one of the main dangers along with (11) BEST CHAPEL, who similarly hasn’t missed out by much in either of her latest two. (1) MIREU STORM has seemingly lost his way a little bit but has plenty of talent and with a good start, can be another chance today. (7) JEJUI BARAM another who can go close.

Selections (6) Top Brain (2) Heungbok Dream (11) Best Chapel (1) Mireu Storm
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 7

Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

(4) JANGSAN BOBBY ran pleasingly enough for 3rd on debut at this distance on March 1st, beating three of these in the process and he’s favourite to step up and score today. Filly (5) BEAUTIFUL MARINE has finished no worse than 3rd in four starts so far. She’s overcome wide draws to run 2nd in both her latest two. Beaten by good winners each time, she’ll be a big danger here. (8) TAP SOCKS was a useful 5th on debut at the beginning of this month and can build on it here, while of the two first-time starters, (3) KOREA PRINCE performed promisingly in trials and should go nicely first-up.

Selections (4) Jangsan Bobby (5) Beautiful Marine (8) Tap Socks (3) Korea Prince
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 8

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

(1) INCHEON SPEED has hinted at ability across five starts so far and overcame some serious bumping at the start last time to run a decent 5th at this distance. He is a touch inconsistent but could get things right today. (5) SUN START was 6th in that race just half a length back and can go closer today too but a bigger threat is likely to come from (7) CRAZY WIKI who enters with a win and a 2nd place from his latest two. Those runs were both at 1000M, but he should be able to get on the lead early and looks ready for another crack at this distance. (9) NASCAUI BYEOL and the up in class (11) WINNER BROWN are others in the frame.

Selections (1) Incheon Speed (7) Crazy Wiki (11) Winner Brown (5) Sun Start
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 6, 7, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Really good-looking race this and despite still being a maiden (1) ROSA could be the who takes the honours. She stepped up to class and distance on March 3rd and ran a good 2nd, having led most of the way around and beating a couple of these in the process. Hopefully she will have learned a little bit from that, and she can win here. (4) CHEONGDAM BLADE is up in class having secured his maiden win over this distance on February 7th but it’s two others up in class, the relatively unexposed pair of (5) TRUE VALOR and (6) KINGSTON HARBOR, who shed their maiden tags at 1300M and 1000M respectively, who may prove more progressive and can get close today. (2) MUJEOK VETERAN and (7) ROCKHARD FORCE are other up and comers who can have a line drawn through their latest efforts and given another chance here.

Selections (1) Rosa (5) True Valor (6) Kingston Harbor (7) Rock Hard Force
Next Best 2, 10, 4
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 10

Seoul Race 7: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(4) CLEAR GEOM got her maiden win at this distance on January before running 2nd on her first try at this class last month behind a horse who could be bound for the KRA Cup Mile next week. She looks to have plenty of potential and is very much the one to beat here. (1) ROYAL JOY did nothing on her first three outings but registered her maiden win when tried at this distance for the first time on February 23rd. Accordingly, she is up in class today but should be a factor. (8) QUEEN OF CAMP remains a maiden but steps up in class too as well as in distance having run close too many mains at class 6. She ran on well over 1300M last time and can be competitive at this level. (2) GAZUA and (7) BETTINA are others in the hunt.

Selections (4) Clear Geom (1) Royal Joy (8) Queen Of Camp (7) Bettina
Next Best 2, 10
Fast Start 1, 8

Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A winner of three from seven and already successful at class and distance, (3) BLACK TEN comes in having run a decent 2nd over 1800M a month ago. He led until the closing stages that day and back down to what looks at this time his preferred trip, he’s the one to beat. (7) CHEONNYEONUI ACHIM returned from almost five months off to run 5th over 1300M three weeks ago. He should have come on for that and steps up to a mile for the first time with claims to go close. (2) TRIPLE SILVER has only won one of eighteen outings but is up in class today after three consecutive runner-up finishes. He’s up in trip as well but should be competitive. (8) WIN GO MAN and (9) GANGHAN JILJU are others capable of finding the money in this company.

Selections (3) Black Ten (7) Cheonnyeonui Achim (2) Triple Silver (8) Win Go Man
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 3, 6

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) RULE BREAKER ran 3rd on his first true at this class on February 24th. He’s won at the distance before and while he was the beaten favourite last time, is worthy of another chance today. In that same race, (12) GIDONG DAEJANG was well back in the field but he returned to record an unexpected win just two weeks later at this class and distance. He carries an additional 3.5kg today but warrants respect. (9) JEWANGUI BYEOL got his maiden win over a year ago and has been knocking at the door since. He was 4th on his first try around two-turns at the beginning of this month and should have come on for it although he did display some poor racing manners. (1) STRONG CAPTAIN and (11) HANYANG GONGJU, the latter a strong class and distance 4th last time out, are others to take into consideration.

Selections (7) Rule Breaker (9) Jewangui Byeol (11) Hanyang Gongju (12) Gidong Daejang
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 3, 5, 9, 11

Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(11) EVELYN returned from a few months out to run a solid 2nd place over a mile on March 1st. She steps up to 1800M for the first time with plenty of indications that it may suit and having come on or that run, she’s the one to beat. (10) CHIEF LEADER’s previous attempt at this trip in February didn’t go especially well but having run well when dropped back to a mile last time, he looks ready for another crack and should be dangerous. (1) OCEAN LINE and (2) PRIME RACE are both proven money winners at class and distance and have solid placing chances, while (7) CHOEGANG BULLET steps up to two-turns for the first time and is another who can aim for at least a place.

Selections (11) Evelyn (2) Prime Race (1) Ocean Line (7) Choegang Bullet
Next Best 10, 9
Fast Start 5

Seoul Race 9: Class 2 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

(4) CHOINMA just keeps his remarkable record of avoiding the winner’s circle intact. And yet we keep returning to him and sending him off at a short price. Surely today is the day. He comes in having beaten plenty of these in recent starts and was 4th last time out t at this class over 1800M. This time he wins for the first time since his juvenile season. Should he come up short again (and frankly, we must accept it’s possible), (6) BULMYEORUI JEWANG and (8) WONDERFUL CHAMPION look best placed to take advantage. Neither went well last time but can return to form today. (11) LUCKY ROOKIE is up in class having won three of his last five starts. His best work has been at shorter distances, but he should be in the placing hunt. (7) JEJUI HANEUL drops back in distance following two chastening experienced at 2000M and should be better. On the other hand, (1) BLUE WOLF, up in trip to two-turns for the first time, may also come into play.

Selections (4) Choinma (11) Lucky Rookie (6) Bulmyeorui Jewang (8) Wonderful Champion
Next Best 1, 7
Fast Start 1, 6, 7, 8

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

Plenty of form to go on here, with most of these having raced each other recently. (6) DYNAMIC STAR came out the best when four of them race at class and distance on February 24th, running 2nd to the very good King Of Glory. He looks beautifully in here once again and could go one better. The pick though is (2) CAPTAIN FORCE. He only managed 6th that day after a poor start but he is the class horse of the race and should go much better this time. (12) GOOD CASTING beat four of these on his way to victory over 1800M on March 1st. He drops back to one-turn for the first time in well over a year but should be competitive. Finishing 3rd in that race was (3) SILLAUI JEONSEOL and he’s another who should be in the mix. Also dropping back in trip is Classic winner (8) WORLD SUN and he shouldn’t be completely ruled out, while the up in class (7) CORE BLADE is the wildcard.

Selections (2) Captain Force (12) Good Casting (6) Dynamic Star (7) Core Blade
Next Best 8, 11, 3
Fast Start 2, 3, 7

Seoul Race 10: Class 1 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(5) GANGTOMA has won his latest two including his most recent at class and distance on February 24th when he had four of these behind him. A winner of eight from thirteen in total, he seems to still be getting better and he can continue to burnish his credentials with another win here under what is still a nice light weight. The reason for the light weight is because of the presence of highly-rated (12) WINNER GOLD. He enters having just come up short behind the excellent Road Winner over 2300M last month and while he is a top-class contender, giving away 5kg today hands the advantage to the similarly talented Gangtoma. Last year’s Queens’ Tour winner (11) CHEONGSU YEOGEOL takes her first crack at class 1 handicap company. She only races sparingly with a tilt at retaining that title set to be the main goal this year but she looks nicely in and she can be a threat. (4) NASCA PRINCE and (6) ULTRA ROCKET are others in the hunt in a really nice-looking race.

Selections (5) Gangtoma (12) Winner Gold (11) Cheongsu Yeogeol (6) Ultra Rocket
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 1, 4, 8, 10

Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Very competitive race to conclude with. Four of these raced each other at class and distance on February 24th with (11) ARGO MELODY coming home the best of them in in 2nd place. That was his second consecutive runner-up finish and he’ll be a danger today. (3) PRIMO was 3rd in that race while (2) WILD DRAGON came home in 5th place and both those will be threats again but the biggest danger – and top pick – is (5) GUREUM WANGJA, A winner of four from seven so far, he ran a close 2nd at this distance on his latest outing in January. Coming in fresh, he can sit off the pace and be too strong late on here. (4) SOL PARANG the best of the rest.

Selections (5) Gureum Wangja (11) Argo Melody (2) Wild Dragon (4) Sol Parang
Next Best 3, 8
Fast Start 2, 6, 7, 9

Good Luck, Dolkong

This evening, a Korea-owned and trained horse will line up in the starting gate for the $12 Million Dubai World Cup. This is not a sentence that was ever expected to appear on this blog. Yet that is exactly what Dolkong will do.

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Dolkong at Meydan (Pic: Ross Holburt)

We’ll not preview the race here – others are far more qualified to do that – but naturally, it’s a hard ask. Always set to be a big outsider, following the barrier draw, which saw him receive the outside gate, Dolkong will likely start as the longest shot on the board. But that’s not important.

Dubai22

It’s not bad for a horse that less than four months ago finished 4th in the Grand Prix Stakes. Yet Dolkong, who matched Cheongdam Dokki when the pair were two and three, had his career stalled by injury, something that now, with less punishing miles over the Seoul sand on the clock than others of his age, may be paying dividends in Dubai, where he has thrived, coasting home in the Curlin Handicap before running 3rd in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3. That latter performance saw his rating tick up to 110 and this year, it was just about enough to warrant an invitation to the biggest race of all.

Dolkong in Dubai – Part 1:

Dolkong in Dubai – Part 2:

It has been a exceptional training performance by Simon Foster, who along with fellow expat handlers Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice, gamely and enthusiastically took on the challenge of flying the Korean flag overseas when all of their local counterparts this time opted to stay at home. Dolkong has been the example of the right horse, owned by the right owner and trained by the right trainer at exactly the right time.

If he’d have walked into a different barn when returning from injury last May, it’s possible that he’d be carrying top weight in Sunday’s class 1 handicap at Seoul. Instead he’s on one of the richest and most watched stages in world racing. Simon Foster has been an exceptional ambassador and along with others including groom and rider Lizzy Stubbington and for Dolkong’s last three runs, veteran jockey Oliver Doleuze, has forged a formidable team.

Now they must go again on what is a momentous night for Korean racing (and for a small farm in Virginia). Seoul Racecourse will be open overnight on Saturday and into the small hours of Sunday and a group of racing fans are expected to gather to watch the live coverage (the race starts at 1.40am Seoul time) while a sizeable Korean contingent is out at Meydan.

After the Curlin, we convinced ourselves that it was job done and anything else was a bonus. After the Al Maktoum Challenge R3, we did the same. Now, lowest rated, widest drawn and with a closing style that doesn’t really suit most dirt races at Meydan, Dolkong is up against it again. He’ll give his best.

 

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 30)

Saturday at Seoul sees 12 races from 10:45 to 18:00. There’s a new overseas jockey in town too with Manuel Porcu making his Korean debut. Here are the previews:

dolkong kra

Dolkong has nothing to do with this article but here’s a picture of him anyway!

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(5) FEDERAL CAT has a 2nd and 3rd from two starts so far, the latter of which was at this distance on March 3rd. He only needs a top-three finish to be up in class next time and he could exit the bottom tier of racing with a win today. (2) JEONGMUN SAI finished 3rd behind Federal Cat on what was both their debuts back in February and returns here for the first time since and should be close although a bigger danger may prove to be (3) GEUMSUNI STAR. It took him a couple of efforts to figure things out, but he comes in here with a 3rd and a 4th from his latest two and should go close here. (7) IL MARE stumbled at the start last time and may go better for the step up in trip today, but the most intriguing entrant is the sole debut-maker. (9) PLATINUM EURO. He’s won two trials and is the pick well first-up here.

Selections (9) Platinum Euro (5) Federal Cat (2) Jeongmun Sai (3) Geumsuni Star
Next Best 7, 4
Fast Start 4, 9

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

Three-year-old maiden fillies only here. (6) SAMAE JILJU has finished no worse than 4th in three outings so far. All have been at 1000M and she’s run on reasonably well each time suggesting she may appreciate the extended trip today. (9) BULUI QUEEN has made steady progress and got her best finish so far in 2nd when stepped up to this distance last time and can continue to progress here. Both of those should be on the early speed as should the other principal chance, (2) SENTOSA. She has demonstrated ability at 1000M with a best finish of 2nd and is another who tries this distance for the first time. (1) CHEONNYEONUI BI and (8) GREEN CINDY are others who may improve.

Selections (9) Bilui Queen (2) Sentosa (6) Samae Jilju (1) Cheonnyeonui Bi
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 2, 6, 9

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Weak maiden here with only (9) JEONGMUN SARANG having experienced a top three finish to date and that’s probably enough to make him favourite here. He should be able to get to the lead early and potentially go all the way. (3) COMPLETE SHOCK and (11) GIVEN RUNNER have both performed well in trials, if not in actual races and could improve but we’ll look to the pair of (4) GOLD FIELD and (5) WANSEUNG MUPAE, neither of whom did too much wrong when running 7th and 6th respectively at this distance earlier this month and who look to have potential to improve. Wanseung Mupae bumped at the start last time and with a cleaner break, can get closer.

Selections (9) Jeongmun Sarang (5) Wanseung Mupae (11) Given Runner (4) Gold Field
Next Best 3, 2
Fast Start 4, 9, 11

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(9) GEUMA MAJESTY improved significantly at the third time of asking on March 3rd, running 2nd at this distance. It was the first time he’d managed to get off to a decent start and if he repeats that today, he can win. (6) BIG CLASSIC ran 3rd on debut back in January and returns here for the first time. He can set up camp just behind the early speed and can be a danger later on. (5) WINNER CROWN has been competent in his three starts so far, the best of them being 2nd place in an admittedly slow race at this trip in February. He’ll need to have a bit of improvement in him here but can get close as can (7) FLOWER ROAD, who similarly has done nothing too wrong in two efforts to date. (10) RAON JOY looks bets of the rest.

Selections (9) Geuma Majesty (5) Winner Crown (6) Big Classic (7) Flower Road
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 5, 9, 10, 11

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

(7) RED BLADE only missed out by half a length when a much-improved 2nd in a decent race at this distance on March 3rd. His stable is in good form at the moment, he should on pace early and he can win. (4) CHEONNYEON HAPPY ran a pleasing enough 4th over this distance on March 2nd and should be even more of a factor here while (1) TANTAN WINNER has been showing progress across his four outings so far and can build on the 3rd place he achieved on his first try at this distance last month. (8) CLEAN UP TRIO was 4th behind Red Blade last start and while he was a full twelve-lengths back in a strung-out finish, can get a little closer today. (12) KINGLY was a somewhat surprising 2nd on his return from a few months off over 1000M in a race that was admittedly run at glacial pace three weeks ago. Nevertheless, he provides jockey Manual Porcu with a decent opportunity on his first day riding at Seoul.

Selections (7) Red Blade (1) Tantan Winner (4) Cheonnyeon Happy (8) Clean Up Trio
Next Best 12, 11
Fast Start 7, 8, 11

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

(5) SUN OF THUNDER got promoted to this class with back to back runner-up finishes and continued that streak when 2nd over this distance on his first try at this level on March 2nd. True, he has been a beaten odds-on favourite on both his latest starts, but it should be third-time lucky today.  (3) FLYING JOY was just half a length back behind Sun Of Thunder in that same race. He remains a maiden after sixteen attempts but shouldn’t be far away once more. (6) STAR LIST was a class and distance winner as recently as (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 29)

There are 11 Friday races at Busan from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Success Story Busan Ilbo 2017

It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

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

(11) RAINBOW PARK ran a decent 4th on debut on March 1st. That day’s 3rd place-getter went on to win last week and he’ll be in the frame here. There are three debt-makers and to of them look to have strong claims. (6) CHOEGANG WINNER performed credibly in a trial a month ago and has a top trainer/jockey combination but the best looking is (9) CHEONNYEONUIYAKSO, 2nd in a fast trial three weeks ago and if he reproduces that form here, he’ll probably win. (1) BARAMGWA GUREUM and (8) KKEUTPAN STORM are best of the rest.

Selections (9) Cheonnyeonuiyakso (6) Choegang Winner (11) Rainbow Park (8) Kkeutpan Storm
Next Best 1, 7
Fast Start 1, 6, 8, 9

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

(2) GUKMIN STAR is the most experienced in this field and also looks to be the furthest along in terms of development. He was 4th at this distance last time out but was less than a length behind the winner in a tight finish and he can come out on top today. (12) TITLE CODE ran twice last autumn and showed some promise. He’s back after almost four months off having trialled up well at the beginning of March and he’ll be in the frame. (6) BEYOND rana creditable 5th n debut in February and can build on it here. There are two debut-makers, and both look like they have promise. (9) RAON TOWN trialled up behind Title Code while (8) MUJEOK NICE looked similarly competent in her heat and has little to fear first-up.

Selections (2) Gukmin Star (12) Title Code (8) Mujeok Nice (9) Raon Town
Next Best 6, 5
Fast Start 5, 6, 12

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

(3) ROSE BULLET came from well off the pace to run a much-improved 3rd over 1000M three weeks ago. Once out of the kickback, he raced very nicely so with a better start today, he could well be the one to beat. (1) MORNING WANGJA has a 3rd and a 4th in two outings since returning from ten months out and can keep his momentum going here. He should join Rose Bullet on the early pace.  (7) HAPPY GATE has shown some aptitude across six starts so far, including a 3rd place at this distance and and shouldn’t be too far away. Solitary debut-maker, (5) RISING CHIEF has shown some speed across two trials and has every chance of going well first-up while the wildcard is (9) PERFECT ACE, who returns after eight months out. He offered few clues in a February trial but had talent last year and could be interesting.

Selections (3) Rose Bullet (7) Happy Gate (5) Rising Chief (1) Morning Wangja
Next Best 9, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 8

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(9) ROYAL TICKET has shown steady improvement over three outings to date, culminating in 2nd place when stepped up to this trip five weeks ago. He’ll probably go to the lead early here and has every chance of going one better. (12) GIDAEHAE was three-lengths back in 3rd place in that race and she can be a danger again, but the principal threat is likely to be (4) POWERFUL PUT. He too comes in off the back of 2nd place at the distance three weeks ago, his best finish in twelve outings to date, and he looks finally ready to win. (11) WANBONG, previously beaten by Royal Ticket and Gidaehae, was an improved 3rd in that race and can build on that here while (7) CHOEGANG SEONBONG ran poorly last time out but can be given another chance here.

Selections (4) Powerful Pit (9) Royal Ticket (12) Gidaehae (7) Choegang Seonbong
Next Best 11, 1
Fast Start 6, 9

Race 5: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(5) BRIAN PARK is up in class following a four-length win at this distance on March 3rd. The manner of that score suggests there could be more to come, and he looks worth taking a chance on again today. The ultra-experienced (8) VEGA KHAN ran a very close 3rd at 1800M a month ago, having led in the straight and he is to be taken seriously here as is Brian Park’s stablemate (2) DALGU, who beat three of these on his way to 4th place at class and distance just two weeks ago and similarly warrants respect. Two of those he beat that day, (4) CURLIN FANTASY and (10) I’M YOUR HOPE can be given additional chances to improve here.

Selections (5) Brian Park (2) Dalgu (8) Vega Khan (4) Curlin Fantasy
Next Best 10, 6
Fast Start 4, 5, 6

Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

This is a very competitive race with any number of possible winners. The most intriguing entry is (7) BLACK SHIELD, who races for the first time in nine months. He bowed out with a win at this distance last June and was very fast when winning a trial two weeks ago. This is eminently winnable first-up. (11) NORMAL CLASSIC is up in class having won (more…)

Moon Se Young Makes 1500 / New Legend Goes Five for Five

At 11am on Saturday morning, after Moon Se Young had nonchalantly guided favourite Black Party to a comfortable victory in the opening race of the weekend at Seoul Racecourse to rack up his 1499th career winner, it looked as though Moon’s quest to reach the milestone 1500th would be a breeze. By 6pm on Sunday, it had turned into something of a saga before finally, Another Smart One obliged in the concluding race of the weekend and Moon became only the second Korean jockey to ever reach the landmark figure.

Moon Se Young 1500 Presentation

Mr & Mrs Moon

The wait was somewhat reminiscent of that of Park Tae Jong, the nation’s all-time leading jockey, who was on 1,999 winners for three meetings before finally breaking the 2,000- win barrier in May 2016. “Sorry you guys had to wait here after every race!” smiled Moon to the waiting camera crew. Indeed, on Saturday Moon found himself beaten on three hot favourites on what ultimately proved a day of frustration for the six-time Champion Jockey.

“I was a little worried today” admitted Moon afterwards, “I didn’t expect too much from my rides, but I knew this one was going to be favourite and I was concerned about letting down the racing fans”. He needn’t have been. Another Smart One, a five-year-old US import by Smarty Jones looked a winner all the way, stalking the early leaders in the 1200M Class 1 finale before taking things up mid-stretch to win by a full six-lengths on the line.

“I always want to do my best for the owners and trainers who support me and all through my career, I’ve set myself targets and goals and achieving them has been what motivates me”. However, now 38-years-old Moon, who missed the latter half of last year after shattering his collarbone, knows not to take anything for granted anymore. “I have had so many injuries and layoffs over the past few years that I wasn’t sure I would make this one”.

Park Tae Jong, who rode one of the winners that denied Moon on Saturday, was among the first to greet his rival in the winner’s circle after the race. “I’ve been chasing him my entire career” said Moon after bowing deeply to the man who his is fifteen years his senior. “I’ll keep on chasing him”.

* At Busan on Sunday, New Legend, the current hottest prospect in Korean racing, continued to burnish his credentials. Stepping up to 2000M for the first time, the four-year-old Menifee colt, who began his career in the United States, outclassed is class 2 rivals, setting a gentle pace before pulling away with ease in the home straight to win by a full thirteen-lengths. He moves on to five from five at home and will be up to class 1 for his next appearance.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (March 24)

There are full Sunday cards at both Seoul (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and Busan (6 races from 12:40 to 17:05). There’s no Group or Listed action but the “Good Luck Dolkong Handicap” race 9 at Seoul looks set to be interesting while New Legend, unbeaten in Korea, makes his fifth start at Busan in race 5. Also there is the ongoing saga of Moon Se Young’s attempt to reach 1500 winners. After scoring in race 1 on Saturday to reach 1499, he was beaten on three odds-on chances. He has eight more chances on Sunday. Here are the previews with Busan selections below:

Jigeum I Sungan Moon Se Young 1

Surely Moon Se Young will make it to 1500 on Sunday

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

(11) P.K. JEONSA has been getting closer across four starts so far culminating in 2nd place at this distance last time out a month ago. He won’t need to improve much to win this and he is the one to beat. (5) GOLDEN JAY ran 3rd on debut last month and while it wasn’t an especially strong race, it gives her a firm foundation to build on here. (6) CHOWON MARU and (4) SEOUL CITY debuted together, finishing 4th and 7th respectively at this distance on February 23rd and they too can make progress here. The most experienced in the race is (9) DAEJI GONGJU and she has managed a 3rd place which she could repeat here.

Selections (11) P.K. Jeonsa (5) Golden Jay (6) Chowon Maru (4) Seoul City
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 5, 11

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

Weak maiden here and (10) UTGE HAEJULGE’s improved last start 4th should be enough to give him favourite status here. He’s not drawn especially well but should have enough about him to get to the lead and he can win. (6) SINUI CHUKBOK comes in having run 5th at this distance two weeks ago and looks to have more improvement in her while (4) JEOKTO BIMA raced ungenerously last time but still managed to finish 6th and drops back in trip today.  In such a race we have to give the first-timers a chance and (7) BLUE BAY looks to have the best chance of making an impression first-up.

Selections (10) Utge Haejulge (6) Sinui Chukbok (4) Jeokto Bima (7) Blue Bay
Next Best 9, 8
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 6

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

(7) HOPE KINGDOM was a close at hand 2nd at this distance on February 23rd, beating three of these in the process. That performance came out of nowhere, but a repeat can’t be ruled out. (3) SIMJANGUI GODONG was 3rd in that race, four-lengths behind Hope Kingdom. That was just his second start having also run 3rd on debut. He only needs to finish in the top three to go up in class and he can exit the bottom tier of racing with a win here. (8) SPADE MASHIE was 4th on his first start in that very same race and should come on for it too. Further back still in that race was (2) JEONGSANG STAR, who previously showed some ability in 3rd place on her first outing and can go better today. Among those who didn’t go in that race, (1) TO THE VICTORY should be on pace early and can be competitive.

Selections (3) Simjangui Godong (8) Spade Mashie (7) Hope Kingdom (2) Jeongsang Star
Next Best 1, 12
Fast Start 1, 2, 10

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

A close at hand 2nd at class and distance on February 24th, (3) TRI THUNDER is the pick to go one better and win this nicely competitive handicap. He should be close to the early speed and could have too much late on. (5) YEOKDAE CHOEGO is up in class having won on his first try at this distance last month and should have more improvement in him here while (8) HORSE QUEEN was a close 4th on her first go in this class five weeks ago and steps up in trip for the first time today. She’ll join Tri Thunder in competing for the early lead and can go close.  (2) CHOWON GUNJU and the experienced (4) SSONSALGACHI, are others who are capable.

Selections (3) Tri Thunder (8) Horse Queen (5) Yeokdae Choego (4) Ssonsalgachi
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start 2, 8, 10, 12

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

(1) GYORYONG UNU is a frustrating horse, tending to be either very good or very bad. Last time though he was just ok, running 2nd over 1200M. He’s back at the minimum today, the inside gate should help him, and he surely wins. (3) JILPUNG GANGJA was slightly disappointing on his first try at this class last time but gets another chance here. He won his previous two in fine fashion and potential for more. (10) DAESEONG MALLI and (9) HWANG GEUM SAJA came home 5th and 6th respectively when they raced each other over 1300M on February 16th and both can get closer today. (11) WHIZ REINA is (more…)

Alan Munro Rides 1st Korean Winner

Well done to Alan Munro, who has ridden his first winner in Korea. It came on 24/1 chance Elan (Ecton Park) in race 8 of Saturday’s card at Seoul Racecourse:

While it was Munro’s 50th ride since beginning last month, he has scarcely had an opportunity to get on a fancied mount. Nevertheless, he has been consistently getting horses to exceed expectations and he followed up on Saturday with a 25/1 3rd place finish and an 18/1 runner-up.