While Sunday will see the first Group race of the season in Korea when Cheongdam Dokki and Silver Wolf are among thirteen lining up for the G3 Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy, before that, one of last year’s Classic winners, Divide Wind, will make his return to action at Busan on Friday. There are 11 Friday races from 11:30 to 18:00.
Having won the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup last March, Divide Wind went on to claim victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile in April. However, after finishing 4th to Ecton Blade in the Korean Derby in Seoul the following month, his season was over with a serious tendon injury. He came back into training around the turn of this year and has completed three official trials prior to taking his chance in race 10 on Friday, a class 2 handicap over 1400M. Here are the previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Maiden fillies kick us off and (10) ACE BOOM has improved across four starts so far and ran in a good 2nd place at the distance on February 15th. She won’t need to improve much to win this. (5) QUEEN OF ADELE looks the only plausible danger. She ran an improved 3rd last time out and with a good start could cause some problems for the favourite. (4) QUEEN OF HEART too looks to be figuring things out and is another who can continue to make progress here. (2) TWO TWO SIMON and (11) TOUGH KHAN should be in the placing hunt.
|Selections||(10) Ace Boom (5) Queen Of Adele (4) Queen Of Heart (11) Tough Khan|
|Next Best||2, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 10, 11|
Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(4) TAMNA LIST wasn’t especially well fancied on debut on February 22nd but ran very promisingly indeed, finishing 3rd over this trip. That wasn’t a bad race at all and while she was well-beaten by the winner, with a bit of improvement, she can win here. (9) TRUE VALOR has also looked competent across two starts so far, both at this distance. He’s a half-brother of prolific winner Sart Valor and surely has a win in him before too long. (1) USEUNG JIKIMI and (6) GRAND JILJU have both hinted at ability and can challenge for places. There are two first-time starters and of them (2) PARTY LION looked the part in trials, running 3rd in a quick heat in early February. There’s a top jockey aboard and he should go very well first-up.
|Selections||(4) Tamna List (9) True Valor (2) Party Lion (1) Useung Jikimi|
|Next Best||6, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 6|
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(3) SILVER BEST comes in off a career-best 3rd place (dead-heating) at this distance on February 15th. He came from well off the pace that day and he may need some look here but with a good trip, he can step up and win. (9) FOX COLORING never threatened and only managed to finish 6th when favourite over a mile four weeks ago. He was 2nd on his last try at this distance, albeit in weaker company than this, and he should be a threat today. (10) NEW QUEEN showed a big uptick in form last time out, running 2nd at this distance and while this is slightly stiffer, she can build on it here while the Bart Rice pair of (1) CRYSTAL ROSE and (6) FUSION PARK looks to be the others in the hunt with the latter possibly set to make the early running.
|Selections||(3) Silver Best (9) Fox Coloring (6) Fusion Park (1) Crystal Rose|
|Next Best||10, 12|
|Fast Start||6, 11, 12|
Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(6) HALLA HWANGHU is up in class having secured his maiden win at the fourth time of asking at this distance a month ago. He’ll be on pace here again and can follow straight up. (2) GHOST RIDER shapes to be the main danger. He’s never been worse than 4th in four starts far and actually beat Halla Hwanghu over 1000M back in December. He was 3rd behind two promising ones last time and has a chance. (9) MORNING BRAVO is yet to win but has finished no worse than 3rd in his latest five outings. He can maintain both of those records today. (3) B.K. UNO and (7) ACE CRUSH, the latter up in class following a battling win over 1000M, are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(6) Halla Hwanghu (2) Ghost Rider (9) Morning Bravo (7) Ace Crush|
|Next Best||3, 1|
|Fast Start||6, 9, 10|
Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(4) FRIDAY did little on debut last summer and wasn’t seen again for six months. He returned in February, a gelding, and promptly won over this distance. He’s up in class today but can be expected to have progressed and is the one they’ll need to beat here. (3) SUMMIT TODAY is next best. He didn’t do too much wrong when running 6th in similar company at this distance at the end of January and should improve for it here. (8) DAMYANG CHOEGANG is up in class off the back of consecutive runner-up finishes and can be competitive at this level. (1) TOWER CAPTAIN and (6) JAESAENGMYEONGNI look best of the rest.
|Selections||(4) Friday (3) Summit Today (8) Damyang Choegang (1) Tower Captain|
|Next Best||6, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 8, 9|
Race 6: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Competitive race. (9) STORM GOLD gets the verdict by virtue of two runner-up finishes in two starts so far this year, both at today’s trip. He’ll want to get close to the speed from the start and if he can do that, he is the one to beat. (7) JEONGSU SIDAE is up in class today. He returned from six months out to get his second career win on February 22nd. Unusually, all of his five starts so far have been at this distance, he’s nicely weighted here, and he has a chance. He’ll challenge Storm Gold for the early speed as will (1) CURLIN FANTASTY, who remains a maiden but comes in following a solid 2nd, just beaten a nose, at class and distance three weeks ago. (6) ADELEUI SIN and (8) I’M YOUR HOPE are others whose recent form reads well and who can make an impact.
|Selections||(9) Storm Gold (7) Jeongsu Sidae (1) Curlin Fantasy (8) I’m Your Hope|
|Next Best||6, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 7, 9|
Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(8) UNION QUEEN won both races she entered last summer, making all both times. She then suffered a chip fracture which has kept her out until now. She’s up in class since the last time we saw her, but she won a trial in fine order last month and can pick up from where she left off here. If she’s not quite race-sharp then (4) BEOLMA CHEONHA takes advantage. He’s been a revelation since returning from eight months away wining both his two starts back in good fashion. Both were at 1000M and he is up in class today, but he’s firmly in contention. (5) FELAROF is two starts into a comeback of his own and ran a solid class and distance 3rd last time out. He should be a factor here. (6) BAENGNYEON SIDAE and (10) SHE JUST WIN are both better than their respective last outings suggest and can get closer here.
|Selections||(8) Union Queen (4) Beolma Cheonha (5) Felarof (10) She Just Win|
|Next Best||6, 9|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 5, 8|
Race 8: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(11) YES PERFECT looks to be going places. He beat (12) BABEL DREAM as the pair came home 1st and 2nd at this class over 1400M in January before running 2nd behind a couple of very useful ones three weeks ago. This is his first try at a mile, but it should suit, and he can win. Babel Dream returns for the first time since that January race and should be a threat again while (5) I’M YOUR MOTHER steps back in trip and into contention having found things difficult in a strong race over 1800M in January. The mini-break since then should have done good and better can be expected today. (1) TUFELLO and (3) AWESOME KING IJI are other capable performers with placing chances.
|Selections||(11) Yes Perfect (12) Babel Dream (5) I’m Your Mother (1) Tufello|
|Next Best||3, 9|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 8, 10|
Race 9: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(12) BUGYEONG BOLT won back to back races at this distance to round out 2018. He stepped up in class and distance for his first go of the New Year in late January, running a decent enough 5th in solid company. He drops back to a mile today and despite the wide draw, he can return to the winner’s circle. If he is to be beaten, then the experienced (8) BAENGMANDORI is the most likely. He returned from six months off in January and has run 5th and 3rd in two starts since, both at this distance. He closes late and can be a danger. (10) RED CLOUD was scratched before a scheduled start at the beginning of February after being found to be lame. He has two wins at this trip though and now back to full fitness should be close. (2) CHOEGANG BULLET and (4) GO JJANG are placing chances.
|Selections||(12) Bugyeong Bolt (8) Baengmandori (10) Red Cloud (2) Choegang Bullet|
|Next Best||4, 6|
|Fast Start||10, 12|
Race 10: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
It’s almost a whole year since (7) DIVIDE WIND won the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown. He then ran 4th in the Derby before suffering a tendon injury and hasn’t raced since. He has been through three official trials over the past couple of months, performing well in all of them and he has a chance first up here. (8) FIRST CHANGER won a Listed juvenile event last November but began this year with a lacklustre performance over 1200M. He rectified that with a good win on return four weeks ago and steps up in class and distance today with claims to continue his momentum. (3) WHISPER WISH has been consistently close in four attempts at this level and shouldn’t be far away today. (5) USEUNG HWANHO and (6) BARAMUI HEUNJEOK best of the rest.
|Selections||(7) Divide Wind (8) First Changer (3) Whisper Wish (6) Baramui Heunjeok|
|Next Best||5, 2|
|Fast Start||5, 7, 8|
Race 11: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
Second division of this class 2 handicap. (8) KASBAH PRINCE was a class and distance winner on January 25th and while he does carry an additional 3.5kg today, he is to be respected in this company. (7) ROCK HARD SEVEN had a hard time over 2000M on his return from five months off in February. He can have come on for that and back at 1400M today, can get much closer. (1) POTENTIAL has struggled over 1800M and can be much better dropped back in trip to 1400M today. (3) BLUE TIME and (5) SEGI GANGJA are both better than their respective latest outings suggest and can improve here.
|Selections||(8) Kasbah Prince (7) Rock Hard Seven (1) Potential (5) Segi Gangja|
|Next Best||3, 5|
|Fast Start||2, 7|