A year ago, Cheongdam Dokki added the Herald Business Trophy to the list of races he had usurped Clean Up Joy as holder of on his way to becoming the highest rated horse at Seoul. On Sunday, it’s his turn to defend as he faces seven rivals in this year’s renewal of the Listed 2000M race. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 (Busan Selections at bottom):
If he fails, it will be a surprise. Cheongdam Dokki rounded out 2018 with a game but ultimately failed attempt to take the big domestic race that still eludes him, when he was 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes. He was then moved to the stable of Italian trainer Luigi Riccardi and had three months off before returning to action in the Owners’ Cup in March. Dropped back to 1200M, he only managed 5th place as Silver Wolf took the honours but he should make no mistake this time.
The main danger is Moonhak Chief. 6th in last year’s Grand Prix, he has begun his four-year-old campaign in fine style with back-to-back class 1 victories over 2000M, both times beating Shamrocker, who returns for another crack here. He has the potential to be one of the year’s break-out stars but may not be ready to beat Cheongdam Dokki just yet.
As for Shamrocker, now six-years-old, he’s spent his career chasing first Clean Up Joy and then Cheongdam Dokki on his way to racking up nine runner-up finishes. A good solid horse in his own right, he will surely be there or thereabouts in terms of the places on Sunday, although a win is a longshot.
As for the rest, Road Winner is a winner of seven from eleven but while he won back to back class 1 races around the turn of the year, he was well back in the Grand Prix Stakes and is yet to prove himself in true elite company. The nine-year-old Wonder Bolt, Asia Challenge Cup winner back in 2015 also goes around one more time. Though he has lost a yard of pace, he is still capable of running into the minor money.
Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
A maiden for three-year-olds to kick things off. (4) CHOEGANG MAGIC debuted with a solid 4th place over this distance on March 23rd and Luigi Riccardi’s colt looks to have solid claims to break through today. (11) GABO PULL QUEEN ran on well for 3rd over 1000M on debut and steps up in trip today with it likely to suit. Moon Se Young taking over on board won’t do any harm either. (3) SPADE MASHIE ran nicely on debut in February and looked decent in a trial two weeks ago. He’ll likely be on the early pace and it’s not impossible he could go all the way while (10) BLUE BAND was a useful 5th on debut and can build on it today. Of the three debut-makers, (2) SMART GUNHWANG looked the best in trials.
|Selections||(4) Choegang Magic (3) Spade Mashie (11) Gabo Pull Queen (10) Blue Band|
|Next Best||2, 8|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 10|
Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
More three-year-old maidens and (2) BLACK WINGWING looks ready to win. She has two 3rd places among four starts so far, both at this distance and from gate 2, should be leading from the start. She’ll be joined on pace by principal danger, (1) BORN ANGEL, who already has a 2nd place to his name and comes in following a solid 3rd last time. (7) LA VIE EST BELLE struggled over 1300M in both his latest outings but should be much more comfortable today dropped back in trip. (4) CHEONSE MANSE and (5) GOLD PERILLA are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(2) Black Wingwing (1) Born Angel (7) La Vie Est Belle (5) Gold Perilla|
|Next Best||4, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 5|
Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(3) ACHIEVE made all to score by a full seven-lengths on debut back in January. He has a couple of injury setbacks since then and returns up in class, but he has enough ability to win again. It won’t be easy though. (1) BLUE FIRE remains a maiden after nine attempts but has proven competitive at this level and comes in after a good 3rd in a similar race to this last start. He’ll be on pace early and could make his breakthrough today. (2) SUPER YEOWANG got her maiden win last June and then wasn’t seen for eight months. She’s registered a 4th and a 5th in two starts back and should be in the frame for more improvement today. (10) CHOWON MARU and (11) P.K.JEONSA, up in class after finishing 1st and 2nd over this distance at class 6 a month ago, should both be competitive too.
|Selections||(3) Achieve (1) Blue Fire (2) Super Yeowang (10) Chowon Maru|
|Next Best||11, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 3, 11|
Race 4: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(5) MYEONGJIN MAN just missed out by a neck when 2nd at class and distance on March 23rd. It was his first try around two-turns; it seemed to suit, and he can go one better today. Plenty of others enter off the back of good results. (4) DAE BYEONHWA and (7) STAR LIST came home 3rd and 4th when they raced each other over 1300M on March 30th. The latter steps up to this trip for the first time but both look capable here. (3) LUCKY BONGHWA remains a maiden but ran a strong class and distance 3rd a month ago and is perhaps the biggest threat to the top pick, likely trying to lead early. (12) SZERENCSE another in the hunt.
|Selections||(5) Myeongjin Man (3) Lucky Bonghwa (4) Dae Byeonhwa (7) Star List|
|Next Best||12, 11|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 7|
Race 5: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(8) HAMBAK MISO finished 2nd, beaten a head, in a very tight finish at class and distance on March 23rd. It was a good performance and he is favoured to come from off the pace to win here. (1) STORMY and (7) MIGHTY MAMBO came home 4th and 5th respectively in that same race, just over a length behind Hambak Miso and both have claims to go well today. Mighty Mambo actually beat Hambak Miso at the distance in February. The main danger though could be (3) TAP LUCK. It took him a couple of goes to figure things out but he’s up in class and in distance today following a commanding four-length win over 1300M in February and looks to have potential for more.
|Selections||(8) Hambak Miso (3) Tap Luck (1) Stormy (7) Mighty Mambo|
|Next Best||6, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4|
Race 6: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(2) MONSTER QUEEN and (1) JEJUI HEUKSEON finished 4th and 5th respectively with just a neck between them when they raced each other at class and distance on March 17th. (more…)