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. That was a decent race, and both can be involved here with Jejui Heukseon marginally favoured to overturn the form. They’ll both need to beat (3) HEUNG BUJA, who ground out a victory over 1300M last start. She’s up in class and distance today but neither should be too much of a problem for her. (5) SUPER TRICK and (8) WELLBEING STORY both underwhelmed slightly last time and could improve today.
|Selections||(1) Jejui Jeukseon (3) Heung Buja (2) Monster Queen (5) Super Trick|
|Next Best||8, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 3|
Race 7: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(3) GEUM STAR was a winner on debut on February 23rd over this distance. She’s had a coupe of months off and steps up in class today but she’s firmly in the hunt to make it two from two. It won’t be easy though. (6) MISS GELLA was narrowly beaten into 2nd at class and distance last start two months ago. She’s yet to win in five starts but has three runner-up finishes to her name now and could finally go one better here. (8) LUCKY BONGSEONG had a poor day at the office when stepped up to 1300M for his first crack at this class last time but should be better dropped back to the minimum distance today. (4) HEUNG KKAEBI and (10) RAISING ANGEL look best of the rest.
|Selections||(3) Geum Star (6) Miss Gella (8) Lucky Bongseong (10) Raising Angel|
|Next Best||4, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 6, 8|
Race 8: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(9) THUNDER MARK beat three of these on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on March 23rd. She was favourite that day and led until the closing stages and while she did weaken late on, she can be given another chance to get it right today, with similar front-running tactics likely to be employed. (7) KILUI JEWANG was just a head back in 3rd in that race and will be a danger again while (6) JEOKBYEOK SHINHWA came home 4th and can aim to at least match that here. (8) MUNHAK ARIARI got his maiden win over 1300M last month and steps up in class and to this distance for the first time with plenty of potential for further development while it’s a similar story with (2) DAEGUNUI CHANG. He made all when favourite over 1300M last time out and is also up in class and distance with solid claims.
|Selections||(9) Thunder Mark (8) Munhak Ariari (2) Daegunui Chang (7) KIlui Jewang|
|Next Best||6, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 5, 9|
Race 9: Class Open (2000M) Allowance “Herald Business Trophy” (Listed) / KRW 250 Million
- TOUR ROSE – Hasn’t been at her best recently but comes in after a couple of months offand gets significant weight from all the others. Still an outsider.
- CHEONGDAM DOKKI – Hot favourite to successfully defend. Rounded out last year with 2nd in the Grand Prix and then ran 5th in the Owners’ Cup over 1200M on first start for Luigi Riccardi last month but this will suit far more, even carrying 59kg.
- SAMJEONG TAPIT – Yet to win at clas 1 and well back in his latest two behind Shamrocker and Road Winner respectively. Nicely weighted but this is too hot.
- MOONHAK CHIEF – Clear 2nd favourite, he comes in having won his latest two, beating Shamrocker both times at this distance. His performances haven’t been quite up to those of Cheongdam Dokki but if the favourite makes any mistakes, he can take advantage.
- ROAD WINNER – Good winner over 2300M in February before suffering a surprise reverse a month ago after giving too much rope to an early leader. Should be competing for a place.
- WONDER BOLT – Still going strong at nine, but not quite the forsce he was. 6th behind Munhak Chief and Shamrocker last time out and up against it again today.
- JANGSAN COWBOY – Decent 4th behind Road Winner last start but too many of these have comfortably beaten him recently for even the low weight to give him much of a chance.
- SHAMROCKER – Comes in having run 2nd to Munhak Chief in his latest two which made a change from being beaten by Cheongdam Dokki. Today he can be beaten by both but not many others. Very solid and seasoned campaigner and good chance of a place.
VERDICT: This is very much (2) CHEONGDAM DOKKI’s to lose. True, he didn’t have the best of times first-up in the Owners’ Cup last month but at 1200M, that was always a possibility He can dictate from the front here and they are going to need to be very good to get past him. (4) MOONHAK CHIEF has begun his year in fine fashion with back to back wins and is surely the main danger. Cheongdam Dokki beat him twice in October and December last year and probably will again but he is turning into one of the top horses in Seoul. (8) SHAMROCKER comes in off four consecutive runner-up finishes and will likely have to settle for another place today. (5) ROAD WINNER is best of the rest.
|Selections||(2) Cheongdam Dokki (4) Moonhak Chief (8) Shamrocker (5) Road Winner|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 3|
Race 10: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(1) GEUMA WHOLESOME got his maiden win at the third time of asking over 1800M a month ago, He ran on well and while he has to contend with both an extended trip and 57kg today, he should be able to cope and looks the one to beat. Joint top-weight is (10) KAILASH DANCER. He too steps up to 1800M for the first time but ran out a six-length winner at this class over 1700M on March 10th. That was his maiden win on his thirteenth career start, but a repeat is not impossible. (9) EVER THE CHAMP and (8) SKANDA came home 2nd and 4th over 1700M on March 10th and both should be competitive here while (11) GRAND DOLPUNG enters off the back of consecutive 3rd place finishes and can at least match those today.
|Selections||(1) Geuma Wholesome (10) Kailash Dancer (11) Grand Dolpung (9) Ever The Champ|
|Next Best||8, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 11|
Race 11: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
A really competitive handicap to finish with. (9) YAHO STRONG CAT ran out a class and distance winner by a full five-lengths on March 30th. An apprentice jockey keeps the weight down today and he can repeat. Runner-up that day was (5) PRINCE MEMORY and he will be expected to at least get closer this time. Both should be on the early pace. (3) LEONNING STROM beat Yaho Strong Cat on his way to a good 2nd place in February and while he had a hard time over 1800M on his return last month, should be better today (2) YEOKJEONUI USEUNG and (4) PRIMA QUEEN also have claims.
|Selections||(9) Yaho Strong Cat (5) Prince Memory (3) Leonning Strom (2) Yeokjeonui Useung|
|Next Best||4, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 8, 9|
Race 1: 2, 12, 7, 1
Race 2: 5, 7, 3, 11
Race 3: 2, 3, 5, 11
Race 4: 4, 12, 10, 1
Race 5: 10, 5, 1, 11
Race 6: 8, 4, 1, 11