The 22nd running of the Korean Derby (KOR G1) takes place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon (race 9 of 11 races which run from 10:45 to 18:00). Global Chukje, the dominant winner of the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the 2019 Triple Crown at Busan last month, is set to be hot favourite to score a repeat in the second jewel against fourteen rivals over 1800M.
Horse by horse comments for the Derby are followed by race-by-race for the rest of the Seoul card and then selections for Busan:
Seoul Race 9: KOREAN DERBY (1800M)
- DELTA BROTHER – Didn’t run as a juvenile but has won two of four starts this year, with his latest being a front-running victory over 1700M in April. It was only at class 5 so he is still relatively untested, but it showed good potential.
- DO KKI BLADE – Only start this term was a good win over 1700M at class 4 level on April 13th when he made all to win by three-lengths. Plenty of potential for improvement. He’ll want to be on pace from the start but has got the ideal draw to do it. There’s a bit of hype around this horse but it could be justified, especially after the draw.
- POWER WINDY – Takes his chance having run 2nd to True King at this distance on April 12th having previously racked up back to back wins at shorter. Ran on well that day but will need to find significantly more here.
- GABO DAY – Got wiped out coming out of the gates in the KRA Cup Mile but his 45/1 odds that day were likely fair anyway. A class 4 winner but only up to 1300M, the distance is a question too. Outsider again.
- WONDERFUL FLY – (KRA Cup Mile 7th) – Won his first two last summer but then suffered some injury setbacks. Showed promise when 2nd on his return over 1400M in March before running a creditable but unthreatening 7th in the Cup Mile. Ran on pleasingly enough from an unpromising position and could be one under the radar here. Multiple champion jockey Moon Se Young takes the ride.
- ENDURANCE – Just the one win from six starts so far, he comes in having run 2nd at class 5 over 1300M a month ago. Despite his name, his one attempt around two turns didn’t go well so there are question marks over the distance too. Likely to attempt to get close to the early speed and stay on as long as possible. Outsider.
- JANGSAN JOY – Has won twice over a mile at Busan and comes in here following back to back 3rd-place finishes at that same distance at class 4 level, beaten by useful ones both times. Had a couple of setbacks which makes this his first start since February. From a top stable and jockey Franco Da Silva won this race last year. Settles behind the early speed.
- DAEJI CHAMP – Two wins as a juvenile but yet to come out on top this term. Runner-up twice to promising filly Doctor Thunder over a mile in January and February. Latest effort saw him 3rd, again at a mile, at class 4 level a month ago. More needed here. Another likely to head for the front from the gate.
- WONDERFUL EVIL – Ran 5th in the Seoul Classic trial in March, coming from well-back to finish the quickest of all, but swerved the Cup Mile in order to win over 1700M at class 4 level, once more coming from of the pace. Could be coming into form at the right time and there could be more to come. Live outsider.
- SIMJANGUI GODONG – Only debuted in January and after finishing 3rd in his first two, went on to win his next pair, including a wild score over 1700M at class 5 on April 20th when he went so wide, he almost ended up climbing the grandstand. A Korean Derby has actually been in that manner in the past – Final Boss in 2017 – but you’d think he’ll need better manners in order to prevail here.
- GAON FORCE – Well backed for the Cup Mile having run a close 3rd in Seoul’s Classic trial in March but was one of a number who was severely hampered coming out of the gate and he accordingly never figured. He’s won 1700M
- TRUE KING – A little later coming onto the scene than most rivals, but he was a winner at this distance when he beat Power Windy on his way to scoring by two-and-a-half lengths at class 4 level in April. That puts him right in the hunt. Tucked in behind early lead and finished well. More improvement possible.
- GLOBAL CHUKJE – (KRA Cup Mile Winner) – The winner of the KRA Cup Mile, he cruised to the front early that day and won with a full eight-lengths to spare. He’s also a standout winner at class 3 level over 1700M and has shown plenty in the way of speed. He’ll be favourite and won’t need to improve too much to win. He doesn’t need to lead but there will always be question marks about such a wide draw.
- MYEONGPUM CHUKJE – (KRA Cup Mile 5th) – Likeable colt who could thrive on the distance. 4th in the Sports Seoul and then 5th in the Cup Mile but both were perhaps too short. Easy gate to wire winner over 1700M at class 4 in January. He has a chance.
- GLITTER – (KRA Cup Mile 4th) – Solid but unspectacular 4th in Cup Mile but he does hold a 3rd place in a fast class 3 race over 1800M – albeit on a wet track – which may stand him in good stead here. Needs more and will have to do it from the widest gate but can’t rule out the stable. Settles mid-position.
Verdict: A really competitive renewal of the Korean Derby sees (13) GLOBAL CHUKJE set to start a prohibitive favourite on the back of his demolition job in the KRA Cup Mile a month ago. He is the best horse at this stage and all things being equal, he’ll win. However, there are one or two doubts, not least the draw and it’s not impossible he could find himself in trouble in the straight. If that happens then the front running (2) DO KKI BLADE, the big winner from that draw, could be the one to take advantage leading gate to wire but also that one’s stablemate, the improving (5) WONDERFUL FLY, who can run his own race from gate 5. Then there is Kim Young-kwan’s (15) GLITTER, who can be expected to stick to Global Chukje like glue throughout. The long-shot play could be (9) WONDERFUL EVIL, a really good winner over 1700M last month and with potential to improve further still.
|Selections||(5) Wonderful Fly (13) Global Chukje (15) Glitter (2) Do Kki Blade|
|Next Best||9, 12, 14|
|Fast Start||1, 11, 12, 13|
Here’s the race-by-race for the rest of the Seoul Sunday card:
Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Filly maiden to begin with. (4) CRAZY QUEEN came from just behind the early pace to run a strong 2nd on what was just her second start and first at this distance on April 14th. She’s well drawn to get to the front here and can win. (1) SONGAM BARBIE has been knocking on the door for a while and steps back up in trip in good shape to be competitive while (5) BINNANEUN RUBY too has been consistently close and could make a breakthrough here. (2) SUNSHINE MARINE and (8) JANGGUNUI SIDAE were both a touch below par last time but could improve here.
|Selections||(4) Crazy Queen (1) Songam Barbie (5) Binnaneun Ruby (8) Janggunui Sidae|
|Next Best||2, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 9|
Race 2: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(6) SPEED BELLE was a good winner in a fast time over 1000M on April 13th and steps up in class here with solid claims of a repeat. She raced promisingly over 1300M before so should have few problems with the trip today and can lead all the way. (2) LOOKING GOOD looked anything but when weakening on his latest start. He had a win and a 3rd place before that though, the latter at this class, and is worth another chance off six-weeks break. (7) HANEUL ACE beat Looking Good last time on her way to 5th on what was her first outing since last November and she can build on it today. (11) HAE WANG, up in distance for the first time, and (12) LIVINGSTONE are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(6) Speed Belle (2) Looking Good (11) Hae Wang (12) Livingstone|
|Next Best||7, 5|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 4, 6|
Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(2) COLORFUL JOY came home 3rd in both his opening two races over the turn of the year. He’s had some setbacks since but returns here with a good chance of coming out on top. He’s not the quickest of starters but he runs on well and can come through late to score. It won’t be easy though in what is a competitive race. (6) DAEGUN POWER was 2nd on debut over 1000M a month ago and the way he ran through the line suggests the extra distance may suit today. (5) KING OF RULES and (7) MASON both come in off good runner-up finishes on their respective latest outings and should be dangerous today too with the former of those likely to set the pace. (8) BAEKSAEK GWANGCHAE another in the hunt.
|Selections||(2) Colorful Joy (6) Daegun Pwer (5) King Of Rules (7) Mason|
|Next Best||8, 10|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 9|
Race 4: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(7) RAON SERENA has won two of her latest three and while she is up significantly in trip today, having never hone at further than 1200M, she is the pick to score again. She’ll try to loop the field early and potentially lead all the way. (4) FAST FASHION is a proven money winner at the distance and while he is a touch inconsistent, looks to be the principal danger here although (6) MAENGJU comes in off a very good 3rd place over 1800M three weeks ago and can be in the thick of things here too. (1) STAR PLATINUM and (3) MIGHTY WING are others who can go well in this company.
|Selections||(7) Raon Serena (4) Fast Fashion (6) Maengju (1) Star Platinum|
|Next Best||3, 5|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 7|
Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(6) GAENARI SONG won his first two starts and while he came up well short when tried over 1700M for his first attempt at this level in March, he dropped back to this distance for a close 2nd to Raon Serena on April 6th. He’s favoured to return to the winner’s circle here. Gaenari Song should be on pace early with (7) ACE TRIPLE, who also comes in having won two of four so far. All his starts today have been over 1000M so he is up in distance for the first time as well but should be able to cope with it and is a threat. (2) SANTOS and (3) GREEN K also both ran well over 1000M on their respective latest starts and can play a role here while (1) MONEY DAERYUK has been consistently close in her latest four starts and should continue her solid run of form today.
|Selections||(6) Gaenari Song (1) Money Daeryuk (7) Ace Triple (2) Santos|
|Next Best||3, 8|
|Fast Start||6, 7, 8|
Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(7) THE SPIKER remains a maiden after five attempts but has finished no worse than 4th in any of them. He was 3rd last time out in a stiffer race than this and should really be making his breakthrough here. Last time out, he beat (1) FIGHT TODAY. That colt was racing for just the second time having shown well on debut and should push on here. (8) DAEGUNUI GEOM ran in a much improved 2nd at this distance on his latest start in March and can continue his progress today. (4) DAEGUN BULPAE and (6) MUNHAKUI JEONSA are others who can play a part in the finish.
|Selections||(7) The Spiker (1) Fight Today (8) Daegunui Geom (6) Munhakui Jeonsa|
|Next Best||4, 5|
|Fast Start||3, 4|
Race 7: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
Unusually for so late in the card, this is a maiden. (2) RAON JEWANG has run very encouragingly since being stepped up to this trip three starts ago, culminating in just being beaten a neck last time out on March 23rd with a couple of these back down the track behind him. This time he can go one better. (7) INDIAN BOSS and (9) CHEONSE MANSE were the pair he beat that day, coming home 4th and 5th respectively. Both those have run indifferently since but could be threats here. A more serious danger, however, is likely to be (4) SPADE MASHIE, who was an improved 2nd over 1300M three weeks ago and tackles two turns for the first time. (8) MENI SPEED is another up in trip and in the placing frame.
|Selections||(2) Raon Jewang (4) Spade Mashie (7) Indian Boss (8) Meni Speed|
|Next Best||9, 3|
|Fast Start||4, 8|
Race 8: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Wide open handicap here. We’ll side with (5) BANJIUI HAMSEONG, who since getting his maiden win in December has been coming progressively closer to repeating in three starts at this level, all at today’s distance. He was a beaten favourite last time, but the winner was good, and he can go one better today. (6) JANGSAN FLY was 4th, albeit well beaten on his first try at this class on April 7th and has a good shout of getting closer today. It’s a similar story with (11) BARAMEUL GEURIDA, who was a front-runner 3rd on his first try at this class four weeks ago. He has to overcome a wide draw here but looks capable. (3) SLING STONE and (8) SEUNGRI PLUS are others who can be considered.
|Selections||(5) Banjiui Hamseong (11) Barameul Geurida (6) Jangsan Fly (3) Sling Stone|
|Next Best||8, 2|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 6, 11|
Race 9 – Derby – See Above
Race 10: Class 2 (1900M) Allowance / KRW 90 Million
(4) SUPER SOCKS has won three of his last four and five from nine in total, the latest being an all the way win over 1800M on April 20th. He carries a little more weight today and is up to the distance for the first time too but has a very good chance of winning again. (5) FLYING MUNNING ran 2nd at this class over 1800M on March 23rd and can go close again while (9) IGYEOJUMA did the same but at this distance, well beaten by the now class 1 K.N Blue but running well nonetheless. (1) SUPER FLUID’s latest two outings have been in valuable Trophy races and he may find the company more amenable today while (2) CREMOA POWER is up in class having won back to back races in February and March and can be competitive here too.
|Selections||(4) Super Socks (5) Flying Munning (1) Super Fluid (2) Cremoa Power|
|Next Best||9, 11, 12|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 11|
Race 11: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(3) BACK TO BACK does indeed come in off back to back victories, both at this class and the latter at this distance on April 7th. He carries significantly more weight today but looks to have every chance of repeating. The big danger is (10) CHOIN BOLT. He won his first two races in fine style before coming home in 4th place when tried at 1700M for his first crack at this level. Dropped back to one-turn today, he should be a much tougher prospect. (5) MONEY ZIF is up in class after a good win in a decent race at this distance a month ago and can be dangerous while (1) RULE OF SUM and (4) HAPPIEST are others who can compete for at least places.
|Selections||(10) Choin Bolt (3) Back To Back (5) Money Zif (1) Rule Of Sum|
|Next Best||4, 11|
|Fast Start||7, 8, 10|
Busan Selections (6 races from 12:40 to 17:10)
Race 1: 12, 11, 5, 8
Race 2: 12, 11, 1, 8
Race 3: 9, 7, 4, 1
Race 4: 7, 6, 12, 11
Race 5: 8, 1, 2, 4
Race 6: 8, 3, 2, 6