2019 Keeneland Korea Cup & Sprint Day: Race-By-Race Preview (September 8)

Seoul Racecourse got off quite lightly from Typhoon Lingling which swept up the coast of Korea on Saturday. No races on the 13-race card were affected and everything is now set for the running of the 2019 Keeneland Korea Cup and Korea Sprint on Sunday. There are 10 races at Seoul on Sunday from 10:45 to 18:00 while there are also 6 at Busan from 12:35 to 17:30. Here is the race-by-race preview, including the Cup and Sprint:


Seoul Race 1: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A really competitive handicap to open with. (12) BAEKSANG ran well for 4th last start over 1300M, leading for much of the way before weakening late on. He drops back to the minimum distance today and while he needs to overcome the widest gate, he has a chance. (5) FEDERAL CAT beat Baeksang when the pair came home 3rd and 4th over 1300M in July before Baeksang returned the favour a month later. Federal cat can come from just behind the early pace and finish strongly here. (8) HIGH BEAT and (3) DRAGON BOAT finished 4th and 6th when racing each other at this distance a month ago and both should be in the frame today. (9) CAMP BADA looks best of the rest.

Selections (5) Federal Cat (12) Baeksang (3) Dragon Boat (8) High Beat
Next Best 6, 9
Fast Start 3, 9, 11, 12

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

Juvenile maidens here with six of the twelve having raced before. The pick is (8) LION YEOJE, who ran a good 3rd on debut on August 18th having previously looked good in a trial. He’ll settle steadily and run on here. (11) WILD KINGDOM also managed 3rd on debut at the end of July and while it was at 1300M and he was a long way back, he can be a factor today. (2) DANGCHAN BARAM did nothing wrong when running 6th in a decent time on her first try and she can build on it here. Among the first timers, (4) RAON TAP MAN and (5) ROCK LINE looked best in trials.

Selections (8) Lion Yeoje (2) Dangchan Baram (11) Wild Kingdom (4) Raon Tap Man
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 2, 4, 6, 11, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) ROYAL SMARTY has registered back to back 3rd place finishes since being promoted to this class following a maiden score in June. Both those have been over 1700M, so he drops back in trip but looks right in the mix here. (7) LOVE RACE has run well in two starts back after a four-month layoff and should be close by while (11) PRIME QUEEN was below par last start at 1000M but can be given another chance today. (1) HUIMANG STAR and (5) DAECHEON HERO are others in at least the placing frame.


Selections (8) Royal Smarty (7) Love Race (11) Prime Queen (1) Huimang Star
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 5, 6, 7, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(12) GOLD LEVEL beat three of these on her way to 3rd place over 1300M three weeks ago. She steps up to racing around two turns for the first time today and it could well suit. (3) CHEONI AEGA too goes up in trip after a couple of promising displays at shorter. She’s run on well each time and the additional distance can be in her favour. (7) WIND SKY was one of those behind Gold Level last start and similarly may find the extra furlongs to his benefit. Among those who have raced at this distance already, (4) PUER SPES has a 3rd and a 4th at it and should be looking to match those today. (1) IRON HEART looks best of the rest.

Selections (12) Gold Level (3) Cheonji Aega (4) Puer Spes (7) Wind Sky
Next Best 1, 10
Fast Start 7, 8, 10, 11

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

It’s been a while since (5) LIVINGSTONE’s solitary win but he’s had a string of near misses and comes in following a runner-up finish behind the promising Dokdo Ya at this distance on August 11th. He likes to lead, and this time may not be caught late on. (1) DAECHEON ACE ran 3rd behind Livingstone last start and while he has nine-lengths to make up on that performance, he is one of the main dangers here. A more credible threat though is (10) VICTORY KING, beaten by Livingstone two starts back but a very good class and distance 2nd on his latest outing. (6) MENI SMART and (9) RAON DOLPUNG are others in at least the placing frame.

Selections (5) Livingstone (10) Victory King (6) Meni Smart (1) Daecheon Ace
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 5,6

Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million 

Very competitive race. (9) EURO SHINHWA Is the very slight pick having beaten a couple of these on his was to a fast win over the distance at domestic class 4 at the beginning of August. He doesn’t need to lead from the start so the wide draw is not a concern and he can finish strongly. (7) YEONGGWANGUICHEON beat Euro Shinhwa when winning over this distance at class 5 in June and while he has been a touch below expectations in two starts since, can be a threat today. (8) YEONGSEONG STAR is another who has beaten Euro Shinhwa recently and should be better back at the minimum trip today. (3) HALLA HWANGHU and (5) RISING BOY are others to take into account.

Selections (9) Euro Shinhwa (8) Yeongseong Star (7) Yeonggwanguicheon (3) Halla Hwanghu
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 3, 4, 7, 8

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Another wildly competitive affair. (7) JEONGSANG STAR has won her latest two, the latter a dead-heat, to be rapidly promoted to this level. She’ll be competitive here, but this is significantly tougher, and others are favoured. (4) GEOM HYANG also found herself up at this class after back to back wins and ran a good 5th on her first crack at it on August 11th with the margins narrow. She can go very close today. So can (5) I.B.S.QUEEN. She has plenty of experience at this level and comes in following a solid 3rd place over 1000M three weeks ago. She’ll be on pace here. (9) SEMYEONG GISANG was a four-length winner over 1300M at this class on July 7th and while he carries significantly more weight today, he warrants respect. (2) GULCHARMNAMUSUP looks best of the rest.

Selections (5) I.B.S.Queen (4) Geom Hyang (7) Jeongsang Star (9) Semyeong Gisang
Next Best 2, 10
Fast Start 5, 9, 10, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) POWER AMAZING beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd place over 1800M on August 16th.  He’s back to a mile today, a distance he has won at before, he should be on speed from the inside gate, and he can win. (8) BOBAE DREAM ran 4th, just a length and a half behind Power Amazing in that race. She too goes well at a mile and is firmly in the hunt here. (9) SINBIHAN YEOIN tackles the distance for the first time following a good win over 1300M three weeks ago. (6) YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT was 3rd in that race and both look competitive in this company.

Selections (1) Power Amazing (8) Bobae Dream (9) Sinbihan Yeoin  (6) Yeonggwangui Fight
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 1, 3, 4

Seoul Race 7: Class Open (1200M) Weight for Age – The Korea Sprint / KRW 1 Billion

A full field of sixteen will line up in what is expected to be a very wet Seoul track to tackle the 1200M of the Sprint. Hong Kong’s SUPER JOCKEY won the inaugural race in 2016 while the Japanese pair of GRACEFUL LEAP and MOANIN took the honours in 2017 and 2018 respectively. There are no Japanese runners this time around and while Hong Kong does return, this looks the best chance yet for the locals to notch a win.

Six internationals are out to stop them. (5) HOLY LEGAL is the first overseas filly or mare to participate in the race. She’s spent most of her career racing in South America but has more than held her own since relocating to the USA. She has a blistering turn of foot and her experience on track surfaces similar to Seoul’s may help her here.

(3) FAST PASS has shipped in looking very well and is a prolific winner. Like Holy Legal, he can come from off the pace, he’s drawn well, and they will certainly be going quick up front for him to have run at. (7) HEARTWOOD, on the other hand, will probably need to be on pace early if he is to give his best. US-trained horses have run very well in previous years and tend to have less difficulty adapting to the track than some others, so don’t rule any of them out.

(15) BAKOEL KOFFIE is a very attractive looking animal who has undoubted ability and Antonio Da Silva, champion jockey at Seoul in 2018, is a very useful man to have aboard, but he will be an outsider. (11) PASS THE VINO is an up and coming sprinter in Britain and while there will be concerns over his ability to handle the surface, he can be respected.

As for (12) UGLY WARRIOR, he may well be better on the sand than his rating suggests. His draw may prove beneficial and is a placing chance.

The local challenge is headed by (13) BLUE CHIPPER. A lightly-raced four-year-old, he won the Busan Owners’ Cup by ten-lengths just over a month ago and while that was a mile, he can sprint as well. There is a feeling he may be the real deal and if he can get out close to the front early, he’ll be very hard to beat.

(6) GAON CHAMP is the next best of the locals, with buckets of speed, and it will be a surprise if he doesn’t lead into the first turn. The enigma is (9) GLOBAL CAPTAIN, who announced his arrival onto the elite sprinting scene with the fastest time of the year so far at this distance on this track in August and is another for the future. (4) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON has finished 3rd in this race in each of the past two years and while he hasn’t been showing his best form recently, expect him to run into some money late on, especially if they go fast.

(14) ACE KOREA ran 5th last year and while recent form isn’t the best, training signs are encouraging, and he can find the minor money at his best. (10) TODAY races for the first time since January and this may be too much too soon. (8) SPRING BACK and (1) DIA SOCKS are both talented but perhaps a step below this level at this stage. (2) FINAL ENERGY and the evergreen (16) WONDER BOLT may be safely held.

Selections (13) Blue Chipper (6) Gaon Champ (5) Holy Legal (12) Ugly Warrior
Next Best 4, 3, 9
Fast Start 6, 8, 9, 10, 13

Busan Race 4: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(3) DOCTOR CHIC ran out a four-length winner in a fast time over a mile on August 4th, pretty much making all. He’s up in class today and this is a stiff race, but he looks to have scope for more development and can win again. (1) FASHION OF MARINE returned from six months off to run 2nd over 1200M at this class at the beginning of August. From the inside gate, he’ll be on pace here and should go very close. (2) CHOEGANG BULLET comes in with form reading well. He beat three of these when 3rd in a very similar class and distance affair in June. (10) YES POWER had a poor day at the office last start but can be given another chance today while (11) SEONGSAN SIMON is another who with the ability to go well in this company.

Selections (3) Doctor Chic (2) Choegang Bullet (1) Fashion Of Marine (11) Seongsan Simon
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 11

Seoul Race 8: Class Open (1800M) Weight for Age – The Korea Cup / KRW 1 Billion

Japan has won all three previous editions of the race but in their absence, the USA has stepped up with two very good contenders, both of whom should be able to cope with the track conditions.

(3) LONE SAILOR is a genuine star and while his win column is rather sparse, that’s only because he has been racing in the very toughest races. He can come from off the pace here and has serious claims.

(2) HARVEY WALLBANGER is another well-known US raider. He was a G2 winner at Gulfstream Park in February and last start ran 4th in the Ellis Park Derby. His trainer knows Seoul well and he will be a danger.

Jane Chapple-Hyam also knows about sending horses to run in Seoul and while her (7) AMBASSADORIAL may be an outsider here, a money finish can’t be ruled out. It looks a hard ask for (1) GLORIOUS ARTIST but he is good at the distance and as with any Hong Kong horse in this kind of race, warrants respect.

The local challenge is headed by (10) DOLKONG. He’s only raced once since returning to Korea from an excellent stint in Dubai. That was in the Busan Mayor’s Cup which he won well over this distance at the end of June and he will be very strong late in the race. He has a winning chance.

(11) MOONHAK CHIEF was within a length of Dolkong in that Mayor’s Cup and still looks to be improving. This may be a little too much too soon, but he’ll be in the frame. He’s drawn wide but that may not be a hindrance. (8) CHEONGDAM DOKKI has not had the best of years mixing in the occasional flash of brilliance with some setbacks. He wasn’t at 100% in his last outing and if it comes right for him, he could go close.

(9) NEW LEGEND began his career in the USA, even picking up a win, but after cruising through the lower classes has found things tougher at the elite level. He was 3rd behind Dolkong and Moonhak Chief in June so he has form to overturn. Stablemate (6) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP ran 2nd to Blue Chipper in the Owners’ Cup over a mile in July and while well beaten, put in a big effort nonetheless. He could be the interesting outsider and will surely be an attractive each-way price.

Trainer Peter Wolsley sends out two in the shape of (5) KING OF ACE and (4) KING OF GLORY. Both are solid competitors but compete here for the minor money at best.

Selections (10) Dolkong (3) Lone Sailor (2) Harvey Wallbanger (11) Moonhak Chief
Next Best 8, 1, 6
Fast Start 4, 8, 11

Busan Race 5: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

(2) MUJEOK YEONGUNG is a winner of five from nine and while he only managed 2nd on his first try at this distance last time, he beat four of these in the process and will take some beating today, most likely leading all the way. (6) DAMNYANG TAEYANG was 3rd in that race, which was on August 16th, two lengths behind Mujeok Yeongung and he looks best placed to take advantage should the favourite make any mistakes. (5) HIDDEN STAR also ran in that race but didn’t show his best – he could improve here. (1) RED SIREN and (4) SEGI GANGJA are others with placing claims.

Selections (2) Mujeok Yeongung (6) Damnyang Taeyang (5) Hidden Star (4) Segi Gangja
Next Best 1, 9
Fast Start 1, 2, 6

Seoul Race 9: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

It took (8) ACTIMON a little time to figure things out but he’s turning into a really good prospect and comes in here with back to back wins. He carries more weight today and is racing around two turns for the first time, but he should be able to come from off the pace to complete a hat-trick of wins here. (10) FLORIDA POWER is another prospect and comes in fresh from a five-length win over 1700M, beating a couple of these in the process. (2) HWANSANG STAR is still a maiden but has become something of a runner-up specialist with five 2nd places among ten starts so far. (1) BLUE MA STAR and (4) KING POSE are others with placing claims.

Selections (8) Actimon (10) Florida Power (2) Hwansang Star (1) Blue Ma Star
Next Best 4, 3
Fast Start 2, 4, 9, 10

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

Decent class 1 affair though restricted to horses with a maximum rating of 105. (10) CHIEF ACE beat four of his rivals here when successful at class and distance on July 14th. He carries an additional 2.5kg today but there’s no reason why he can’t repeat. (7) CHOEGANG THUNDER was 3rd that day and looks set to be one of the principle dangers again while (8) DONGBANG DAERO and (2) AMERICAN POWER were others beaten in that race who have the potential to go better this time. Among those who didn’t run in that race, (6) PASHA, who steps back up in trip, looks to have the best chance of making an impact.

Selections (10) Chief Ace (7) Choegang Thunder (6) Pasha (2) American Power
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 2, 4, 10, 11

Seoul Race 10: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(9) HUSH DAEBO has won two from three so far and is up in class after a narrow score over 1300M back in July. He’ll be on pace here and while this is undoubtedly a stiff test, he can win again. (8) DONGBANG JIJON beat a couple of these when 3rd over 1700M on August 11th and looks nicely in here while (10) MY SISTER NINA has been inconsistent but has ability and can go close. (2) LITTLE BOY FLASH has similar inconsistencies but the ability to run well from off the pace – he was 4th behind Dongbang Jijon last start and can aim to match it here. (12) BULGULUI RUNNER has two 3rd place finishes among three outings so far and is another with potential.

Selections (9) Hush Daebo (10) My Sister Nina (8) Dongbang Jijon (2) Little Boy Flash
Next Best 12, 3
Fast Start 5, 9, 10, 12


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