Month: October 2019

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 1)

It’s President’s Cup weekend up at Seoul but before that, November’s racing gets underway at Busan on Friday with an eleven-race card from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Busan World Sun

A number of Busan’s top jockeys are in Seoul so Choi Si Dae could have a good day at Busan (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maiden with only four of the twelve having raced before. (3) JEONSEOLUI BULKKOT is set to be firm favourite having run 3rd and 2nd in his two starts to date. He’ll be leading early and it’s hard to see anything stopping him here. Of the others who have raced before, (2) SPRING WALTZ was perhaps the most promising but greater threats should come from the first-timers. (10) JANGMI GONGJU ran 3rd in a trial (eight-lengths behind Triple Nine) in early October while (5) DOCTOR GREY and (7) QUEEN GRACE also hinted at some competence. As every with the debut-makers, watch the market for additional clues.

Selections (3) Jeonseoului Bulkkot (5) Doctor Grey (7) Queen Grace (10) Jangmi Gongju
Next Best 2, 9
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens here and ten of the eleven are fillies. Four of them have raced before. The slight pick is (4) OASIS GIRL. Having run 4th on debut, she was 6th on her reappearance at the end of September. She was less than a length behind 2nd and this looks to be a simpler task so she could well come out on top today. (3) WONDERFUL SMARTY did nothing wrong when 4th on debut at the beginning of October and can build on that here, but there are some promising first-time starters. (11) MASTER BELLA ran 2nd in a trial on October 5th in a fast time. She’s drawn wide but if she brings that form to the track, then she should go well first up. (9) KKUMEUL NEOMEO ran a fast time in what was a slightly unusual trial and looks to be in the hunt. (2) SIMON LADY was another mature looking trial performer.

Selections (4) Oasis Girl (11) Master Bella (2) Simon Lady (3) Wonderful Smarty
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 2, 8, 10, 11

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(8) SMILE WINNER ran an improved 3rd on what was her fourth career start on September 20th. It was her first try at this distance and she can build on it today. The one she’ll need to beat is (5) ACE JACKPOT. She was considered good enough to be allowed to take her chance in the Gold Circle Trophy at the end of September and while she only managed 6th of 9, didn’t run badly. She can run well from the front today. (2) WILD GERANIUM drops back in trip following a couple of useful spins around a mile since returning from five months out in September. (1) CENTER FORWARD and (9) DAESAN GAPBU are others in the placing hunt.

Selections (8) Smile Winner (5) Ace Jackpot (2) Wild Geranium (1) Center Forward
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 4, 5

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) WORLD TODAY ran 4th on debut over 1000M on October 8th. He started steadily and ran on well and stepping up to 1300M here should be in his favour. He’ll probably be ridden on pace this time and looks the one to beat. (3) WORLD SLAM and (4) RAON FLYING came home 3rd and 5th respectively when they raced each other over this distance on October 4th. Both should be competitive again here with World Slam again (more…)

President’s Cup 2019: Runner-By-Runner Notes

For the first time since 2014, a horse not named Triple Nine is going to win the President’s Cup. The four-time winner of the richest all-aged race in the country that is restricted to Korean-bred runners – and resultingly, Korea’s all-time leading money-earner – came back into training in late summer with a tilt at five in a row in mind, but a setback in early October means he hasn’t made it.

Triple Nine KRA 1

Four-time winner Triple Nine won’t be defending his President’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

A full field of sixteen have though and they will line up in race 9 this Sunday over the 2000M at Seoul. We’ll have selections up later in the weekend but for now, here are all sixteen contenders.

President’s Cup (KOR G1) 2000M / KRW 800 Million

  1. WONDERFUL FLY – The easy winner of the Korean Derby in May, he struggled in the Minister’s Cup the following month. He then won at class 3 over 1400M but had a hard time on his class 2 bow over 1800M at the end of September. That Moon Se Young gets off him to ride Simjangui Godong perhaps tells its own story but there was a more than capable replacement in Alan Munro. Will be a front-runner but whether he can stay on at this trip in this company is questionable.
  2. SHARK DAEJANGGEUN – Well back behind Simjangui Godong on a wet track in July’s Ilgan Sports but redeemed himself somewhat when 2nd in the JRA Trophy over 1800M on international weekend. Yet to win at higher than class 3. Generally operates as a deep closer so may need some luck but he can pass plenty late on.
  3. NASCA PRINCE – A good class 1 winner over 2300M in May so his staying credentials are not in doubt. His form perhaps is though with him coming home 19th and 7th in two subsequent starts, both at 1800M. Nicely drawn to get to the front early and he can give a good account of himself although others are favoured.
  4. KINGSTON HARBOR – One of two in the race for trainer Baik Kwang-yeol. A three-year-old, he didn’t make it onto the Classic trail but won three in a row between May and July to get to class 2 level. Since then he has put in two 3rd place finishes, both at 1800M. Likely to settle just behind the early pace, this is his first try at the distance and in this company. Can go well but perhaps too much too soon.
  5. SIMJANGUI GODONG – Ran 2nd in the Derby and 6th in the Minister’s Cup but has been very good since then, winning the Ilgan Sports Cup and HRI Trophy in back to back starts in July and September and most recently scored over a mile at class 2 at a mile. Four of his five wins have come on wet tracks, but he looks to be the improver of the field and jockey Moon Se Young gets on him instead of the Derby winner. He’ll be close to the pace early and has a big chance.
  6. TOHAM ACE – An up and comer from Thomas Gillespie’s stable, he recorded a five-race winning streak between March and August this year which saw him go from class 5 to class 2. That streak came to an end when 3rd behind Final Energy at 1800M on September 27th. He tests the distance for the first time and You Hyun-myung comes up from Busan to ride him. Goes best when at the front, this is a tough ask, but improvement is possible.
  7. FINAL ENERGY –Managed an excellent 5th behind Blue Chipper in the Korea Sprint over 1200M here in September before returning to Busan and winning in a very fast time for 1800M ahead of Toham Ace at class 2 level at the end of September. It’s his first time over the additional furlong today but he should be equal to it and has a big race jockey aboard. He has a chance.
  8. DOKGO JIGI – A winner of eight from eleven, this is his first start since June, when he was a class 1 winner over 1800M. A mild bout of colic and injury have kept him out since then but he looked well enough when trialling up last week. His only defeat this year was his first try at class 1 back in April. He generally settles just off the pace and while this is a very tough ask first-up, he is a class act.
  9. NEW LEGEND – Began his racing career in the United States, picking up a win at Arlington Park, before returning to Korea last autumn. He won his first four efforts easily before finding his match once he reached elite level company. Nevertheless, he has more than held his own with his only really disappointing run coming in the Korea Cup. He was 4th to Moonhak Chief here in the YTN Cup in his only previous try at this distance but this looks the ideal race for him. He has a chance.
  10. MYEONGPUM CHUKJE – One of the better three-year-olds, he was 5th in the KRA Cup Mile, 4th in the Derby and then 2nd in the Minister’s Cup. Since the conclusion of the Triple Crown, he has picked up one win in three starts and while it was only at class 3, it was over 1900M. He’s a colt who seems to need a bit of distance so this should suit and while he has suffered reverses to four of his rivals today among his latest five starts, he could run into some minor money.
  11. ROCK CHOICE – Joined the Triple Crown trail in the final leg and duly won the Minister’s Cup extremely handily at odds in excess of 20/1. He then returned to Busan and promptly won at class 3 over 1800M but has failed to make an impact in two subsequent starts at class 2 level. The Minister’s Cup win was the only race he’s been ridden forward in, but he has won from behind before, albeit in weaker company. Can’t be completely ruled out.
  12. MAJOR ALPHA – A very consistent type, he got his first class 1 victory at odds of 40/1 when dropped back to 1400M in August. He bled for the first time in that race and was accordingly stood down for a month and sent back to trial, which he passed at the end of September. He has a 3rd place at class 2 to his name at this distance. While up against it here, he’ll come from off the pace and can pass some in the latter stages of the race.
  13. ULTRA ROCKET – A very good 4th in this race last year, he has subsequently established himself at class 1 level and comes into contention after a good win in the HKJC Trophy at 1800M on International weekend in September. He usually comes from off the pace with a strong finish which, given his draw, looks to be the likely tactics again here. He could go close.
  14. ECTON BLADE – The 2018 Korean Derby winner has had an interrupted career since then, with only one subsequent victory to his name and that was all the way back last August. He returned just three weeks ago from eight months off and while he was well beaten, it was clear he needed the run. Obviously scope for improvement but this is a tough race and he’ll be among the outsiders.
  15. CLEAR GEOM – A somewhat surprising winner of the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup, the concluding leg of the “Triple Tiara” at this distance in June, she has since backed up that form with two wins from three more outings. She upset both Myeongpum Chukje and Wonderful Fly last start on September 29th over 1800M. She likes the distance and as both a three-year-old, and the only filly, she is getting weight from the entire field making her an interesting wildcard.
  16. CAPTAIN FORCE – Stablemate of New Legend, he is one of the few genuine established top-class performers in the field with four wins at class 1 to his name. He comes in having won his latest start, which was over this distance, in very handy fashion. That was back in early June, so he has been off for five months. He did go through a barrier trial in October, which he won in good fashion. Likes to be close to the front so the draw does him no favours, but if he s at his best, he has an excellent chance.

 

No Change In Juvenile Ranks as Save The World & Roller Blade Win Again

It’s as you were at the top of the Two-Year-Old rankings in Korea as the two races making up Seoul and Busan’s second-legs of the 2019 Juvenile Series ended with the same horses coming out on top.

Save The World – seen here winning the GC Trophy in September – is now 4 for 4

At Busan we know that Save The World is a cut above the rest while at Seoul the only thing cleared up is that Roller Blade is just a bit better than Choegang Team at this stage with the personal battle between the pair of them now standing at 2-1 in Roller Blade’s favour.

Having comfortably won last month’s Gold Circle Trophy, Save The World was sent off a prohibitive 1.4 faovurite for the Breeders’ Cup Trial (Listed-1200M). He drew the widest gate, but it was no issue at all as he cruised away from his rivals in the home straight to record a six-length win over 2nd placed Doctor Carson with Man Of The Field a further three lengths back in 3rd.

It was a fourth win in four starts for Save The World and he’s done it unhurried by a 21-length total margin. He’s crying out for a challenge and for that he’s going to need to face the best from Seoul.

In the Capital, the NACF Chairman’s Trophy (Listed-1200M) also went the same way as the 1st leg of the Juvenile Series, the Munhwa Ilbo Cup, as Roller Blade once more kept Choegang Team at bay for a comfortable score.

In both races Choegang Team was sent off as favourite having beaten Roller Brade in the Breeze-Up Grads race in August. While Choegang Team was wide the whole way around in the Munhwa, this time Moon Se Young managed to find the rail behind Roller Blade but his colt had no answer in the home straight.

Just as in the Munhwa, KN Road came home in 3rd place – though much closer this time – while a newcomer to the Series, Choin Gangja, finished a promising 4th.

So the Series will finally come together at Busan on the first Sunday in December for the Breeders’ Cup. For now Save The World and Roller Blade head there as favourites with the former having home track advantage. Plenty can change with the juveniles over the course of a month though.

In other action across the past weekend, we really need to talk about East Palos – not something we expected to need to do.

The concluding race of the weekend at Seoul was a class 1 handicap over 1400M with Global Captain, 7th in the Korea Sprint, sent off as favourite. He ran well as well under a good ride by Ham Wan Sik, but it was to no avail as East Palos was way too good, pulling away to win in what was the fastest time of the year for the distance at Seoul.

East Palos’s winning time of 1.24.0 was a full half-second quicker than the previous best which was set by…none other than East Palos. In fact, the only quicker time over the distance in Korea this year was set by Ace Korea on a soaking wet and fast track at Busan last week. With Sanggam Mama and his big rating present, East Palos was four points out of the scale and only carrying 52kg, but it was a remarkable performance nevertheless.

East Palos was ridden by Alan Munro, who was recording his third winner and the day and fourth across the weekend.

Next week sees one of the most valuable races of the year in the shape of the President’s Cup (KOR G1) at Seoul on Sunday. For the first time since 2014, there will be a new name on the Trophy with four-time winner Triple Nine absent.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 27)

Seoul and Busan both host their respective 2nd legs of the 2019 Juvenile Series on Sunday with the best in both races qualifying for the final at Busan on the first Sunday in December. There is an 11 race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews:

Roller Blade

Roller Blade won the 1st leg of the Juvenile Series at Seoul (Pic: KRA) 

 

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Maiden juvenile fillies to kick things off and all twelve of them are racing for the very first time. (9) BOHEMIAN MUSIC is the only trial winner among them, taking her heat by leading all the way back in September in a decent time and she’ll be among the top line of favourites here. Fastest though in trials was (7) ROAD RAN. She too led all the way until the closing stages and under Moon Se Young could well start favourite. (3) SONGAM PLAYER took part in a slowly-run heat but ran on very competently and can go well first up here while (8) CHEONJI YEOGEOL also hinted at ability. (11) SOSEONO LEGEND is out of Soseono, a filly who ran well in Korea and has a top trainer/jockey combination aboard.

Selections (9) Bohemian Music (7) Road Ran (3) Songam Player (11) Soseono Legend
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 4, 7, 8, 9

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

Not the strongest of maidens here. There were six months between his first and second starts and (3) GOOD MOUNT returned to run 4th at this distance on September 28th. He’ll most likely be on the early pace here and won’t need much improvement to win. That’s true too of (8) JOLLY ROGER, an improved 4th on his third start last month. He led for much of that race and is in weaker company here. (7) PRETTY JOY races for the first time since February. And trialled up adequately enough to suggest she has a chance first-up here. (5) GWACHEON ACE and first-time starter (11) ULTRA ANNIE are others who should be in the hunt.

Selections (3) Good Mount (8) Jolly Roger (7) Pretty Joy (11) Ultra Annie
Next Best 5, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Competitive maiden. (7) CHOEGANG MAGIC gets the decision having run 2nd and 3rd in his latest two, at this distance and at 1700M. He’s likely to be among the early leaders here and could have too much. (9) ROYAL REMEMBER ran an improved 4th at this distance last month and should join Choegang Magic on the early speed and pose the biggest threat. (10) BEST LUCKY showed some progress on his latest outing and may appreciate the increase in trip today while (12) CHEONNYEONUI GODO has finished 4th in each of his last three starts and coule well finish 4th again today. (4) SOUTHERN MAN looks best of the rest.

Selections (7) Choegang Magic (9) Royal Remember (10) Best Lucky (12) Cheonnyeonui Godo
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 4, 5, 7, 9

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Banker favourite of the day time. (2) KING OF RULES may still be a maiden, but he’s finished as runner-up in four of eight starts so far, beaten by useful ones each time. From gate 2, he should lead from the start and would be a big surprise where he to not finally make the breakthrough here. (5) LUCKY BEOPJEON is in a similar position having finished as runner-up behind TK Day and Stretto, both talented juveniles. He’s up in class here but does have a win in him sooner or later.  (10) BAEKSAEK GWANGCHAE ran 2nd on his first try at this level on September 29th and should be competitive here too. (1) KAHINAH and (11) SOLGAEBARAM look best of the rest.

Selections (2) King Of Rules (5) Lucky Beopjeon (10) Baeksaek Gwangchae (1) Kahinah
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 2

Busan Race 1 Selections: 5, 1, 10, 11

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1300M) handicap / KRW 60 Million

(8) SPEEDOM was an emphatic five-length winner on debut over 1000M on September 21st. He’s up in distance today but looks to have plenty more in him and he can make it two from two today. (3) CHEMI BLUE remains a maiden after thirteen attempts but comes in having finished as runner-up in each of his latest three, just beaten a nose last time. He’ll be on pace from the start and today looks as good a chance as any he has had so far. (4) MUNHAK REWARD showed some progress on what was his second start a month ago, running 3rd and can build on that today. (5) EOMAMUSI was a good maiden winner last start and should be competitive. (9) SOULY MAJESTIC looked sharp when winning a trial last week and is the wildcard.

Selections (8) Speedom (3) Chemi Blue (4) Munhak Reward (5) Eomamusi
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 3, 5, 8, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Having debuted last November, it wasn’t until September 27th that (11) YEONGSEONG HOPE finally returned to the track. It was a winning return though, as he scored by three-lengths over 1000M. He’s up in class and distance today but should be equal to both and is favoured to win again. (4) AMOR FATI got his maiden win at the fourth time of asking a month ago. It was at this distance and he made all. He’ll try to get to the lead right away today and looks the main danger. (8) NAEGA SAEGANGJA enters with recent form reading well and should be challenging for a place, as should (3) DONE IT MY, who may be a twenty-nine-race maiden but is capable of finding the money in this type of company. (9) GIDAEHAE another in the hunt.

Selections (11) Yeongseong Hope (4) Amor Fati (3) Done It My (8) Naega Saegangja
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 4, 7, 8, 11

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Tricky race but (4) HWANGGEUM DOYAJI looks the pick. She may only have been 5th last start but she was only half a length off 4th and ran on strongly. Today marks her firs try at 1700M and it may well suit. (3) CITY CHAMP is still a maiden after twenty-six starts but comes in having raced well lately with a 3rd and a 2nd from his most recent two, both at this distance. He should be placing again. (6) INDIAN BOSS and (1) CHEONJI MYEONGJANG came home 3rd and 4th respectively when they raced each other over 1300M on September 29th and both should be aiming for some money here. (11) CHOEGANG SINGI, up in class today, looks best of the rest.

Selections (4) Hwanggeum Doyaji (3) City Champ (11) Choegang Singi (6) Indian Boss
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 2, 5, 10

 Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(6) WONDERFUL COUNTRY ran out a good class and distance winner just two weeks ago. As a result, he carries an additional 4.5kg today but if anything, the competition is not as strong as it was that day and another win is possible. (5) DAEHO JILJU enters in similarly good form with a win and runner=up finish from his latest two and should be a threat while (3) YEONGGWANGUI CHEER is better than his latest couple of outings suggest and back in trip today, can get closer. There are two wildcards. Both (1) SPEED FURY and (7) TANGENT are returning from lengthy spells on the sidelines and both looked well in trials.

Selections (6) Wonderful Country (5) Daeho Jilju (1) Speed Fury (7) Tangent
Next Best 3, 12
Fast Start 2, 3, 6, 11

Seoul Race 7: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(3) VICAR BRACING enters having completed a hat-trick of victories in his last three starts, the most recent of which was at class and distance and four in a row is not (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 26)

Saturday’s racing is at Seoul with 12 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Burui Gori Sports Chosun

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Maiden to kick things off. (6) FAMILY PARK has two 3rd place finishes to his name, including last time out at this distance. He was sent off as favourite that day but couldn’t quite get to the front. He should be on pace today and can win. The main danger is (2) PUNCH POWER. He’s only raced twice so far, improving in the latest of them when he briefly led before finishing 4th. (1) KAIZEN SILVER has a 2nd place in his records and should go close here while (4) RAON DANCER and (5) DONGJJOK GLORY are others with the potential to improve.

Selections (2) Punch Power (6) Family Park (4) Raon Dancer (1) Kaizen Silver
Next Best 5, 11
Fast Start 4, 6, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with precisely half the field racing for the very first time. (8) COMPLETE CAPTAIN is set to be a strong favourite having run 3rd on debut on September 7th. He quickened pleasingly that day and should have too much for his rivals here. (7) CHEONJI KKOT BARAM was 5th that day and should get closer this time while (11) SINDAERO and (12) WONDERFUL HEART also have scope to improve – the latter is the only one in the field to have raced twice already and ran well for 2nd last time. As for the first-timers, the most impressive in trials was (3) MIRACLE ICHEON.

Selections (8) Complete Captain (3) Miracle Icheon (7) Cheonji Kkot Baram (12) Wonderful Heart
Next Best 11, 1
Fast Start 5, 6, 8, 11

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Maiden for fillies. (1) TA MINA beat a couple of these on her way to a somewhat unexpected 2nd place at this distance last start. She came from well off the pace that day and ran on very well and should be in the mix again here. (9) VIRTUS finished 4th in that race in what was her second start back following six months off. She’s had a stop start career but looks to have ability and can go close today. (4) HWANGGEUM STAR ran 6th in the same race but has since come back and put in a strong run for 2nd at this distance on September 22nd. Like Ta Mina, she finished strongly from off the pace and could well start as favourite here. (2) HAPPY MONTH showed considerable improvement when 2nd last start while (6) WONDERFUL PLEASURE also has scope for improvement.

Selections (9) Virtus (4) Hwanggeum Star (1) Ta Mina (2) Happy Month
Next Best 6, 11
Fast Start 3, 5, 9, 12

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) WHITE COMET made all to secure his maiden win in fast time over this distance on September 21st. He is up in class today, but that manner of that victory was impressive enough for him to warrant favourite status here. (2) JEONGMUN SUMMIT had a hard time on his first try at this level but comes back in after two months off, back in trip and looking set to pose a sterner challenge today. (9) BAEKJEUI KKUM similarly had a hard time on what was just her second start, but she too should be a different prospect here. (3) SAMAE JILJU and (11) CAMP BADA look best of the rest.

Selections (8) White Comet (9) Baekjeui Kkum (2) Jeongmun Summit (11) Camp Bada
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 2, 4, 8, 9, 11

Race 5: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) CHEONJI AEGA stepped up to this distance last start and ran a good 3rd, beating a couple of these in the process. She ran on well and can be considered favourite here. (4) HOSUA too tried two-turns for the first time on his latest start and got on well with it recording a career best to date of 3rd and looks to be the main danger. (9) DAEGIRI too ran pleasingly for 2nd last start and is likely to look to lead from the start here. (6) WIND SKY was beaten by Cheonji Aega last time out but can get closer today while (8) GREEN PARK looks best of the rest.

Selections (2) Cheonji Aega (4) Hosua (9) Daegiri (6) Wind Sky
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 2, 6, 9

Race 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Maiden for imported juveniles with just three of them having raced before. One of those is (2) D K PURMIR and having run a good 2nd on debut back in August, looks set to be favourite here. (7) CHUKBOKUI YAKSOK debuted in the same race, running 3rd. He’s since run at this distance, finishing 5th and can be a contender today. The other with experience is (4) VICTORY MAP and he will be expected to improve on his debut 7th. Among the newcomers there were a few who hinted at ability in trials. (5) GLOBAL LUCKY looks the best of them having made all in her heat taking the line in front by a comfortable margin in a fast time. If she brings that form to the races, she’ll be right in this. (9) CONSTI SOLO also posted a fast time and can go well first up.

Selections (5) Global Lucky (2) D K Purmir (7) Chukbokui Yaksok (9) Consti Solo
Next Best 4, 12
Fast Start 1, 2, 10

Race 7: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) MENI HERO has a 3rd and two runner-up finishes from three starts so far. That’s enough to se him up in class today but despite that – and the fact he has been the beaten favourite in each of his latest two appearances – he should be favourite here and this time should make no mistake. Should Meni Hero come up short then (6) BISAYEON and (7) MENI SPEED both come in off the back of solid performances last start and could take advantage while (9) DASHING CANOE came home 5th on her first try at this class a month ago and should be in at least placing contention. Like Meni Hero (5) WONDERFUL PANGPANG finds herself up in class despite still being winless. She should be capable of challenging for a place here.

Selections (4) Meni Hero (6) Bisayeon (5) Wonderful Pangpang (7) Meni Speed
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 4, 8

Race 8: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A winner on debut in July, (3) TK DAY has been 3rd in both her subsequent outings, both times in good company and most recently at this distance. She’ll be one of a number on pace here and could well lead all the way in this race which is restricted to fillies and mares. (2) WHITE QUEEN won her first two races to be rapidly promoted to this class. She hasn’t raced since running 7th behind TK Day in a valuable juvenile race in August and looks set to be one of the main dangers here. (4) THANK YOU MOTHER has finished in the top three on seven of her ten starts to date and should be close here while (1) INDIAN ECO and (8) MIGHTY LUCK are also contenders.

Selections (3) TK Day (2) White Queen (8) Mighty Luck (4) Thank You Mother
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 7, 8

Race 9: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Good match up here. It took (2) CHEON GOE SEONG eleven attempts to secure his maiden win but he did it in fine style at this distance a month ago. His reward is to be bumped up in class today but that shouldn’t be a problem and he can win again. The big danger is (11) MANSEOK JIGI. He’s thrived since being tried around two turns with two wins and a runner-up finish from his latest three outings. Whereas Cheon Goe Seong will likely be on pace from the start, Manseok Jigi can come from behind and it should be a good battle late on. Aside from those two, (1) JEONGSANG ETTEUM and (4) RULE BREAKER enter with recent form reading well while (8) JACOB is another who can go well in this company.

Selections (2) Cheon Goe Seong (11) Manseok Jigi (1) Jeongsang Etteum (4) Rule Breaker
Next Best 8, 5
Fast Start 2, 8

Race 10: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(9) MUSTANG RUN was a class and distance winner on September 28th, racing prominently throughout and running on well. He does carry an additional 4kg today but could well be equal to the task. (5) RULES ICHEON came from off the pace to win at this class over 1200M last month and should get on well with the additional distance today while (4) FLASH JET ran a decent 4th in a similar race to this last start and can match or better that today. Both (1) WUJEONGUI HYANGGI and (7) GWANAK HAMSEONG are better than their respective latest outings suggest, and they can get closer today.

Selections (9) Mustang Run (4) Flash Jet (5) Rules Icheon (7) Gwanak Hamseong
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 8, 9

Race 11: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(4) URI has three races in a row and was a very handy winner over 1800M last start at this class. He steps up in trip slightly once more and carries more weight than in any of his previous races, but he should be capable of winning again. (8) GEUMA WHOLESOME won back to back races in June and July and comes in off a decent 4th over 1800M last month. He’ll be dangerous here. (1) HWANSANG STAR has finished no worse than 3rd in three attempts at this level and should be close today. (9) SEOUL TANK and (10) CALL WIN, the latter up in class after a good win over 1300M, are others in the hunt.

Selections (4) Uri (8) Geuma Wholesome (1) Hwansang Star (9) Seoul Tank
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 1, 4, 8

Race 12: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

(10) GUREUM WANGJA beat a couple of these on his way to a good 3rd place over 1400M on September 22nd. He drops back in trip today and could well come out on top. (8) GOLDEN GATE and (7) PENETRO came home 1st and 3rd when they raced each other at class and distance on September 28th. Penetro led for much of that race, just weakening slightly in the closing stages and with Golden Gate carrying plenty more weight today, that form could be overturned. (3) CRAZY WIKI and (5) SEONGPA are others with placing claims.

Selections (10) Gureum Wangja (7) Penetro (8) Golden Gate (3) Crazy Wiki
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 5

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 25)

Headlining this weekend’s racing will be the 2nd legs of the Juvenile Series Championships to be held at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday. It’s Busan that gets racing underway though with 11 races on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

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We got a new TV at Busan – this is a poor photoshop version of it….

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Juvenile maidens to begin with. (3) JEONSEOLUI PUNCH ran an improved 3rd on what was his second start just two weeks ago and recorded a time significantly faster than his opponents here. He’ll be on pace from the start and is favoured to make the breakthrough.  A few of the others also look to be heading in the right direction following promising runs second-up. (10) ADELE SPIKE also ran a good third when dropped back to this trip after weakening over 1200M on debut, while (1) QUEEN OF THE QUEEN defied three-figure odds to come a useful 4th back at the end of last month. (12) FAMILY DANCER too showed significant progress last start and can build on it today. There are five first-timers and of them, (7) SPICE CANDY looks the pick over (4) EAGLE STAR.

Selections (3) Jeonseolui Punch (10) Adele Spike (7) Spice Candy (12) Family Dancer
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 3, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Juvenile maidens again but this time they’re all fillies. Following a couple of promising trials, (1) CHOEGANG TOUCH was relatively well-backed on debut on September 27th and duly beat a couple of these on her way to 3rd place. She won’t need to improve much off that run to win again today. (8) NANSAN YEOJE was a disappointing 9th in the same race. She previously ran 2nd behind the very promising Dongteuja Day and should get much closer today. (6) MILE QUEEN ran an unexpected 4th on her debut in sloppy conditions while (4) BEAUTIFUL KOREA and (5) MAX POWER both put in reasonable performances on their respective last starts and could get close here.

Selections (1) Choegang Touch (8) Nansan Yeoje (6) Mile Queen (4) Beautiful Korea
Next Best 5, 7
Fast Start 6, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Filly maidens here. One of the two debut-makers catches the eye. (7) HAPPY YOJEONG is a “full” sister to Cheongu, who won five of fifteen starts and raced at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, as well as Segi Gangja, who continues to run well at Busan. She was only average in her trial, but a top jockey has been engaged and she couldn’t get a weaker race to start her career in. (3) SECRET LEGACY registered a best of 4th in five starts between October last year and March this. She’s been off since but looked a much better prospect when requalifying and winning a trial two weeks ago and goes straight into contention here. (4) THUNDER VEGAS wasn’t too far off 2nd in a tight race last time and shapes to be in the mix here. (6) PEREFCT ANGEL and (8) MAGIC STEALTH look best of the rest.

Selections (3) Secret Legacy (4) Thunder Vegas (7) Happy Yojeong (6) Perfect Angel
Next Best 8, 2
Fast Start 3, 4, 7, 8

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(3) CHEONNYEONUI GIL and (4) FLYING KINGS came home 2nd and 3rd when they raced each other on what was for the former, a debut, back on September 20th. Both look nicely in here and can go well again. The one they’ll need to beat though is (2) ADELE CLASSIC, a solid 4th on debut over 1000M last month. The additional trip today should be in his favour and he can get closer here. It’s a similar story for (11) TOUCH STAR MAN from top trainer Kim Young-kwan’s stable. He debuted two weeks ago and should be better for the run. She’s out of Oaks winner Useung Touch. There are three debut-makers, all of whom did well in trials. Thomas Gillespie’s (9) JEONSEOLUI FIGHT perhaps has the best chance of making an immediate impact.

Selections (2) Adele Classic (11) Touch Star Man (9) Jeonseolui Fight (3) Cheonnyeonui Gil
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 5, 11

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(9) SHINING EYE has shown improvement across three starts so far, culminating in 3rd place last start on her first try at this distance. She can overcome the wide draw here and can win. (5) SEOBU GENTLEMAN showed significant improvement to run 2nd at this distance earlier this month and should be in the hunt here although (2) PARTY LION has also demonstrated ability with some solid finishes so far and should be involved too. (1) ARA MYUNGMA was a slightly disappointing 6th lats start but can be given another chance here. (6) BARAMUI YEOSIN should be on pace from the start with the only question being how long she can hold on for.

Selections (9) Shining Eye (2) Party Lion (1) Ara Myungma (5) Seobu Gentleman
Next Best 6, 3
Fast Start 5, 6, 8, 9

Race 6: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) CHEONNYEONUIHUIMA was just beaten a head over 1300M last start, running on well. Although previous attempts at a mile haven’t gone especially well, she looks ready for another crack and has an excellent chance here. (4) TOP FIRE showed promise in her first two outings and while she had a poor day at the office last time, can be given another chance today on what will be her first try at this distance. Those two look head and shoulders above the rest although (6) JANGGUNEUI JILJU did beat a couple of these on her way to an unlikely 3rd place last time and could pull off a repeat. (3) SUN MOUNTAIN, behind her that day, looks more likely to overturn that form though.

Selections (1) Cheonnyeonuiheuima (4) Top Fire (3) Sun Mountain (6) Jangguneui Jilju
Next Best 5, 2
Fast Start 5, 5, 7

Race 7: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(6) MAN OF THE MATCH has won three of nine so far and comfortably defeated a couple of these on his way to a three-length score at class and distance on September 27th. He does carry an additional 3kg today but still looks very much the one to beat. (8) MGIC FLYING and (5) DOCTOR WEEK came home in 3rd and 4th in that race with just over a length separating them. They have plenty of find on Man Of The Match but should be competing for the places at least. (2) GANGHAN NAMJA, racing for the sixtieth time today (more…)

Blue Chipper En-Route to LA & Planned Breeders’ Cup Start

Blue Chipper flew out of Incheon Airport late on Monday evening en-route to Santa Anita and a planned start in the delightfully named Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on November 2. If all goes to plan, he will be the first Korea-trained runner to participate in a Breeders’ Cup race.

Blue Chipper Owners Cup

Blue Chipper (Pic: KRA)

Having traveled up from Busan last week, Blue Chipper spent four days in pre-export quarantine in the International Isolation Stables at Seoul Racecourse (the same ones that the international horses are stabled in during the Korea Cup & Sprint) before departing from nearby Incheon Airport at 11:50pm on Monday evening, scheduled to arrive at LAX on Monday evening US time.

Blue Chipper [Tiznow – Dixie City (Dixie Union)] was bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp. He was selected and purchased at Keeneland by Busan-based trainer Bart Rice on behalf of owner Choi Byeong-bu. Now he’s a four-year-old gelding who has won seven of his eight lifetime starts. He was a four-length winner on debut as a juvenile at Busan in September 2017, trained by Rice.

He then suffered what is to date his only defeat when last in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup, Busan’s top race for imported two-year-olds. Blue Chipper ran once more that year, returning to winning ways with a three-length score on New Year’s Ever over 1200M.

Blue Chipper did not race again for more than a year with a number of setbacks meaning he spent almost his entire three-year-old year spelled, with only occasional trips to the racetrack to trial. He finally returned to action in April of 2019, now in trainer Kim Young-kwan’s stable, and picked up where he left off, scoring by thirteen-lengths over 1200M.

That win was followed up by two more with a combined winning margin of eighteen lengths before Blue Chipper tackled a Korean Graded race for the first time, the Busan Owners’ Cup (KOR G3) at the end of July. It was his first try at a mile but that didn’t trouble him as he romped away from a high class field to win by ten-lengths in track-record time.

International weekend was up next at Seoul and Blue Chipper was sent to the 1 Billion Won Keeneland Korea Sprint (KOR G1) back down at 1200M. Despite being drawn in gate 13, he was sent off as favourite and duly made it to the pace early. He would eventually shake off local rival Gaon Champ and run on to win by a length and a half becoming the first locally-trained horse to win the Korea Sprint.

Seemingly out of challenges in Korea for the time being, and with connections aware that he was registered for the Breeders’ Cup as a weanling, Blue Chipper will now be taken overseas and will move back up to a mile for his biggest challenge. If he adapts to the Santa Anita dirt, he’s not to be taken lightly.

Having had positive experiences with international jockeys on Korean horses at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, the decision was made to engage a Santa Anita-based rider and Flavien Prat, who won the race on Battle Of Midway in 2017, has accepted the ride.

How good is Blue Chipper? We don’t yet know and that’s basically why he is going. What we do know is that Bart found a good one that day at Keeneland and a number of seasoned observers of Korean racing have told this blog that he is the best horse they have seen run in Korea. While they are very different types of horse, that includes the Dubai star, Dolkong.

He will be up against it at Santa Anita. The dirt is very different to the sand he has experienced in Korea – although his sire, Tiznow, and damsire Dixie Union, did finish 1st and 2nd at Santa Anita in the Affirmed Handicap back in 2000. Then there is the obvious medication issue – there are no plans for Blue Chipper to run on lasix. That’s all without taking into account his opponents, among whom is expected to be Omaha Beach and Mr. Money. All through his brief career so far, Blue Chipper has stepped up.