The first Listed action of the year in Korea gets underway at Seoul on Sunday afternoon as Gaon Champ heads a field of 14 in the Segye Ilbo Cup over 1200M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Down at Busan, where there are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:05, four-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine makes his first start in thirteen months in the feature race 6.
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
Not the strongest of maidens to open proceedings and having run 2nd on debut on December 21st, (5) THE KING CLASS gets the pick. True he was beaten eight-lengths by a useful looking winner, but he showed plenty of late speed to finish well. He must take care not to get too far back and if he does that, he can win. (4) MASTER FUTURE debuted the same day in a different maiden, running a competitive 4th and he can build on that here, in his case from the front. He’ll be joined on speed by (2) NUNBIT EUNYAK, who has had an interrupted career so far but should have come on for his run over 1300M in December to come into contention here. (12) BLACK SILVER has the fastest time of any of these over the distance and despite the wide draw, can be considered. There are three debut-makers and of them (11) ACE CHEONHA looks to have the best chance of making a positive impression first up.
Selections (5) The King Class (12) Black Silver (4) Master Future (2) Nunbit Eunyak
Next Best 11, 10
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 4
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Twelve fillies line up in the second over the 1300m. (4) JEONJEONGSAGUEM comes off a solid performance last time out when finishing third behind Heunghaeng Jilju. The Tiz Wonderful filly ran through the line strongly on that occasion in a respectable time for this class. She’s drawn ideally to sit in the first half of the field before finishing off strong. (3) WIND HILL lines up for her second career start. The Colors Flying filly will step up to the 1300m for the first time which looks to suit based on her debut. She finished third behind Lady Kelly on debut when the margin was three and a half lengths. She will be better for the run and should be considered an each-way chance. (11) BORN TO GLORY ran on well last when debuting over the 1300m. The filly is likely to settle back from and awkward draw but can run on strong to collect some prize money. (7) SOARA YEOJANGGUN showed some improvement last start when finishing fifth and is another that can collect some minor money.
Selections (4) Jeonjeongsageum (3) Wind Hill (11) Born To Glory (7) Soara Yeojanggun
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 4, 7
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(6) WONDERFUL PLEASURE was a beaten favourite over 1300M on December 2nd, leading for part of the race but getting headed late on and ultimately finishing in 6th place. The margins weren’t huge though, he has Alan Munro on board today and he should be on speed from the start with solid claims to overturn the form. (8) DIECO finished in 3rd place in that race, a couple of lengths ahead of Wonderful Pleasure. That continued a solid run of form for Dieco who, while a bit one-paced, should have enough about him to go close once more today. (7) JEONGMUN BOLT raced most ungenerously in his latest start but still managed to finished in midfield against a set of rivals superior to those he faces today. (11) KING KANMOREU has shown steady progress over three outings to date and is another who can aim for at least a place. (3) GLOBAL SUN did nothing wrong on debut at 1000M and may appreciate the additional trip today
Selections (6) Wonderful Pleasure (8) Dieco (7) Jeongmun Bolt (11) King Kanmoreu
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 2, 6, 8, 11
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
There appears a lack of early pace in the fourth on the card. A beneficiary of the limited speed engaged is the last start winner (9) WANG TAENG I. The chestnut was impressive on debut when winning by an impressive seven lengths and clocking 1:21.1 for the 1300m. Shin Hyoung Chul is likely to shoot straight to the lead and should prove hard to catch. (3) MISSILE CANDY has been stuck in Class5 company for quite some time but has ran some reasonable races of late. The Twirling Candy entire comes off a last start third behind Ace Win when finishing the race of solidly. It is expected that Ham Wan-Sik will settle in the first four. (2) BISAYEON was unlucky last time out when having to overcome a wide draw and eventually finishing well beaten. The four-year-old has drawn better for this assignment and punters should refer to his effort two starts back when running second to Meni Hero. (12) JEJUI YOJEONG backed up her maiden win with a fair performance last start when fifth behind Clean Up Trio. She is a natural backmarker so the gate should not be an issue. Look for her late rattling off one of the faster sectionals.
Selections (9) Wang Taeng I (3) Missile Candy (2) Bisayeon (12) Jejui Yojeong
Next Best 8, 5
Fast Start 9
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
(3) GO UP ran out a winner on debut in November, making all over this distance before running 2nd on her first try at this class in December, beaten seven-lengths by Eagle Eye. She’s nicely drawn to lead here and can return to the winner’s circle. It won’t be easy though. (10) SIMPLE STYLE was just half a length behind Go Up in 2nd place in that November race, before returning to register a win of his own a month ago. He’s up in class today and with Munro aboard, will be a big danger. (7) CLEAN UP TRIO comes in following an unexpected class and distance win four weeks ago. He carries an additional 3kg today, but his stable has remained in good form and a repeat isn’t impossible. (5) GAGANA was an eye-catching six-length winner over this distance on December 1st and while he steps up in class and into deeper waters today, he should be competitive. (12) GALAXY PEACE is two starts into a comeback following seven months out and can challenge for minor money.
Selections (3) Go Up (10) Simple Style (5) Gagana (7) Clean Up Trio
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 7
Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Fillies (and one mare) only here. (9) SECRET ILLUSION is up in class having won on debut over 1000M at the end of December, but she is going to have to improve significantly on that run to be competitive in this company. (2) FIRST STAR is perhaps the one to beat. Having registered her maiden win at this distance in early December she followed up with a good 3rd place in a fast race on December 29th, running on strongly. She’s not the quickest of starters but so long as she doesn’t leave herself too much to do, she can win. (7) ECHO WHITE steps back in trip after two creditable goes around a mile and looks firmly in contention. She’ll be on pace from the start along with (1) YEONGGWANGUI TIME, who was slightly disappointing in 6th last start when drawn wide but should be much better from the inside today. (5) TWO TWO FAIRY, already a class and distance winner, and (10) WONDERFUL FLASH are others in the hunt.
Selections (2) First Star (7) Echo White (1) Yeonggwangui Time (9) Secret Illusion
Next Best 10, 5
Fast Start 1, 7, 9
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
The sixth is a very competitive affair where a field of twelve will go over the two turns. (5) ELITE LADY is a nice progressive type who is looking for her fourth win in a row. The Sadamu Patek filly won in this class last start when leading throughout and winning by a clear margin. She rises 3kg in the weights after that win, but she’s beautifully put together and will be able to carry the weight. (12) BULUI QUEEN finished second behind the talented Legend Storm last start. Whilst she couldn’t catch Legend Storm, she flew home and passed the remainder of the field in good fashion. She has drawn the outside, so she is likely to settle well back once again. (10) SUN OF THUNDER steps back up to the 1700m once again today after finishing third last time out behind Raon Hannibal. He has to carry the 57kg, but he has carried similar weights at his past few performances when finishing in the money. (2) DELTA K has been in Class 4 company for quite some time with connections electing to step him up in distance today. The six-year-old hit the line well last start when it was all over. Whilst he hasn’t won in quite some time, he has finished in the top four at his past six starts.
Selections (5) Elite Lady (12) Bului Queen (10) Sun Of Thunder (2) Delta K
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 4, 5
Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
The appears several chances in the third event where a field of twelve will face the starts. (7) TWO TWO GREAT has begun her career in great fashion winning three of her four starts to date. She handled the rise in class last start well when winning over the same distance by a comfortable 1.5 lengths. She will have to carry an additional 2kg for this assignment, but she looks on that has more improvement to come. (12) BANJIUI JEONSEOL ran the arms off the clock last start especially considering he raced in Class 5 company. The handicapper didn’t miss him with a 12 point rating whack after the impressive win. He’s been dealt a tough draw but he is another that maps on speed and his chances cannot be discounted. (4) I’M YOUR FASHION has been impressive early on in his racing career. The Old Fashioned colt breezed through Classes 5 and 6 before lining up in the Gold Circle Trophy where he found it tough. He then bounced back with a good performance when second behind Yeongseong Hope. He is also a winning chance in an interesting race. (2) MACH RANGER comes out of the same race as I’m Your Fashion where he finished third. The five-year-old will be benefited if they clap the speed on early as he relies on his turn of foot to finish in the money.
Selections (7) Two Two Great (12) Banjiui Jeonseol (4) I’m Your Fashion (2) Mach Ranger
Next Best 1, 5
Fast Start 4, 7, 12
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(3) BLUE CHITON has steadily improved over three starts so far, culminating in a runner-up finish over 1300M four weeks ago. He ran through the line well and looks the type who will appreciate the longer trip he gets today. He can sit behind the early speed and finish strongly. Five of the others raced each other over class and distance on December 22nd and they finished between 4th and 8th in what was in general a stronger race than this. (9) BONNEUNG DAERO finished the best of them in 4th and that, added to a 3rd place at the distance two starts back, should put him right in the hunt here. However, do expect better performances today from both (11) WUJEONGUI HYANGGI and especially (2) KING OF RULES, who are much better than the 6th and 9th they respectively achieved, and both should be in the hunt today. (8) KAILASH DANCER is a solid competitor at this level and can aim to match the 3rd places he’s managed in both his latest two outings.
Selections (3) Blue Chiton (2) King Of Rules (11) Wujeongui Hyanggi (9) Bonneung Daero
Next Best 8, 1
Fast Start 2, 4, 7
Busan Race 4: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(5) ROYAL SOLDIER went down to a somewhat surprising defeat at the hands of Tangent when favourite at class and distance on December 29th, bringing to an end a run of three straight wins. Once more he is giving weight to most, but the Chapel Royal gelding is a class act and can return to winning ways here, leading all the way. (11) OCEAN PHOENIX got withing a length and a quarter of Royal Soldier two starts back before stepping up to 1400M and running 3rd in a good race at the end of last year. He drops back today and will be a danger. (4) SEONNYANG CHEOLLI is up in class following a blistering win over 1000M a month ago. She’s won in the past at this distance too so must be taken seriously. (1) YEONGCHEON HERO and (9) BLACK TEN are others who should be in at least the placing hunt.
Selections: (5) Royal Soldier (4) Seonnyang Cheolli (11) Ocean Phoenix (1) Yeongcheon Hero
Next Best: 9, 3
Fast Start: 4, 5, 10, 12
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
A field of inexperienced three-year-olds take to the track in the eighth over the 1300m. (5) JEONGSANG SMART is the only horse engaged that has previously won a race, which came at his last start when sitting on speed over this distance and going on for a length and a quarter win over Bulgului Runner. She goes up 4kg for the win, but she is a big statured horse and her opposition isn’t overly strong. (4) SURUSURIMA lines up for her third career start after running on strong to finish second behind Geumjayu last time out. The Lookin At Lucky gelding will be steaming home late with the light weight on his back and appears one to follow as he is stretched out to longer distances. (6) LOOKING FIRST comes out of the 1000m race that was won by the very impressive Eoma Eoma. The colt managed to finish third in the event and although beaten a big margin, ran through the line strong. He will be suited stepping up in distance and is likely to settle midfield from a central draw. (8) SOUL MERIT sat on speed last time out when feeling the pinch late and running fourth. The American Pharoah colt looks a chance to collect some minor money with the right run.
Selections (5) Jeongsang Smart (4) Surusurima (6) Looking First (8) Soul Merit
Next Best 12, 3
Fast Start 5, 8, 12
Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
The speed map looks congested in the fifth where it is hard to determine who takes up the running. (10) RAON TOWN looks one of the main chances coming off a last start sixth where he had to overcome a wide gate. It was an admirable performance carrying the 55kg and he finished right behind the winner. His performance beforehand have been solid and he can notch his second victory in a wide open race. (12) TOP FIRE has performed well since beginning his career last June. He comes off a last start third where he caused some turbulence up the straight. He ran through the line well to finish third behind Happy Dragon. If he finds a good position in this race from the wide draw, he will be there at the business end of things. (5) LEGACY ran into a nice type in the form of Touch Star Man last start. He now finds himself in Class 4 company for the first time but with just the 53kg he can run into some money. The connections of (1) REVERSE SWEEP deserve another win with the four-year-old having nine starts, yielding one win and five second placings. Barrier one is not necessarily an advantage for the Colors Flying colt as he takes some time to muster when the gates fly back.
Selections (10) Raon Town (12) Top Fire (5) Legacy (1) Reverse Sweep
Next Best 2, 3
Fast Start 5, 8, 11
Seoul Race 9: Class Open (1200M) Allowance / KRW 250 Million – Segye lbo Cup (Listed)
A field of fourteen line up for the first Korean Listed event of 2020 and it’s attracted some big names. (3) GAON CHAMP is the biggest of those and he races for the first time since running an excellent 3rd place in the Korea Sprint last September. He is a hard horse to get fit, which explains why he has only raced thirteen times entering his five-year-old season but he looked very useful when breezing through a trial in quick fashion a couple of weeks ago and having drawn well, could take some beating. The other big hitter here is (10) DOKDO JIGI. Also lightly raced, he comes in for the first time since his runner-up finish to New Legend in the President’s Cup over 2000M in November. He drops back to a sprint distance for the first time in over a year and will come from off the pace with a big chance in the closing stages. (12) SIMJANGUI GODONG was only a nose back in 3rd in the President’s Cup, a performance that was enough to crown him last year’s best local three-year-old. He too drops back to Sprint today and will be a contender – more so then Korean Derby winner (7) WONDERFUL FLY, who did return to winning ways last start but has a bit to find in this company. (4) DO KKI BLADE and (5) LEAD MONEY are others in the hunt in what should be a fast and exciting race.
Selections (3) Gaon Champ (10) Dokdo Jigi (12) Simjangui Godong (4) Do Kki Blade
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 2, 3, 7, 11, 13
Busan Race 6: Class 1 (2000M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
We’ve been waiting for the return of (5) TRIPLE NINE for thirteen months now and the four-time President’s Cup winner is finally back and racing. Will he win though? He probably won’t be favourite with the combination of 60kg on his back and the simple fact of it being first-up over 2000M making it likely many will opt for his stablemate (7) NEW YORK MANGCHI. Triple Nine oozes class though and if Ioannis Poullis can get him in a position to launch his customary late charge down the outside, then he can run anything down. For his part, New York Mangchi should relish the opportunity to carry a feather weight on his back and is surely a big danger but there are other dangers too. (10) MASTER WIN was excellent when winning over 1800M at this class with a front-running display on December 15th and warrants consideration while (9) JUMBO BLADE failed to fire in the Grand Prix Stakes last month but should be happier back at Busan and back at 2000M. Second-up following six months off, (12) CHAMP LINE should have come on for his run behind Master Win last month.
Selections: (5) Triple Nine (7) New York Mangchi (12) Champ Line (9) Jumbo Blade
Next Best: 10, 1
Fast Start: 10, 11, 12
Seoul Race 10: Class 2 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 90 Million
The stayers will take to the track in the tenth where a field of twelve will line up over the 2000m. It has been quite some time since (4) SHARK DAEJANGGEUN has entered the winners circle but he has taken on some strong types of late. He finished gallant fifths in both the Korean Grand Prix and President’s Cup in December and November respectively last year. He looks hard to beat back in restricted company given that he ran both of those admirable performances at set weights with 57kg on his back, the same weight he carries in this assignment. (10) BANYA DONGHAENG showed a nice turn of foot last start when finishing fourth behind the talented Tiz Plan. The six-year-old doesn’t win out of turn but in Class 2 company he should be considered an each-way chance. (8) SABA KINGDOM has hit a rich vein of form of late winning his past three. He will line up for his first start in Class 2 company and whilst this is tougher, as they say winning form is good form. (6) HWANSANG STAR is another up in class after a victory in Class 3 company last time out. The Violence colt has proved to be ultra-consistent with ten top-three finishes from fourteen starts. His consistency has seen him get to Class 2 company with just one win under his belt.
Selections (4) Shark Daejanggeun (10) Banya Donghaeng (8) Saba Kingdom (6) Hwansang Star
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 8, 11
Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(7) NEUL PUREUN CAT registered back to back wins at this distance in November and December before running 5th in a really good race on December 22nd, beating three of these in the process. He’ll settle handy here and should be too strong late on. (5) NIMUI HYANGGI enters with recent form reading well and can continue his solid run today, coming from a similarly handy position while (1) MIREU STORM too comes in off the back of a number of recent near-misses and shouldn’t be far away. (9) TAKTUEIN comes up in class after a narrow defeat in a fast race at 1000M. She wasn’t quite up to the standard of the elite juveniles last year but does hold a win at this distance and still has plenty of scope for improvement. (12) RAON STORM beat Mireu Storm two starts back before running 3rd behind Neul Pureun Cat on his latest appearance and can compete for a money finish again here.
Selections (7) Neul Pureun Cat (9) Taktuein (5) Nimui Hyanggi (1) Mireu Storm
Next Best 12, 6
Fast Start 1, 8, 9, 10, 12