Month: February 2020

Today Caps Korea’s Dubai Carnival With Solid 2nd in Curlin Stakes

South Korea’s presence at the Meydan carnival came to an end on Thursday night with three representatives lining up in the Curlin Handicap at international listed level.

Korea was looking for successive wins in the dirt feature, after Dolkong won the event last year for trainer Simon Foster and recently retired jockey Olivier Doleuze.

Trainer Kim Young-Kwan had Today and Baengmunbaekdap engaged in the race whilst Busan counterpart Thomas Gillespie had Great King entered in the 1 1/4m event.

Today, who had a favourable draw took up the running in the early stages of the event whilst Great King and Baengmunbaekdap were dealt torrid runs tramping three and four wide for the majority of the race.

At the three-furlong pole it was obvious that Today’s rider Fernando Jara had plenty of horse left underneath him, as it started to appear a two-horse race with US representative Parsimony presenting on the outside of him.

As Today and Parsimony straightened up for the run home, they were matching each other’s stride, before Parsimony started to edge clear and go on and win by just over two lengths.

Whilst Today finished second, Great King produced an admirable performance to finish sixth after a tough run and Baengmunbaekdap capitulated to beat one home.

It was a truly international event with Parsimony (U.S.), Today, Ambassadorial (U.K.) and race favourite George Villiers (South Africa) the top four finishing order.

The Curlin Handicap capped off the Dubai preparations for the trio who lined up in the event, whilst connections of Blue Chipper travelled the Korea Sprint winner to Dubai without him stepping foot on the track.

Blue Chipper was touted as Korea’s best chance for victory at Meydan, but a bout of travel sickness presented shortly after arriving.

The five-year-old was awaiting clearance from vet staff resulting in changes to his Dubai campaign, but ultimately ran out of time.

Connections are now expected to target the international Group Three features later this year, with connections potentially targeting the Korea Cup (1800m) after taking out the Korea Sprint (1200m) last year.

 

All Race Meetings In Korea Postponed February 28-March 8

Due to the continuing COVID-19 outbreak in Korea, all scheduled race meetings at the Seoul, Busan and Jeju Racecourses have been postponed with immediate effect up to and including Sunday March 8.

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A further announcement will be made in the week beginning March 9th as to any potential restart.

Seoul & Busan Sunday Race Meetings Postponed on COVID-19 Concerns

The scheduled race meetings at Seoul and Busan Racecourses on Sunday February 23 have both been postponed following the  recent rapid rise in COVID-19 infections in Korea.

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Confirmed infections in Korea of the highly contagious virus rose from just 31 on Tuesday to 346  by Saturday lunchtime. Saturday’s meetings at Seoul and Jeju went ahead as planned.

There is no online or telephone betting in Korea so running races behind closed doors is not an option.

In what is a quickly-evolving situation in the country, an announcement on next week’s scheduled racing is expected to be made on Wednesday.

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 22)

There are 12 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10.45 to 18.00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Twelve maidens to kick things off with five of them racing for the very first time. A couple of those have some promise but we’ll start with the experience. (9) DREAM GIRLS has been to the races twice already and ran on nicely for 3rd on the latest of these on January 18th. She was nine-lengths behind a good winner but has cope for improvement and is a leading chance here. (1) NONSTOP WINNING raced twice without distinction early last year before suffering a setback which has kept him out of action since last month. He did though look very handy indeed when winning a January trial in a fast time and should be a different prospect this time around. (7) TIZ CITY was well supported on debut a month ago. He weakened late to finish 5th over 1300M and can be given another chance dropped back to the shortest distance today. Turning to the first-timers and (3) BEST TOUR was a trial winner back last November. It’s taken him a while to get to the track since then but should go well first-up from a good draw.

Selections (9) Dream Girls (7) Tiz City (1) Nonstop Winning (3) Best Tour

Next Best 5

Fast Start 1, 3, 5

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The three-year-old-fillies will go over the six furlongs in the second event. (9) DAEJIUI YEOIN is one of only two debutants engaged in the field but judging by her trial she is ready to fire at her first start. The Simon Pure filly trialed nicely when clocking a good time on a dry-rated track. She took a sit behind the leaders in the trial before working through the line nicely. (5) OLD BLADE lines up for her second start after an encouraging debut. The filly finished third behind favourite Ice Punch and whilst she was well beaten we can expect further improvement at her second start. (1) MISS ELITE has been rattling off some good sectionals for this class. The Peace Rules filly will appreciate the extra furlong as she steps up to the 1200m for the first time. (6) HAPPY PLAN showed significant improvement at her second run when finishing second behind Jeonjeongsageum. She went over the 1300m last time out suggesting she should be capable of figuring over 1200m after sitting just off the speed last start.

Selections (9) Daejiui Yeoin (5) Old Blade (1) Miss Elite (6) Happy Plan

Next Best 4, 11

Fast Start 5, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens here with two of the ten making their racecourse debuts. And one of those first-timers looks a prospect with (5) SARAMIRANEUNBYEOL having won a trial in a fast time at the end of January. Moon Se Young partnered him in the heat and though he is suspended, Alan Munro is a more than adequate replacement and the colt can go very well first up. The favourite though will be (4) TOP SEED. He ran 3rd at this distance behind Choegang Teukgeup on what was his second career start three weeks ago, finishing strongly. He should have come on for that run and be fitter third-up today. (1) K N WONDERFUL may appreciate the slight step up in trip today following three solid if unspectacular efforts at shorter while (7) HONEY BUTTER BOBBY showed significant improvement when 3rd last start and can maintain that momentum here. Aside from Saramiraneunbyeol, the other debut-maker is Tony Castenheira’s (8) JANGSAN BADA. He too won his trial and there’s no reason why he can’t go well first-up.

Selections (5) Saramiraneunbyeol (4) Top Seed (8) Jangsan Bada (1) K N Wonderful

Next Best 7, 9

Fast Start 1, 3, 5

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

The fourth on the card looks to have only a handful of winning chances. Three-year-old (8) GEOMPO looks hard to beat coming off a last start second placing. The Hansen colt has been consistent since beginning his career in August last year, yielding a win and three minor placings from five starts. He’s an on speed runner and it looks as if this field will have trouble running him down. (5) SPEED GO lines up for his second start after winning on debut over the 1000m. Whilst it wasn’t the strongest field last start he went on for a dominant victory winning by five lengths. Of the speedier types engaged he has the best draw suggesting he may be first to cross. (7) KING SON is another that has had the one start for a victory. He hasn’t been seen since May 2018 and resumes twenty-two months later. It is hard to gauge where he is at but apart from the aforementioned horses the remainder of the field is not all that strong. (9) GOLD MOUNT was a winner back in October and has since finished fourth behind Complete Captain in similar class. The lightly raced five-year-old should be considered an each-way hope.

Selections (8) Geompo (5) Speed Go (7) King Son (9) Gold Mount

Next Best 4, 1

Fast Start 5, 7, 8

Race 5: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(5) BAEKDUSAN CHEONJI lost out by a nose in a desperately tight three-way finish at this distance on February 1st. The Hansen colt has taken well to racing around two turns and today

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview

There are 11 races at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Turn

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A field of twelve Korean-breds line up in the first all searching for their first win. (9) JINJU SARANG looks hardest to beat coming off a last start second to Master Bella. The Federalist filly hit the line with gusto after settling midfield in the early stages. She looks well weighted in the event. (5) HAEUNDAE THUNDER had his second start last time out when finishing third behind Max Power. The form line doesn’t read all that strong but this race is lacking depth as well. The Strike Again gelding is likely to settle in the first few in running. (1) CHOEGANG CLEAR has had four runs this preparation now and his recent times suggest he can run into the money. Expect him to sit closer in the run with a better draw. (7) FUSION PARK lines up for his tenth start and his fourth run this preparation. The Ecton Park four-year-old should be at peak fitness. Expect Park Jae-I to work forward early on.

Selections (9) Jinju Sarang (5) Haeundae Thunder (1) Choegang Clear (7) Fusion Park

Next Best 3, 8

Fast Start 2, 7, 11

 

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(6) NORTHERN DREAM has shown steady progress across four starts so far, culminating in a 3rd place last time out on January 10th. She runs on well and looks to have as much chance as any of shedding her maiden tag here. (2) CROWN FUNKY has a less than auspicious start to her career but looked a different animal on her return from a two-month absence in January. She ran 3rd and while she was beaten a fill eleven-lengths by a good winner, she can build on that here and Seo Seung-un taking the mount today can only be to her benefit. There were few expectations on (11) TRIPLE MAGIC when he debuted last month but he ran well for 4th in what was arguably a stronger race than this. The wide draw isn’t ideal but he should be competitive again. (3) CHODONG DAEJANG and (8) KKUMEUL NEOMEO are others with the potential to improve.

Selections (6) Northern Dream (2) Crown Funky (11) Triple Magic (8) Kkumeul Neomeo

Next Best 3, 7

Fast Start 2, 7, 8, 9

 

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The three-year-old fillies line up in the third event where there is a severe lack of form for punters to analyse. (8) HAPPY SONG comes out of a stronger event where she managed to finish fourth behind Barbarian over the 1300m. She lined up against the boys as well last start and was the first filly past the post. This race appears to be hers to lose. (6) GLOBAL TOP comes out of the same race where she was well beaten. That was her first attempt beyond 1000m and we can expect her to take improvement from the experience. She drops back half a furlong and is capable of running into the money as she did two starts back. (11) FOR YOU LOVE lines up for her first start after qualifying last month. Her breeding suggests she will be better suited as she steps out in distance but don’t write her off completely first up. (10) MISS ROCKET is another on debut after clocking a reasonable trial time. She finds a weak assignment on debut and can run into the money.

Selections (8) Happy Song (6) Global Top (11) For You Love (10) Miss Rocket

Next Best 9, 5

Fast Start 4, 6

 

Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

There is a good deal of potential throughout this maiden and it’s a pair of animals making their respective second outings today who look the most promising. Having won a trial, (5) NEW PROSPECT was sent off as favourite on debut on January 31st. He began a bit slowly but did run into 3rd, just a couple of lengths behind the winner. It wasn’t a strong race but he looks to have scope for improvement and with a slightly better start today can win. (3) JANGSAN MANGCHI ran 2nd on his debut behind longshot winner Max Power. The time wasn’t fast but the performance was accomplished enough and he is the main danger here. (9) GRAND CAPTAIN has been has shown an uptick in form in recent starts and can aim for a place here. (2) MILLION MAKER did nothing on debut last October but has since been through three trials, running well in the latest of them and he should be significantly better today. (8) YEONGGWANGUI KISS the best of the rest.

Selections (5) New Prospect (3) Jangsan Mangchi (2) Million Maker (9) Grand Captain

Next Best 8, 10

Fast Start 2, 5, 8

 

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

It’s extremely hard to put together a speed map for the fifth with few of the runners showing early speed in their previous starts. (10) SPACE POWER looks to be able to cross in the early stages and should prove hard to run down over the seven furlongs. The Clear Attempt colt finished third behind Magic Partner last start but they did run a pedestrian time of 1.17.1 for the 1200m. Whilst is was slow it is probably enough to take this event out. (8) FEDERAL STAR looks the biggest threat coming off a fifth on debut. The Federalist three-year-old sat well back last start and she will need to be closer in the run if she is to be a winning chance, especially given there is minimal speed engaged suggesting the first half of the race will be run slowly. (11) GIANT’S HEART was disappointing last time out when the wide draw was hard to overcome. He has drawn wide once again but with the lack of speed engaged the three-year-old can bounce back. (1) SMILE WINNER has gone off the boil somewhat but has managed to place on two occasions from eight starts. If she can reproduce one of her better runs she should be (more…)

Dia Road Downs Silver Wolf In Donga Ilbo Cup

It’s happened – she’s been beaten by a filly. Super mare Silver Wolf saw her hopes of a third consecutive victory in the Donga Ilbo Cup dashed in the Seoul snow by her own stablemate as Dia Road swept home to claim glory in the Listed event.

Dia Road Donga Ilbo

Dia Road in the Donga Ilbo Winner’s Circle

Having brushed aside the distaff division in all three legs of the Queens’ Tour for the second time in 2019, Silver Wolf did conclude last year with an uncharacteristically lacklustre performance against the boys in the Grand Prix Stakes in December.

While back in restricted company on Sunday, Silver Wolf wasn’t quite the overwhelming favorite she has been in these kinds of events in recent times. She was sent off as market leader but only narrowly ahead of Dia Road and last year’s Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup winner Clear Geom.

For a moment in the home straight it looked as though any concerns were unwarranted as Silver Wolf loomed up on the shoulder of Dia Road, who had led from the start, and briefly went past.

It didn’t last. Under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Dia Road fought back immediately and, with a 5kg weight advantage, pulled away to win by a full three-lengths on the line. Long shot Hwa Gi came in 3rd a further five-lengths adrift of Silver Wolf.

Dia Road, a four-year-old filly by Captain Coltish and out of the Menifee mare Gieongnal Geunal, moves on to six wins from seven starts with her only defeat coming at the hands of Clear Geom in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. Like Silver Wolf, she is trained by Song Moon-Gil and has been similarly sensibly campaigned.

As for Silver Wolf, she didn’t lose much in defeat, putting in a game effort while giving away considerable weight in blizzard-like conditions. She may still pose a formidable test for the younger fillies later in the year.

Dia Road and Silver Wolf could well clash again this summer when the Queens’ Tour gets underway with the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul on July 5th.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Silver Wolf Returns – Race-By-Race Preview (February 16)

Champion mare Silver Wolf will get her 2020 campaign underway at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The eight-year-old Australian-bred will face ten rivals as she seeks to win the Listed Donga Ilbo Cup for a third time. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews with Busan selections at the bottom:

Silver wolf Gyeongnam

Silver Wolf (KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

We start the day with twelve three-year-old maidens and several look in with a shout. (4) TIZ BLACK is the pick, having run a solid 2nd on debut on January 12th over 1000M just beaten a couple of lengths by a good winner. He came from just behind the pace and the additional distance should suit here. It should also suit (8) LONG GUY. He missed the kick by a full three-lengths on his own debut a month ago over 1300M but rallied nicely to run 3rd. He should have come on for that run and with a better start today will be right in the mix. (2) HYPER CAR has raced twice and improved in the latest of those finishing 3rd at 1300M last month. (10) GANGHAN YEOJEONGSA was a much-improved 2nd on what was her fourth start on January 17th and is stretched out to further than the minimum for the first time today with solid claims to go close. She was ridden on pace for the first time that day and after that success surely will be again along with (5) BAEKSAN THUNDER, who did weaken over 1300M last start but can be given another chance today.

Selections (4) Tiz Black (8) Long Guy (2) Hyper Car (10) Ganghan Yeojeonsa

Next Best 5, 3

Fast Start 5, 10

 

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

There is no standout in the second on the card but what makes the race even trickier is the lack of speed engaged. Form analysts should watch the trial replay of (7) PARAN WANGJA who won his heat with ease. The Divine Park colt sat on speed before extending under his own steam with Kim Dong-soo letting the horse do it all himself. Rider Kim will partner him for his first start, and he looks capable of sitting on speed and proving hard to run down. (11) CUPID BISANG clocked a quick time for this grade last start when hitting the line strong. The Thunder Moccasin filly was unlucky at the start when copping a squeeze shortly after they jumped and being shuffled out to the tail of the field. The filly recovered for a good 4th and if she has some luck in this race can be considered a winning chance. (2) SEOUL CROWN ran through the line strong last start. He should get every opportunity from barrier two. (1) CHEONGDAM CURLING comes out of the same race as Seoul Crown and hit the line with gusto. Look for improvement at his second start.

Selections (7) Paran Wangja (11) Cupid Bisang (2) Seoul Crown (1) Cheongdam Curling

Next Best 8, 9

Fast Start 7

 

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

An emphatic maiden winner over the distance last November, (2) CHOEGANGMA beat a couple of these on her way to 3rd place on her first try at this class on January 12th. She’s shown plenty of speed as well as the potential for more and she should be winning this comfortably. (3) MY MEMBER made all for an easy three-length win in a maiden at the start of last month. She’s up in class here but if anything is to challenge the favourite, it is likely to be here. She has good gate speed and should be getting to the front from the start. (7) NUNBIT EUNYAK steps up in class too following a maiden win of his own and while he perhaps has a bit more to find, he should be competitive at this level. Definitely competitive at this level is (12) MONEY CHAMP having run out a good winner at class and distance on January 11th. The track was wet so the time can perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt but he ran almost as fast the time before so he must be taken seriously. (8) GONGJU SARANG, 5th behind Choegangma last start. Is another in the placing hunt.

Selections (2) Choegangma (3) My Member (12) Money Champ (7) Nunbit Eunyak

Next Best 8, 9

Fast Start 1, 2, 3

 

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

There is a handful of chances in the fourth where a field of twelve go over the 1300M. The win of (6) CLEAN UP HAPPY on debut was good when the Paynter three-year-old won in the last stride. He dug in deep to get there in the nick of time, given he steps up to the 1300M, it looks as if Lim Gi-won can let the galloper relax and rely on his turn of foot late. (10) SONGAM CANDY handled the step up in class last time out well when 2nd behind Complete Kingdom. He has had just the three starts for the one win and two seconds. He is likely to settle further back in this even with a wide draw. (3) JEJUI YOJEONG has raced well at his past couple of starts. He hit the line strong last time out when clocking the fastest sectional in the race. (12) DURI was a winner in this grade last time out but it did take thirteen starts to produce the maiden win. She goes up 3kg and has to overcome a wide gate but in an open race she can figure.

Selections (6) Clean Up Happy (10) Songam Candy (3) Jejui Yojeong (12) Duri

Next Best 1, 7

Fast Start 4, 7, 8

 

Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) BODY STAR was on pace throughout when scoring a strong maiden win over 1300M on January 11th. He steps up in class here, but the company is in no way intimidating for the level and he has every chance of winning again. (1) DASHING CANOE and (2) WIND RIVER come in with form practically identical to one another – a 5th and two 4ths from their respective latest three. Both have proved capable of more than holding their own in this type of company and both look set to go close here. (9) GALAXY PEACE was caught wide most of the way around last start when finishing 5th behind Dashing Canoe. He’s previously gone well over 1700M, registering a 3rd place finish, and the 1400M may well suit him today. Another who has been at this level for quite some time, always hovering around the minor money without ever looking like breaking through, is (11) LUCKY MIDAS. This will be the furthest distance he has tackled, and it could be could for him.

Selections (8) Body Star (1) Dashing Canoe (9) Galaxy Peace (11) Lucky Midas

Next Best 2, 12

Fast Start 4, 6, 7

 

Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

The sixth on the card looks a competitive affair with a field of twelve imports lining up (more…)