Korea Cup winner Moonhak Chief faces his big rival Cheongdam Dokki in a heavyweight showdonw at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon while down at Busan, President’s Cup winner New Legend also makes his 2020 debut. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews for Seoul with Busan selections below:
Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
The maiden fillies kick off proceedings at Seoul on Sunday morning for an eleven-race card. (5) SAEROUN BOBAE finds herself in a weaker assignment and has winning claims. The Whywhywhy filly has placed at her past two starts over the 1300M. She looks suited from barrier five to sit slightly closer to the speed in this event. She has run through the line solidly of late and looks an each-way hope. (12) HAPPY MONTH comes out of the same race where she ran on well to finish fourth. She has been getting well back in her runs before extending stride for the run home. Johan Victoire will be legged aboard the three-year-old for the first time which is a positive. (11) NONGBON RAK lined up in a smart field when debuting early December. The Any Given Saturday filly felt the pinch up the Seoul straight but should take improvement out of the run. She clocked a reasonable time, and this is a weaker assignment. (6) SEMYEONG GANGJA started to work through the line fairly towards the end of her qualifying trial indicating she will appreciate the 1200M on debut.
Selections (5) Saeroun Bobae (12) Happy Month (11) Nongbon Rak (6) Semyeong Gangja
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 8, 9
Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Another maiden for three-year-olds although this one is open to the colts and geldings as well. Nevertheless, it’s a filly who we’re putting on top in the shape of (8) SHINE FIGHTER. She’s shown plenty of promise over her three starts so far and was just beaten a nose on her latest having led from the start. True she has never run further than 1000M but there is no reason to suppose it won’t suit and she can make her breakthrough here against less than intimidating opposition. (4) GREAT WAY has run on well in both previous starts but has run out of track both times. She’s the one who looks most likely to benefit from the step up in trip. (12) SAND POWER was an improved 3rd at 1300M in December and can maintain his progress here. (10) REAL PACK did nothing wrong on debut at 1300M five weeks ago, recording a time that should be competitive today. The wildcard is (3) BOGO TTO BOGO. He did absolutely nothing on debut to the extent that he got sent back to trial. He looked a completely different animal in that subsequent trial, running a good 2nd in a useful time and if he brings that form to the track, can go well today.
Selections (8) Shine Fighter (4) Great Way (12) Sand Power (3) Bogo Tto Bogo
Next Best 10, 5
Fast Start 8, 9, 12
Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
The third from Seoul is a small but competitive event with four of the ten engaged having winning claims. (2) JOY BROTHER was a good winner at his second start when defeating Money Silk in a two-year-old event. The Peace Rules gelding appreciated the step up to the 1300M at his second start when flying home to win by a length. He steps up once again to the 1400M, expect him to take a sit and fly home with a manageable weight on his back. (4) BEST LUCKY backed up his maiden victory with a good performance behind Lucky Beopcheon. He was beaten 2.5L but he exceeded expectations when finishing 2nd. He’s an on-speed runner and should look a winning chance as they head for home. (5) GWANGPOK JUHAENG bounced back to some form last start to place behind Tiz Rose. He finished less than two-lengths behind the winner, but the time was not fast, matching that of the class 6 winner on the same day. (3) SPADE MASHIE was respectable last time out when 5th behind Duri. The four-year-old is one that can run into minor money.
Selections (2) Joy Brother (4) Best Lucky (5) Gwangpok Juhaeng (3) Spade Mashie
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 4
Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Fillies and mares only here. (8) JILJUUI KKUM led every step of the way to record a five-length victory on what was just her second career start on December 21st. She is up in both class and in distance today but can overcome both to win again. It’s a competitive field though and it won’t be easy. (9) POWER TOWER has a 3rd and a 2nd in two attempts at this class following her maiden win in October. She very nearly made all last start only to go down by a neck and she will challenge Jiljuui Kkum for the early lead. So too will (1) AN MOK HANG. Having won a very similar race to this in September she than had three months off, returning in January to run well again for 3rd. She carries 5kg more than when she won but should be dangerous here. (6) BIG RIVER was a battling maiden winner last time and comes up in class today looking competitive. (7) WIN BLADE looks best of a useful rest.
Selections (8) Jiljuui Kkum (9) Power Tower (1) An Mok Hang (6) Big River
Next Best 7, 10
Fast Start 1, 7, 8, 9
Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
There will be no cheap sectionals in the fifth with half of the field looking to map on speed. (11) RAON HANNIBAL looks one that get in well-weighted and will be able to sit off the leading division. She showed a nice turn of foot last time out when beating Geum Royal by a neck. She’s building a nice record with three wins from four starts and looks a good chance with just the 53.5kg on her back. (12) CHAMP K looks to have each-way claims in the race. He ran home well last time out to finish 3rd behind Geosen Jilju, in a race where the form reads relatively strong. He is another that will settle rearwards especially from the wide draw. Shin Hyung-chul will bide his time allowing the for-year-old to steam home late. (4) BUCKETFUL GOLD is a perennial runner-up horse with five 2nd placings from eleven career starts. The colt finished 2nd behind a handy type last time out over the five-furlongs. He steps up again to 1200M where Jo Sang-beom will need to ride somewhat more conservatively to give his mount the best possible chance of winning. (1) LUCKY BONGSEONG is a last start winner when defeating Taktuein, who is well thought of in the lower grades. She was penalized 4kg for the win which makes this tough with plenty of each-way chances engaged.
Selections (11) Raon Hannibal (12) Champ K (4) Bucketful Gold (1) Lucky Bongseong
Next Best 8, 5
Fast Start 1, 2, 4, 5, 6
Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Another really competitive looking race. (8) MOONHAK MISCHIEF was an all the way winner in a fast time over 1000M at this class with a couple of these well back down the track behind him. He goes up in trip today and does carry a couple of extra kilograms, but he still should have enough about him to aim to win here. (12) GEUMA AGILE was a similarly good winner last time, also at 1000M. He’s drawn wide but doesn’t need to lead and should be a danger. (11) EAST BAN was slightly disappointing in that same race, running 5th. He should benefit from Alan Munro returning to the ride and can get closer today. They look to be the clear top three but (7) MOONHAK DREAM impressed in a trial last month and should show much more than she did in her opening two races at the end of last year. (1) PANORAMA SUN is another with the potential to improve.
Selections (8) Moonhak Mischief (12) Geuma Agile (11) East Ban (7) Moonhak Dream
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 6, 7, 8, 11
Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
A field of twelve import line up in the seventh where all but one has notched a previous victory. In a wide-open affair, (9) HAENGBOK WANGJA has improved with each run and comes off a 3rd-place performance last start behind Blue Chiton. The Daredevil colt settled well back before hitting the line strong and clocking a reasonable time for this grade. Yoo Seung-wan takes over the riding responsibilities, which is a positive. (7) SENSE JAENGI should be at peak fitness after three runs this time in. The Munnings gelding hit the line strong last time out to finished 2nd behind The Gumpu who has now won two in a row. (3) SUN START has placed at his last two starts including a 3rd behind Flash Jet last start in good time. He is likely to sit on speed from barrier three in a race that doesn’t appear to have much early speed engaged. (4) GWANAK HAMSEONG cannot be discounted after a good performance behind The Gumpu last time out. Albeit a thirty-one start maiden, the six-year-old appears an each-way chance.
Selections (9) Haengbok Wangja (7) Sense Jaengi (3) Sun Start (4) Gwanak Hamseong
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 3, 4, 8
Race 8: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Wide-open race here. (4) MUDO beat three of these on his way to victory at this class over 1700M on December 22nd. He has really thrived since moving up to tackle racing around two turns and while he has an additional 3kg on his back today, he can win again. (3) ROYAL SMARTY is a classy colt who has already proven competitive at this level. He stretches out to 1800M for the first time but given his half-brother is President’s Cup winner New Legend, that shouldn’t be a problem. (2) JEONGSANG MANSE and (11) SPEED HWANGNYONG came home 2nd and 4th respectively when they raced each other over a mile on January 12th. Jeongsang Manse has also finished ahead of Mudo in recent starts and both can be considered for places today. (7) GEUMA SUPREME is up in class following back to back runner-up finishes and looks nicely in again here.
Selections (4) Mudo (3) Royal Smarty (7) Geuma Supreme (11) Speed Hwangnyong
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 5, 6
Race 9: Class 2 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
There looks to be only a handful of winning chances in the ninth where the Class 2 gallopers go over the mile. (6) LIL’ PATRON looks a big chance coming off a good performance when 2nd behind Hush Daebo. The four-year-old has been mighty consistent in his ten starts to date including three wins. He will have the services of Alan Munro and looks to map on speed. (10) CHOINMA is a better horse than what he showed last start. Whiles it has been a while between drinks, he goes over a suitable distance and gets the services of Moon Se Young who has a good record on the Menifee entire. (1) RED BLADE has hit a purple patch of form winning four of his last six. This is a tougher event, but he gets in well at the weights and retains Antonio Da Silva on his back. (3) RAPIDOCUS has won five from eleven and cannot be discounted. He does appear to have met his mark in class 2 company.
Selections (6) Lil’ Patron (10) Choinma (1) Red Blade (3) Rapidocus
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 1, 6, 10
Race 10: Class 1 (2000M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
It’s the first true heavyweight clash of the season and they don’t much bigger in Korea at the moment than Cheongdam Dokki vs Moonhak Chief. (6) MOONHAK CHIEF won the Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes, both times beating (5) CHEONGDAM DOKKI and he is the reigning Horse of the Year. Yet when they faced each other at level weights over this distance in the KRA Cup Classic last October, Cheongdam Dokki ran 2nd to Moonhak Chief’s 5th with three-lengths between them. Of course, they both had eventual winner Dolkong to worry about that day so this time the dynamic can be quite different. Cheongdam Dokki may well be ridden to the lead here with Moonhak Chief the pursuer. The form is with Moonhak Chief with the feeling being that he has more to offer while Dokki has already peaked but either can win. It would be a huge surprise if the pair of them don’t fill out the quinella but there are other prizes on offer as well and (4) NASCA PRINCE looks next best while (7) CHANMA and (8) FLYING MUNNING are others with minor money credentials.
Selections (5) Cheongdam Dokki (6) Moonhak Chief (4) Nasca Prince (8) Flying Munning
Next Best 7, 10
Fast Start 1, 2, 5
Race 11: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
We finish off the day with an intriguing race with several different form lines clashing. Happy to put faith in the youth engaged here with (10) RAON FIRST. The filly blew the juveniles away last start in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup when winning by six-lengths and clocking a time that some of these horses would struggle to run over the 1200M. She’s exciting and lightly weighted in the event. (4) GEOSEON JILJU is another that will have her first start in this grade. The Take Charge Indy filly has won her past three including a five-length victory last start when defeating Brown Rose over the 1300M. (2) FIGHTING HERO rarely runs a bad race and last start was no exception when winning in class 4 company. The Munnings gelding gets in with the featherweight of 51.5kg and will have David Breux back aboard who has won on the gelding previously. (6) AMENDA was a surprise winner last start at massive odds and can run into the money once again. The daughter of Menifee is looking for her fifth win but will have to do it with 56.5 kg on her back.
Selections (10) Raon First (4) Geosen Jilju (2) Fighting Hero (6) Amenda
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 4, 5, 8, 9, 10
Race 1: 5, 9, 12, 1
Race 2: 1, 6, 3, 5
Race 3: 4, 7, 5, 11
Race 4: 11, 5, 8, 1
Race 5: 6, 2, 8, 7
Race 6: 6, 10, 4, 3