The fifteenth running of the Busan Ilbo Cup is the feature race for the weekend with a capacity field of sixteen to face the starter at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. With the postponement of the Chairman’s Cup due to Covid-19, this will be the first leg of the 2020 Korean Sprint Series. There are 5 races at Busan from 12:15 to 15:30 while at Seoul there are 14 from 10:35 to 18:00. Both meetings are closed to spectators.
Eight of Seoul’s top sprinters will line up against eight of Busan’s best over the 1200m. The Group Three feature was taken out by Gaon Champ last year, who lines up in the event once again.
The winning trifecta of the Segye Ilbo Cup in January will reunite to face off once more. There was less than half a length covering the first three in the 1200m listed feature with Simjangui Godong (1st), Do Kki Blade (2nd) and Gaon Champ (3rd) completing the trifecta. Last year’s Champion Three-Year-Old Simjangui Godong showed a brilliant turn of foot over the sprint distance after dropping back from the 1800m the start prior. Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ both settled on speed and were gallant up the Seoul straight.
Last start Class One winner Seobu Cat will face his toughest test to date, coming of four successive victories. The four-year-old comes off a dominant two length victory when carrying the featherweight of 51kg, defeating Doraonpogyeongson (2nd/58kg) and Ace Korea (4th/60kg).
Last year’s Korea Sprint runner-up Dia Socks will make the trip to Busan for the feature. The five-year-old comes off a last start fourth behind Global Captain, who is absent from the race. The five-year-old is never the fastest out of the gates, but he did fail to muster early on last start which cost him a closer finish after rattling home late. To make things more difficult, he has been dealt the outside gate but will have the services of Korea’s leading jockey in Moon Se-Young.
M J Power and Morning Daero both come off Class One victories. M J Power saluted over the 1200m in February with just 52kg on his back, he beat home Munhak Winner (3rd/52kg) who will line up in the event as well. Morning Daero comes off a 1400m victory carrying 56.5kg when defeating former KRA Cup Classic Winner Divide Wind (4th/52kg).
King Of Glory was beaten four lengths last start late December over 1200m in Class One grade carrying 56kg, with Hi Sexy finishing well back in the same race. Clean Up Board comes off a last start midfield performance behind Heuk Jeonsa whilst Seongpa and Seongsan Simon saluted in Class 1 events over 1200m and 1400m respectively.
In a wide open version of the Busan Ilbo Cup, Gaon Champ is the on top selection. The five-year-old entire has been so consistent throughout his career to date, winning nine of fourteen and placing on three other occasions. He is drawn to likely find the fence early on, and if not sit at worst one of the fence outside of Seongpa who is a speedy type. His trial in April was encouraging, Lim Gi-won looked statuesque aboard him as he worked home under his own steam to clock a good time. Epsom Derby-winning jockey Alan Munro is the beneficiary of an injured Lim Gi-won and will be legged aboard on Sunday.
Here are previews for all races:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
The maidens kick off proceedings on Sunday’s 14 event card. (7) GLOBAL WANGJA looks the one to get punters off to a good start coming off a last start second behind Ganghojeil back in February. The lightly race four-year-old has speedy types drawn either side of him suggesting he should get a trail forward and be able to camp on the leaders’ coattails. (6) PARAN WANGJA is one of those speedy types who will work forward. The Divine Park chestnut was prominent in his debut when placing behind Cheongdam Curling. He completed the 1200m in a slow time on debut but with some improvement he looks an each-way prospect. (3) COIN BLADE hasn’t raced since April last year when finishing third on debut. He trialed in April and the performance couldn’t give us an indication of how he is going. Keep him safe as is if he is sound he could give this a shake. (4) HOEBOK looks next best finishing just behind the placings at his past couple of starts.
|Selections||(7) Global Wangja (6) Paran Wangja (3) Coin Blade (4) Hoebok|
|Next Best||2, 8|
|Fast Start||5, 6, 8|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Maiden fillies go around here. (8) RAON BLOOD improved to 3rd place on what was her fourth outing in February. She’s not the quickest but she plugs away well and against this limited set of opposition, she has fair claims having almost made all in a trial earlier this month. (6) IMPERIAL SILK finished 4th behind Raon Blood last time out and looked similarly well when trialing with seemingly scope for more development. (12) HWA SSI BYEOK has finished no worse than 5th in three outings so far. She has been quite one-paced but just with Raon Blood, that may be enough to see her into some money here. Her recent trial was good enough. (5) WONDERFUL CAT has a runner-up finish at class and distance to her name and must be taken seriously while (9) BAEKDUWA HALLA did nothing wrong when 4th on debut in February, running on strongly over 1000M and looks in the hunt over the additional distance too.
|Selections||(8) Raon Blood (6) Imperial Silk (9) Baekduwa Halla (12) Hwa Ssi Byeok|
|Next Best||5, 2, 3|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 7, 8|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
The maiden three-year-olds will go over the 1400m in the third with the most experienced gallopers having just the five starts against their name. (6) BLUE CHARM is considered an each-way chance based on his past couple of starts. He finished third behind Punch Power last time out when beaten less than a length. The Tiz Wonderful colt is a strong and leggy type who looks as if he will appreciate the 1400m first up. (9) WILD KINGDOM is a big chance after finishing third behind Dynamic Punch last time out. The Competitive Edge colt has placed twice from the three starts and is one of only a few who can show early speed. (2) ROCK NEWS has been hitting the line better at his past couple of starts. He won his trial in April and further improvement first up is possible. (1) YEONGJU STONE looks next best coming off a last start third when hitting the line strong in the final stages. The chestnut will be aided by an inside draw.
|Selections||(6) Blue Charm (9) Wild Kingdom (2) Rock News (1) Yeongju Stone|
|Next Best||3, 7|
|Fast Start||6, 9|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Fillies only here. (6) SIBERIA made all when odds-on on debut in February for a strong win. She is up in class today and didn’t exactly pull up trees in her trial so while she can win again, there are some question marks. (1) CHOEGANGMA similarly steps up to this distance for the first time. She got her maiden win at 1000M last November and then raced twice at this class finishing 3rd and 2nd beating a few of these in the process. She likes to come from just off the pace and today could be his day again. (4) PRETTY JOY too tries the distance for the first time having run 2nd on her first try at this class in December. Her trial was not as strong as others, however. (10) RAIN K had a hard time on her first start at this level in February when she never got into gear and finished well back but looked much better in a recent trial. If she gets a good start, she can be a factor. The up in class (2) ALL BAEK is another to look out for.
|Selections||(6) Siberia (1) Choegangma (4) Pretty Joy (10) Rain K|
|Next Best||2, 3, 4, 11|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 6, 9, 10|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
There looks to be a lack of speed engaged in the fifth suggesting the winner will need to be in touch with the leaders at the top of the straight. From an outside draw (12) SAMSEONG VIVA looks one that can work forward and camp on the leaders’ backs. The Tiz Wonderful colt saluted over this distance three starts back, then finished midfield before running second last start behind Jeongsang Dolpung. (3) EAST CHAMP broke through for his first win last start over this distance. He trialed in April and performed only fair but we will include him based on his consistency shown in his four career starts to date. (1) TANK SOCKS has drawn ideally to sit closer to the speed. She comes off a last start fourth when somewhat one-paced to the line. She did win on debut at big odds, suggesting the forced freshen-up may work in her favour. (7) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM is considered an each-way chance based on his last start when third behind Dia Key. The four-year-old has had the sixteen start yielding just the one win and three minor placings, whilst the record is not overly impressive, this isn’t the strongest race.
|Selections||(12) Samseong Viva (3) East Champ (1) Tank Socks (7) Cheonnyeonui Baram|
|Next Best||11, 4|
|Fast Start||6, 11|
Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
After getting his maiden win at odds in excess of 60/1 back in January, (3) MR. HANSEN promptly followed up with another victory, this time at 1400M in February. He steps up in class again but is beautifully drawn to be on pace from the start and has every chance of completing his hat-trick here. (11) BEYOND steps up in class and distance following a nice looking win over 1300M back in January. He usually comes from off the pace so if Jung Do-yun can have him placed handily, he can run on strongly again here. (6) SUMMIT TODAY has won at this class already and with plenty of experience needs to be taken seriously here. Former Busan champion jockey Kim Yong-geun, back in town for the big race later on, takes the ride. Then there is (4) VEGA THUNDER. He’s raced six times for just the one win but has been runner-up in all of the other five. He can place again.
|Selections||(3) Mr. Hansen (11) Beyong (6) Summit Today (4) Vega Thunder|
|Next Best||1, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 4|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Since finishing 3rd on debut last September, (7) COMPLETE CAPTAIN has gone on to win three on the spin, the latest of which was at this class and distance on a wet track back in early January. He trialed up reasonably well in April behind Silver Wolf and while he carries more weight today, is slightly up in trip, and has another enforced jockey change, he can make it four in a row here. This is a good race though with some capable of beating him at their best. It’s been a long time since the latest of (2) GLOBAL CHEONHA’s two wins but before the shutdown he ran 2nd to the very promising Lady Kelly. He was very good in a recent trial and shapes to go well here. (10) MAMMA ROMA similarly doesn’t win out of turn but has plenty of in the money finishes to her name and can aim to hit the board again here. (3) BILUI QUEEN and (9) MACH SEUNGNI both drop back in trip and both should suit.
|Selections||(7) Complete Captain (2) Global Cheonha (10) Mamma Roma (3) Bilui Queen|
|Next Best||9, 6|
|Fast Start||2, 7|
Busan Race 3: Class 3 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
A compact field of nine gallopers will line up over the mile in the third event. (9) WONDERFUL MORNING has been the perennial runner-up throughout his career notching just the one win from twelve starts. Of his the remaining eleven starts he has finished second on eight occasions. He looks the strongest miler in this race and handed in a good trial performance early May. (8) DAEHEUNG SIDAE found the rise in class last start a bit tough over the 1800m. The four-year-old looks better suited over the mile with all three career victories over this distance. He is well weighted with the 54kg. (2) TRUE KING will be benefited from a good draw with his racing pattern seeing him sit on speed. The 1600m fresh for him looks ideal as he does his best racing at the mile and beyond. (6) RAON CAESERS steps into Class 3 company for the first time coming off successive wins. He was stretched out to the mile earlier on in his career and performed mediocre. His trial was good, the query lies with him running out a strong mile.
|Selections||(9) Wonderful Morning (8) Daeheung Sidae (2) True King (6) Raon Caesers|
|Next Best||3, 4|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 9|
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
A mixture of Korean-bred gallopers and imports line up over the 1400m in the seventh. The lightly raced (3) DORAON POPEYE is the on top selection after some handy performances behind the likes of Blue Chiton and Lord Ban before the hiatus. The three-year-old has placed three times from four starts, with the speedy type to be aided by barrier three. (4) DEO DEO BI is yet to break through from twelve career starts. The gelding comes off a last start fourth in the same race as Doraon Popeye. He trialed up in brilliant fashion clocking 61.1 for the 1000m on a dry track. (12) ECHO FIRST ON is another yet to break maiden status but she has produced some handy performances in her ten start career. With an awkward draw she may be forced to settle further back than ideal but she has the ability to hit the line strong as shown previously. (5) JAELONGI doesn’t win out of turn but has a handful of placings against his name. He looks one that can perform well over the 1400m first up.
|Selections||(3) Doraon Popeye (4) Deo Deo Bi (12) Echo First On (5) Jaelongi|
|Next Best||1, 2|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 12|
Busan Race 4: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
What to make of (9) STAR ROAD? After a somewhat inauspicious beginning to his career, he went on a tear last summer, winning four consecutive races, including one at today’s class and distance. His run came to an end when 4th of 12 in late September and he hasn’t raced since. He did though look exceptionally well when winning a trial just two weeks ago and if he is at his best, he wins this. There is a caveat though. When Star Road finished 4th in that September race, ahead of him in 3rd was (8) TOHAM ACE. He went on to find himself overmatched in the President’s Cup at Seoul before finishing in midfield on his return to Busan in January. He at one stage put together a run of five straight wins and the rest may have done him good. (5) KINGSTON HARBOR has won at this class and also has placings to his name over today’s distance and he can be considered to go close. (6) JUSTINE MAGIC is up in class following an unexpected victory at this distance in February and looks nicely in under a light weight and good jockey here.
|Selections||(9) Star Road (8) Toham Ace (5) Kingston Harbor (6) Justine Magic|
|Next Best||7, 10|
|Fast Start||6, 10|
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
There’s not much in the way of positive form to go on here. We’re going to need to draw a line through the latest performance of many, including (5) GEUMBIT YEOLJEONG, who ran last of twelve at class and distance just before the shutdown. She was reasonably well-backed that day for a reason though as her form coming into it had been good and a positive showing in a May trial suggests that February disaster can be overlooked. (1) INCHEON CAPTAIN debuted well before running somewhat anonymously on his second attempt. He too returned to the trial ranks positively and can be given another chance today. While we are in a forgiving mood, we shall extend the same courtesy to (7) GIVEN WEEKEND, who has at least won two races while (3) BLACK PUNCH has also registered a decent performance at this distance and in a race devoid of any speed, may get the lead. (4) D K ARIA has only raced twice and while he hasn’t shown much speed, he did improve in the second of them and went adequately in a trial.
|Selections||(5) Geumbit Yeoljeong (1) Incheon Captain (3) Black Punch (7) Given Weekend|
|Next Best||4, 2|
|Fast Start||3, 12|
Busan Race 5: THE 15TH BUSAN ILBO CUP (1200M) GROUP 3 SET WEIGHTS / KRW 400 Million
In a wide open version of the Busan Ilbo Cup, (5) GAON CHAMP is the on top selection. The five-year-old entire has been so consistent throughout his career to date, winning nine of fourteen and placing on three other occasions. He is drawn to likely find the fence early on, and if not sit at worst one of the fence outside of Seongpa who is a speedy type. His trial in April was encouraging, Lim Gi-won looked statuesque aboard him as he worked home under his own steam to clock a good time. Alan Munro is the beneficiary of an injured Lim Gi-won and will be legged aboard on Sunday.
(14) DO KKI BLADE has to be considered an each-way chance in the feature coming off a herculean performance in the Segye Ilbo. The four-year-old sat three wide the entirety and went down a head. His trial was good where he missed the kick before cruising to the line under minimal urging from Kim Yong-geun. The draw is not ideal and his chances of winning the race will most likely be decided in the first furlong based on where rider Kim can position him.
(2) ACE KOREA has the credentials needed to take out the race. The five-year-old is always up against it in the handicaps carrying big weights. Considering the recent 59kg and 60kg he has had to carry, he has performed admirably. He finished third in the Kookje Shinmun Cup three starts back behind the likes of Baengmunbaekdup and Today, which reads well for this event. Adding to the confidence of his chances is an impressive trial in April clocking 60.8 for the 1000m on a dry track.
(1) SIMJANGUI GODONG cannot be discounted as a winning chance once again. The four-year-old was sent out at an each-way price in the Segye Ilbo most likely attributed to the significant drop back to the 1200m from the 1800m the start prior. Barrier one is not necessarily an advantage for connections as his normal racing style is that of a backmarker. If they overdo it up front, expect him to be steaming over the top of them late.
(16) DIA SOCKS is another that has the ability to win, but his task has been made much harder with the outside draw in the capacity field. (15) DORAONPOGYEONGSEON is another that has performed well at the top level and is capable of running into the money. (6) SEOBU CAT faces an acid test stepping up to this grade for the first time, but the colt has won seven from twelve and finished worse than second once in his career.
|Selections||(5) Gaon Champ (14) Do Kki Blade (2) Ace Korea (1) Simjangui Godong|
|Next Best||16, 15|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 6, 9, 12, 14|
Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
The lightly raced imports go over the 1200m in the ninth where the majority of the field’s performances to date have been mediocre. (2) GLOBAL JOY looks hardest to beat with the filly being a previous class winner. She won over the 1000m at her second start two starts ago, then followed that up with a fair performance when fifth behind Jeolye. She’s a speed type with a handy draw so expect Lee Hyeok to let her roll forward in the early stages. (11) SAENAE IRENE produced an eye-catching run on debut. The Constitution filly settled at the tail before firing home strong to finish third behind Moonhak Mischief. With the wide draw she is likely to take a sit well back in the field once again and produce another impressive sectional. (12) GEUMBIT YEOWANG improved last start to fill a place. The filly was disappointing at her first couple of starts but seemed to improve when stepping out to the 1200m. She had speed to burn early on last start and it is assumed the same tactics of working to the lead will be employed in this event. (10) GEUMJAYU is a previous Class 4 winner over the 1300m. She seems to improve with some runs under her belt but a forward showing would not surprise.
|Selections||(2) Global Joy (11) Saenae Irene (12) Geumbit Yeowang (10) Geumjayu|
|Next Best||5, 6|
|Fast Start||2, 10, 12|
Seoul Race 10: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Intriguing race here. (1) MUNHAK KING is up in class having made all to score on his first try at this distance on February. The Tiznow gelding has a bit of speed about him and performed well in a trial in April. From the inside gate, Lee Hyeon-jong will work hard to get him to the lead and he could well have more progression in him. (11) MUNHAK BOSS beat Munhak King when the pair of them ran 1st and 2nd over 1000M back in December. The former went on to run a good 4th and a poor 10th in two subsequent attempts at this distance and can be given another chance here. (5) GO GO BI is a class and distance winner as recently as last December and beat a couple of these when she returned to action running 6th in February and accordingly warrants respect here while (6) OHTHE PAZILBILITIES may not win out of turn but consistently posts good times and can be considered. (2) UNCLE OH races for the first time in over a year but performed very well in two trials this Spring and would have been the likely mount of Moon Se Young were he not in Busan this weekend. (4) CHARLIE STYLE, a lightning quick winner over 1300M last November and similarly fast trial winner in April, is another with serious claims.
|Selections||(4) Charlie Style (1) Munhak King (2) Uncle Oh (6) Ohthe Pazabilities|
|Next Best||5, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 3, 4|
Seoul Race 11: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Twelve Korean-bred gallopers face the starter in the eleventh on the card. (4) DAEJIUI YEOIN is the on top selection after a soft win on debut. The Simon Pure filly demolished a Class 6 field on debut winning by eight lengths. The filly was then trialed in May when not overly urged for an effort. There is a query with the step up to the 1700m, but with a good draw she should be hard to beat. (5) BAEKDUSAN CHEONJI is a last start winner over this distance breaking through at start six. The Hansen colt sat off speed last time out before proving too strong in the run home. He trialed during the hiatus and performed only fair, he does seem a horse who appreciates the middle to longer distances. (11) MIRACLE ICHEON is another last start winner who will go over the two turns for the first time in his career. The colt lacks early dash in his races so look for hitting the line strong in the straight. (3) MANE HANA is yet to break maiden status but has a handful of minor placings against his name. The four-year-old comes off a placing behind Wind Sky over this distance last time out.
|Selections||(4) Dajiui Yeoin (5) Baekdusan Cheonji (11) Miracle Icheon (3) Mane Hana|
|Next Best||8, 2|
|Fast Start||4, 7, 12|
Seoul Race 12: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(11) JEONGMUN SAI went into the shutdown in solid form registering a 2nd place on his first try around two-turns at 1700M, beating a couple of these in the process. He carries an extra 3kg today but has won under heavier in the past, albeit in a lower grade. Song Jae-chul will keep him handy and he may have too much late on. (12) BULSA BULPAE ran 3rd behind Jeongmun Sai that day when sent off at odds approaching 70/1. She may not overturn that form today but should be given a bit more respect and can find the money once more. (10) CITY CHAMP may be a thirty-one race maiden but he’s been in the minor-placings on no fewer than ten occasions, including his latest two, both at 1700M. This will be his first try at 1800M and it’s not impossible that he could go close. (3) BLACK PARTY and (7) BAEKSAEK GWANCHAE are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(11) Jeongmun Sai (10) City Champ (3) Black Party (12) Bulsa Bulpae|
|Next Best||7, 2|
|Fast Start||3, 11|
Seoul Race 13: Class 1 (1900M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million
The thirteenth on the card will see the Class 1 gallopers first up over the 1900m. (9) SUPER SOCKS looks hardest to beat after a last start victory in this grade over 1800m. The Two Step Salsa gelding goes up 2kg for the win but carries a manageable 53kg in this event. Lee Hyeon-jong, who rides him, rode him in his trial back in March which he won in good time. He’s a winner of seven races from fifteen starts. (10) ULTRA ROCKET maps to sit midfield or worse in the two-turn event. The six-year-old has drawn the outside and with plenty of potential pacemakers, he is likely to settle well back. If the pace is strong in the back straight expect Ultra Rocket to be bridging the margin in the final stages. (8) HWA GI ran out of her skin in the Donga Ilbo Cup back in February. She sat three and four wide the entire trip, with the assumed intent to keep her out of the sand kickback. She went on to finish third behind the boom filly Dia Road. She lost her way somewhat before her last start but she is a winner of four races from twelve starts. Last start winner (3) GUTONGSA is a multiple Class 1 winner and must be included in your calculations. The six-year-old thrives over this distance, supported by his last win over 2000m when defeating Tosconova Cat.
|Selections||(9) Super Socks (10) Ultra Rocket (8) Hwa Gi (3) Gutongsa|
|Next Best||7, 6|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 7, 9|
Seoul Race 14: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
A wide open sprint to finish things off and a race in which both tactics and luck may come into place. (8) RAON STORM is a winner of five from nine so far and steps up to class 2 for the first time. He’ll need a fast start and if he gets to the lead he can win. He beat (7) GAENARI SONG a few starts back but the latter has since gone on to record a good win which sees her promoted to this class as well and she will be a danger. The step up from class 3 to class 2 though can be demonstrated by (11) CHOEGANG STAR, who won four in a row across last Spring and Summer before seeing his run coming to an end in late August on his first try at class 2 with a couple of these beating him. He’s not raced since but is now with Tony Castenheira and looked well when 2nd in a trial two weeks ago. For those who prefer experience at this level, (12) DAEBAK HAENGJIN has recorded the fastest time and ran an excellent 2nd to Seongpa, who takes his chance in the Busan Ilbo Cup today, on his latest start in January. The wide draw does him no favours but he can go close. (3) HEUNG BARAM and (9) TAP FASHIONED are consistent money-earners at this class while (1) CUPID GUY is another who makes the step up following an excellent win at the distance last start.
|Selections||(7) Gaenari Song (8) Raon Storm (12) Daebak Haengjin (11) Choegang Star|
|Next Best||3, 1, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 8, 11, 12|