There was a brief glimmer of light at the beginning of the week when the government gave to go ahead to the professional baseball and football leagues to begin admitting spectators to stadiums from as early as this Friday. The hope was that this could be quickly extended to the racecourses where strict bio-security and distancing measures are ready to be enforced. That hope was quickly extinguished with the rise of new “cluster infections” in the middle of the week with baseball and football having immediately had their approval put on hold.
Accordingly, this weekend’s racing will once more be run without spectators and without betting, the latter of which is unsustainable for very much longer. The races, while unavailable to loyal Korean punters, are, however, available to overseas bettors through the usual simulcast partners. There are 15 races at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00.
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
A small field of eight first-time starters get Friday’s card underway, tackling the minimum distance of five furlongs. The fastest in trials was (8) KKOTGWA BARAM, who despite weakening late on, still managed to hold her own in a heat that included Baengmunbaekdap. The widest gate may not be ideal, but she most likely doesn’t need to lead, and she has fair claims here. (2) YEONGGWANGUICHUKJE also looked competent when trialing at the end of May, running on strong late to post a respectable time and to warrant consideration first-up. (5) MY STAR trailed up along with some decent horses and didn’t look out of place when recording a by no means poor time while (6) GALLANT WARRIOR and (7) DOCTOR TAKE also hinted at some promise and can give a good account of themselves.
|Selections||(8) Kkotgwa Baram (2) Yeonggwanguichukje (6) Gallant Warrior (5) My Star|
|Next Best||7, 1|
Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
The three-year-old maidens go over the short course in the second event on the card. (9) FANTASTIC BOY lines up for his debut performance coming off an eye-catching trial. The Old Fashioned colt was piloted by Lee Sung-jae when working through the line strong. He was given minimal urging by rider Lee and looked to have plenty left in the tank. (11) HALA NURI looks the main danger, trialing well in May. The filly was allowed to free roll by Cho Si-dae who rides her in the event. She did have one start back in January where she finished midfield. (7) SMART BIJIN improved at her second trial and looks a place chance. She is by Daishoten winner Smart Falcon and it may take a couple of runs to see what she really has to offer. (6) MUJEOK YONGBYEONG has had a couple of starts back at the turn of the new year. He improved at his second start to settle behind the leaders and finish off fairly.
|Selections||(9) Fantastic Boy (11) Hala Nuri (7) Smart Bujin (6) Mujeok Yongbyeong|
|Fast Start||6, 9, 11|
Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens line up here with seven of the twelve racing for the very first time. Of the five who have prior racing experience, (9) STING is the only one to have troubled the judges, running 2nd on what was his third career start in February on a muddy track over 1000M. He ran on pleasingly enough and the additional trip today has the potential to suit. Jockey Park Jae-I became a father for the first time on Wednesday and he has a fine chance on debut-maker (10) GEUMGANG JEONGGI. A solid performer across three trials, the first all the way back in January and the most recent just a couple of weeks ago, he looks very much ready to run. The jockey is likely to send him to the front from the gate and he could be the one they need to beat. (4) CHOEGANG HUNTER and (6) QUEEN FLYING both offered next to nothing in two and one prior starts respectively. However, in May trials, both looked to have befitted from the time off and should be much better prospects this time around. Among the other debutants, (11) MR. FUSION looks the pick.
|Selections||(10) Geumgang Jeonggi (9) Sting (4) Choegang Hunter (6) Queen Flying|
|Next Best||11, 7, 1|
|Fast Start||10, 11|
Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
The fillies line up over the six furlongs in the fourth where there appears to be only a handful of chances. (9) FASHION KEY looks a speedy type who can perform well fresh. She has lined up in stronger events than this and accounted for herself well. The trial was good, and she will have one of Busan’s best in Seo Seung-un on her back. (10) NORTHERN DREAM trialed up well back in April. She did place two starts back over the five furlongs and then backed it up with a fair performance in February before the hiatus. The concern is where she ends up from barrier ten. (3) BARAMEUI WOOLLIM lines up for her first start as a four-year-old. She won a trial back in February when qualifying in good time then finished midfield in a trial against the older horses. (4) HONOR QUEEN will have her second start after finishing midfield on debut over the 1000m. She never looked a winning chance but held her own, with some improvement she can run into the minor money.
|Selections||(9) Fashion Key (10) Northern Dream (3) Barameui Woollim (4) Honor Queen|
|Next Best||2, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 9|
Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Maidens again here but plenty of form to go around. (1) PINEUI KKUM has finished no worse than 6th in six appearances so far with a best of 2nd. That came at 1000M, but he has finished 3rd at this distance as well. He has disappointed as favourite on a number of occasions, but he looked well in a May trial and this really should be his day. (8) ALPHA STAR ran 2nd on June 19th, well beaten by the very promising debut-maker My Queen. He should have come on for that run and gets a quick turnaround here. He’ll be on pace early and can go close. Looking to overcome being drawn in the car park to get to the front early will be (12) MILLION MAKER. He led for much of the way over 1200M on his second career start back in February only to get overhauled late on. He too looked well in a trial just last Saturday and presuming he didn’t leave his race in that heat, he has a big chance here. (10) ACE JACKPOT hasn’t shown much in the way of speed but has hit the board a couple of times at this level and has placing claims.
|Selections||(1) Pineui Kkum (8) Alpha Star (12) Million Maker (10) Ace Jackpot|
|Next Best||4, 6|
|Fast Start||8, 12|
Race 6: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
A compact field of maiden gallopers line up in the sixth where there is a lack of early speed. (2) CHEONNYEONUI GIL lines up for her sixth start after an average trial in May. The Tiz Wonderful filly has finished in the top five on four of her five starts including a last start third behind Gold Candy. She was beaten a big margin that day but Gold Candy does look to have ability winning at her next start by ten lengths in a stronger grade. (3) TIZ LINE appreciated the step up to the mile for the first time last start, finishing second behind Borne Matta. He trialed in April and only beat a couple home, with a slow time. We will include him on the strength of his last run. (7) BAEDARI CAPER is a twenty-nine start maiden but is capable of running into the minor money. He is drawn to sit midfield and have every chance of collecting a cheque. (6) TOP OF THE GIRL has mixed her form since starting her career in August last year but based on her trial in May where she clocked a good time, she is worth including.
|Selections||(2) Cheonnyeonui Gil (3) Tiz Line (7) Baedari Caper (6) Top Of The Girl|
|Next Best||9, 10|
Race 7: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(6) MASTER KING was a good winner over 1300M all the way back in November last year. Although he didn’t get a chance to make his class 5 debut before racing was halted in February, he certainly looked the part when leading for most of a trial at the start of June. Look for him to get on pace early and potentially lead all the way today. (9) MAN OF THE WORLD’s final run before the shutdown saw him come home 4th when sent off as favourite over 1000M on February 14th. He is yet to win but has a 2nd place to his name at 1300M and was similarly fast in a trial two weeks ago. He will be challenging for the early lead and has every chance of making the breakthrough here. Another maiden is (10) BANJIUI MAGIC. He returned to action two weeks ago running a solid class and distance 4th and should have come on for that run. Another front runner, Lee Sung-jae might be tempted to take a sit behind the early pace today and look to run on strongly late on. (3) JEONSEOULUI BULKKOT had a hard time when stepped up to a mile two weeks ago but should be better dropped back today. (4) STRONG MIND and (5) DOCTOR GREY are others who find themselves up in class 5 without a win but who should have enough about them to be competitive.
|Selections||(9) Man Of The World (10) Banjiui Magic (6) Master King (5) Doctor Grey|
|Next Best||3, 4|
|Fast Start||5, 9, 11|
Race 8: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
The eighth will see a field of eleven Korean-breds line up over the 1400m. (5) NANSAN YEOJE managed to finish third last start behind Ecton Stealth over this distance. She brings the strongest formlines into the race and has Busan’s best jockey aboard in You Hyun-myung. She was beaten a big margin in her trial, but she lined up against some pretty handy types. (4) B.K. EUAN is to be considered an each-way chance. The gelding sits on speed in his races and is drawn to likely find the fence first. He comes off a last start second in Class 6 company but the rise in grade should not be too concerning as this is a weak Class 5. (11) MERCI CHERIE is a last start winner. He was sent out at even money and got the job done winning clearly. He is another likely to push forward but is a danger of working overtime early with a wide draw. (3) NAMYANG SEUNGNI, like B.K. EUAN is another up in grade based on a last start second. The Chapel Royal colt powered to the line to finish less than a length behind B.K. Honey. The three-year-old is drawn perfectly to camp on the leaders’ backs and let down in the straight.
|Selections||(5) Nansan Yeoje (4) B.K. Euan (11) Merci Cherie (3) Namyang Seungni|
|Next Best||7, 11|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 9, 11|
Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
A small field of eight face the starter for this handicap which is open to imported as well as domestic horses. None covered themselves in glory in their respective last starts before the shutdown but there is some handy looking form in some of their pasts and a couple also caught the eye in recent trials. That latter point applies to (6) FRIGATE BIRD, woeful on debut back in February but who looked a different animal entirely when nearly leading gate to wire in a trial at the beginning of June, ultimately just being pipped to the line by the talented Ssonsal in a fast time on a dry track. If he brings that form to the races, the Liaison colt will be winning class 4 races. (7) BLESS YOU has had the beating of a few of these in the past and the experienced six-year-old mare looked well when trialing up two weeks ago. So too did (4) BIG PICTURE, beaten by Bless You on his most recent outing, but a good class 5 winner at 1000M right at the start of the year. (5) TITLE CODE saw his form drop off a cliff around the turn of the year and may well have benefited from the break. He too looked fast in a trial and can get back into form here. (8) NEOLBEUN GEOUL another with credible form in his past who looked strong in a recent trial.
|Selections||(6) Frigate Bird (4) Big Picture (7) Bless You (8) Neolbeun Goeul|
|Next Best||5, 3|
|Fast Start||4, 5|
Race 10: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
A compact field of nine Korean-breds go over the seven furlongs in the tenth. (3) MIO looks one that can bring up his long awaited second victory at start thirty-one. The six-year-old trialed well mid last month and comes off a last start second behind Raon Caesers. Jung Do-yun rode him when he placed last start and also in the trial and will partner him from a good draw. (9) AMAZING WINNER went off the boil prior to the racing hiatus due to Covid-19. In saying that, he handed in a good trial performance and has previously performed well in this grade. He is a known back-marker who will be doing his best work late. (6) MAJOR GUY initially found the step up to this grade a bit tough but handed in a good performance before the break. There is a query with his condition heading into this event after a poor trial. (2) MAGIC STREET saluted last start in Class company at huge odds. His trial was fair and he is capable of collecting some minor money.
|Selections||(3) Mio (9) Amazing Winner (6) Major Guy (2) Magic Street|
|Next Best||4, 7|
Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
There’s a lot to like about (1) TOP DAY. He’s by Hansen and is out of Derby and Oaks winner Speedy First. He’s a winner of three from eight and looked in fine form when bolting up in a trial two weeks ago. From gate 1 he has every chance of getting up on the inside to lead all the way. He won’t necessarily have it all his own way from the gate though. (4) B.K. VICTOR is if anything a better starter and has drawn perfectly to get the early advantage. He tackles class 3 for the first time but has posted the kind of times that will be competitive at this level and he is a big danger. Another who is no slouch from the gates is (2) SEONNYANG CHEOLLI. While undoubtedly a touch inconsistent, he ran well for a class and distance 2nd last start and is another who was fast in a recent trial. On the subject of trials, one of the standouts of the shutdown was (7) RISING AGAIN, who appeared in no less than three heats, winning two of them and running 2nd in the other. He hasn’t raced since an underwhelming effort last November but improvement can’t be ruled out here. (3) TAGONAN JILJU and (8) GOOD BAND are others with solid placing claims in what is a nice-looking race.
|Selections||(1) Top Day (4) B.K. Victor (2) Seonnyang Cheolli (7) Rising Again|
|Next Best||3, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 7|
Race 12: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
The Korean-bred gallopers go over the mile in the twelfth event. The best bet of the day is (2) TOP SKY, who looks likely to sit on speed and be too hard to catch. He is on a two-week backup after finishing second behind Power Train. Lee Hyo-sik will be aboard who has returned with a bang over the past couple of weeks. (3) MORNING TAEYANG looks the biggest threat of the remaining runners. The lightly raced four-year-old is having his first run back in just short of a year. The records reported muscle soreness after his last run in July 2019, he was sent for a spell shortly after and resumed in April. His trial a fortnight ago was good, keep him safe in your selections. (8) DAMYANG CHOEGANG finished fourth at his last start in January, over this distance behind some handy types. He trialed well clocking a smidge over the 60 seconds for the 1000m on a dry track. In saying all of this, he has failed to break maiden status after seventeen runs. (1) BORNE MATTA looks next best and is on the two-week backup. He broke maiden status over this distance, he should appreciate the extra furlong.
|Selections||(2) Top Sky (3) Morning Taeyang (8) Damyang Choegang (1) Borne Matta|
|Next Best||5, 8|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 8|
Race 13: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Moon Se Young is in town to ride in Sunday’s KRA Cup Mile but today he forms a rare alliance with Busan’s top trainer Kim Young-kwan with (1) RAPIDO MAN. The four-year-old re-appeared on June 21st to run 3rd at class and distance and it what is arguably a slightly softer affair today, he can come out on top. We need to draw a line through the latest run of every single other horse in the race although even having down that, we are scratching about a little. (5) DOCTOR WEEK at least looked sharp when trialing up in competitive heat in a decent time three weeks ago and that’s enough to bring him into contention while (4) CHANGE BACK may have come on for the run he had over 1800M two weeks ago. Both of those do at least have the ability to run a race here with (3) MAGIC FLYING and (6) TROPHY COLLECTOR others who have been competitive in the past.
|Selections||(1) Rapido Man (5) Doctor Week (4) Change Back (3) Magic Flying|
|Fast Start||1, 5|
Race 14: Class 2 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
The penultimate will see a Class 2 event take place where the majority of the field were out of from prior to the Covid-19 hiatus. (9) BRAVE KINGDOM is one of two gallopers that have had a run since the return to racing a fortnight ago. The Treasure Beach colt couldn’t match the speed of his counterparts, before hitting top gear in the straight finishing third behind Speed Fury. The form reads well with Speed Fury winning six of his eight starts to date. He has drawn wide but expect Franco Da Silva to ease him back and rely on his turn of foot. (3) YEONGSEONG ACE lined up against some very handy types before the hiatus finishing behind the likes of Seobu Cat and Royal Soldier. This race looks a much weaker event, if Seo Seung-un can position him closer to the speed he will be a big chance to win the event. (2) DUBAI TEUKGEUP is a previous Class 2 winner and for that reason cannot be discounted. The Poet’s Voice six-year-old trialed up in superb fashion breaking the minute for the 1000m on a dry track. (5) YES PERFECT looks next best performing well after a long time between runs last fortnight. He has a better draw in this event and has the services of Seoul’s leading jockey Moon Se-young.
|Selections||(9) Brave Kingdom (3) Yeongseong Ace (2) Dubai Teukgeup (5) Yes Perfect|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 7|
Race 15: Class 1 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million
Less than two weeks ago, (3) WORLD POWER arrived in Seoul reasonably well fancied for the Listed Herald Business Cup. He ended up among the tail-enders, an awfully long way back. There were some excuses. His jockey dropped his whip a long way from home and, perhaps more significantly, he lost a shoe at some point, but whatever way it’s looked at, it was a poor performance from such a highly regarded prospect. The vets found nothing wrong though so back carrying just 51kg and back at Busan, we have to regard him as having a significant chance of getting back to winning ways today. It’s a tough race though. Similarly, nicely in the weights is (2) AMERICAN POWER. Like World Power, he is yet to win at class 1 but before the shutdown he was getting close with a 2nd and a 3rd, both at this distance and both in fast times. He trialed well and has strong claims. At the other end of the weight scale, we find (1) CAPTAIN FORCE and (9) CHAMP LINE. Both are proven class 1 winners and while the handicap doesn’t favour them, neither can be ruled out. There are no bad horses in this race but another one who comes in under a high weight, (4) GOOD CASTING, is another who can go close.
|Selections||(2) American Power (3) World Power (9) Champ Line (4) Good Casting|
|Next Best||1, 7|
|Fast Start||3, 9|