Month: August 2020

Korean Oaks Sunday – Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (August 9)

On Sunday it’s the fillies’ turn to have their Three-Year-Old Classic as the 2020 Korean Oaks takes place at Busan. A field of fifteen will line up in the Group 2 feature which is the last race on Busan’s 5-race Sunday card. At Seoul there are 12 races from 10:25 to 18:00. See below for the race-by-race preview along with horse by horse for the Oaks:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Plenty of interest lies in the first event with eleven two-year-old gallopers, nine of them unraced taking to the track. (4) GRAY CAT trialed up very nicely early July underneath Song Jae-chul. The Cowboy Cal colt won his trial by six lengths when clocking a solid time for the 1000m. (2) LUCKY JAESAN was another one who trialed up well. The Hansen filly clocked 62.1 seconds for her heat when winning by six lengths as well. She showed early speed in her trial so expect much the same from a good gate. (11) GREEN POKJU is one of two runners that has had a run coming into the race. The Old Fashioned filly hit the line superbly to finish second behind Cobra Ball. She is likely to settle rearwards once again with the outside draw. (6) YEONGUNG DAEMA also lined up in a two-year-old event on debut when fourth behind Samantha Cheetah. She is capable of filling a place.

Selections (4) Gray Cat (2) Lucky Jaesan (11) Green Pokju (6) Yeongung Daema
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 4, 9

 

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

A maiden open to both two and three-year-olds here. (6) MUSSANG HWANGHU came from well back to run an improved 3rd over 1200M on what was her second career start on July 18th. The slight step up in trip today can be to her benefit and she has a good chance of making the breakthrough. (7) MAKALU POWER has steadily improved over three outings to date, culminating in a runner-up finish at 1200M last start. His times have not been fast but he won’t need to improve much to be challenging here and has every chance of getting on the early speed. (11) STAR RUSH comes into contention following an improved 4th at 1200M a month ago and is another who may appreciate the small increase in distance. (1) ONE JI has been dreadful in three outings so far but looked much better when trialing two weeks ago in a fast time. Nevertheless, we’ll need to see him actually racing before we can be confident about him. The solitary debut-maker is (2) JANGSAN ENGINE and the Ecton Park filly, who has been trialing for more than a year, looked competent in her latest heat in July.

Selections (6) Mussang Hwanghu (7) Makalu Power (2) Jangsan Engine (11) Star Rush
Next Best 1, 4
Fast Start 1, 7

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Fair to say not the most inspiring field lines up in the third event on the card. (6) POWER MUSIC is the on top selection after finishing third last time out over the 1400m. The Winchester filly will go over the same distance where she is drawn to settle just off the speed and reel of a good sectional with minimal weight on her back. (10) SHINY QUEEN is still lightly raced enough that connections will be hoping she can show something. She improved last time out and is another that can run into the minor money. (7) IRYEO HAYEO looks capable of running a place in a much weaker assignment today. It is hard to include her with one place from twenty-five starts but this is such a weak race. (3) HOSUA is third up after finishing fourth last time out. He hit the line fairly and is another capable of running into the money.

Selections (6) Power Music (10) Shiny Queen (7) Iryeo Hayeo (3) Hosua
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 6

 

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies only here for this handicap. (8) SAMANTHA CHEETAH was a revelation on debut, making all to win as easily as she pleased over five-furlongs. She steps up in both class and distance here but the manner of victory means she can go on top again. This is a strong race for the level though. (5) GOOD VOW also steps up in class following a maiden win in which she posted a time even faster than Samantha Cheetah’s and she too should be more then competitive at this level and will also challenge for the lead early. (7) BAEDARI CANDY too was a debut winner with a front-running performance and while she perhaps has a little bit more to find, looks right in the hunt as well. As for those with experience at this level already, (2) TANK SOCKS and (9) OUR SIMON are both proven money winners and should go close. There could be quite a cavalry charge to get the lead.

Selections (8) Samantha Cheetah (5) Good Vow (2) Tank Socks (9) Our Simon
Next Best 7, 10, 1
Fast Start 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11

 

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Twelve imports face the starter in the fifth where they will go over the 1400m. (11) HAENGBOK WANGJA has been knocking on the door for quite some time and comes into the race with two runner-up performances since the break. Moon Se-young will take over from the injured Yoo Seung-wan. The Moon will have to overcome the outside gate but the horse has been hitting the line strong, suggesting he can let the Daredevil colt have time to find his feet. (2) GRAYDOL looks one that is capable of running into the money. The gelding has been hitting the line strong and gets a much better draw today. Whilst finishing in the money once from six starts, his times suggest he can figure in a weaker event. (6) VICTORY GO GO is second up and should strip fitter for the run. She was only fair first up when finishing fourth behind Level Tap, when one-paced through the line. (7) GOOD SENSE looks next best after placing in a Class 5 event, which is never ideal after commencing your career in Class 4 grade.

Selections (11) Haengbok Wangja (2) Graydol (6) Victory Go Go (7) Good Sense
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 1, 6, 7

 

Busan Race 1: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A testing little race for the imported maidens. (5) GOOD FOR YOU was a nice 3rd on debut behind Geuma Mystic, who has gone on to win again and previously finished ahead of Derby winner Save The World in a trial. She ran 8th on her re-appearance at 1300M on July 10th but that was a much stiffer race than this and she was competitive. She can win. (10) HWANHUIUI BANSEOK was a useful 3rd on debut over this distance on July 19th. He was a front-runner that day so the draw is not kind here, but he can overcome that and compete again. (2) POKPUNG EONDEOK and (9) TRAFFIC MARINE underwhelmed in their respective appearances before the shutdown but both looked good in trials and can improve here. There are also four debut-makers and among them both (4) SONIC KING IJI and (6) JESSIEUI KKUM were both trial winners who can go well first up.

Selections (5) Good For You (4) Sonic King Iji (10) Hwanhuiui Banseok (6) Jessieui Kkum
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 4, 5, 10

 

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Very competitive affair with plenty of these on the up. (4) JANGSAN BADA wasn’t detained by the lower levels for very long and steps up in class here having won two of three and finishing runner-up in the other. His latest win came in a fast time over this distance and while he carries plenty of weight again, he looks nicely in to just sit on the shoulder of the lead and finish strongly. (3) JEONGMUN BOLT was an all the way winner (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 8)

There is a 15-race behind-closed-doors card at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

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Racing is now just about the only thing in Korea – if not the only – to not be allowed customers

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The two-year-old runners will line up over the short course in the first on the card. Only two of the eleven engaged have had a start, they are the on-top selections. (2) ADELE MUSTANG debuted in good style when clocking a good time on a dry track early last month. The Menifee colt settled behind the leader before failing to reel in the pacemaker going down two lengths behind Ultra Sidae. A similar performance should so the Song Moon-gil trained galloper go close. (6) TK BOY finished second on debut when running on well from a midfield position to finish second behind the impressive looking Heungbaragi. The margin was big but the winner looks something special. (11) HAPPY SOCKS looks best of the debutants coming off a solid trial performance. The filly will have to overcome the outside draw but with some early speed, should be able to cross in a race with not a lot of speed. (3) RAON THE SOX looks next best but will need to take improvement off her trial to be a winning chance.

Selections (2) Adele Mustang (6) TK Boy (11) Happy Socks (3) Raon The Sox
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 2, 5, 9, 11

 

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

Maidens here with all but one of them having raced at least once before. Best so far has been (8) MARU CASTLE, who ran a strong 2nd to Wonderful Light in a fast time on a good track on July 11th. She steps up in trip here but should be able to cope with that and can win. (9) PARAN WANGJA is one of only two in the race to have previously appeared twice. He ran well with a 3rd and a 5th either side of the shutdown and can improve today with Moon Se Young aboard for the first time. We’re scratching around with the rest though. (5) MISO GADEUK and (6) AROMA finished 5th and 6th respectively on debut over 1000M on June 21st. They didn’t go very quick but they won’t need to get much better to go close here. A word too for apprentice jockey Lim Da-bin, who takes his first race ride on (10) TEUNTEUNA. The 4kg allowance may help the colt get a bit closer than he did on debut.

Selections (8) Maru Castle (9) Paran Wangja (5) Miso Gadeuk (6) Aroma
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 8, 9

 

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

The fillies face the starter in the third where they will go over the six furlongs. (10) BAEKDUWA HALLA resumed in good style first up over the 1300m late June. The chestnut reeled off a good final sectional to finish second behind Hwa Ssi Byeok in a similar type race. (2) QUEEN LION is also second up after finishing fifth behind K.N. Power over 1000m mid-July. The filly was somewhat one-paced in the event but the time was fair, suggesting with some improvement she can figure. (7) LADY LUCKY lines up for her fourth career start after running through the line in good style last time out. The chestnut will be stretched beyond the 1000m for the first time. (6) HANSEN PRIMA looks next best coming off some fair trial performances. She will line up for her debut run from a central draw.

Selections (10) Baekduwa Halla (2) Queen Lion (7) Lady Lucky (6) Hansen Prima
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 2, 3

 

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

This is not a strong maiden, to put it mildly. (4) GEUMA ROBUST showed some improvement on what was her second career start on June 20th, running on reasonably well for 4th over 1200M. The additional half-furlong may suit and she has as much chance as any of making the breakthrough here. (5) HOEBOK has finished in 4th on three of his four starts to date. He’s shown little in the way of speed but won’t need to do too much more in order to go close today. (7) AFLEET MARINE debuted promisingly in 3rd place behind Wonderful Storm in June but then struggled on her return three weeks ago. The step up in trip can suit and she’s worth another chance today. (9) JOEUN GWANGYE and (11) WORLD TEUKGEUP are others who can improve.

Selections (7) Afleet Marine (4) Geuma Robust (5) Hoebok (9) Joeun Gwangye
Next Best 11, 6
Fast Start 1, 11

 

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million 

The Korean-bred maidens line up in the fifth over the 1300m. (3) CLEAN HEART has been knocking on the door at his past couple of starts and gets an ideal assignment here. He has rattled off some good sectionals this time in and is capable of finishing over the top of them here. (8) SPRING COME is second-up after a midfield performance when first up mid-July. The chestnut’s run back in February showed that he has an engine when finishing second behind Siberia over the short course. (2) ETERNAL MEMORY placed over the 1300m first up when clocking a fair time on a firm track last start. Lee Hyeong-jong will be legged aboard the three-year-old for the first time. (4) HWARYEO is best of the rest with the remainder of the field having limited depth.

Selections (3) Clean Heart (8) Spring Come (2) Eternal Memory (4) Hwaryeo
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 1,7, 8, 9

 

Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) FIRE HEART was an eye-catching winner on debut, making all for a five-length score over 1000M on a wet track on July 4th. He is up in class and distance today but he looks to have plenty more in him and can win again. It won’t be easy though as this is a useful (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 7)

It’s Korean Oaks weekend with the big race being held at Busan on Sunday. Before that there is a bumper 15-race Friday program at Busan from 11.30 to 18.00. Once more, despite other sports -and in fact everything else in Korea – now being open, permission has still not been given for racegoers to attend.

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Juvenile maidens to kick off Friday’s card with seven of the eleven having raced once before. Four of them debuted in the same race over this distance on July 17th and it was (3) B.K. LOOKS who ran out the best of them, finishing in 2nd place. He had led early before being left behind by a very nice looking winner, Winner’s Man, and showed enough to suggest he has a win in him sooner rather than later. Of the others who went that day, (2) BAEK PUNG in 6th ran reasonably well and has the potential to improve here. (1) NAMED came from off the pace on her debut on June 26th to run on well for 5th place and can build on that today. Among the three first-time starters, (5) MACH TITAN looks the pick. The Hansen colt made all to comfortably win a trial under minimal urging three weeks ago. If he brings that form to the racetrack and then gets a lead again, he will be hard to beat. (6) STEADY WINNER is a half-sister to the very good Mask and warrants a close look on debut here.

Selections (5) Mach Titan (3) B.K. Looks (1) Named (2) Baek Pung
Next Best 4, 6
Fast Start 3, 5

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

It looks as if Djordje Perovic can have another good weekend after taking out the Korean Derby last week aboard Save The World in Seoul. The Serbian hoop will ride (9) HUIMANGUI SORY in the second where the horse comes off a good performance, when finishing second behind Doctor Fashion. The times he has clocked over the five furlongs have been brilliant, the extra furlong looks to suit him and at set weights the two-year-old looks one of the better bets on the card. (11) ACEUI GIPPEUM was good on debut when placing in a similar event. The Ecton Park filly produced one of the faster sectionals you will see for a debutant, suggesting she will appreciate the step-up to the 1200m. (1) TOP OF KOREA debuts after some handy trial performances. He needs to be respected as there looked to be more in the tank after producing some handy trials. (8) GEUMA BONNY is another on debut after running some handy trials. The Tiz Wonderful filly is likely to be outpaced early but keep her safe in your wider selections.

Selections (9) Huimangui Sory (11) Aceui Gippeum (1) Top Of Korea (8) Geuma Bonny
Next Best 4, 5
Fast Start 4

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(1) ILNYEOM TONGCHEON debuted well at this trip in an all-filly affair on June 19th, running on for 2nd behind Final Party. She had previously made all in a trial and has every chance of going very close again today. (9) YEONGGWANGUI EAGLE returns to action here for the first time since the shutdown. He was a solid 2nd on his last start in February at this distance behind Goblin and while he only took part in one heat during the hiatus, it was a strong one and he can make an immediate impact first up today. (11) YEONGGWANGUI START looked to be on the verge of figuring things out before the shutdown. She was a touch disappointing when fading for 5th on his first try at this distance on July 10th but having not trialed since April, may have been wanting for fitness a little. She should be better today. The rest are going to need to improve but the Bart Rice-trained pair of (5) INVISIBLE MAN and (10) GENERAL ANN have both hinted at ability and can continue to develop here.

Selections (1) Ilnyeom Tongcheon (11) Yeonggwangui Start (9) Yeonggwangui Eagle (10) General Ann
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 1, 11

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The Korean-bred maiden gallopers line up in the fourth where they will tackle the 1300m. (9) CHOEGANG HUNTER looks toughest to beat on paper coming off a first-up second placing behind Mr. Fusion. The extra half furlong should be advantageous for the colt after hitting the line in good style. Jo In-kwen stays aboard after having a good time of it last weekend. (2) MINYEO GEOMGAEK placed on resumption as well, with the filly being put over the 1400m first up. She sat on speed last time out, something we haven’t seen from her previously. If Choi Si-dae elects to work forward again he can do so from a good draw. (6) EAGLE STAR is another speedy type who finished second last start. The gelding performed better than most expected when returning to the track last start. Djordje Perovic will be legged aboard, who holds a very good strike rate since his return to Korea. (7) WONDERFUL SMARTY looks next best after finishing fourth behind Top Lucky last time out.

Selections (9) Choegang Hunter (2) Minyeo Geomgaek (6) Eagle Star (7) Wonderful Smarty
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 2, 6, 7, 11

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

(1) CHEONGDAM DRIVE has shown improvement across three starts to date, culminating in a 3rd place over 1300M last start a month ago. He steps up slightly in trip today and that, along with the presence of Djordje Perovic aboard, may be just what it takes for him to make the breakthrough. Of those who have tackled this distance before, (6) PILSEUNG IJI has recorded the fastest time. She goes around for the fourth time since resumption with two 3rd place finishes and a fourth from her three cracks so far and should be there or thereabouts again. (11) DOCTOR MAX was beaten by Pilseung Iji two starts back but comes in here having run 3rd at this distance on July 17th. She was given a forward ride that day and while today’s draw does her no favours, she should be in the hunt for at least another place. (2) GRAND CAPTIAN and (5) GOLD MAGIC are others with potential for improvement.

Selections (1) Cheongdam Drive (6) Pilseung Iji (11) Doctor Max (2) Grand Captain
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 6, 11

Race 6: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The sixth is a tough event for punters to dissect with numerous winning chances. (4) SUSO TANK is the on top selection after finishing second over this distance last time out behind Blue Signal. The fact we know she can run a strong mile out is a plus, with plenty of these runners being tested over it for the first time today. The Tiz Wonderful filly has had three runs this time in suggesting she will be rock hard fit for her assignment. (7) JEONSEOULUI FIGHT is third-up and comes off multiple placings since resuming. The Colors Flying colt looks as if he will appreciate the mile this time around, as he has been given plenty of time to find

(more…)

Korean Derby Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 2)

It’s finally here. The generation that risked being forgotten or worse, finally gets its Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. There are 12 races at Seoul from 10:35 to 18:00 while there is also a card at Busan. Racing remains behind closed doors.

Roller Blade

Roller Blade is back. But have the others left him behind? (Pic: KRA)

KRA Cup Mile winner Touch Star Man heads the field but it’s a race with at least nine live chances. Champion juvenile Roller Blade finally returns while the likes of Determination look to have been screaming out for this kind of distance.

Here are previews of all of Seoul’s Sunday races with horse-by-horse for the Korean Derby, which has a post time of 5pm in Seoul:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The Korean-bred two-year-old gallopers will kick the twelve-event card off at Seoul on Sunday. The trial of (6) WHITE CHARM last month was very good suggesting the Cowboy Cal colt can put his best foot forward on debut. With a central draw it is expected that Kim Dong-soo will work forward on the grey and find a position in the leading division. The time he clocked in the trial was good enough to ensure he is there come the business end of the race. (11) CHEONGDAM WICKED is another debutant that trialed well back in June. The Menifee filly is another likely to be fired up early and sit prominent in the run. (8) JILJU DAERO is one of a few runners engaged that has had a previous start. The colt finished fourth on debut behind the impressive Heungbaragi. (7) ELITE RULES looks a place chance at best after a trial that was fair.

Selections (6) White Charm (11) Cheongdam Wicked (8) Jilju Daero (7) Elite Rules
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 3, 6, 11

 

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

Three-year-old maidens here with all but one of them having raced at least once before. Only one of them has troubled the judges so far. That’s (8) YONGMARU GU, who ran an improved 2nd on his second outing on July 4th at this distance beaten by well thought-of Soseono Legend. In doing so, he recorded the best time of any of these who have attempted this distance and while that is an extremely modest achievement, it should be enough to put him firmly in the frame here. (6) EUNHYE PADO has shown herself capable of running a useful time as well and tries her luck in softer company today. She gets well back in her races but seems to have a good finish on her and should improve today. (11) PIEONADA got a dreadful trip but still managed to finish 5th on debut at this distance and can build on it today. As for the solitary debut-maker, (2) MYEONGMA TIME went through a couple of trials in good order, running through the line well in both of them and couldn’t really have picked a more accommodating race to debut in.

Selections (8) Yongmaru Gu (6) Eunhye Pada (2) Myeongma Time (11) Pieonada
Next Best 9, 10
Fast Start 5, 11

 

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million 

The third on the card has a mixture of two and three-year-old gallopers to line up over the 1300m. (7) NINE EYE comes out of much stronger events where he clocked some good times over the short course. The Menifee colt has been hitting the line in good style which suggests the 1300m should suit. Moon Se-young will be legged aboard the two-year-old for the first time, which is always a good sign. (2) GOLDEN SWITCH is second up after a midfield performance behind Hansen Choice last start. The filly’s times have been fair and with some improvement second-up, she can run into the money. (1) GOVERNANCE looks next best and with a good draw is capable of sitting closer to the speed today. She passed a couple in the straight last time out over the six furlongs. (4) ACE HAMSEONG looks an each-way chance after finishing second last time out over the 1300m. His time was only fair but with some improvement he is a chance of figuring.

Selections (7) Nine Eye (2) Golden Switch (1) Governance (4) Ace Hamseong
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 8

 

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

(9) GAJA PLAN was an impressive all the way maiden winner over 1000M on July 5th on what was her third career start. She is up in both class and distance today but while the draw may not be as favourable for her getting an easy lead, she has claims again. (8) GOLD FIELD also got her maiden win at her latest start, albeit for her it was the fifteenth time of asking. So long at class 6 would suggest the transition to the higher grade isn’t going to be easy, however, the time she ran was faster than all but one of her rivals here have achieved at this distance and she must be given another chance. Another up in class is (1) GLORY FIGHTER. She remains a maiden but has finished 3rd on three occasions. Moon Se Young rode her on the most recent of those and sticks with her today. She should be competitive. As for those with experience of this level already, (2) YEOLRIN MUN ran out a solid 2nd over 1400M on July 5th. He has won at this distance already and is nicely drawn to get to the lead once more.

Selections (2) Yeolrin Mun (9) Gaja Plan (1) Glory Fighter (8) Gold Field
Next Best 7, 6
Fast Start 2, 5, 6, 9

 

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

Ten Korean-bred gallopers line up in the fifth where the majority of the runners appear to be out of form. (9) RIDE LUCKY is the one engagement that brings a last start win into the race, which he brought up at start two. He will carry the same weight with the claim of Moon Sung-hyeok being applied. He showed plenty of speed first up when clocking a good time for this grade. (1) NONGBUI SUCHEAHWA looks to map in the first four in running. Kim Yong-geun will be legged aboard for the first time, with the filly drawn the inside for her ninth assignment. She has placed on four occasions from eight starts and this looks weaker than previous assignments. (8) MENI STAND is second up after a reasonable performance when finishing fourth behind Songnam Tiz first up. The Menifee filly should improve off the run, 1200m is not an ideal distance with her best performances over 1000m. She will need to start running out a strong six furlongs (more…)