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.
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|
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 otherwise her options will be limited going forward. (5) CHEONHYANGGUKSAEK is another who is second up after finishing fifth over 1200m when resuming. The filly has shown enough to suggest she can run into the minor money.
|Selections||(9) Ride Lucky (1) Nongbui Sucheahwa (8) Meni Stand (5) Cheonhyangguksaek|
|Next Best||6, 10|
Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Fillies and mares only here and quite an unusual race in which almost every single horse comes in having run quite well at its respective latest start. (9) SENTOSA very nearly made all in a similar all-filly race on July 4th, ultimately running 2nd to Money Sijang but beating a couple of these in the process. It won’t be so easy to get on pace today but if Antonio Da Silva can find a good forward spot for here then she has solid claims to go one better today. (6) WHIZ MOMENT came from off the pace to run on strong and win on debut at 1200M on June 20th. She is up in class and slightly in trip but the way in which she won that day suggests neither should be an issue and she is a winning chance again. (11) HAPPY PLAN too is up in class having registered consecutive runner-up finishes at the start of this year. She’s first up today just over a week after blitzing an official trial in double-quick speed. So long as she didn’t leave her race there, she looks nicely in here. (5) HWA SSI BYEOK was a winner over this distance at the end of June and therefore also finds herself promoted. She will need to be quicker today but shouldn’t be ruled out. The experienced (3) WANY K, 3rd at class and distance just two weeks ago, is another in contention. (7) LAST MAGIC came from well back to run 5th in a fast race at class and distance in June and is another in the hunt.
|Selections||(6) Whiz Moment (9) Sentosa (11) Happy Plan (5) Hwa Ssi Byeok|
|Next Best||7, 3|
|Fast Start||9, 11|
Race 7: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
A field of eleven will line up in the seventh event where there is limited speed engaged. (6) MAGIC PLAN has begun her career off in good style, placing at her first start back in February and then winning when resuming last start. She lines up over 1400m once again which looks ideal, she should be able to work forward and find the lead with ease. (9) MEOTJIN SEUNGBU is another last start winner over this distance. The Musket Man colt performed well last time out when parking on speed and proving too strong in the late stages of the race. (5) KAHINAH finished third in similar company last time out in early July. The filly normally jumps well but is unlikely to have the speed to match the two aforementioned runners. (3) SOUTHERN MAN looks a chance of running into some minor money, with the remainder of the field not bringing much to the table in terms of form.
|Selections||(6) Magic Plan (9) Meotjin Seungbu (5) Kahinah (3) Southern Man|
|Next Best||8, 10|
|Fast Start||6, 9|
Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Eleven maiden imports go around here and there’s very little in the way of positive form for them. (11) D K BYULCCI comes in with the best recent performance, having beaten a number of these when 3rd at class and distance on July 4th. The wide draw shouldn’t be too much of an issue and this looks winnable for him. (3) SUNWOO LUCKY is first up today. He has previously demonstrated that he has a nice turn of foot and the Orb gelding trialed well during the shutdown, albeit back in April. Aside for a tilt at 1700M, (10) J.S. GUNJU has consistently run in fast times against much better opposition than he faces here and he looks a chance having run well in a trial last week. (2) MOONHAK DREAM displayed such poor manners when 6th behind D K Byulcci a month ago that he was sent back to trial. He looked in fine order when winning that trial two weeks ago and could be a danger here. One word of warning is that he won his previous two trials as well before going on to offer precisely nothing in an actual race.
|Selections||(11) D K Byulcci (3) Sunwoo Lucky (10) J.S. Gunju (2) Moonhak Dream|
|Next Best||8, 10|
|Fast Start||2, 6|
Race 9: Class Open (2000M) Handicap / KRW 200 Million
This year’s running of the Sport Chosun Cup has a compact field of eight to go over the two turns. It looks hard to go by (7) HUSH DAEBO as he lines up for his first up assignment, with Moon Se-young aboard. The Testa Matta colt trialed up only fairly in May, which was no gauge for a horse that is best suited over the two turns. The four-year-old has won six of his seven starts and looks hard to beat over the 2000m. (6) OKAY QUEEN is second-up after making boom filly Dia Road work for her victory last time out. The Thunder Moccasin mare settled behind Dia Road before trying to chase her down in gallant style. She is untested over 2000m but did appreciate the step up to the 1800m last time out. (8) RAYMOND cannot be discounted in a race like this. He has proven to be very competitive in Class 2 company including a third placed performance last time out behind Uri. (3) PALPAL VICTORY looks a chance of running into the minor money first up after some handy performances last preparation.
|Selections||(7) Hush Daebo (6) Okay Queen (8) Raymond (3) Palpal Victory|
|Next Best||1, 2|
|Fast Start||6, 7|
Race 10: Class Open (1800M) The Korean Derby (KOR G1) Allowance / KRW 800 Million
- MENI HERO – Seventh in the KRA Cup Mile suggests he has a bit too much to make up here. He is a front-runner who has posted some fast times at shorter distances but his dam was the long-time track record holder for this distance here. Expect him to be on pace early but others to be stronger late on.
- HEUNGHAENG JILJU – A winner of three from six who takes his chance here having won emphatically at class 4 over 1700M. That was his second win at that trip having made all at class 5 in January. Favourable draw to get a prominent position but this is a step up in class.
- SAVE THE WORLD – Runner-up to Roller Blade in the Breeders’ Cup last year but stood in the gate in the KRA Cup Mile before running on strongly for 4th. He was the big winner form the barrier draw and if Perovic can get him to jump cleanly and to the lead then he may well be the one to beat.
- YEONGCHEON JILJU – Proven at this distance with a 3rd (to Blue Power) and then a win (beating Blue Power) to his name in times that would win most Korean Derbies. That was at class 4 level so others are perhaps slightly ahead, but he can set up camp just behind the early leaders and finish strongly.
- STAR OREUM – A touch disappointing when 10th in the Cup Mile, he previously won at a mile at class 4. Holds a win over Yeongcheon Jilju but has been beaten by plenty of these on a number of occasions. Jockey Franco Da Silva is one of just two foreign jockeys to have won a Korean Derby and from his gate is likely to aim to be on speed.
- RAON TOUGH MAN – Won his first three and then returned from the shutdown to run a strong 5th in the Cup Mile. Could well have come on for that run and today’s distance may suit. Versatile he can lead or sit behind the pace. Not impossible.
- K N ROAD – Mr. Consistency. Remarkably he has won just the once but found the minor placings in all of the big juvenile races last year and was 2nd in the Cup Mile. Distance should be no problem, expect him to finish strongly and be close again but once more, one or two may end up too quick.
- CHOEGANG TEUKGEUP – The mount of Moon Se Young in a Derby will always attract attention but this one is likely to be an outsider. A good all the way winner over 1400M at class 5 last start but he’s totally untested in this kind of company.
- TOUCH STAR MAN – Came from the middle of the pack to win the Cup Mile. Holds a 3rd place at 1800M at class 3 but that race was used as a tune-up for the Classics. He went to the front early that day but with plenty of early speed here, Jung Do-yun is likely to opt for the same tactics as last month and look to come through late again. Big chance.
- DOCTOR CARSON – Bypassed the traditional route to this race as a juvenile and avoided the likes of Roller Blade and Save The World. It paid off as he won the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup in excellent fashion. Came close in the Cup Mile after a wide run ultimately finishing 3rd and he should be there at the business end again.
- YEONGGWANGUI PARTY – A stablemate of Touch Star Man but there is no such thing as a second-string from Kim Young-kwan’s barn. Yeonggwangui Party skipped both Breeders’ Cup and Cup Mile but has solid credentials having already won at 1800M at class 3 level. His recent 4th at a mile can be considered a warm-up for this. Jockey Lim Sung-sil rides infrequently but has won almost every big race going – apart from this one.
- LEGEND STORM – Didn’t go to the Cup Mile but instead put in a super run to win over 1700M at class 3 here in June. Four wins from six starts but the barrier is not kind to him as the evidence suggests he really needs to lead. If he can cross and get to the front, he has a chance, but if he gets back, it could be game over early.
- CHOIN GANGJA – 5th in the Breeders’ Cup last year but seemed to lose his way a little in two subsequent starts, both times as heavy favourite. His 3rd place first-up over 1700M a month ago can have a line drawn through it but he hasn’t really done enough to suggest he can win this.
- ROLLER BLADE – The saga of Roller Blade continues. The Champion Juvenile hasn’t raced since winning the Breeders’ Cup last December due to a combination of the shutdown and admin issues. He offered few clues in trials but is the natural talent of the race. The draw has done him absolutely no favours though and it will require a huge effort to win today. Don’t rule him out of at least a place though and if he gets away well, anything is possible.
- BLUE POWER – He only managed 6th in the Cup Mile but the 1800M today is likely to suit him better. He has already won at this distance at class 4 at Busan in a fast time. If a fast pace is set – and there is every chance it will be – then he can be one who can take advantage late on.
- DETERMINATION – The 3rd place-getter in the Breeders’ Cup after a hard-luck story run, was a late scratching in the Cup Mile after throwing his jockey on the way to the gate. He went instead to a Class 3 event over 1400M two weeks ago where he flew home late to snatch 2nd. He previously underwhelmed at this distance, but it should really be suit and the wide draw is no problem. If there is pace to run at, then he is a winning chance.
|Selections||(14) Roller Blade (3) Save The World (10) Doctor Carson (9) Touch Star Man|
|Next Best||16, 7, 15, 4, 11, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14|
Race 11: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
The eleventh will see the Class Four gallopers go over the 1400m. (2) WANG TAENG I has impressed us at all three starts to date, winning two of them and finishing second on the other occasion. The Winchester gelding clocked a brilliant time for the 1400m last time out when sitting prominent before proving too strong in the final stages of the race. He is up in class but he is a nice type. (10) NEW MOON WARRIOR is another who has performed well early on in his racing career. The Peace Rules gelding comes off a second placed performance behind Best Lucky over 1700m. It seems strange for connections to elect to drop back to the 1400m, but he has run well over a similar distance previously. (3) FEDERAL CAT is one of the more experienced gallopers engaged with fifteen starts under his belt, yielding three wins to date. He comes off a last start win in this grade but the handicapper hit him with 5kg for the win making this assignment much tougher. (5) P.K.JEONSA placed in similar grade last start and a forward showing wouldn’t surprise.
|Selections||(2) Wang Taeng I (10) New Moon Warrior (3) Federal Cat (5) P.K.Jeonsa|
|Next Best||9, 8|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 10|
Race 12: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(7) JANGSAN FOREVER ran out a very solid 2nd place on debut at class and distance on July 5th. He was prominent throughout and while he was a considerable margin behind a good winner, showed enough to suggest his own maiden win won’t be far away. Djordje Perovic rides and he looks a serious chance. Despite some questionable tactics and a bit of bad luck, (8) GOLDEN SERVICE managed to come home 3rd in that race not too far behind Jangsan Forever. The gelding has some bad habits but Song Jae-chul knows him well enough now and can get him close again. (10) CHEONNYEONUI GODO is a Korean-bred taking on the imports and is an intriguing entry. He has won two of his last three but both have been at 1700M. Nevertheless, he is a versatile runner and should be competitive here. (9) BRAVO SOCKS and (11) BAEKSAN FORCE are amongst a handful of others in the hunt.
|Selections||(7) Jangsan Forever (8) Golden Service (10) Cheonnyeonui Godo (11) Baeksan Force|
|Next Best||9, 5|
|Fast Start||9, 11|