The virus situation continues to worsen in Korea with country experiencing community transmission almost nationwide for the first time since the pandemic began. Although the numbers remain very small by global standards, regular readers will be aware that racing has been shut down for much less already this year and could well be again. It looks set to continue to cling on by a thread for at least this weekend, however, as Jeju Island, Daegu and Daejeon remain under “level 1.5” instead of “level 2” distancing measures. That means wagering facilities in those places can open at 20% capacity so at least some punters can play. Reservations must be made on the MyCard app the day before race day.
There have been some changes. If – and it is a big if the current schedule holds, on Jeju will race on Fridays while Seoul and Busan race on Saturdays and Sundays, one after the other. Races are contested behind closed doors and for reduced Stake money and horses are not penalised in the handicap for victories. On Saturday, Seoul will go first with 9 races from 10:45 to 15:00 followed by Busan with 6 races from 15:50 to 18:00. The races will be on overseas simulcast. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
A maiden to begin with and all but one of the fourteen are juveniles with five racing for the very first time. We will side with experience though and (2) ALL HEART is the pick. He debuted promisingly enough in July before following up with a runner-up finish the next month. He is up to 1200M for the first time and from a good draw can lead early and should have too much. None of the other tried ones make for much appeal so we’ll turn to the first-timers to round out our tickets. (10) ZELOS was the fastest of those in trials and looks set to be second-favourite while (3) JAY EAGLE and (8) VIVA LADY also looked well in their heats and can go well first up. One that was less impressive in her trial but may be better suited by today’s 1200M is (14) NONSTOP CAT. The wide draw shouldn’t be a problem.
|Selections||(2) All Heart (14) Nonstop Cat (10) Zelos (8) Viva Lady|
|Next Best||3, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 10|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Having won a trial, (11) DONG E BEONJJEOK ran a solid 2nd on debut over this distance on October 23rd. He was on the early speed in both of those appearances so while he will need to overcome a wide draw, he looks nicely in to win here. (6) GOLD SPIKE ran 2nd to Dong E Beonjjeok in the trial before finishing 4th on debut and she looks set to build on that here. (2) FASHIONED PASSION came from off the pace to run a strong 4th on her first start in October and she also looks to have the scope for further improvement today. The most experienced horses in the race are (4) GREEN POKJU and (13) THUNDER HORSE who have made three starts apiece. Both have places already and can contest the minor money again today.
|Selections||(11) Dong E Beonjjeok (6) Gold Spike (2) Fashioned Passion (13) Thunder Horse|
|Next Best||4, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 10, 11|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
(3) GEUMA FLAWLESS has mixed his form across five starts so far but put in a promising run for 5th on his latest outing on October 23rd. From a good draw, Antonio Da Silva can sit behind the early pace and finish strongly. (7) JILPUNG BAEKGWANG has been a touch one-paced in both starts so far. She finally gets a draw that isn’t in the car park today tough so should be handier early and can improve. (9) RAON SPECIAL has the fastest time of any of these at the distance so far and looks likely to play a significant role. She is another who will be looking to finish off strongly. (1) COMLETE SHINE and (11) GOLDEN BADGE are others who should be in the hunt in this modest affair.
|Selections||(3) Geuma Flawless (9) Raon Special (7) Jilpung Baekgwang (11) Golden Badge|
|Next Best||1, 12|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 8, 13|
Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Pretty useful class 6 race with three winners getting another crack in the level due to the current Covid-relief rules around racing. We’ll come to those in a moment though because we are putting a maiden on top in the shape of (14) K N MAGIC. The Kantharos filly was a good 2nd on debut beaten only by a good winner and while she has drawn the car park here, she has an extra furlong to play with and that could be key. (1) MOST SPEED was an all the way winner at this distance on October 16th and from the inside gate will be well placed to go forward and get close again. (4) ALCHAN NURI similarly significantly improved to win at this trip in October and can go well once more. (9) SPOTLIGHT was a somewhat anonymous 4th on debut after a dreadful start and can improve today. (7) MACH JIJON, a likely pacesetter, and (8) SOARA BABA, another last start winner, are others in the hunt.
|Selections||(14) K N Magic (1) Most Speed (9) Spotlight (4) Alchan Nuri|
|Next Best||8, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 7, 11|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
A competitive race but the consistent (7) UNOECHANGCHEON may have enough about her to win. She has finished no worse than 4th across four starts so far and her win at 1200M was emphatic. She has already posted two competitive times at this distance and could have too much today. (11) WINNER TEMPLAR has also been consistent even though she remains winless. She has acquitted herself well over this trip and can go close. (1) TOP SEED has already won over 1400M. He’s been a little slow to jump in his latest couple but has run on well and can be involved again. (3) POTENTIAL ENERGY is up in class following a good win over 1300M back in August and should be on pace from the start today.
|Selections||(7) Uneochangcheon (11) Winner Templar (1) Top Seed (3) Potential Energy|
|Next Best||9, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 11|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 28 Million
(12) THE DREAM comes in here looking to complete a hat-trick of wins and it would be a surprise if he didn’t get it. He gets no penalty for his very good victory at class and distance on October 23rd when he had four of these back down the track behind him and he can repeat today. (9) NUNBUSIN HANSEN and (8) SUPER ECTON came home 3rd and 5th in that race respectively and both can aim to match or improve that today but a stiffer challenge may come from (11) MANSEOK JIGI. The Paynter colt recorded the fastest time of any of these for the distance when winning on November 1st and if he can get to the early pace, can go close once more.(more…)