The 2021 racing season gets underway in much reduced form on Friday with cards planned at all three racecourses. It is possible the weather may intervene in the Seoul meeting with Friday’s morning temperatures set to dip as low as -16C. We’ll focus on the Busan meeting anyway which has 10 races from 10:35 to 15:15. There is no local admission or betting but the races will be on international simulcast. Here are the previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Twelve three-year-olds here all of them going round for the very first time. So it’s to the trial videos we head to try and make head or tail of it. (10) APRIL QUEEN beat three of her rivals here when trialing on December 12th. She led early in the heat that day before ending up in 3rd place. The draw isn’t ideal here but she looks to have solid claims. (5) BAEDARI CHOEGANG and (1) FANTASTIC LEADER came home 4th and 5th respectively in the same heat, both running through the line well and should be able to make an impact first up here too. The fastest time any of these recorded in trials was by (4) SECRET MAGIC. She went around tidily enough and while she didn’t really quicken, she stuck to her task well and looked to have plenty of running in her. Among the others, (2) BLACK ROMANCE also looked well enough in his heat beating a couple of the others who go here while (7) JILPUNG KOREA did nothing wrong either.
|Selections||(10) April Queen (4) Secret Magic (5) Baedari Choegang (2) Black Romance|
|Next Best||1, 7|
|Fast Start||3, 7, 10|
Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Fillies (and one mare) only here. (4) MARK ACE is already a winner but gets another crack at what is ostensibly a maiden race because it fell during the reduced stakes racing period. She returned in November to run 3rd, admittedly well back behind a good winner but showed enough again to suggest that in this company she is going to be very dangerous. He will sit on or close to the early speed. (12) PEACE BAEK has the fastest time of these at this distance albeit recorded in very different conditions last August. She maintained her form well on two outings in October and November and despite the gate, looks a big danger here. (3) COLOR WIND and (5) SEUNGNI QUEEN both come in following 3rd place finishes in their respective latest starts and should be in the hunt for places as well. (7) QUEEN VRONSKY was a touch disappointing over 1400M last start but should be better dropped back in trip here.
|Selections||(4) Mark Ace (12) Peace Baek (7) Queen Vronsky (3) Color Wind|
|Next Best||5, 6|
|Fast Start||4, 8, 9, 11|
Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
A pretty ordinary maiden here. (2) ENDLESS RUNNING has only raced the once and did quite well, leading for much of the way around before ultimately coming home 4th over 1300M. From gate 2, he’ll be on pace again and can go all the way. (12) CHEONMA HASEO has been knocking on the door for a while with three 4th place finishes including his latest which was at today’s distance in November. The widest gate shouldn’t be an issue and he should be up there. (11) YEONGGWANGUI TEUKGEUP’s name is too long to fit fully into the English race card. He did though beat a couple of these on his latest outing and has previously registered a semi-competitive time at this distance so should be in the hunt today. (8) RAPTOR MAN has the fastest time of these at this distance and is also the only one to have a runner-up finish to his name and he shapes to be competitive here. The wildcard is (7) CHEONMA BRAVO who last time out looked like he needed a bit further and can improve under Ioannis Poullis today.
|Selections||(2) Endless Running (12) Cheonma Haseo (8) Raptor Man (7) Cheonma Bravo|
|Next Best||11, 6|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 8|
Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million
After finishing 4th on debut, (1) ONNURI JILJU made all to score second-up over this distance on November 11th. He won by a full sixteen-lengths in a fast time and while he is up in class here, he has to be favoured to prevail once more. (5) ALPHA AGAIN actually beat Onnuri Jilju on what was the latter’s debut as they came home 3rd and 4th in October. Alpha Again then dropped back to 1000M to blitz the field for his maiden win. Up in class, he’s never been worse than 4th and will challenge Onnuri Jilju for the early lead. If he gets in front it may get interesting. (10) HAPPY WIND is also up in class following a maiden win at this distance. In her case it came at start number seven but it had been coming after a couple of near-misses. She probably has a bit too much to find on the other two fancies but should have the beating of most of the rest. (4) EAGLE STAR is already a class and distance winner. He was only ordinary when stepped up to 1400M last start but should be better today and carries next to no weight at all. (6) NORTHERN DREAM and (11) QUEEN OF ADELE are among others with placing claims in what is a tasty looking race.
|Selections||(1) Onnuri Jilju (5) Alpha Again (10) Happy Wind (4) Eagle Star|
|Next Best||6, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 12|
Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 42 Million
Intriguing little race this with a couple of promising first-timers mixing it with some established winners. One of only three Korean bred runners in the race, (9) QUEEN OF THE WORLD is a winner of three from eight so far. She found herself unsuited and overmatched in the Korean Oaks over 1800M last August but in her only run since, she dropped back to this distance to record an all the way win in November in a good time for the level. Based on that performance, she is the one they need to beat with a good apprentice taking some weight off. (8) SONIC KING IJI is also a class and distance winner having scored last November before running 2nd three weeks ago. You Hyun-myung returns to the mount today and he has every chance. Of the others with experience, (2) CHEONNYEONUI QUEEN, with only one start so far, looks to have potential to improve but there are a couple of live looking debut-makers. (6) MY BABY GIRL won her trial in good fashion a month ago. The Python filly ran through the line strong and this should suit first up. (12) SNYDER has been through three trials dating back to last July. The Paddy O’Prado colt led for much of his latest heat in December recording a fast time in 2nd place and with the services of Franco Da Silva can overcome the wide draw to go close.
|Selections||(9) Queen Of The World (8) Sonic King Iji (6) My Baby Girl (12) Snyder|
|Next Best||2, 11|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 9, 12|
Race 6: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 32 Million
It took (3) ROCK PEGASUS a couple of goes to figure things out but has come good with back to back wins at 1400M in his latest two. The manner of those runs suggests that the additional furlong won’t be a problem and he could complete a hat-trick here. It won’t be easy though. (6) B.K. JOHN similarly comes in with after solid work over 1400M including a win at this class and is another who the step up in trip should only benefit. (9) TAPIT WONDERFUL is up in class and distance but has finished no worse than 4th in five starts to date and looks to be well-equipped to be competitive at this level. (12) TOP MATE is winless from four but did catch the eye when 2nd over 1400M in November. Draw a line through his latest appearance over 1200M as today should suit much better. Similarly (4) ALPHA STAR is much better than he showed last time when he was slow away and never featured. If he breaks better this time, he can be a big factor. If you prefer experience at the trip, then (1) BULMYEORUI GIL has a runner-up finish at it. He’ll settle midfield and is sure to stay on well.
|Selections||(3) Rock Pegasus (6) B.K. John (1) Bulmyeorui Gil (9) Tapit Wonderful|
|Next Best||12, 4, 11|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 12|
Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 42 Million
(4) GREAT BOSS is a winner of four from five so far including two at this class. He steps up to 1400M for the first time today and if he sees out the trip – and there is no reason why he shouldn’t – then he has every chance of winning again, especially with a nice light weight on his back. It’s that weight advantage that just gets him the nod over (1) MR. HANSEN. He came close to scoring over class and distance last start three weeks ago and will be close but Great Boss has beaten him before and can again. (10) AFLEET YOUNG and (8) JEONSEOULUI BOSS have defeated one another in the past and both come here looking in good shape and with at least placing claims. Jeonseolui Boss is likely to be on the early speed while Afleet Young can finish strongly. (7) ECHO SUN is a winner at this distance already and while he is another who has been beaten by Great Boss, he can be competitive here.
|Selections||(4) Great Boss (1) Mr. Hansen (8) Jeonseoului Boss (10) Afleet Young|
|Next Best||7, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 6, 8|
Race 8: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 50 Million
The only one of these to have won at the distance, (6) STAR OREUM has in fact done it twice. The first two legs of the Triple Crown series last summer did not suit but this type of race looks ideal and he has every chance of returning to winning ways today. It would be a return because last time out he was beaten by (4) MIRACLE DREAMING, who was 2nd to his 4th over 1200M on December 20th. It’s been a while since his most recent win but he is generally consistent and is capable of running a fast time at this trip. (2) GOOD FOR YOU has also shown decent consistency of late and can push forward early from a good draw. (1) NEU DAT was unsuited by 1800M last time out but should be better back at this trip. (11) QUEEN OF CAPTAIN’s recent form doesn’t read too good but in this company she should be able to challenge for some minor money.
|Selections||(6) Star Oreum (4) Miracle Dreaming (2) Good For You (1) Neu Dat|
|Next Best||11, 10|
|Fast Start||3, 6|
Race 9: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 50 Million
(6) BLUE POWER was 4th in the Korean Derby and 2md in the Minister’s Cup (final leg of the Korean Triple Crown) and in his latest two outings has beaten several of these. He won at class and distance on December 12th and with only an additional 1kg on his back today, he can win again. (4) TOP SKY ran 3rd to Blue Power that day in what was his first race since August. He has won at the distance in the past and should be a danger here. (11) TRUE VALOR was 4th in that race and behind Blue Power a month earlier and while a win may be challenging, he can certainly be aiming to at least match those finishes today. (7) POWER TRAIN is also a winner at this distance and while he was underwhelming in two goes at this class in November and December, does have ability and shouldn’t be far away. (5) GWANGHWAMUN SIDAE among a number of others in at least the placing frame.
|Selections||(6) Blue Power (4) Top Sky (11) True Valor (7) Power Train|
|Next Best||5, 8, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 3|
Race 10: Class 1 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 70 Million
Two really good last start class and distance winners with almost identical records clash here. (5) ROCK CHOICE (8 wins from 21 starts) was in super form in the latter half of last year with two wins and two runner-up finishes, beating several of these in the process. He came from just behind the pace to run on really strongly on December 19th and he can win again. He has a 4kg advantage over (6) JUMBO BLADE (8 wins from 22 starts), who was similarly impressive when dispatching a strong class 1 field at the end of November. He has mixed it in top class company as well and he could well overcome the weight. Speaking of weight, (12) GREAT KING carries the lightest that he has for a very long time. It is still 56kg but he rarely runs a bad race and his class should see him in the mix again today. (11) NEW YORK MANGSHI had a poor day at the office behind Rock Choice last start but he was first up in almost a year and can improve here. His stablemate (7) WORLD DAY will likely be setting the early pace and while his recent work has been at shorter distances, he is a winner at this class at up to 2000M and can’t be discounted.
|Selections||(5) Rock Choice (6) Jumbo Blade (12) Great King (7) World Day|
|Next Best||11, 4, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 7, 12|