After last weekend’s sub-zero and then some unpleasantness, the temperature has warmed up significantly in Korea where once more, all three tracks will run Friday cards at the same time. There is no local attendance or betting. East Jet and Alan Munro renew their successful partnership in Seoul’s feature but once again we will focus on Busan (10 races from 10:35 to 15:15) which is available on international simulcast in the usual places.
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
A maiden to kick things off with eight of the twelve racing for the very first time. Of the ones with experience, (5) FIRST EDITION is set to be favourite. Having impressed in his trial, he was well fancied first-up on November 20th but having led for much of the way, ultimately finished a rather well-beaten 2nd. Nevertheless, he’ll be favourite again today and should get things right this time. None of the others with experience caught the eye so we’ll turn to the first-timers. (7) FIRST CHOICE first trialed up all the way back in May of 2019 and after a string of setbacks finally makes it to the track. She registered the quickest trial time and goes straight into contention. (6) WONDERFUL JAZZ didn’t offer too many clues in his heat but did nothing wrong and given the stable, he will be backed first-up. (2) S.L. KING and (9) GEUMBIT SKY similarly looked well in their respective heats.
|Selections||(5) First Edition (7) First Choice (9) Geumbit Sky (6) Wonderful Jazz|
|Next Best||2, 12|
|Fast Start||5, 9|
Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
(2) JEONGMUN POWER led from gate to wire on debut to record a very smart looking win over this distance. He gets another crack at class 6 here and has every chance of repeating from a good draw. It looks to be between Jeongmun Power and another previous winner, (11) MACH TITAN. He made his breakthrough at start number two and it was a similar all the way performance in a decent time in October. That encouraged connections to take a chance in Busan’s top juvenile race at the end of November and while he couldn’t get close to Heat Yegam or Winner’s Man, he did finish 4th in a reasonable time and back in shallower waters today is a real threat. (10) MONEY BAG improved on his second start in November and the booking of Seo Seung-un catches the eye. (12) TOP ADELE did nothing on debut last July but looked better when trialing up on Chirstmas Eve and gets a fresh start here.
|Selections||(2) Jeongmun Power (11) Mach Titan (10) Money Bag (12) Top Adele|
|Next Best||3, 8|
|Fast Start||2, 10|
Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Fillies (and one mare) only for this maiden. (7) LOOKING CAT improved on what was her second career start on December 6th. She ran on well for 5th and may appreciate the chance to get a bit of extra distance today. (10) LADY LOVE has been a touch one-paced across her two starts so far but she did improve in the latest of them and shapes to be a factor here. Also improving second up was (2) BAEDARI ICON, who came from off the pace to run a few down for 3rd place over 1200M and is another who may find the extra furlong suits. (1) NEW GLORY DAY led on her debut a month ago before weakening to 5th and may be fitter for that run today. (3) KKOTMURI is another who hasn’t shown much in the way of speed but also hasn’t done too much wrong in two starts so far and can improve here. There is just one debut-maker and in such company (6) FLAT BABE merits consideration after an adequate enough trial.
|Selections||(7) Looking Cat (10) Lady Love (2) Baedari Icon (1) New Glory Day|
|Next Best||6, 9|
Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Uncharted territory here with all twelve tackling a mile for the first time. (2) ACE DAY is a half-brother to Today, a winner of eleven races in Korea who has also placed in visits to Singapore and Dubai. For his part, Ace Day was an all the way winner on debut over 1200M before making a very slow start on his return to action at the end of November, giving himself far too much to do and ultimately finishing 2nd. The step up in trip should be fine and he can win here. (7) TRIUMPH KING ran a solid 2md on debut on December 12th. He ran on well and should also be able to cope well with the mile. Those two look the clear standouts with everything else needing to show improvement. (1) ROCK HARD DANCER hinted at some ability when running on well behind Ace Day last start while (6) DAEHO PYEONGJEONG showed a bit of promise in his first two starts before losing his way a little. The change in distance may be good for him too.
|Selections||(2) Ace Day (7) Triumph King (1) Rock Hard Dancer (6) Daeho Pyeongjeong|
|Next Best||5, 11|
|Fast Start||2, 7|
Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million
Fillies and mares only here. (5) GREY ANGEL has won both her two starts so far, running on well both times to score by handsome margins at this distance. Today she has to step up in class for the first time but the task should be well within her ability and she has solid claims again. (9) MAJOR PUNCH beat four of these on her way to a solid 2nd place at class and distance on November 27th. That came following a poor performance two starts back but she is a class and distance winner and can be in the hunt again today. (7) GEUMA BONNY was a good winner on debut back in August and while she could only manage 4th on her November return, this looks a bit easier and she has claims. It’s a similar story with (8) NAMDO QUEEN who ran on well for 4th on her second start having won on debut. (4) BODE BLADE and (12) ACHIM BIT are others in at least the placing hunt.
|Selections||(5) Grey Angel (7) Geuma Bonny (4) Bode Blade (9) Major Punch|
|Next Best||8, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 11|
Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 42 Million
(2) HAPPY YEOGEOL is top rated here and perhaps deservedly so. She has the fastest time of these over the distance which was recorded when winning at the same class last July and while she had a couple of indifferent outings after that, she seemed to return to some form last start at the end of November when a decent 2nd. Expect her to be on pace and pushing all the way here. (1) WORLD GEUMMEDAL was a better than expected 3rd on debut a month ago. The Lemon Drop Kid colt is another who should be on pace from the start and has claims to match or better that performance today. (4) B.K. THUNDER comes in off a useful 5th place over the distance and an apprentice jockey takes a valuable 4kg off his back today which could put him right in contention while we can also expect some improvement from (5) SUPERSONIC IJI after a forgettable debut. There are two first-time starters and they both went around in the same trial. (11) BUCATINI is the pick of them at this stage.
|Selections||(2) Happy Yeogeol (1) World Geummedal (11) Bucatini (4) B.K. Thunder|
|Next Best||5, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 7, 11, 12|
Race 7: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 42 Million
(7) WINNER’S MAN was extremely impressive in three straight victories to begin his career before coming unstuck in Busan’s top juvenile race at the end of November. His dam was similarly prodigious before losing her way a little although she did go on to become a solid class 1 competitor. Winner’s Man is up in distance today but he has won well at 1400M at this class and we’ll side with him to put his campaign for three-year-old Classics back on track today. (10) YEOWANGUI MISO was 3rd behind Winner’s Man at 1400M in November. She has won over this trip and gets a nice little weight advantage over most of her rivals here. (9) DOCTOR SKY was a class and distance winner last November and while he was never a factor in his latest effort in December, with Djordje Perovic returning to the mount today, he warrants consideration. He certainly doesn’t win out of turn but a place looks a real possibility. (11) POWER WONDERFUL is also a class and distance winner and is among a number of others with placing chances. They include (3) PAI BLADE, who is yet to finish any worse than 3rd in six starts to date, a record he can maintain here.
|Selections||(7) Winner’s Man (10) Yeowangui Miso (3) Pai Blade (9) Doctor Sky|
|Next Best||11, 1, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 7|
Race 8: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million
(4) JERA is two for two and at no point in his races so far has he been behind another horse. He also has the fastest time among any of these for this distance and from a good draw, has every chance of leading all the way again. (7) TWO TWO WILD THING has finished no worse than 4th in six starts to date. He steps up to the distance for the first time but is a winner at this class over 1200M and should be competitive here. Another promising up and comer is (9) TAKE INDY KING. He came from off the pace to win on debut over 1000M before a front-running 2nd at this class over 1200M on December 12th. He too moves up in trip today and looks firmly in contention. (1) HAEUNDAE THUNDER beat four of these on his way to 2nd place at class and distance on November 29th. He therefore warrants respect here although (6) SPEED KINGDOM and (10) YEONGGWANGUI EAGLE both have fair claims to overturn that form this time.
|Selections||(4) Jera (7) Two Two Wild Thing (9) Take Indy King (10) Yeonggwangui Eagle|
|Next Best||6, 1|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 7, 9|
Race 9: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 50 Million
(4) GOLDEN WINNER was a class and distance winner two starts back making all to win in a fast time for this class. He stepped up to 1800M for his reappearance just two weeks later and while he led again, ultimately finished in 3rd. Perovic climbs back aboard today and he can return to the winner’s circle. (12) DAEMANGUI GIL was 5th in that 1800M race but previously ran 2nd at this trip to the very good Star Oreum, who has since won again. He overcame a wide draw that day as well and he has a chance of going close here. (9) I’M YOUR FASHION won three races in a row between July and October last year. This is his first time tackling the distance but if he can get on the early speed then he has every chance. (2) BANJIUI JEONSEOL and (10) MAN OF THE FIELD are others with solid records and both have at least placing claims.
|Selections||(4) Golden Winner (12) Daemangui Gil (9) I’m Your Fashion (10) Man Of The Field|
|Next Best||2, 1|
|Fast Start||4, 9, 12|
Race 10: Class 2 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup winner (2) TOUCH STAR MAN has been a little lackluster in two starts since the conclusion of the Triple Crown series, finishing 5th and 3rd over a mile and 1800M respectively. He gives weight away to all but (12) SMART PRINCE, who beat him last time, but we’re going to keep the faith one more time and back him to turn it around today. (6) WORLD TODAY returned from four months out to run 5th over 1400M on December 19th. He beat a couple of his rivals here in the process and should have come on for the run. Expect better this time. (10) THUNDER KING led in the Minister’s Cup last year before fading away but was a good all the way winner at this distance in November. He’s up in class this time but should be competitive. (7) YEONGSEONG ACE is consistent and should be aiming to place in this company. (1) B.K. GAMBOL and (9) GYEONGJUUI DUREBAK are others to take into account.
|Selections||(2) Touch Star Man (6) World Today (10) Thunder King (7) Yeongseong Ace|
|Next Best||9, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 10|