Saturday’s racing is at Busan with a 10-race card from 13:30 to 18:00. Racecourses and OTB’s in the south of the country will be open to spectators with advance reservations (made through the MyCard app) at 20% of the indoor seated capacity. The open locations are Jeju Racecourse and Busan Racecourse as well as the off-track betting centres in Busan (both of them), Changwon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Cheonan. All betting locations in the Greater Seoul area remain closed. Here are the Busan previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Twelve previously unraced three-year-olds tackle the opener and we have plenty coming in off good trial performances. The fastest was (4) MUJEOK BULPAE, who responded well when asked and ran 2nd in his heat to an already established racehorse. It bodes well for his debut here. (12) AMAZING FOOT was green in the home straight in his trial but was able to pull himself together and go up a gear to cross the line 1st. He looks like he has a nice – if not yet amazing – turn of foot and can go well under Seo Seung-un. You Hyun-myung rode both of those horses in their respective trials but he jumps aboard (1) WIND HARPOON and that alone will probably be enough for local punters to make the Thunder Moccasin filly the favourite. She led her trial, ultimately finishing a close at hand 3rd and from the inside gate, should be able to lead again. Also attracting attention will be the combination of trainer Kim Young-kwan and jockey Djordje Perovic with (2) OLD CHEONHA. He ran well in a competitive heat and has every chance of going close. (7) ADELE SMART and (8) PICTURE JASPER are others who showed promise in trials.
|Selections||(4) Mujeok Bulpae (1) Wind Harpoon (12) Amazing Foot (2) Old Cheonha|
|Next Best||7, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 12|
Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Fillies only here and the solitary previous winner among them is set to be the warm favourite. That’s (6) SAGARMATHA, who was a winner on debut last October with a front-running performance and who has since followed up with back to back 3rd places. She’s much better than class 6 and should be proving that here. (13) A PLUS ONE ran 4th to Sagarmatha on debut, running on strong from well off the pace. She was 4th on her return too in November and comes back in after three months off as one of the primary dangers. Other dangers include (1) SECOND WIND, who has the second fastest time among these at the distance. All her four races were last summer but she comes in here having looked strong in a January trial and should be very much in the hunt. (9) BAEK SEOL QUEEN has some speed about her but has just failed to hit top gear in her latest two. She’s perhaps worth another chance for a place here while (14) MASTER QUEEN led in her last start before ending up in 4th and while she has the outside gate to contend with, is another who could go close.
|Selections||(6) Sagarmatha (13) A Plus One (1) Second Wind (9) Baek Seol Queen|
|Next Best||14, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 6, 14|
Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
We have three nailed on favorites across the card and this is the first of them. (13) MILLION MAKER came from just behind the speed to get his maiden win over 1200M on November 29th. While he’s not raced since and does have a wide draw, the additional furlong should only suit and it is hard to see him being beaten here. If he does slip up, then (10) YEONGGWANGUI TEUKG is most likely to advantage He’s yet to win in eleven attempts but has steadily improved and beat three of his rivals here on his way to a solid if unspectacular runner-up finish over this distance on January 8th. (8) CHEONMA HASEO was 3rd in that same race having previously recorded the fastest time of these at this distance – although it has to be said, it wasn’t especially swift – and he looks next best. (11) LEGEND BOSS and (12) MAGIC STEALTH also came out of the January 8th race – 5th and 4th respectively – and they too look set to be in the placing frame today.
|Selections||(13) Million Maker (10) Yeonggwangui Teukg (12) Magic Stealth (8) Cheonma Haseo|
|Next Best||11, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 9, 13, 14|
Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million
Cases can be made for a few of these. Given the draw though, we’re going to put (1) TWO TWO WILD THING on top. The Modern Cowboy colt has never finished worse than 4th and runs best when he gets an early lead. He can certainly do that here and while he is carrying more weight than he has done to date, he looks well placed to get his third career victory. The draw has been less kind to another front-runner, (14) MACH TITAN. That said, he managed to overcome gate 11 to win well last start at class 6 over this distance. That took his record to two wins from four starts and if he can cross the field early, then he has a chance again. (2) JEONGMUN POWER ran 2nd to Mach Titan in that race having previously won on debut at this distance back in November. He is another front-runner and can challenge Two Two Wild Thing for the early lead. One of Mach Titan’s defeats was in a top class juvenile race last November when he was 4th, one ahead of (5) B.K. LOOKS. The latter comes in off a useful class and distance 2nd a month ago and is another in the hunt here. So too is (10) ROCK PEGASUS, already a winner at this class, as well as (9) QUEEN VRONSKY, an excellent winner at class 6 last start but facing tougher opposition today.
|Selections||(1) Two Two Wild Thing (14) Mach Titan (2) Jeongmun Power (9) Queen Vronsky|
|Next Best||10, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 5, 14|
Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 42 Million
A winner of three from three so far, (4) HEAT YEGAM was, to all intents and purposes, Busan’s champion juvenile in 2020, having smashed Winner’s Marine over 1200M in November. The Take Charge Indy colt has yet to be behind another horse in his three starts to date and is beautifully drawn here to get out in front once more. The rest probably won’t catch him. There are a few useful types here though. (8) GREAT BOSS is the best of those, having won four from six in total to date. He beat four of these when finishing runner-up at this class over 1400M on January 8th and looks set to find only one too quick again today. (10) ECHO SUN was 3rd and (1) GOLD TICKET 4th in the same race and they too can compete for the places here. Among the rest (13) GREAT GOOD comes in off a good 3rd place at the distance in December and is another in the placing frame.
|Selections||(4) Heat Yegam (8) Great Boss (13) Great Good (10) Echo Sun|
|Next Best||1, 2|
|Fast Start||3, 4|
Race 6: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 32 Million
Is (12) TOP MATE ready to win at last? He’s raced five times and finishes 2nd on no fewer than four occasions with the only other one being when he was well back behind Heat Yegam in Busan’s championship juvenile race. His latest 2nd was over this distance and he beat three of his rivals here in the process. Today looks his best chance yet to make the breakthrough. It seems a straight shootout between Top Mate and (7) CRONUS. He got his maiden at start four last August and then won again when he finally reappeared in January. He steps up to a mile for the first time but both his wins came at 1400M and there is little to suggest he won’t be able to stay the trip. As for the rest, (10) SKY WIN has a victory to his name at this distance albeit at class 6 level. That was back in August last year when (3) JEONSEOLUI FIGHT ran 2nd. Both have mixed their form since but should be in the hunt for a place in this kind of race. (6) SUSO TANK and the up in class (2) RAPTOR MAN look best of the rest.
|Selections||(7) Cronus (12) Top Mate (10) Sky Win (3) Jeonseolui Fight|
|Next Best||6, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 9, 12|
Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 42 Million
(1) ALPHA AGAIN enters off two consecutive strong victories over 1000M and 1200M. He is up in both class and in distance today but looks shrewdly placed here against primarily weaker imports (who have to begin their careers at class 4) and it would be no surprise were he to win again. Of those imports, (9) GEUMA NIPPY is perhaps the best looking. A good winner and runner-up over 1200M last autumn, he didn’t go well on his first try over 1400M in December but is worth another chance in this company today. So too is (11) SNYDER. The Paddy O’Prado gelding did nothing too wrong when 4th on debut last month, beating a couple of his rivals here in the process and he can build on that today. Returning to the locals who take their chance, (5) BORNE MATTA, a winner over a mile who came from off the pace to run 4th at class and distance last start, looks a big threat while (7) JEONSEOLUI BOSS, who had a poor day at the office last start, is also a danger.
|Selections||(1) Alpha Again (11) Snyder (5) Borne Matta (9) Geuma Nippy|
|Next Best||7, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 11, 13|
Race 8: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 50 Million
A winner of two from four and yet to finish any worse than 4th, (1) SONIC KING IJI comes in off a good and emphatic win over 1200M on January 8th. He is up in class and distance today but the Exaggerator colt has the potential for more development and he can win again here. (10) GEUMA CAVALRY returns to action for the first time since November 2019. The Violence colt had showed plenty of talent as a juvenile with a win and two runner-up finishes from three starts and while he missed his entire three-year-old season, he trialed up very well last month and comes straight into contention here. Also in contention is (6) JANGSAN DOKKI, who beat four of these on his way to 2nd place at this class over 1200M on December 19th. That day’s 3rd place-getter (13) SYDNEY MANGCHI has shown ability over this distance and is another who can place. (9) SO MUCH GO looks to be best of the rest having beaten a couple of these on his way to a class and distance 2nd place just over a month ago.
|Selections||(1) Sonic King Iji (10) Geuma Cavalry (9) So Much Go (6) Jangsan Dokki|
|Next Best||13, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 12, 13|
Race 9: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 50 Million
We still don’t know if we are even going to have a Triple Crown series this year but if we do then (12) WINNER’S MAN is currently one of the leading contenders. He did the business in fine style over the KRA Cup Mile distance on January 15th, now he has the opportunity to prove he can do it at the Korean Derby distance of 1800M. His only reverse so far came at the hands of Heat Yegam over 1200M last November and we’ll side with him to overcome this particular challenge, despite the unfavourable draw. It should be a good challenge. (1) GOLDEN WINNER is no mug with lots of good experience at this class He beat three of these on his way to 3rd place over this distance in December and can be a threat. (4) REVERSE SWEEP put in a big run to finish 2nd at class and distance in January and he too can give the favourite a run for his money while the likes of (5) TRUE VALOR and (10) POWER WONDERFUL look good to at least contest the placings.
|Selections||(12) Winner’s Man (1) Golden Winner (5) True Valor (10) Power Wonderful|
|Next Best||4, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 12|
Race 10: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(1) HUNCH looks the superior animal here. A super winner last time out, he drops weight today and comes into barrier 1 with all signs pointing to a fifth win on his ninth start. Hunch arrested the winning streak of (8) CRAZY CONTI back on August of last year. Crazy Conti won at this distance at class 3 level on just his fourth outing and while he hasn’t raced since his defeat to Hunch, he looked very well in a January trial and while he may obviously need this race, he returns as a danger first-up today. Classic-placed (11) BLUE POWER steps up in class following a good win over the distance last month. He has plenty of ability and can be competitive but is going to need to go faster than he has before if he is to challenge the favourites. (4) CURLIN TIME and (13) DAEMANGUI GIL are among a number of others who can claim to have designs on the placings.
|Selections||(1) Hunch (8) Crazy Conti (11) Blue Power (4) Curlin Time|
|Next Best||13, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 9, 11|