Month: March 2021

Menifee Colt Tops Jeju March Sale

A Menifee colt out of Gemubit Mulgyeol (by Johannesburg) topped the first Korean sale of the year, the Korean Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association March Sale of Two-Year-Olds on Jeju Island last week.

Not the Menifee colt – but the photo that was released to the media from the sale – an Old Fashioned filly, who did not meet the reserve (Pic KTBA)

At these sales, there is a minimum reserve price of KRW 20 Million (US$18,416) and any horse which doesn’t reach that amount is automatically passed-in. At the March 23rd sale, 161 lots were offered of which 37 were sold for an average price of KRW 38.8 Million, better than the KRW 36 Million at the equivalent sale two years ago when 24 out of 132 lots changed hands.

The Menifee colt out of Geumbit Yeogeol fetched a sale-topping KRW 105 Million (US$92,723). Consigned by breeder Im So-yeon, he was bought by the DRM CITY Group. He already has a name, “Daemyung”. The same purchasers were also responsible for the second highest lot, a Take Charge Indy colt out of Friend of A Friend (by Crafty Friend).

Juveniles by Cowboy Cal were popular with seven selling on the day. Hansen and Old Fashioned were among other sires who had several meet their reserves.

There will be another smaller sale of two-year-olds at the end of April, this time at Jangsu on the mainland, before the second juvenile sale on Jeju in mid-May.

Eoma Eoma Defeats East Jet In Sprint Showdown

Eoma Eoma turned the tables on East Jet as the pair produced the sprint of the year so far on a soaking wet track at Seoul Racecourse last Sunday.

Punters couldn’t split the pair with both the locally bred East Jet (by Strike Again) and the American import Eoma Eoma (by Algorithms) being sent off as co-favourites. Eoma Eoma perhaps the more brilliant of the pair but from a better draw on a wet track and over 1200M, the ultra-consistent East Jet had plenty of cards to play too.

Ultimately, breaking from gate 13, Moon Se Young on Eoma Eoma didn’t try to cross the field to lead. The pair that did opt to take on East Jet for that early advantage, Yaho Smart Cat and Complete Sweep, quickly capitulated and ended up finishing last and second-last.

East Jet had to use up plenty to go with them and when Eoma Eoma finally looked up on his outside with a furlong to go, he could give no more, finishing a length in arrears but still well clear of 3rd placed M J Power. The winning time – on a day when the wet track was resulting in some ultra-fast races – was among the top five fastest times ever recorded at the distance in Seoul

Eoma Eoma moves on to seven wins from nine starts while East Jet, who like Moonhak Chief a week earlier lost little in defeat, is now on eight from eleven. Oh what we would give for there to be a Korea Sprint this summer.

Seoul Sunday: Eoma Eoma vs East Jet – Race-By-Race Preview (March 28)

It’s another Super Sunday at Seoul yet no crowds will be allowed in to witness Eoma Eoma and East Jet facing each other in what should be an epic sprint tussle over the 1200M in the feature event. It remains galling that even the small and enclosed indoor Jangchung Arena in downtown Seoul was able to host spectators this weekend for a volleyball play-off series while the vast expanse of Seoul Racecourse isn’t allowed to admit anyone. It is what it is, however, and betting outlets south of (and including) Cheonan will be open at 20% of indoor seated capacity. It’s a cracking day’s racing in prospect with 15 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here is the race-by-race preview:

Eoma Eoma (left) and East Jet clash again (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Maidens in the opener with six of the fourteen going around for the very first time. Third time could well be the charm for (14) HOLIDAY CHARM. He has run on well but has arrived on the scene too late in both starts so far finishing in 2nd and in 3rd. He gets an extra furlong to play with today and while the draw is less than ideal, he can make the breakthrough. In the most recent of his races, Holiday Charm was 3rd with (9) BURUI GASOK in 2nd. That was Burui Gasok’s debut and very accomplished he looked too, leading for most of the way before getting run down late on by a good winner. He has serious claims and probably starts favourite. (8) DESK TAP ran 4th on his own debut in the same race and can aim to build on that today. As for the first time starters, there were a couple of eye-catchers in trials. (11) COMPLETE HONOR won his trial in good style while (12) MAGIC RECORD registered a fast time running on strong. Both can go well first up.

Selections(14) Holiday Charm (9) Burui Gasok (12) Magic Record (11) Complete Honor
Next Best8, 1
Fast Start5, 8, 9, 14

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Three-year-old fillies only here. (12) K N MENIQUEEN is going to be hot favourite here. While she finished well back in her first two, her times were adequate and it wasn’t much of a surprise when she won at start number three on February 5th with three of these back down the track behind her. The draw shouldn’t be an issue and she should be winning again. There are couple of others with potential. (1) SHOWMAKER ran 3rd on debut behind K N Meniqueen. That was encouraging enough to suggest there is more to come and she should be close to the pace from the inside draw here. (10) BEST CHEONSANG ran an improved 3rd at start number two in February. She has led both her races so far and will be expected to be on the early pace again. (9) GLOBAL CHEONSA was 4th in that race, continuing to show gradual improvement and looks a potential place line here along with (the solitary debut-maker (14) CHOEGANG BLACK. She ran on strong in a fast trial and could be interesting first-up.

Selections(12) K N Meniqueen (10) Best Cheonsang (1) Showmaker (14) Choegang Black
Next Best9, 2
Fast Start1, 3, 10, 13

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(5) CHEONMA TODAY showed good speed when leading all the way for back to back wins over 1200M in November and December. She weakened into 4th when tried at 1400M on February but splitting the difference at 1300M today and with the benefit of a very nice draw, she could return to the winner’s circle. The only other previous winner in the field is (8) CUPID BULLET. He was a speedy winner over 1000M on his second outing at the start of February and while up in trip here, looks set to be the main danger. (11) TAP QUALITY has been knocking on the door in his three starts so far and is one of only three in the race who has prior experience of this trip. He will be there or thereabouts again. (6) BODYGUARD and (12) HOEDURYEONG were both a touch disappointing on their respective latest outings but have hinted at ability and can aim for some money here.

Selections(5) Cheonma Today (8) Cupid Bullet (11) Tap Quality (6) Bodyguard
Next Best12, 4
Fast Start5, 8, 11, 12

Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(9) ACE PRINCE remains winless but has finished in the top five in all four of his starts so far. He enters having run 4th on his first try at this distance last time and looks nicely in here to make the breakthrough. Expect him to be on pace from the start and go all the way. (5) CHAMPION GAMUN will be challenging for the early lead. He has shown progress over his own four outings prior to today and steps up to 1400M for the first time with claims to go close. (6) POWER MUSIC beat a few of these on her way to 5th place over 1700M on February 5th. That was her first start since August but she already has a runner-up finish to her name at this distance and should be a danger here. (1) ETERNAL MEMORY was further back in that same race but expect better dropped back to one turn. Even further back was (3) GEUMA SWIFT. The time before though he ran on well from the back over 1200M and can be given another chance today.

Selections(9) Ace Prince (5) Champion Gamun (6) Power Music (1) Eternal Memory
Next Best3, 12
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 9

Busan Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 27)

Saturday’s racing is at Busan with 10 races from 13:30 to 18:00. Busan Racecourse will be open to punters at 20% of indoor seated capacity. Attendance must be pre-booked through the “My Card app”. Here are the previews:

Busan – some years ago now

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Maidens to kick things off with just five of the fourteen having raced before. Of those, (2) COLOR WIND is the pick with a 2nd and 3rd in her record already, both at this distance. She was underwhelming last start but this is softer and Perovic aboard can only be to her benefit. OO the others with prior experience, neither (4) RAPIDO QUEEN or (14) DRAGON ROYAL showed much – the latter in just one start in the middle of last year – but both have recently trialed well and significantly better will be expected today. The stiffest challenges to the selection, however, may come from the first-timers. (8) POKPUNG JILJU looks the likely favourite having shown progress across two trials, recording a very nice time in the latter. (3) THE WIN also looked competent in his heat and has every chance of going close first-up.

Selections(2) Color Wind (8) Pokpung Jilju (3) The Win (14) Dragon Royal
Next Best4, 10
Fast Start2, 4, 8, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) MR. INDIE was a good winner on debut over 1000M on February 5th. He steps up a couple of furlongs here but is very nicely drawn and looks to be the one to beat once more. (3) WONDERFUL FAGER ran on strong for 3rd over 1200M on his debut a month ago. The additional furlong can suit and he should be close today. Similarly, (12) CENTUM THOR finished off well for 2nd at 1200M on February 5th, beating three of these in the process and is set to figure once more. Only two of the field have raced at this distance before but both come in with recent form reading well. (10) CHOEGANG LIGER is yet to score in ten attempts but has been in the top four on each of his latest five outings. He is another who comes from off the pace and can’t be ruled out. Likewise, (14) ZERAGE comes in off a decent 2nd place at the distance last start and while the time was nothing special, he overcame a wide draw to get a good position, something he will need to do again here. (7) HILL MORE, behind Choegang Liger over a mile last time out, is another in the hunt.

Selections(1) Mr. Indie (7) Hill More (10) Choegang Liger (3) Wonderful Fager
Next Best14, 12
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 6

Race 3: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here and we always need to take note of any previous winners in such a race. There is just the one in the shape of (9) LOOKING CAT, who prevailed over 1400M last start. That was her first go at 1400M and her first being ridden handy and she ran on well to score. She looks right in this. (8) TWO TWO CELEB beat three of these on her way to 3rd place at 1400M on February 5th. She’s only missed the top five on one occasion from six starts so far and should be a serious player here. (4) KEY PLAYER stepped up to this trip last start and registered her best result to date with a 2nd place. It wasn’t a fast time but she should be competitive in this company. (2) TEAM SKY and (7) NUN KKOT YEWANG are others who are in at least the placing frame.

Selections(9) Looking Cat (8) Two Two Celeb (7) Nun Kkot Yewang (4) Key Player
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start1, 2, 7, 12

Race 4: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 42 Million

It’s far from certain that there will be a Triple Crown series this year but if there is, (1) ALPHA AGAIN has the opportunity to put himself firmly in the frame as a leading contender. He has won his latest three, pretty much making all on each occasion and steps up in to the Mile for the first time today. From the inside Jeong Dong-cheol isn’t likely to waste much time getting on pace and he can win again. (8) MACH TITAN is aiming to make it three wins in a row and four in total and he looks the main danger. He ran 4th in the track’s top juvenile race last November and while he tackles further than six-furlongs for the first time, he will be a big threat and will be challenging Alpha Again for the lead right from the start – if the draws were reversed, he might be favoured. (11) KING DOMBO took a couple of races to get back in to the swing of things following nine months out but has looked good in his latest two. He has recorded a solid time at this distance before and should be in the placing frame. (5) JEONSEOULUI BULKKOT and (14) HONOR QUEEN are both better than their respective latest outings suggest.

Selections(1) Alpha Again (8) Mach Titan (11) King Dombo (5) Jeonseolui Bulkkot
Next Best14, 10
Fast Start1, 4, 8, 14

Jeju Friday Selections (March 26)

It seems inevitable that the current Covid-19 restrictions in South Korea will be extended again on Friday which will leave racing’s predicament unchanged with betting outlets in the south of the country permitted to open while those in the Greater Seoul area must remain shut (despite such indoor event as the Volleyball play-offs being allowed to admit 10% of arena capacity from this week). Racing will be at Jeju on Friday, Busan on Saturday and Seoul on Sunday.

Cases continue to hover at around 400-450 per day and there is a tacit acceptance that this isn’t likely to reduce any time soon. Coupled with the glacial pace of the vaccine rollout and the non-existent pace of the legalization of online betting, and racing remains stuck up the proverbial with no means of propulsion. It is a situation set to be exacerbated further when the Daejeon betting branch closes permanently at the end of the month as organised crime takes over the monopoly on gambling in that city Daejeon becomes a gambling-free city.

From April, both Seoul and Busan will race on both Saturdays and Sundays – good news for overseas bettors as races will no longer routinely clash with Singapore and Hong Kong, but for this weekend it’s as you were with Jeju kicking things off for this weekend with an 11-race Friday afternoon card from 13:30 to 18:00. Betting outlets south of and including Cheonan are open at 20% of indoor seating capacity. Attendance must be pre-booked using the MyCard app one day in advance. Here are the Jeju selections.

Jeju Friday Selections

Race 1: 5, 4, 3, 1

Race 2: 7, 9, 10, 2

Race 3: 4, 10, 9, 7

Race 4: 4, 6, 1, 3

Race 5: 5, 9, 6, 7

Race 6: 7, 1, 5, 3

Race 7: 10, 2, 6, 9

Race 8: 2, 8, 11, 9

Race 9: 4, 6, 5, 10

Race 10: 8, 4, 5, 6

Race 11: 8, 10, 1, 5

Tiz Plan Overturns Form On Moonhak Chief To Square Rivalry at 1-1

Last year it took Tiz Plan three attempts to get the better of Cheongdam Dokki. It’s taken him just two to record a victory over the other member of the Seoul Staying Big Three as the six-year-old avenged January’s defeat to Moonhak Chief with a comprehensive win at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday.

The 2019 Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Moonhak Chief only raced once in 2020, just before racing’s first prolonged shutdown in February. He returned in January this year and defeated Tiz Plan by six-lengths at level weights over 2000M.

With Sunday’s race under handicap conditions, Tiz Plan was able to get 3kg from Moonhak Chief but punters still sent the Moon Se-young ridden champion off as the odds-on favourite.

It looked to be business as usual as Moonhak Chief sat behind early pacesetter Platinum Euro before taking over at the head of proceedings in the back straight. He soon opened up a lead but under Johan Victoire, Tiz Plan was stalking, never less than four-lengths behind.

By the top of the stretch the pair were on level terms and it was Tiz Plan who proved the strongest running on to win by two-lengths on the line. Moonhak Chief rallied well and held off the fast finishing Brigadier General to claim 2nd place and keep the quinella punters happy.

Both Tiz Plan and Moonhak Chief are owned by Kwon Kyung-ja but are under the care of different trainers. Tiz Plan was winning for the eleventh time in twenty-one starts.

No Stakes schedule has yet been published as with Covid restrictions remaining in place and the government continuing to stall the legalization of online betting what with important regional elections just around the corner, racing’s income remains at 10% pre-pandemic levels. Regardless, a third chapter in their rivalry is inevitable regardless of the conditions or prize money of the race.

In other news at Seoul on Sunday, Dolkong’s half-sister Jangsan Gold got her maiden win at start number six. The four-year-old Goldencents filly was a dominant winner of race 12 at under Moon Se-young.

Moonhak Chief v Tiz Plan – Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 21)

There is a heavyweight collision at Seoul on Sunday as Moonhak Chief and Tiz Plan, two of the top three horses at the track, square off for the second time this year. The pair will clash in the feature and finale race 15 over 2000M. Sadly nobody will be there to see it but punters located in the south of the country will at least be able to attend betting branches. Seoul and Gyeonggi Province remain shuttered. There are 15 Sunday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00:

Moonhak Chief faces Tiz Plan on Sunday. Sadly there won’t be packed galleries to see it

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only in the opener. (12) GANGSEO PRINCESS beat several of these on her way to an easy victory on debut over the 1000M on January 29th. She steps up in trip and has a less favourable gate today but the manner of that win suggests that the result will be the same and she will be the hot favourite here. (1) NONGBON BADA and (2) MAGIC TIDE both ran 3rd on their respective debuts in January. In the case of Nongbon Bada it was behind Gangseo Princess so that brings her straight into contention again while Magic Tide ran on strong in a good time and should go well with the extra furlong today. Already experienced at this distance is (7) MACH JIJON. She ran an on pace 2nd in a good time over the trip on January 29th, her best finish to date and can build on it here.

Selections(12) Gangseo Princess (2) Magic Tide (1) Nongbon Bada (7) Mach Jijon
Next Best14, 4
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 8, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(6) EAST IMPACT was a sixteen-length winner on debut posting one of the fastest times ever recorded at the distance at class 6. It was impressive and while it would only be natural for there to be a slight dip in performance second time around, if he runs anything near like that again, then frankly the rest could start now and he’d still win. The only other previous winner in the race is (1) DREAM PELLA and he’s the one to take advantage should something happen to the favourite. He made all for his win over the distance in December and while his 5th on reappearance in January was nothing to write home about, he should get on pace from the inside. (3) SWEET JUICE BAR was 4th – about half a furlong – behind East Impact on debut and has placing claims here while first-time starter (7) BLUE HAMMER caught the eye in trials and can go well first-up today.

Selections(6) East Impact (1) Dream Pella (7) Blue Hammer (3) Sweet Juice Bar
Next Best8, 10
Fast Start1, 6

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

The betting market will be a little bit more competitive in this one with no clear standout. A couple of them look potentially ready to win though. Likely favourite is (2) THUNDER CHAMP. He ran on well for 2nd – a distant 2nd but well clear of 3rd place – to East Impact on what was for him start number three on January 29th. He steps up marginally in trip here but won’t need to improve much to have very good claims. (8) EAST JILJU ran an improved 3rd on what was his second start at the end of January, beating a couple of these in the process. He ran on strongly and the extra half furlong today keeps him right in the mix with an apprentice also keeping the weight low. (14) BIG RED could only manage 6th at the distance last start but it was by no means a bad run in what was a good race. He should be there or thereabouts. (3) BOGO TTO BOGO and (7) GEOSEN JILPUNG are others in the minor money hunt.

Selections(2) Thunder Champ (8) East Jilju (14) Big Red (3) Bogo Tto Bogo
Next Best7, 13
Fast Start2, 3, 11, 14

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fillies only here. (14) FASHIONED PASSION has drawn the car park but could well overcome it. The filly has improved across three starts so far and has the fastest final furlong average time of all of these. She moves up by half a furlong today and it could well suit with Moon Se Young climbing aboard for the first time. (1) SERVE ACE beat three of these on her way to 3rd place at this distance on January 29th recording by some margin the fastest time of those who have tackled the 1300M before. Munro can be patient from the inside here and she can run on strong. (3) MISS YANGHO was 4th behind Serve Ace last time out. She is one of only two previous winners in the field and will warrant respect again here. (2) GANGHWA CHEONYEO has shown signs of figuring things out across her latest couple of runs and can go close while (11) GREEN POKJU has been inconsistent but should be on pace here and can be involved at the business end.

Selections(14) Fashioned Passion (1) Serve Ace (3) Miss Yangho (11) Green Pokju
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start6, 10, 11, 13

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

With two wins to her name already (9) USORYUNG gets a third crack at class 6 and is the one to beat again. True, she hasn’t race – or even trialed – since last November, but she has proven capable of leading and of coming from off the pace and with Munro riding, her credentials are burnished even more. She’ll be favourite but a vulnerable one. (5) COLJOY comes in off a smart 3rd ahead of a number of these on January 29th over 1400M. In the process he recorded the fastest time among those here who have tackled the distance and he should provide a stern challenge. (6) NUBIGO and (1) SAENAE CHOICE came home 4th and 5th respectively in the same race and both have claims to match or better that here while (2) COWBOY TANGO could only manage 7th that day but along with Usoryung is the only one of these to have experienced victory before and can’t be discarded.


Busan Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 20)

Saturday’s racing is at Busan with 10 races from 13:30 to 18:00. The Busan Racecourse as well as all betting locations sought of (and including) Cheonan will be open at 20% capacity (pre-booking required using the My Card app). Locations in the Greater Seoul and Gyeonggi areas remain closed. Here are the Busan previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

A filly maiden to kick things off and quite a tricky one at that. Peter Wolsley sends out a couple of decent looking ones and (13) GOLD LUCK is the preferred pick. She has improved across three starts so far culminating in a runner-up finish last time out in a similar race over this trip. The draw isn’t ideal but Perovic climbs aboard and she can win. The other Wolsley entrant is (4) ARTIE’S GAL After winning a trial she was a solid 3rd on debut last November before having a tough time on reappearance in January. We’ll give her another chance today. In that race in January, Artie’s Gal was beaten by (11) STARLIGHT. The latter filly was debuting and ran a very good 4th over the 1000M. She was on pace and should overcome gate 11 to get on the speed again here. (10) USEUNG GANGJA debuted in 5th place in the same race and has claims for improvement too while (12) HANHYEOLMA is a bit more experienced and while beaten by Gold Luck last start, has proven competitive in this kind of company.

Selections(13) Gold Luck (4) Artie’s Gal (11) Starlight (12) Hanhyeolma
Next Best10, 6
Fast Start2, 4, 10, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

More maidens here and two of them come in having put in strong runner-up finishes on their respective debuts. (7) COOL GUY is our pick, the Bart Rice trainee having been a front-running 2nd over 1000M on January 29th. That followed on from a similarly fast trial and he can make the breakthrough today. (11) DOCTOR FAPPIANO came from the middle of the pack to run on strong for 2nd also over the minimum distance on her own January debut. The additional furlong should suit and she is a real danger. (13) FIRST CHANCE beat a few of these on his way to 3rd place on debut two months ago and he too has the ability to build on that here. (2) WONDERFUL JAZZ and (5) GIANT CAL are others who also put in encouraging debuts and can be involved in the finish.

Selections(7) Cool Guy (11) Doctor Fappiano (13) First Chance (2) Wonderful Jazz
Next Best5, 10
Fast Start2, 7, 11, 13

Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(4) BEAUTIFUL KING was an impressive winner at start number three making all to score by four lengths over 1200M. He is up in trip here and is likely to be a strong favourite to win again. We’re going to take a chance and take him on though. (5) RAON THE BOSS beat three of these on his way to a much improved 3rd at this distance on January 29th. True the time wasn’t exactly fast but he looks to have potential for more and the experience may stand him in good stead here. (7) SUNLIGHT BOY and (6) GANGJAUICHEONGCHUN came home 4th and 5th respectively behind Raon The Boss in that race and both should be in the placing frame again here. (3) B.J. KING was a winner two starts back over 1200M and while he was well back behind Raon The Boss last start, can be given another chance here.

Selections(5) Raon The Boss (4) Beautiful King (7) Sunlight Boy (3) B. J. King
Next Best6, 2
Fast Start3, 4, 7, 8

Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 32 Million

This filly and mare affair is far too strong for class 5. After running 2nd on debut, (5) GODDESS MOON has won three in a row scarcely being behind another horse. She finally has to come up in class today but that shouldn’t be an issue and she can win again. Also up in class is (2) NEW LUX. She’s won two of three so far, running on strong from off the pace each time, beating Gold Luck, who we saw in race 1, in her latest. The step up in trip is set to suit and she is a big danger. Those two look set to fight out the quinella but there is a good deal of other talent here. (14) GREY ANGEL won her first two starts in fine form and while she only managed 6th in a decent race on reappearance in January can be competitive here on her first try at the distance. (11) RAON THE STAR remains a maiden but has never been worse than 5th in four outings to date. She got within less than three-lengths of Goddess Moon when 2nd last start and can go close again.

Selections(5) Goddess Moon (2) New Lux (14) Grey Angel (11) Raon The Star
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 12

Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 42 Million

(4) YEONGUNG LOUIS was a fine winner on debut at this trip before running a good 2nd when stepped up to a mile on reappearance. The Violence colt is well drawn to get on the early speed and looks very hard to beat here. (12) GLOBAL TOP was a last start class and distance winner, beating three of these in the process. She likes to be close to the pace so will need to work to overcome the wide draw but she should go close again here. (6) ROYAL TICKET had a poor day at the office behind Global Top last start but is also a class and distance winner and has the fastest time of any of these to his name. Don’t rule out. (5) SMART MOD began his career with a bang but while he hasn’t quite managed to maintain his early momentum, he looks to be on the right track again following a strong class and distance 3rd in February.


Jeju Friday Selections (March 19)

Conditions remain unchanged in Korea which means that despite sports such as football and basketball (the latter indoor) being permitted to have 10% capacity attendance in the Greater Seoul area and bars and restaurants being packed with maskless customers, racing remains unable to open its doors to long suffering punters in the most populous part of the country. However, the Busan and Jeju Racecourses along with OTBs in Busan (both of them), Changwon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Cheonan will be open at 20% of indoor seated capacity. There is racing at Jeju on Friday, Busan on Saturday and Seoul on Sunday. Jeju gets things underway with an 11-race Friday pony card running from 13:30 to 18:00. Here are selections for that meeting:

Race 1: (6) MYEONGSEONGGISANG is a winner already and neat three of these last start when recording the fastest time in the field at today’s distance. (10) GANGHANNEUNGRYEOK should pose a stiff challenge having run a good 2nd on debut a month ago and has plenty of scope to improve. Selections: 6, 10, 5, 4

Race 2: (2) DALUIJUNSA has run consistently fast times and is one of two who look ready to win here. He is marginally favoured to see off (7) CHOIGODAEJANG who has been getting closer across three starts so far/ Selections: 2, 7, 9, 1

Race 3: (8) MYEONGGAUIHIM will be a strong favourite here with a win and two runner-up finishes from efforts to date. He beat three of these last time and has the fastest times in the field. (7) KWANGAUICHAMP was 4th behind Myeonggauihim last start and also has win. He’ll be on pace and goes close. Selections: 8, 7, 9, 4

Race 4: (7) GANGNAMUIBIT and (9) KWANGAUIMANRI both seek maiden wins but have finished in front of one another in their latest two starts. They look set to contest the finish again here, this time for top honours. Watch the market for clues to (8) EKUSEU though. He trialed well : Selections: 7, 8, 6, 8

Race 5: A class and distance winner two starts back and then a good 2nd over 1000M last time out, the consistent (1) OLLEYOJOENG is the one to beat here. (2) DANGDAENURI was a last start winner class and distance winner and will be on pace from the start with claims to go close again. Selections: 1, 2, 6, 3

Race 6: (4) JEONGSEOKDAERO has won three in a row. He steps up in trip and carries significantly more weight but should be too good again. (6) DAESANGGUN, a smart gate to wire winner over 800M last time looks to have the best chance of stopping him. Selections: 4, 6, 1, 10

Race 7: (6) HANBAEHWANGCHO has beaten plenty of these across her latest two outings and is capable of fast times. The weights are against her here but she has strong claims again. (10) BONSEONGJARANG comes in after good efforts in arguably stronger company and can be a danger. Selections: 6, 10, 8, 11

Race 8: A winner of six from eight so far (9) SONGGONGGIWON doesn’t get the benefit of quite as light a weight as he has of late but is still strongly favoured to score again.(2) GEOSEOGAN and (8) NOKWONJEIL have the best chance of pulling off an upset. Selections: 9, 8, 2, 4

Race 9: (2) TYSON ran 4th last start but beat several of these in process and the veteran should return to winning ways here. (3) HOSEUNGGOEUL has been beaten by Tyson in each of his latest two but looks the most credible danger. Selections: 2, 3, 8, 11

Race 10: The very experienced (10) BAEGYAHAENG has won his latest four. He comes down in the weights and his quality may see him through again. (1) BAEKROKJANGWON has shown he has the beating of most of these in recent starts and will be there or thereabouts again. Selections: 10, 1, 3, 4

Race 11: (1) BAEKROKCHEONJI beat plenty of these on her way to winning at class and distance in December. She comes in fresh and can score again. (9) BICHUIYEONGGWANG comes in off three consecutive runner-up finishes and can go close again. Selections: 1, 9, 2, 3

Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 14)

Sunday’s racing is at Seoul with 15 races from 10:45 to 18:00. The Jeju and Busan Racecourses will be open to customers at 20% of indoor seating capacity as will the Off Track Betting centres in Busan (both of them), Daegu, Changwon, Daejeon, Gwangju and Cheonan. Seoul Racecourse and all off-track locations in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province will remain closed. Here are the previews for Seoul including the long awaited return of Mark Story in race 13:

Seoul Racecourse remains depressingly empty

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Wildly competitive opener. (5) GEUMSEONG SEGYE will probably start favourite based on his second-up performance on January 22nd when he beat three of these on his way to 2nd place over 1000M. It was a big improvement from his first run and he went on speed too, which is what he is likely to do here as well, from a good draw. (14) JILJU BORN was 4th in that race on what was his racecourse debut. He ran through the line pleasingly enough and the step up in trip may suit regardless of the wide gate. (8) DREAM KNOCK too did nothing too wrong on debut running 5th over 1000M beating a couple of today’s rivals. She too ran on well and could improve for the additional trip. Those three look to be the main contenders but don’t rule out progress from the likes of (7) ILHYANG DALMA or (11) GLOBAL STORM either.

Selections(8) Dream Knock (5) Geumseong Segye (14) Jilju Born (11) Global Storm
Next Best7, 12
Fast Start3, 5, 7, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(4) CHEONBISEONG broke through at start number two on January 22nd, leading pretty much from gate to wire over 1000M. He didn’t go especially well at this trip on debut but looks ready for another crack at it and has strong claims on a repeat win here. (8) NAMSAN SIDAE, out of an Oaks winner, was an encouraging 3rd on her debut in January. She ran on well over 1200M and looks well equipped for today’s task. So too does (1) TIZ BLACK. He raced twice in the first half of 2020, registering a 2nd and a 4th. He’s not been seen since last May but led all the way to win a quick trial on a wet track just last week. He looks nicely in first-up today. (11) MEOTJIN GUY showed progress on his second outing in January and can build on it today. There are three first-time starters and among them (10) GRACE LEE looks best equipped to make an immediate impact.

Selections(8) Namsan Sidae (4) Cheonbiseong (1) Tiz Black (10) Grace Lee
Next Best11, 14
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Filly maiden here with none of the fourteen having even a top-four finish to their name. (9) SEMYEONG HAETSAL beat a couple of these on debut when running 5th in a very similar race. Accordingly, she has the fastest time of any at the distance and could well start as favourite. (2) HIVE ran 6th on her debut back in January over 1000M. She will be expected to have come on for that run and to be in contention here. (5) JAY EAGLE came home behind Semyeong Haetsal on what was her second start but did improve from her debut and may continue to make progress today. Of the others with experience, (4) SILVER HAMPTON looks the most likely to improve. There are three debut-makers and given the weakness of the race it is worth taking a look at them. Specifically, (13) VESPER, who ran 3rd in her trial in a reasonable time, running through the line strong.

Selections(2) Hive (9) Semyeong Haetsal (13) Vesper (4) Silver Hampton
Next Best14, 5
Fast Start2, 6, 10, 14

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fourteen maidens here. (10) BEOLMAL DAEJANG looks the standout having raced twice for a 4th and a 3rd but also having put in a fast time last start at this distance. He can sit just off the pace and prove too strong late on. He’s not the only one to have shown promise though. (14) SKY FUTURE has a 2nd and a 3rd from his two starts so far. He’s come from off the pace on both occasions so the wide draw shouldn’t trouble him too much and he can be a danger today. So too can (9) DREAM LUCKY. He steps up slightly in distance following a much-improved 2nd over 1200M on his latest outing and looks to have more development in him here. Plenty of others in at least the placing frame as well with perhaps (1) SPEED GUY and (5) WONDERFUL K the most likely.

Selections(10) Beolmal Daejang (14) Sky Future (1) Speed Guy (9) Dream Lucky
Next Best5, 4
Fast Start4, 5, 10, 13