Month: June 2021

Saturday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (June 19)

We are getting closer and closer to the government’s announcement of revised distancing guidelines to take effect from July and whether that means Seoul Racecourse and capital area OTBs will be allowed to admit customers again. That announcement is expected on Sunday. For now though, the same restrictions are in place which mean that this weekend the only betting locations open are in Busan (Racecourse and two OTBs), Changwon, Gwangju and Cheonan. There are Saturday cards at Seoul (8 races from 11:00 to 18:00) and at Busan (6 races from 11:30 to 16:50). Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Last year (7) JILJU DAERO was thought of highly enough to be allowed to take his chance in a couple of bug juvenile races in which he acquitted himself fairly. He has also run some fast times in amongst good quality opposition – better than what most of these have faced. At his last start he led over 1400M before weakening in the closing stages. He has since won a trial in good order and dropping back to the minimum trip today, everything would seem to be set up for him ideally here. He’ll be a big favourite. (2) CHEONGSANGSEONG ran well on debut at this trip in February before struggling a little when stepped up to 1300M last time. Today should suit more. Similarly, (8) VICTORY SAM struggled when asked to go further second-up having previously shown ability over today’s distance. (3) TEUKGEUP YEOWANG and (12) DESK TAP are others who have placing chances.

Selections(7) Jilju Daero (2) Cheongsangseong (8) Victory Sam (12) Desk Tap
Next Best3, 5
Fast Start2, 8, 11, 12

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(7) ENDLESS RUNNING finished 4th on debut over 1300M last November having shown on pace early before returning in January with a fair if unspectacular effort in a slow race at 1400M. He hasn’t raced since but he looked very well when winning a trial in a fast time on a dry track at the end of May and this distance first-up could very well suit him today. The main danger and possible betting favourite is (4) SORI OREUM. After settling handy he ran on strong for 2nd in a good time over this distance on debut on May 8th. He should have benefited for that experience and can go close again today. Of the others with prior racing experience, (8) TRIPLE JILJU can improve dropped back to this trip for the first time and with an apprentice jockey taking 4kg off his back. There are though a couple of debut-makers to look out for. (1) TES BROTHER led every step of the way to win an admittedly lightly-populated trial just last week. It was a decent enough time and so long as he hasn’t left his race there, should go well. (9) TWO TWO LIME looked all at sea when trialing for the first time in February but was much more accomplished on late May and is another to consider.

Selections(7) Endless Running (4) Sori Oreum (8) Triple Jilju (1) Tes Brother
Next Best9, 5
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 6

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

Fillies only here. Having won an April trial, (7) JUNGCHUBUSA brought that form to the races on debut on May 8th over 1000M, sitting behind the leader before pulling away in the final furlong to win by as many as she pleased. She won’t need to improve much off that performance in order to win again here. There are two other previous winners in the field. (12) GANGSEO PRINCESS made all to win over this distance on debut in January but came unstuck on her return in March when she had to work hard to overcome a wide draw and then ran out of petrol in the closing stages over this distance. The Gemologist filly has had almost three months off since and while the barrier isn’t ideal again, she is worth another chance. (4) SONGAM CAT also has a tick in the win column although that has been her only showing of note so far. She tends to get a long way back in her races so may need a bit of luck. (1) FANCY PANTS and (6) CUPID WONDER are perhaps preferred to compete for the places.

Selections(7) Jungchubusa (12) Gangseo Princess (6) Cupid Wonder (1) Fancy Pants
Next Best4, 3
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

It took (7) GOLD FOUNTAIN a couple of goes to figure things out but once stepped up to 1400M on May 30th he bolted up, coming from off midfield to strike the front in the straight and run on to win very easily. The additional furlong today should suit and he carries the same weight as last time. He looks hard to oppose here. Among those who have raced at a mile before, (1) CRYSTAL THINKING has the fastest time, recorded when running 2nd, beating a couple of these, on May 23rd. She draws the same barrier today and she can be a danger. So too can (2) B J’S TERMS. All four of his outings so far have come at this distance and in his latest two he has gone well, coming from well back in the field to finish off strong. Seo Seung-un remains aboard and a late challenge can be expected. (5) TEN TEN QUEEN has been getting too far back in her races but draws a decent gate today and along with (3) ANY LINE, looks best of the rest.

Selections(7) Gold Fountain (1) Crystal Thinking (2) B J’s Terms (5) Ten Ten Queen
Next Best3, 10
Fast Start3, 6, 7, 10

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

There was plenty of merit to (10) BYEOLBIT BOSEOK’s runner-up finish last time over 1300M when he took a bump coming out of the gate before leading until the last half-furlong when he was passed by a good winner for a comfortable 2nd. He draws a bit further out but comes back in trip and has solid claims. Merit aplenty too with how (1) ICE STAR won at class and distance at odds on May 8th, stalking the leaders before coming through late on the inside. His times haven’t been fast but the same apprentice who won on him remains aboard, keeping the weight down and he draws the inside gate. (2) USEUNG HWANHUI came home 4th in that same race continuing a run of solid if unspectacular form. She draws much better today and should be a danger while (6) ETERNAL MEMORY was 3rd behind Byeolbit Boseok last time out. He never looked like getting to him that day but looks set to be ridden on pace here and overturning the form is not impossible. (14) TEUKGWON is a last start winner who scored over class and distance on May 9th. He is going to use up plenty of energy getting to a handy position from the widest barrier but a good apprentice taking 2kg off may help.

Selections(10) Byeolbit Boseok (1) Ice Star (2) Useung Hwanhui (6) Eternal Memory
Next Best14, 5
Fast Start1, 5, 6, 14
(more…)

Pero Passes Triple Century

Djordje Perovic has reached three-hundred winners in South Korean racing. The milestone win came in race 2 at Busan last Saturday when the thirty-nine-year-old jockey partnered trainer Thomas Gillespie’s Sky More to a narrow photo-finish victory, becoming only the second foreigner to hit the triple-century.

“Sky More is still inexperienced and a little immature so he needed assistance throughout the race” said Perovic of the colt who was getting his maiden victory at start number four. “I expect Sky More to get better with more races.” Sky More is by Hansen and out of Korean Oaks winner Baekpa.

Perovic, known variously as “The Balkan Wolf” or “Serbian Frankie”, originally debuted in Korea in 2015 having previously ridden in Italy, where he is licensed, as well as his home country of Serbia and around Europe. He notched up Group winners in several countries as well as Jockey Premierships at the Italian tracks of San Rossore and Visarno, and even spent time on a short-term license on Japan’s elite JRA circuit, landing three winners from seventy-four rides in 2014.

During his first stint in the country, Perovic was based in Seoul where after enduring a testing start – it took thirty-five rides for him to break through and ride a winner – he quickly established himself among the top jockeys at the track. In 2017, he became the first foreign rider to win the Seoul Jockey Championship as he guided home 106 winners. They included Listed success on Clean Up Joy as well as his first Korean Group winner on Silver Wolf in the Ttukseom Cup.

After an extended time back in Europe, Perovic returned to Korea in late Spring of 2020, this time to be based at Busan but it was right in the middle of racing’s first COVID-induced shutdown. Racing did finally resume in June of that year but it was behind closed-doors and for Perovic, it was not the same as before. “My impression was like I am riding in trial races because races without audiences are not so exciting.”

Not that it seemed to affect his form as over the past year, Perovic has ridden sixty-three winners, second only in that time at Busan to You Hyun-myung with a win rate of 23.6% and finishing inside the top three on a remarkable 40.3% of his rides. Those wins included his first Korean Derby on Save The World in Seoul last August. “My favourite win is the Korean Derby, but all wins and horses are equally important and precious” he said. “Each win has its own grace. I would like to thank all the owners and trainers who believed in me and had trust in me and gave me their horses to ride.”

Japanese jockey Ikuyasu Kurakane holds the record for most wins by a foreign rider in Korea with 347 and while that figure is now within touching distance, Perovic has more fundamental ambitions. “The goal is to win many races in Korea and when I go back to my country to stay remembered by Korean people as a good person, sportsman and jockey.”

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 13)

There are races on Sunday at Seoul (10 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and at Busan (6 races from 12:05 to 17:00). Here are the previews:

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

Small field of maidens to kick things off but it’s competitive with two horses set to dispute favourite status. We’re siding with (8) SMART DAEBO who at her last start put in a good run to be a very close 2nd despite stumbling a little at the start. A repeat of that effort makes her the one to beat here. The main challenger is (2) K BLADE. The Commissioner filly is working up to a win having been placed 3rd at both most recent starts. Last time on a very wet track she settled close to the leaders and battled on in straight and it would be no surprise were she to breakthrough here. (1) ROSEDAY MARINE raced a little ungenerously last start but has placed at this distance in a nice time and should have placing claims. (6) PURGE QUEEN showed a bit of improvement last time too and can build on that run today. (3) MAIN OF KING another in the placing frame.

Selections(8) Smart Daebo (2) K Blade (1) Roseday Marine (6) Purge Queen
Next Best3
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 8

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

(9) LONDON SPEED was a close 2nd at this trip last start in a satisfactory time and with a big margin to the rest of the field. The same as today she had the outside barrier but showed great speed to get across and lead and if she can do the same, she can win. (4) SMART HIGH has had just the one race start when she was up with the pace and appeared to be in with a really good shout in the home straight. She got run down but with natural improvement from that start she enters the calculations here and could well start the betting favourite. (2) ONLY WINNER has placed 2nd at both 1400M and today’s distance of 1200M. She ran a nice 4th last start at 1300M, settling close to the pace and battling on well. She has a nice draw and the drop back in trip should enhance her chances. (3) WARRIOR THUNDER can perhaps have his last start disregarded and instead we’ll go on the close at hand 5th over 1300M when he led to the 100M before being swamped. Back at 1200M and with a good barrier, he could be in the finish.

Selections(9) London Speed (4) Smart High (2) Only Winner (3) Warrior Thunder
Next Best7, 8
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 9

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

(3) MY WIN was a huge winner at class and distance in a good time from barrier twelve on April 25th, settling handily behind the leaders and finishing off way too strong for the rest. Today he has a better draw and looks hard to go past. (10) CHOEGANG JANGSAN has run just twice but has shown ability with back-to-back 4th place finishes. Last time he settled behind the leaders and struck the front at the 300M but possibly found the 1400M a bit too much too soon. A forward showing today is a real possibility. (9) HAPPY MONTH ran on strong from a midfield position to finish 4th at this class last start and can aim to at least match that finish today. (2) BALLERINA is the wild card. She has not raced since last August when 3rd at this distance but looked sharp when trialing up a couple of weeks ago. She will obviously need this, but some minor money is not impossible. (7) AMAZING QUEEN among others in the placing frame.

Selections(3) My Win (10) Choegang Jangsan (9) Happy Month (2) Ballerina
Next Best7, 11
Fast Start1, 3, 10, 11

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

Having gone back to trial after his second career start in March, (9) WONDERFUL FAGER looked a much better prospect when resuming on May 15th, running 3rd in a fast time having raced on pace throughout. You Hyun-myung remains aboard, he has the same gate again and this looks to be his for the winning. (5) NEW FIRE beat Wonderful Fager back in March and has since run a 2nd at 1300M. In his latest two, both at further than today, he has come off the pace but showed when 4th on debut over 1000M that he can be handy too and he looks the main danger. (4) ANNIKA GIRL practically stopped running at the 300M when sent off as favourite for what was her second start three weeks ago. She had previously run on well over 1000M and the drop back in trip slightly may bring her into the calculations today. (1) HAVE A GOOD TIME was a useful 2nd at his latest start and while the time wasn’t fast, can build on that here. (7) MAGIC HILL the best of the rest.

Selections(9) Wonderful Fager (5) New Fire (4) Annika Girl (1) Have A Good Time
Next Best7, 10
Fast Start1, 4, 7, 8

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

(5) RAON THE TIGER is showing improvement with experience and appears to be ready to go forward now. Last start he was a bit awkwardly away then settled behind the leader and battled on in the straight for 2nd. While it wasn’t a fast race, a repeat of that run puts him right in this. (2) FLYING INDY is worth consideration after his last start 2nd at this distance when he was bumped a few times after the start and then making really good ground late on. With a bit more luck he can settle closer today and be in the frame. (3) BEST STORM was a touch disappointing when capitulating late on last start. Back to 1300M may suit better and he’s worth another chance here. (7) POLKA has been much improved at recent starts. Last time at 1200M she was handily placed before running on in the straight while the time before that over 1400M, she ran on resolutely for 4th and could easily run into a place here. (9) SPEED FLYING the best of the rest.

Selections(5) Raon The Tiger (2) Flying Indy (3) Best Storm (7) Polka
Next Best9, 1
Fast Start5, 7, 9, 13

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

Fillies only here. (6) TAMNA HWANGHU surprised almost everybody with a practically gate to wire easy win over class and distance on May 23rd. That was her maiden win at start fourteen but with most of her rivals here coming out of the same race, along with a decent draw and an apprentice jockey taking 3kg off her back, lightning could actually strike twice. (10) BURNING GUN and (8) WHITE GALLOPER came home in 4th and 5th place respectively in that race. It was just a second start for Burning Gun and an improved showing while White Galloper was slowly away and failed to make ground the way she did when winning at this distance two starts back. Expect both to be in the hunt today. Finishing in 6th place that day was (9) SECOND WIND, who started favourite following a strong 3rd at the distance two starts back. She too warrants another chance here. If you don’t like that race, then the one to go for is (7) HORAENGI. Yet to win in six starts she has run some consistent times and could well be on the early speed here.

Selections(6) Tamna Hwanghu (8) White Galloper (7) Horaengi (9) Second Wind
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start5, 7, 9, 10

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

Fillies and mares only here. (9) K N MENIQUEEN came up to this class last start and put in a nice effort over 1400M when she ran on wide in the straight. Back to 1300M and back in fillies and mares company today, she is the one to beat. (11) CUPID POINT ran 5th on her first try at this class on April 25th having previously racked up class 6 wins over 1200M and 1400M. She goes best when on or close to the pace so while she may need a bit of luck from a wide gate, she should be competitive here. Also needing luck from even wider will be (14) FORT SEUONE. She ran on well though to hit 3rd over 1200M last time and the slight step up in trip may be to her benefit. Beating her that day at 1200M was (3) DAEGUN OK. That was a return to form after a couple of average efforts and she flew home from off the pace. She has won at this distance in the past and must be considered here. (13) SANTTEUTHANSEUCHIM is always competitive at this level and despite being another who had no luck on draw day, should be there or thereabouts again.

Selections(9) K N Meniqueen (14) Fort Seunone (11) Cupid Point (3) Daegun Ok
Next Best13, 1
Fast Start1, 11, 12, 14
(more…)

Seoul & Busan Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 12)

The current social distancing guidelines throughout Korea have been extended to the end of the month. That means that the Seoul Capital area including Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, the city of Daegu and Jeju Island will remain at level 3 and unable to accept customers. Busan (Racecourse and OTBs), Changwon, Gwangju and Cheonan can accept pre-booked customers (through the MyCard app). So long as new infections remain below 1,000 per day (currently the average is between 400 and 750) and the target of 14 Million first-dose vaccinations is reached by the end of June, then July is set to see a restructuring of the guidelines which should allow at least some customers to enter Seoul Racecourse. At this point, thoroughbred racing is expected to revert to its former three-days-a-week schedule. We cross our fingers. For now though, there is racing on Saturday at Seoul (8 races from 11:00 to 18:00) and at Busan (6 races from 11:30 to 16:50). Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Small field of fillies get us underway. The favourite will probably be (8) NEW HOPE based on the consistent start she has made to her career with two 3rd place finishes and a 4th among her latest three. She drops back to five-furlongs for the first time today and while she hasn’t been the quickest of starters, it could be what she needs to make the breakthrough. We’re going to side though with (3) SOEWAKKOT. Having posted a fast trial, she ran 6th on debut at this distance from a wide draw. She gets a better barrier today and should have benefited from the experience. Expect her to lead and she can win. (9) NAMSAN CHOCOLATE comes in off an improved showing at this trip last time when from a wide gate she showed prominently before ending up in 6th it was a good time on a dry track and a similar showing puts her in the finish today. (7) QUEEN LION has the fastest time of any of these at the distance and while that was all the way back on debut, she’s not had another chance at this distance since. Solitary debut-maker (1) FIRST ROAD went well in a May trial and is worth keeping an eye on.

Selections(3) Soewakkot (8) New Hope (9) Namsan Chocolate (1) First Road
Next Best7
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 8

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(10) GLORY SONG ran 2nd on debut, well behind a very good winner but showed enough in an on-pace run to suggest there is more to come. She doesn’t draw especially well here but can overcome that and with Perovic climbing aboard, she can make her breakthrough today. (The other standout is (2) ECOPIA. She came from off the pace to run 3rd on her own debut, also at this distance on May 8th. She posted a fast time and beat three of these in the process and from a better gate will surely be mixing it in the finish again. Draw a line through the latest outing of (8) AMAZING FOOT when he was only fairly away and never featured. If he can get a good start and get on or close to the pace, then he has at least a placing chance. (3) LUCKY RUN and (5) MACH ROAD are others worth considering.

Selections(10) Glory Song (2) Ecopia (8) Amazing Foot (5) Mach Road
Next Best4, 11
Fast Start1, 6, 10, 12

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

The second division of the filly maiden and this time we’ll have a clear favourite and top pick. (4) LONDON POWER was a good trial winner over the winter before debuting at the end of February, running a solid 3rd over this trip. She’s drawn very nicely here and while it has been over three months since that run, she should have too much for this set of opponents. (2) GEUMGUKHWA has the second fastest time at this distance and also has the fastest first furlong average of any on the field. Her recent form reads very cold but it has all been at 1200M so she may appreciate the step back to the short-course today. (3) MISS CAMP and (7) JUMALUI SIJAK have hinted at ability across their respective prior starts and both should be looking to improve here. There are two debut-makers and of the pair (6) JEONGSEONG DAERO is perhaps the more likely to make an immediate impact.

Selections(4) London Power (2) Geumgukhwa (7) Jumalui Sijak (3) Miss Camp
Next Best6
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(14) CHEONGMA HWANGHU overcame a similarly wide draw at her latest start to get on pace and ultimately run 3rd behind a couple of useful types. She’s going to need to repeat that trick today but this looks a slightly easier race and if Seo Seung-un can find a handy position., she should be too good. (10) FANTASTIC LEADER comes in off two solid 3rd place finishes, both of them over 1200M. The draw is less of an issue for him as he likes to run on and he should be in the finish again today. (5) DOCTOR TEXAS is likely to be on pace. He ran well enough for 5th place over 1200M on his debut on May 1st and this is a nice race to follow up in. The rest will need to come past him at some stage. (13) SKY MORE hasn’t done too much wrong in three starts to date with his best being a 2nd place on debut. He has been slightly one-paced but with a sensible ride that should be enough to see him in the mix today. (6) A ONE PLUS perhaps the best of the rest.

Selections(14) Cheongma Hwanghu (10) Fantastic Leader (5) Doctor Texas (13) Sky More
Next Best6, 3
Fast Start2, 5, 12, 14

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

(4) LUMINOUS QUEEN ran on strong for 2nd in a fast time on debut over 1000M in April. She should have come on for that run and stepping up in trip today with a good draw once more, has every chance of breaking through. (2) GREAT THUNDER led for much of his debut at this distance on May 8th. He ultimately got passed by a couple but stuck to his task well for 3rd. He should have come on for the run and will be expected to lead again. (6) ILGYEOK PILSAL has the fastest time of any of these at the distance recorded when coming from off the pace to run 2nd at his latest start. He drew wide that day but has run well when leading too so from a better gate today, expect him to be on pace and in with a serious chance. (10) M J STORM goes best when he gets a good start and gets on pace so expect Lim Gi-won to try to get across from gate ten. If he does, then he should be in the finish. (14) SMARTY TREM looks the best of the rest and is another in the placing frame.

Selections(4) Luminous Queen (2) Great Thunder (6) Ilgyeok Pilsal (10) M J Storm
Next Best14, 7
Fast Start2, 4, 10, 13

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

Tricky race this. We’re going to give (8) CHEONGDAM DRIVE another chance. He didn’t run on when a beaten favourite over a mile last start on May 9th. He is yet to win but has some decent performances in his record, including at this distance. If he can get on or close to the early speed then back at 1400M, he has every chance. (4) YEONGDO GALMAEGI has every chance too. He has the fastest time of these at the distance, albeit recorded on a muddy track, and he ran well last start when finishing strongly from a midfield positon for 2nd. He’ll sit handy again here and can run on strong to challenge for the win this time. (6) SWEET BAND has been figuring things out across her latest few starts. She ran a good 2nd at this distance last time after coming from off the pace. She has had a tendency to get a bit too far back in her races and if she doesn’t leave herself too much to do, she can challenge with a couple of kilos in hand on the other fancies. (2) DOCTOR CORNS weakened badly after using up a lot of energy to get to the front from a wide draw at a mile last time. With today’s gate, he is worth another chance. (9) AFLEET TAPIT another in the hunt.

Selections(8) Cheongdam Drive (4) Yeongdo Galmaegi (6) Sweet Band (2) Doctor Corns
Next Best9, 10
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 7
(more…)

Blue Chipper Sunday Busan & Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (June 6)

Blue Chipper will have the chance to avenge his loss at the hands of Doctor Carson as the two of them face off again in the feature race at Busan on Sunday afternoon. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:05 to 17:00 and 10 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. The Seoul meeting will be held behind closed doors while there will be limited in person attendance at Busan. Unfortunately, the Daegu City Government has ordered the off-track betting location in that city to be closed as the Coivd alert level in that region has been raised to join Seoul, Gyeonggi and Jeju at “level 2”. Off-track centres in Busan Gwangju, Changwon and Cheonan remain open for limited in-person attendance which must be pre-booked. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

This is a race with little exposed form, so we’ll go out on a limb with (4) RUN TO GOAL. She ran well enough over the 1200M last time after stumbling out of the barriers and then copping a bump off the horse on her outside. After meeting interference in the straight she still ran well. She’s well drawn again and with more luck should be in the finish. The favourite will be (9) M J QUEEN on the grounds that she has won a race. That was on debut and while she hasn’t looked like following up in three starts since, she was prominent last time being passed just before the finish. The drop back to 1000M may suit. (10) ECTON JILJU showed improvement at start number two and is another who may appreciate the opportunity to race at five furlongs. (2) SAENAE HWANGJE and (8) TAEYANGTAGO are others whose form is not perhaps as bad as it first looks.

Selections(4) Run To Goal (9) M J Queen (10) Ecton Jilju (8) Tayangtago
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) GEOLJAK WOMAN can be considered here having been placed over 1200M and getting a good barrier. Draw a line through her last start when she was inconvenienced at the start before working home very nicely. A clean getaway today puts her right in the finish. Likely betting favourite is (6) BEST CHEONSANG. She’s been consistent across her four starts so far and with the best first furlong average time of any of these, should relish the chance to compete over five furlongs for the first time. (10) JILJU BORN has raced at this distance already and did rather well at it, finishing 4th on debut back in January. Las time out he raced green and wide before eventually finding his feet on the fence and that experience may have done him some good. He has a chance. (9) JEONGMUN JIJON was 4th last start behind a runaway winner. That was an improvement on his previous two efforts, and he won’t need to be too much better to go close here. (3) GLOBAL STORM the best of the rest.

Selections(1) Geoljak Woman (6) Best Cheonsang (10) Jilju Born (9) Jeongmun Jijon
Next Best3, 5
Fast Start3, 6, 10, 12

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

(3) CHEONGDAM TANK comes in with solid form and at het last start was a narrow 2nd over today’s distance on a wet track. She settled in a handy spot and made up good ground that day and from a better barrier here looks the one to beat. (4) SILVER DRAGON has hit form recently and was doing his best work late on last time out over 1200M. That suggests he is ready for another crack at the slightly further trip today and he should go close. Like Cheongdam Tank, (10) LAST BOSS also enters having run 2nd at this distance on his latest start. He came from an outside barrier to settle close to the pace that day, running on strongly and a repeat puts him in the finish again. (8) YEONGUNG DAEMA showed improvement last time despite being away awkwardly and then running wide. A more mature run here makes him a solid each-way hope. (11) WONDERFUL TYCOON did nothing too wrong when 4th on debut last start and is another who can make progress here.

Selections(3) Cheongdam Tank (4) Silver Dragon (10) Last Boss (8) Yeongung Daema
Next Best11, 12
Fast Start3, 5, 10, 12

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

Fillies only here. (1) PUREUN JANGMI is going to be favourite here. She’s a Kim Young-kwan trainee who having won her trial ran 3rd when favourite on debut. Improvement will be expected on that, and it would be no surprise were she to make her breakthrough here. We’re going to take her on though. (12) SEUNGNI MAGICQUEEN went one better on her debut, finishing in 2nd place to a good winner and recording the fastest time any of these have managed so far at the distance. The draw is not ideal, but it wasn’t the first time around either and with a bit of improvement she has every chance. Both (2) BYEOLI TTEUNE and (11) SAEMANGUIVISION both showed improvement at their respective latest starts each registering a career best 2nd place. They look the next best contenders for the money with Saemanguivision the slightly preferred of the pair. There are two debut-makers and (14) ALIVE QUEEN looked competent enough in two trials and can go well first up despite the wide draw.

Selections(12) Seungni Magicqueen (1) Pureun Jangmi (11) Saemanguivision (14) Alive Queen
Next Best11, 6
Fast Start1, 9, 10, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

(2) CHEONMA TODAY is a winner of three from seven and was a super all the way victor over this distance last start. Ostensible she is up in class here but in normal times would have been a number of races back. Add in the nice barrier and she can win again. Favourite will probably be (4) CATCH CHARM. She won her first two and then last start when up in class led while pulling hard before battling on for 5th. That was her first outing in more than four months so she may well have got the bad manners out of her system, and she can improve here. If she does, she has a winning chance. (6) OLD SPECIAL comes up in class after an all the way score at this distance last time. He may not get things his way quite so easily this time what with there being plenty of other early speed too, but he should still be competitive. (3) RUBICON got her maiden win at start six last time, and she too steps up in grade today. She seems to run well whenever she draws a good barrier and doesn’t need to cross, so she can also be in the finish. (9) SHOWMAKER another in the placing frame.

Selections(2) Cheonma Today (4) Catch Charm (6) Old Special (3) Rubicon
Next Best9, 12
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(4) WILD INDIE is set to be hot favourite here. He came from well back to run 2nd on debut over 1300M before stepping up to a mile and repeating the trick, running 2nd to a good winner. He’s a half-brother to Beolmaui Kkum and Kkakjaengi, Korean Stakes winners both, and he surely breaks through today. (5) B J’S TERMS was one of those rare horses in Korea who began their career at a mile and all of his three starts so far have come at the distance. He is another who seems to like to come from well back and he did exactly that to beat a few of these when 3rd last time out. He can continue his progress today. (2) DIA FORCE ran 4th behind B J’s Terms on his first try at a mile four weeks ago and can aim to match or better that today while (6) KING BROTHER, 5th in the same race, and (9) MINYEO GEOMGAEK are others in the placing hunt.

Selections(4) Wild Indie (5) B J’s Terms (2) Dia Force (6) King Brother
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start3, 6, 7, 8

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

(5) OXFORD KING picks himself really based on two consecutive wins in good times, beating several of these in the process in the most recent one. He made all both times and while he does carry more weight today, is drawn nicely to repeat. (8) DIA KEY ran 3rd to Oxford King on May 1st and meets him on 2.5kg better terms today which can bring him closer. He likes to settle midfield and run on and similar will be expected today. (6) RAON DIA has been 3rd in both starts at this class. Whether drawn inside or out wide, she sits handy and finishes strong and she should be firmly in contention for at least a place today. (3) DALRINEUN BITKKAL comes up in class and back in distance following a good win over 1400M a month ago. Both of his wins have come when he has led or been in a handy position and he can comfortably sit behind what should be a good pace here and try to take advantage in the closing stages. (9) MONEY CHAMP the best of the rest.

Selections(5) Oxford King (8) Dia Key (6) Raon Dia (3) Dalrineun Bitkkal
Next Best9, 2
Fast Start5, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

(9) BEASTLY scored back-to-back class 6 wins in December and April both times leading almost the whole way around. He stepped up to this class three-weeks ago and though sent off favourite couldn’t quite get to where he needed to be from a wide draw ultimately finishing 4th. The step up in trip should be fine and he can return to winning ways today. (10) FLAT BABE has raced three times and has three runner-up finishes to her name. She too is up in class but has already registered the fastest time among any of these who have previously tackled the distance and another 2nd place should be the minimum aim. Continuing the theme of those up in class is (1) CHOEGANG LIGER. He has run consistently solid times and can be competitive at this level. (5) INDIAN PARTY and (8) WONDERFUL KING are others in placing contention.

Selections(9) Beastly (10) Flat Babe (1) Choegang Liger (8) Wonderful King
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start4, 8, 9, 10

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

Fillies and mares only here and (1) LOVELY K will be a warm favourite. Two starts back she registered a good win in a fast time over the 1200M before running 4th over 1400M when she got within a length of the winner despite being inconvenienced in the home straight. She can settle handy here and is the one to beat. (9) CHALLENGE SOCKS is a last start winner at this distance at class 5 level. She doesn’t tend to show a lot of early speed, but she ran on well under a confident ride for a win that was easier than the margin suggests. Down in weights, she should be right in this. Disregard the last start of (2) MJ POINT is perhaps worth some thought. In her races she has settled midfield and run on well and both the draw and step up in trip may benefit today. It’s been more than a year since she last ran, and she’ll definitely need this but (3) TIZ ROSE has plenty of ability and trialed up adequately. She could make for an interesting outsider. (11) LIONETTE is still relatively unexposed and was a solid 4th at start number two a month ago and is another with placing hopes.

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Seoul & Busan Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 5)

Saturday’s racing is at Seoul (8 races from 11:00 to 18:00) and at Busan (6 races from 11:30 to 16:50). The Seoul meeting will take place behind closed doors while there will be limited in-person attendance at Busan. Here are the previews:

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

Fillies only to begin with. There is just one previous winner in the race and (9) LEAD VOCAL is strongly favoured to repeat. Her win came when making all over 1400M in March in good style. On her return a month ago at 1300M, she knuckled on jumping and lost ground before racing wide and then meeting traffic in the home straight but still ran on pleasingly for 5th. With a better start today, she wins. (7) CINDERELLA has shown her best form at today’s trip. She likes to settle handy and run on and while she doesn’t have the fastest of times to her name, she can be competitive here. (6) REMEMBER WHEN has been consistent across her six starts so far. She led last time from the widest gate and with a better draw today, can go close. (2) FINAL ACE was much improved when leading over this distance last time and gets the same significant apprentice claim today. (4) GOLD SPIKE comes down in trip and looks the best of the rest.

Selections(9) Lead Vocal (7) Cinderella (6) Remember When (2) Final Ace
Next Best4, 3
Fast Start2, 6, 8, 9

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Fascinating opener at Busan where some promising debutants face some encouraging experience. We’ll side with experience for our top pick and it is winning experience as well. (4) ACE SOLOMON was a good front-running winner at start number two in March over 1200M before weakening a little on his reappearance at the same trip in April. The drop to the minimum distance looks set to be in his favour and he can potentially lead all the way here. The main danger is one of the first-timers. That’s (1) INDY CHOICE, who comes in after having run an impressive 2nd in a trial in early May. He registered the same time as the winner of the heat, Miss Indie, who won on her own race debut last weekend. Nicely drawn on the inside, he can go well first-up. It’s also trial form that leads us to consider (2) PYEONGHWA SIDAE. No trees were pulled up on debut last August but he returned to requalify in mid-May, blitzing a trial and if he brings that form to the races, he should go close. (6) BAEK PUNG and (9) TAEPUNGI are others in the hunt.

Selections(4) Ace Solomon (1) Indy Choice (2) Pyeonghwa Sidae (9) Taepungi
Next Best6, 12
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 10

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

(10) SMART OFFICER was a good winner on debut on debut on April 17th when she was slowly away but gradually made ground before pulling away in the closing stages. She had the widest gate that time so draws slightly better and even carries 1kg less so while this is a better race, she has plenty in her favour again. (5) JANGSAN GUARD and (7) BEST FORCE came home 2nd and 3rd when they raced each other at this distance on May 2nd. Jangsan Guard led until the closing stages while Best Force came from well back. Both look like they have eventual wins in them with Jangsan Guard the most likely to score here. (1) WONDERFUL DEVIL is out of a half-sister to American star Game On Dude and did improve on her second start last time out. She has settled back in the field both times but from the inside may be ridden a bit further forward a bit earlier today. (14) TELOS was a decent 3rd last time from the same gate he draws today and could be an interesting each-way option.

Selections(10) Smart Officer (5) Jangsan Guard (1) Wonderful Devil (7) Best Force
Next Best14, 11
Fast Start4, 5, 6, 9

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

Having run 2nd on debut (5) UNJU SESANG was sent off as favourite for her second start on May 1st. However, despite leading for a time she ended up in 4th place, almost six-lengths off the winner. She should have come on for the experience and the company today looks a little bit more amenable so it would be no surprise to see her on pace again and this time staying on all the way. (3) KING BID will be disputing the early lead too. He comes in off his best finish to date when 2nd over 1300M on May 8th and the slight step up in trip can be to his benefit today. Finishing in 5th place that day was (13) SEOBU QUEEN. She has shown decent consistency across her five starts so far and her running style means the wide draw shouldn’t be too much of an issue. She can go close here and possibly even overturn the form on King Bid. (2) FIGHT DREAM and (9) BOUNTY HUNTER are others with placing claims.

Selections(5) Unju Sesang (13) Seobu Queen (3) King Bid (9) Bounty Hunter
Next Best2, 11
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

(1) MORNING HILL is two for two having won both starts so far in fine fashion making all at 1000M and 1200M. He is up in both class and in distance today but has solid claims to maintain his 100% record having drawn very nicely on the inside. The main danger is just one gate wider. (2) FIGHTING NOW remains a maiden after nine attempts but has no fewer than four runner-up finishes including his latest when he came from back in the field to run on strong and beat four of today’s rivals only missing out on the win by a nose. He does come up slightly in the weights but is sure to be in the finish again. (12) UNOECHANGCHEON has a super consistent record of never having been out of the top four from seven races to date. He was somewhat surprisingly beaten into 2nd place by (3) POTENTIAL ENERGY when they met in April and he can at least overturn that form today. (10) POWER DOLPUNG looks the best of a very competitive rest.

Selections(1) Morning Hill (2) Fighting Now (12) Unoechangcheon (10) Power Dolpung
Next Best11, 9
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 10

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

Fillies and mares only. Jockey Djordje Perovic is just one winner short of reaching 300 successes in Korea and he has just the one opportunity to cross that milestone today. It comes in (1) GOLD LUCK for Peter Wolsley, whose stable seems to have hit form. Gold Luck is up in class after a maiden win at this distance last time out when she raced prominently before proving too strong in the closing stages. From a better draw today she can be on pace again and can win again. (6) MASTER QUEEN led all the way two starts back for a maiden win of her on before running 3rd on her first try at this class beating a few of these in the process. She has a great start on her and will surely lead again with solid claims to go all the way. (8) COLOR WIND was similarly a coast to coast winner two starts back. She ran a solid 6th on her first try at this level last time and can build on it today. (2) QUEEN VRONSKY can have a line drawn through her latest and given another chance while it’s a similar story for (5) GOOD SOCKS who has talent and may be fitter for her last two runs.

Selections(1) Gold Luck (6) Master Queen (8) Color Wind (2) Queen Vronsky
Next Best5, 13
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

(8) WILDLY ROMANTIC looks very hard to beat here. He won his first two, both at this class and distance and while he has come up short as favourite in his latest two, today’s small field looks considerably softer and it’s hard to see anything but a return to the winner’s circle, probably leading all the way. He is the only previous winner in the race but (9) FINAL CANGINO has run 2nd and returns to action for the first time since last July. He looked well in winning an April trial and can aim for a place first up. Also with placing hopes ins (3) JANGSAN START, who can settle handy and has a good finish on him. (6) EAGLE EAGLE has recorded the fastest time for the distance of any of these and is another one with money hopes.

Selections(8) Wildly Romantic (9) Final Cangino (3) Jangsan Start (6) Eagle Eagle
Next Best2
Fast Start5, 6, 8, 9
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Round-Up: Morfhis Latest Star Defeated / Min Jang Gi Hits 500 / Yeongcheon Racecourse Progress / June Attendance Update / Dortmund on Insta

Morfhis became the latest big name horse in Korea to be beaten while giving away a considerable amount of weight under handicap conditions. Simjangui Godong was the beneficiary at Seoul last Sunday as Morfhis joined the likes of Blue Chipper, Moonhak Chief and Tiz Plan in going down to defeat while conceding 8kg to his rivals.

Simjangui Godong (KRA)

With the current Covid restrictions on attendance plus the absence of online wagering, Korean racing’s income has been devastated over the past sixteen months. and with prize funds having dried up, there are currently no Listed, Stakes or Graded races. Therefore the only option to keep racing going for the top horses is to run handicaps and with the top rated horses putting the others out of the handicap scale, some huge weight imbalances have become inevitable.

Blue Chipper was beaten by a spritely Doctor Carson on May 2nd while later in the month at Seoul Tiz Plan ran 2nd to Brigadier General before the 2019 Korea Cup winner Moonhak Chief trailed home in 4th place behind Heuk Jeonsa. Over 1400M last Sunday, Mofhis gave it a good shot but at such a weight disadvantage was no match for Simjangui Godong, the 2020 Segye Ilbo Cup winner. Blue Chipper and Doctor Carson will meet again this coming Sunday with both declared for Busan’s class 1 event over 1400M. An apprentice jockey claiming 3kg has been booked for Blue Chipper this time.

Min Jang Gi (KRA)

In other news on the track, trainer Min Jang Gi reached the milestone of 500 career winners last Sunday. The trainer saddled Winning Dancer to victory in race 4 at Busan. Min, who took Success Story to the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2016, is currently trainer of Blue Chipper.

Yeongcheon Racecourse Makes Breakthrough

More than eleven years after it was first announced and six years after it was initially due to open, work is finally set to get underway on Yeongcheon Racecourse, the nation’s third thoroughbred track. With the granting of a building permit this week, construction will now be allowed to begin.

Computer image of the planned Yeongcheon Racecourse

The much delayed project received a huge boost earlier this year when an extension to the Daegu subway line number 1 was announced in the 4th National Railway Network Construction Plan. This would include a stop within walking distance of the racecourse site, bringing mass transit to what is currently a hard to reach location. The latest scheduled opening date for Yeongcheon Racecourse, which will feature Korea’s first turf track, is now September 2024.

Busan Reopens To Customers But Jeju Closes Again

Punters were welcomed back to the Busan Racecourse as well as the city’s two off-track-betting locations last week as social distancing restrictions in the city were lowered to level “1.5”. However, Jeju Island, which saw over 1 Million flight passengers arrive during April with many more expected over the summer months, has accordingly raised its own level to “2”, the same level as Seoul and the surrounding regions, meaning that while racing can continue on Jeju, customers cannot attend.

That means that for the first weekend in June, seven locations are open, all with restricted attendance. They are Busan Racecourse (1,419 attendees permitted), Busan Dong-gu OCB (383), Busan Yeonje OCB (480), Gwangju OCB (919), Daegu OCB (505), Changwon (196) and Cheonan (634). All attendance must be pre-booked on the MyCard app.

Dortmund Joins Insta

Great Hill Farm, which stands new American arrivals Dortmund and Flashback, as well as locally bred stallion Magic Dancer, has joined instagram and has started posting regular pictures and English language updates about their star new import. Their instgram id is “greathillfarmnow”.