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|
|Fast Start||1, 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 Best||4, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 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|
|Fast Start||2, 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 Best||6, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 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 Best||14, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 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 Best||9, 10|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 5, 7|