International Exchange Race Saturday -Seoul & Busan: Race-by-Race Preview (June 26)

With any luck this will be the last weekend without any spectators at Seoul Racecourse. Distancing guidelines are set to revised from the start of July that would permit attendance but for now Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, Daegu and Jeju Island remain shut meaning that the only (legal) betting in Korea this weekend will be at Busan, Changwon, Cheonan and Gwangju. On Saturday there are 8 races at Seoul (11:00 to 18:00) and 6 at Busan (11:30 to 16:50). The annual international exchange races will be run at Seoul on Saturday although obviously without any visiting delagtes in attendance and no boosted prize money. Seoul races 4 to 8 are named for (in race order), Tokyo City Keiba, Gold Circle (South Africa), China Horse Industry Association, Jockey Club of Turkey and the Selangor Turf Club (Malaysia). Here are the previews:

Roller Blade, whose three-year-old season was disrupted more than most, finally returns to action on Saturday (Pic: KRA)

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

Fillies only to kick things off. After back to back runner-up finishes, (1) DONGHAENG will be hot favourite to strike through at start number three here. On debut she ran on well from midfield over 1000M before being on pace throughout at this distance last time. She gets a much better barrier today and looks hard to beat. (2) DASI DUSON has a 2nd place finish to her name and beat a couple of these on her way to a second consecutive 4th place finish at her latest start. Her times haven’t been great but she should be competitive here. (5) ILHYANG DALMA got far too back in her last outing although she rallied well for 5th. She previously beat Dasi Duson when running 2nd at this distance and from a good draw looks a contender. (3) BANGTAN YEOGEOL has the fastest time of any of these at the distance while (6) SEMYEONG HAETSAL is the only one to have previously won a race and those facts put both into at least the placing frame here.

Selections(1) Donghaeng (2) Dasi Duson (5) Ilhyang Dalma (3) Bangtan Yeogeol
Next Best6, 12
Fast Start1, 2, 9, 11

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

After running a strong 2nd on debut, (5) B J MISS was well backed on her re-appearance on May 29th. Things didn’t go well, however, as she was awkwardly away and then wide throughout, failing to run on. She draws a little better today and is worth another chance. (9) BAEK PUNG returned from six months out to run a solid 3rd place over 1000M, settling towards the back of midfield and running on strong. He comes up in the weights here but looks ready for the step up in trip and should be a big danger. (3) FIRST WIND is the solitary previous winner among this field, having scored over this distance all the way back last November. He overcame the widest gate to run a decent 5th last time and can build on that here. (7) CHOEGANG ILSE and (10) DONGBANG CAPTAIN are both a little better than their respective latest efforts suggest and both look a placing line today.

Selections(5) B J Miss (9) Baek Pung (3) First Wind (7) Choegang Ilse
Next Best10, 13
Fast Start2, 3, 9, 12

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

(2) KOREA GIJEOK has raced eleven times and is yet to trouble the scorers but he has been consistent hovering around the minor money and in this weak company, that might be enough to see him home here. He tends to settle back and run on and the step up to 1400M might be just what he needs to finally make the breakthrough. (11) GEUMSUNG CHARMING already has experience at this distance, including his career best 2nd place finish at it in March. He too enters in consistent form and while he has drawn wide consistently, he tends to overcome it and should be a threat here. (8) CHAMILHO comes in off a couple of months out after a good 4th place at 1200M last start. While her only disappointing run so far has been at today’s distance, she looks ready for another crack here. Similarly, (7) GEOSEN JILPUNG was last on his only previous try at 1400M but has subsequently run well at shorter and may be ready to try again. (12) BIBONG MARU will try to cross from the widest gate to lead and f she gets there, could cause some problems at the business end.

Selections(2) Korea Gijeok (11) Geumsung Charming (8) Chamilho (7) Geosen Jilpung
Next Best12, 3
Fast Start3, 8, 11, 12

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

In recent starts, (5) DOCTOR CORNS has looked to get on pace from the start, something he was unable to do in his early attempts at this distance. He has since been tackling further but drops back in trip after some good results. He draws very nicely here – much better than he did before at this distance, and if he gets the lead, today should be his day. (12) CATCH THE SKY was only fairly away on debut but made up significant ground late on over the 1000M. He should have benefited from that experience and the additional furlong today may bring him into the calculations. (2) BAEK SEOL QUEEN put in two sub-par performances in February and April and got sent back to trial. She has had a couple of months off and looked very well when re-qualifying at the end of May and should improve first-up here. (1) MYEONGGA DAERO and (8) SEONGSIL SONYEO are others to consider.

Selections(5) Doctor Corns (12) Catch The Sky (2) Baek Seol Queen (1) Myeongga Daero
Next Best8, 7
Fast Start5, 9, 11, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

No fewer than six last-start winners go around here. (4) SKY MANGCHI ran 2nd on debut, coming from off the pace before leading all the way at this distance to get his maiden win on May 5th. He comes up in class here but draws well and doesn’t have too much to fear. Also up in class is (8) EOSEOWA. He ran out a good winner over 1400M following a couple of near-misses. He likes to settle just behind the early speed and run on strong and he has good claims to be in the finish here. (7) SINUI ADEUL comes up following back to back wins at class 6 level. They were both at 1200M on muddy or worse tracks and a previous try at this distance didn’t go well but he must be taken seriously. (6) ENERGIZER led last start over 1400M but weakened in the straight to finish a very much unplaced even-money favourite. He steps back marginally in trip today to a distance that he has already won at and is set to be one of the principal dangers. Returning to the theme of last start winners up in class, (9) ACE PRINCE made all over 1200M last start and should also be in the frame here.

Selections(4) Sky Mangchi (8) Eoseowa (7) Sinui Adeul (6) Energizer
Next Best9, 11
Fast Start4, 9, 10, 11

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

Fillies (and two mares) only here. A good trial winner in April, (3) MUSIC BOX ran a good 2nd on debut on May 22nd settling in midfield and then running on strong for 2nd place over 1000M. The Indie Band filly should only benefit from the step up in trip and from a good barrier, she can make the breakthrough here. (1) DARI TTEUNI clearly benefited from four months off between January and May because when she returned, she did so in style, settling close to the pace before running on for a good win at this distance at long odds. She will be given more respect today and from the inside has solid claims to be in the finish again. (2) DANCING DRAGON was 2nd in that same race and likewise can go well again but a bigger danger may be (13) STEADY WINNER. She is yet to win in five attempts but is yet to finish any worse than 5th either. She beat a couple of these on her wat to 3rd place over 1400M at her last start and while the draw here doesn’t do her any favours, she should be going close again. She is a half-sister to listed winner Mask. (7) RAPIDO QUEEN, who has a 2nd and a 4th in two starts this preparation, is among others with placing claims.

Selections(3) Music Box (1) Dari Tteuni (13) Steady Winner (2) Dancing Dragon
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start3, 5, 9, 12

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

(1) TOUGH MAN is yet to finish any worse than 2nd with two victories to his name, both at this distance. Last time he stepped up to 1400M and ran 2nd to Balvenie, who went on to win again two weeks ago, and back down to 1200M today, he will be expected to return to the winner’s circle, most likely leading gate to wire. This isn’t a one-horse race though. (6) NAUI JEONSEOL come sin off back to back victories. They both came at two turns but while it is interesting to see him dropped significantly back in trip after those successes, he has run well at this trip too. He comes up in the weights but looks the main danger. (4) MONEY CHAMP enters as a last start class and distance winner. He too comes up in the weights but draws well and will be looking to get on pace from the start. (8) GIANT GIRL and (11) GYORYONGDEUKSU are among others will designs on the places.

Selections(1) Tough Man (6) Naui Jeonseol (4) Money Champ (8) Giant Girl
Next Best11, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 11

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

Tricky one but we’ll go with (7) RAON THE POWER to return to winning ways. He won his first two starts and has since followed up with a 2nd and two 3rd place finishes at this class and distance. He can settle just off the pace here and can be too strong late on. (3) ACE SOLOMON looks the biggest danger. A natural front-runner, he dropped back to 1000M to register his maiden victory on June 5th. He draws nice to give himself every chance again here. (6) HALLA NURI’s sole victory was almost a year ago but she has the fastest time for the distance among any of these and isn’t without chances of her own. She has been twice beaten by Raon The Power but should be in the placing mix. (2) TOP ADELE steps up in class but back in trip and is another who has drawn well to get on pace early. (5) APRIL QUEEN, a nice 3rd last time is another to consider for a place.

Selections(7) Raon The Power (3) Ace Solomon (2) Top Adele (6) Halla Nuri
Next Best5, 4
Fast Start1, 3, 6, 7

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

(9) RACE ROYAL has been getting a bit too far back in her races before running on very nicely indeed. She’s been behind Jangsan Gold in her latest two and fortunately for Race Royal, Jangsan Gold is not here today. She remains nicely in the weights and if she can just avoid giving her rivals too much of a head-start then today can be her day. The main danger is (8) SAENAE SUN, who has finished in 4th place in both her prior starts. The latest of those was in a fast time behind the excellent prospect Victor Moon. She has come from the middle of the pack both times and should run on strong again. (1) MONSTER K was an improved 3rd at his latest effort and looks to be finally figuring things out while (2) MEOTJIN GEUMSEONG is a Korean bred with two wins to his name and after seemingly losing his way a little after being promoted to this level, looks to be finding his feet again. He drops back to this distance for the first time in a while and should be in the finish. Also dropping back is (4) MILKY SHERRY, another locally-bred runner who while she doesn’t exactly win out of turn, generally outperforms her odds.

Selections(9) Race Royal (8) Saenae Sun (1) Monster K (2) Meotjin Geumseong
Next Best4, 3
Fast Start1, 5, 8, 10

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

A big field containing plenty of ability but it’s hard to look past (1) DOCTOR FASHION. He’s a winner of three from six including his latest two with his most recent score being in a fast time over this distance on May 22nd. He is a front-runner and the inside draw should only help him here so while he does come up in weight compared with last time, he is very much the one to beat. (8) GEOMEUN SSONSAL looks to be on the correct trajectory having returned for his second start, a full six months after his debut, to beat a couple of these when 4th at this distance. He can settle just behind the pace here and run on strong. (11) ACHIM BIT has been placed in each of her latest three starts, all of them at this distance and most recently at this class. She is nicely in at the weights again and should be in the finish. (6) AMOR FATI comes up in class following an all the way win at this distance on May 15th. While this is a stiffer assignment, he comes down in the weights and looks a place line. So too does (13) HANBIT YEONGGWANG, who continues to dodge the winner’s circle, but has finished as runner-up on five of her ten starts so far and possesses the fastest time so far of any of these at the distance.

Selections(1) Doctor Fashion (8) Geomeun Ssonsal (13) Hanbit Yeonggwang (6) Amor Fati
Next Best11, 2
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 14

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

(9) GLOBAL SINHWA is the one to beat here. He has finished no worse than 3rd in four starts so far and got his breakthrough with a good score at class and distance on May 9th beating three of this in the process. That day he jumped well then sat handy before pulling clear in the final furlong. He does come up in the weights and shifts out wider in the gates but he should have enough about him to prevail again. The biggest danger could be a first-time starter. (3) CHUNJI GWANGPUNG ran on strong to finish 3rd in his trial in a good time and Moon Se Young stays aboard the Maclean’s Music colt who has drawn nicely. (4) CHEONGCHUN VIVA broke through at start number six on May 29th. While that was a big uptick in form and he had to work hard for it, he doesn’t come up too much in weight can get on the early speed again. (5) NAESAENGAE CHOEGO is the only one in the field who has won twice already. He has mixed his form since but is another who should be on speed early and can stick around at the business end. (10) MUNHAK FIRE is second-up this preparation and can build on a useful 4th place over 1400M achieved a month ago.

Selections(9) Global Sinhwa (3) Chunji Gwangpung (4) Cheongchun Viva (5) Naesaengae Choego
Next Best10, 1
Fast Start4, 5, 9, 10

Busan Race 6: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 42 Million

(8) MR. VALOR has won two of his last three including his latest at class and distance on May 29th when he soundly defeated a number of today’s rivals. He can lead or race handy and finish strong and while he carries more weight than last time, he has won under more than this in the past. His is the one to beat here. (7) GANGHAN JILJU and (3) FANTASTIC MAN came home 3rd and 4th respectively in that same race. Both can be competitive here but Fantastic Man is slightly more favoured to get close. (6) POWER WONDERFUL was an all the way class and distance winner two starts back before running 5th under 58kg on his reappearance behind Mr. Valor. An apprentice jockey takes 3kg off here which should bring him right into the picture. The wildcard is (5) YEONGGWANGUI PARTY, who races for the first time since last August but has plenty of ability and looked well in a May trial.

Selections(8) Mr. Valor (3) Fantastic Man (6) Power Wonderful (5) Yeonggwangui Party
Next Best7, 1
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 8

Seoul Race 7: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 28 Million

(12) BEOLMAL DAEJANG is yet to win in five attempts but has finished no worse than 4th. He has shown he can run well from the front or from running on from midfield. He steps up to racing around two turns for the first time and it could be exactly what he needs to make the breakthrough. (7) COLJOY is a winner at 1400M and has shown plenty of times that he has a strong finish on him. He was perhaps a touch disappointing when 4th on his last start but he drew very wide that day and didn’t have much luck. He steps up to two turns for the first time with solid claims. (3) WONDERFUL JOY beat Beolmal Daejang when winning at 1400M in April. He never got into the race at all until too late from a wide draw at his latest start but can be given another chance here with more distance to play with. (6) FEDERAL KING was a winner at class and distance last start and while that was a big uptick in form, an apprentice takes his carried weight right down here which surely puts him in the frame. (9) RUFFIAN PARK comes in off a couple of decent placings at this distance and is another who can hit at least the minor money.

Selections(12) Beolmal Daejang (7) Coljoy (3) Wonderful Joy (6) Federal King
Next Best9, 11
Fast Start2, 7, 8, 12

Seoul Race 8: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 50 Million

(9) BYEOLNARA SINSA comes up in class after back to back wins over 1200M and today’s distance of 1400M. He is capable of winning from the front or sitting back and running on and while there is no doubting this is a tougher ask, he is nicely weighted and can win again. (11) FLORIDA POWER has been running consistent times over 1200M and while her most recent try at this distance didn’t go well, the way she has been finishing off her races suggests she is ready for another go here. (10) GALLOP CURLIN has won in a fast time at this trip and drops back after a solid 3d over 1800M last start. Just like Florida Power, the wide draw is of little concern. (8) ROLLER BLADE was a horse whose promise was perhaps dashed more than most by last year’s shutdowns as he headed into the Spring that didn’t happen as arguably favourite for the Triple Crown races. Since then there have been a slew of setbacks and he hasn’t raced at all since last August when 5th in the Minister’s Cup. He hasn’t trialed since March either so a pick here is based on the natural talent that he has. He’ll need this. (7) DAEGUN JEPAE the best of the rest.

Selections(9) Byeolnara Sinsa (11) Florida Power (10) Gallop Curlin (8) Roller Blade
Next Best7, 1
Fast Start2, 5, 8, 9