In the least surprising news of the year so far, the reopening of Seoul Racecourse as well as capital region OTBs will not now go ahead from this weekend.
Due to a rise in the number of Covid positives in the Seoul and Gyeonggi area, local governments have decided to hold off on altering their social distancing guidelines for at least another week. This means that while baseball and football stadiums in Seoul may accommodate 30% of capacity (including the completely enclosed Gocheok Skydome), racing is permitted 0%. However, outside of Seoul, the new levels will come into effect meaning the permitted capacity level in those locations has risen to 50%.
Open this week will be the racecourses in Busan and Jeju as well as OTBs in Busan (two of them), Changwon, Daegu, Cheonan and Gwangju. A total of approximately 11,000 punters will be allowed across the south of the country.
At the same time, the bill to permit online betting on horse racing once more failed to pass the National Assembly Agriculture Committee last week. Online betting on track cycling as well as lottery and sports betting is now legal, however, they are overseen by different ministries.
For the first Friday thoroughbred meeting of 2021, there are just 5 races (local punters will be betting on simulcast pony racing from Jeju as well) abd here are the previews:
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
A distinctly average set of gallopers line up in race 1. (8) TAEPUNGI was a distant 3rd on debut behind King Allie when racing prominently throughout before running a less convincing 7th over the same 1000M distance on reappearance in June. She did run on though and the step up in trip for the first time may be to her benefit. The trainer/jockey combination will attract plenty and she will probably start as favourite. (6) BUSAN ACE has recorded the fastest time of these at the distance, although that is perhaps faint praise. She mixes her form but based on her effort two starts back when she led for much of the race, ultimately finishing 2nd and beating Doctor Giants, who has subsequently gone on to win twice, she warrants consideration. (10) WONDERFUL LADY came from well back to run on for 5th place over 1300M on May 30th. She’s nicely weighted again and while she drops back in trip, should be looking for a career-best finish here. (1) K.B. HONOR and (2) INDY DANCER are others who have hinted at ability and also may improve.
|Selections||(8) Taepungi (6) Busan Ace (10) Wonderful Lady (2) Indy Dancer|
|Next Best||1, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 7, 9|
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Good little race this with three standouts. Not much to choose between them but (5) POKPUNG JILJU might be the improving one. He ran a decent 3rd working home strongly behind Gold Fountain on his first try at this distance on May 30th. It was a decent time on a good rated track and he can better it here. (2) YEONGGWANGUI SPEED has managed to maintain good consistency over six starts spread across eighteen months. At his latest start he came from off the pace to run home strongly for 2nd place to Queen Of The Queen in a fast time, albeit assisted by a sloppy track. A similar performance today puts him in the finish again. (3) FIGHT DREAM led for much of his latest outing at this distance, being passed ultimately in the final 300M to finish 4th. He has shown he is capable of running decent times and merits some thought here. (1) SIMON TOP GUN flew home late for 4th over 1300M last time out and may appreciate the step up in trip.
|Selections||(5) Pokpung Jilju (2) Yeonggwangui Speed (3) Fight Dream (1) Simon Top Gun|
|Next Best||7, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 9|
Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million
Fillies and mares only here and the banker favourite is among them. (4) SAGARMATHA has finished no worse than 3rd in any of her five starts to date with two wins among them. Last time out on May 8th, she beat four of these on her way to 2nd place in a very similar class and distance race. She carries an additional kilo today but she draws better and should be winning this. Having said that, she only narrowly finished ahead of (10) MASTER QUEEN in that race and the latter filly has gone on to since put in another good performance, finishing 2nd at class and distance on June 5th. She led that day as is her style and while the barrier may not be in her favour today, she has a good start on her and we can expect here to work around to challenge for the early lead again. (7) SECOND WIND comes up in class following a breakout victory over 1400M three weeks ago. She had mixed her form prior to that and this is a stiffer test but further improvement can’t be ruled out. (3) HANHYEOLMA and (5) GREAT GO are other potential dangers.
|Selections||(4) Sagarmatha (10) Master Queen (7) Second Wind (3) Hanhyeolma|
|Next Best||5, 9|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 8, 10|
Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million
(5) MR. FUSION ran out a three-length winner at class and distance on May 29th. That was his second career win but he has never finished worse than 4th. He has performed well when both handy or from coming from further back and while he does go up 3kg today, he has every chance of scoring again. Meeting him at better weights than last time is (4) SMART MOD, who was 3rd in that May 29th race. He settled back and then ran on strong and while that day he was conceding 1kg to Mr. Fusion, today he is getting 1.5kg. He has three-and-a-half lengths to overturn from last time and can be a danger. (2) CRONUS is a two-time winner at this distance and comes in off a good 3rd place last time out. He is nicely weighted again and he’ll aim to come from off the pace and hit the line strong. (3) MINYEOBONG finished in midfield on her first try at this class over 1200M on May 22nd. She ran well enough on her only previous try at this distance last year and could be a place chance in this small field.
|Selections||(5) Mr. Fusion (4) Smart Mod (2) Cronus (3) Minyeobong|
|Next Best||8, 6|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 6, 8|
Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(1) GREAT BOSS was a beaten favourite over 1200M last on May 22nd, hitting the front in the straight but ultimately being worn down by Doctor Fashion. That continued his impressive run of form with eight top-two finishes from nine starts so far and was enough to push him up in class here. This is his first attempt at a mile although he has run well over 1400M already and he comes down a full 6kg in the weights. That gives him a big advantage in that respect over the other standout (4) GEUMA CAVALRY who comes up a full 4kg for his super win at this class and distance on April 24th. That day the Violence colt practically made all and cruised away for a five-length victory in a fast time on a dry track. Regardless of the additional weight, He looks a talent and if he can deal with the weight, he has every chance of following up. (3) YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT beat a couple of these on his way to a solid 2nd place at class and distance on June 5th. He doesn’t win out of turn but is a prolific place getter and can be in the finish again. (5) MY TIZ GEM and (9) MALIBU BYEOL are others in at least the minor money hunt.
|Selections||(1) Great Boss (4) Geuma Cavalry (3) Yeonggwangui Fight (5) My Tiz Gem|
|Next Best||9, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 3, 12|
No need to click “more” that’s it!