Saturday was supposed to be the first race meeting at Seoul to take place with fans in attendance since last November, but it was not to be. And while the vaccination program has made rapid progress, as case numbers continue to rise in the Seoul and Gyeonggi area (337 new cases in the capital on Friday), it seems questionable that permission will be granted any time soon. For more background on the abrupt but not unexpected about-turn made by the local authorities see here. There are 9 races at Seoul on Saturday from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million
Fillies kick us off and (4) CHOEGANG QUEEN looks ready to win at what will be start number three for her. She has a 3rd and a 2nd from her two starts so far, both times racing handy and running on in creditable times. She drew wide on both occasions but gets a much better gate today and can make her breakthrough here. (2) LEAD VOCAL is the only runner in the field to already have a victory to her name. That came two starts back in fine fashion when she made all over 1400M in an impressive time on a wet track. She was 5th on her reappearance in early May but won a trial in good order a couple of weeks ago and should be the main danger here. (7) SOBERANIA did nothing much wrong when 4th on debut back in May and can build on that today while (1) FLYING FULL MOON and (8) MODERN BEST are others who have placing chances among this small field.
|Selections||(4) Choegang Queen (2) Lead Vocal (7) Soberania (1) Flying Full Moon|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 7|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 45 Million
The first event of the season for previously unraced two-year-olds race of the season brings with it boosted prize money and no form, so we have to head to the trial videos. Accordingly, (7) YUKWAEHAN NALDEUL is set to jump as favourite having made all to win his qualification trial in early May before doing similar in another voluntary trial, although this time sitting handy, at the end of that month. If he brings that form to the races, he’ll be hard to beat first up. (8) BYEOLI SUNGAN only finished 6th in his heat but the time was a fast one as the trial field that day included some class 1 and class 2 horses and he acquitted himself well. Moon Se Young rode him in the heat and partners him first-up here so he is bound to get plenty of backing. (9) YESULIYA beat a couple of his fellow debut-makers here when running 2nd in his May 21st trial. He led until the final furlong and posted a good time on a wet track. With just nine runners, the wide draw shouldn’t be too problematic. (5) BENCAL PRINCESS made all to win her heat and while the time wasn’t fast, she was a long way clear of the rest of the field and should be able to go well. (3) ROAD ACE didn’t catch the eye in his qualification trial but improved in a voluntary trial two weeks ago when he looked more assured and if he can improve again on that, can be in the finish.
|Selections||(7) Yukwaehan Naldeul (8) Byeoli Sungan (9) Yesuliya (3) Road Ace|
|Next Best||5, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 9|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Back to the class 6 fillies here and it is hard to look past (3) AQUA PUNCH. She finished well back on debut but stepped up to score at start number two over 1300M on June 6th. She sat handy that day striking the front in the final furlong and going on well and from a similar draw in what looks a significantly easier assignment, she’ll be hard to beat. (4) ADVANCE has a 3rd place to her name and while that was over 1000M, she comes in under a nice light weight under the same apprentice who rode her that day. She draws well and if she can get a close position early, she can be in the finish. So too can (2) BORI BORI who ran on well from midfield last time for a good, if well-beaten, 4th place. That was her best to date and she can build on it here. (7) CHOENTAP too gets a bit of a weight allowance and may improve in weak company.
|Selections||(3) Aqua Punch (4) Advance (2) Bori Bori (7) Choentap|
|Next Best||1, 6|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 5, 6|
Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million
Three-year-old maidens go around here. (2) IMUGI is set to be the warm favourite having made steady progress across four starts so far including back to back 4th place finishes in his most recent outings at 1200M and 1400M. He steps up to seven furlongs for the first time and from a good draw he can sit handy and then run on and be too strong in the finish. (9) RUN RUN RUN ran out of track at his latest start but when he got well back before running on strong for 6th place. Choi Bum-hyun remains aboard and his first go at an extended trip may be in his favour. The same can be said for (6) WONDERFUL DEVIL, who has settled towards the back of the field at each of her three starts so far before finishing well and similarly looks like she may appreciate a bit of distance. (5) MAGIC JOY and (7) GRAND STAR are others in the hunt for places.
|Selections||(2) Imugi (9) Run Run Run (6) Wonderful Devil (5) Magic Joy|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 8, 9|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million
(5) TAP QUALITY may be yet to win from five starts and may be up in class but he could break through here. He’s finished in the top three on four occasions and has sat handy before finishing well each time. Prior to today he has drawn wide in every start so far so from a nice barrier for the first time, he may have an easier time finding a good position and that, couple with the slight step up in trip, could see him home. The likely favourite is (11) QUEENS TOUR. She too is up in class but in her case it’s having made all to win over this distance on May 23rf. The draw is not in her favour here but she has proven that’s he can run well from behind as well and she will surely be in the finish again. (9) DAEWANGU completes a trio of up in class chances in this races. Last start over 1300M he settled back then was ridden forward to be handy before striking the front in the home straight and running on for a comfortable victory. He has a 3rd place to his name at this distance too and placing potential at least here. Horses can have a hard time on their first go at class 5 and that’s what happened to (3) GLOBAL YEONGUNG who ran 9th. He gets a better barrier today and is worth another chance. (4) JOY OF KING, who finished ahead of Global Yeongung last time, perhaps the best of the rest.
|Selections||(5) Tap Quality (11) Queens Tour (9) Daewangu (3) Global Yeongung|
|Next Best||4, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 8|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million
(9) JANGSAN GOLD won back to back races in March and April, both at 1200M and in contrasting styles, leading all the way in the first of them and then settling in midfield and running on the second time around. He has tackled this distance before, finishing 3rd in a good time and the half-brother to Dolkong is favoured to return to winning ways today. (10) NORTHERN TIME put in a great effort on debut to run 3rd behind Balvenie and Tough Man over today’s distance. He came from well off the pace from a wide draw and can do similar again today. (4) ANYANG OXEN is a class and distance winner already. Following that he placed behind good horses in two further goes at 1400M before struggling a little under 57kg around 1700M at this latest start. Down a little in the weight today and back to his best trip, he will be expected to challenge for the lead from the start and he should be in the finish. (3) MUNHAK ZENYATTA is consistent and gets a slight break in the weights today with an apprentice on board while (6) SPEEDY ROOKIE remains a maiden but has consistently run good times at this distance and can aim to place.
|Selections||(9) Jangsan Gold (10) Northern Time (4) Anyang Oxen (3) Munhak Zenyatta|
|Next Best||6, 2|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 5, 9|
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million
Tricky one but we’ll go with (3) MIGHTY GEE and Johan Victoire to get the job done second-up. The Goldencents colt came from well back to run on strong for 6th on debut on May 29th. He should have come on for that run and the additional furlong today looks as though it can be in his favour. (8) SONGAM TIZ has two wins to his name and while his form subsequently hasn’t been great, he has been running consistently competitive times and could be dangerous here. (4) PANORAMA SUN hinted at a return to form when 4th over this distance on June 19th. He had a good period of form last summer, notching two wins, before struggling in the winter and the spring but he has the fastest time of any of these at the distance and can be a factor. Those three on their respective day look to be a bit better than the rest with (1) MYEONGJIN GHOST and the experienced (5) DOLGYEOK APEURO others in the frame.
|Selections||(3) Mighty Gee (8) Songam Tiz (4) Panorama Sun (1) Myeongjin Ghost|
|Next Best||5, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 8, 9|
Seoul Race 8: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million
(4) CHOEGANG GAME is two for two having scored very comfortably indeed over 1300M and 1400M in his first two outings, coming from handy positions to run on for relatively easy wins. He steps up in both class and distance today but there is little for the Purge colt to fear here and he can complete a hat-trick of victories today. (6) ROYAL ROAD has won at this class already, coming from towards the back of the pack to score over 1400M back in April. He then followed up with a 3rd place at that same distance when carrying today’s weight of 57kg. He can lead or come from off the pace and he should be suited to two turns. (5) CHEONGDAM TANK is yet to win but has consistently gone close. She too steps up to two-turns for the first time and is lightly weighted under a top jockey. (8) GEUMSEONG ACE and (9) DREAM MAX are others in the frame.
|Selections||(4) Choegang Game (6) Royal Road (5) Cheongdam Tank (9) Dream Max|
|Next Best||8, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 5|
Seoul Race 9: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
A super class 2 sprint to finish the day with. A winner of seven from fifteen so far, (9) MENI HERO enters in terrific form and comes in here having beaten plenty of these and overturning the form on (5) CHARLIE STYLE when winning well at class and distance on May 22nd. He overcame gate eight that day so can overcome one wider today and while the additional 2.5kg is more of a concern, the manner of his win lasts time suggests he can repeat. Charlie Style will be a big danger though. He draws better today and has a slight weight advantage and a repeat of his triumph in April when he bested Meni Hero, would be no surprise. (6) RAON TAP MAN was 3rd in the May 22nd race. He’s only missed the top three on one occasion and will surely be there in the finish again. One that those here haven’t had to deal with before though is (10) UNCLE OH. He steps up in class following a super win over 1400M back in March at class 3 level. He is first up today and up in class but he runs well fresh and has a chance. (7) JEONGJOUI KKUM, already a class and distance winner, is perhaps best of the rest.
|Selections||(9) Meni Hero (5) Charlie Style (10) Uncle Oh (6) Raon Tap Man|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 5, 6|